Tag: China

800-Year-Old ‘Made In China’ Label Reveals The Lost History Of An Ancient Shipwreck

An 800-year-old ‘Made in China’ label has revealed the lost history of a shipwreck and its cargo.

The ship sank in the Java Sea, off the coast of Indonesia, hundreds of years ago, and the wooden hull disintegrated over time, leaving only a treasure trove of cargo.

The mystery ship had been carrying thousands of ceramics and luxury goods for trade, and they remained on the ocean floor until the 1980s when the wreck was discovered by fishermen.

Since then, archaeologists have been studying artifacts retrieved from the shipwreck to piece together where the ship was from and when it departed.

And findings published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, reveal how the equivalent of a ‘Made in China’ label on a piece of pottery helped researchers reevaluate when the ship went down and how it fits in with China’s history.

Study lead author Doctor Lisa Niziolek, an archaeologist at the Field Museum in Chicago, said: “Initial investigations in the 1990s dated the shipwreck to the mid- to late 13th Century, but we’ve found evidence that it’s probably a century older than that.




Eight hundred years ago, someone put a label on these ceramics that essentially says ‘Made in China’ – because of the particular place mentioned, we’re able to date this shipwreck better.

The ship was carrying ceramics marked with an inscription that might indicate they were made in Jianning Fu, a government district in China.

But after the invasion of the Mongols around 1278, the area was reclassified as Jianning Lu.

The slight change in the name tipped Dr Niziolek and her colleagues off that the shipwreck may have occurred earlier than the late 1200s, as early as 1162.

Dr Niziolek noted that the likelihood of a ship in the later “Jianning Lu” days carrying old pottery with the outdated name is slim.

She said: “There were probably about a hundred thousand pieces of ceramics onboard.

It seems unlikely a merchant would have paid to store those for long prior to shipment – they were probably made not long before the ship sank.

The ship was also carrying elephant tusks for use in medicine or art and sweet-smelling resin for use in incense or for caulking ships.

Dr Niziolek said both the tusks and the resin were critical to re-dating the wreck.

The resins and the tusks come from living things, and all living things contain carbon. A type of carbon atom called C-14 is unstable and decays relatively steadily over time.

Scientists can use the amount of C-14 in a sample to determine how old it is.

The analysis, known as radiocarbon dating, had been done decades ago and pointed to the shipwreck being about 700 to 750-years-old.

But Dr Niziolek said analytical techniques have improved, and the scientists wanted to see if the date held.

The amount of decayed carbon found in the resins and tusks revealed that the cargo was older than previously thought.

When taken together with the place name inscribed on the ceramics, stylistic analysis of ceramics from known time periods, and input from experts overseas, the researchers concluded that the shipwreck was indeed older than previously thought -somewhere in the region of 800 years old.

Dr Niziolek said: “When we got the results back and learned that the resin and tusk samples were older than previously thought, we were excited.

We had suspected that based on inscriptions on the ceramics and conversations with colleagues in China and Japan, and it was great to have all these different types of data coming together to support it.”

She said the fact that the shipwreck happened 800 years ago instead of 700 years ago is a big deal for archaeologists.

Dr Niziolek said: “This was a time when Chinese merchants became more active in maritime trade, more reliant upon oversea routes than on the overland Silk Road.

“The shipwreck occurred at a time of important transition.”

She added: “The salvage company Pacific Sea Resources recovered these artifacts in the 1990s, and they donated them to the Field Museum for education and research.

There’s often a stigma around doing research with artifacts salvaged by commercial companies, but we’ve given this collection a home and have been able to do all this research with it.

It’s really great that we’re able to use new technology to re-examine really old materials. These collections have a lot of stories to tell and should not be entirely discounted.

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China’s Space Station Will Most Likely Plunge To Earth In Next 24 Hours

It sure looks like the abandoned Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will put on its re-entry light show tonight.

The European Space Agency (ESA), which has been tracking the prototype habitat through its final days and hours, now predicts (as of April 1) it will re-enter the atmosphere sometime tonight (April 1) through early Monday morning (April 2) in UTC time, which is 4 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

The Aerospace Corporation, which has also been tracking the falling station, more or less concurs, writing that the uncontrolled re-entry should happen around April 2 at 02:00 UTC (10 p.m. EDT), give or take 7 hours.

It remains true that no one knows where the 9.4-ton (8.5 metric tons) station will come down, other than somewhere between 43 degrees latitude north and 43 degrees latitude south.




