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Inverse Daily

There’s a hot debate raging over a controversial climate solution — but could it work?

Plus: Good things come in small packages (if you’re a bee).

NASA

How do you celebrate Earth Day? The holiday has been a thing since the 1970s, but I feel like I only really became aware of it in the last decade — during that time, the conversation around the planet’s climate has also changed immeasurably. As a young person, I knew that pollution was a problem, the ozone layer had a hole in it, and recycling was a good idea. Today, I check air quality indexes to make sure it is safe for my infant daughter to breathe the air outside. You, me, everyone: We are in the middle of a climate crisis. But there’s hope: Humans are ingenious — and if we harness our creativity, we could make it out of this mess.

This week and through the weekend, we’re publishing stories on some of the most daring, controversial, and innovative ways to save Earth. Join us and read these stories in our special issue, How to Save the Earth. You can get a sneak preview of one of these stories in today’s newsletter!

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Friday, April 22, 2022. Subscribe for free and learn something new every day.

Hello, Phobos!ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Behold! NASA’s Mars rover captures a stunning sight in the Martian sky

One of Mars’ small moons occulted the surface of the Sun — causing a unique eclipse that’s not quite what Earthlings are used to. NASA revealed on April 2 the rover stared at the Sun (clearly ignoring the advice of scientists and grade school teachers everywhere) and captured a kind of eclipse only possible on Mars.

On that day, Mars’ largest moon Phobos crossed between the rover and the Sun, eclipsing the star. The jaw-dropping footage shows the latest in the record of eclipses caught on camera by Mars rovers. But it’s not an eclipse like we think of on Earth.

Spectators of the 2017 total solar eclipse in North America and other latitudes saw the disc of the Moon completely cover the Sun, casting day into night for around two minutes and 40 seconds, if you were in the right spot. That’s not how it went down on Mars, however.

See it to believe it.

Tiiiiny bee.Zhihong Zhuo/Moment/Getty Images

Bees might survive the climate crisis — but only some species

Scientists have identified three key changes in bee traits — like diet and body size — as a result of warming temperatures and drier climates in mountainous climates.

First, researchers found that the relative abundance — which refers to the distribution of certain bees relative to the larger bee community — of larger bees declined, while the abundance of smaller bees increased.

Second, bees that tend to nest in holes or cavities — like the bumblebee — fared worse in warmer temperatures compared to bees that make their homes in the soil.

Finally, researchers learned climate change also affected diet in a surprising way: bees with a narrower, specialized diet seemed to benefit from less rainfall as their relative abundance increased. On the flipside, generalist bee species with a wider diet range did not benefit from the drier environment, and their relative abundance declined compared to the specialist bees.

Continue reading.

Recreating a volcanic eruption’s cloud seems like an extreme answer to an extreme problem...Bento Fotography/Moment/Getty Images

Bill Gates is funding a controversial climate fix that could save the Earth — or doom it

To historians, powerful volcanic eruptions catalyze social upheaval. Yet to climate scientists, they make for interesting research — and for some, they even suggest a way to survive our ongoing, human-driven climate crisis.

During a Plinian eruption — one powerful enough to eject a column of sulfur and dust into the stratosphere — the particles shoot up and spread out to an umbrella-like plume. The cloud of matter scatters incoming sunlight, cooling the Earth below. Over time, this cooling effect decreases global temperature.

It’s a straightforward concept: The Sun’s light shining on Earth hits the dense sulfuric clouds and reflects into space, leaving the shrouded land below to cool down. Imagine sitting underneath a gazebo on a hot sunny day and the temperature change between shade and sunlight.

This effect, known as “radiative forcing,” is attractive to a subset of climate scientists as it offers a potential Hail Mary option to a modern global warming problem.

This story is part of our special Earth Day issue, How to Save the Earth.

Find out why.

Michelle Yeoh stars in Everything Everywhere All at Once.MICHAEL TRAN/AFP/Getty Images

For the weekend: Everything Everywhere All at Once wields science fiction in a new, empowering way

At its core, Everything Everywhere All at Once expands the sense of possibility in what Sino, Asian diaspora, immigrant, and queer futures could be.

Inverse contributor Jessica Zhou writes: “I was swept up by rapid-fire Chinglish (across Mandarin and Cantonese), pronoun mix-ups in English (they’re homophones in Chinese), the repeatedly muttered 神经病 (shen jing bing) by the scattered matriarch of the house, Evelyn. Waymond’s loose, striped polo looks just like my dad’s, and Evelyn’s vest (emblazoned with “Punk”) and floral shirt are of Accidental Chinese Hipsters lore via Los Angeles’ Chinatown, where I spent many weekends wandering as a kid.”

“There are also the dazzling homages to wuxia, Wong Kar-wai, and Beijing opera, with an all-star cast of cinema legends. That includes Michelle Yeoh, whose martial arts and action career precede her Shang Chi and Crazy Rich Asians fame, Ke Huy Quan’s return to the screen after working behind the camera with the likes of Wong Kar Wai and Corey Yuen in the years since Indiana Jones, and James Hong, who has over 650 film and television credits.”

Dive in.

It’s home.NASA

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  • On this day in history: In 1970, Earth Day was celebrated for the first time. Read our issue: How to Save the Earth in celebration.
  • Song of the day: Nature Boy,” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.