Mind and Body

Inverse Daily: Breathing walls, vivid colors, melting faces

Plus: China’s little spacecraft with big dreams.

Close-up of two mushrooms of the not edible type between autumn leaves
oxygen/Moment/Getty Images

Breathing walls, vivid colors, melting faces. The hallucinations that come with psychedelic drugs are hard to ignore.

Not everyone wants to take a trip if they’re only trying to feel better. It can be the worst part of psychedelics for some users. What’s inarguable, though, is that those experiences hold them back from wider use.

But a breakthrough announced this week could go a long way toward changing that paradigm. Imagine if psychedelic drugs could treat depression and anxiety, and didn’t come with the frightening potential for a bad trip. Or, in the best-case scenario, still require several people to supervise the user. Far more people could use those drugs to get better.

Adults could take them at home. Children could take them. People with dementia. The list goes on. That’s the big idea at the center of today’s lead story. I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief at Inverse.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for April 29, 2021. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.


Science has fixed the worst part of psychedelic drugs Researchers in California have developed a technology that can find and test drugs that can have the same antidepressant effects as psychedelics — without the drug actually producing hallucinations. The breakthrough was made in a study on mice, not people. Here’s more from the story by Katie MacBride:

In addition, the researchers also think they’ve created a compound that offers the neurological benefits of hallucinogenic drugs without causing the user to hallucinate. Their work is published in the journal Cell. (Here’s the actual paper.)

A drug with this capability could be taken without any safety concerns or the need for hallucination supervision. It would revolutionize treatment for conditions like depression and anxiety.

Read the full story.

More psychedelic science reporting:

Ingenuity photo shows a spectacular new view of Perseverance on Mars The two Mars robots are busy taking pictures of each other now, but soon the end will arrive, writes John Wenz:

Ingenuity, the little helicopter that could, got a nice photo-op in of Perseverance, who was snapping pictures of the helicopter at the same time.

The photo-op at the Octavia E. Butler Landing site on Mars occurred during the helicopter’s third flight Sunday, with NASA releasing the image on Tuesday. That flight saw Ingenuity lift up 16 feet in the air from a position about 279 feet away from the rover. Before Ingenuity was set free to buzz around Mars, Perserverence stowed away the four-pound helicopter during the six-month journey to the Red Planet.

Read the full story and see the photo.

Related stories:

A little spacecraft with big dreamsChina's Tianwen-1 lander is scheduled to touch down on Mars in May or June and explore the Red Planet for 90 sols, writes Passant Rabie:

On July 23, 2020, a small spacecraft with big dreams headed to a planet nearly 300 million miles away.

For its first interplanetary mission, the China National Space Administration (CNAS) aimed a lander at Mars. Tianwen-1 successfully entered Martian orbit in February 2021. As soon as May, the rover will head toward Mars.

Read the full story and see photos of the lander.

Daytime sleepiness may be linked to longevity Sleepiness during the day — but not sleep apnea — is linked to cardiovascular risk and shorter telomeres, new findings suggest. Sophie Putka has the story:

If you have ever wondered if your lack of sleep is killing you slowly, you are likely not alone. More than a third of all American adults do not get the recommended seven hours of sleep at night, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A predilection for afternoon naps does not necessarily mean you need to worry about your own mortality, but the scientific evidence is increasingly clear: The timing and quality of your sleep play an integral role in your body and brain health. And according to new research, there may be a link between sleep and longevity, too.

The new findings suggest a condition called Excessive Daytime Sleepiness is linked to one of the most important genetic markers for longevity, a little section of DNA found on the end of chromosomes called a telomere.

Keep reading this story.

More sleep science:

McLaren designer reveals his secret weapon The graphic designers at McLaren Racing have to balance looking good with sponsor demands while making sure they don't run afoul of the business of winning races, writes Jordan Golson:

It’s no secret that race cars are as much billboard as they are fast as hell machines. It’s still a business, after all, and McLaren Racing is no exception. Balancing the two worlds comes down to Simon Dibley, and it’s something the McLaren design specialist always keeps in mind.

“You have to design for standing still and for going 200 miles per hour,” Dibley tells Inverse.

Race cars might get around the track powered by bravery and sweat and engineering prowess, but it’s all fueled by sponsorship cash — and most of that cash comes from slapping corporate logos everywhere. But with dignity. The world of racing is fast-paced, necessitating building speed into the entire design ethos.

Keep reading this fast story.

More design stories:

The “Bespoke” Rolls-Royces are ridiculous Rolls-Royce cars are already ludicrously luxurious and resplendent in their grandiosity. But these “bespoke” versions take things to extravagant extremes, writes Jordan Golson:

Rolls-Royce cars are already resplendent in their grandiosity. But these one-of-a-kind editions take things to extravagant extremes. This custom build (“bespoke” in Rolls-Royce parlance) is for a well-heeled customer who wanted a “land jet” to compliment his new actual private jet.

See the stunning photos.

More car reporting:

Bust a move like Oscar Isaac in one of my favorite movies, Ex Machina.

Ex Machina/Giphy

That does it for Inverse Daily for April 29, 2021, which, you may like to know, is International Dance Day. It is marked every year on this day because it coincides with the anniversary of the 1727 birth of Jean-Georges Noverre, the French balletmaster credited with creating what we think of as modern ballet.

Let me know what you think of this daily dispatch by emailing newsletter@inverse.com. You can follow me on Twitter at @nicklucchesi, where I share some of my favorite stories from Inverse every day.

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