Today, I learned that:
In the Guizhou province in the Southwest of China, an impressive construction is underway. It is the Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST). This exact location was chosen because it is very well shielded from magnetic disruptions, the ground is both stable enough to hold the structure and porous enough to drain away water and protect the telescope.
When concluded later on in 2016, FAST will be the largest single-aperture radio telescope in the world, with a 500 meter diameter, 60 % larger than the current largest one, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. It will be comprised of 4,500 triangular panels, which when combined with an active adjustable reflector, will enable scientists to observe a larger area of space in greater fidelity than any telescope before it. See also reference #1 below.
And today I also learned that within the next few months, Sweden will exhibit a topological map with a resolution 25 times greater than the current one. The older aerial photos will give way to a modern method where an airplane flying on an altitude of 2 km beams a laser over a 1,5 km wide area, thus permitting a ground resolution of 2 m! Not bad, considering that Sweden has a total area of 450 000 km2. The new map has already revealed surprising archeological facts about the Swedish landscape that were unknown before. Reference #2 (in Swedish) gives more details.
And finally, why is everybody talking about “April in Paris”? I say “April in Tokyo”, with cherry trees in blossom like the one in the header photo. I had left Beijing a couple of hours earlier, but before that I had one of the biggest surprises ever in my life. While waiting for my flight to be called out, I visited the VIP lounge at the Beijing airport to check e-mails, and there I met a good old friend from the same small village where we both were born. He had been in China together with his wife to inaugurate a new production plant. Now I perfectly understand the meaning of the expression “It is a small world we live in!”
… That’s what I learned in school !
1: An otherworldly visitor nests in rural China
3: Edo Castle