hackingbear writes: As part of an effort to control capital outflows, the Chinese central bank required bitcoin exchanges to suspend withdrawals until they could update their compliance systems. Trading on the exchanges took a big hit, but the bitcoin activity resurfaced on less formal over-the-counter venues like craigslist-like sites LocalBitcoins, or WeChat channels. Even if a government shuts down every bitcoin node in its country, a bitcoin user can still transact as long as a single node is accessible overseas. This puts regulators in a tough spot. It’s hard to control something that exists nowhere and everywhere at the same time. This is nothing new for the Chinese regulators though. For most of the last three decades, including now, the Chinese government has been trying to pop up the value of Yuan, contrary to the currency rate suppression narratives you might have heard repeatedly in the last decade, by restricting citizens from buying U.S. dollars, only seeing that the vibrant black markets reset Yuan's rate to the lower real market value. Markets can’t be regulated out of existence. The next best thing might be to let them operate in the open.
hackingbear writes: Chinese scientists may have found the key to creating effective vaccines for the world’s deadly viruses including bird flu, SARS, Ebola, and HIV. An experiment by a research team at Beijing University was hailed as “revolutionary” in the field in a paper published in the latest issue of Science magazine on Friday. The live virus used in the vaccine used by the researchers had its genetic code tweaked to disable the viral strains’ self-replication mechanism. But it was kept fully infectious to allow the host animal cells to generate immunity. Using live viruses in their fully infectious form was considered taboo, as viruses spread rapidly. Vaccines sold and used widely today generally contain either dead or weakened forms of viruses. The animals infected with virus were cured after receiving the injection, according to the paper. This breakthrough promises to simplify the process of producing vaccines, which may help scientists develop effective vaccines or even cures for various viruses – such bird flu, SARS, Ebola and HIV – within weeks of an outbreak.
hackingbear writes: According to Dr. Joe Tsien, a neuroscientist at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, the brain’s basic computational algorithm is organized by power-of-two-based logic. He and his colleagues from US and China have documented the algorithm at work in seven different brain regions involved with those basics like food and fear in mice and hamsters. “Intelligence is really about dealing with uncertainty and infinite possibilities,” he said, “It appears to be enabled when a group of similar neurons form a variety of cliques to handle each basic like recognizing food, shelter, friends and foes. Groups of cliques then cluster into functional connectivity motifs (FCMs) to handle every possibility in each of these basics. The more complex the thought, the more cliques join in.”
hackingbear writes: After launching the world's first quantum communication satellite this year, China today successfully launched the world's first pulsar-based navigation satellite which will conduct in-orbit experiments using pulsar detectors to demonstrate new technologies. The X-ray pulsar navigation satellite — XPNAV-1 — was sent skyward at 7:42 AM (local time) atop a Long March 11 solid-fuelled rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China’s northwest. China's new system is expected to be a significant improvement over the earth-based systems currently used by spacecraft as it would eliminate the time delay with sending signals back to Earth and processing.
hackingbear writes: China launched its second new rocket in the year. The Long March 5 rocket, lifted off from the Wenchang launch center on Hainan Island, off China's southern coast, at 8:43 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT; 8:43 p.m. Beijing time), carring to orbit an experimental satellite called Shijian-17, which is designed to test electric-propulsion technology. Capable of 25 metric ton payload to LEO, LM 5 is among the most powerful rockets in service. Besides scheduled launch of China's upcoming space station, the Long March 5 will also loft Chang'e-5, a robotic sample-return mission to the moon. Chang'e-5 is currently scheduled to lift off sometime next year, Chinese space officials have said.
hackingbear writes: China just successfully launched Shenzhou-11 with two astronauts abroad heading to the Tiangong-2 space lab launched last month. General Zhang Youxia, chief commander of China's human spaceflight program has declared today's launch a success. "According to the report of the Beijing Central Control Center, the rocket is flying according to its original plan, and the Shenzhou spacecraft has entered into its preliminary orbit," Zhang said. "The solar panel has been unfolded, and the crew is in great condition. Hereby, I announce the launch of the Shenzhou 11 manned spacecraft is a complete success." The two astronauts will spend upto 30 days in the space lab and then return to earth.
hackingbear writes: Contradicting to the central government's wish to boost employment from peer-to-peer economy, the Chinese cities of Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing, who have invested big interest in traditional taxi services, are all looking to pass municipal regulations on ride-hailing businesses that could wipe out many of Uber and Didi’s drivers and cars. “There will be a sharp drop in market supply of rideshare vehicles. In Shanghai, for instance, less than 20 percent of existing rideshare vehicles meet the proposed (wide) wheelbase requirements. There will be significant decrease in the number of rideshare drivers. Of over 410,000 activated driver accounts in Shanghai, only less than 10,000 are residents with Shanghai residency registration.” said Didi on its social media outlets. In China, ridesharing drivers are usually migrant workers who have few other choices of employments, and rich urban residents are not interested in such jobs. Given the sore state of economy in China, high unemployment would mean social unrest; the ridesharing economy may prevail at the end as it has become too big to be strictly regulated. Separately, the Chinese government opened an antitrust probe into Uber’s sale of its China operations to Didi in September after the announcement of the merger.