It also remains true that it is not a danger to you or anyone else, because the Earth is very big and still mostly pretty empty, and the station is very small in the scheme of things.

And the odds of getting hit by a piece of the space lab that manages to survive the fiery re-entry into our atmosphere are incredibly low.

Worth noting: China has still not officially confirmed that it’s not in control of the falling station, but China did lose contact with the uncrewed object on March 21, 2016, and likely has not re-established contact since.

In any event, there’s a non-zero chance that you’ll witness something extraordinary if you look up into the sky this weekend.

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China’s New Stealth Fighter Is Finally Combat-Ready

China’s long-anticipated J-20 stealth fighter aircraft have arrived … kind of.

In a post on the state outlet Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese government announced that the fighter jet — created to counter the capabilities of the American F-22 Raptor — has entered service in the People’s Liberation Army with “comprehensive combat capabilities.”

The J-20, like the F-22 Raptor, uses a specially-shaped airframe and advanced materials to minimize its radar signature — making it hard for enemies to detect by conventional means.

The advanced aircraft has long been the subject of intense speculation, with details about its design and technology trickling out in dribs and drabs.

While the J-20 is operational, it doesn’t yet have the capabilities to match its American counterparts, the South China Morning Post, a major Hong Kong newspaper, reported.




Two military sources told the Post that the J-20s in service aren’t equipped with the WS-15 engines they were built to fly with.

According to the Post’s reporting, a WS-15 engine exploded in 2015 during a ground test, indicating quality-control issues with the single-crystal turbine blades necessary for the powerful turbofan engine.

The operational J-20s, the Post reported, are instead equipped with less powerful, modified WS-10B engines designed for the previous-generation Chinese fighters, the J-10s and J-11s.

And even with enhancements for use in the J-20, they aren’t powerful enough to enable the J-20s to “supercruise” like U.S. stealth fighters.

Only two other countries, the U.S. and Russia, build “fifth-generation fighters” like the J-20.

The U.S. has the F-22 Raptor as well as the uber-expensive, slow-to-arrive F-35. Russia flies the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA stealth fighter. India and Japan also have fifth-generation fighters in development.

The exact definition of “fifth generation” is a bit vague.

But public documents from China Power, an American project geared toward researching Chinese power suggest that fifth-gen aircraft are stealthy even when armed, can cruise at supersonic speeds and involve advanced computing, sensors and electronics.

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China’s Tiangong-1 Space Station Will Fall From The Sky Within Weeks

China’s first space station is expected to come crashing down to Earth within weeks, but scientists have not been able to predict where the 8.5-tonne module will hit.

The US-funded Aerospace Corporation estimates Tiangong-1 will re-enter the atmosphere during the first week of April, give or take a week.

The European Space Agency says the module will come down between 24 March and 19 April.

In 2016 China admitted it had lost control of Tiangong-1 and would be unable to perform a controlled re-entry.

The statement from Aerospace said there was “a chance that a small amount of debris” from the module will survive re-entry and hit the Earth.




Aerospace warned that the space station might be carrying a highly toxic and corrosive fuel called hydrazine on board.

The report includes a map showing the module is expected to re-enter somewhere between 43° north and 43° south latitudes.

The chances of re-entry are slightly higher in northern China, the Middle East, central Italy, northern Spain and the northern states of the US, New Zealand, Tasmania, parts of South America and southern Africa.

However, Aerospace insisted the chance of debris hitting anyone living in these nations was tiny.

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China Announces Plan For Hypersonic Jet That Can Reach New York From Beijing In Two Hours

A team of Chinese researchers has claimed to have designed a hypersonic jet that could travel at 6,000km/h, five times faster than the speed of sound.

The team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences said the plane would be able to transport passengers and cargo from Beijing to New York in two hours – the journey currently takes an average of 13 and a half hours.

Cui Kai, who headed up the research, published a paper on the new design in this month’s Physics, Mechanics and Astronomy journal, in which he said: “It will take only a couple of hours to travel from Beijing to New York at hypersonic speed”.




The team said they had tested a scaled-down model of the jet in a wind tunnel, and that it reached speeds of 8,600km/h with low drag and high lift. To compare, Concorde’s top speed was 2,179km/h.

The design, dubbed the I Plane, features two layers of wings to reduce turbulence and drag while creating more lift.

Talk of hypersonic travel has been ramping up of late. “It’s certainly within the realm of possibility,” Dr Kevin Bowcutt, senior technical fellow and chief scientist of hypersonics for Boeing Research and Technology, told NBC last month.

