October 2, 2016

Smog-free tower highlights clear air issues in Beijing

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 11:43 am

Daan Roosegaarde, who showed us the Netherlands as a network of light, has now installed a Smog-Free Tower in Beijing’s well-known 798 arts district, in a city that has become synonymous with smog.

Roosegaarde’s partial contribution towards a solution to the smog is a seven-meter metal structure that takes in smog and expels cleaner air, made up of 45 silver plates that look like window blinds, the tower contains an air-purifying machine that runs continuously. He says he came up with the idea for the tower after a visit to Beijing three years ago. His team of designers raised more than $120,000 online to help pay for the tower by selling metal rings with a clear cube that includes a bit of black carbon from smog.

However, it has been difficult to tell if the air was actually cleaner. An unscientific test using a handheld monitoring device throughout the day showed the air next to the tower was slightly cleaner than further away. Let’s be fair: it’s about the idea of showing that it is possible, as well as inspiring people to come up with solutions instead of doing nothing and hoping the government will magically care enough to do something about it.

(Link: phys.org, Photo of a particulate polluted Shanghai sky by Wikimedia Commons user Saperaud, some rights reserved)

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August 12, 2008

Haarlem mayor ‘corrects’ the Chinese although wrong

Filed under: General,Literature by Orangemaster @ 10:42 am
Book printing

There is no honourable way of putting this: the Mayor of Haarlem is, er, not very well informed. Bernt Schneiders has fallen into the old trap of thinking the Dutch really invented book printing and played Dutch uncle to the Chinese for making what he thinks is a mistake during the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games when they claimed that book printing is a Chinese invention. Schneiders wrote a letter to the Mayor of Beijing, Wang Qisham resolutely pointing out that Haarlem’s Laurens Janszoon Coster invented book printing in 1400, which according to Schneiders is “a well-known fact”. Diplomacy as well as history is obviously not his forte.

No one really knows who invented book printing and where, and although Coster had some role to play, so did the Flemish Dirk Martens and Germany’s much more productive Johann Gutenberg. Even prominent Dutch linguist Marc van Oostendorp wrote in an article about naming book projects in Europe that people acted “as if China did not exist.” Oostendorp adds that “until the 19th century, it was purely nationalist Dutch thinking to suppose that Laurens Janszoon Coster was the inventor of book printing and that Gutenberg stole his idea.” He also wrote that “as far as we know today nobody believes in this theory anymore. There is even doubt as to whether Coster even lived in Haarlem”. Ouch.

(Link: telegraaf.nl)

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March 4, 2008

Dutchman bikes to Beijing for the Olympics

Filed under: Bicycles,Sports by Orangemaster @ 11:03 am

From the small town of Empel, Brabant all the way to Bejing, China some 12,000 kilometres down the road, 40-year-old Leo Janssen plans to bike his way to the Olympic Games in five months. His travels will take him through Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and China. A huge fan of the Olympics, in 1992, Leo walked to the Olympics from Empel to Barcelona. In 1996, he simply flew to Atlanta (perfectly understandible), although in 2000 he tried to reach Sydney by bike. In 2004, he took it “one step further” by using a step bicycle to make it to Athenes and this year he’s using a recumbent bicycle.

(Video link: depers.nl)

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