Will China rebuild its cities so they become people friendly?

June 12, 2019

Most cities were built to be friendly to cars and not people, but there is a growing movement to change that. The April 2019 issue of National Geographic Magazine (NGM) published “To build the cities of the future, we must get out of our cars

Countries across the world, including the United States and China, or starting to build and/or rebuild cities to turn them people friendly.

The first page of the 20-minute read NGM piece started with, “SHANGHAI, CHINA Near the center of this city of 24 million, China’s largest, the Yanan expressway crosses under the North-South Expressway. The country has gained half a billion city dwellers since 1990—and nearly 190 million cars. ‘It’s truly almost incomprehensible what happened in China,’ says American urban designer Peter Calthorpe, who has worked there extensively. With nearly 300 million more people expected in cities by 2030, Chinese planners say they’re changing course, prioritizing walkable streets and public transit over cars. …

Chinese planners say they’re changing course, prioritizing walkable streets and public transit over cars.

“The key test may come in Xiongan, a 680-square-mile stretch of swampy land, including a heavily polluted lake, about 65 miles southwest of Beijing. In April 2017 President Xi Jinping announced, again to general surprise, that he wanted to build a new city there. Ultimately it could house five million people and relieve congestion and pollution in Beijing.”

The guide for building these people-friendly cities is the Emerald Cities Rule book, and China is in the best position to build these cities.

“Emerald Cities: Planning for Smart and Green China,” published in 2017 lays out green building and sustainability practices for low-carbon city planning and construction in China and abroad. Emerald Cities proposes 10 principles to help set a new development direction for Chinese cities: from urban growth boundaries and transit-oriented development, to small blocks with accessible public space and car control, to green buildings and sustainable infrastructure at constructive detailed planning and community levels. The 10 principles aim to establish green, healthy and economic vibrant cities, while solving pollution and livability challenges faced by China’s cities. Emerald Cities was jointly published by China Sustainable Transportation Center and Glumac with support from Energy Foundation and Energy Innovation.”

What do U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration want to build? Trump wants to build a wall that will divide people and promote hate and segregation while he holds rallies across the U.S. promoting hate and segregation.

However, the U.S. also has the possibility offered by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal that is similar to what Xi Jinping wants to do in China, so there is still hope for America to join China in making the world people friendly instead of focused on hate, segregation, and greed.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Is China already the World Leader in Climate Strategy

November 14, 2018

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) reports, “As the United States steps away from global climate leadership, China is stepping up. EDF has been working there for more than 25 years, and now we’re helping the Chinese government launch a national system to control climate pollution.”

How serious is China?

In 2017, the BBC wrote, “China leads world in solar power production” …

“The largest solar farm in the world – Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, all 30sq km of it – is a Chinese project. And the country recently opened the world’s largest floating solar farm, in Huainan, Anhui Province.”

CNBC reports, “China continues to lead global wind energy market, says new report.” …

“The GWEC said that Asia would lead growth, with China – which installed 23 GW in 2016 – leading all markets.”

CNBC also says, “China now produces more solar, wind and hydro power than the US and EU combined.” … “And, according to a recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), last year alone China pumped over $44 billion into increasing its renewable energy reach.

“This model of renewables replacing coal is now being replicated throughout Asia.”

China is also in the process of replacing its taxi fleet with electric cars.  Quarts reports, “China added as much battery-storage capacity in 2018 as all previous years combined.” … “China isn’t building gigafactories,” says Patrick Hurley, chief technology officer of A123, a lithium-ion battery company. “It is building gigacities.” … “In 2017, CNESA estimates that China built 40 GWh worth of batteries for electric cars and buses. That accounts for the batteries in more than 50% of all electric vehicles sold globally in the same year.”

“Beijing Leads China in Promoting Battery Electric Vehicles,” Inside EVs says. “Beijing is one of the most EV rich places in the world with 188,000 all-electric vehicles, which is 11.6% of all electric cars registered in China.

“The Chinese capital increased the number of BEVs this year by 17,000. Around 140,000 out of a total of 188,000 were purchased by individuals and companies, while the remaining 48,000 were used in the public sphere.

“All those vehicles can use roughly 130,000 charging points – 93,000 privately installed for home use, 20,000 accessible to the general public, and 17,000 installed for the public transport system.”

And Vox.com reports, “By 2020, every Chinese coal plant will be more efficient than every US coal plant.

China’s efforts to tackle coal are comprehensive and ambitious, a new report shows.”

What has President Donald Trump done in the U.S. to cut back on fossil fuel emissions/pollution?

Nothing!

