chinese technology

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A little series of photos showing Tiangong 2, the Chinese space station. It is one of two space stations currently in space, the other being the ISS.
It had it’s first astronaut visit last month but is currently unmanned.

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China poised to launch new era of spaceflight with Long March 5.

Just weeks after the successful launch and docking of the Shenzhou-11 manned mission, China is ready to take their next giant leap in spaceflight next week with the debut launch of the Long March 5 rocket.

Larger than any vehicle China has built before, Long March 5 is a heavy-lift rocket capable of bringing more than 53,000 pounds into low Earth orbit. By comparison, this is roughly as powerful as Europe’s Ariane 5 and America’s Delta IV Heavy. 

Until now, China has been lacking heavy-lift capability, which is crucial to launching large payloads such as space station modules and lunar hardware - both stated goals of the Chinese space program.

Long March 5 was rolled from the assembly building at the country’s new island spaceport of Wenchang in the South China Sea Friday morning, October 28. Reports are indicating launch is scheduled for sometime on November 3rd.

The rocket is the third in a series of vehicles the Chinese are developing to improve and modernize their launch vehicle fleet, which was developed in the latter half of the 20th century. The small-lift Long March 4 make its inaugural launch in November, 2015, while the medium-class Long March 7 first flew in June of 2016.

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“A Chinese group has become the first to inject a person with cells that contain genes edited using the revolutionary CRISPR–Cas9 technique.

On 28 October, a team led by oncologist Lu You at Sichuan University in Chengdu delivered the modified cells into a patient with aggressive lung cancer as part of a clinical trial at the West China Hospital, also in Chengdu…

“I think this is going to trigger ‘Sputnik 2.0’, a biomedical duel on progress between China and the United States, which is important since competition usually improves the end product,”…

The researchers removed immune cells from the recipient’s blood and then disabled a gene in them using CRISPR–Cas9, which combines a DNA-cutting enzyme with a molecular guide that can be programmed to tell the enzyme precisely where to cut. The disabled gene codes for the protein PD-1, which normally puts the brakes on a cell’s immune response: cancers take advantage of that function to proliferate.

Lu’s team then cultured the edited cells, increasing their number, and injected them back into the patient, who has metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer. The hope is that, without PD-1, the edited cells will attack and defeat the cancer…

But Rizvi questions whether this particular trial will succeed. The process of extracting, genetically modifying and multiplying cells is “a huge undertaking and not very scalable”, he says. “Unless it shows a large gain in efficacy, it will be hard to justify moving forward.” He doubts it will be superior to the use of antibodies, which can be expanded to unlimited quantities in the clinic. Lu says that this question is being evaluated in the trial, but that it’s too early to say which approach is better.

Source: http://www.nature.com/news/crispr-gene-editing-tested-in-a-person-for-the-first-time-1.20988?cookies=accepted

In the eighth circle of hell in “Dante’s Inferno,” thieves are punished by a gruesome transformation. They’re pursued by a pit full of monsters. When bitten, the thief and the monster melt into each other like hot wax. They separate eventually, but the monster is now human, and the thief has become a monster. Dante wrote that in all of human history, nobody had ever imagined a more brutal metamorphosis.

Well guys, we did it! We found something worse. Meet “MyIdol.”

Iran. 2015. Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised a house for every Iranian and as a result the country is dotted with ghost towns, concrete towers, like here, outside the capital on the slopes of the Alborz mountains. Chinese contractors have been assisting in the construction, as part of a sanction evading deal under which Iranian oil would be traded in exchange for Chinese financing, technology and construction labour. © Newsha Tavakolian/Magnum Photos

Xiaomi Redmi 4, 4A or 4 Prime to be launched in India next week; Specs, availability and pricing

Xiaomi is all set to release a Redmi device in India, and it could be from the Redmi 4 series that was launched in November last year. The company’s India head Manu Kumar Jain has revealed in a tweet that a new Redmi smartphone would be launched at an event on Monday, March 20. He went on to say that they will announce a major milestone in Xiaomi’s India journey.

The Chinese technology giant hasn’t revealed the Redmi handset that will be released next week, but it could be the Redmi 4, Redmi 4A or Redmi 4 Prime.

Also read: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 sale breaches 1 million mark

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Xiaomi Redmi 4 specifications and pricing:

The device sports a 5-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with 720x1,280 pixels (296 ppi pixel density), powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset and runs MIUI 8 operating system based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

It also features a 2GB RAM, a 16GB internal memory expandable up to 256GB, a 13MP main camera with f/2.2 aperture, phase detection autofocus, and LED flash, 5MP front-snapper with f/2.2 aperture, and a 4,100mAh battery.

