The Defense Ministry of the People’s Republic of China would like to wish you a happy new year – and welcome you into a new era. China’s first known stealth aircraft (maybe) appeared across the Web over the past week or so in a series of pictures depicting what appear to be high-speed taxi tests at Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute’s airfield.
The strangely named Dalu Rebot Restaurant, in the northeastern Chinese city of Jinan, is a 100-seat hotpot restaurant with a very peculiar staffing choice: It features two robot receptionists and six robot waiters who wheel around drinks and food on large indoor pedal-driven carts.
It’s no secret that China is beating up on America and the West in everything from infrastructure to technology investment, but news of exactly what the People’s Republic is up to is often scarce. So while the diplomatic establishment continues to reel from the stink of its own dirty laundry in last week’s Wikileaks document dump, cables coming from the American Embassy in Beijing are also shedding light on the strides Chinese scientists are making in far-out fields like nuclear fission, biometrics, and even quantum teleportation.
For about 18 minutes in April, a Chinese telecommunications company hijacked 15 percent of the Internet, redirecting U.S. government and military traffic through Chinese servers. The misdirection affected NASA, all four branches of the military, the office of the Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Senate.
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the world’s two premier builders of large commercial jets. An Airbus A380, the new crown jewel in Airbus’s fleet, suffered an engine explosion after taking off from Singapore earlier this month, forcing a harrowing emergency landing.
Rare earth minerals – those 17 valuable elements with myriad industrial, commercial, and military applications – have been the subject of a lot of hand wringing lately. They’re in short supply (at least in processed form), and with the exception of China no nation in the world can readily mine them from the Earth and process them in large quantities.
In the midst of what’s been shaping up as an undeclared rare earths standoff between China and some of it’s biggest customers in Japan and the West, Vietnamese and Japanese leaders have decided to collaborate in the exploitation of northern Vietnam’s rare earth elements. The deal was hammered out between the two nations’ prime ministers during a meeting on Sunday.
Never a part of the world to let common sense stand in the way of a good vending machine, China has now invented a machine that, for the equivalent of a couple of dollars, pops out a live crab. The Shanghai hairy crabs, prized for their roe and sweet meat, are stored in the crab-o-mat at a near-freezing temperature, which keeps them alive but in a motionless state of hibernation. If your crab is dead when it comes out of the machine, you get three more crabs for free, guaranteed!
It was disconcerting last month when industry officials reported that China had halted shipments of rare earth elements to Japan. Now, if reports in the New York Times are true, it seems the secret embargo has widened to include the U.S. and Europe. Anonymous officials claim that Chinese customs officials quietly imposed the export restrictions on Monday morning, just hours after a top Chinese trade official denounced U.S. trade actions.
China has never been particularly apologetic about its contribution to the looming threat of space debris, but authorities might finally have to offer up some kind of conciliatory “sorry we nearly bombed your village with huge chunks of used rocket.” Last night residents of two separate villages in Jiangxi, China, awoke to very large pieces of the lunar probe Chang’e II’s launch rocket falling back to Earth around them.
China launched its second moon-bound rocket Friday, laying a foundation for a possible unmanned moon landing by 2013. With the launch of Chang’e-2, China aims to solidify its spot among the moon-faring nations, with the eventual goal of a manned landing.
China, already outpacing the U.S., Japan and many European countries in the expansion of their railway system, has begun testing an even faster high-speed train, clocking in at 258.86 miles per hour during a trial run on Tuesday.
The new train will operate between Shanghai and Hangzhou, the capital of East China’s Zhejiang province, and is expected to start regular service next month October.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.