Author: changabula

Chinese Inventions, Discoveries and Other Contributions   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-1-25 21:37:32 |Display all floors
Razor Scooter

The Razor scooter is a new and very popular foldable scooter. It was invented by a team of people at the J.D. Corp. (a company that sells aluminum bicycle parts and electric scooters in Changhua, Taiwan, Republic of China).

Gino Tsai, the president of the company, wanted a way to get around his factory floors faster (he says that he is a slow walker and he needed a more efficient means of getting around). It took about 5 years for the team to develop their current model, which uses airplane-grade aluminum and polyurethane wheels. It was introduced in 1998 at the NSGA World Sports Expo, when Tsai scooted around the show, attracting the attention of Sharper Image Corp., who ordered the first Razor scooters. The scooters quickly became popular world-wide.

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-27 01:28 AM ]
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Post time 2007-1-25 21:38:31 |Display all floors
UMBRELLA

Next time you look out the window onto a rainy day and pull out an umbrella, know that you owe your thanks to the Chinese.

The collapsible and ily supported umbrella is cocredited as being invented during Cao Wei in ancient China, roughly 1,700 years ago. The Chinese character for umbrella is 傘 (san) and is a pictograph resembling the modern umbrella in design. Some investigators have supposed that its invention was suggested by large leaves tied to the branching extremities of a bough; others assert that the idea was probably derived from the tent, which remains in form unaltered to the present day. However, the tradition existing in China is that it originated in standards and banners waving in the air, hence the use of the umbrella was often linked to high ranking (though not necessarily royalty in China). On one occasion at least, we hear of twenty-four umbrellas being carried before the Emperor when he went out hunting. In this case the umbrella served as a defence against rain rather than sun. The Chinese design was later brought to Japan via Korea and also introduced to Persia and the West via the Silk Road. The Chinese and Japanese traditional parosol, often used near temples, to this day remains similar to the original Wei Dynasty design.

An even older source on the umbrella comes from an ancient book of Chinese ceremonies, called Zhou-Li (The Rites of Zhou), dating 2400 years ago, which directs that upon the imperial cars the dais should be placed. The figure of this dais contained in Zhou-Li, and the description of it given in the explanatory commentary of Lin-hi-ye, both identify it with an umbrella. The latter describes the dais to be composed of 28 arcs, which are equivalent to the ribs of the modern instrument, and the staff supporting the covering to consist of two parts, the upper being a rod 3/18 of a Chinese foot in circumference, and the lower a tube 6/10 in circumference, into which the upper half is capable of sliding and closing...

The Chinese were probably the first to waterproof the umbrella for use in the rain; they used wax and lacquer (a type of paint) to repel the rain. Samuel Fox (1815 - 1887), an English inventor and manufacturer, invented the steel ribbed umbrella in 1852 (wood or whale bone had been used previously).

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbrella
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Parasols in Wuhan:

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-16 04:00 AM ]
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Post time 2007-1-26 08:53:01 |Display all floors
I-Ching/Yin Yang

Written by King Wen and his son, Duke Chou, nearly 3,000 years ago, the ancient book of "I-Ching" (Book of Transformations) to this day provides guidance to those seeking the true organization and balance of the Universe's natural elements.

As Confucius said, by following the counsels of the book, and studying it continuously,we can attain creative awareness in every situation.

The "yin" and the "yang," representing all the possible sets of naturally paired opposites, is incorporated into this philosophical work, which has become part history and part eternal spiritual guide

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[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-2 08:38 PM ]
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Post time 2007-1-26 08:56:59 |Display all floors
Biological Pest Control

The Chinese were far ahead of the Western world in a natural pest control. In the countryside frogs were always a forbidden food because they ate insects. Praying mantises were released in gardens among the chysanthemums to drive away leaf-eating insects.

