The Taoist search for Immortality led to millions of early Deaths instead

April 3, 2018

Gunpowder was discovered by accident in China a thousand years ago and it was called fire medicine. While mixing ingredients to find an elixir for immortality, Chinese scientists stumbled on the formula. Fireworks and rockets came first to scare away evil spirits.

In fact, several ingredients for gunpowder were in wide use for medicinal purposes during the Spring and Autumn Period of China’s history (722 – 481 BC).

Sulfur is the main ingredient of gunpowder, and gunpowder was first developed during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD). During the Northern Sung Dynasty, in 1044 AD, the book “Essentials of Military Art” published several formulas for gunpowder production.

Asian Education reports, “During the Song dynasty, gunpowder technology was further refined for military purposes and many kinds of firearms were invented. In the year 1000, Tang Fu designed and manufactured a gunpowder arrow, gunpowder ball, and barbed gunpowder packages and donated them to the Song emperor. In 1132, the fire lance was introduced with gunpowder in a long bamboo tube. When fired, flames were projected on the enemy. In 1259, a fire-spitting lance was enhanced with bullets. When fired, bullets were ejected with the flames.”

One theory says that the knowledge of gunpowder went to Europe along the Silk Road around the start of the 13th century, hundreds of years after being discovered in China. It is also ironic, that Britain and France used advanced gunpowder weapons to defeat China during the 19th century in the two Opium Wars.

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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Guess where the first device to measure earthquakes was invented

March 7, 2018

China was the most technologically advanced nation in the world for more than a thousand years. In fact, the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) put the Roman Empire (27 BC – 476 AD) to shame.

One example of China’s technological abilities was when the first seismograph was invented in 132 AD.  Zhang Heng’s device measured an earthquake in 134 AD, and he used the results to predict the location. Han Ministers didn’t believe him. Then a courier arrived and reported that an earthquake had taken place where Zhang said it did.

In 1951, Chinese scientists from China’s National Museum worked on recreating Zhang Heng’s seismograph. Since there was a limited amount of information, it took until 2007 to complete the reconstruction.

By comparison, it wasn’t until the 18th century (AD) that there is any record of Western scientists developing a seismograph.

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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What would life be like today without paper?

March 6, 2018

Imagine the rise of civilization to today’s level of technology without paper and the books that came with paper and the printing press.

Would men have walked on the moon? Without paper, what would we use to clean up after defecation – I’m talking about toilet paper?

Papermaking is one of the four significant inventions from ancient China.

Almost 2,000 years ago, the discovery of paper was made in China. In 105 AD, Cai Lon submitted his discovery to the Han emperor. His method of paper making soon spread to the rest of China, and the emperor rewarded Cai Lon by making him a member of the nobility.

The basic principles of papermaking invented by Cai Lon are still in use today. To make paper was a six-step process, and properly manufactured paper lasts for centuries.

In fact, Buddhism arrived in China about the time of the invention of paper and this helped spread Buddhist ideas, which contributed to the spread of that philosophy/religion.

For a long time, the Chinese closely guarded the secret of paper making, but by the 15th century, the paper making process finally reached Europe. It only took about fourteen-hundred years.

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’s long history with Astronomy: Part 2 of 2

January 24, 2018

Chinese astronomers named the constellations long before anyone in the west did. For instance, the Big Dipper was called The Plow. The North Star was Bei Ji. Another constellation was called the Winnowing Basket.

From the 16th century B.C. to the end of the 19th Century A.D., almost every (Chinese) dynasty appointed officials who were charged with the sole task of observing and recording the changes in the heavens.

However, the Chinese were not alone in mapping the heavens.

Ancient cultures in the West studied the skies too. The “Nebra Sky Disc”, discovered in Europe, dates to about 1,600 BC.

National Geographic says the Nebra Sky Disc is the oldest depiction of the night sky.  It is a hundred years older than the oldest images found in ancient Egypt.

The Nebra Sky Disc may be the first representation of the universe in human history.

But in China about 4,000 years ago, the oldest astronomical instrument known to man appeared. It was merely a bamboo pole planted in the ground so that the movement of the sun could be observed from the direction and length of the shadow of the pole.

The Chinese were the most persistent and accurate observers of celestial phenomena.

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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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’s long history with Astronomy: Part 1 of 2

January 23, 2018

For thousands of years, Chinese astronomers have studied the stars and planets moving in their endless journey across the night sky.

Oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty recorded eclipses and as many as 90 novae (exploding stars).

For about two thousand years, the Chinese used the North Star (which stays constant). The Chinese used that star to map the location of every other star in the sky.

