Chinese government rolls out coronavirus ‘close contact detector’ app

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China has rolled out an app that lets people check whether they have been in close contact with someone infected by the coronavirus.

The “close contact detector,” as BBC puts it, notifies users if they have had exchanges with any individuals who have been confirmed or suspected of carrying the virus. All users need to do is scan a QR code with an app like Alipay or WeChat. People at risk are then advised to stay at home or inform local health authorities.

Once their phone number is linked, users are asked to fill in their name and ID number. The app can then be used to check the status of up to three ID numbers. The app, which was developed in cooperation by the government and the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, relies on data from from the health and transport authorities.

Although the invasiveness of the software certainly raises questions about the obtrusive surveillance practices within the country, experts believe citizens won’t see the new app as controversial, considering the extent of the epidemic.

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‘Wolf pack attack’: China launches new killer robot ship

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China’s new killer robot ship that can carry out anti-submarine and anti-ship missions has undergone its first sea trial, according to a Chinese defence industry magazine.

Called the JARI, the unmanned surface vessel is said to be the world’s first USV with multiple roles – anti-submarine, air defence and surface combat – and powerful weaponry.

The prototype was launched in August and was recently photographed during a sea trial, according to a report in the latest issue of Ordnance Industry Science Technology.

It did not give details of when or where the trial took place.

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Shanghai-built Tesla popular in China after new tax break

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Tesla stores across Shanghai have been crowded with customers after a new tax break earlier this month, with most orders coming for the most affordable electric vehicle, the Model 3 sedan built at the city’s Gigafactory.

The Model 3 orders spiked amid a cooling electric vehicle market in China after authorities gave dozens of electric vehicle makers a new tax break which lowers the cost of buying a Tesla in China to less than 300,000 yuan (about 43,745 US dollars).

“We have more customers these days looking for test drives and more information,” said a salesperson in a Tesla store in Shanghai.

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China plans 39 million-mile race to Mars to catch up with NASA

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“Mars Base 1” is a Mars simulation center in the Gobi desert.

China is taking its rivalry with the U.S. to another planet.

The Chinese space agency is preparing a mid-year mission to Mars, marking the most ambitious project on an exploration checklist intended to achieve equal footing with NASA and transform the nation’s technological know-how.

Landing the unmanned probe on the red planet would cap President Xi Jinping’s push to make China a superpower in space. The nation already has rovers on the moon, and it’s making bold plans to operate an orbiting space station, establish a lunar base and explore asteroids by the 2030s.

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China makes major breakthrough in space propulsion technology

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The 20-kW Hall thruster in operation at a laboratory of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation

 China has made a major breakthrough in the development of the Hall-effect thruster (HET), an important space propulsion technology.

Researchers from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) have developed the country’s first HET with an input power of 20 kilowatts that can produce a thrust of one newton, marking a leap for China’s HETs from millinewton level to newton level.

The applications of HETs include control of the orientation and position of orbiting satellites and use as a main propulsion engine for medium-size robotic space vehicles.

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Whoever leads in artificial intelligence in 2030 will rule the world until 2100

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A couple of years ago, Vladimir Putin warned Russians that the country that led in technologies using artificial intelligence will dominate the globe. He was right to be worried. Russia is now a minor player, and the race seems now to be mainly between the United States and China. But don’t count out the European Union just yet; the EU is still a fifth of the world economy, and it has underappreciated strengths. Technological leadership will require big digital investments, rapid business process innovation, and efficient tax and transfer systems. China appears to have the edge in the first, the U.S. in the second, and Western Europe in the third. One out of three won’t do, and even two out three will not be enough; whoever does all three best will dominate the rest.

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China’s airborne laser weapon would change dogfighting forever

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Airborne lasers can be used offensively or defensively.

The Chinese military put out notice it wants airborne laser pods.

The pods could be used offensively or defensively, against aircraft or even missiles.

Airborne lasers, moving at light speed, could end dogfighting as we know it.

China’s military is soliciting would-be suppliers for a new airborne laser weapon. Notices on a government website invited defense contractors to provide information on an airborne laser attack pod. Depending on the level of power, the pod could be used to defend a friendly aircraft from incoming missile threats or destroy enemy aircraft and ground targets. Laser weapons are the next revolution in aerial warfare and could make dogfighting obsolete.