The most remarkable and economically important of the ancient Chinese biological weapons was the yellow citris killer-ant. Its use is described in Hsi Han's Records of the Plants and Trees of the Southern Regions, written in A.D. 340:

    The Mandarin Orange is a kind of orange with an exceptionally sweet and delicious taste....The people of Chiao-Chih sell it in their markets [carnivorous] ants in bags of rush matting. The nests are like silk. The bags are all attached to twigs and leaves, which, with the ants inside the nests, are for sale. These ants do not eat the oranges, but attack and kill the insects which do. In the south, if the mandarin orange trees do not have this kind of ant, the fruits will be damaged by the many harmful insects, and not a single fruit will be perfect.


Defending orange trees against pests became a small business in southern China. In the twelfth century the ants were trapped by filling a pig or sheep bladder with fat and hanging it up next to an ants' nest. Once the ants had moved house to the bladder, it was taken off to market to be sold to fruit growers. To help the ants spread through an entire orange grove, the owners would build miniature bamboo bridges connecting the trees. With the current revival of interest in natural pesticides, perhaps the yellow citrus killer-ant may one day spread around the world—with a little help from humanity.

  1. http://www.inventions.org/culture/ancient/pest.html
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Post time 2007-1-26 09:28:00 |Display all floors
Wind Power Technology


China Makes Huge Breakthrough in Wind Power Technology

Chinese developers unveiled the world’s first full-permanent magnetic levitation (Maglev) wind power generator at the Wind Power Asia Exhibition 2006 held June 28 in Beijing, according to Xinhua News. Regarded as a key breakthrough in the evolution of global wind power technology—and a notable advance in independent intellectual property rights in China—the generator was jointly developed by Guangzhou Energy Research Institute under China’s Academy of Sciences and by Guangzhou Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Science & Technology Co., Ltd.

The Maglev generator is expected to boost wind energy generating capacity by as much as 20 percent over traditional wind turbines. This would effectively cut the operational expenses of wind farms by up to half, keeping the overall cost of wind power under 0.4 yuan ($US 5 cents), according to Guokun Li, the chief scientific developer of the new technology. Further, the Maglev is able to utilize winds with starting speeds as low as 1.5 meters per second (m/s), and cut-in speeds of 3 m/s, the chief of Zhongke Energy was quoted as saying at the exhibition. When compared with the operational hours of existing wind turbines, the new technology will add an additional 1,000 hours of operation annually to wind power plants in areas with an average wind speed of 3 m/s.

Xinhua News reports that more than 70 million households in China lack access to electricity, with most of them living in areas unconnected to power grids. The widely scattered nature of rural localities makes it difficult to supply grid-based power to these areas. The use of the full-permanent Maglav generator could potentially fill the power void in these locations by harnessing low-speed wind resources that were previously untappable.

With an increasing number of Chinese and international investors joining the global booming wind power market, the technology is expected to create new opportunities in low-wind-speed areas worldwide such as mountain regions, islands, observatories, and television transfer stations. In addition, the Maglev generator will be able to provide roadside lighting along highways by utilizing the airflow generated from vehicles passing by, said Xinhua News.

The global wind power market has seen tremendous growth in recent years, with Germany, Spain, and the United States ranking as the top producers in 2005. The output of wind turbines is increasing rapidly thanks to the world’s ramped-up wind power capacity. Global sales of wind power equipment reached $10 billion in 2004 and are estimated to reach $49 billion per year by 2012, reports Worldwatch researcher Janet Sawin in Vital Signs 2005.

  1. http://www.worldwatch.org/node/4217
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Post time 2007-1-26 09:47:49 |Display all floors
Civil Service

Exams for government service were introduced in both France and England in the 1800s, apparently inspired by the Chinese practice instituted almost two thousand years earlier, in 154 B.C.

  1. http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/song/readings/inventions_ques.htm
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Post time 2007-1-26 09:48:51 |Display all floors
Grain Storage

Henry A. Wallace, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1933 to 1940, introduced governmental storage of excess grain after reading the dissertation of a Chinese student at Columbia University on Confucian economic policies. Wallace adapted the Confucian notion of government grain purchases to provide for times of scarcity, and he introduced the practice in the U.S. to deal with over-production due to mechanization and the resulting drop in agricultural prices.

  1. http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/song/readings/inventions_ques.htm
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