China science

China science

Chinese scientists shoot sound waves at clouds to make rain
Can pointing giant loudspeakers to the sky help regions recover from a drought? The answer may be yes.  A new study out of Tsinghua University in Beijing found that sending powerful, low-frequency sound waves into the sky may have triggered an increase in rainfall on the Tibetan Plateau. The researchers said they recorded increases in rainfall of up to 17% by pointing a giant loudspeaker at the sky.  The sound waves also appear to be safe for the environment, but scientists said the experiment would need to be replicated many times to confirm if the technology works.  The team led by Professor Wang Guangqian from the university’s State Key Laboratory of Hydro-science and Engineering, said i
‘Copy cat’ in China helps study diseases
China’s second-ever cloned kitten may only be tiny, but Chinese scientists have big plans for it. Researchers at the Qingdao Agricultural University hope the “copy cat” can assist in the development of medicines for feline diseases and protect endangered species in the broader cat family.   
Mount Everest just grew overnight (on paper at least)
The world’s tallest mountain just grew by either three or 14 feet, depending on if you ask Nepal or China.   Mount Everest’s overnight growth spurt occurred after China and Nepal finally settled a long-running disagreement over the precise dimensions of the mountain. Prior to this week, Nepal had measured Everest at 29,028ft from a 1954 survey, while China had recorded it in 2005 as about 29,017ft.  Neither could agree on the height, with Nepal insisting the snowcap should be included. China was adamant the calculations should be limited to the rock base.  The dispute was rekindled in 2015 when geologists suggested the snowcap may have shrunk by a few centimeters after a magnitude 8.1 earth
These 4 genes may be what make Han Chinese unique
A team of researchers in Shanghai have pinpointed four genes that shape the face of an ethnically Han Chinese person.  According to the new study, changes in these genes could make a chin narrower, eyebrows higher, nose longer and cheeks slimmer. Differences in the genes could also have the opposite effect.  The Journal of Genetics and Genomics published a peer-reviewed paper about the discovery was on Monday. Similar studies have been carried out on European, Latino, African and some Asian populations. The facial genes for ethnic Han, who make up most of China’s population, had previously remained unknown. According to the study, Han Chinese share one face-shaping gene with some people nat
These scientists hope to find the future of medicine in frozen bodies
The Shandong Yinfeng Life Science Research Institute provides a service straight out of science fiction: cryonic suspension, or preserving bodies at extremely low temperatures with the hope of one day “reviving” them.  It is the only cryonics research center in China and one of only four such institutes in the world. But Yinfeng’s research goes further than the rest and may eventually revolutionize organ transplant, body-part reattachment and other medical treatments. Cryonics in China started in 2015. Du Hong, an author from Chongqing and an editor of Liu Cixin’s world-renowned science-fiction title The Three-Body Problem, which revolves around cryonics, became the first person from China
China launches its first Mars probe
China launched its first independent probe to Mars on Thursday, joining a growing number of countries aiming to lead exploration of Earth’s nearest neighbor. The probe, named Tianwen-1, was launched from the southern island of Hainan and is expected to reach Mars’ gravitational field next February, according to Chinese media. If the 5-tonne probe makes a successful landing on the fourth planet from the sun, it is expected to work for at least 90 Mars days – a little longer than three months on Earth. Tianwen-1 – the name means “questions to heaven” in Mandarin, inspired by an ancient poem by Qu Yuan – consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover. The lander and rover will attempt a soft land
Covid-19 vaccine urgent as few people have antibodies, Chinese study finds
A Covid-19 survey led by China’s top respiratory disease expert has found the country’s population immunity to be at a low level, underlining what researchers called the “urgent need” for a vaccine. The survey tested the presence of antibodies in over 16,000 people who had not fallen ill from the disease in Wuhan, the initial epicenter of the pandemic, and the southern city of Guangzhou. It found only 2.14% and 0.59% of people in the respective cities had Sars-CoV-2 antibodies by the end of April. “The relatively low [level] suggests that prevention and control measures in China are effective,” wrote the researchers, led by respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan, in a letter published in the journ
Chinese firms are taking human trials of Covid-19 vaccines overseas
A Chinese developer has been authorized to start large-scale human trials of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate in the United Arab Emirates. China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a state-owned company, said the clinical trials were approved by the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention during a teleconference on Tuesday. Chinese vaccine developers are looking overseas for the “phase three” trials, which involve thousands of people, because there were not currently enough cases of Covid-19 in the country to be considered suitable for testing. Two other Chinese developers, CanSino and Sinovac Biotech, have previously announced they will start phase three trials elsewhere – in Canada and Brazil respec
China’s leaders in Covid-19 vaccine race use a method shunned in the West
As China leads the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, its scientists are largely pinning their hopes on a technology that has been used for decades. Five out of 10 potential vaccines undergoing clinical trials have been developed by Chinese scientists, while a sixth is the result of a partnership between a Chinese company and a German biotech firm, according to the World Health Organization. But China is adopting a very different approach in its hunt for a vaccine against the disease caused by the new coronavirus. It is the only country pouring resources into the use of inactivated viruses, a technique used in vaccines against numerous diseases in the past – including hepatitis A, influenza
‘Congee boiling in a pot’: the volcano in China they thought was extinct
A volcano in northeast China could be “recharging” for an eruption, with a vast amount of magma believed to be rising up underneath it, according to a team of geophysicists. The researchers say they discovered two huge magma chambers under Wei Mountain in Heilongjiang, near the border with Russia and North Korea. Their modeling suggests the chambers dwarf the volcano, which is 328 feet tall and 3 miles wide. It was a surprise discovery, since the volcano last erupted more than 500,000 years ago and was considered extinct. Geologists have been more focused on Changbai Mountain (known in North Korea as Mount Paektu), to the south, whose eruption in 946AD was one of the most powerful volcanic e