Posts Tagged ‘China’
Non-profit organization INCLUDED has produced a new community center for Shanghai’s migrant worker community. Dubbed Community Cube, the two-storey 1,614 sq ft structure was completed in 2013 and comprises a number of used shipping containers as a primary building material.
Based in Shanghai’s agriculturally-focused Chongming district, the structure is joined together by metal plates which can be detached, allowing the separate containers to be transported more easily if the migrants need to move on. The interior space is also flexible, and contains a modest library, play area, a computer area, and a main large classroom which can be divided into two rooms using a sliding divider.
The room divider itself, and all suitable furniture sport a whiteboard finish for use as teaching surfaces, while the kids also have small whiteboard-surfaced furniture to draw on. Excess corrugated metal was cleverly re-used as a security fence that encloses the area…
The container doors were drilled with small holes in order to allow light to filter across the floor during sunny weather, and those using the center can open the doors to the outside if conditions allow.
Yes, I’m an enthusiast about re-purposing shipping containers.
Once again, all eyes are on emerging markets. Long the darlings of the global growth sweepstakes, they are being battered in early 2014. Perceptions of resilience have given way to fears of vulnerability.
The US Federal Reserve’s tapering of its unprecedented liquidity injections has been an obvious and important trigger. Emerging economies that are overly dependent on global capital flows – particularly India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey – are finding it tougher to finance economic growth. But handwringing over China looms equally large. Long-standing concerns about the Chinese economy’s dreaded “hard landing” have intensified.
In the throes of crisis, generalization is the norm; in the end, however, it pays to differentiate. Unlike the deficit-prone emerging economies that are now in trouble – whose imbalances are strikingly reminiscent of those in the Asian economies that were hit by the late-1990’s financial crisis – China runs a current-account surplus. As a result, there is no risk of portfolio outflows resulting from the Fed’s tapering of its monthly asset purchases. And, of course, China’s outsize backstop of $3.8 trillion in foreign-exchange reserves provides ample insurance in the event of intensified financial contagion.
Yes, China’s economy is now slowing; but the significance of this is not well understood. The downturn has nothing to do with problems in other emerging economies; in fact, it is a welcome development…Yet a superficial fixation on China’s headline GDP growth persists, so that a 25% deceleration, to a 7-8% annual rate, is perceived as somehow heralding the end of the modern world’s greatest development story…
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a major power supplier in China, has accelerated the development of green energy as it recorded higher installed capacity in 2013.
Statistics with the Xinjiang branch of the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) showed that by 2013, the combined installed capacity of wind power, hydropower and solar power stations exceeded 1,368 million KW, accounting for about one third of all installed capacity in Xinjiang….
A project to connect the Xinjiang power grid to the northwest China grid was launched in 2010 to transmit Xinjiang’s redundant electric power to other parts of the country. The money made from this is used for developing Xinjiang.
The SGCC Xinjiang branch has put an average annual investment of 500 million yuan towards green energy projects.
Total installed capacity is expected to reach 6,048 million KW by the end of 2014, and that of green power will exceed 2,200 million KW.
While this wee post may seem a bit foreign to many of my readers you have to understand I live in a part of the United States with many parallels to Xinjiang.
Aside from some historic political differences, the natural landscape is often similar. As is the potential. It’s been 20 or 30 years since the New Mexico state engineer’s office determined we had sufficient resources to be a net exporter of wind-generated electricity. We are equally capable of filling state needs and then exporting solar-generated electricity.
The technology for each of these alternatives has improved and become more cost effective over the decades – while the state, local power utilities and the federal government have accomplished little more than a sampling of what might be if they were as serious about non-polluting power generation as they all are about the crap coal mined and burned in the Four Corners.
Verdict of the International Military Tribunal
A Japanese cabinet member visited a shrine seen by critics as a symbol of Tokyo’s wartime aggression on Wednesday, pouring salt on a fresh wound after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pilgrimage there last week drew sharp criticism from China and South Korea.
Internal Affairs Minister Yoshitaka Shindo said he thought his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine was unlikely to become a diplomatic issue…
But Beijing and Seoul have repeatedly expressed anger over politicians’ visits to Yasukuni, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal after World War Two are honored along with those who died in battle.
Both China and Korea suffered under Japanese rule, with parts of China occupied from the 1930s and Korea colonized from 1910 to 1945. Japanese leaders have apologized in the past but many in China and South Korea doubt the sincerity of the apologies, partly because of contradictory remarks by politicians.
