Tag: China

China Are Using Facial Recognition AI That Can Scan The Country’s Entire Population In A Second

Across China, facial-recognition technology that can scan the country’s entire population is being put to use. In some cases, the technology can perform the task in just one second.

Sixteen cities, municipalities, and provinces are using a frighteningly fast surveillance system that has an accuracy rate of 99.8%, Global Times reported over the weekend.

The system is fast enough to scan China’s population in just one second, and it takes two seconds to scan the world’s population,” the Times reported, citing local Chinese newspaper Worker’s Daily.

The system is part of Skynet, a nationwide monitoring program launched in 2005 to increase the use and capabilities of surveillance cameras.




According to developers, this particular system works regardless of angle or lighting condition and over the last two years has led to the arrest of more than 2,000 people.

The use of facial-recognition technology is soaring in China where it is being used to increase efficiencies and improve policing.

Cameras are used to catch jaywalkers, find fugitives, track people’s regular hangouts, and even predict crime before it happens.

Currently, there are 170 million surveillance cameras in China and, by 2020, the country hopes to have 570 million — that’s nearly one camera for every two citizens.

Facial recognition technology is just a small part of the artificial intelligence industry that China wants to pioneer.

According to a report by CB Insights, five times as many AI patents were applied for in China than the US in 2017.

And, for the first time, China’s AI scene gained more investment than that of the US last year. Of every available dollar going to AI startups around the world, nearly half went to companies in China.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

Strange Jellyfish-Like ‘Blobs’ Found In 600 Million Year Old Rocks In China Are Earliest Animals Ever Found

Strange “blobs” found in China could be evidence of the first animals that ever existed, experts say. Fossil evidence of the ancient creatures, which resemble jelly fish, was discovered in 600 million-year-old rocks.

The previously unknown animal doesn’t have a name yet but microscopic analysis showed similar features to comb jellies – including tentacles and mucous layers.

The carnivorous comb jelly species still exist today, feeding on small marine organisms.

The oldest animal to have ever lived was previously thought to be the Dickinsonia, an organism called an ediacaran, which lived 541 million years ago.

The origin and earliest evolution of animals is a fascinating question that has puzzled scientists for many decades,” said Dr Zhenbing She at the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, who led the team behind the discovery.

Dr She’s team found fossils measuring around 0.7 millimetres across in a drill core taken from the Doushantuo Formation in China.

The discovery of the jellyfish – revealed in a report by Graham Lawton in New Scientist – existed more than 40 million years earlier than the Dickinsonia, researchers claim.

If the fossil is an ancient relative of a comb jelly, this would suggest that it was part of of a larger food web and a complex ecosystem.

Microscopic analysis of the rocks revealed what appear to be tentacles, muscle tissue, nerve cells, gonads, mucous layers and clusters of hairlike-structures.




Fossils dating as far back as 631 million years ago have already been found in these beds, but scientists have not been able to determine exactly what they are.

They are only visible through microscopes and may just be cells from algae or developing animal embryos.

Dr She said that the fossils’ features are similar to the comb jelly Ctenophora because the fossil’s hair clusters look like structures called ctenes that comb jellies use to swim.

The fossils most closely resemble the living genus of comb jellies called Pleurobrachia, or sea gooseberries.

If the new fossils are comb jellies, then it opens the door for more discoveries as the majority of comb jellies today feed on small marine species.

If the fossil was also a carnivore, it must have fed on other species which are yet to be revealed.

There are many other creatures in the deposit, but we are not sure what they are,” Dr. She added.

The 558-million-year-old Dickinsonia, which was discovered last year, was described as a combination of a jellyfish, a worm, a fungus and a lichen.

The oval-shaped lifeform existed at least 20 million years before the “Cambrian explosion” of animal life, according to the research.

The Cambrian explosion took place about 540 million years ago and saw the emergence of modern-looking animals such as snails, bivalves and arthropods.

Please like, share and tweet this articles.

Pass it on: New Scientist

The World’s First CRISPR Gene-Edited Babies Have Been Declared Illegal By China

Chinese authorities have declared the work of He Jiankui, who shocked the scientific community by claiming he successfully created the world’s first gene-edited babies, an illegal decision in pursuit of “personal fame and gain.

Investigators have completed preliminary steps in a probe that began in November following He’s claims and say they will “seriously” punish the researcher for violations of the law, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported on Monday.

He, who taught at Shenzhen’s Southern University of Science and Technology, had led a team to research the gene-editing technique CRISPR since mid-2016 in attempts to treat cancers and other diseases.

