tellmarcosIn the age of rapid technological advancement, the concept of a quantum internet has captured the imagination of scientists and researchers worldwide. Unlike the classical internet we use today, a quantum internet promises to revolutionize communication by harnessing the strange and counterintuitive properties of quantum mechanics. In this article, we'll delve into the fascinating world of the quantum internet, exploring its potential applications, challenges, and the current state of research. tellhappystar tellgamestopWhat is the Quantum Internet? tellgamestop telldunkin.clickTo understand the quantum internet, we must first grasp the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics describes the behavior of matter and energy at the smallest scales, where classical physics no longer applies. Key features of quantum mechanics include superposition and entanglement, which form the foundation of quantum communication. tellculvers tellcitybbqSuperposition: In quantum mechanics, particles can exist in multiple states simultaneously. This property allows quantum bits or qubits to represent both 0 and 1 at the same time, significantly increasing computational power. tellcaribou tellbrueggersEntanglement: When two quantum particles become entangled, their properties become correlated in such a way that the state of one particle instantaneously affects the state of the other, regardless of the distance separating them. This property is at the heart of quantum teleportation and quantum cryptography. tellbostonmarket The Quantum Internet's Potential Applications: Ultra-Secure Communication: One of the most promising applications of the quantum internet is quantum cryptography, which enables perfectly secure communication. Any attempt to eavesdrop on quantum-encrypted messages would disrupt the entangled particles, alerting both the sender and receiver to the intrusion. Quantum Teleportation: Although it won't lead to instantaneous transportation as seen in science fiction, quantum teleportation allows the transfer of quantum states between distant locations, making it a crucial tool for quantum computing and communication. Quantum Computing: The quantum internet will pave the way for quantum computing, which has the potential to solve complex problems exponentially faster than classical computers. This could revolutionize fields like drug discovery, cryptography, and optimization. Challenges and Current Research: Building a quantum internet is no easy task and is fraught with challenges. Some of the key hurdles include: Quantum Decoherence: Quantum systems are extremely delicate and susceptible to external interference, leading to decoherence, which disrupts quantum states. Researchers are working on developing error-correction techniques to mitigate this issue. Quantum Repeaters: As entangled particles lose their coherence over distance, the development of quantum repeaters is crucial to extend the range of quantum communication. This involves creating intermediate nodes that re-establish entanglement between distant qubits. Practical Implementation: Transforming theoretical concepts into practical, scalable technologies is a significant challenge. Researchers are exploring various physical systems, such as trapped ions, superconducting circuits, and photon-based approaches, to create viable quantum communication devices. The quantum internet holds immense promise for the future of communication and computing. While many challenges remain to be overcome, researchers are making rapid progress in developing the necessary technologies. As the quantum internet inches closer to reality, it has the potential to transform industries, enhance security, and unlock new frontiers in science and technology, ushering in an era of truly quantum communication.

We would all do well to think more like Shakespeare – Internet Philatelic Dealers Association Inc

In our current political climate, it’s sad but not surprising that a U.S. senator would accuse China’s “brightest minds” of studying in America only to return home “to compete for our jobs, to take our business, and ultimately to steal our property.”

But the junior senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton, didn’t stop there, adding in a recent interview with Fox News that they — the Chinese — should “come here and study Shakespeare … that’s what they need to learn from America.”

A 1964 Romanian postage stamp celebrates the 400th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, showing a portrait engraving of the famous English Elizabethan playwright.
A 1964 Romanian postage stamp celebrates the 400th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, showing a portrait engraving of the famous English Elizabethan playwright.(TonyBaggett / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

I love exploring myriad-minded Shakespeare with college students from across the globe — American, Botswanan, Cambodian, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese and, yes, even students from the bard’s native England. Yet as I’ve never taught Shakespeare as some kind of a vehicle for American values, I feel “I am bound to speak” (Othello 5.2) about Sen. Cotton’s confused, and troubling, statement.

Perhaps unwittingly, the senator partakes in a long, regrettable history of American nativists striving to annex Shakespeare to their purposes. This impulse to “weaponizeShakespeare in American life dates back to at least the 1800s. In 1932, Joseph Quincy Adams, the first director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, shamefully invoked Shakespeare as a bulwark against “the forces of immigration” from becoming “a menace to the preservation of our long-established English civilization.”

