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DNA frozen for 2 million years has been sequenced
what happened: After eight years of trying to recover DNA from Greenland’s frozen interior, researchers say they have successfully sequenced fragments of genes from ancient fish, plants and even a mastodon that lived 2 million years ago. This is the oldest DNA ever found.
How did they do that: The researchers examined genetic material left over from dozens of species that washed into sedimentary layers long ago. DNA is preserved at freezing temperatures and bound to clay and quartz, which also slows down the degradation process.
Why it matters: The genetic findings paint a picture of a time when Greenland was covered by flowering plants and cedar trees, and could provide clues to how ecosystems adapted to warmer climates in the past. read more.
Wild new technology for offshore wind power
Wind power is one of the fastest-growing renewable energy sources in the world, and its reach may soon expand even further. This week, the state of California is auctioning off sites off its coast that could house America’s first floating wind turbines.
There are already several demonstration projects of floating offshore wind turbines around the world, but the technology is entering a new phase, with more and more governments setting installation targets and larger projects entering the planning and permitting stages. California could become a major testing ground for the technology. But what does it take to actually happen, and what does the California auction mean for global wind power? read more.
— Kathy Cronhart
Casey’s story comes from The Spark, her weekly newsletter covering energy and climate change. register Receive it in your inbox.
I combed the internet to find you the funniest/most important/scary/fascinating stories about technology today.
1 Sam Bankman-Fried is reportedly under investigation by U.S. Attorneys
The investigation wanted to determine whether he manipulated the markets for the two cryptocurrencies. (New York Times $)
+ The FTX founder has made quite a few enemies lately. (sound)
+ Facebook asks lawmakers to take it easy on cryptocurrencies. (motherboard)
+ An underground community in Lebanon is mining cryptocurrency in neglected dams. (rest of the world)
2 Apple is finally encrypting most of iCloud
It will protect data from hackers and law enforcement. (wall street journal $)
+ The company has dropped plans to scan iCloud photos for potential child abuse.(wired $)
+ Government agencies are unlikely to welcome advanced data protection. (wettable powder $)
4 China has agreed to US inspections of its technology companies
In order to avoid being included in the trade blacklist. (Financial Times $)
5 How France’s Privacy Darling Became an Internet Snooper
Eric Leandri was once a staunch defender of digital privacy. Now, he runs an Internet monitoring company. (politician)
7 Calculating the carbon footprint of the internet is surprisingly difficult
We’re using more energy, but it’s hard to compare certain activities. (conversation)
9 Simple Magic of Christmas Shopping in Real Life
It might be more convenient online, but the algorithm is less likely to catch you by accident. (Atlantic Organization $)
10 Ways to Prepare for a Huge Asteroid Impact
The Asteroid Launcher emulator offers an interesting look at what might happen — but hopefully not. (motherboard)
+ How to stay safe from solar flares. (insider $)
+ Watch the moment NASA’s DART spacecraft hits an asteroid.(MIT Technology Review)
“It didn’t look good. It was another unspoken sign of disrespect. There was no discussion. Like, the bed came up.”
— a disgruntled Twitter employee told Forbes About the bed that mysteriously showed up at the corporate office without warning, presumably to drive employees crazy to work.
Is your brain a computer?
It’s an analogy that dates back to the early days of the computer age: Ever since we discovered that machines could solve problems by manipulating symbols, we’ve wondered whether the brain could work in a similar way.
For example, Alan Turing asked in 1950 what it takes for a machine to “think” and wondered if a machine could think like a human brain, then it was natural to wonder if a brain could work like a machine.
Today, experts are divided. We asked them to tell us why they thought we should—or shouldn’t—think of the brain as “like a computer.” While everyone agrees that our biological brains create our conscious minds, they disagree on what role, if any, information processing plays—brains and computers are said to share crucial similarities. read more.
we can still have nice things
+ how’goblin mode‘ became the word of the year.
+ 2022 already one yearbut at least the memes are good.
+ Yeardley Smith, aka lisa simpsonhas been on a real journey.
+ Netflix There are tons of passwords to change your referrals. What are you waiting for?
+ Here’s why we think we know 25 year old brain Probably not true at all.