Inverse Daily: A.I. is shown in new testing to predict who you find attractive
Plus: Gandalf the Grey likely had a diverse microbiome.
Welcome back. Ingenuity Week continues with a special update at the bottom of this daily dispatch about the Mars helicopter NASA will fly remotely on Thursday. In the meantime, we’ve got stories on how A.I. is shown with 83 percent accuracy to predict who you find attractive, why a diverse microbiome — your gut — is linked with wisdom, and how Ford’s new smart mirror isn’t actually a mirror at all. Reflect on that for a second.
I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief at Inverse. Let’s dive in.
This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for April 6, 2021. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.
Why A.I. knows who you find attractive better than you do — A team of scientists in Finland has now designed a machine learning algorithm that can plumb the depths of who we find attractive better than we can, reports contributing writer Sarah Wells.
The hallmarks of attraction may change over time (from twisted mustaches and monocles to a clean shave and aviators), but regardless, top-tier social status can not only give your love life a boost but can even help you score the big promotion or easily slide into the good graces of the powerful elite.
“A lot of people have different ideas about what is attractive or unattractive, especially gendered preferences,” researcher Tuukka Ruotsalo tells Inverse. “If you have a model that looks only at a picture, they can never get a true understanding of [what] is attractive or not attractive.
“Our work basically looks at how different people respond to the images and then feeds that back into the A.I.”
- Data on 12,000 adults shows why labels like “straight,” “gay,” and “bi” don't suffice
- Bisexual attraction study upends decades of flawed research
- The anatomy of a “bad boy,” according to science
Microbiome study reveals a landmark finding — Wisdom is difficult to define. There are those who we know are wise — Gandalf, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Kermit the Frog — but why they are wise is more challenging to say, writes Sarah Sloat in this fascinating story that makes an unexpected connection.
Tanya Nguyen is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. She’s very interested in the evidence suggesting people who are deemed to be wiser are less prone to feel lonely, and those who are lonelier are less wise. She also studies the gut-brain axis, and how the relationship between the gut microbiome and the brain influences healthy aging.
Nguyen’s new study combines these two interests, finding wisdom and loneliness influence the gut — or are influenced by the gut. Or maybe both. Either way, there’s a connection — a behavioral, biological link ready to be explored, with the potential to inspire new treatments for the mind and body.
“We cannot know for sure at this point, but my guess is that it is likely a bit of both,” Nguyen tells me. This was a cross-sectional study, meaning it can show a connection but cannot predict the “directionality of the relationship.”
- Gut discovery explains another crucial aspect of health
- Fungi plays a hidden role in gut health
- Inside YouTube's vicious mental-health cycle
This entrepreneur turned garbage into delicious snacks — Food waste is a tremendous problem across the world, with the USDA estimating up to 40 percent of the U.S. food supply goes to waste, an equivalent of hundreds of billions of dollars. The upcycled food movement wants to change that, reports Stephen Bronner.
Claire Schlemme is the founder of Renewal Mill, which recycles an untapped ore of goods: food waste. And it doesn't make compost. It's part of the growing upcycled food movement, with products from companies including Barnana, Imperfect Foods, and ReGrained increasingly finding their way into the cupboards, fridges, and freezers of the discerning customer.
For Schlemme, it started when she founded Mother Juice, an organic juice company, in 2016. As the company took off, she became appalled at the amount of pulp thrown out each day. She figured there had to be a better way to do things.
- How this company went from a few farms to filling up frozen food aisles
- 6 foods that boost men's health
- Scientists debunk long-held theory about spicy food
Why coffee before a workout could help your body — There is evidence to support the claim that caffeine before a workout does actually help with fat-burning — technically called “fat oxidation” — and that the time of day you drink your cup matters, too. Here’s a snippet of the latest story in our Longevity Hacks series by Sophie Putka:
A study out in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that in a small group of active men aged 32 years old on average, imbibing caffeine 30 minutes before a workout boosted their “maximal fat oxidation” during workouts. The study also suggests the effects of caffeine on exercise were greatest if taken during the afternoon or early evening.
- One kind of food might be risky for brain health
- One animal life hack could be the secret to human longevity
- One change to your coffee routine could save a beloved animal, scientists say
Ford’s new “smart mirror” isn’t a mirror at all — A new Ford innovation could help improve things for everyone — drivers, bikers, and pedestrians alike, reports Jordan Golson.
The Ford Transit is one of the most popular delivery vehicles in the world. But a huge number of them have windowless cargo areas that restrict rear visibility. The only option was to use the side mirrors. But Ford has something to fix that.
- Ford’s 2021 F-150 Raptor is an off-road behemoth
- 6 Tesla Cybertruck alternatives to get excited about
- GMC Hummer EV: Price, release date, “WTF mode” for the colossal new electric SUV
That wraps up this edition of Inverse Daily. I would like to thank you for reading so loyally! You can follow me on Twitter at @nicklucchesi, where I share some of my favorite stories from Inverse, Input, and Mic every day.
One more thing... The Wright Brothers’ historic flight in the sand dunes at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina in December 1903 may come up a lot this week. That’s because part of their aircraft is going to fly again ... on Mars.
The Ingenuity helicopter will be the first aircraft to demonstrate a controlled flight — not, like, a balloon — on another planet. Per NASA:
A small amount of the material that covered the wing of the aircraft, Flyer 1, during the first flight was flown to Mars aboard NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. An insulative tape was used to wrap the small swatch of fabric around a cable located underneath the helicopter’s solar panel.
Keep opening Inverse Daily all week for more news, trivia, and multimedia about the Martian whirlygig’s flight. Until then, have a great Tuesday.