China condemned Wednesday’s visit, which it said exposed Japan’s war crimes and attempts to “challenge the outcomes of the world’s anti-fascist war“…
Underscoring the deteriorating ties between Asia’s two biggest economies, China said its leaders would not meet Abe after he visited Yasukuni on Thursday, the first visit by a serving Japanese prime minister since 2006.
The quality of Reuters commentary continues to deteriorate. They end the article with one of those fatuous boilerplate sentences famous in diplomatic annals: “Experts see his visit as an attempt to recast Japan’s wartime past in a less apologetic light and revive national pride.”
Which experts, working for which governments — and what sort of national pride is raised by visiting a memorial best-known even in Japan as important to the nation’s greed and brutality to all other Asian nations? There are beaucoup alternatives popular among the Japanese people.
Can you imagine Angela Merkel or Giorgio Napolitano paying a visit of remembrance to Hitler’s bunker or the Esso station in Milan where Mussolini’s body was laid out for the public to spit on. Do you think President Obama should wander through Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina to visit Jesse Helms’ grave? The last and most unrepentant racist elected to the US Senate on a platform of opposing civil rights for non-white Americans – forever!
Right-wing nationalism in Japan only means one policy in the last century of Asian history. Military might and political will commanded to serve Japanese corporate Zaibatsu.
Several new high-speed railway links in China are expected to start operations by the end of 2013, extending the network to over 12,000 kilometers, more than half of the world total…
It is the last link in the chain between the most dynamic cities and manufacturing centers in east and south China, with a population over 700 million, and almost as large as Europe…”Convenient transport will…strengthen the links between the economic engines,” said Long Guanghui, director of DTZ Shenzhen.
The “engines” Long refers to are the Yangtze Delta, the Pearl River Delta, and the Western Taiwan Strait Economic Zone, which are connected by several high-speed rail links now, and may turn into a world-class urban belt on a par with the northeast coast of the United States, or the Seto Inland Sea of Japan, according to Chen Hongyu, counselor of Guangdong provincial government.
Other new high-speed rail lines which began services on Saturday include one in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, starting point of the ancient Silk Road, and another in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the bridgehead of China-ASEAN cooperation…
Huge shadow was cast in 2011 when a crash claimed 40 lives in east China. Since then, a series of corruption scandals have brought about the arrest of the former railways minister, Liu Zhijun, on charges of corruption and abuse of power…
“The former railways ministry was a mixture of administrative and commercial operations and a monopoly. It was a hotbed of corruption,” said Xiao Jun, a professor at Shenzhen University. “Besides investigating the accident and scandals, the government has taken action to solve institutional problems…”
Xiao Jun believes that what happened in the high-speed rail sector proves that fighting corruption will not hamper economic development…”On the contrary, it is the zero-tolerance of corruption and the improvement of systems that restored public confidence in the industry,” Xiao added.
He stressed that the world’s largest constructor and operator of high-speed rail must continuously eliminate institutional flaws, carry on the separation of government and enterprise, and enforce supervision of investment in the public sector.
It’s difficult for Western rail builders to compete when your country hasn’t suitable track or the inclination to build their own high speed rail system. France can compete – and does. The United States hasn’t a clue.
Yes, there are people in government, members of Congress who are fully aware of the benefits of high speed rail for transport as well as the commercial possibilities for domestic and mostly foreign consumption. They could probably carry enough votes to change the name of a railroad station somewhere on one of the coasts.
That’s it, folks.
“At least three different lines of scientific inquiry allow us to tell a story about cat domestication that is reminiscent of the old ‘house that Jack built’ nursery rhyme,” said study co-author Fiona Marshall, PhD…
“Our data suggest that cats were attracted to ancient farming villages by small animals, such as rodents that were living on the grain that the farmers grew, ate and stored.”…The study provides the first direct evidence for the processes of cat domestication.
“Results of this study show that the village of Quanhucun was a source of food for the cats 5,300 years ago, and the relationship between humans and cats was commensal, or advantageous for the cats,” Marshall said. “Even if these cats were not yet domesticated, our evidence confirms that they lived in close proximity to farmers, and that the relationship had mutual benefits…”
While it often has been argued that cats were attracted to rodents and other food in early farming villages and domesticated themselves, there has been little evidence for this theory.
The evidence for this study is derived from research in China led by Yaowu Hu and colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Hu and his team analyzed eight bones from at least two cats excavated from the site.