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The Redmi 4 comes with a price tag of 699 Yuan, which is around Rs 6,900.

Xiaomi Redmi 4A specifications and pricing:

The Redmi 4A features a 5-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with 720x1,280 pixels (296 ppi pixel density), a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, an MIUI 8 operating system based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, a 2GB RAM, and a 16/32GB internal memory expandable up to 256GB. It also has a 13MP main camera with f/2.2 aperture, phase detection autofocus, and LED flash, 5MP front-snapper with f/2.2 aperture, and a 3,120mAh battery.

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It is priced at 499 Yuan (around Rs 4,900).

Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime specifications and pricing:

The Redmi 4 Prime features a 5-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with 1,080x1,920 pixels (441 ppi pixel density). Under the hood, it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, an MIUI 8 operating system based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, a 3GB RAM, a 32GB internal storage expandable up to 256GB, a 13MP main camera with f/2.2 aperture, phase detection autofocus, and LED flash, 5MP front-snapper with f/2.2 aperture, and a 4,100mAh battery.

The device is priced at 899 Yuan (around Rs 8,900).

Availability:

The new Redmi device will be made available on Amazon India and it has started taking registrations for regular notifications and launch details. It is still not known when it will be available for purchase but it should happen soon after the launch.

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Reentry capsule testbed concludes Long March 7 mission, ushers new era for Chinese space program.

After orbiting the Earth for more than 20 hours, a Chinese testbed spacecraft landed in the Mongolian desert yesterday, June 26.                                                
Designed by CASC - the Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation - the capsule is a technological pathfinder for the eventual replacement of the crewed Shenzhou spacecraft. Around 60% the size of the eventual spacecraft, it measures 7.5 feet tall and 8.5 feet wide, and weighs in at over 2.6 tons.

China’s next generation crew capsule testbed module in preflight processing. 

The key objectives of the 12 orbit, 20 hour flight was “to collect aerodynamic and heat data for a re-entry capsule, to verify key technologies such as detachable thermal protection structure and lightweight metal materials manufacturing, and to carry out blackout telecommunication tests,” according to CASC.

The capsule was one of several payloads on the maiden flight of the Long March 7 rocket, with lifted off June 25, on the first mission from China’s newest spaceport on Hainan island. Accompanying the capsule into orbit were two data relay satellites, a debris-clearing testbed satellite named Aolong-1, and a scientific cubesat.

Graphic of the reentry capsule attached to the Long March 7′s Yuanzheng-1A   upper stage. The capsule is located on the right of the image.

China is the third country to launch a crewed spacecraft technology demonstrator in the last two years. America launched Orion in December 2014, with India’s CARE module a few weeks later. It’s also the third country to debut a new medium-class launch vehicle in the last year, behind Russia’s Angara, and India’s GSLV Mk III.

Finally, the launch from Hainan island inaugurated the Wenchang space center, the second new spaceport to be constructed and used, behind Russia’s Vostochny in April, 2015. Both space centers are intended for long-term use, with the majority of launch operations converted over within the next few decades.

Long March 7 launches from Wenchang space center, June 25, 2016, carrying multiple payloads into orbit, including a reentry capsule testbed.

Power in Numbers: China Aims for High-Tech Primacy

By David Barboza and John Markoff, NY Times, December 5, 2011
BEIJING–In an otherwise nondescript conference room, Wu Jianping stands before a giant wall of frosted glass. He toggles a switch and the glass becomes transparent, looking down on an imposing network operations center full of large computer displays. They show maps of China and the world, pinpointing China’s IPv6 links, the next generation of the Internet.

China already has almost twice the number of Internet users as in the United States, and Dr. Wu, a computer scientist and director of the Chinese Educational and Research Network, points out that his nation is moving more quickly than any other in the world to deploy the new protocol.

IPv6–Internet Protocol version 6–offers advanced security and privacy options, but more important, many more I.P. addresses, whose supply on the present Internet (IPv4) is almost exhausted.

“China must move to IPv6,” Dr. Wu said. “In the U.S., some people don’t believe it’s urgent, but we believe it’s urgent.”

If the future of the Internet is already in China, is the future of computing there as well?

Many experts in the United States say it could very well be. Because of the ready availability of low-cost labor, China has already become the world’s dominant maker of computers and consumer electronics products. Now, these experts say, its booming economy and growing technological infrastructure may thrust it to the forefront of the next generation of computing.