The incident drew significant attention to the professor’s own biotech startups that are backed by local and overseas investors.

The official probe shows that He fabricated ethics approvals which he used to recruit eight couples to participate in clinical procedures between March 2017 and November 2018.




The attempt led to two pregnancies, including one that resulted in the birth of twins and the other embryo yet to be born. Five couples failed to achieve fertilization and one pair dropped out of the experiment.

He’s project has sparked a wave of criticism among scientists across the world. CRISPR is still dangerously unethical at this point for it may cause serious genetic damage.

He Jiankui at the Human Genome Editing Conference in Hong Kong

Some researchers have proposed a moratorium on CRISPR until more guidelines become clear while others call for developing safer and more ethical methods to propel the technology forward.

Many countries, including the United States and China, prohibit gene-editing of human embryos for reproductive purposes.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

China’s First Plants to Grow on the Moon Are Already Dead

One day after China announced it grew the first plants on the Moon, the fledgling plants have been pronounced dead. Rest in peace, lunar sprouts.

On Tuesday, China’s space program said that cotton seeds had germinated in a biosphere carried to the Moon by the nation’s Chang’e-4 lunar lander.

By Wednesday, mission leads had broken the news that the plants perished as the lunar night fell over the probe’s landing site.

The Sunday arrival of the lunar night, which lasts 14 days, deprived the plants of sunlight. During a lunar night, temperatures can plummet as low as −170°C (−274°F).

Meanwhile, daytime temperatures on the Moon can reach a sweltering 127°C (260°F). These massive fluctuations are one of the main obstacles encountered by lunar explorers.

The remaining seeds and fruit fly eggs contained in the mission’s biosphere are not likely to be viable after two weeks of light deprivation and freezing temperatures.




According to China’s National Space Administration, they will decompose and remain sealed to avoid contaminating the lunar surface.

Chang’e-4 went into sleep mode on Sunday to prepare for the harsh night. The lander will rely on a radioisotope heat unit (RHU) to stay warm until sunlight returns in late January.

The mission’s rover Yutu 2, which rolled off a ramp to the lunar surface on January 3, is also dependent on an RHU during the cold spell.

Chang’e-4 is the first spacecraft ever to land on the far side of the Moon, which is commonly mistaken for the “dark” side of the Moon.

Though the far side is always angled away from Earth, it is not always angled away from the Sun. Both lunar faces experience roughly 14 days of daylight and 14 days of darkness in a regular lunar cycle.

Chang-e-4’s biosphere may have only survived for a brief week, but it still made history as the first garden planted at the surface of an alien world.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

China Makes Historic First Landing on Mysterious Far Side of the Moon

Humanity just planted its flag on the far side of the moon.

China’s robotic Chang’e 4 mission touched down on the floor of the 115-mile-wide (186 kilometers) Von Kármán Crater Wednesday night (Jan. 2), pulling off the first-ever soft landing on the mysterious lunar far side.

Chang’e 4 will perform a variety of science work over the coming months, potentially helping scientists better understand the structure, formation and evolution of Earth’s natural satellite.

But the symbolic pull of the mission will resonate more with the masses: The list of unexplored locales in our solar system just got a little shorter.




The epic touchdown—which took place at 9:26 p.m. EST (0226 GMT and 10:26 a.m. Beijing time on Jan. 3), according to Chinese space officials—followed closely on the heels of two big NASA spaceflight milestones.

On Dec. 31, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft entered orbit around the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, and the New Horizons probe zoomed past the distant object Ultima Thule just after midnight on Jan. 1.

Congratulations to China’s Chang’e 4 team for what appears to be a successful landing on the far side of the moon. This is a first for humanity and an impressive accomplishment!”

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said via Twitter Wednesday night, after word of the milestone began circulating on social media.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

China Moves Further Towards Cashless Society

If you’re planning on visiting the cashless society of China anytime soon, you better make sure all of your physical currency is left behind.

Wallets in most of the country have gone digital, and the rapid growth of digital payments and currency is exploding at a rapid pace.

The country has harnessed the power of mobile payments and wallets, leading it to become a mobile-first market. In fact, mobile payment transactions in China added up to more than $12.8 trillion in 2017.

When it comes to the ever-evolving FinTech and mobile payments industries, the rest of the world can look to China for adopting strategies that will help move economies of other countries towards a cashless society.

China’s Cashless Society Journey

Much of China’s growth is attributed not just to their rapid urbanization, but ultimately the government’s push to replace cash with electronic payments.

