Science: 4000-Year-Old Mummies, Digital-Hygiene Checks, Ancient Snakes

The unexpected origins of a 4000-year-old people, protecting your ‘digital presence’ and what to expect from COP26.

In this episode:

00:48 The origins of the mysterious Tarim mummies

For decades there has been debate about the origins of a group of 4000-year-old individuals known as the Tarim Basin mummies. Their distinct appearance and clothing has prompted scientists to hypothesise they had migrated from the North or West. Now, a team of researchers have used modern genomics to shed new light on this mystery and reveal that migration was not the mummies’ origin.

Research article: Zhang et al.

News and Views: The unexpected ancestry of Inner Asian mummies

08:59 Research Highlights

Making wood mouldable, and how ancient snakes diversified their diets.

Research Highlight: Moulded or folded, this wood stays strong

Research Highlight: Finicky no more: ancient snakes ate their way to success

11:09 How a regular ‘digital-hygiene’ check can protect your reputation

Attaching a researcher’s name to a paper without them knowing is an unscrupulous practice that can have serious repercussions for the unwitting academic. To prevent this, computer scientist Guillaume Cabanac is advocating a once-a-month ‘digital-hygiene’ check, to identify incorrect acknowledgements, and help prevent research malpractice.

World View: This digital-hygiene routine will protect your scholarship

18:51 What to expect from COP26

This week sees the start of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), with an estimated 20,000 people — including world leaders, scientists and activists — expected to be in attendance. Jeff Tollefson, senior reporter at Nature, joins us to explain what’s on the agenda for the conference.

News Explainer: COP26 climate summit: A scientists’ guide to a momentous meeting

Views: Bordeaux & Limoges In Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Southwestern France (4K)

This video is about things to do in Bordeaux and Limgoes in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. It has what really matters in Bordeaux and Limoges, wine tasting in Margaux, and castles and museums in Haute-Vienne.

Nouvelle-Aquitaine or New Aquitaine, is the largest administrative region in France, spanning the west and southwest of the mainland. The region was created by the territorial reform of French regions in 2014 through the merger of three regions: Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes. 

Previews: Times Literary Supplement – October 29

Morning News: Crisis In Afghanistan, India Goes Hi-Tech, Rental Clothing

Two months after the Taliban’s victory, civilians face a looming disaster. Will Western governments dig their heels in, or turn the aid taps back on? 

India’s government has increasingly turned to high-tech means for delivering government services. But its digital-first solutions are inaccessible to millions of citizens. And we look at the business of renting clothing, as Rent the Runway goes public with a sky-high valuation.