Why Captain Kirk is going to space
Plus: Untangling sexual drive and depression.
William Shatner, age 90, has been interviewed by this magazine a few times. Best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk on the original Star Trek series, he long ago transcended that role and became something more interesting. (My mind was blown when I first saw this.)
Shatner remains outspoken, bright, lovably coarse, and slightly irascible.
In other words, he’s the opposite of Blue Origin, and therefore perfect for Blue Origin. At best the rocket company is seen as boring when compared to, say, SpaceX. At worst, it’s understood to be merely the egotistical enterprise of the world’s second-richest man, with a toxic “bro culture” to boot.
Its suborbital rockets are struggling to generate positive publicity. Some folks — pundits, competitors, ordinary people like you and me — publicly wonder why billionaire Jeff Bezos is so keen on launching lil’ rockets to the edge of space and back for 12 minutes of whooping. He should be developing more ambitious technology to get to orbit, you might say.
I’m Nick Lucchesi, an editor here at Inverse. Today, we’ve got more about on the Shatner story, plus revelations from the epic Twitch data leak, the 2022 meteor shower calendar (plan your vacations now), and interviews with doctors who explain how to untangle the link between depression and sex drive. It’s all in this edition of Inverse Daily.
One thing — We hope you enjoyed the reader stories about unconventional teachers on Monday. Please scroll to the bottom of this daily dispatch for two more one-sentence stories that arrived after our deadline.
This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Tuesday, October 12, 2021. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox. ✉️
William Shatner’s going to space — On Wednesday, William Shatner will boldly go where no 90-year-old has gone before. Jon Kelvey reports on how exactly to watch the strange event and latest publicity stunt for Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin aerospace company:
Star Trek star William Shatner is about to go where no 90-year-old has gone before — just higher than the internationally recognized space boundary. Not exactly the final frontier, but indeed its front porch.
On October 4, Blue Origin announced Shatner and three crewmates would fly to space aboard the company’s New Shepard vehicle, making Captain Kirk the oldest person to fly in space (sorry, Wally).
It will be the first crewed launch for the company since the July 20 flight that took Jeff Bezos to space and the first private spaceflight since the September 16 SpaceX Inspiration 4 mission.
Go deeper into Blue Origin:
- Inside Blue Origin: Employees say toxic, dysfunctional ‘bro culture’ led to mistrust, low morale and delays at Jeff Bezos’s space venture (Washington Post)
- New Shepard NS-18 launch now targeted for Wednesday, October 13 due to weather conditions (Blue Origin press release)
- Revealed: The secret notes of Blue Origin leaders trying to catch SpaceX (Ars Technica)
How to untangle mental and sexual health — Because there is stigma and taboo associated with sexual dysfunction as well as mental health, many men aren’t aware of just how much one affects the other, writes Katie MacBride:
In July 2013, something remarkable happened in Sweden.
The patent on a drug expired. Any company could get to work making a cheaper, more widely available generic version. The price went from $180 to $45.
The drug wasn’t an antidepressant, painkiller, or cancer treatment. It was sildenafil, better known by its brand name: Viagra.
Between 2007 and 2012, 62,000 Swedish men used sildenafil every year. After the patent expiration, that number increased to 101,000 each year between 2014 and 2017. That’s a 63 percent increase.
Go deeper into health:
- Are cold showers good for you? The benefits may surprise you
- A beloved spicy food has helped solve one enduring human health mystery
- Flu vaccine: 7 hidden health benefits you need to know
Twitch leak: 10 biggest revelations — The Twitch hack and subsequent leak of data last week has unveiled some surprising new information about Amazon’s streaming platform that we may never have learned about otherwise, writes Steven Asarch:
An anonymous hacker posted a massive cache of information this week about Twitch, revealing more than a few stunning pieces of information about Amazon’s streaming platform that we may never have learned about otherwise.
Go deeper into the Twitch hack:
- The Twitch hack revealed much more than streamer salaries. Here are 4 new takeaways. (Washington Post)
- The top 1% of paid streamers so far this year got over half of all revenue (Wall Street Journal)
- Twitch hack exposes more industry secrets (Venture Beat)
Make your meteor shower plans for 2022 — Elana Spivack presents a calendar guide to the dates and times of the best meteor showers of 2022 and tips on how to see them during their peak moments:
Calendars do more than tell what day of the week it is. They also give us something to look forward to — a moment in time that gets us out of our heads and forces us to start looking up — figuratively and literally.
We’re talking, of course, about the annual parades of meteors sailing through the sky, like so many celestial pageants.
The big three — Quadrantids, Perseids, and Geminids — are evenly spread through the year. But there are more meteor showers worth watching when the skies are clear, and you can spend a late night or early morning star gazing. Here are the dates, times, and tips for seeing the best light shows 2022 has to offer.
Go deeper into meteor showers:
- Draconid meteor shower 2021: How and when to watch (CNN)
- Meteor showers, as seen from space
- Meteor showers and space rocks that fall to Earth (Star Diary Podcast)
- About the newsletter: Do you think it can be improved? Have a story idea? Want to share a story about the time you met an astronaut? Send those thoughts and more to email@example.com.
- Notable birthdays — Hugh Jackman (53; pictured above), Marcus T. Paulk (35), Marion Jones (46), Bode Miller (44), Josh Hutcherson (29). (Source: AP.)
- A technical note — To ensure your email open is counted toward our streak program, confirm that all the images have loaded and your ad blocker is turned off.
A few more teacher stories:
- “My eighth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Glading, taught me to love my writing. She read two of my essays in front of the entire class and cried each time, claiming my writing was powerfully compassionate. Anyway, about two decades later, I attempted to look her up to thank her. Unfortunately, she had passed away. Another lesson learned.” —David.
- “My high school physics teacher taught us quantum physics without any calculus, and this made it so much easier to learn in college when the calculus was required.” —Aaron.