Because of this and other factors, the country is much further ahead than the United States when it comes to mobile wallets and digital currency.

One big example of this? QR codes. Where QR codes have failed to gain popularity in the U.S., they are used all throughout China to purchase goods and send money between persons.




Their speed and ease of use are widely accepted and appreciated by merchants and consumers alike.

Throughout the country, 40 percent of the population carries “almost no cash”, which is just another nod towards the popularization of mobile payments.

In addition to seemingly becoming a cashless society, China also appears to be becoming a cardless society.

Third party payment channels such as Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are further progressing FinTech and the mobile industry, with more than 70 percent of all e-commerce transactions occurring via mobile payments.

Is There a Future for Non-Cashless Societies?

Compared to most traditional payment methods, digital and mobile payment options like Apple Pay, Venmo, Zelle or Paypal are generally faster and more secure.

 

And with more consumers moving towards digital wallets, it’s clear the way they choose to pay has changed drastically in the last decade.

Each step the FinTech and payments industry takes forward, the further away societies around the world get from cash as a main currency.

Cash and its role in global economies is shrinking, largely thanks to advancements and evolution in the financial industry and in payment and currency technologies.

However, as discussed earlier, cash still plays an important role in several countries — even in the U.S. It is still valued, especially for its convenience in P2P transfers and small-value transactions.

While cash still has a place in economies around the world, it is ultimately declining, especially given the rapid rise and growth of digital currency and payment technology and its accessibility.

Please like, share and this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

First Photo Show China’s Lunar Rover Set Out Across The Far Side of The Moon

China’s far-side moon rover is already busy exploring its exotic new home.

On Wednesday night (Jan. 2), the Chang’e 4 rover and its stationary-lander companion pulled off the first-ever soft touchdown on the lunar far side, coming to a rest inside the 115-mile-wide (186 kilometers) Von Kármán Crater.

The six-wheeled rover, known as Yutu 2, isn’t pausing to catch its breath, as a newly released photo shows.

Yutu 2 has already put a fair bit of space between itself and the lander, trundling over near the rim of a small crater on the floor of Von Kármán, which itself lies within an even larger impact feature — the 1,550-mile-wide (2,500 km) South Pole-Aitken Basin.

Both Yutu 2 and the lander sport four science instruments, which they’ll use to study the surrounding dirt and rocks and probe the far side’s subsurface.




Such observations could help scientists better understand the moon’s composition, structure and evolution, Chinese space officials have said.

Chang’e 4’s images and data come home via a relay satellite called Queqiao, which is parked at a gravitationally stable spot beyond the moon.

Queqiao, which launched in May 2018, is collecting some data of its own. The spacecraft totes an astronomy instrument, and it has sent home striking images of the moon and Earth from its unique vantage point in space.

The solar-powered Yutu 2 is designed to operate for at least three months on the lunar surface. The original Yutu was also a moon rover, which landed on the near side in December 2013 as part of China’s Chang’e 3 mission.

Chang’e 1 and Chang’e 2 were moon orbiters that launched in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Chang’e 5, which could launch as early as this year, will aim to bring moon rocks and dirt down to Earth.

The most recent such lunar sample-return flight was achieved in 1976, by the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

All Four Last Tuesday Rocket Launches Postponed

If you’re a space fan, Christmas comes a week early this year. There are four — count ’em, four! — launches scheduled to take place last Tuesday (Dec. 18), and you can watch them all live.

The action begins in the morning with a one-two punch. At 9:34 a.m. EST (1434 GMT), SpaceX plans to launch a next-generation GPS satellite for the U.S. Air Force from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Nineteen minutes later, at 9:30 a.m. EST (1430 GMT), Blue Origin’s suborbital New Shepard capsule will take to the skies from West Texas on the 10th uncrewed test flight of the reusable vehicle.

You can watch both missions live here at Space.com, or directly via SpaceX and Blue Origin.

Then, at 11:37 a.m. EST (1637 GMT), an Arianespace Soyuz rocket will loft a spy satellite for the French military called CSO-1. You can watch that liftoff, which will take place from Kourou, French Guiana, at Arianespace’s website.

Another spysat launch will wrap things up tonight. A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the classified NROL-71 spacecraft for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 8:57 p.m. EST (5:57 p.m. local California time; 0157 GMT on Dec. 19).




You can watch that one live on Space.com as well, or directly via ULA (though it appears the weather may not cooperate for an on-time liftoff).