George Orwell once quipped, “If there really is such a thing as turning in one’s grave, Shakespeare must get a lot of exercise.”

While encouraging anyone to read Shakespeare is generally a good thing, Sen. Cotton seemed to suggest the Chinese are ignorant of his work, and they need Americans to serve as translator. Yet Chinese intellectuals were discussing Shakespeare as early as 1839, and Tian Han translated Hamlet a century ago. During the Cultural Revolution, President Xi Jinping sought out copies of Shakespeare to read alongside Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu, who, like Shakespeare, died in 1616. The Royal Shakespeare Company is commissioning new translations, while Chinese films such as The Banquet (a version of Hamlet) from 2006 have been box office hits. And Chinese scholars have taught us a thing or two about Shakespeare through the Fulbright program — which was started by another senator from Arkansas.

A 1964 postage stamp from the German Democratic Republic shows William Shakespeare (1564-1616) and celebrates the 400th anniversary of his birth.
A 1964 postage stamp from the German Democratic Republic shows William Shakespeare (1564-1616) and celebrates the 400th anniversary of his birth.(popovaphoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Like Homer, Sappho, Whitman and the timeless Chinese masters Li Bai (701–62) and Du Fu (712–70), Shakespeare belongs to all of us. As a roving, capacious thinker, he has always been “global,” both in his own use of multinational sources and in four centuries of multinational appropriations of his work. (Just a decade after his death, a touring company had already played King Lear in Germany.)

But most importantly, “Shakespeare” (and literature, and the humanities, more generally) must not be seen as somehow the “opposite” of STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math.

(London, U.K., July 30, 2014) A vintage 1964 Hungary cancelled postage stamp shows a portrait image of William Shakespeare.
(London, U.K., July 30, 2014) A vintage 1964 Hungary cancelled postage stamp shows a portrait image of William Shakespeare.(TonyBaggett / Getty Images)

Our modern divisions of knowledge emerged only in the last couple of centuries. Before then, everyone in college learned the classical liberal arts. That meant both geometry and grammar, both physics and philosophy. They’re not opposed to each other; they complement each other.

Chemistry Nobel Laureate Thomas Cech invokes the athletic “cross-training” analogy between body and mind: “Academic cross-training develops a student’s ability to collect and organize facts and opinions, to analyze them and weigh their value, and to articulate an argument, and it may develop these skills more effectively than writing yet another lab report.”

All of this wide-ranging education was designed with an eye toward becoming makers, preparing you for a vocation of making — whether a maker of objects or a maker of words. You learn from master teachers (intellectual craftspeople) how to hone past traditions to make them your own.

Martin Luther King knew better than anyone that we make new things out of old:

“Thinking critically means that the individual must think imaginatively, creatively, originally. Originality is a basic part of education. That does not mean that you think something altogether new; if that were the case Shakespeare wasn’t original, for Shakespeare depended on Plutarch and others for many of his plots. Originality does not mean thinking up something totally new in the universe, but it does mean giving new validity to old form.”

A 1998 Gibraltar postage stamp with an illustration of William Shakespeare, part of its "Stamps of Wisdom" series.
A 1998 Gibraltar postage stamp with an illustration of William Shakespeare, part of its “Stamps of Wisdom” series.(Ken W Brown / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“Giving new validity to old form,” that’s the just kind of Shakespearean spirit we all need now. Education ought to exercise us — citizens and senators alike — in the crafts of freedom, helping us reach our fullest capacities to make by emulating aspirational models, stretching our thinking as well as our words.

The distinctive contribution of the United States to the history of liberal education has been to deploy it on behalf of the cardinal American principle: All persons have the right to pursue happiness. Sen. Fulbright knew the best way to promote democracy was through the free play of mind.

In Othello, when Brabantio tells Iago, “Thou art a Villain,” Iago retorts: “You are — a Senator.” Sen. Cotton, please act like one.

Scott Newstok is the founding director of the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment at Rhodes College, and the author of “How to Think like Shakespeare,” released last week.

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