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We might start seeing benefits from a future ‘quantum internet’ long before it reaches technological maturity, according to a team of physicists who have laid out a six-stage roadmap for how the network might evolve. The first stages promise virtually unbreakable privacy and security in communications; a more mature network could include a range of applications for science and beyond that aren’t possible with classical systems.
One of the world’s biggest funders of cancer research has launched a tough anti-bullying policy that could lead to the withdrawal of funding from scientists whose institutions uphold allegations made against them. Cancer Research UK is the largest independent funder of cancer research in Europe, and the second major UK research funder to introduce anti-bullying and anti-harassment rules, after the Wellcome Trust introduced a similar policy in June.
Researchers say that the Trump administration’s latest plan to define gender goes beyond the limits of scientific knowledge. According to a memo seen by The New York Times, the Department of Health and Human Services is proposing that gender be defined narrowly as a biological condition determined by genitalia at birth. Scientists and medical professionals have long since moved on from such a binary reading of biology, and exactly what determines gender identity is still unclear.
Everyone has a favourite planet (wait — you don’t??). But it seems that some get more love from space scientists than others. Every one of our Solar System’s worlds has been paid at least a flying visit by a spacecraft, but Earth’s closest neighbours, Mars and Venus, are the attention-grabbers. They’ve each clocked up dozens of visits since planetary missions began in the 1960s, with Mars becoming a favourite when it became clear that water was once present. But the faraway worlds of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are comparatively unloved: each have had only one visit.
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In a huge analysis of more than 1.3 million papers subject to funders’ open-access mandates, researchers found that some two-thirds were indeed freely available to read. But rates varied greatly, from around 90% for work funded by the US National Institutes of Health and the UK’s Wellcome Trust, to 23% for work supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
In 2048, part of the treaty that maintains harmony in Antarctica will be up for review — could archaeological discoveries there influence the continent’s future? If a country can demonstrate that it had people living in Antarctica earlier than other nations staking land claims, then they have more bartering power in negotiations.
Momentum for a human return to the Moon is growing, but rather than rerun the Apollo missions, space agencies are slowly warming to the idea of establishing a sustainable settlement on the lunar surface. But how do you plan for lunar living, working out the best options for everything from power sources to shelter and food? (Spoiler: a lot of kale.)