Using radiocarbon dating and isotopic analyses of carbon and nitrogen traces in the bones of cats, dogs, deer and other wildlife unearthed near Quanhucan, the research team demonstrated how a breed of once-wild cats carved a niche for themselves in a society that thrived on the widespread cultivation of the grain millet.
…Carbon and nitrogen isotopes show that cats were preying on animals that lived on farmed millet, probably rodents. At the same time, an ancient rodent burrow into a storage pit and the rodent-proof design of grain storage pots indicate that farmers had problems with rodents in the grain stores.
Other clues gleaned from the Quanhucun food web suggest the relationship between cats and humans had begun to grow closer. One of the cats was aged, showing that it survived well in the village. Another ate fewer animals and more millet than expected, suggesting that it scavenged human food or was fed.
Recent DNA studies suggest that most of the estimated 600 million domestic cats now living around the globe are descendants most directly of the Near Eastern Wildcat, one of the five Felis sylvestris lybica wildcat subspecies still found around the Old World…
“We do not yet know whether these cats came to China from the Near East, whether they interbred with Chinese wild-cat species, or even whether cats from China played a previously unsuspected role in domestication,” Marshall said.
Wow. Would I ever love to see a docudrama in classic Chinese-film style about this.
Lunar lander viewed from Jade Rabbit rover
Jade Rabbit rolled down a ramp lowered by the lander and on to the volcanic plain known as Sinus Iridum at 04:35 Beijing time on Saturday (20:35 GMT).
It moved to a spot a few metres away, its historic short journey recorded by the lander.
On Sunday evening the two machines began photographing each other…
Image of the rover taken from the lunar probe/lander
The first soft landing on the Moon since 1976 is the latest step in China’s ambitious space programme, says BBC science reporter Paul Rincon.
The lander will operate there for a year, while the rover is expected to work for some three months…
According to Chinese space scientists, the mission is designed to test new technologies, gather scientific data and build intellectual expertise. It will also scout valuable mineral resources that could one day be mined.
After this, a mission to bring samples of lunar soil back to Earth is planned for 2017. And this may set the stage for further robotic missions, and – perhaps – a crewed lunar mission in the 2020s.
Bravo. As I mentioned in an earlier post, building a moon base always made more sense to me than the orbiting International Space Station.
China’s lunar probe Chang’e-3, with the country’s first moon rover onboard, successfully landed on the moon on Saturday night, marking the first time that China has sent a spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body.
The lunar probe began to carry out soft-landing on the moon at 9 p.m. Saturday and touched down in Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, 11 minutes later, according to Beijing Aerospace Control Center.
During the process, the probe decelerated from 15 km above the moon, stayed hovering at 100 meters from the lunar surface to use sensors to assess the landing area to avoid obstacles and locate the final landing spot, and descended slowly onto the surface.
The success made China the third country, after the United States and the Soviet Union, to soft-land on the moon…
Chang’e-3 relied on auto-control for descent, range and velocity measurements, finding the proper landing point, and free-falling…
Chang’e-3 includes a lander and a moon rover called “Yutu” (Jade Rabbit).
Yutu’s tasks include surveying the moon’s geological structure and surface substances and looking for natural resources. The lander will operate there for one year while the rover will be there for three months.
Chang’e-3 is part of the second phase of China’s lunar program, which includes orbiting, landing and returning to the Earth. It follows the success of the Chang’e-1 and Chang’e-2 missions in 2007 and 2010.
The successful landing shows China has the ability of in-situ exploration on an extraterrestrial body, said Sun Huixian, deputy engineer-in-chief in charge of the second phase of China’s lunar program…
Chang’e-3 is the world’s first soft-landing of a probe on the moon in nearly four decades. The last such soft-landing was carried out by the Soviet Union in 1976…
For an ancient civilization like China, landing on the moon embodies another meaning. The moon, a main source for inspiration, is one of the most important themes in Chinese literature and ancient Chinese myths, including that about Chang’e, a lady who took her pet “Yutu” to fly toward the moon, where she became a goddess.
“Though people have discovered that the moon is bleached and desolate, it doesn’t change its splendid role in Chinese traditional culture,” said Zhang Yiwu, a professor with Peking University.
“Apart from scientific exploration, the lunar probe is a response to China’s traditional culture and imagination. China’s lunar program will proceed with the beautiful legends,” Zhang said.
Bravo! The space geeks in my extended family have always preferred the concept of eventually building a moonbase instead of the International Space Station. Since that is the plan of China’s combined space agency, we’ll get a chance to see if we were as farsighted as we absolutely think we are.