Last week, we at Inverse Daily asked you to tell us the things you missed most.
- S. Elliot misses the restorative powers of “legitimately playing hooky from work from time to time. Once a month, I used to take a day off from work, and my rule was that I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to do.”
- Timothy M. misses “the subtle and delightful comfort of tasting my friends’ drinks when we went out for cocktails.”
- Chuck L. misses hugging his grandchildren, and Gloria misses “going horseback riding with high school friends. The last time we rode, we witnessed a Mother Deer with her little one.”
Although it’s hard to look back on the things we once had, our days are filled with chances to build new rituals to one day miss. And if this new, buzzed-about study holds water, those new rituals might involve a little cannabis. Read that eye-opening story and three others in today’s newsletter. As usual, I’m Ashley Bardhan, newsletter writer at Inverse. Let’s start your Tuesday right.
After a new study went viral (no pun intended), this question has been bouncing around millions of brains this week. Can a well-timed edible stave off this contentious modern virus? Well, no. Not at all, really.
“Researchers from Oregon State University used a screening tool to search for chemical compounds with certain features that may make them useful drugs to treat or prevent a Covid-19 infection,” writes Inverse managing editor Claire Cameron. “They discovered two — CBGA and CBDA — with the right molecular make-up to suggest they could block the SARS-CoV-2 virus’ spike protein from binding to a cell and [...] turning it into a viral factory.”
It’s intriguing early evidence, but as nice as it would be to puff your Covid-19 troubles away, note that “this study is not evidence that smoking weed or consuming hemp-derived products like CBD gummies can protect or prevent a Covid-19 infection,” writes Cameron.
This is why we care: Although this is still just a preliminary study, exploring existing drugs as solutions to new problems helps medicine be delivered more quickly and safely.
Some things are certain: Geneticists reveal the evolutionary origins of Cannabis sativa
Andrew Steele has been studying the Allan Hills Martian meteorite for 25 years,” writes Inverse space writer Passant Rabie. “The enigmatic rock with strange structures contained inside led to a statement from then-President Bill Clinton on the possibility that they were formed by ancient microbes on Mars.”
Despite years of mystery, the Allan Hills meteorite may have revealed a little bit of its history in Steele’s latest study. It suggests that the Allan Hills meteorite “may have been produced through a chemical reaction that does not involve life,” writes Rabie, also known as abiotic synthesis.
This is why we care: Since this lifeless process created the organic molecules considered “the building blocks of life” on our own planet, Steele’s study helps us more accurately understand Earth’s earliest days.
Where will we go?: This revolutionary NASA tech could make a Mars city possible
Exoplanet TOI-647 b is a hefty gas giant “initially discovered by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which surveys stars to look for exoplanets that orbit them,” writes Passant Rabie.
As researchers continued to observe the exoplanet using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope (and going forward, the James Webb Space Telescope), they noticed traces of water vapor in its atmosphere.
This isn’t the first time scientists have found water vapor on an exoplanet, but since this one is fairly similar to Neptune, it stands out. In this case, that’s because “Neptune-like planets rarely have an easily detectable atmosphere since they do not orbit closely to their stars,” writes Rabie. Unexpectedly, TOI-647 b keeps close to its home star, accomplishing “one full orbit in less than two days.”
This is why we care: Further observations using the Webb telescope are necessary to measure TOI-647 b’s exact water and metal content, but the process alone allows researchers to level up their knowledge about our solar system’s gas giants and why Earth exists among them.
Catch up with our solar system friends: Saturn’s rings reveal the planet’s “fuzzy” interior
The employees at video game company Activision Blizzard have not had an easy last year. But even with its ongoing legal battles, some of which involve claims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination, Activision seems to be shying from its plight.
Over a month has passed since the quality assurance department staffers at Activision-owned Raven Software went on strike following a mass layoff. Now, according to employees in this Inverse exclusive, Activision is still staying silent despite pressure steaming in from all sides.
“Activision’s silence is something we expected, but were nevertheless disappointed to see,” said an anonymous employee. “The company continues to publicly state how it wants to develop a clear line of communication between management and employees while actively going against its claims of transparency behind closed doors. ABK is not looking to change its toxic ways and improve the company culture anytime soon.”
This is why we care: As one of the largest video game companies, Activision and its many troubles are sparking important conversations on worker’s rights and human decency even beyond the video game industry.
About this 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- On this day in history: On January 18, English chemist Edward Frankland was born. In addition to helping London clean its drinking water, Frankland also discovered helium while observing the Sun’s atmosphere.
- Song of the day: “Heliosphan,” by Aphex Twin.