High-tech archaeologist uses radar, thermal-imagery, & UAV’s to explore sacred sites

Many Mongolians consider the tomb (of Genghis Khan) an extremely sacred place and believe any desecration of it could trigger a curse that would end the world.

“Using traditional archeological methods would be disrespectful to believers,” Albert Yu-Min Lin says. “The ability to explore in a noninvasive way lets us try to solve this ancient secret without overstepping cultural barriers.

Lin investigates sites with a high-tech tool kit that leverages photographs taken firsthand on the ground, images gathered from satellites and unmanned aircraft, GPS tracks from expeditions, and geophysical instruments. “There are many ways to look under the ground without having to touch it,” he observes. Thermal-imaging systems show what lies below by detecting heat signals and patterns emitted from the Earth. Magnetometry uses the Earth’s magnetic field to pinpoint subterranean clues as microscopic as bacteria in decaying wood. Ground-penetrating radar bounces back images revealing subsurface objects or disturbances. Tiny remote wireless sensors collect data from places no human can go.

“These new approaches could benefit all kinds of projects, from gaining a whole new view of regions like Mongolia to tracking animal migrations to mapping the brain,” notes Lin. “The real trick is synthesizing the vast amounts of information we collect into something that can be understood. My colleagues and I use visualization techniques to sort, relate, and cross-link billions of individual data bits. We program it all into a file that allows us to re-render it into a digital 3-D world.”

 

Keep reading to learn how they cast that data into a 3-D room that you can move around in and explore the archaeology site – National Geographic – Albert Yu-Min Lin

 

 

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The Art of Fermentation in coffee, bread, beer, cheese, yogurt…

The list of fermented food in our lives is staggering: bread, coffee, pickles, beer, cheese, yogurt and soy sauce are all transformed at some point during their production process by microscopic organisms that extend their usefulness and enhance their flavors.

The process of fermenting our food isn’t a new one: Evidence indicates that early civilizations were making wine and beer between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago — and bread even before that.

But was exactly is fermentation? And how does it work? Those were the questions that fascinated Sandor Katz for years. Katz calls himself a “fermentation revivalist” and has spent the past decade teaching workshops around the country on the ancient practice of fermenting food.

“If you walk into a gourmet food store and start thinking about the nature of the foods that we elevate on the gourmet pedestal, almost all of them are the products of fermentation,” he tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross.

 

Listen to the full interview on NPR’s Fresh Air‘Fermentation’: When Food Goes Bad But Stays Good

 

The book – The Art of Fermentation.

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