Over the decades, the Panama Canal — finished in 1914 — has gotten increasingly busy. In 1916, only 807 transits occurred. In the last several years the number of transits has been in the 13,000 range.
A few weeks from now, a very expensive — $10 billion — piece of cargo will make the 51-mile journey through the canal, from its departure point in Long Beach, California, toward its destination of French Guiana on the northeastern coast of South America.
What is it? Keep reading for more on that story and others in this edition of Inverse Daily. Thanks for reading. I’m Inverse editor Nick Lucchesi.
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Once it’s safely deployed at its operational orbit on the far side of the Sun from the Earth, the James Webb Telescope will allow astronomers to peer further into the distant past of the universe than anyone has before.
But before the Webb telescope can take its place in the firmament and the future, it must face hazards more familiar to the 19th century than the present, namely a lengthy sea voyage from Long Beach, California to its launch site at Kourou in French Guiana — with the risk of piracy thrown in for good measure.
- NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope: Launch date, mission, and the hunt for aliens
- James Webb Space Telescope: Why dirt may ruin our best view of aliens
- Incredible images show a monumental step for NASA's massive new telescope
The oral history of Idiocracy — Beset by a low budget and little-to-no-advertising support, Idiocracy almost didn’t happen at all. The fact that it exists is a miracle. The fact that it managed to accurately predict the future is just a bonus. On its 15th anniversary, Ralph Jones has published this oral history of the cult classic:
In 2006, Idiocracy predicted the future.
The only problem? It did too good of a job.
Mike Judge’s science fiction satire imagined what the United States might look like in the year 2505. From his perspective, that meant:
- A population made stupid by advertising
- A brash president who used to be a wrestler
- Crocs dominating the footwear landscape
Society seems doomed until a 21st-century everyman (Luke Wilson) gets frozen by the military and wakes up 500 years later, making him the smartest person in America and the only man who can save it.
More oral histories:
- The oral history of Banjo-Kazooie, the N64’s unlikeliest hit
- The oral history of Shrek, the “ugly stepsister” that changed animation
- The oral history of 12 Monkeys, Terry Gilliam's time travel masterpiece
Landmark tool could help us find water on other planets — Passant Rabie reports that scientists have figured out a way to measure the habitability of sub-Neptune planets, finding life on these strange worlds:
Our chances of finding life in the universe may have just increased dramatically.
A new study on super-Earths sheds light on these poorly understood worlds. Super-Earths could have liquid water oceans on their surface, one of the main ingredients for life. These strange worlds are more massive than the Earth but smaller than the solar system’s ice giant Neptune and abundant throughout the universe.
- 5 images show the most awe-inspiring geology in the Solar System
- These 12 places could be the key to saving the planet — study
- What color would Earth look like to aliens?
The Mediterranean is a romantic place. Saltwater licks pale cream shorelines, and deep purple wine flows from happy hands. The food: plump tomatoes, tangy cheese, and slick olive oil.
According to new research, this part of the world isn’t just sexy: Its cuisine can improve your sex life.
- The hard truth about Covid-19 and erectile disfunction
- Do antidepressants hurt sex drive? Scientists split fact from fiction
- A new sperm discovery could solve a huge male infertility problem
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- Happy birthday to: Keanu Reeves (57), Katt Williams (50), Salma Hayek (55), K-Ci Hailey (52), Harvey Levin (71).
- Tech Song of the Day: “Technologic” by Daft Punk.
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