Asian Space Race: China to Launch First Satellite for Pakistan

In a move, dripping with political motivations, China has agreed to launch a Pakistan satellite for the first time ever. This marks a landmark and a new beginningin China-Pakistan relations. The news was reported by China’s Xinhua news agency.

The existing Pakistani satellite, PAKSAT-1 was acquired by Pakistan after Indonesia gave up on it due to power problems.

The new satellite

The new satellite, PAKSAT-1R, is expected to be a communication satellite. According to Xinhua, the satellite will be used for a large number of purposes, like weather monitoring, high-power communication and, crucially, strategic defence purposes. It was built by Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco). (PAKSAT-1R page here). Much of the construction of the satellite was done by engineers from China. Xinhua did not provide a date for the launch, though, saying that it will be launched at an Appropriate Time.

PAKSAT-1R prototype

A new landmark in co-operation

Pakistan welcomed China’s support to its space program, saying that this would take Sino-Pak relations to greater heights. Pakistan’s ambassador to Beijing, Masood Khan described said that this establishes a new platform, and it marks a new beginning. He hinted that this was just the beginning of a long collaborative effort

As we accomplished this goal of launching PAKSAT-1R, we will swiftly move on to expand our collaboration with China in related fields of space science and technology.

So far, Pakistan’s space agency is a fledgling body and its forays into space miniscule in scale compared with those of its neighbours like India and China. However, it wants to expand its indigenous capabilities on satellite design with China’s help. The not-so-secret aspiration of Pakistan’s is to match up with India’s capabilities as soon as it can, but it has a long way to go.

India hasn’t reacted to this news as yet.

Couple in China Sell Their Kids to Pay for Online Gaming

Right after justifying my playing of video games to a bunch of folks today, I return to find this horrible piece of news on the Internet. Granted, it is not a general classifier for the normal online video gamer, however it is still disgusting and might elicit responses such as where has humanity fallen?!from you, my dear reader.

chine gaming

According to Sanxiang City News the couple (who are both under 21 years of age) had sold off their three children to fund their video game obsession. The young couple bonded over their love of internet games in 2007. They had their first child, a son, in 2008 and then their next in 2009 who was a daughter. They apparently came up with an ideato sell their daughter for an equivalent of   less than US$500. Li Lin and Li Juan then sold their first child for about US$4,600.

To further fill up their coffers to pay for their obsession, they conceived another child and sold him off for the same US$4,600.

They were finally turned over to the authorities when Li Lin’s mother found out what her son and his wife were up to. It’s admittedly quite tragic and thoroughly disgraceful. The young parents should have been taught about parenting responsibilities instead of responsibilities to an online guild.

HTC Salsa Launched In China; Comes With Sina Weibo Button Instead Of Facebook

HTC Salsa is the company’s first smartphone, which comes with a dedicated Facebook button. This handset allows you to upload photos or update your status, within a single click. This handset has been recently launched in China. Since, Facebook was blocked in china and the Chinese users doesn’t care much about Facebook, HTC ditched the Facebook button and launched this handset in China with a dedicated Sina Weibo button. Sina Weibo is a popular social networking service in China, similar to the Twitter. HTC has also renamed the handset from HTC Salsa to HTC Weike.

“This is the first time for a handset company to cooperate with a Chinese Internet giant, and I think this could be a trend when the mobile Internet era catches on,” said, Ray Yam, China president of HTC Corp.

htc salsa china

HTC Weike features a 3.4 inch touchscreen display with 480 x 320 pixels resolution, 800 MHz processor, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Operating System, HTC Sense UI, Dedicated Sina Weibo button, 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash, VGA front camera, 512 MB ROM, 512 MB RAM and so on.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, internal GPS antenna, G-Sensor, Digital compass, Proximity Sensor, Bluetooth 3.0 with FTP/OPP, Wi-Fi connectivity, micro-USB, microSD card slot, up to 540 mins talk-time, up to 530 hours stand-by time and a 1520 mAh battery. This handset measures 109.1 x 58.9 x 12.3 mm and weighs 120 grams.

HTC Weike allows you to access more than 250,000 apps from the Android Market. This handset comes with a price tag of 3,380 yuan (approx. $520).

