Category: Ancient Technology

The World Economic ForumLow-carbon concrete. What is the construction sector doing?There are several breakthroughs on the tech side, … and make concrete production, an ancient technology that hasn't really changed a whole….1 day ago

The World Economic ForumLow-carbon concrete. What is the construction sector doing?There are several breakthroughs on the tech side, … and make concrete
production, an ancient technology that hasn’t really changed a whole….1 day ago
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Transcript: Why Corporate America Still Runs on Ancient Software That Breaks

Southwest Airlines had a disastrous holiday season, thanks in part to a software bug that left crews out of place and grounded thousands of flights. But Southwest isn’t alone in having software in the headlines lately. The New York Stock Exchange recently had a software error that caused weird pricing on stocks and the FAA had its own computer issue that grounded planes earlier this month. So what’s the deal with corporate software? Why do these crashes happen? And why does the user experience typically leave something to be desired? On this episode of the podcast we speak with Patrick McKenzie, an expert on engineering and infrastructure, who writes the Bits About Money newsletter and recently left payments company Stripe after six years. We talked about the challenges of keeping any software system alive after years of upgrades and updates, the distribution of tech talent across industries, and whether non-tech companies can close the gap with Silicon Valley. This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Omny Studio: Why Corporate America Still Runs on A…

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Uncovering Mayan mysteries with new technology


Tech

Technology is revealing new details about an old civilization. The ancient Maya are known for a number of historic advances they developed 2,000 years ago. Now, a research team based in Guatemala is drilling down on new findings from even earlier times. Ross Lord reports.

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Ancient DNA analysis: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Scientists have long sought better tools to study teeth and bones from ancient humans. In the past, they’ve had to scour many ancient remains to find a sample preserved well enough to analyze.  

Now cheaper techniques and new methods that make damaged DNA legible to commercial sequencers are powering a boom in ancient DNA analysis. 

Today, scientists can even analyze microscopic traces of DNA found in dirt Neanderthals urinated in—no teeth or bones required. In November, the field now known as paleogenetics took center stage when Svante Pääbo, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, won a Nobel Prize for his foundational work.

Ancient DNA analysis has led to the discovery of two extinct species of human—Homo luzonensis and Denisovans—and taught us that modern humans carry a substantial amount of Denisovan and Neanderthal DNA. And the number of ancient human individuals for whom we now have whole-­genome data has jumped drastically, from just five in 2010 to 5,550 in 2020. 

By indicating that India’s population came from a mix of ancestors, these techniques have undermined the caste system. DNA from a 2,500-year-old battlefield in Sicily has revealed that ancient Greek armies were more diverse than historians depicted. 

Old samples can unravel modern health mysteries, too. Last year scientists identified a single mutation that made people 40% likelier to survive the Black Death—and it’s also a risk factor for autoimmune issues like Crohn’s disease. 

Differences in how cultures believe human remains should be treated will keep creating ethical and logistical questions for scholars seeking to work with ancient DNA. But its revelations are already rewriting history.

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