The Download: ancient DNA, and offshore wind

This is today’s edition of Download, Our weekday newsletter provides daily coverage of what’s happening in the tech world.

DNA frozen for two million years has been sequenced

What happened: After eight years of efforts to recover DNA from the icy interior of Greenland, researchers say they have sequenced gene fragments from ancient fish, plants and even a species of mastodon that lived 2 million years ago. It’s the oldest DNA ever recovered.

How did they do: The researchers examined genetic material left behind by dozens of species and entrained in sediments long ago. DNA is preserved by freezing and bound to clay and quartz, which also slows down decomposition.

Why is it important: The genetic findings paint a picture of an era when Greenland was covered with flowering plants and cedars, which may provide clues to how ecosystems adapted to warmer climates in the past. Read full story.

—Antonio Regalado

Wild new technology coming to offshore wind power

Wind energy is one of the world’s fastest-growing renewable energy sources, and soon its reach could expand even further. This week, California is auctioning off locations off the coast that could house America’s first floating wind turbines.

There are already a number of demonstration projects around the world for floating offshore wind turbines, but the technology is entering a new phase, with many governments targeting installations and larger projects underway. into the planning and licensing phase. California could be a major test site for this technology. But what will really happen and what will the California auction mean for wind power globally? Read full story.

—Casey Crownhart

Casey’s story is from The Spark, her weekly newsletter on energy and climate change. Register to get it in your inbox.

Must read

I’ve scoured the Internet to find you today’s most interesting/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Sam Bankman-Fried is said to be under investigation by US prosecutors
The investigation wants to determine whether he manipulated the market for the two cryptocurrencies. (NYT $)
+ Lately, the founder of FTX has had a lot of enemies. (Vox)
+ Facebook is asking lawmakers to relax crypto. (motherboard)
+ An underground community in Lebanon is mining cryptocurrency in neglected dams. (The rest of the world)

2 Apple Finally Encrypts Most of iCloud
It will protect data from both hackers and law enforcement. (WSJ $)
+ The company dropped a plan to scan iCloud Photos for potential child abuse. (Wired $)
+ Government agencies may not welcome Enhanced Data Protection. (WP $)

3 Ukraine is revolutionizing maritime warfare with naval drones
The unmanned boats are aiming at the enemy ships. (economist $)
+ Russian disinformation is turning Ukrainian refugees into evil. (WP $)

4 China has agreed to let the US inspect its tech businesses
In an attempt to avoid being blacklisted commercially. (FT $)

5 How France’s darling became an internet snooper
Eric Leandri has been a staunch defender of digital privacy. Now, he runs a network monitoring company. (politics)

6 Scammers are scamming each other
And a surprising number of them are complaining about it online. (Wired $)
+ 1,000 Chinese SpaceX engineers that never existed (Technology Review MIT)

7. Figuring out the Internet’s carbon footprint is surprisingly hard
We’re using more energy, but it’s hard to compare certain activities. (Conversation)

8 Problems with being “online often”
It’s mostly a lot of people warming up for nothing. (Vox)
+ Even the biggest influencers are struggling with the cost of living. (Wired $)

9 Simple real-life Christmas shopping magic
Online may be more convenient, but algorithms are unlikely to satisfy you with an unexpected find. (Atlantic $)

10 ways to prepare for a giant asteroid strike
The Asteroid Launcher emulator offers a fascinating glimpse into what could happen—but hopefully not. (motherboard)
+ How to stay safe from solar flares. (Insiders $)
+ Watch the moment NASA’s DART spacecraft crashes into an asteroid. (Technology Review MIT)

Quote of the day

“It’s not a good look. It’s another unspoken sign of disrespect. There is no discussion. Like, bed appeared.

—A disgruntled Twitter employee said Forbes about beds that mysteriously appear in corporate offices without any warning, presumably to allow employees to drag on for hours of frenzy.

big story

Is your brain a computer?

It’s an analogy that dates back to the dawn of the computer age: ever since we discovered that machines can solve problems by manipulating symbols, we’ve wondered if computers could solve problems. Can the brain work in a similar way?

For example, Alan Turing asked what makes a machine “think” in 1950, wondering if machines could think like the human brain, then wondering if the brain could work. mechanical or not is natural.

Today, the experts are divided. We asked them to tell us why they think we should—or shouldn’t—see the brain “like a computer.” Although everyone agrees that our biological brain creates our conscious mind, they are divided on the question of what role, if any, is played by information processing. trust – an important similarity that brains and computers are said to share. Read full story.

—Dan Falk

We can still have good things

A place for comfort, fun and entertainment in these strange times. (Any ideas?Drop me a lineortweet them with me.)

+ Way’goblin mode‘ has become the word of the year.
+ The year 2022 is already A yearbut at least the memes are good.
+ Yeardley Smith, aka the voice of Lisa Simpsonwas on a real journey.
+ Netflix there are lots of secret codes to shake up your recommendations. What are you waiting for?
+ Here’s why what we think we know about brain at the age of 25 maybe not right at all.


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