Believing in something is what makes people great. If you really believe you can achieve something, it’ll be the engine that helps you get there. (May your doubters be proven wrong!) Belief. It’s a powerful force.
Belief is so powerful that when it goes cockeyed, it quickly creates disaster. QAnon, anti-vaxxers, pizza gate, and a whole host of other rotten beliefs have been used to weaponize political ideas in the past few years. It makes jokes about chem trails from the ‘90s seem cute in comparison.
There are other beliefs that don’t do much harm, however unlikely they are. You can choose to believe there are, say, aliens, if you want. Even if the likelihood that intelligent life is galactically nearby, or that it cares enough to seek out Earth, you are still allowed to believe it. (But please seek out Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything for further informed speculation on the long odds that aliens are interested in us.)
Today’s big idea is all about knowing when to set aside belief in the face of scientific fact. One such fact: ‘Oumuamua isn’t likely an alien spaceship but a chunklet of an exoplanet that has somehow made its way by Earth. Get more on that story below in this edition of Inverse Daily.
I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief of Inverse. I want to believe, and I’m happy you’re with us.
First, a quick Q — Let me know your favorite video game by sending an email to newsletter at inverse dot com with “VIDEO GAME STORIES” as the subject line. The reasons could be emotional or counterintuitive. In fact, the more unlikely the story, the better. I'm collecting my favorites for a new project. I'll publish a few responses in an upcoming edition of Inverse Daily.
Truly sublime — Contributing writer Sarah Wells reports on a new technology that helps us access a trippy feeling more often: “It’s the feeling you get when looking out at a vast landscape like the Grand Canyon or staring up at a larger-than-life painting of the German wilderness in an art gallery — a little bit full of awe, but also a little bit full of dread.
“This uncanny feeling is called ‘the sublime,’ and artists, psychologists, and philosophers alike have been attempting to wrangle it for centuries.
“Now, thanks to immersive VR technology, a team of psychologists have found a way to quantify these feelings and compare how they differ between different mediums — namely, between the real environment and a painted replica. In this case, the team looked at Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” and photos of the French landscape that inspired it.”
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Keep on truckin’ — Tesla and Technoking Elon Musk might get all the attention for the all-electric Tesla Semi, but they're far from the only manufacturer looking to make big rigs go electric, writes transportation writer Jordan Golson.
Freightliner recently announced that its test fleet of electric semi trucks have traveled 700,000 miles, Daimler spokesperson Fred Ligouri says. That’s the equivalent of roughly 233 cross-country trips between Boston and San Diego.
“These are real trucks hauling real freight in the real world and racking up zero emissions mile after mile — in excess of 700,000 thus far,” Ligouri tells Inverse. “Through this process of co-creation with our customers, we are ensuring durability and reliability for series-built trucks, incorporating purposeful innovations, and furnishing the opportunity for more and more fleets to experience eMobility.”
More like this:
- US sends team to Detroit to investigate Tesla Semi crash (Associated Press)
- Watch the Tesla Semi speed around a track in a new testing video (Insider)
- Sign up for Musk Reads+, a premium newsletter about all things Elon
In the paper based on their experiments, researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences theorize that, in giraffes, a specific gene known as FGFRL1 may present an instance of pleiotropy at work. This is when one gene produces a multitude of different, seemingly unrelated traits.
Essentially, they suggest FGFRL1’s pleiotropic effects likely enables giraffes to deal with high blood pressure, develop strong bones, and be less vulnerable to cardiovascular damage.
FGFRL1’s pleiotropic nature in giraffes may explain, at least in part, why giraffes have survived for so long despite the challenges posed by their big bodies.
Mario is a worker — Ever wonder why Mario is a plumber? There’s actually a video game about the hero's day job, and it’s newly recommended by contributing writer Giovanni Colantonio: “Wrecking Crew is one of the first games to feature Mario. It landed in Japan just a few months before Super Mario Bros. officially touched down on the NES. While it’s not the very first game to feature Nintendo’s mascot, it is one of the last games to really acknowledge the character’s workman origins.
“Wrecking Crew is very different from any Super Mario Bros. It’s more akin to Donkey Kong than anything else.
“The game features a simple, arcade-style premise. Players are dropped into different stages where they must destroy everything in sight with a hammer. Concrete blocks, ladders, lockers, you name it. Mario is a full-on construction worker, hardhat and all, who must dismantle levels. Though he needs to do that while avoiding random fireballs, bombs, and sentient eggplants.
“Somebody call OSHA. This can’t be up to regulation.”
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Ugh, it’s apparently not aliens — We’ve got bad news for everyone hoping that ‘Oumuamua was an alien space ship, a rock sent to us by aliens, or some other evidence of intelligent life in the universe. If you #wanttobelieve, this is going to be bad news. To love and to have lost, right?
Here’s science editor John Wenz with the latest on everybody’s favorite space object:
“Plenty of hypotheses have been put forth to explain the origins of the enigmatic, cigar-shaped, interstellar object named ‘Oumuamua. Most recently, it was aliens. More pedestrian explanations have included that it is a kind of comet or asteroid. But a new study published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets suggests a new hypothesis: It’s a broken-off hunk of a Pluto-like dwarf planet.
“‘Oumuamua is likely a fragment of what they describe as an ‘exo-Pluto’ — essentially, a chunk of a dwarf exoplanet.
“‘Oumuamua was discovered in our Solar System in 2017 and quickly fell out of view but not out of the public’s consciousness. The mysterious interloper was determined to be an interstellar object, but its true nature has been hotly debated.”
More like this:
- The ‘Oumuamua info hub: Everything we know about the oddball object
- Investigation into ‘Oumuamua’s ‘alien’ status reveals a natural explanation
- ‘Oumuamua alien spaceship? The stars of Ancient Aliens have a few theories
One more thing: Snyder Cut day... it’s finally here. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is no longer theoretical. It’s very, very real. DCEU fans have been calling for the release of the “Snyder Cut” ever since the original Justice League film was released back in 2017 to mostly negative reviews.
Now, Snyder’s four-hour take promises to give those fans the film they’ve wanted all along. Early reviews for Zack Snyder’s Justice League suggest the film manages to live up to its supporters’ high expectations. Check it out and see for yourself.
Here’s everything you need to know about the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. The epic movie drops on HBO Max today, March 18, 2021.