Inverse Daily: Antidepressants are linked with a biological resistance to Covid-19
Plus: A review of The One, when Earth was a hell world, and the nuanced truth about bitcoin mining.
While I think about why Daylight Saving Time this year is going to be harder for a lot of us, allow your brain to wrap around these mind-expanding science and entertainment stories from the crew at Inverse. If you’re feeling tired, I’ve got good news: It’s National Napping Day. More on that at the bottom of this daily dispatch.
I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief at Inverse. I’m happy you’re here.
Hol’ up, a quick request — Let me know your favorite video game by sending an email to newsletter at inverse dot com with “VIDEO GAME STORIES” as the subject line. The reasons could be emotional or counterintuitive. In fact, the more unlikely the story, the better. I'm collecting my favorites for a new project. I'll publish a few responses in an upcoming edition of Inverse Daily.
This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for March 15, 2021. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.
A surprising find — Staff writer Katie MacBride brings to you a new story with a twist about how antidepressants are linked to helping people’s biology fight off Covid-19:
“When France had its first wave of Covid-19 in February 2020, Nicolas Hoertel worried about his patients.
“Hoertel is an associate professor of psychiatry at Paris University and a psychiatrist at Corentin-Celton Hospital, which specializes in older adult psychiatry. Information coming out of China made it clear that the risk of severe disease or death from Covid-19 increases dramatically over the age of 65. At least half of all the patients in the 90-bed facility where Hoertel is a psychiatrist were very high risk.
“However, as the surge peaked, he noticed that the patients in his facility almost never had symptoms severe enough to warrant hospitalization. In fact, between February 2020 and March 2021, only four of his patients required hospitalization for Covid-19.”
More like this:
- The Covid-19 info hub
- How to make sense of the new CDC rules for vaccinated people
- How Covid-19 changes your skin: 4 unusual signs to look for
Bitcoin’s big question — In her latest cryptocurrency column for Inverse, Leigh Cuen brings us an original piece of reporting about bitcoin mining's impact on the environment:
“The first Bitcoin miner I ever met was a Black man in the Bronx with a small rig in his living room.
“He told me cryptocurrency mining runs up his electricity bill, to be sure, but he saw this as the best way to save money and support his family. He wasn’t too worried about the environmental impact, but should he have been? Should mining corporations focus on pivoting to green energy, just like other industries? What about the massive electricity-sucking mining rigs currently fueling the NFT obsession?
“One of the most misunderstood criticisms of bitcoin is the incorrect claim that cryptocurrency mining is so bad for the environment that owning bitcoin comes with unethical, “dirty baggage.” Despite difficulty increases as the $1.4 billion bitcoin mining industry spreads, most critiques of mining’s energy consumption are actually identifying the flaws in capitalism, not Bitcoin’s challenging design.”
More like this:
- How blockchain NFTs could help musicians make a living
- Banned from bitcoin posts, WallStreetBets turns to crypto miners (Bloomberg News)
- Investors sue Washington state bitcoin mining magnate who they say bilked them for millions (GeekWire)
Just a literal hell world — Contributing writer Anna Funk brings this story of ancient Earth’s extremely metal past:
“Around 4.5 billion years ago, Earth was — probably — one big ocean of magma. Geologists who study this primordial Earth use models, experimental simulations, and even samples from the Moon to figure out what the planet was likely like during the early days of the Solar System.
“But finding physical evidence on Earth that confirms these models has been challenging. In a study published Friday in Science Advances, geologists announce they’ve found a direct signature of the primeval magma ocean in a famously old basalt deposit in Greenland.
This story actually begins with the Moon. The current prevailing theory is that long ago, a Mars-sized planet collided with the Earth, leaving us with a new satellite and an Earth melted from the impact.
“The idea that the Earth was largely molten — or even completely molten — at some point in time in its history is not a surprise,” Helen Williams, lead author on the study and a geochemist at Cambridge University, tells Inverse.
“The actual puzzle has been why isn’t there geological evidence for this.”
More like this:
- Where was your hometown 750 million years ago?
- To predict a cataclysmic future, scientists explore Earth’s geomagnetic past
- Ancient microbes in the "deadest" part of Earth redefine boundaries of life
They’re baaa-aack — Contributing writer Tara Yarlagadda takes a peek into nature’s lost-and-found bin and presents these specials thought to be extinct.
More like this:
- 16 unique animals that could go extinct by 2030 — and how to change that
- Will humans go extinct?
- Will birds go extinct? Study reveals the impact of climate change
The One review — Contributing Writer Dais Johnston presents their review of The One, calling it “such a watchable — and dangerous — show.”
“In the new Netflix science fiction series The One, online dating gets more than just an overhaul; it becomes completely irrelevant.
“Eight episodes in total, The One (streaming now) is Netflix’s latest sci-fi effort, this time examining the ramifications of a technological innovation that renders dating obsolete. The service’s name: The One.
“What does society look like when you can discover your genetically guaranteed soulmate? In the case of The One, the results are brutal: spikes in divorce rates, established couples ripped apart by jealousy — and in the case of the series’ main character, The One’s innovative creator, Rebecca Webb (played by Hannah Ware), the result is an unwelcome journey straight into the spotlight, skeleton-filled closet in tow.”
More sci-fi TV show reviews like this one:
- Review: Amazon's Upload is where The Good Place and Snowpiercer collide
- Away review: The best sci-fi of 2020 is barely fiction
- Utopia review: Amazon's binge-worthy sci-fi mixes comics and conspiracies
And just like that, we’re done for this edition of Inverse Daily. You can follow me on Twitter @nicklucchesi, where I share some of my favorite stories from Inverse, Input, and Mic every day. Just last week I shared this story on how the cocaine bear offers an unflinching look at the human psyche.
One more thing — Happy National Napping Day! If you're feeling a little groggy this morning because of time change, allow yourself an afternoon nap today. It's National Napping Day, after all. Sleep is a huge portion of our overall health. You need it.
Don't let garbage clichés like “I'll sleep when I'm dead” or “no days off,” or broadly, “hustle culture” — puke — influence you. Go to bed early. Have an afternoon nap if you can swing it. You’ll be better for it. ***Steps off soapbox.***
The day was created in 1999 by William and Camille Anthony. William, a Boston University professor, wanted to spread awareness about how sleep is hugely beneficial to our health.
“We figured this would be a good day to celebrate the importance of napping because everyone is one hour more sleep-deprived than usual," Anthony said in a story posted on CNN last year. "The fact is that the majority of Americans are sleep-deprived even without Daylight Saving Time.”
Go ahead. I won’t tell anyone. Nod off for a minute.