Inverse Daily

Ancient people’s fishing practices could keep one coveted seafood on modern-day menus

Plus: Hungry mice offer some intriguing clues to fasting in humans.

Antique illustration: Fossil oysters
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I have a confession: I’m a little bit of an oyster snob. I’m Scottish, so my oysters are typically the variety that is plucked out of the sea that day and served immediately, pier and beach optional. Fresh and unadulterated save for a squeeze of lemon, an oyster is a true food joy that makes it very easy to forget the fact that they are essentially the ocean’s own sanitation plant.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Friday, May 6, 2022. Subscribe for free and learn something new every day.

People living in coastal Indigenous communities in the United States also consumed a lot of oysters — and did so sustainably. As we try to use nature’s own tricks to clean up our oceans and eat seafood in a more sustainable way, these practices could offer modern-day Americans a kind of cheat code (but please, no more oyster casserole. Ever.). Read all about it and more in today’s Inverse Daily. And happy weekend!

More evidence in mice suggests intermittent fasting may work in other creatures, like humans.

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For mice, fasting at the right time extended lifespans

In a new study, mice that had their calories cut by 30 percent of what they would usually eat lived 10.5 percent longer than a control group of mice with no caloric restrictions. Another grouping, that had the same calorie restrictions but was fed during daylight hours, lived 20 percent longer than the control group.

The mice that lived the longest in the study were put under the same caloric restriction and were only fed at night, the active time in the nocturnal animals’ internal circadian clocks. They lived 34 percent longer than the control group. This feeding regiment also seemed to activate genes that were not activated in any of the other groups.

Although further study is needed, the benefits of a combination of caloric restriction and limiting eating to prime metabolic hours could extend the lifespans of several species, including humans, Joseph Takahashi, one of the authors, tells Inverse.

There could be a right and a wrong time of day to eat, and using the short lifespans of lab mice, some researchers say they can see the accrued lifetime benefit of eating at the right time.

Go deeper.

It didn’t look like this, but it was bright!

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Look: Explosive fireball leaves behind meteorites in Mississippi

On April 27, a fireball rattled the sky over Mississippi, raining down meteorites that people are now collecting outside the city of Natchez. This is the fifth time a meteorite is known to have fallen to the ground in Mississippi. The last recorded fireball was in 1950.

According to NASA, the meteorite was so bright it was ten times as luminescent as the Full Moon. And some folks managed to not just see the fireball, but also find pieces of the space rock after it fell to Earth.

Want to see it? Click through Jenn Walter’s card story to feast your eyes on a piece of genuine space debris.

See it for yourself.

Just take a second to enjoy yourself.

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Four low-key psychology hacks to increase life satisfaction for good

Amid the whirl of life, it can be easy to forget the good moments and focus on the bad. According to psychologists, one technique can reverse this glass-half-empty approach and enhance happiness: Savoring.

“Savoring isn’t an emotion, like happiness or enjoyment. Rather, it’s a process that can be used to regulate our positive feelings,” Jennifer Smith, a psychologist and director of research at the Mather Institute, tells Inverse.

Researchers like Smith describe savoring as an emotion regulation technique that aims to increase, sustain, and deepen positive emotion.

“Savoring is the ability to be aware of positive experiences in our lives and to intentionally engage in thoughts and behaviors to enhance our enjoyment and other positive feelings,” Smith adds.

The idea is that pausing to savor a moment of joy can elevate our sense of well-being. Data suggests the practice may help alleviate depression, boost self-esteem, and increase life satisfaction.

Make the good times last.

I love oysters.

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Ancient Indigenous oyster fishing practices could save coastal ecosystems, study finds

Writing this week in the journal Nature Communications, an interdisciplinary group of researchers analyzed data and records from shell sites in North America and Australia to understand historical harvesting practices that various Indigenous groups used to collect oysters. They found that these ancient methods were much more sustainable and kinder to the ecosystem than oyster fisheries managed by European colonists starting roughly 400 years ago.

Despite the misconception that the regions were only lightly fished before the arrival of Europeans, records show that Indigenous peoples were using oysters for a major source of sustenance. They amassed millions to billions of shells in some of the larger historical mounds, namely in modern-day California, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

“Our data basically boiled down to, ‘holy crap, that's a lot of oysters,’” Leslie Reeder-Myers, an assistant professor of anthropology at Temple University in Philadelphia and co-author on the study, tells Inverse.

And yet the destructive effects of oyster fishing — and the collapse of many fisheries — didn’t really appear until the 18th century.

Go deeper.

Who created Yoda? Find out in our profile.

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Weekend read: The Mother of Yoda

“I was named after Wendy in Peter Pan,” Wendy Froud tells Inverse. “I grew up believing in fairies, and my mother made that a part of my childhood.”

You might not recognize the name Wendy Froud (née Midener), but in the practical effects world, she’s a legend. Renowned in film and television as a pioneer in puppetry, Froud was sought out by directors like Jim Henson early in her career and created countless iconic TV and movie creatures. Yet she remains an obscure name rarely credited accurately on film sites or IMDb.

Despite what history may tell you, this long-haired, aetherial puppeteer with a Fleetwood Mac aesthetic played a crucial role in the birth of animatronics, providing the puppet design for groundbreaking films The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth. A Froud original can go for $4,500, and her work even earned her one of pop culture’s greatest monikers: the Mother of Yoda.

But in 1988, at the height of Froud’s career, the woman who made some of the world’s most beloved puppets seemingly vanished. Uncovering the truth behind her rise and fall would require tracking down a woman who’s stayed out of the public eye for 30 years, but her story says more about the hidden history of practical effects than it does about one woman’s time in Hollywood.

Read the full story.


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