 

In fact, Trump has signed executive orders that allow coal mines to pollute US rivers and coastal waters with more toxic emissions. … “Old coal-fired power plants may get to keep polluting the air we breathe and the atmosphere that sustains life on earth, thanks to Trump’s call to toss out the Clean Power Plan. And future power plants may not be held to tougher standards that would have largely prevented new coal plants from coming online.”

Vox continues, “China is waging an aggressive, multi-front campaign to clean up coal before eventually phasing it out — reducing emissions from existing plants, mothballing older plants, and raising standards for new plants. Unlike the US, it is on track to exceed its Paris carbon reduction commitments.

“In short, while the US dithers along in a cosmically stupid dispute over whether science is real, China is tackling climate change with all guns blazing. The US, not China, is the laggard in this relationship.”

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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China’s Three Gorges Damn and Space Program: Part 2 of 2

September 5, 2018

China space program took off in 1975 with the successful launch of its first recoverable satellite. China’s space program didn’t stop there. By 2003, China became the third country on the planet to put a man into space on October 15, and in 2008, Chinese astronauts completed their first spacewalk.

Space.com reported, “Tangong-1 is a single-module space station operated by the China National Space Administration. The module was launched in 2011 and hosted two crews of taikonauts (Chinese astronauts) in 2012 and 2013. …

“In 2016, Chinese flight controllers lost control of Tiangong-1, sealing the 8.5 metric ton space lab’s fate. Tiangong-1’s decaying orbit may make it fall into Earth’s atmosphere sometime between March 30 and April 2, 2018.” …

“A second space station, Tiangong-2, launched on Sept. 15, 2016, to further test out space station technologies. A crewed docking mission, Shenzhou 11, visited the space station in October and November 2016. The Chinese then tested out docking and refueling with a cargo ship, called Tianzhou-1. The cargo spacecraft made three dockings in April, June, and September in 2017. The last docking was performed in just 6.5 hours instead of two days.”

Wired reports the future of China’s space program. One of China’s nearest goals is the plan to land a rover on the dark side of the Moon in 2018. … The plan is to study the geology of the Moon’s far side.”

China also plans to capture an asteroid and put it in orbit around the Moon where they will study it.

The Chinese also want to send an orbiter, lander, and rover to the red planet by 2020. “The best and most direct method to look for evidence of life on Mars is to explore the surface. Mars will be a key focus of China’s deep space exploration in the future,” says Zheng Yongchun, an associate researcher with the National Astronomical Observatory.

Wired also reports, “Not content with sending humans to asteroids, the Moon and Mars, China also plans on building its very own space station. The first part of the Chinese large modular space station is expected to go into orbit around Earth in 2019 with the final sections in place by 2022. The station will host three crew members, unlike previous efforts which could not support any crew.”

Return to or Start with Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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China’s Three Gorges Damn and Space Program: Part 1 of 2

September 4, 2018

In 2003, China neared completion of the largest dam in the world, the Three Gorges Dam, and launched its first manned spacecraft.

Construction of the main wall of the Three Gorges Dam was completed in 2006. The remainder of the dam’s generators were operational by mid-2012, and a ship lift, which allowed vessels of up to 3,000 tons to bypass the ship locks and more quickly navigate past the dam, began operating in late 2015.

In 2006, when it was completed, it was the largest dam structure in the world.

The dam’s 32 turbine generators have a capacity to generate 22,500 megawatts of electricity. The dam also was intended to protect millions of people from the periodic flooding that had plagued the Yangtze basin for thousands of years.

International Rivers reports, “China has more large dams than any other country in the world, including the world’s largest – the Three Gorges Dam. Today there are more than 87,000 dams in China.” For a comparison, the United States with about 320 million people in its population has an estimated 84,000 dams vs 1.4 trillion people in China.

Part 2 continues on August 29, 2018

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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Why did China stop being the most innovative country in the world

May 15, 2018

The Man Who Loved China is the biography of Joseph Needham’s life. In this biography, Simon Winchester, the bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman brings to life the extraordinary story of Joseph Needham, the brilliant Cambridge scientist who unlocked the most closely held secrets of China, long the world’s most technologically advanced country.

Joseph Needham’s Science and Civilisation in China deals with the history of science and technology in China, and the series is on the Modern Library Board’s 100 Best Nonfiction books of the 20th century.

In 1954, Needham—along with an international team of collaborators—initiated the project to study the science, technology, and civilization of ancient China. This project produced a series of volumes published by Cambridge University Press. The project is still continuing under the guidance of the Publications Board of the Needham Research Institute (NRI).

