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Australia has offered its icebreaker to transport researchers and vital supplies to France’s Antarctic research stations next month. The Dumont d’Urville and Concordia stations were in danger of being left without a way to obtain more food, fuel and equipment this summer, after the French navy discovered a critical defect in its transport ship L’Astrolabe, which is docked in Hobart, Australia. L’Astrolabe was scheduled to travel to Antarctica before the fault was detected last week, in the ship’s propeller.
Rich countries are not cutting their carbon emissions quickly enough, according to the annual climate update from the United Nations Environment Programme. Of the 20 wealthiest regions, which produce the vast majority of carbon emissions, only China, the European Union and Mexico are on track to meet their climate promises. Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, South Africa and the United States were called out as needing to take more action to fulfil their current commitments.
Reference: Emissions Gap Report 2019
Features & opinion
A child can learn how to find a rare diamond in Minecraft after watching a 10-minute demonstration on YouTube. Artificial intelligence (AI) is nowhere close (nor are many adults, to be fair). In a unique computing competition ending this month, researchers hope to shrink the gap between machine and kid— and in doing so, help to reduce the computing power needed to train AIs.
China’s dramatic increase in scientific productivity has outstripped the country’s ability to promote rigour and curb academic misconduct, argues science policy researcher Li Tang. Based on global retraction data and surveys of researchers and major stakeholders in China, Tang outlines a five-part plan to bolster research integrity. Align norms, forgive, and be tough — are among her prescriptions.
We are at a tipping point for the World Wide Web, says computer scientist Tim Berners Lee, who invented it. What we do now will decide whether it lives up to its potential as a force for good or leads us into a digital dystopia. Berners Lee announces a plan of action for governments, companies and individuals to reclaim people’s control over their data, lessen the spread of misinformation and reduce the malign influence of poorly-designed software.
Reference: Contract for the Web website
Image of the week
Deep-sea octopus, eelpouts and bone-eating Osedax worms were spotted feeding on a whale carcass on the sea bed off the coast of California. Researchers at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the non-profit organization Ocean Exploration Trust captured the footage at a depth of more than 3,000 metres, during the last dive of the organization’s 2019 Nautilus Expedition.
See more of the month’s best science images, selected by Nature’s photo team. (Ocean Exploration Trust/NOAA ONMS/Cover Images)
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