China

The Factory of the World - Documentary On Manufacturing In Shenzhen 34 34

szczys writes: This Hackaday documentary (video) looks at the changing ecosystem of manufacturing in the Pearl River Delta (Shenzhen, China) through interviews with product engineers involved with the MIT Media Lab manufacturing program, Finance professionals in Hong Kong, and notables in the Maker Industry. Worth checking out for anyone thinking of a hardware startup or just interested in how hardware gets made.
China

Chinese Consumers Can Now Buy Formerly Banned Consoles, Nationwide 39 39

PC Magazine reports that China has entered a new phase in its liberalization of game console sales. Restrictions amounting to a nationwide ban were loosened recently, so that manufacturers which produced (and sold) consoles in Shanghai's free trade zone were allowed to also sell their wares elsewhere in China. The newest change is to remove that geographic requirement, so Chinese buyers are expected to be able to buy whatever consoles they'd like. Games to play on those consoles, though, are a different story.
China

Chinese Tourist's Drone Crashes Into Taipei 101 Skyscraper 102 102

Taco Cowboy writes that a Chinese tourist has been hit with a fine of $48,000 (NT $1.5 Million) after his drone crashed into the Taipei 101 skyscraper. The tourist, 30-year-old Yan Yungfan, was supposedly attempting to film Taipei's cityscape on Tuesday morning with a remotely controlled Phantom 3 UAV when he lost control of the drone, causing it to hit the side of Taipei 101 at around the 30th floor. No one was injured in the incident and only minor damage was sustained by the building's glass windows, but the video immediately became a viral sensation after it was uploaded online. Taipei 101 said in a statement that there have been three incidents of drones crashing around the building since mid-June, with the first two cases taking place on June 15 and June 20. No injuries have resulted from these crashes, but I wouldn't want to get hit by a 3-pound object falling from that height.
Mars

Interviews: Shaun Moss Answers Your Questions About Mars and Space Exploration 48 48

Recently the founder of the Mars Settlement Research Organization and author of The International Mars Research Station Shaun Moss agreed to sit down and answer any questions you had about space exploration and colonizing Mars. Below you will find his answers to your questions.
China

Skype Translate Reportedly Has a Swearing Problem In Chinese 82 82

An anonymous reader writes: Skype Translate was supposed to be Microsoft's attempt at the "Star Trek" universal translator, offering real-time voice and text translation. It launched with one of the most challenging of languages, Chinese. And apparently, thanks to the Great Firewall, it has its problems. An American expat using it in China reports: "A glitch in the beta software misinterpreted the words I spoke. 'It's nice to talk to you' was translated as 'It's f*cking nice to f*ck you,' and other synthesized profanity, like the icebox robot in 1970's sci-fi flick Logan's Run, but with Tourette Syndrome. It was quite funny to me - I couldn't help but laugh during repeated takes, to Yan's exasperation - but the tech team were none too happy about it as they worked late into the night."
Science

Researchers Discover Largest Ever Dinosaur With Birdlike Wings and Feathers 47 47

sciencehabit writes: When we see birds winging their way across the sky, we are really looking at living dinosaurs—the only lineage of these mighty beasts that survived mass extinction. Yet before they went extinct, many dinosaurs sprouted wings themselves. Researchers now report finding the largest ever winged dino in China, a sleek, birdlike creature adorned with multiple layers of feathers all over its arms and torso that lived 125 million years ago. The dino was about 1.65 meters long, a little longer than a modern condor, but at an estimated 20 kilograms, it was probably nearly twice as heavy as that bird. It almost certainly could not fly, however—an important confirmation that wings and feathers originally evolved to serve other functions like attracting mates and keeping eggs warm.
AI

A Quick Leak, As Microsoft Tests the Waters For Cortana On Android 44 44

An anonymous reader writes with the news from Venture Beat that a beta of Cortana for Android (long promised) has leaked into the wild via Finnish upload site SuomiMobiili, and from there to others, like APKMirror. From the article: We asked Microsoft where this leak may have come from. "In the spirit of the Windows Insider Program, we're testing the Cortana for Android beta with a limited number of users in the U.S. and China before releasing the beta publicly in the next few weeks," a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat.
China