There will be another flurry of spaceflight activity around the new year. NASA’s asteroid-sampling OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which has been flying along with the space rock Bennu since Dec. 3, will slip into orbit around that object on Dec. 31.

Just hours later, NASA’s New Horizons probe will zoom past the small, distant object Ultima Thule, which lies about 1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto.

That dwarf planet was New Horizons’ first flyby target, you probably recall; the spacecraft cruised past Pluto in July 2015, returning stunning images of water-ice mountains, vast plains of nitrogen ice and other dramatic landscapes.

And sometime in the first few days of January, China’s Chang’e 4 mission will drop onto the far side of the moon, if all goes according to plan.

Chang’e 4, which launched on Dec. 7, consists of a lander and rover, which will touch down within the huge South Pole-Aitken Basin. No probe has ever touched down on the lunar far side, which always faces away from Earth.

Update for Dec. 19: After all four launches scheduled for Tuesday were delayed, SpaceX and Blue Origin have again postponed their launches. Arianespace and United Launch Alliance are on track for a Dec. 19 launch, while the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched its GSAT-7A communications satellite into orbit.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science

China Launches Lunar Rover To Far Side Of The Moon

China is poised to become the first country to explore the far side of the moon with the launch of a lunar rover Saturday, another step to its goal of becoming a space superpower.

The Chang’e 4 lunar mission lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the Sichuan province in the early morning, confirmed by the Twitter account of the country’s state-run Xinhua news agency.

It’s expected to land in early January after 26 days of flight, said China’s Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

The lander will conduct the first lunar low-frequency radio astronomy experiment, observe whether plants will grow in the low-gravity environment, and explore whether there is water or other resources at the poles.

Another function of the mission is to study the interaction between solar winds and the moon surface using a new rover.




Since the far side of the moon is shielded from electromagnetic interference from the Earth, it’s an ideal place to research the space environment and solar bursts, and the probe can ‘listen’ to the deeper reaches of the cosmos,” said Tongjie Liu, deputy director of the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center for the China National Space Administration.

Because the far side of the moon is free from interference from radio frequencies, the mission requires a relay satellite to transmit signals that was launched into place this year.

The Chang’e 4 rover is 1.5 meters (5 feet) long and about 1 meter (3.3 feet) wide and tall, with two foldable solar panels and six wheels.

China is anxious to get into the record books with its space achievements,” said Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor at the US Naval War College and an expert on China’s space program.

Beijing plans to launch its first Mars probe around 2020 to carry out orbital and rover exploration, followed by a mission that would include collection of surface samples from the Red Planet.

In comparison, despite its recent success in sending a robotic lander to Mars, the US space agency NASA has faced years of budgetary constraints.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist

According To A Chinese Scientist, World’s First Gene-Edited Babies Have Arrived

An embryo being given CRISPR machinery

A Chinese scientist has reported he’s created the world’s first gene-edited babies, an announcement that’s shocked the scientific community because it defies an unofficial international moratorium on editing human embryos intended for a pregnancy.

He Jiankui, a professor at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, is claiming to have used the revolutionary gene editing technology CRISPR to tweak the DNA of human embryos during in-vitro fertilization, resulting in the birth of twin girls several weeks ago.

The objective, He said, was to remove a gene called CCR5 so the girls might be resistant to potential infection with HIV/AIDS.

If the experiment’s results are confirmed by independent scientists, He would be the first scientist known to use CRISPR to edit human embryos resulting in a live birth.




He’s experiment, first reported by the MIT Technology Review and the AP on Sunday, has not been published in a scientific journal and the data have not been peer-reviewed.

He shared his findings with the media on Monday just before the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, and would not reveal the names of the parents or babies involved.

Researchers were calling for a “take it slow” approach on CRISPR in humans

The last several years in science have unleashed the CRISPR revolution. CRISPR-Cas9 — or CRISPR, as it’s known — is a tool that allows researchers to control which genes get expressed in plants, animals, and even humans; to delete undesirable traits and, potentially, add desirable traits; and to do all this more quickly, and with more precision, than ever before.

Even more fantastically, it’s at least theoretically possible to use CRISPR to hack the human species — to modify the genome to create resistance to or completely eliminate — chronic or infectious diseases.

He Jiankui says two babies have been born as a result of his CRISPR experiment

But just because we may have the power to do something doesn’t mean we should.

And talking about what scientists should do with CRISPR was the point of the international summit at the National Academy of Sciences in 2015.

There, scientists from around the world met to discuss how society should proceed with this technology.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: New Scientist