This method of mapping stars is called the equatorial system. The West would not use this method to map the heavens for almost two thousand years after the Chinese invented it.

In early 1980s, a tomb was found at Xi Shui Po (西水坡) in Pu Yang, Henan Province. There were some clamshells and bones forming the images of the Azure Dragon, the White Tiger and the Northern Dipper. It is believed that this tomb belongs to the Neolithic Age, about 6,000 years ago.

Star names relating to the 28 lunar mansions was found on oracle bones dating back to the Wuding Period (about 3,200 years ago).

Continued in Part 2 on January 24, 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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The Growth of Fuel-Cell Power in China

September 6, 2017

China had developed the world’s first hydrogen-powered tram. IflScience says, “China is investing a substantial amount into green energy and was even a world leader in renewable energy production back in 2013. They generate more wind power than any other country in the world and their contributions accounted for almost 30% of all global investment in clean energy. Now, continuing with their push for clean energy developments, China has just announced the production of the world’s first hydrogen-powered tram.”

In 2001, we saw the beginning of the evolution of hydrogen fuel use in China when the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) announced it intends to make China globally competitive in the field of hydrogen technology.

Then in 2006, People.com reported, China opened its first hydrogen fueling station, which was operated in a joint venture with British Petroleum (BP). The Chinese partner, SinoHytec, is an enterprise linked to Tsinghua University—which is considered the MIT of China.

In addition, in 2006, three Daimler-Chrysler made fuel cell buses went into trial operation in Beijing and five vehicles made by Tsinghua University were tested.

In 2010, a fleet of more than 50 hydrogen fuel cell shuttle vehicles transported athletes and government officials at the Asian Games and Asian Para Games in Guangzhou City, China.

According to a report from Pike Research, more than 5,200 hydrogen-fueling stations will be operational worldwide by 2020, up from just 200 in 2010, and estimates the market for fuel-cell technology in the Asia-Pacific region will reach $6.7 billion in 2017. Japan, South Korea and China are quickly becoming leaders in the fuel cell industry through their investments in and adoption of the technology.

FuelCellCars.com reported Dec. 2016, “This plan will require China to build 300 hydrogen refueling stations by 2025 and 1,000 by 2030. In China, sales of so-called new energy vehicles—which includes hybrids, battery-electric cars and fuel-cell vehicles—are subsidized with attractive consumer incentives, as well as perks such as free parking and lower license fees.”

When China’s government decides to move, it moves fast, which is witnessed by China leading the world in solar and wind generated energy manufacturing. China also has about half the world’s hydroelectric power plants and is building safer Thorium and uranium pebble-bed reactors besides replacing old-coal burning power plants with new, modern facilities that reduce carbon emissions dramatically. I wrote about this in Doing Mankind a Favor.

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’s Holistic Historical Timeline

 


China’s History with the Night Sky: Part 2 of 2

August 9, 2017

The Milky Way Maid’s Weblog says, the (ancient) Chinese focused on the constellations creating one of the earliest star maps ever found. “The Chinese are believed to have made the first observation of the legendary Halley’s comet in 240 BC.” In the West, In 1705, an astronomer named Edmond Halley discovered that the comet appears every 75 to 76 years, and the comet was named after him, not the Chinese who observed it before Christ was born.

Chinese astronomers gave distinctive names to familiar Western constellations. For example, the Big Dipper was called The Plow. The North Star was Bei Ji. Another constellation was called the Winnowing Basket.

However, the Chinese were not alone in mapping the heavens.

Ancient cultures in the West studied the skies too. The “Nebra Sky Disc”, discovered in Europe, was dated to about 1,600 BC.

National Geographic reports the Nebra Sky Disc is the oldest depiction of the night sky in history, and its a hundred years older than the oldest images found in ancient Egypt. The Nebra Sky Disc may be the first representation of the universe in human history.

In addition, China.org reports that 4,000 years ago, the oldest astronomical instrument known to man was invented. It was merely a bamboo pole planted in the ground so that the movement of the sun could be observed from the direction and length of the shadow of the pole. “From the 16th century BC to the end of the 19th century AD, almost every dynasty appointed officials charged with the sole task of observing and recording the changes in the heavens. Such observations and records have left a rich astronomical legacy. …

“While Western astronomers of the Renaissance period were still arguing in 1615 who was the first to discover sunspots, Chinese astronomers had already accumulated a large amount of records on sunspots. Now it is known that the earliest records of sunspots were made in 28 BC by Chinese astronomers during the reign of Emperor Cheng of the Western Han Dynasty.”

Return to or Start with Part 1.

Discover Wu Zetian, China’s only female emperor

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.

Where to Buy

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”.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline