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Tech Thursday: Episode 22

The search for dark matter, Baidu Waimai in trouble, offshore nuclear platforms, and a not-so-stealthy fighter jet

Each Thursday, The World of Chinese takes the most ground-breaking, impressive, or just plain weird technological advancements related to the Middle Kingdom and serves them in bite-sized chunks to keep you up-to-date on the latest news in the world of Chinese technology.

Offshore nuclear plant to power  South China Sea islands

A Hubei shipbuilding firm has announced it is ready to start work on an offshore nuclear power plant in the South China Sea (SCS). The plant would be designed to provide power to offshore drilling rigs and SCS islands. The platform is designed with two modes in mind—floating or submersible—and is set to be deployed by 2020.

Baidu Waimai stiffing contractors?

One of China’s most ubiquitous food-delivery apps is engaged in an acrimonious argument with its contractors over subsidies. Technode has an extensive report on how Baidu Waimai uses third-party contractors to deliver food around the country, but many contractors claim they have been cheated out of subsidies. Waimai went through a process of reducing subsidies for a while, but promised they would be resumed—instead the company was sold to, and the subsidies haven’t eventuated.

Stealth advertising

China’s nJ-31 stealth jet is a point of pride for certain militaristic corners of the Chinese internet, which goes some way toward explaining why Hanteng Autos is using pictures of the fighter jet in posters to sell cars. There’s a certain irony here, in that the J-31 may never be released for practical military use, and could possibly only serve as a prototype for research into future models. The images of the J-31 are of one of only two prototypes known to exist. And now they’re appearing in car advertisements. Top gun? Top secret, indeed.

Monkey King finds strange signals

China’s DAMPE program (Dark Matter Particle Explorer) has had a satellite in space since December 2015, searching for rays of dark matter.

And it’s found… something. The satellite, named Wukong (as in the legendary Monkey King) has collected some very strange signals in space. Proving the existence of the elusive dark matter would be a groundbreaking achievement in physics. It’s too soon to say what strange electromagnetic activity caused the unusual findings, but scientists are eagerly digging into the data.

“The spike is very unusual,” Fan Yizhong, deputy chief designer of the scientific application system of DAMPE, told Xinhua. “The signals might have originated from either dark matter or pulsars. Even if they were from pulsars, it would be quite a strange astrophysical phenomenon that nobody had known before.”

Cover image from Sina


David Dawson is the former deputy editor of The World of Chinese.

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