Inverse Daily

There's got to be something better than Zoom

The future won't always look like a grid.

Working from home during Covid-19 pandemic. Video conference call using an app like Zoom during lock...

How small could they get? That was the question people were asking after today in 2005, when Steve Jobs revealed the iPod Shuffle to the world. Ever since the iPod music player was first introduced to the world in 2001, it had changed the face of music. Music was suddenly separated from the album format that had been solidified over decades in records, tapes, and CDs.

And now, Steve Jobs told the world, they were shaking up that format more than ever before.

“iPod shuffle is smaller and lighter than a pack of gum and costs less than $100,” Jobs said at the time. “With most flash-memory music players, users must use tiny displays and complicated controls to find their music; with iPod shuffle you just relax and it serves up new combinations of your music every time you listen.”

With such a cheap price point, the Shuffle was likely the first Apple product that many people owned. People got used to carrying around an Apple product wherever they went, which helped make the iPhone such an easy sell. And the Shuffle had a surprisingly long life, only being discontinued in 2017.

Our question of the week: Do you have any tech-related resolutions? Maybe you're going to finally download that foreign language app or stop doomscrolling. We'd love to hear what you're trying to do with tech this year! Shoot us an email at and we'll highlight some of our favorites!

As for our last question asking about your 2021 We were overwhelmed with amazing responses. Thank you so much! We've published a few of them below and are going to work up a post soon highlighting others. Although we do have to say, we hope not all of these come true.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for January 11, 2021. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.

British Invasion — SpaceX Starlink is coming to the UK: How it could change pastoral England

Starlink, SpaceX's internet connectivity constellation, could bring super-fast internet to the shires of England.

Testers in the United Kingdom this month started receiving the Starlink Kit, the set of tools required to access SpaceX's currently-in-beta internet service. The company is aiming for super-fast gigabit speeds at low latencies, meaning users can point a dish at the sky and get online. Customers in the U.S. and Canada joined the service in late 2020, and SpaceX is aiming to offer coverage to most of the world in 2021.

For rural and underserved communities, it could be a lifesaver. Living in "England's pleasant pastures," as captured by the poet William Blake, may sound like a dream — but it can soon turn sour when you can't get Netflix to stop buffering.

Rural living might never be the same

More like this:

Beating faster — Can we grow a heart? Stunning new scans offer clues

A new discovery by English researchers opens the door to greater understanding of how the heart forms.

In the study, published in the journal Science, Oxford University scientists mapped how the heart forms at its earliest stages of development in unprecedented detail. In the experiment, they looked to mice, specifically the 21-day span from fertilization to birth.

Why map the heart in such detail?

By knowing how cells form, we might be able to grow our own from scratch in the future, paving the way for heart attack treatments and more.

The brain is the center of our reality, but it's nothing without the heart.

It's inside you, right now

More like this:

$$$$ — Elon Musk: How the world's richest person plans to spend his money

It's official: With a net worth of $190 billion at the time of writing, Elon Musk is the world's richest person. He's already got an idea of how he's going to spend the money as well.

The tech entrepreneur, who serves as CEO of electric car firm Tesla and spaceflight firm SpaceX, has overtaken Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to the number one spot. The switch, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index shows, is because the bulk of Musk's calculated wealth comes from owning 20 percent of his electric transportation and renewable energy company Tesla. The company's stock price has skyrocketed in recent weeks, with a current market cap of $774 billion.

So what is Musk to do with his newfound wealth?

Elon's in the money

More like this:

Coming soon ...

2020 is in the history books. Of course, we remember the year as being defined by the pandemic. But how long will our memories last? Will we slowly return to normal life and forget this ever happened bar the footnote in history it will occupy? It seems hard to imagine until you stop and ask yourself when the last time you thought about the Spanish Flu before 2020 was. Coming soon on Inverse, a look at how Covid-19 could change our cultural consciousness.

Shark attack — Megalodon: This ancient predator gave birth to babies the size of adult humans

The Megalodon has terrified the hearts and captivated the minds of scientists — and movie lovers — for ages.

But for all the curious interest, we're still piecing together information about the ancient beast that lived some 3.6-15 million years ago. Did a supernova kill off the Megalodon, or was their demise simply due to competition over scarce resources? And just how massive was this monster shark, exactly?

Most of the research to date has focused on the Megalodon's frightening teeth, but a new study published in the journal Historical Biology turns to a surprising part of the monster shark for research: its spine.

It turns out there is a surprising amount of data hidden in the Megalodon's vertebrae, including its immense size as a baby.

They were really, really big

More like this:

Incoming call — The antidote to Zoom fatigue is here

After 2020, we've all become well-versed in the Zoom tango. Quickly tidying up your background, remembering to take yourself off mute to speak, and trying desperately to not just stare at your own video feed. It's a dance that's become both exhausting and unavoidable.

The future of video chat won't always look like a Zoom grid. The future of video chats will be a lot more personal. Fun, even, say experts who spoke with Inverse.

The reason why Zoom exhausts us, but we can hunt for fossils with our friends in Animal Crossing for hours, is that the game takes advantage of new social opportunities in the digital environment (e.g. digitally fishing together) instead of trying to make the environment fit into a preconceived notion of social interactions (e.g. boardroom meetings).

Tom Boellstorff, a professor of anthropology at UC Irvine who studies online spaces, tells Inverse that dynamic, game-like platforms are likely to become more popular this year and next. It's all in service of ensuring that our online interactions can still be as emotionally and psychologically fruitful as they are in person.

Whether people start hosting a conference in Second Life or meeting up with friends on Animal Crossing, the future is likely to hold even more diverse options for digital connection.

The future of video chats has to get better

More like this:

A few predictions for 2021:

"We'll be trying to get 'back to normal,' but what was normal won't be there ever again." — Jann Becker

"If you think you know what is going to happen, you will be proven wrong!" — Kathleen Murray

"In 2021, we will be introduced to a superintelligent form countering the human race." — Johnny Lucchesi

"I think 2021 will be like the year after WWII ended. The history books will look at 2021 as the year of recovery, hope, and resilience. 2020 was the year we had to take a journey into the dark to find out who we are and what we value. In 2021, I believe we will start building on those values. We will use our newly founded resilience to make the world a better place." — Shweta Navani

And if you're looking for more, check out a recommendation for a classic sci-fi movie that's leaving Hulu.

Thank you for reading! Follow me on Twitter if you want, where I tweet too much.

Related Tags