If you visit Cambridge.org, you will read: “Dr. Joseph Needham’s account of the Chinese achievement in science and technology will stand as one of the great works of our time. It has been acclaimed by specialists in both East and West and also by readers with wider and more general interests. The text, based on research of a high critical quality, is supported by many hundreds of illustrations and is imbued with a warm appreciation of China. … He begins by examining the structure of the Chinese language; he reviews the geography of China and the long history of its people, and discusses the scientific contacts which have occurred throughout the centuries, between Europe and East Asia.”

Needham left us with a question that he never answered, and China experts are still debating that answer today, an answer to the curious fact that after centuries of scientific and technological creativity, that activity suddenly came to an end in 1500 AD. Needham wanted to know what happened, but he never answered his own question.

Needham’s research on China discovered that the ancient Chinese led the world and accomplished an average of 15 important innovations a century for a total of more than fifteen hundred. Then came the sixteenth century, when the Renaissances was fully underway in Europe, and the creative passions of China dried up.

I think the answer to Needham’s question will be revealed in the posts that cover the rest of China’s history after the end of the Song Dynasty in 1279 AD up to Mao’s death in 1976. The decline was long, brutal, and bloody.

When Mao died in 1976, China’s education system was all but gone and had to be rebuilt from scratch, and many of the country’s public school teachers were dead from suicide or execution. If you read The Man Who Loved China, you will also discover that during World War II, one goal of the Japanese was to destroy China’s educational system, and the Japanese armies did all they could to destroy China’s universities, burn China’s libraries, and execute China’s scholars.

What happened to China after the Song Dynasty and in World War II reminds me of what is happening today in the United States where ignorant, arrogant individuals like Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos, Bill Gates, David and Charles Koch, the Wal-Mart Walton family and their autocratic, wealthy, old, white allies are slowly, systematically dismantling the community based, public education system of the United States.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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China was the Most Innovative Country in the World for Fifteen Hundred Years: Part 3 of 3

May 10, 2018

Another Chinese inventor during the Song Dynasty created a machine known as the Cosmic Engine, the ancient world’s astronomical computer.

Su Song was the inventor.  The Cosmic Engine was so complicated that for centuries no one (even Westerners) understood how it worked. Today, few westerners know that it existed.

However, records show that the Cosmic Engine was created in 1092 AD.

The Cosmic Engine calculated time—not just hours and minutes but weeks, months and seasons reflecting how the earth moves around the sun. It also calculated how the earth and planets moved through space.

The Cosmic Engine was five stories tall and its working innards were complex.

Today, we know exactly how this device was created since Su Song left detailed blueprints and directions describing how it was built. Song’s Cosmic Engine worked from the eleventh century until enemies of the Song Dynasty destroyed it.

Using Song’s blueprints, the Science and Technology Museum in Beijing built a fully accurate reconstruction. Another reconstruction exists in London.

This ingenious device led to the invention of Western clocks hundreds of years later, and we now know that many of the inventions and discoveries the modern world was built on originated in ancient Imperial China.

The Confucian method of meritocracy was (and still is) the engine that led to the creation of all of the Chinese innovations mentioned in this series of posts and this is only a sample.

The Chinese system of meritocracy then and now makes it impossible that anyone as weak or ignorant as George W. Bush or Donald Trump could ever come close to a position of top leadership.

Return to Part 2 or start with Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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China was the Most Innovative Country in the World for Fifteen Hundred Years: Part 2 of 3

May 9, 2018

Modern ironworkers of today use the same method that ancient Chinese did, but today there is automation and we use electrical air pumps to feed the fire.

How did the ancient Chinese develop a method to drive enough air into a furnace to heat it to the necessary high temperatures? The Chinese used water to drive the bellows for a blast furnace. With these inventions, the groundwork was laid for other sophisticated machinery used in mass production.

One such invention in ancient China was an odometer designed to measure distance.  This device was known as the rangefinder chariot. A cart that was rolling along with troops measured every five hundred meters by banging a drum automatically.

This device was used to measure the distance to enemy camps and measure how far the troops had marched from a royal city.

What is amazing about this ancient odometer is that the gears match exactly those found in modern motorcycle engines.

There is also evidence of the application of gear engineering in eastern China on a massive industrial scale during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1276 AD).

We now know that the Chinese had huge factories capable of mass production.

Another ancient machine recently discovered is the hydraulic trip hammer and it is believed to have been developed two millennia ago. The texts from that time tell us that the huge machine was used to crush grain but also to pound metal the same way metal is still developed today.

The ancient Chinese then invented a more efficient way to grind grain-using millstones. However, the Chinese took this machine to an advanced level known as a multiple geared gristmill, which was also powered by water.

Nearly a thousand years later, the industrial revolution started in England.

Part 3 continues on May 10, 2018, or return to Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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