While I contemplate the rise of the NFT after reading this very good column, let’s get you into a few stories to expand your mind on this Tuesday. I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief at Inverse. Also in this daily digest, find the story of a scientific discovery from France confirming what you probably already thought about hamburgers and wine: they were made for each other.
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Cabernet and sliders — New research from one of France’s most famous wine regions, Bordeaux, suggests pairing high-tannin red wines like Cabernet, Nebbiolo, or Syrah with a greasy hamburger tastes even better than you might think. This new research may compel you to pass on pairing those wines with leaner options.
In the study, researchers were interested in how lipids (fatty molecules) interacted with the tannins found in rich red wines like those made from Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah grapes. They found that higher levels of tannins can interact with saliva to create a bitter sensation. That interaction makes a high-tannin wine taste astringent or acidic — not a great experience. But fatty foods can diminish the bad taste and help you enjoy your wine even more so.
What they’re telling Inverse — “It is the first time that we demonstrate at the molecular level that lipids and tannins coming from red wines are able to interact, and that lipids from foods can have an influence on the taste of wine.” —Julie Géan, first author on the study.
More on the science of food:
- Scientists debunk long-held theory about spicy food
- How to get the crunchiest, juiciest fried chicken using science
- Why so many people hate cheese
Off with their heads — The brutal, real-life world of sea slugs is not something you expected to read about on a Tuesday morning, but we are going in. Scientists in Japan have discovered two types of sea slugs are capable of regenerating themselves after voluntarily shedding their original body.
The researchers define the process of shedding one's own body part as autotomy. They refer to this study's specific finding — including the severing of the sea slug's head and regrowth of its body — as "extreme autonomy" in their research. The process can take several hours.
What they’re telling Inverse: Co-author Yoichi Yusa describes the astonishment he felt seeing the sea slugs' severed heads “crawling like [in] horror movies”: “We were very surprised to see the head moving and could not believe it.”
More weird science:
- The 20 most WTF science stories of 2020
- This is a sheep’s brain on ketamine
- Your cat is a neighborhood terror
Switch Pro coming soon? — Rumors are swirling that a souped-up Nintendo Switch may arrive in our hands sooner than we think. The mega-popular handheld Nintendo console is truly exceptional, but with better graphics processing, it could bring the system up to snuff with at least the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
How much? The handheld-only Switch Lite is $100 cheaper than the current $299 model. It’s not clear whether the Switch Pro is a replacement for the original or a premium version that will be sold alongside it. If this new rumored Switch replaces the 2017 model, the new console could adopt the $300 price tag the console carries now, also leading to a reduction in the cost of the regular Switch. But the upgraded console could be priced anywhere from $50 to $100 more to account for improved specs and features.
One thing’s clear: Price will be a key factor in the success of a handheld device that faces console competition.
What they’re telling Inverse: “Nintendo would be able to sell the upgrade to its dedicated audience that wants to enjoy Nintendo first-party titles looking as good as they could be,” if it launches this year. “It would allow Nintendo to stay in the wake of Sony and Microsoft's new generation of consoles.” —Candice Mudrick of video games research firm Newzoo.
More gaming headlines:
- Fall Guys Season 4 release date, theme, skins, map, and Epic Games changes
- Tales of Arise release date, trailer, gameplay, story, and anime details
- Xbox Series X restock: Best Buy, Walmart, GameStop, and more March inventory
“Celebrity artists making money selling cheap products and VIP access to fans is nothing new. People pay for autographs, so why not a blockchain receipt that points back to the celebrity’s crypto wallet? Even better, it (usually) costs a lot less to mint 200 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) than to ship 200 t-shirts.”
“But are NFTs just the latest crypto trend or the future of the music industry? Here’s why this technology might be the most important development since the invention of blockchain, and what it means for the future.”
You can follow me on Twitter @nicklucchesi, where I share some of my favorite stories from Inverse, Input, and Mic every day. I loved reading the backstory on how a Nike VP got a pass on her son reselling sneakers by Edgar Alvarez on Input, our sister site.
Happy birthday to Oscar Isaac. The actor put in some brilliant, lasting performances — For Greater Glory, Inside Llewelyn Davis, A Most Violent Year, Ex Machina — before he became a sci-fi icon for his role as Poe Dameron in three Star Wars movies. Isaac is 41 today. Writing for this publication in 2015, Winston Cook-Wilson likened him to this generation’s Cary Grant. Six years later, Isaac is continuing to build on his now-formidable sci-fi rep. He plays Leto Atreides in Dune, which opens in theaters on October 1, 2021.