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China Going Up and Coming Down

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the high-flying-every-way-you-look dept.

Space 400

SoCalChris writes "The BBC writes that China has just completed the world's highest railroad, climbing to 16,640 feet (5,072 meters) above sea level. The cars will be sealed to help passengers cope with the pressure changes from the altitude. The line is expected to begin carrying passengers next year." This news comes at the same time that their Chinese taikonauts return from their spaceflight after just 115 hours in orbit.

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First Prime Factorization Post (5, Funny)

2*2*3*75011 (900132) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813788)

SoCalChris writes "The BBC writes that China has just completed the world's highest railroad, climbing to 2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2*5*13 feet (2*2*2*2*317 meters) above sea level. The cars will be sealed to help passengers cope with the pressure changes from the altitude. The line is expected to begin carrying passengers next year." This news comes at the same time that their Chinese taikonauts return from their spaceflight after just 5*23 hours in orbit.

Re:First Prime Factorization Post (1)

FosterKanig (645454) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813960)

o rry

OT[Re:First Prime Factorization Post] (1, Offtopic)

zobier (585066) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813977)

Just curious, did you create the throwaway account 2roll4life7 (900131) [slashdot.org] before creating 2*2*3*75011 (900132)?, Couldn't you just peek for the latest ID (923669 at time of writing) [slashdot.org] ?

BTW: why don't they use some kind of limit clause on those queries? It seems they load the entire table and then loop forward to the starteth row!?

Oh Really? (-1, Flamebait)

tgbrittai (599035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813795)

Have any other countries verified with their own technology that this spaceflight actually took place and was successful? Some of the images of the spacecraft look fake. And the ones that don't look fake show damage on the spacecraft. I'm not usually this skeptical, but a source other than their government sponsored TV would be nice to see.

Re:Oh Really? (1, Flamebait)

vmcto (833771) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813831)

At first I was thinking this sounds awfully xenophobic...

And then I thought "He who underestimates the chinese is a fool"...

But then I realized, I agree. Their track record at honest reporting of events isn't so good.

Re:Oh Really? (1)

tgbrittai (599035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814038)

Actually, I would rather see the story verified rather than falsified. But China is clearly trying to cast itself as a world superpower so they are going to have to get used to constant critisism about everything they do. It's how the big players are treated.

Re:Oh Really? (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813840)

Um, I think if they were faked, it would be all over western news. Kind of like how if the Apollo landings were faked, every other country in the world (which includes the Soviet Union) would have reported that the US faked them.

You idiot, Matt Drudge is not a reporter (5, Insightful)

michaeltoe (651785) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813907)

The images on Xinhua are meant to demonstrate the capsule landing. They're not pretending to be actual photos. You should know better than to trust headlines with a question mark at the end of them.

Safety? (3, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813806)

This just seems unsafe to me. Imagine something goes wrong and the train is stuck up at that altitude. Then what?

I remember riding a train that had colided with a truck a few years back. This wouldn't likely happen at that altitude, but what could happen would be wildlife and environmental blockage.

It seems like a challenge to me.

Re:Safety? (5, Insightful)

QuasiEvil (74356) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813934)

I would assume that, like other rail systems that operate in harsh climates, there are backup systems. Figure when BC Rail built their all-electric Tumbler Ridge line, they included a small diesel engine in each locomotive in case the overhead power failed so that the crew wouldn't freeze to death (winters in the Tumbler Ridge area are absolutely brutally cold). While the Qinghai-Tibet Rwy isn't electrified, there just have to be backups for such things. In this case, supplemental heat and bottled oxygen would be the two I'd worry about. Based on what I've read, the average elevation of the line is something like 13,000 feet, which is still perfectly breathable, especially to those accustomed to thin air. (I live at about 7,000, and spend weeks during the summer above 10000-11000.) It's only going to be on the high passes that you have issues with air. I'm guessing that it's not built to Western-type standards of redundancy (because, after all, this still is *China*, who was still running mainline steam locomotives until this year), but I'm sure they have something in case of failures. Figure each coach probably has its own systems, so if one fails, you pile everybody into the working coaches. My guess is that they'll probably get away from the Chinese way of one locomotive per train as well - anything running in those nasty conditions, I'd want at least two units in case one died somewhere en route.

Add yet another railway to my list of lines I have to go photograph at least once in my life...

Re:Safety? (1)

mikael (484) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813948)

It's probably no difference from the danger of travelling in either a British train in Summer [dailymail.co.uk] or on the London underground on the hottest day of Summer (8th June 2001).
Temperature was around 40 degrees centigrade, and they were serving free bottles of water for people coming out of the train.