I think we have the technology now where we could actually do it.

Boeing has dipped its toe in the water with its X-51A WaveRider, and it is now reportedly working with Lockheed Martin to develop a jet-powered hypersonic aircraft – although both are keeping schtum about the design.

Supersonic commercial planes – those that travel faster than 1,236km/h, the speed of sound – are likely to be the precursor to hypersonic jets.

Boom Supersonic, for example, plans to produce passenger aircraft that can travel at MACH 2.2, or 2,335km/h, that will enter service in 2023.

These jets could carry 50 passengers, flying from New York to London in three hours and 15 minutes. But it won’t come cheap; fares are expected to cost $2,500 one way.

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The Right Tech To Propel Yourself Out Of Bed In Record Time

Earlier this year, China’s Sleepace successfully crowdfunded and shipped a 2 mm thick smart strap that lays on the bed and monitors a user’s sleep time, heart rate and breathing, body movement and sleep cycles.

The RestOn then sends the collected data to a companion app running on a Bluetooth-paired smartphone for analysis.

Now the company has added a smart light to the system called the Nox, which works in conjunction with the RestOn to help monitor, track and improve sleep quality.

The new Nox Smart Sleep System is made up of three parts.




There’s a RestOn smart band that’s slipped between the mattress and top sheet, the Nox light that’s plugged into a wall outlet and placed on a bedside table, and the Sleepace app running on a user’s smartphone.

The RestOn and the Nox both transmit data to the app via Bluetooth. The Nox uses a combination of light and sound to ease a user into a restful sleep.

The light part of the equation makes use of red wavelengths, which the company says can raise the secretion of melatonin, a naturally-occurring hormone that’s used medically in the treatment of some sleep problems.

The Nox also emits soothing sounds to help the would-be dreamer drift into slumber. When the RestOn’s sensors detect the user has fallen asleep, the Nox light is instructed to switch off.

The Nox light hosts built-in sensors that keep track of room temperature, humidity and CO2, as well as ambient light and background noises, and the Sleepace app uses this data – together with information supplied by the RestOn smart strap – to help users understand what’s been going on during the night.

The app then makes suggestions for improving the bedroom environment to help ensure better quality sleep and healthier sleeping habits.

The Nox displays the current time or temperature under the light to the front, and includes a USB port for charging a smartphone or tablet while the user gets some shut-eye.

When it’s time to wake up, the RestOn sensors will let the Nox know when a sleeper is entering the lightest part of the sleep cycle, and the Nox will be instructed to wake up the user 30 minutes before the time set for the alarm.

Sleepace says that this ensures a user is awoken at the right time, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead.

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China’s New Space Lasers To Take Out Satellites Leaving West At Mercy Of Beijing Missiles

The lasers will take out US and European satellites from the ground killing off the Washington’s ability to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles in retaliation.

ven basic military communications may become impossible if the super-powered lasers take down key communications network satellites.

Electromagnetic railguns and high-power microwave weapons are also being developed, according to military expert Richard Fisher.

And he claims the push to produce these futuristic weapons is to neutralise US intelligence along with communication and navigation satellites.

Ground-based radars would first be used to identify enemy satellites, with precision targeting ensured by a special camera.




And a deployable membrane telescope would then focus the laser’s beam on the target, before obliterating it.

Mr Fisher said: “The Chinese government would not hesitate to use the lives of its astronauts as a shield to deceive the world about the real purpose of its space station.

“Having gained the advantage of surprise, the combat space station could begin attacks against key US satellites, thus blinding the US to the launch of new combat satellites that would attack many more US satellites.”

Military secrecy means it is difficult to know the full extent of the laser weapons programmes, which are believed to be capable of destroying enemy satellites in orbit from its position in low-Earth orbit.

But published research has provided some insight into the huge levels of government support being pumped into the development of such arms.

The idea was first proposed by researchers Gao Ming-hui, Zeng Yu-quang and Wang Zhi-hong in the journal Chinese Optics in December 2013.

They claimed anti-satellite weapons will be “very important” in future wars, with the space-based laser systems likely to have a substantial part to play.

It is thought the five-ton chemical laser could even be operational as soon as 2023, if the Chinese military which oversees the country’s space programme can fund the research.

Mr Fisher added: “As long as China demonstrates its willingness to exploit much of its space program for potential military missions, the US must possess options for at least neutralising potential threats, preferably short of threatening lives.”

