by The Star – Asia News Network
A Chinese city’s plans to launch a man-made moon to replace street lights has been met with incredulity online. Or maybe it’s just an attempt to steal the monthly Full Moon party at Koh Phangan? (With a fake moon they could hold an event every night!)
Chengdu, in southwest China’s Sichuan province, announced last Tuesday it was planning to launch an “illumination satellite” by 2020, People’s Daily reported, adding that it would have eight times more light than the real deal.
“Is this The Onion?” asked one Weibo user, referring to the US satirical news site. “Chengdu, have you lost it?” asked another.
Other users invoked Hou Yi, from Chinese mythology, who shot down nine suns, to come and shoot down the extra moon. Some called the plan an outright scam.
The bizarre idea – essentially a giant mirror that will reflect sunlight – was also called a ploy to start implementing 24-hour work shifts by some Weibo users, while others joked how happy it must have made the manufacturers of insomnia medication.
This is not the first time a city has attempted to light up using fake moons. The Norwegian town of Rjukan installed three large computer-controlled mirrors to track and reflect sunlight in 2013; in the 1990s, Russian astronomers succeeded in launching a satellite into space to deflect sunlight back to Earth, but a second attempt in 1999 failed.
The idea of an extra moon, which is said to be able to produce enough light to illuminate an area between 10 and 80km (six to 50 miles) in Chengdu, is fraught with real environmental threats.
According to the New World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness, light pollution in Chengdu now completely obscures the night sky, to the point that the sky is just not visible from the city.
According to the International Dark Sky Association, which advocates for the protection of night skies, living under light-polluted skies is a grave health hazard as our biological clock evolved to match the day-night cycle, and exposure to artificial light at night has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, sleep disorders, depression and more.
Artificial light also throws animals off their natural day-night rhythms. Baby sea turtles, for example, which find their way to the ocean by detecting the light coming from the horizon, often get lured into streets by city lights, where they are crushed by vehicles or die from lack of water.
SOURCE: The Nation
Thai 11 year old wins women’s world drone racing championships
An 11 year old Thai girl, Wanraya Wannapong, has won the women’s title in the World Drone Racing Championships held last Sunday in Shenzhen, China. The event is organised by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.
The Thai drone ‘master’ beat 12 other women to become the youngest winner in the category, as reported in the Bangkok Post. She won a prize purse of US$8,000.
Wanraya says, “I loved this track a lot. I liked flying it at night, it was a lot of fun.”
Highlights of the drone finals held in Shenzhen last Sunday
She said a lot of her winning style was due to the assistance from her father. Father and daughter practiced on their own training course in Thailand.
The Championship Jury President Bruno Delor says, “She flew consistently with no mistakes. Not going too fast, but steady.”
“I fly every day, and all day when I am not at school,” says Wanraya.
The competition is major event certified by the world’s governing body for air sports, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI).
Australia’s Rudi Browning became the world’s first overall champion at the competition. The 15 year old beat over a hundred other competitors of all ages from across the world to seal the title on the final fourth day of the series.
SOURCE: Channel News Asia
“Pilots were very funny, very smart, very nice guys” – Lion Air boss
PHOTO: Indonesian media agency
Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency says it’s located the crashed Lion Air plane’s landing gear, wheels and a large section of the fuselage.
Investigators have also found the flight data recorder, the “black box,” from Lion Air Flight JT610.
The data recorder, more than anything else, will likely provide vital information about the plane’s functions and performance in the minutes before the plane plumetted into the sea, just 19 kilometres off the coast of Java Island, Indonesia.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 crash on Monday killed all 189 people on board.
Muhammad Syauqi, heading up the search, says divers from the agency, the Navy, and the police were sent to sweep the search area. They plan on using a ship crane today to lift up the landing gear debris.
At this stage they have not heard the “ping” from the cockpit voice recorder, which records audio from the cockpit. It remains somewhere on the seabed, some 35 metres underwater. Along with the data recorder, the cockpit voice recorder will capture the actual conversations and communications between pilots and air traffic control.
Capt. Daniel Putut Kuncoro Adi, MD of the Lion Group declined to speculate on the causes for the crash.
“As a company we are waiting for the result from the National Transportation Safety Committee working with the black box” to determine what went wrong, Adi told CNN.
“They were very funny, very smart, very nice guys.”
“We are sure they conducted themselves professionally and they struggled to save the aircraft.”
Questions arise about costs of military helicopters
In the wake of the tragic crash of King Power supremo Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s personal helicopter last Saturday evening (UK time), an unintended story has emerged about the costs of the model of his helicopter, the same model used by the Royal Thai Army.
Srisuwan Janya, a ‘transparency activist’, according to Khaosod English, has dug into the accounts books and found that the military paid almost three times as much as Vichai for the same model. He notes that the helicopter model flown by Vichai’s pilot was newer so should have been more expensive.
Srisuwan calculated that the Thai military paid nearly three times as much for older models. Vichai’s helicopter was an AW169 made by Italian defense firm Leonardo.
“It cost Vichai about 280 million baht,” according to the report in Khaosod. “It raises a lot of suspicions.”
According to Srisuwan, when the Thai army bought 12 helicopters of a more outdated type from Leonardo between 2012 and 2017, it paid 675-737 million baht for each. These are the amounts as published by the Thai armed forces and quoted by Srisuwan.
Srisuwan says he is filing a formal complaint to the Thai national auditor’s office about the cost disparities.
In response to the story a Defense Ministry spokesman, Kongcheep Tantravanich, says there is a difference between civilian and military models that model helicopter, explaining the difference in price.
“They have different functions,” Maj. Gen. Kongcheep said in the Khaosod article.
A military-outfitted AW139 helicopter, the same model bought by the Thai army, reportedly sold for about 348 million baht in 2013, according to Aviation International News.
The military says it will respond in full when the complaint is lodged.
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