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The best way to prepare raw chicken, according to science

Plus: Richard Branson triumphs in Virgin Galactic flight and scientists discover a fresh link between diet, the gut microbiome, and disease.

Chicken hand drawn illustration. Chicken meat and eggs vintage produce elements. Badges and design e...

Serious question: Do you wash your chicken before you prepare it? As a Scottish transplant now living in New York, I can safely say that I had never heard of someone washing their chicken before they cooked it prior to coming to the United States. I have since learned that the habit is deeply rooted in some folks’ culinary routines — but if this is you, you might want to quit now.

In today’s top story, Inverse science and innovation reporter Sarah Wells debunks this surprisingly dangerous myth about chicken. Wells spoke to food scientist Jennifer Quinlan and she was unequivocal: If you bought your chicken in a store, then washing the bird before you cook it is just not a good idea.

“If you’re buying chicken the way most of us buy chicken — from a regulated facility in the U.S. — your chicken has been washed multiple times,” she says.

First — “washed multiple times” — ew. Second, keep scrolling to learn why you need to avoid this food habit and what steps to follow instead to make the best safe chicken.

I’m Claire Cameron, managing editor for Inverse. Embrace your Tuesday. Today, I implore you to keep reading to discover why two simple changes at work could fundamentally alter your long-term health and get inside the best place to be an MCU fan.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.

Beans, beans, good for the heart. The more you eat, the more healthy gut bacteria may flourish.

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A link between the gut and diet may mean a cure for an incurable disease In a new study involving mice, scientists discover that a diet rich in isoflavones mitigated the effects of multiple sclerosis, a brain disease with no cure. Inverse science intern Elana Spivack explains why these preliminary findings are so important:

By feeding mice with an MS-like condition a specific diet, scientists were able to reprogram their gut bacteria — and reduce their symptoms.

The study started with the observation that the gut microbiomes of people with MS lack a kind of bacteria that, in most folks’ gut, breaks down a nutrient called isoflavones. This nutrient is commonly found in everyday staple foods, like soy and beans.

So, the team hypothesized that MS might be related to the absence of these bacteria — and in turn, eating more foods with isoflavones in them could alleviate the symptoms.

From there, they were able to demonstrate the critical difference the bacteria’s presence or absence can make in this disease. This study is so intriguing because it identifies a clear relationship between the gut, the food we eat, and our brain and body health.

Read the full story.

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An interplanetary light show for the ages.


The cause of Jupiter’s glowing “northern lights” is finally revealedHave you ever seen the northern lights on Earth? This natural phenomenon causes the sky to light up with ethereal greens, purples, and blues. And as Passant Rabie explains, Jupiter’s version of the northern lights was discovered nearly 40 years ago. Previously, scientists were unable to pin down the exact process causing the planet to display the brightest auroras of the Solar System — but now they think they have an answer. Here’s just a snippet from Rabie’s story:

Jupiter has the brightest auroras in the Solar System. On both Earth and Jupiter, auroras are linked to charged particles in the planet’s magnetosphere — the region that surrounds a planet affected by its magnetic field.

But Jupiter’s magnetic field is about 20,000 times stronger than that of Earth’s.

“Jupiter is just a whole different beast [compared] to the Earth,” scientist William Dunn says.

Jupiter’s lights are also affected by a combination of the planet spinning really quickly — a day on Jupiter is only 10 hours long — and volcanic material pumped out by Jupiter’s moon Io.

“The rapid rotation, the really strong magnetic field and all of this volcanic stuff that Io is pumping out just, like, swells and blows Jupiter's magnetosphere to this crazy size,” Dunn says. “It’s a huge structure and there are so many crazy things going on.”

Read the full story here.

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Do not rinse and repeat.

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Food scientist debunks a dangerous myth about washing chicken — Call up your grandmother and let her know she doesn't have to wash her chicken anymore. In fact, washing your chicken may actually be dangerous, Sarah Wells reports.

Here’s the story:

Washing or rinsing off chicken won’t eradicate any germs or pathogens on it. Instead, this step will fling loose pathogens and bacteria from the chicken onto other surfaces in your kitchen, potentially infecting other foods you eat, scientist Jennifer Quinlan says.

Raw chicken is a carrier of pathogens like Salmonella and Campylobacter, which can give you nausea, chills, or even put you in the hospital if you’re not lucky. Together, these bacteria cause 1.8 million foodborne infections annually in the U.S. alone.

Quinlan says she often hears the argument that a consumer can simply disinfect their sink or kitchen counter after rinsing off their chicken, but she says that it’s simply not a foolproof strategy.

“One of the things we hear people say, ‘Oh, well I just clean up well,’ but the point is, first of all, you don't even have to clean up — you can just skip all that,” Quinlan says. “You don't necessarily see everywhere those microparticles might be... it might’ve gone further than you realize.”

In other words — tiny flecks of chicken juice flew all over the sink, the faucet, and maybe even further afield in the kitchen when you ran it under the tap.

Here’s how to change your ways.

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Space is open for business — if you have a quarter mil lying around.


Virgin Galactic: Why Richard Branson's flight heralds a “new space age”Richard Branson, the founder of spaceflight firm Virgin Galactic, successfully went to space for the first time on Sunday. It was a win for Branson in the ongoing billionaires’ race to space, but it was also a milestone for space tourism at large.

Inverse reporter Mike Brown has more:

Amid Branson’s message to “all the kids down there” was a message for the world’s richest adults: space tourism is about to be open for business. Sunday’s flight puts Virgin Galactic on target to take up customers in 2022, a voyage that costs $250,000 per passenger.

From a DJ Khalid performance to Stephen Colbert hosting, Branson’s trip to space was different from a NASA mission in both objectives and vibes. Space is now available to wealthy thrill-seekers, not just those with the “right stuff”.

Company filings showed last month the firm has sold around 600 tickets to people from 58 countries, a list expected to include a number of celebrities. Virgin Galactic halted ticket sales in December 2018 after VSS Unity first reached space, and it is unclear when they will resume.

Branson’s $250,000 tickets seem like a bargain compared to Blue Origin...

Read the full story.

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Marvel TikTok: An inside look at the best place to be an MCU fanWith movie theaters closed and Comic-Con canceled, Marvel movie fans flocked to TikTok for analysis, memes, cosplay, fan theories, and more. Inverse contributor Jess Bacon spoke with the biggest names in MarvelTok about why it's the best place for all things MCU. Here’s a snippet:

Marvel TikTok happened at the perfect time for Marvel fans. After a global pandemic caused movie studios to delay their biggest releases, fans turned to the social network for a distraction from the bleakness of the news and the boredom of quarantine.

“The timing of TikTok's success couldn't have been more pivotal to Marvel fans because it became a huge source of entertainment over the pandemic,” Matthew Ramos, a long-time content creator and Marvel enthusiast says. “With Marvel not being able to produce content, the fans grew hungry, and TikTok became a platform for fans to satisfy their hunger.”

What the TikTokers say: “Finding a community like this has been such a gift.”

Read the full story.

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