The news comes just a day after it was revealed China had unveiled its latest military addition to the People’s Liberation Army’s airforce.

The new J20 stealth fighter jets are so advanced, they make Britain’s new US-built F35s look antique in comparison.

The futuristic Chinese aircraft have longer range, more internal fuel capacity and a larger weapons capacity – and equipped with unique WS-15 turbo engines capable of reaching supersonic speeds.

While the F-35’s top speed is 1199mph, the J-20s is a hefty 1,305mph.

However when fully operational the F-35 may offer significant advantage in terms of manoeuvrability as questions hang over the Chinese plane’s air-to-air capability.

The F-35 can also land vertically – meaning it can be used in many more theatres of operations.

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China Appears To Have Rushed Its J-20 Stealth Fighter Into Service

Chinese state media announced on Friday that the Chengdu J-20 stealth jet had officially entered into service as a combat-ready platform— but inside sources say it’s a long way from fighting fit and has an embarrassing flaw.

Citing military sources with knowledge of the J-20’s development, the South China Morning Post reported that the jets that entered service didn’t feature the engines China custom-built for the platform but used older ones instead.

The result is an underpowered, less stealthy jet that can’t cruise at supersonic speeds and is therefore not a true fifth-generation fighter.




The Posts’ sources pinned the jet’s troubles on a test in 2015 in which the custom-built engine, the WS-15, exploded — something they attributed to China’s inability to consistently build engines that can handle the extreme heat of jet propulsion.

It’s so embarrassing to change engines for such an important aircraft project several times … just because of the unreliability of the current WS-15 engines,” one of the sources told the Post.

It is the long-standing core problem among home-grown aircraft.

How old engines make the J-20 fight like an old fighter

The older engine, the WS-10B, is basically the same kind used in the J-11 and J-10 fighters in 1998 and 2002.

Without the new engines, the J-20 can’t supercruise, or fly faster than the speed of sound without igniting its afterburners, like the US’s F-22 and F-35 can.

Experts have assessed that the goal of the J-20 platform is to launch long-range missiles at supersonic speeds, but they won’t perform as well if they can’t fire at such speeds, Bronk said.

The major drawback from not having the ability to supercruise in this case would be having to choose between using a great deal of fuel to go supersonic or stay subsonic and accept shorter effective range from the fighter’s missiles and an inferior energy position compared to a supercruising opponent,” he said.

A senior scientist working on stealth aircraft who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of their work previously told Business Insider that the J-20’s design had a decent stealth profile from the front angle but could be exposed from others.

According to Bronk, the older engines may exacerbate that problem.

A US Air Force affiliate researching the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force told Business Insider that an analysis of imagery suggested the service’s 9th Brigade traded its Russian-made Su-30s for J-20s, but they disputed whether the jet was operational in the way Western militaries use the word

The researcher said that even for planes that aren’t stealth and as radically different as the J-20, that could take up to a year, adding that the new WS-15 engines most likely won’t be added until 2020.

So while China claims it has become the only nation other than the US to field a fifth-generation stealth jet, at the moment it looks as if it’s hardly stealth, hardly fifth-generation, and a long way from the field.

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The Chinese Military’s Next Generation: Exoskeletons

 

When looking at advances in technology, the hope is it will be used in non-violent or destructive ways; in other words, not for military use.

Unfortunately, thinking along these lines are unrealistic and with the current climate we are living in, the military will gladly accept anything with technology that can protect soldiers from harm, cause ultimate damage on the enemy and protect civilians from any kind of a missile attack.

Recently, an article described such an advance in military technology as China is working right now on a new generation of military exoskeletons.

Reportedly, they are moving closer to having Iron Man-like capabilities.




Writers Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer posted an article that looks at how China is working on advancing their technology when it comes to military exoskeleton’s.

Their latest powered exoskeleton is able to transport roughly one-hundred pounds of supplies, gear and ammunition. This would increase the self-sufficiency and combat capability of the infantry for the Chinese.

What Is an Exoskeleton?

Before moving on, it is important to understand first what an exoskeleton is and why the military would want to develop one.

Known as an exosuit, powered armor, hardsuit, power armor and an exoframe; a powered exoskeleton is a wearable machine that is mobile and powered using a system of hydraulics, electric motors, pneumatic’s, levers or a combo of technologies that enable movement of limbs with added endurance and strength.

Obviously, this would allow a soldier to perform important tasks on a mission that would not have been accomplished without using one.