Re:Safety? (1)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814025)

(reads article)

Around 800 passengers, packed into an eight-carriage train, were stranded below ground in temperatures that soared over 30C.

"Soared over 30C?" Dear God , those poor, poor Brits.

Tim Jones, 37, a marketing manager .... said, "....The temperature must have got to 120f, so it was starting to get a bit scary. "

Sounds like a bit of heresay there - did he have a thermometer handy?
It's the third week of spring here where I live and we've already had a few 39C days. Suck it up, you Brits. Remember - what doesn't kill you, prepares you for global warming in the 21st century. Enjoy :-)

Re:Safety? (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814098)

Going through a heat wave above ground in a ventilated or open area is quite different to being trapped in an enclosed space in 30+ degree heat.

This is why kids trapped in a car can die from heat exhaustion even though the heat outside is quite bearable.

Re:Safety? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13814031)

This just seems unsafe to me. Imagine something goes wrong and the train is stuck up at that altitude. Then what?

Then what? No different than what they do right now. Drive a jeep. C'mon, 5,000meters is high, it causes altitude sickness, and COULD be fatal, for some people. However, the pressurization of the cars is for COMFORT, not safety. Right now the only way to get up to Tibet is to either fly, or take a jeep/bus combo over the same 5,000meters. And no, those jeeps are not pressurized. The floors are, however, littered like crazy with empty aspirin packages...

Get real. People live up there. When I read about this train, the oxygen was the least on my mind. The first thing I thought of was how the Tibetans have been fighting this railroad, without much success (a few people have disappeared, a monk was sentenced to death and then later reduced to life in prison after Amnesty International went ape shit) since it's another permanent infrastructure put in place which makes the Chinese occupation of Tibet more and more permanent.

Free Tibet!

You forgot to mention (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813808)

Their significant strides in topping the world in the art of censoring speech and expression, as well as their excellent standing in the international race to the bottom in labor rights

Big Week for China (0, Redundant)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813809)

With these two accomplishments added to the Slashdot article about them having pasta first makes for a very big week for the Chimese. I have seen some speculation that some of the xinhua photos may have been fakes. They do look impressive. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-10/17/conte nt_3623214.htm [xinhuanet.com]

simulation pictures (4, Informative)

pikine (771084) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813841)

In case if someone doesn't realize, the lower four pictures are simulated artwork, which is what the blue heading indicates in Chinese. Please don't shout "they're fake."

Re:simulation pictures (1)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813859)

And I certainly did not say they were fakes. I merely stated that I had seen some speculation to that effect. I believe I even saw some statements along that line already here on Slashdot.

Re:simulation pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813869)

lol, thanks, I would have never guessed that myself! ;)

Seriously, do you really think any nation on Earth with sufficient technology did NOT track that space flight? And if it had been fake, they wouldn't have been shy about publicizing that. So calling their images fake is really pretty ridiculous.

But what of the landing rocket engines? (1)

mbaciarello (800433) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813880)

Ok but, why would they simulate those landing rockets, if not for increased awe? Or do you think they actually were there?

I'd like to know what a rocket scientist would think of landing rockets on the bottom of the capsule, blasting off (presumably) after the parachutes have detached. That picture smells like propagandistic hype to me, but IANRS.

Re:But what of the landing rocket engines? (1)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813927)

Are people really this clueless about even the simplest facts of human spaceflight in the 21st. century? HELLO!?? They're called retro-rockets [64.233.187.104] people.

Re:But what of the landing rocket engines? (1)

pikine (771084) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814011)

I don't think it's an uncommon practice. NASA has released a number of artist rendition of various space missions, including Deep Impact of July 4 this year and Mars Rovers. Do you think that sort of increase in awe has casted any doubt on credibility of NASA's missions?

Re:Big Week for China (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813855)

Your slashdot geek membership is revoked.

You missed the link to the chicks http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-10/15/conte nt_3618725.htm [xinhuanet.com] at the bottom of the page.

Re:Big Week for China (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813892)

Ooops, the last 4 pictures are really fakes, but the Chineses are too lazy to remove the word 'mo2ni3', which meanings "simulated photoes", from these pictures' titles. otherwise, some stupid slashdot readers may think these pictures are for real.

**grin**

Mod Parent Down (5, Insightful)

michaeltoe (651785) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813937)

This guy is just a sucker who reads more into the headlines on DrudgeReport than he does actual articles anywhere else. There are no 'faked pictures', there are merely CG images meant to demonstrate the landing, very similar to how NASA demonstrated the landing of the mars rovers, where no one was there to photograph it.

This type of thing goes on all the time in western media, and there was no attempt to pass off the images as actual photographs. It's just a misconception put forth by xenophobic conspiracy nuts.