For China, the quest to develop advanced computing centers is not simply a matter of national pride. It is an attempt to lay the groundwork for innovative Chinese companies and to reshape the technological landscape by doing something more than assembling the world’s desktop PCs.

Never mind that there may be no Chinese Steve Jobs, said Clyde V. Prestowitz Jr., president of the Economic Strategy Institute.

“There are different kinds of innovation,” he said. “We tend to equate innovation with companies that start from garages based on brainstorms.

"There is another kind of innovation that results in constant improvement that we are not good at–and they are.”

The view is not universal. Still, other experts say it would be a mistake to underestimate China’s capacity for rapid progress.

“When I went to China for the first time in 1978, I saw workers stringing together computer memories with sewing needles,” said Patrick J. McGovern, the founder of the International Data Group, an early investor in Tencent Holdings, one of the most successful Chinese Internet companies. “Now innovation is accelerating, and in the future, patents on smartphones and tablets will be originated by the Chinese people.”

Going back six decades–to Eniac, considered to be the first electronic computer–the United States has set both the pace and the path of modern computing and communication. From mainframes to iPhones, from the Arpanet to WiFi, innovation has been as American as Norman Rockwell.

And for more than a generation, the hub of innovation has been Silicon Valley, a multicultural melting pot that has supported the singular amalgam of computer-hacker ethos and entrepreneurial aggressiveness that made it the envy of the world.

Probably the most serious challenge to the Valley’s dominance came in the late 1980s from Japan, which seemed on the brink of taking command of the semiconductor and computer industries until its economy foundered.

Today, China poses a very different kind of challenge. While Japan’s economy has long been driven by exports, China will soon have the world’s largest domestic market for both Internet commerce and computing.

The world took notice of Chinese technological prowess in late 2010, when a Chinese supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A, briefly became the world’s fastest. Though it was made from American processors and was soon surpassed by a Japanese machine, it was still indisputable evidence that the Chinese had achieved world-class computing designs.

Then, this October, another Chinese supercomputer, the Sunway Bluelight MPP, broke the petaflop barrier–a quadrillion calculations per second–putting it among the world’s 20 fastest computers.

This machine proved even more surprising in the West. Not only was it based on a Chinese-made microprocessor, but it also achieved a significant advance in low-power operation. That might indicate the Chinese now have a significant lead in “performance per watt”–a measure of energy-efficient computing that will prove crucial to reaching the next generation of so-called exascale supercomputers, which are computers that will be a thousand times faster than the world’s fastest today, and which are scheduled to arrive by the end of this decade.

“This is what Chinese companies need to do,” said Hu Weiwu, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences who is the chief designer of another Chinese family of microprocessor chips. “We can send a spaceship to space. We can design high-performance computers.”

American officials agree, saying the Chinese government’s investment in supercomputing is paying off.

“The overall point of all of this is that the Chinese understand the importance of high-performance computing,” said Donna Crawford, the associate director of computation at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “They are executing on the plan as a key enabler for their whole society.”

Last year, in an interview that would have been seen as extraordinary if the remarks had been made by a United States president, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao committed China to creating an “Internet of things.”

Connecting homes and smart power grids has been a driving principle behind the next-generation Internet in the United States. And it goes hand in hand with “ubiquitous computing,” the idea that computing power transforms everyday devices like smartphones and digital music players.

But China’s efforts at dominance are hardly without obstacles. The country has fallen far short on a decade-long commitment to build the world’s leading semiconductor industry, and it still imports a vast majority of microchips for the products it assembles. Its best chip factories are two to three generations behind world leaders like Intel, in the United States, and T.S.M.C., in Taiwan.

At the same time, there is a consensus that China’s entrepreneurs have a workaholic culture that is unmatched anywhere in the world.

“What I found in doing five startups in China is the culture makes Silicon Valley look laid-back and slow,” said Tom Melcher, an entrepreneur who left California a decade ago to move to Beijing. “In Beijing, if you want to find a chief executive at 7:30 p.m. on a Friday, it’s guaranteed you will find him at the office.”

Not every China specialist buys such comparisons.

“When we look at China through the lens of American decline, we see the Chinese ascendancy, we see the modern skylines and the fastest computers and the new airports, and we see an invincible force building,” said Orville Schell, director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society. “Through Chinese eyes it looks tremendously uncertain and provisional. They are not filled with self-confidence.”