Norinco Manufacturer’s Second-Generation Exoskeleton

Norinco is a manufacturer that is owned by China that produces heavy ground munitions and armored vehicles. They also have created its second-generation military exoskeleton.

The debut of this new exoskeleton boasts a designed body brace that will assist members of the infantry to carry roughly one-hundred pounds of ammunition, weapons and supplies.

Norinco had previously debuted its first-generation exoskeleton back in 2015 and comparing it to their new one, it has a streamlined harness, the battery is considered better, and a more robust pneumatic and hydraulic actuator.

This new generation is said to be lighter and most likely will lower the strain felt by the wearer of the exoskeleton; this would be more beneficial for soldiers finding themselves in a mountainous terrain.

The Implications for Combat Operations

The push by China to develop powerful exoskeletons will impact almost every area involving combat operations.  Their special operators and infantry would be able to transport heavy equipment over long distances as well as individuals being able to utilize body armor.

That is, if their plans become successful.  Also, the exoskeletons would look like the Americans concepts that include the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit – none of these can yet fly like Iron Man.

While the exoskeletons would not be able to accomplish the amazing feats as seen in Iron Man comics and movies, the more practical uses for soldiers would be to help completing many support tasks, which include repairing ships, loading supplies and getting missiles onto airplanes.

Meanwhile, China’s next generation of military Exoskeletons are one step closer to executing feats that were once considered to be science fiction; son, they will become science fact.

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Ehang’s Passenger-Carrying Drones Look Insanely Impressive In First Test Flights

Two years ago, Chinese drone maker Ehang came to CES in Las Vegas and promised to build a completely autonomous, passenger-carrying quadcopter that would revolutionize mobility.

Many of us in the tech community chortled under our breath, wondering if such a thing was even possible, let alone advisable.

Today, the company released footage of its first piloted test flights in China — and color us impressed: this thing is no joke.

Ehang’s engineers put the quadcopter, dubbed the Ehang 184, through a battery of tests over the last several months, and with good measure.




The company conducted over 1,000 test flights with human passengers, including a 984-foot vertical climb, a weight test carrying over 500 pounds, a routed test flight covering 9.3 miles, and a high-speed cruising test that reached 80.7 mph.

Ehang’s engineers also tested the 184 in a variety of weather conditions, including high heat, heavy fog, night tests, and during a Category 7 typhoon with gale-force winds.

Clearly, it would seem that Ehang heard our skepticism after its first announcement and it aimed to respond with supporting data.

What we’re doing isn’t an extreme sport, so the safety of each passenger always comes first,” said Ehang founder and CEO Huazhi Hu in a statement.

Now that we’ve successfully tested the Ehang 184, I’m really excited to see what the future holds for us in terms of air mobility.”

The key word there is “mobility,” as it often is with these types of ventures. Ehang wants to put its egg-shaped, multirotor aircraft in use as an air taxi, shuttling passengers across dense urban environments.

The company has said it would demonstrate this service for Dubai’s World Government Summit later this month, but a spokesperson didn’t respond whether that was still the case.

Dubai is also working with Germany’s Volocopter on a similar air taxi service. If that doesn’t work, Ehang has permission from the state of Nevada to test the Ehang 184 at its FAA-approved UAV test site.

Ehang says the 184, which is all electric, can carry a single passenger up to 10 miles or roughly 23 minutes of flight. The person in the cockpit doesn’t do any piloting; they just input their destination and enjoy the ride.

The company claims its aircraft is able to take off autonomously, fly a route, sense obstacles, and land.

And if anything goes wrong, a human pilot is supposed to step in and take over the controls from a remote command station.

Ehang sees luxury rides for rich folks as the first phase of this new market, with autonomous aircraft becoming more widely available at lower prices after fleets and flight paths have become well established, and, of course, once the cost of having a human pilot around is eliminated.

Despite its early successful test flights, Ehang says it is making improvements to the aircraft.

More emphasis will be placed on improving passenger experience and on adding an option for manual control, giving passengers with piloting experience the choice to operate the vehicle manually.

In addition, the company has already developed and tested a two-seater with a payload of up to 617 pounds (280 kilograms).

Ehang has proven that its autonomous aerial vehicle can fly, which is no small feat.

But proving that it can scale up into a full-blown aerial taxi service is an entirely different challenge and something with which a number of giant, multibillion-dollar companies are currently wrestling.

There’s a vertical take-off and landing gold rush going on right now, and Ehang clearly wants to prove itself a major player.

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