April showers bring May flowers, or so I try to remind myself. Though rain is good for quite a few things — namely, herb gardens and melancholy drives to Long Island — I’m getting tired of rainboots and layering my sweaters. The other day, the Sun spent a few minutes poking through New York’s 24-hour layer of gray clouds, and I wanted to clap.
Unfortunately, according to expert predictions, our weather is about to get a lot worse. You can read all the wet details in today’s newsletter, where you’ll also find Axiom-1 launch details, a car review, and a poop-shaped robot. By the way, if you, too, feel like you have applause in you, vote for Inverse Daily in this year’s Webby Awards People’s Choice Award by clicking this link. Win or lose, we couldn’t be more grateful for your support and readership!
Get your fire retardant raincoats ready — according to research published recently in the journal Science Advances, you can anticipate a terrible cycle of vicious wildfires and torrential rain slugging us into the next century.
“Two climate models discussed in the paper predict that by the mid-21st century in a high warming scenario known as RCP8.5 (Representative Concentration Pathway), there could be an increased likelihood that an extreme fire event will be followed by at least one extreme rainfall event in that year,” writes Inverse science reporter Elana Spivack. “By 2100, the frequency of these events happening together could double in California, and be more than seven times as likely in the Pacific Northwest.”
Rain following fire might sound like a good thing, but the fire burns roots and makes soil unstable for when heavy rain comes. This leads to debris flow, which can kill people, and has killed people before. Though this new paper predicts the U.S.’ worst-case scenario weather, Spivack notes that even a moderate increase in the frequency of intense weather events could “potentially devastate other communities.”
Worried that there haven’t been enough rich people in space? I have great news. A new group of dollar signs is scheduled to blast off with Axiom-1, the first private mission to the ISS funded by Axiom Space.
Science reporter Doris Elín Urrutia writes that the four-person multimillionaire crew — barring the one former NASA astronaut that completes it — will go to the ISS to “assist in science-based philanthropic projects,” though their primary and most intriguing goal will be to help Axiom “build and launch the first commercial space outpost in low-Earth orbit to replace the ISS.”
If everything goes according to plan, you can watch the mission launch from the Kennedy Space Center on the NASA Live webpage Friday, April 8 at 10:00 a.m., or on Axiom Space’s webpage at 7:55 a.m. Eastern the same day. “One perk of watching Axiom Space’s broadcast is that it may include the crew walkout to the rocket before launch, according to its event description,” writes Urrutia.
This week, Inverse car reviewer Jordan Golson explores the new Lexus IS 350, “a compact sports sedan extensively reworked for 2021,” he writes. It’s a great car, but some overlooked details have Golson feeling sure that it isn’t perfect.
But first, the good stuff. “The most significant change for 2021 is the addition of a 10.3-inch touchscreen (up from eight inches thanks to the upgraded Mark Levinson audio system for $2,750) sitting high above the center stack,” writes Golson. It has an attractive interior, a decent 5.6 second 0-60 mph time, and Golson says it drives excellently.
But if you’re looking for a reason to snatch the glass slipper off of this Lexus’ satin black tire, here it is: the new Lexus’ center stack leaves something to be desired. “The center stack hasn't changed much since the end of the Obama years, with clunky controls for adjusting the temperature and that horrible trackpad, and there's just a lot of wasted space,” writes Golson. “The cruise control is the old-style Lexus/Toyota stalk instead of the usual buttons on the wheel, and the dash cluster gets the job done, but it's not nearly as pretty as it should be for the price.”
Here is some more good stuff: “Even though this crawling object looks a bit fecal, it’s not a turd inching across a table,” writes Inverse card story editor Jennifer Walter. “In fact, it’s a robot made of slime.”
Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Harbin Institute of Technology in China created the sticky, gloopy lump to potentially pick up unwanted items in tight spaces — even yours. “In the human body, it could retrieve small items that were accidentally swallowed,” writes Walter, or it could worm “through the intestines.”
But magnets make the muck move, so there need to be a few rounds of safety testing before your body can host the next goo gymnastics.
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- On this day in history: Today is at least one person’s favorite holiday — it’s National Teflon Day. On April 6, 1938, the American chemist Roy Plunkett and his assistant accidentally discovered the polymer polytetrafluoroethylene. Now, you can intentionally discover it coating all your non-stick pans.
- Song of the day: “Stick,” by Ovlov.