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New video show why face masks can't cut it against Covid

This video will make you rethink PPE.

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There's not enough space in this humble newsletter to pay full tribute to Grace Hopper, but we can try. Born today in 1906 in New York City, Hopper became one of the world's first computer programmers, punching machine instructions onto tape for an IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, also known as a Mark I, in 1943. Working through the U.S Navy Reserve at Harvard, Hopper was at the intersection of the government and academic aspect of World War II, calculating everything from rocket trajectories to the ranges of anti-aircraft guns.

After the war, Hopper stayed on at Harvard, where she continued to shape the world of computers as we know them today. She was the world's first "compiler," translating mathematical code into machine-readable binary code. She coined the term "computer bug" and "debugging" after a literal moth she found inside a machine and developed Flow-Matic, the first programming language to use English-like commands. Before Flow-Matic, computer programmers used math to tell computers what to do. By introducing commands that mimicked language, Hopper opened computers up to those beyond academia.

Hopper would become one of the biggest advocates to another computer language, COBOL, which became the most commonly used computer languages in the world during the 1970s. Hopper died in 1992, but her legacy lives in the fact that you can read this newsletter today. Thank you, Grace Hopper!

As the year ends, we're expanding our question of the week to the rest of December: In one sentence, what's your prediction for 2021? Shoot us an email at newsletter@inverse.com and we'll be publishing our favorites at the beginning of the new year.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for November 9, 2020. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.

Today on The Abstract — Musk, Herzog, and Mars City: Big ideas meet bold criticism

Now that the SpaceX Crew Dragon has successfully launched into orbit, the skies have opened up for a new era of commercial spaceflight. But SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is set on a bigger goal: building a city on Mars.

With lofty ambitions that live (literally) outside of this world, Musk’s vision has seen its fair share of critics, like legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog.

In this episode of The Abstract, we discuss where the public stands on Musk's grand vision of a city on Mars by 2050.

Dog Daze — Dogs never fully understand what you're telling them for this one reason

Despite the viral popularity of talking TikTok dog "Bunny," most of us have accepted that our dogs will never truly be able to "talk" to us through human language.

But what about listening to us? A challenge started earlier this month found that a small number of "genius" dogs can learn to associate objects by name if they hear it enough times.

Yet, new research published in the journal Royal Society Open Science took those questions around dog cognition a step further. They wanted to know why it is that dogs can seem to hear most sounds but they can only learn a handful of words over their lifetime.

So they safely strapped a set of electrodes to 17 dogs to find out. Turns out dogs struggle with a change in even a single speech sound, which makes all the difference.

What are they missing?

More like this:

Not Sports — Inside the gutsy counterculture of the American skibiking scene

Jim Cameron had spent his entire career in the ski world. But about a decade ago, the lifelong two-planker found himself getting bored with the sport that enthralls an estimated 9.2 million Americans.

His answer to boredom became skibiking, or as it’s historically titled, skibobbing. It’s a sport with a straight-laced European racing culture; Austria actually has a national team. But it wasn’t the sport’s racing culture that drew Cameron in. It was the ride.

Not biking, not skiing. Something different.

More like this:

Strange evolution — Why giant pandas roll in feces is literally heartwarming

A cuddly creature famous for its tumbles is now associated with a rolling of a different kind. This time, in horse manure.

Giant pandas have a proclivity for playing with poop, according to research published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study describes "an unusual behavior" not often seen performed by wild mammals, the research team explains.

"Pandas not only frequently sniffed and wallowed in fresh horse manure but also actively rubbed the fecal matter all over their bodies," write the study authors.

Why? It comes down to a matter of utmost importance to all animals: survival.

Sometimes survival is messy

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Coming soon ...

2020 has been rough, but there's no better way to end the year than with a little out-of-this-world beauty. Coming soon on Inverse, we tell you how to get the best views of the upcoming Geminids meteor show, which should offer some of the best chances to see shooting stars all year.

Letting the days go by — 5 celestial events that only happen once in a lifetime

Some celestial events happen often, like partial lunar or solar eclipses, supermoons, or annual meteor showers. But some celestial phenomena occur so rarely, you might only be able to catch them once or twice in your lifetime — if at all.

This month, Saturn’s and Jupiter’s orbits will align in a cosmic event that occurs about once every 20 years, but is rarely so close and visible to us at the same time. The Great Conjunction on December 21 will be the closest conjunction since 1623, and the closest visible conjunction since the year 1226. And that's not all.

Don't sleep on these

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No. — Video of sneeze vortex shows a critical flaw in face shields

Face shields were touted at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic as the "friendlier" alternative to face masks. And while it is true wearing a face shield may ensure your smile isn't obscured, this form of personal protective equipment is no match for Covid-19.

To understand why, you need to watch this video.

Seriously, you've got to watch this

More like this:

And that's it for the Daily! If you're looking for more, check out our interview with an undisputed legend of Hollywood weirdness, Crispin Glover.

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

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