While I wonder just how hardcore post-Soviet the Black Widow movie is going to look, let’s get caught up on the latest science and innovation stories we’ve been working on at Inverse. I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief here, and it’s already the last day of June. (Sigh.)
Among the original reporting in this daily dispatch: Dinosaurs were well on the way out before the asteroid hit, what we still don’t know about UFOs could fill a spaceship, and A.I. can accurately anticipate your taste in art (we’re so predictable). Finally, we run down the discoveries made during the 50th human year of Elon Musk, a self-proclaimed Technoking. (We’re never going to let that one go.)
What’s in your headphones — If you were moved to listen to outer space-themed music over the weekend, you weren’t alone. That’s according to information provided to Inverse from Spotify. The streaming giant says its playlist “Let’s See Them Aliens” saw listenership increase by 90 percent this month. Here are more stats: listens of NASA-related playlists jumped by 470 percent and listens of alien-related playlists jumped by more than 80 percent in late May — when chatter about the then-unreleased Pentagon UFO report was everywhere.
Seizing the opportunity, Spotify opted to create its own alien playlist, which we’re happy to exclusively share with you first: the cl0se ënc0ūnteRs playlist. Its mix of Top 40 and genre classics creates a playlist where the whole is certainly greater than the sum of its parts. (My teenage self would’ve listened to “I Turned Into a Martian” by the Misfits. A bit on the nose, but a great song.)
Programming note — There will be no Inverse Daily on Friday, July 2 and Monday, July 5. Instead, we will deliver Sunday Scaries on Monday, July 5, because it’s going to feel like a Sunday for anyone who has the day off on Monday.
Mailbag — Which of these items would you put in your apocalypse bag? A Leatherman-style multitool, a self-winding watch, or a Pulaski axe? Answer this question and more in our annual apocalypse survey. Take the anonymous survey here. We’ve had more than 900 respondents so far! We will publish the results later this summer in a special guide.
UFO Pentagon report: 3 questions remain — The anticipated UFO Pentagon report was released last week and left a lot to be desired. For instance, it didn't address the extraterrestrial theory. Passant Rabie explores what’s next:
The nine-page declassified report discussed 144 incidents of UAP sightings, only one of which was resolved. But many were left wanting more after its much-anticipated release, with the obvious complaint that the report did not include extraterrestrial activity.
“We are pretty much right where we started,” one academic tells Inverse.
- UFO Pentagon report: 5 mind-blowing revelations finally confirmed
- The Pentagon UFO report is out — here's what it says (and doesn't say)
- Pentagon UFO report: 5 space scientists reveal if they believe in aliens
Scientists propose a new theory for what killed the dinosaurs — Scientists discover that dinosaurs began declining 76 million years ago, well before the asteroid impact. Ancient climate change may have played a role, reports Tara Yarlagadda:
Reports published earlier this year questioned the idea that dinosaurs declined due to a two-punch asteroid impact, finding that one of the smaller asteroids actually emerged later than the bigger asteroid. This bigger asteroid is known by the name of its impact crater, Chicxulub.
A new study takes it a step further, debunking the commonly held belief that asteroids primarily caused the dinosaur extinction.
The asteroid may have been a death knell, but dinosaurs were on their way out long before Chicxulub made an appearance on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, the study suggests.
- The dinosaurs didn’t go out the way you think they did — study
- One of the biggest dinosaurs ever was just discovered in Australia
- A predator with night vision is changing what we know about dinosaurs
A computer predicts if you prefer Rothko or Monet — Scientists from Caltech designed an algorithm that can accurately predict your preference in art without previous artistic training by modeling the human mind. It’s wild. Here’s a snippet of the story from Sarah Wells:
Or is it?
Related A.I. ideas:
- How technology is transforming sports in 2021
- The future of sports is algorithms, not athletes
- This Atari-trained A.I. could be the future of drug development
Happy birthday, Mr. Technoking — Shocking developments and futuristic cheese farms were just icing on the cake for Elon Musk, who marked his 50th year as a human on Monday, June 28, 2021. Ashley Bardhan has put together a list of the biggest innovations made during Musk’s 50th year.
For Musk’s 50th birthday, Musk Reads+ is returning to 10 of this year’s most shocking, inspiring visions of the future.
- Elon Musk's SpaceX flies dangerously close to breaking the law
- SpaceX: Space Force partnership kicks off a new chapter for the Falcon 9
- Tesla's Model S Plaid makes you feel like you’re “driving the future”
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- Before we go: Mike Tyson, Michael Phelps, Lena Horne, David Alan Grier, Lizzy Caplan, Vincent D'Onofrio, and José Emilio Pacheco were all born on this day.