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Weekly: World’s Oldest Ritual; Quantum Wi-Fi; Report from the Arctic

5 July 2024

About this episode

#257

Two extraordinary findings have been unearthed about our ancient ancestors. The first is a discovery from a cave in Australia – evidence of what could be the world’s oldest ritual, practised continuously for 12,000 years. And the second is the discovery that the world’s oldest evidence of storytelling may be even older than we thought.

We may be able to mine for nickel using flowers. The method is much more sustainable than traditional mining and is actually being used by some companies. Is it enough to turn mining green?

Quantum communication is going wireless. The new chip responsible for this quantum Wi-Fi is a huge step forward for the technology and could speed up the creation of safer, unhackable internet networks.

From onboard a kayak roaming the Arctic Ocean, Rowan Hooper brings a report from his trip to Svalbard, where he saw first-hand the retreating glaciers that have been melting rapidly due to climate change. As these glaciers disappear, soil is being exposed for the first time. What impact is this having on the landscape? Rowan speaks to arctic biogeochemist James Bradley of Queen Mary University, London.

Plus: The first non-human animal to perform medical amputations; giving the moon a time-zone; and how eggshells can help regrow broken bones.

Hosts Timothy Revell and Christie Taylor discuss with guests James Woodford, James Dinneen, Karmela Padavic-Callaghan, Rowan Hooper and James Bradley.

To read more about these stories, visit newscientist.com.

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