Welcome to the Friday edition of Inverse Daily, your digest of essential science and innovation news stories — with the occasional, welcome detour into video games and sci-fi. I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief at Inverse. I’m glad you’re here.
Today, we have stories that mention the Guadalupe fur seal, the San Andreas Fault, and an upcoming report on UFOs that will be released by the Pentagon by June 1. That should set you off into the weekend. Let’s go.
In seismology terms, accumulating strain means this part of the fault may be the next location of a large earthquake sometime in the near future. Although it is impossible to say exactly when it will occur, knowing where to expect it to burst to the surface is good news for geologists and hazard planners.
The Mission Creek strand runs from Indio to the San Bernadino Mountains, and it was previously thought the strand had been slipping slowly or was completely inactive.
What they’re telling us: “This study shows that the Mission Creek strand is actually the main one producing most of the earthquakes in the geologic past.” —Kim Blisniuk, an associate professor of geology at San Jose State University.
- These satellite images show parts of San Francisco are sinking
- Your Google search history could prevent natural disasters
- Scientists discover a surprise rumbling beneath a sacred Hawaiian volcano
What’s killing bald eagles — Contributing writer Emma Betuel reports on the scientists who discovered a deadly three-part process involving invasive plants, abundant bacteria, and chemicals in the environment. It all contributed to dead bald eagles.
The birds had died from a disease called avian vacuolar myelinopathy (AVM) that attacks their brains, causing them to fly erratically or swim in circles before succumbing. Now, almost two decades later, scientists finally know what causes it.
- American bald eagles are dying, and scientists may finally know why
- A plan to protect bald eagles has been a rousing success
- RIP to the oldest bald eagle ever (2015)
Those anticipating the release of the upcoming government report on unidentified aerial phenomena (or unidentified flying objects for old-schoolers) have even more reason to rejoice: Former director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, said it would contain information on “difficult to explain” sightings.
In a recent interview with Fox News, Ratcliffe said, “There are a lot more sightings than have been made public” and mentioned objects that “engage in actions that are difficult to explain.”
The Pentagon report is set to be released on June 1. As conversations around UFO sightings swarm the internet, Inverse breaks down what to expect from the upcoming report and how to separate fact from fiction.
- UFO Pentagon video: 8 questions and answers about that bizarre footage (2020)
- Why is the Pentagon interested in UFOs? Sightings have spiked (2019)
- I'm an astronomer and I think aliens may be out there (2020 op-ed)
The world’s 126 marine mammal species are increasingly threatened due to climate change, overfishing, noise pollution, and other issues affecting their population numbers, according to a Plymouth Marine Laboratory-led team in a recently published paper in the journal Endangered Species Research.
- 16 unique animals that could go extinct by 2030
- 7 “extinct” animals rediscovered by science
- Ecologists reveal how to save 515 animals on the brink of extinction
Face/Off 2 movie director reveals one way he'll top the original — I can’t believe there’s going to be a sequel to this movie, but that’s what deputy editor Jacob Kleinman reports.
Face/Off 2 (actual title unknown) director Adam Wingard is taking a different approach with his sequel. He’s giving us more of everything we loved about the original. More humor, more action, and, believe it or not, more Nicolas Cage (Castor Troy) and John Travolta (Sean Archer).
“My approach isn't to try to top it,” Wingard tells Inverse. “It’s to try to continue it. Those characters are very rich, and that movie really does tee up a sequel very nicely. I would never be so vain or narcissistic or whatever to think that I could ever top Face/Off. It really is a perfect action movie.”
More director interviews:
- After Marvel, the Russo brothers rule their own universe
- Bliss explained: Director unpacks the meaning of his trippy sci-fi film
- How Monster Hunter director Paul W.S. Anderson mastered the video game movie
Happy birthday, Prokop Diviš. On this day in 1698, Prokop Diviš was born in Bohemia, now the Czech Republic. He was in charge of the farmlands on church lands and became fascinated by electricity and experimented with plants, eventually inventing the lightning rod.
On June 15, 1754, Diviš erected a 131-foot-high metal apparatus he thought would be helpful in warding off thunderstorms by manipulating atmospheric electricity. The church advised him to maybe cool it with trying to control the weather, as his efforts were not well-received by other scientists. But it turned out Diviš had created the lightning rod and reduced lighting strikes in the process.
He died in 1765, and while Benjamin Franklin famously invented the lightning rod in the United States around the same time, the one fashioned by Diviš was better grounded and thusly more effective.
That wraps up this edition of Inverse Daily. I want to thank everybody for reading so loyally! You can follow me on Twitter (@nicklucchesi), where I share some of my favorite stories from Inverse, Input, and Mic every day. ⚡