Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Satellite imagery reveals mystery ‘Supergun’ in Chinese desert -

Satellite imagery reveals mystery ‘Supergun’ in Chinese desert - 

Satellite imagery reveals mystery 'supergun' in Chinese desert

Satellite imagery has revealed two unusually large artillery pieces, measuring about 80 ft and 110 ft respectively, at a test centre for armour and artillery northwest of Baotou in China.

The two pieces, which are horizontally mounted, are mounted on a concrete pad that appeared between September 2010 and December 2011, when the two pieces were first captured by satellite imagery. Images provided by Astrium confirmed that the objects were still in place in July 2013.

The 2011 imagery clearly depicts a series of what appear to be targets in front of the 110 ft piece, suggesting some kind of penetration testing for high-velocity projectiles.

China has historically shown interest in large calibre, long-range artillery. It experimented with the Xianfeng ‘supergun’ in the 1970s as part of Project 640 anti-ballistic missile programme. Approximately 85 ft long, Xianfeng may be the smaller of the two objects retained for experimental use after its cancellation in 1980.

In the 1990s it was revealed that China had built a long-range ‘supergun’ technology testbed similar to the Iraqi Project Babylon supergun designed by Gerald Bull. IHS Jane’s Land Warfare Platforms: Artillery & Air Defence notes that Bull was heavily involved in designing long-range Chinese artillery systems for Norinco in the 1980s.

The larger Baotou artillery piece outwardly resembles the Project Babylon ‘supergun’, which was theoretically capable of extreme-range artillery barrages or of targeting orbiting satellites. Bull’s ‘Baby Babylon’ testbed measured 150 ft in length, compared with the 105 ft-long larger piece at Baotou.

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App turns smartphone into personal panic button, alert system... -

App turns smartphone into personal panic button, alert system... - 

A "panic button" smartphone app that can alert friends and family if you are in trouble or feel threatened has been released, its British developers say.

PanicMe, created by developer DataMe in consultation with local police forces, allows a user to set up a personalized response network of friends and family to be contacted when a panic alert is activated, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

A traffic light system offers three panic options -- green, amber or red -- depending on the seriousness of the event, and as many as 30 numbers in the phone's contact list can be selected for each panic option.

Red Alert signals a high risk situation with imminent danger, such as fear of being attacked, abducted or seriously ill and urgent help is required.

Amber is for a medium risk situation, where a user is in trouble and may come to harm if help doesn't come within half an hour to an hour.

Green denotes a low risk situation, possibly where a user is lost, separated from their group, or has suffered a vehicle breakdown.

GPS will give a user's panic network their exact location and help emergency responders locate them.

"With so many people these days having a mobile phone, apps such as PanicMe cannot only help to make those in need feel much safer but can also give peace of mind to those who care for them," former Deputy Chief Constable David Lindley said.

PanicMe is available for iPhone, Android and Windows smartphones.

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