Re:Mod Child Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813966)

Did the Parent say it was fake- NO. It merely said some were speculating they were fakes. Perhaps you should learn to read something other than nuts putting forth xenophobic conspiracy ramblings.

Mod Parent Eats Alien Fetuses for Breakfast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13814003)

Actually, if you read what I posted, I never said he said that the images were fake. I merely called him a sucker for reading DrudgeReport, which is where these rumors are being perpetuated. And yes, the rumors are the product of xenophobic conspiracy nuts. They're too stupid to even translate the chinese captions embedded in the very images in question. Lot of in depth investigation there...

Besides, it's really obvious that they're CG. Only an idiot would try to fake images like that.

Re:Big Week for China (0)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813995)

wow. if those are real, I definitely would not like to be in one of those.

Let's overview here:

It looks like one of those aluminum motor homes from the 50s

It looks like it can barely support its own weight. Granted, gravity is very weak in orbit, blah blah blah, but doesn't this thing get strapped to the top of a rocket?

It's got burn marks all over it

And no apparent heat shielding

The parachute detaches before it hits the ground!?

It's got all sorts of crap hanging off of it. A loose piece of tile created enough drag to incinerate the space shuttle. This thing looks like it's got a freaking' sewer pipe coming out of it

All in all, I'd say that this thing looks a lot less safe than the early nasa capsules.

Great (3, Insightful)

nihilogos (87025) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813816)

Well that seals the cultural genocide of the Tibetan people.

Re:Great! (1)

mookie da wookie (919403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813850)

Tibetans are tired of living in fear of trains! As a Tibetan, I can tell you! Trains are the sole reason my culture has been trampled on by the evil Chinese. They like drive through the mountains and hit our yaks. Pretty soon, the sherpas will have to start eating the dung of Alpine Mongeese. All because of the trains! Make em' stop, please! Make em' stop!

Re:Great! (1)

mookie da wookie (919403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813877)

Oh yeah, and I forgot! If we get too close to the trains they blow off our funny hats! But, I guess the plus side is that if you think we look funny wearing those hats, you oughta see us chasin em through the ice pack! Why it's downright hilarious!

Well, I guess I gotta go. Mingurtal says we gotta start the fire so we can make some yak kidney stew.

Free the Beastie Boys!

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813916)

Well...I guess the legend of the Mongolian Butt Picker is true! You can pick your friends, you can pick your butt...but you cannot pick your friend's butt! Mookie da Wookie is a Mongolian Butt Picker!

Real shame... (0, Troll)

katharsis83 (581371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813858)

Yeah too bad they'll now suffer terribly with expanded access to new goods and services, educational opportunities, and contact with the outside world besides 1-2 hollywood stars visiting ever 2 years. I just hope the Chinese government doesn't do anything terrible like build more hospitals or expand access to electricity... Damn them for having spent $3 billion in local Tibetan communities on this project and creating thousands of jobs...

Real shame that the standard of living in Tibet has risen steadily from the subsistence level ever since the CCP took control, huh?

Re:Real shame... (5, Insightful)

nihilogos (87025) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813889)

with expanded access to new goods and services, educational opportunities, and contact with the outside world

All of the above could have been accomplished without destroying a millenium of scholastic and artistic works. Not to speak of the execution and incarceration of its living representatives.

Real shame that the standard of living in Tibet has risen steadily from the subsistence level ever since the CCP took control, huh?

For the Chinese immigrants. The native population are treated as second class citizens. Hundreds of thousands died of starvation when collectivism was first introduced, and most survivors suffer from various disabilities caused by malnutrition.

Re:Real shame... (1, Informative)

knappz (856470) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813946)

Real shame? How about this: A country that was free at one point, was completely taken over by a monsterously large other country. Their government has been replaced, they have destroyed the geographical heart of Buddhism itself, by burning monestaries, taking prisoners, and executing the innocent. A region so rich in culture is now strangled by China for it's economic and natural resources. Sorry if this is a troll, but I think had Tibet been free from the beginning, they would have done what's right for their own country rather than have China handle everything, treat their people as lower lifeforms, and ruin what took millenia to create. Thank Mao.

Re:Real shame... (4, Insightful)

Angry Toad (314562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813947)

Real shame that the standard of living in Tibet has risen steadily from the subsistence level ever since the CCP took control, huh?

If I could trust a totalitarian government to do anything other than lie, maybe so. As it is they may as well be claiming that Tibetans are made of cheese for all the validity it has.

Anyway the song that "we're doing it all to raise the natives" has been the standard line of the conqueror all through history, and the natives always get the shaft in the end.