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The future of energy is being shaped in Asia

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China now accounts for almost three-quarters of global solar panel production.

A Frenchman is credited with being the first to discover the photovoltaic effect that produces electricity from sunlight. The first solar panel was built in the US. But when Abu Dhabi decided to build the world’s largest individual solar power project, they looked east for help.

The country partnered with Chinese and Japanese companies to construct a facility, which opened this year, with a peak capacity of 1.18 gigawatts generated by 3.2 million solar panels. That’s because Asia, more than any other region on the planet, and China, more than any other nation, currently represent the future of solar energy, and are at the heart of the ensuing industrywide transformation from fossil fuels to renewable and nuclear energy.

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Chinese scientists develop portable quantum satellite communication device

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Weighing in at just 80kg, the machine can connect to China’s quantum satellite and receive encryption keys in the form of entangled light particles

Breakthrough was made by team at University of Science and Technology of China

Chinese scientists have developed a quantum satellite ground station that is not only capable of sending ultra-secure messages anywhere in the world but also fits inside a family car.

The mobile device, developed by the University of Science and Technology of China, weighs about 80kg (176lbs). With the addition of a 28cm (11 inch) telescope, it can connect to the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ quantum satellite known as Mozi, and receive ­encryption keys in the form of ­entangled light particles.

Unlike traditional encryption methods based on mathematics, quantum encryption is protected by the fundamental law of physics. In theory, all information scrambled by encryption algorithms can be cracked by a computer if it is fast enough, but quantum key communication will remain intact because any attempt to eavesdrop will cause a physical change in the message and trigger a security alert to the sender or receiver.

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Chinese scientists create ‘game-changer’ methanol battery that keeps drone in the air for 12 hours

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Developers of FY-36 say they overcame ‘tons of problems’ to create alcohol-fuelled battery that allows 15kg (33lb)6 drone to fly for up to 12 hours

With 15 test flights under their belt, Chinese team achieve methanol-powered flight before German company

Scientists working on a drone development programme created a “game-changing” methanol-powered fuel system that kept their UAV in the air for 12 hours.

It took them more than two years to get the FY-36 unmanned aerial vehicle to the flying prototype stage, said Zhang Wenyu, general manager of Feye UAV Technology, a Tianjin-based drone manufacturer that collaborated with the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in northeastern Liaoning province.

At 15 kilograms (33 pounds), the low-noise FY-36 can be lifted by an adult or transported in a pickup truck, and designers said its hybrid aerodynamic shape – with four vertical propellers – can allow it to cruise at speeds as high as 90km/h, or 56mph.

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China plans ‘paradise for physicists’ with particle colliders that will test the strongest forces in the universe

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Guangdong becomes focus as China races the US to build bigger particle accelerators

Scientist says the competition between the two countries will ultimately be for the good of the human race.

Scientists in southern China are planning to create machines that will be used to unravel the mysteries of the building blocks of the universe.

They said two ring-shaped electron-ion colliders – one 2km (1.2 miles) long – will be built in Huizhou, a city in Guangdong province, beginning in 2025 and they will be designed to accelerate electrons to close to the speed of light.

The project – known as the Electron-Ion Collider of China, or EICC – will see electrons being fired at the nuclei of heavy elements such as iron or uranium at high speeds.

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AI judges and verdicts via chat app: the brave new world of China’s digital courts

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Inside the Hangzhou Internet Court, litigants appear by video chat as an AI judge – complete with on-screen avatar – prompts them to present their cases

A ‘mobile court’ offered on popular Chinese social media platform WeChat has handled more than three million legal cases or other judicial procedures since its launch in March

Artificial-intelligence judges, cyber-courts, and verdicts delivered on chat apps — welcome to China’s brave new world of justice spotlighted by authorities this week.

China is encouraging digitisation to streamline case-handling within its sprawling court system using cyberspace and technologies like blockchain and cloud computing, China’s Supreme People’s Court said in a policy paper.

The efforts include a “mobile court” offered on popular social media platform WeChat that has already handled more than three million legal cases or other judicial procedures since its launch in March, according to the Supreme People’s Court.

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