Inverse Daily

Dogs are like children, science says. Literally.

Man's best friend learns like man's offspring, a new study shows.

Golden retriever in a bathtub holding bath sponge in mouth

And then there was light. Today in 1880, Thomas Edison received a patent that would change modern civilization. Some call it patent number 223,898, but Edison called it the electric lamp.

Developed in Menlo Park, New Jersey, Edison had been working on the electric lamp for two years. This process could best be described as a whirlwind of trial and error, with Edison and his associates working on over 3,000 types of designs. The key to any electric lamp design was finding the right strip of material to place inside a bulb, or filament. Eventually, Edison found that carbon would be the key to his eventual solution. A sudden chase began for every carbonized filament he could imagine.

While carbonized thread proved to be successful, it could only light a bulb for 40 hours — a technical marvel, but without much practical use. Eventually, after much trial and effort, carbonized bamboo proved to stay lit for 1,200 hours. While Edison would prove to be controversial in his aggressive business tactics, there's no denying he earned patent 223,898.

Our question of the week: The first anniversary of most Americans' introduction to Covid-19 is coming up in March. Do you support the idea of a national day of remembrance for Covid-19 victims? How should the first anniversary of Covid be noted? Respond on our Google Form and we'll publish our favorite answers next week!

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for January 27, 2021. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.

Link up — SpaceX Starlink: Elon Musk reveals new feature to seriously boost coverage

Starlink, SpaceX's internet connectivity constellation, received a big upgrade.

On Sunday, CEO Elon Musk confirmed a mysterious black pipe, spotted on the latest Starlink satellites, is a laser link. The feature could bring internet access to more places. The 10 satellites sporting the upgrade launched at 10 a.m. Eastern on January 24 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The upgrade could dramatically improve Starlink's overall reach and help it meet its goals. Satellite internet promises connections from almost anywhere with a view of the sky, but existing services like Viasat and HughesNet are plagued with slower-than-advertised speeds and long response times. SpaceX aims to solve this by orbiting the satellites much closer to the ground, at an altitude of 550 kilometers.

What they're saying: "Direct links aren’t needed to offer service. Starlink will initially bounce signals off ground/ocean relays to get from 🛰 to 🛰." —Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, on Twitter.

Starlink is changing the game yet again

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Watching you — A scientific twist on an iconic video game just might prevent the apocalypse

Whether it's perfecting your Nintendo Mii or perfectly replicating your childhood cul-de-sac in The Sims, we're suckers for recreating our lives in a virtual world. And this is an obsession that might just help avert the world's biggest existential threat.

The spread of Covid-19 in 2020 has already been a stark wake-up call to the kinds of damage a global virus can wreak on our cities if we're unprepared — and scientists predict these kinds of pandemics are only going to become more common.

To meet this oncoming apocalypse head-on, a team of scientists have designed a much more hardcore version of the iconic video game The Sims that could stop future pandemics in their tracks.

What they're saying: "The epidemiological models used to predict the spread of infectious diseases are similar to the mathematical models used in chemistry. It is not a coincidence." —Amin Rahmat, University of Birmingham, and co-authors.

You don't need to speak Simlish for this study

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Views — Stunning new video reveals Solar Orbiter's view of Earth, Mars, and Venus

For nearly a year, a small spacecraft has been making its way toward the Sun in order to capture the closest images of our host star ever taken.

On its way to the Sun, the Solar Orbiter turned back to marvel at the beauty of three Solar System planets as they twinkled in the dark depths of space.

An astonishing new video reveals the spacecraft's view of Earth, Venus, and Mars, capturing the three planets in the midst of their orbit around the Sun.

What they're saying: "At the moment of the recording, Solar Orbiter was on its way to Venus for its first gravity assist flyby." —European Space Agency, describing the video within.

Putting our whole solar system in perspective

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Coming soon ...

There are crises facing President Joe Biden in every direction, and his actions on climate change will be followed closely. Crucially, can the new president find a way to reboot an economy on the verge of collapse for many while reducing methane and carbon emissions?

Coming soon on Inverse, a look at how President Biden might handle the climate crisis in the midst of everything else.

Go fetch — Dogs can learn like children in this one key way

Most pet owners are content to just teach their dog to "sit" or "fetch" — or maybe "roll over" if they're feeling particularly ambitious.

But not Claudia Fugazza. Fugazza, a researcher in the Department of Ethology at Eötvös Loránd University, has led a team of behavioral researchers, conducting multiple studies on how dogs learn words in complex settings.

In their latest study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, Fugazza and her team wanted to challenge previous studies that assumed dogs learn words by process of elimination — also known as exclusion tasks. Instead, they wanted to test whether dogs can rapidly learn words in more natural social settings by playing with their owners.

Their findings suggest dogs may learn in very similar ways to humans — specifically, small children — than previously thought.

What they're saying: "Such rapid learning seems to be similar to the way human children acquire their vocabulary around 2-3 years of age." —Ádám Miklósi, head of the Department of Ethology and co-author of the study.

See Spot talk

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And that's it for the Daily! If you're looking for more, check out our recommendation for the weirdest sci-fi movie on HBO Max.

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