Inverse Daily: Scientists develop tech for brains to communicate directly

Scientists have developed a way to connect human brains for the first time.

While I wonder if Hayden Christensen is really going to be in the new Star Wars movie, let’s get you caught up on the latest science and tech news of the day.

But first: Big congrats to Christine H., Roy C., and Cameron D., the winners of our October Inverse Daily Rewards. Thank you to everyone that read along last month.

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Now, let’s get into it.

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“After 11 years, it’s safe to say that bitcoin is not a flash in the pan.”

— Financial analyst Clement Thibault.

As Beyond Meat aims to be the next Tesla, here’s how alt-meat will keep rising

Beyond Meat wants to be the next Tesla, its CEO Ethan Brown declared this week. Brown’s ambition may have turned heads, but it’s hard to deny the alternative meat industry is set for a breakthrough in the coming years.

Plant-based meat makers have so far focused on perfecting the burger, but future flavors could unlock imitation fish and chicken. Part of the challenge in offering more kinds of meats is to offer a “cleaner” pea protein that masks its vegetable tastes, Marie Wright, chief global flavorist for Archer Daniels Midland, tells Inverse.

Beyond plant-based meat, scientists are developing lab-grown meat from animal cells. These efforts took big steps forward in recent months, with edible scaffolding recreating the texture of regular meat and astronauts on the International Space Station successfully growing a burger in microgravity. These new alt-meats are expected to hit store shelves in 2021. Over the coming years, animal-sourced meat could diminish in popularity as alternatives take flight.

“I don’t think I’ve personally, in a very long career, seen anything quite like this,” Wright says.

Read the full story here →

Go deeper:

We need more scientists to run for office

We’re about a year away from election day 2020, so we thought it was the perfect time to publish this interview with Shaughnessy Naughton, founder of the political organization 314 Action, which aims to get more scientists elected to public office.

Naughton, the latest member of the Inverse Future 50, couldn’t have picked a more timely mission for herself. As the planet is getting hotter and more polluted, to have deeply uncurious, elected officials remain proud of their ignorance and stupidly declare, “I’m not a scientist” should feel nothing short of infuriating to the people who elected them.

“Rather than hearing from politicians the cop-out of ‘I’m not a scientist,’ let’s say ‘I am,’” Naughton says. We couldn’t agree more.

You’ve got to read our profile of Naughton →

Read more in our Future 50 series:

Researchers discover your brain has a literal “rinse cycle”

Did you know there are physical changes in the brain during sleep? Waves of cerebrospinal fluid wash through the brain cavity, seemingly helping the brain dispose of “waste” that accumulates over time.

Boston University researchers say that the electrical signals in the brain during slow wave sleep help set the rinse cycle in motion.

“NREM sleep is important for waste clearance,” Lewis tells Inverse’s Emma Betuel. “But why would waste clearance be higher during sleep? Our results connect these two fields: we discovered that the waves of electrical activity are followed by waves of cerebrospinal fluid into the brain.”

Learn more about your brain’s rinse cycle here →

Here’s what else happens when you sleep:

Sunday Scaries

Beat the “Sunday Scaries” with a weekly newsletter that mixes soothing science and relatable advice to get your mind & body ready for the week ahead.

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Scientists discover butterflies are deeply efficient at evolving

Hybrid animals get a bad rep as evolutionary mishaps. There’s often some disadvantages to them. Like the mule: half horse, half donkey, fully unable to reproduce. So researchers worry that hybrids will hurt a population in the long run, or even make species extinct.

But for Heliconius butterfly species, hybridization is actually a huge advantage, new research shows. Breeding between species is very common, and might even help to protect these pollinators against changes in the environment.

It’s also just a really cool (and super smart) insect. Heliconius butterflies will revisit the same flower repeatedly, and as an adult they can eat pollen, which no other butterfly can do.

Learn more →

More animal science to expand your mind:

We’ve developed a “BrainNet”

With a name like “BrainNet,” you’d be forgiven if you thought this next concept was a sci-fi story, but researchers at the University of Washington presented what they say is “the first multi-person non-invasive direct brain-to-brain interface for collaborative problem solving.”

“Humans are social beings who communicate with each other to cooperate and solve problems that none of us can solve on our own released along with the research,” says Rajesh Rao, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. “We wanted to know if a group of people could collaborate using only their brains.

“That’s how we came up with the idea of BrainNet; where two people help a third person solve a task.”

Read the full story here →

More neuro-tech:

Meanwhile …

  • Scientists recreated the origin of the universe in a lab.
  • One type of food could help reverse aging, thanks to resveratrol
  • How resilient is Tesla’s third-generation solar roof? Strong enough to withstand a pumpkin, going on CEO Elon Musk’s latest video.
  • A flurry of recent leaks have essentially confirmed the announcement of Diablo 4 at Blizzcon 2019.

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