Daily multivitamins may have no health benefits — and some might cause harm
Plus: Figuring out whose rocket crashed into the Moon.
I admit it — I love my ashwagandha gummies. But it’s because I crave candy, not Ayurveda, the Indian herb at the heart of the supplement. Gummy multivitamins have become a way to entice adults to take their daily dose of everything. But according to new research, they may not be doing any good. Gummy supplements, which rack in about $50 billion in annual profits, might be the sweetest rip-off in the health and wellness industry.
This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Wednesday, June 29, 2022. Subscribe for free and learn something new every day.
Happy Wednesday, readers. Today, we’ve got health hacks, space crashes, face transplants, and more. Thank you for your curiosity, as always.
NASA could reveal whose rocket booster crashed into the moon
There’s a new crater on the Moon. But no one is quite sure who caused it.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter recently spotted a crater on the far side of the Moon. The timing, and the location, line up well with the crash of an empty rocket booster on the morning of March 4.
But the booster’s impact crater isn’t quite what anyone expected. It’s actually two craters: one about 16 meters wide, and a second one, about 18 meters wide, on top of the first and a bit to the east. The surprising double crater may offer some clues about which rocket booster crashed into the Moon and where it came from.
According to NASA, the double crater suggests that whatever hit the lunar surface may have had large masses at both ends. If that’s correct, then the heavy ends would have impacted a few seconds apart, digging two adjacent craters. Some think the rocket is probably Chinese, but the jury is still out.
Stop wasting money on ineffective multivitamins
Last week, the United States Preventative Services Task Force released its 2022 systematic review and recommendation regarding multivitamins — specifically, effectiveness of multivitamins at preventing cancer and heart disease in healthy Americans.
The review says that there’s both insufficient evidence for definitive benefits from a multivitamin, as well as evidence that supplementation of certain compounds is even harmful. For example, the compound beta carotene was “significantly associated” with an increased risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular death, especially in smokers.
Meanwhile, in 2021, U.S. buyers may have spent nearly $50 billion on supplements. That same year, the vitamin industry spent about $900 million on marketing.
For healthy folks, it’s better to get vitamins and minerals from the food rather than the drugstore. The synergistic effect from fruits and veggies will likely do more for the body than supplements ever will.
Incredible Hubble images reveal how the Webb Telescope will use galaxies to bend light
Abell 1351, a close-knit group of about 100 galaxies bound together by gravity, is so massive that its gravity distorts spacetime. That means it also changes the path of light.
You can see the result in this recent image from the Hubble Space Telescope: light that would have followed a straight line through the galaxy cluster instead traces in curving streaks around it.
Those curved streaks are actually light from galaxies even further away than the ones in Abell 1351. Instead of traveling in a straight line, the light from these much more distant galaxies curves, because it’s passing through curved spacetime. Astronomers call the phenomenon gravitational lensing.
When the James Webb Telescope starts its science mission later this summer, gravitational lensing will help the telescope look even deeper into the universe than Webb’s instruments could see by themselves.
A closer look at bending light.
The oral history of Face/Off, Nicolas Cage’s inexplicable sci-fi masterpiece
Face/Off came out 25 years ago. Starring Nicolas Cage and John Travolta, it is the tale of two mortal enemies: Castor Troy (Cage), an unhinged criminal, and Sean Archer (Travolta), an FBI special agent. The movie’s unexpected twist comes when the two men swap faces in an iconic face transplant scene.
An $80 million budget and visionary director John Woo helped Face/Off rise above the absurdity of its premise to become something the skeptics could never have imagined: a good movie. Everything that shouldn’t work did because the entire team believed in what they were selling.
“Even at the time,” one of the screenwriters, Mike Werb, tells Inverse, “we both often said to ourselves during production that this thing might never happen in our career again, where we have the right director and the right cast and the right producers and production designer.”
Inverse spoke to nine key players in Face/Off, including both screenwriters, producer Barrie Osborne, and actor Nick Cassavetes, to tell the inside story of the most bafflingly successful action film ever made.
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- On this day in history: On June 29, 2007, Apple’s first iPhone hit stores, at $600 per gadget.
- Song of the day: “PSY JUST CANT GET U OUTTA MY HED” by Stripe N Co