Chinese Girl Receives Full Skull Reconstruction Via 3D Printing 97 97

ErnieKey writes: Doctors in China have just successfully performed a groundbreaking surgery on a 3-year-old little girl named Han Han. Han Han was suffering from congenital hydrocephalus which caused her head to grow to four times the normal size. If something wasn't done, she probably wouldn't have lived much longer. This is when surgeons at the Second People's Hospital of Hunan Province elected to remove a large portion of her skull and replace it with a 3d printed titanium mesh skull. The results were truly amazing, and Han Han is expected to make a full recovery.
China

Why a Chinese Buyout of Micron Is Not Likely To Succeed 35 35

Lucas123 writes: A reported $23 billion offer to purchase U.S.-based Micron, one of the largest DRAM and memory makers in the world, by a Chinese state-owned chip maker isn't likely to succeed for several reasons, not the least of which is that the U.S. government is unlikely to approve it and Micron has no reason to sell. Tsinghua Unigroup, a somewhat enigmatic company that is funded by Tsinghua University in China, offered $21 a share for Micron, which is a 19.3% premium over Micron's closing price on Monday. Micron's market cap is currently $20.7 billion. Micron has denied it received an offer from Tsinghua, but a Wall Street Journal report claimed the offer was real.

Industry analysts, however, believe Tsinghua may have used the WSJ as a trial balloon for an offer. Analysts also say rumors of a deal for Micron have been floating around for more than a month. Still, the possibility of a deal surprised some in the industry who expected China to organically grow its own DRAM and memory businesses. By acquiring Micron, however, China would instantly become a big player in what is a robust market. Fang Zhang, an IHS memory analyst, said Micron will not likely accept a buyout offer because the company has been performing well and expects to continue to do so. Additionally, the U.S. government considers chip technology vital to national security, so approval of the deal would at the very least take months if not more than a year during a time when the Chinese economy is at risk of collapse.
Privacy

More Than 22 Million People's Data Compromised By OPM Hack 67 67

OutOnARock writes with news that the Office of Personnel Management data breach reported earlier this month was actually far worse than earlier estimates had it; in all, it seems that more than 22 million people (not all of them government employees) had personal information compromised by the breach. From Yahoo News's coverage: That number is more than five times larger than what the Office of Personnel Management announced a month ago when first acknowledging a major breach had occurred. At the time, OPM only disclosed that the personnel records of 4.2 million current and former federal employees had been compromised.
China

Catastrophic Chinese Floods Triggered By Air Pollution 59 59

sciencehabit writes: The worst flooding to hit China in 50 years may have been caused by air pollution, according to a new study. Soot in particular contributed to the catastrophic flooding. It prevented rainclouds from forming over the Sichuan basin, which is surrounded by mountains that trap smoke billowing from its industrial centers, and is 'notorious' for its dirty air. That in turn lead to more intense rainfall in the mountains that evening, which eventually led to the massive flooding.
The Almighty Buck

China's Stock Crash: $3.5 Trillion Wiped Out, $2.6 Trillion Frozen 364 364

An anonymous reader writes: The stock market crisis going on in China is notable for the huge numbers involved. $3.5 trillion ($3,500,000,000,000) in value has been wiped out by falling prices, and over a thousand companies have forced a pause in trading. The combined value of all of these companies exceeds $2.6 trillion, and it represents about 40% of the total market capitalization. This follows attempts by the exchanges and the government to instill confidence in trading once more, but investors are still wary. The NY Times has a detailed explanation of how the market got into trouble, and why it's not likely to fix itself overnight: "Put all these pieces together, and here's what we have: a rise in Chinese share prices in the last year that seemed to be driven more by investor psychology than by anything fundamental. It is hard to see how the prices as of a month ago were justified, and easy to see why the sell-off of the last month would occur. That, in turn, implies that Chinese officials are fighting an uphill battle in their policy moves to try to stop the correction, and helps explain why their policy actions have had little effect so far."
China

Chinese Zoo Animals Monitored For Earthquake Prediction 29 29

An anonymous reader writes: Seismologists in Nanjing have set up seven observation centers at zoos and animal parks in the region to see if animals can predict when an earthquake may strike. At least three kinds of animals in the earthquake stations should corroborate each other when bizarre behavior occurs, said Zhao Bing, head of Nanjing earthquake monitoring. Discovery reports: "According to one English-language Chinese news outlet, 'At Banqiao ecological park the behavior of around 200 pigs, 2,000 chickens, and fish in a 15-hectare pond are closely monitored to detect signals of an earthquake. Breeders here create daily reports regarding animal behavior for Nanjing's seismological departments.' The news report noted that the park relies 'mainly on employees closely watching the animals' for seismological significance."
Software