hackingbear writes: China's next space laboratory, Tiangong-2 launched from the country's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center today at 10:04 a.m. EDT (1404 GMT) on a Long March 2F carrier rocket. Like its predecessor Tiangong-1, Tiangong-2 is an orbiting space lab – but this latest model has made several improvements in the series. Among the advances: astronauts can remain on the station up to 30 days; New systems allow in orbit refueling of propellant; and 14 new experiments in a wide range of sciences including composite material fabrication, advanced-plant cultivation, gamma ray burst polarization, fluid physics, space-to-earth quantum communications. The space lab is also equipped with a cold atom space clock, that has an estimated precision of 10 to the power of minus 16 seconds, or a one-second error every 30 million years, enhancing accuracy of time-keeping in space by one to two orders of magnitudes. This exactitude will help measure previously undetectable fluctuations for experiments conducted in zero-gravity.
hackingbear writes: On the eve of Mid-Autumn Festival, some people will go to great lengths to get mooncakes, the traditional gift for family, friends and colleagues. At Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., four engineers tried to rig the distribution system of the e-commerce giant’s mooncake selloff—and were fired for their effort. Alibaba confirmed it fired the four this week, after they hacked into the internal website that allows employees to purchase the company’s signature mooncakes, with an orange fluffy Alibaba mascot inside.On Chinese social media, however, the now dismissed engineers were praised with job offers for their entrepreneurial instincts and technical competence.
hackingbear writes: The International Union for Conservation of Nature said in a report released Sunday that the panda is now classified as a "vulnerable" instead of "endangered" species, reflecting its growing numbers in the wild in southern China. It said the wild panda population jumped to 1,864 in 2014 from 1,596 in 2004, the result of work by Chinese government and agencies to enforce poaching bans and expand forest reserves. However, China itself disagrees with the reclassification. China's State Forestry Administration said that it disputed the classification change because pandas' natural habitats have been splintered by natural and human causes. The animals live in small, isolated groups of as few as 10 pandas that struggle to reproduce and face the risk of disappearing altogether, the agency said. International groups and the Chinese government have worked to save wild pandas and breed them at enormous cost, attracting criticism that the money could be better spent saving other (less cute) animals facing extinction.
hackingbear writes: Chinese high-energy physicists proposed four years ago to build a particle collider four times the size of the Large Hadron Collider in Europe. On Sunday, Dr Yang Chen-ning, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1957 and now living on campus at Tsinghua University in Beijing, released an article on WeChat opposing the construction of the collider. He said the project would become an investment “black hole” with little scientific value or benefit to society, sucking resources away from other research sectors such as life sciences and quantum physics. Yang’s article hit nearly all social media platforms and internet news portals, drawing tens of thousands of positive comments over the last couple of days. The first stage of the project was estimated to cost 40 billion yuan (US$6 billion) by 2030, and the total cost would exceed 140 billion yuan (US$21 billion) when construction is completed in 2050, making it the most expensive research facility built in China. Yang’s main argument was that China would not succeed where the United States had failed. A similar project had been proposed in the US but was eventually cancelled in 2012 as the construction far exceeded the initial budget. Yang said existing facilities including the Large Hadron Collider contributed little to the increase of human knowledge and was irrelevant to most people’s daily lives. But Dr Wang Yifang, lead scientist of the project with the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of High Energy Physics, argued research in high energy physics lead to the world wide web, mobile phone touch screens and magnetic resonance imaging in hospitals, among other technological breakthroughs.
hackingbear writes: China’s quantum network could soon span two continents, thanks to a satellite launched earlier today. Launched at 1:40pm ET, the Quantum Science Satellite is designed to distribute quantum-encrypted keys between relay stations in China and Europe. When working as planned, the result could enable unprecedented levels of security between parties on different continents. China’s new satellite would put that same fiberb-based quantum communication system to work over the air, utilizing high-speed coherent lasers to connect with base stations on two different continents. The experimental satellite’s payload also includes controllers and emitters related to quantum entanglement.
hackingbear writes: While SpaceX is making news with its recoverable rockets, China announced that it is working on the next big thing in spaceflight: a hypersonic spaceplane. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation is beginning advanced research on a high tech, more efficient successor to the retired Space Shuttle, with hybrid combined cycle engines combining turbofan, ramjet, scramjet and rocket engines, that can takeoff from an airport's landing strip and fly straight into orbit. CASTC's rapid research timeline also suggests that the reports in 2015 of a Mach 4 test flight for a recoverable drone testbed for a combined cycle ramjet/turbofan engine were accurate. And China also has the world's largest hypersonic wind tunnel, the Mach 9 JF-12, which could be used to easily test hypersonic scramjets without costly and potentially dangerous flight testing at altitude. Its nearest competitor, the British Skylon in contrast uses pre-cooled jet engines built by Reaction Engines Limited to achieve hypersonic atmospheric flight, as opposed to scramjets. Both spacecraft will probably first fly around the mid 2020s.