Inverse Daily

2021: the age of skijoring is upon us

What's skijoring? Could it be the future of sports? Maybe!

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Beep-ba-beep-beep. Welcome back to Inverse Daily. Today, in 1838, a major breakthrough in telecommunications took place in Morristown, New Jersey. Samuel Morse, an accomplished painter, had become fascinated with both electromagnetism and telegraphy, the act of sending a message a long distance through electronic wires. Although the telegraph had already existed for around 50 years, it was an impractical machine that was mostly used for major industrial purposes.

Although he came to the field later than most, Morse was able to greatly simplify the machine. A machinist named Alfred Vail saw one of Morse's early machines and invited him to collaborate, offering up his father's home in New Jersey as a testing ground. On this day, in a house filled with miles of wiring, Morse and Vail were able to send their first telegraphed message. On January 11, they would show their results to the world. Within the decade, their code for understanding words — Morse code — would be the dominant form of communication on the new medium.

Our question of the week: Do you have any tech-related resolutions? Maybe you're going to finally download that foreign language app or finally stop doomscrolling. We'd love to hear what you're trying to do with tech this year! Shoot us an email at newsletter@inverse.com and we'll highlight some of our favorites!

As for our last question asking about your 2021 predictions...wow. We were overwhelmed with amazing responses. Thank you so much! We've published a few of them below and are going to work up a post soon highlighting others. Although we do have to say, we hope not all of these come true.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for January 6, 2021. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.

In memory — The heartbreaking human story behind NASA’s new mission

On Wednesday morning (today), the NG-14 Cygnus spacecraft will depart from the International Space Station (ISS) where it has been parked for the past three months. It was sent to deliver precious science cargo to the space laboratory floating 254 miles above Earth. Now the spacecraft will make its way back to Earth where it will (safely) burn in the planet's atmosphere.

This particular spacecraft is named S.S. Kalpana Chawla in honor of an inspiring figure in space history: astronaut Kalpana Chawla, who died in the 2003 STS-107 space shuttle Columbia accident. As the first female astronaut of Indian descent, Chawla's legacy has inspired the next generation of astronauts and created a lasting impression for years to come.

Learn about a NASA legend

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Bon voyage — 6 essential facts about Perseverance's trailblazing Mars mission

In July 2020, a robotic astrobiologist began a journey to a distant planet. NASA's Perseverance rover is currently en route to Mars — set to land on the Red Planet by February 2021.

The mission is seven years in the making and will allow unprecedented exploration of Mars, which may have hosted life billions of years ago.

Before Perseverance lands on the dusty planet, get familiar with the car-sized robot, its unique abilities, and why it's capable of exploring ancient alien life.

Perseverance will experience "seven minutes of terror." Here's what that means

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Longevity hack — To physically age slower, the key is self-control

To navigate life's stresses, the ability to control one's emotions, thoughts, and actions is essential. Research suggests self-control makes the difference between spiraling after a personal failure or moving forward thoughtfully. This emotional regulation goes beyond skipping dessert or snapping at a loved one; it actually relates to the likelihood we'll achieve our educational and career goals or stave off disease.

According to a multi-decade study on human behavior published Monday, researchers discovered this ability pays dividends over a lifetime. Based on the findings, people who exhibit high self-control in childhood actually age slower, live longer, and better manage health, financial, and social demands as the years pass.

"Prior studies have shown that self-control predicts how long people live," study co-author Leah Richmond-Rackerd tells Inverse. Richmond-Rackerd is a psychologist at the University of Michigan.

"But we found that self-control also predicts how well-prepared people are as adults to live out healthy lives as they grow older."

Do you have the self-control to click through?

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Coming soon ...

2020 is in the history books. Of course, we remember the year as being defined by the pandemic. But how long will our memories last? Will we slowly return to normal life and forget this ever happened bar the footnote in history it will occupy? It seems hard to imagine until you stop and ask yourself when the last time you thought about the Spanish Flu before 2020 was. Coming soon on Inverse, a look at how Covid-19 could change our cultural consciousness.

Off the Richter — The secret behind Sunquakes could be coming from "within"

In July 2011, a short-lived disturbance originating from the interior of the Sun resulted in a series of circular ripples on the star's surface, sort of like an earthquake but on a boiling ball of plasma.

This particular Sunquake was especially powerful, creating unusually sharp ripples caused by a rather strong solar flare. Scientists were able to track down the source of these powerful ripples and were shocked to find that they were coming from beneath the Sun's surface.

Yeah, that's right. Sunquakes

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Not Sports Skijoring: Where human and dog athletes work as one

Humans have deep psychological attachments to their dogs. Kevin Murphy has made his physical. With skis strapped to his feet and a leash wound around his waist, he spent years sliding down trails with Myta, a Siberian-Alaskan Husky mix.

Myta and Murphy skied together for 14 years, getting up early in the cold and dark to ski together. While Myta has passed on, Murphy’s love for skijoring, a sport that unites man and dog in the quest for speed, is alive and well.

Murphy, also dubbed “Mr. Skijor” by Minnesota local press, is a former president of Skijor USA, an organizing body for skijoring. Skijoring, a sport that originated in Scandinavia – it's called skikjøring in Norwegian – is a racing sport that combines human and animal power. Horses or dogs are harnessed and strapped to cross-country skiers who aim to complete a course as fast as possible.

The horse-drawn version of skijoring made a solitary Olympic appearance in St. Moritz in 1928 (although only in a demonstration event). Murphy is partial to the dog version of skijoring rather than the horse-drawn version. He’s diplomatic about it, but the dog-drawn version, he tells Inverse, brings out the sport’s core values:

“My two cents is it looks like a lot of fun, but the skier is just holding on for dear life. Whereas skijoring, with dogs, you’re really sort of part of the team.”

It's not a sport, but it kind of is

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And now, some predictions Inverse Daily readers have for 2021:

"It will be a struggle with more lows than highs but will position us for a successful 2022." — Nancy Mutzbauer

"The Pulitzer Prize announces a new category for best newsletter." — Jeffrey Ulm (We'll gladly accept.)

"The rise of science, reasonableness, and sanity." — Carl Grant

"My prediction for 2021 is that America and the world will begin waking up to the actual threats that face us in our future. It won’t come from each other and our political ideologies. The threats won’t come from a place that we think of in terms of “our current momentary culture-war opponents,” but it will come from the rise of artificial intelligence and the domination of algorithms in our lives." — Eric Eberhardt

"Society will finally beat Covid!!" — Phil Jones

"In spite of growing conspiracy believers, science will make our country — and our world — a better and a nicer place for us." — vacarpio

"We will be able to see people smile." — Elaine Twamley

"The Covid vaccines will provide us herd immunity by the end of 2021. However, the ease of following mask and distancing guidelines will generate nearly as many deaths, if not more than 2020." — William Wipff

"My prediction for 2021: Dodgers win the World Series again!" — Joel Grossman (That's my dad, folks. Thank you, Abba! That's one prediction I'm rooting for.)

And that's it for today's Daily! If you're looking for more, check out an underrated sci-fi movie on HBO Max.

Thank you for reading! Follow me on Twitter if you want, where I tweet too much.

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