Samsung Faces Lawsuit In China Over Smartphone Bloatware 84 84

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung is being sued in China for installing too many apps onto its smartphones. The Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission is also suing Chinese vendor Oppo, demanding that the industry do more to rein in bloatware. The group said complaints are on the rise from smartphone users who are frustrated that these apps take up too much storage and download data without the user being aware. Out of a study of 20 smartphones, Samsung and Oppo were found to be the worst culprits. A model of Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 contained 44 pre-installed apps that could not be removed from the device, while Oppo's X9007 phone had 71.
China

Foxconn CEO Backpedals On Planned Robot Takeover 45 45

itwbennett writes: For years now, Foxconn has been talking up plans to replace pesky humans with robot workers in its factories. Back in February, CEO Terry Gou said he expected the automation to account for 70 percent of his company's assembly line work in three years. But in the company's shareholder meeting Thursday, Gou said he had been misquoted and that "it should be that in five years, the robots will take over 30 percent of the manpower."
Wireless Networking

Wi-Fi Router's 'Pregnant Women' Setting Sparks Vendor Rivalry In China 207 207

colinneagle writes: When one Chinese technology vendor, Qihoo, launched a new Wi-Fi router with a safety setting for "pregnant women," a rival vendor took offense to the implication that their routers might be dangerous. Xiamo, which also sells Wi-Fi routers, took to its page on Chinese social media site Weibo to denounce Qihoo's pregnant women mode as a "marketing tactic," and clarify that "Wi-Fi usage is safe."

Zhou Hongyi, chief executive and president of Qihoo, acknowledged in a statement to the South China Morning Post that there is no evidence supporting claims that Wi-Fi routers pose a risk for birth defects. But he said the company is appealing to consumers' beliefs, whether they are supported by science or not.

"We are targeting people who are afraid of radiation," Hongyi said. "We aren't scientists. We haven't done many experiments to prove how much damage the radiation from Wi-Fi can cause. We leave the right of choice to our customers."
Earth

Recycling Is Dying 371 371

HughPickens.com writes: Aaron C. Davis writes in the Washington Post that recycling, once a profitable business for cities and private employers alike, has become a money-sucking enterprise. Almost every recycling facility in the country is running in the red and recyclers say that more than 2,000 municipalities are paying to dispose of their recyclables instead of the other way around. "If people feel that recycling is important — and I think they do, increasingly — then we are talking about a nationwide crisis," says David Steiner, chief executive of Waste Management, the nation's largest recycler.

The problem with recylcing is that a storm of falling oil prices, a strong dollar and a weakened economy in China have sent prices for American recyclables plummeting worldwide. Trying to encourage conservation, progressive lawmakers and environmentalists have made matters worse. By pushing to increase recycling rates with bigger and bigger bins — while demanding almost no sorting by consumers — the recycling stream has become increasingly polluted and less valuable, imperiling the economics of the whole system. "We kind of got everyone thinking that recycling was free," says Bill Moore. "It's never really been free, and in fact, it's getting more expensive."

One big problem is that China doesn't want to buy our garbage anymore. In the past China had sent so many consumer goods to the United States that all the shipping containers were coming back empty. So US companies began stuffing the return-trip containers with recycled cardboard boxes, waste paper and other scrap. China could, in turn, harvest the raw materials. Everyone won. But China has launched "Operation Green Fence" — a policy to prohibit the import of unwashed post-consumer plastics and other "contaminated" waste shipments. In China, containerboard, a common packaging product from recycled American paper, is trading at just over $400 a metric ton, down from nearly $1,000 in 2010. China also needs less recycled newsprint; the last paper mill in Shanghai closed this year. "If the materials we are exporting are so contaminated that they are being rejected by those we sell to," says Valerie Androutsopoulos, "maybe it's time to take another look at dual stream recycling."
Space

Mauna Kea Telescope Construction Slated To Resume 65 65

After an earlier halt to the work of constructing the "world's most advanced and powerful telescope" (and subsequent loss of support from an organization acting on behalf of native Hawaiians,) the Thirty Meter Telescope is again in "on again" mode. From the Associated Press article as carried by U.S. News & World Report: The Mauna Kea site provides a clear view of the sky for 300 days a year, with little air and light pollution. The telescope project was developed as a collaboration between U.S. and Canada universities and the national institutes of Japan, China and India. Gov. David Ige in April said the Thirty Meter Telescope board is legally entitled to "use its discretion to proceed with construction." He said he respected the rights of protesters to appeal in court.