Google+ Banned in China

Google-PlusIt’s been barely two days since Google Plus was unveiled, but China has already decided that it has seen and heard enough. Even before most Chinese people have had the chance to get their hands on a Google+ invite, the Chinese Government has banned the Google’s new social network.

Google’s troubles with the Chinese Government are well known and documented. Last year, Google pulled out of China, after a very public war of words with the government. Google alleged that elements with the probable backing of the government had hacked into its services to access data belonging to human rights activists. It’s not clear exactly which aspect of Google Plus aggravated the Chinese, but both Great Firewall of China and Just Ping are confirming that Google Plus is inaccessible inside China.

Google Plus is a new social network that was recently unveiled, and has since been dubbed as a potential “Facebook Killer” by pundits. It attempts to offer the best blend of openness and privacy through its strong focus on Circles (groups). If you have just received an invite, don’t forget to check out our Google+ setup guide. If you are still waiting for an invite, take a look at our screenshot tour. Due to excessive demand, Google has stopped handing out any more invites, but you can drop your mail in the queue to be notified as and when more invites become available.

Boy Sells Kidney To Buy iPad 2

A 17-year old boy, identified by the surname Zheng in the  Anhui Province in eastern China sold one of his kidneys to buy an iPad 2 tablet. Zheng searched over the Internet and found a buyer who offered to pay 22,000 yuan ($3000) for the organ.

Boy Sells Kidney
Zheng reports, I wanted to buy an iPad 2 but could not afford it. A broker contacted me on the Internet and said he could help me sell one kidney for 20,000 yuan.’The report states that the operation was carried out in Chenzhou on 28th April and his parents knew nothing about it. Zheng’s mother grew suspicious when he returned home with an iPad 2 and an iPhone in his hand. When she successfully forced him to reveal the truth, she filed a complaint to the police immediately. The police could not locate the broker whose cell phone was switched off. The case is under investigation now.

This is what you call heights of stupidity!


Angry Birds Lands on Chinese Land

Rovio Mobile ltd, the makers of Angry Birds have partnered with Chinese gaming site – to deliver Angry Birds on the Chinese land. The partnership will help deliver free-to-download version of Angry Birds in various editions.

Angry_Birds of late has been focusing on the mobile gaming scene and wants to provide complete mobile gaming experience to Chinese users. While partnering with Chinese developers for the same, it is also looking to partner with developers overseas.

This will definitely turn out to be a good oppurtunity for Rovio Mobiles, who recently launched HTML5 version of Angry Birds on the Chrome App store. China has around 900 million mobile subscribers. Last Rovio announced that 10 million of its 140 million downloads of the game had come from China. Partnership wtih would boost those numbers further.

Rovio mobiles might even set up a team in China to oversee development in China.

Clean Tech Report: China Comes In At Rank 2, US Lags Behind At 17

Al Gore will definitely be smiling after reading this piece of news, but will also be wishing that he’d been a bit happier. A report commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature says that, in terms of percentage contribution to the national GDP, China ranks 2, while the US ranks 17. Denmark, expectedly, leads the table, thanks to its efficient power grid driven primarily by windmills.

An Offshore Windfarm in Denmark

China’s annual earnings from clean tech is valued at $64 billion, or 1.4% of the GDP, while that of the US stands at $45 billion, or 0.3% of the GDP. Denmark lands a $9.4 billion (or Euro 6.5 billion) from clean technologies such as renewable energy and energy efficiency hardware, which amounts to a staggering 3.1% of the GDP.

Al Gore has visited China a number of times over the last two decades and has been greatly impressed by the political will there to make a difference in the green market sector. Chinese green technologies have grown by an astounding 77% annually, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). WWF attributes this to the political decisions being made in China relating to the environment. Many coal pits have been closed; oil digging has been made more efficient and sincere effort has been made to decrease the carbon footprint, especially due to automobiles in major cities. Stringent legislations also help the cause. China has been aggressively trying to capture as much of the clean tech market as possible in the last few years. They are pushing hard on self-reliance and leadership in solar and wind energy production. Donald Pols, an economist with the WWF, explains:

When you speak to the Chinese, climate change is not an ideological issue. It’s just a fact of life. While we debate climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy, the debate is passed in China. For them it’s implementation. It’s a growth sector, and they want to capture this sector.

