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Asian Geographic - - Front Page -

260 mil­lion

SHROUD

Pro­tects the war­head from melt­ing in the 7000°C launch tem­per­a­tures

WAR­HEAD

The tip of the mis­sile con­tain­ing a minia­turised nu­clear bomb

DECOYS

Small alu­minum shav­ings or elec­tronic noise-mak­ing de­vices de­signed to thwart mis­sile de­fence sys­tems

NAV­I­GA­TION AIDS

Guides the mis­sile’s flight path us­ing GPS

sym­bols and cul­tural iden­tity, and the cloth is used in many rit­u­als like births, com­ing-of-age cer­e­monies, mar­riage, and death.

Tra­di­tion­ally, batik cloth is dyed us­ing nat­u­ral com­pounds ex­tracted from min­er­als, an­i­mals, and plants, such as the leaves, bark, stem and roots of the trees Indigofera tinc­to­ria L., Ce­ri­ops can­dol­leana Arn. and Morinda cit­ri­fo­lia. These are soaked in an ex­trac­tion so­lu­tion un­til the wa­ter is coloured. Fi­nally, the dyed cloth is laid out in the sun to dry, where the UV ra­di­a­tion ac­ti­vates the dye com­pounds. Not all dyes re­quire sun­ning, but most do.

To­day, dye vats are set up in man­u­fac­tur­ing plants that con­dense the ex­trac­tion so­lu­tion con­tin­u­ously. Sci­en­tists can ad­just the ph, add nat­u­ral dye fix­ing agents (such as lime­stone paste and alum), and trans­form ex­tracts into con­ve­nient pow­der or paste form. An al­ter­na­tive is syn­thetic dye, which treats the cloth with chem­i­cals, but pro­duces toxic waste, which has led to a rise in de­mand for ecofriendly batik in re­cent years. ag

CHINA

China has a pow­er­ful sys­tem that al­lows it to main­tain cen­sor­ship of its In­ter­net space. The so-called Great Fire­wall se­lec­tively cen­sors po­lit­i­cally sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion from for­eign net­works into the coun­try, and blocks its cit­i­zens from ac­cess­ing those same sites. In­ter­net ser­vice providers in China are mostly gov­ern­ment-owned.

China first joined the In­ter­net in 1994. The Com­mu­nist Party passed laws in 1998 or­der­ing the reg­u­la­tion of the In­ter­net, and be­gan ac­tive on­line sur­veil­lance of Chi­nese cit­i­zens in 2003. Be­sides cen­sor­ship of for­eign crit­i­cism of its poli­cies, the gov­ern­ment blocks for­eign con­tent like ad­ver­tise­ments and so­cial me­dia. The key de­ci­sion to ban Face­book and Google al­lowed lo­cal search engines Weibo and Baidu to thrive, giv­ing the gov­ern­ment more power to vet con­tent to its sat­is­fac­tion.

Apart from the fire­wall, China also has its Golden Shield Project, which mon­i­tors a data­base of in­for­ma­tion about every cit­i­zen – in­clud­ing their com­puter ac­tiv­ity – and con­ducts sur­veil­lance by us­ing fa­cial recog­ni­tion soft­ware and cam­era net­works.

The fire­wall can only be cir­cum­vented by us­ing a Vir­tual Pri­vate Net­work (VPN), which changes the user’s des­ti­na­tion ad­dress to a coun­try out­side of China. How­ever, the author­i­ties are in­creas­ingly com­ing down hard on VPN sell­ers, slap­ping them with tough penal­ties – five-year jail terms – for con­duct­ing busi­ness that the gov­ern­ment con­sid­ers il­le­gal. Sev­eral VPN sell­ers have al­ready closed, and the re­main­ing ones are no longer tar­geted at the av­er­age user, but at en­trepreneurs. Ex­perts spec­u­late that even tougher curbs may soon be im­posed to tighten China’s In­ter­net con­trol.

Will VPNS Van­ish From China? The author­i­ties are in­creas­ingly com­ing down hard on VPN sell­ers, slap­ping them with tough penal­ties – five-year jail terms

CHINA

Apart from fir­ing rock­ets, pol­li­nat­ing flow­ers and tak­ing beau­ti­ful pho­to­graphs, drones are now re­plac­ing Chi­nese post­men for cus­tomers of lo­cal e-com­merce sites like Jd.com and Alibaba. While the idea was pi­o­neered by Ama­zon CEO Jeff Be­zos in 2013, US reg­u­la­tions have greatly sti­fled the de­vel­op­ment of drone de­liv­ery there.

For­tu­nately for Chi­nese com­pa­nies, the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment is far more ac­com­mo­dat­ing. In 2017, Jd.com be­came the first com­pany to trial the ser­vice on a large scale in Bei­jing, Sichuan, Shanxi, and Jiangsu, and an­nounced its plans to have a fully func­tional ser­vice by 2020. Drones are flown to pick-up points where a de­liv­ery man re­trieves them and de­liv­ers them to cus­tomers.

The great­est ad­van­tage of such a ser­vice in a large coun­try like China is the abil­ity to of­fer cheap and fast de­liv­er­ies to ru­ral ar­eas, where hand de­liv­er­ies are costly and slow. In ad­di­tion to typ­i­cal de­liv­er­ies, the com­pany hopes to con­nect ru­ral sup­pli­ers, such as farm­ers, to larger mar­kets. Even large goods can be de­liv­ered with this sys­tem, as China’s largest pri­vate courier ser­vice, SF Ex­press, is de­vel­op­ing a heavy-load drone that can trans­port items weigh­ing 1,200 kilo­grams over a dis­tance of 3,000 kilo­me­tres, com­pared to the max­i­mum 2 kilo­grams over 50 kilo­me­tres that cur­rent drones can man­age. How­ever, cur­rent pro­to­types still use fos­sil fu­els, and chang­ing to an en­vi­ron­men­tal­lyfriendly power source is prov­ing dif­fi­cult for re­searchers who are held back by the lim­i­ta­tions of bat­tery tech­nol­ogy. ag

De­liv­ery Drones Are the New Post­men The great­est ad­van­tage of such a ser­vice in a large coun­try like China is the abil­ity to of­fer cheap and fast de­liv­er­ies to ru­ral ar­eas

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