The US has also grown pretty substantially. Its green industries have expanded at 28% annually, which is quite good, even if it doesn’t compare with China. It seems President Obama’s environmental strategy is working.

As Al Gore has repeatedly pointed out, profit doesn’t need to clash with the environment. In fact, environment friendly industries will stand to gain big in the long run. At least at this moment, it seems that he’s right.

Germany, Brazil and Lithuania complete the first five on the list.

China in Space: China to Setup Own Space Station By Next Year

The Chinese are ready to set foot in space in a big way with their own space station. State run station Xinhua reported that China is planning to initially set up a two-module space-station, named Tiangong-1, as soon as late this year. Tiangong means Heavenly Palace’ in English. The space module unveiling was telecast live on Xinhua.

Screen capture of the live TV broadcast of the unveiling of Tiangong

The station module and the Chinese space vehicle Shenzhou-8 will complete preliminary tests such as docking and orbital rendezvous before going on to the really big plans. The Tiangong-1 weighs a hefty 8.5 tons and is equipped with two docking ports. It is a small step, Chinese officials say, before going into the really big league with Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 manned missions next year. These two missions will be to equip the space station for scientific purposes. The space station is expected to be ready by 2020, when it is expected to approach the status of Skylab, NASA’s first space station launched in 1973. China’s Skylab’ will weigh about 60 tons (Skylab was 77 tons).

Artists impression of what Tiangong will look like. (Courtesy: China Manned Space Engineering Office)

Questions are already rife as to whether the Chinese are trying to compete with the Americans. China denies this, saying that the space station is to just conduct scientific experiments. The space stations will also house military observation equipments.

Dean Cheng, a specialist in China’s military and space capabilities, says that this is merely a completion of Project 921, which was begun in 1992. He also hopes that this will not lead to worse Sino-US relationships.

The Chinese space program is completely indigenously designed, and the Chinese will not initially go into collaboration with any state, out of pride in their self-reliance and their strict emphasis on indigenous innovation’.

China Will Build a Manned Space Station In Next 10 Years

China’s venture into space missions is pretty recent, with the first spacewalk taking place just 3 years ago and the history of Chinese astronauts in orbit less than 10 years old. But with a stronger-than-ever economy and a bid to be the next super power, China is taking a bold step. Chinese authorities announced this week their plan to build a manned space station within next 10 years.

Though the name has not been finalized yet, the station may be called Tiangong, meaning “heavenly palace”. The station will weigh 66 tons and would support a crew of three people along with hosting two laboratories for different scientific disciplines including astronomy and biology. The station would have one central module and two science lab modules, with the central module being 60 feet long and the labs around 50 feet each. A part of the preparations, China will send 3 modules in space with the first one being later this year and the last module in 2015.

One of the most interesting observation, however, is the scheduled retiring of ISS (International Space Station) in 2020. If the ISS, sponsored by US, retires as scheduled and the Tiangong goes live as planned, it will be the only manned space station in the orbit. This will give China a great scientific and political advantage over other countries, something which doesn’t usually play well with most developed countries of the world. However, with the long history of space related projects being postponed and even cancelled regularly, we will have to see how this one turns out.

Source PopSci

Another WordPress DDOS Follow Up, Origin Might Be China was attacked again a few hours ago after the massive DDOS on Thursday. This was a follow up attack after the last one and as evident now; it originates from China every time. WordPress hosted premium blogs like Financial Post and TechCrunch suffered from the one-hour outage today, which skyrocketed the traffic to,

multiple Gigabits per second and tens of millions of packets per second.

In recent talks with Alexia Tsotsis, Matt Mullenweg states, was hit with another wave of attacks today (the fourth in two days) that caused issues again. This time we were able to recover more quickly, and also determined one of the targets to be a Chinese-language site which appears to be also blocked on Baidu. The vast majority of the attacks were coming from China (98%) with a little bit of Japan and Korea mixed in.

As one commentator at CNET points out, WordPress blogs are still not as fast as they used to be. At the same time, a number of other sites on the same network as WordPress servers are suffering from these DDOS attacks.

If these attacks are indeed from China, it just got exposed a bit more in its attempt to shut opposition. Although WordPress servers are stable now, further attempts of DDOS cannot be overlooked completely.