Re:Real shame... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813958)

Tibet before the Chinese invasion was one of the most tyrannical, oppressive theocracies in history. Whilst the Chinese haven't improved the situation much, those who contend that Tibet used to be a peaceful mountain kingdom inhabited by gentle mystics are deluded woo-woos.

Re:Real shame... (1)

Damer Face (910606) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814070)

> Tibet before the Chinese invasion was one of the most tyrannical, oppressive
> theocracies in history. Whilst the Chinese haven't improved the situation
> much, those who contend that Tibet used to be a peaceful mountain kingdom
> inhabited by gentle mystics are deluded woo-woos.

Yeah that's probably true to a large extent. Buddhists are really good at fighting each other (they're doing it at the moment, over who is the true lama of something), and they were running a feudal country with appaling treatment meted out to the serfs.

But china hasn't done much better on the peace and freedom front, and they did burn a shed load of monasteries. Not that you get many of those in a shed.

So you're all right and you're all wrong and I'm just pointlessly wibbling into my keyboard.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813878)

This definitely will help Tibet develop whether you think Tibet should be independent or not.

TIBET (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813818)

nice post, too bad it doesn't mention where the railroad goes to...

CHINESE OCCUPIED TIBET!

Re:TIBET (0, Offtopic)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813935)

So, the Beastie Boys posting on /. Awesome! C'mon, for old time's sake...What's the time? Time to get ill! Say it! Say it!

Congratulations China! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813823)

This news comes at the same time that their Chinese taikonauts return from their spaceflight after just 115 hours in orbit.>

Wow, you are finally almost to the point where the USA's space program was over 40 years ago. That is impressive.

Nothing like following in our footsteps of our grandfathers!! The sleeping giant as awoken!!

Re:Congratulations China! (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813901)

Yeah, and the US space program has advanced from that point in leaps and bounds hasn't it?

I mean, it seems like only yesterday that we planned to send people to Mars, and look where we are today.

Re:Congratulations China! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13814008)

Shut up you cracka ass cracka

Re:Congratulations China! (2, Interesting)

ngsayjoe (743136) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814037)

Never forget Egyptians built the first Great Pyramids 5000 years ago, and now they have tumbled to the point of technological weaklings. And this tells me that even tough US is the technology leader now, but things can change over time. I'll just sit back and see how China will take over the world (in terms of technological advancement). With over 1 billion smart people, this will only happen sooner or later.

Re:Congratulations China! (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814065)

They have 1 billion smart people? Uhm, how are we defining _smart_?

Re:Congratulations China! (1)

mesach (191869) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814076)

Just because they are in a different country, the old addage still applies.

Remember, 1/2 of the population has an I.Q. UNDER 100

Re:Congratulations China! (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814088)

We also had a (roughly) 40-year head start on the Japanese in car-building, so don't get all high-and-mighty just yet.

Re:Congratulations China! (1)

Starker_Kull (896770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814091)

Dude, it's not the place, it's the PACE. And they are moving along pretty quickly as of late.

Mixed feelings (2, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813825)

Ok, goody for them. Having a third player in space is probably a good thing even if they are the communist Chinese since they probably won't remain communist a lot longer. On the other hand it is just another doomed government 'prestige' program that won't actually acomplish much before being abandoned the second the cost exceeds the publicity value and that always happens long before anything longterm good can happen.

Nope, the only hope of our species getting off this rock is private enterprise.

Re:Mixed feelings (1)

Damer Face (910606) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813985)

Three and a half players. Don't forget us Europeans.

Re:Mixed feelings (1)

hotsauce (514237) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814007)

The Chinese haven't been communist in a long time. Just old, self-serving dictators hiding behind a flag. Happens in a lot of places.

Whether or not the average /. libertarian sensibility likes it or not, governments have done many important things that private enterprise would never have done, from major medical research, to the internet, to all spaceflight to date.

YYYYEEEEAAAARRRGHH!!! (5, Funny)

soapdog (773638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813826)

World biggest roller coaster?

Good stuff (3, Interesting)

alucinor (849600) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813834)

I'm glad China's having good progress (in many respects). I do hope their government loosens up (maybe money'll soften them like it did ours) so they allow freedom (since it means more money) to speech and internet and whatnot. Just tell them that!

Now, I really really do hope China doesn't make giant killer robot, and I'll be fine with them for good.

Re:Good stuff (1)

Pneuma ROCKS (906002) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813988)

Damn chinese spy trolls.

Re:Good stuff (2, Informative)

JediLow (831100) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813999)

I was there this summer, and actually China's government has opened up a ton (I wasn't there as a tourist... and I spent quite a bit of time in Qinghai Province with their college students). While it doesn't have nearly any of the freedoms that we have to the extent we do, its not the closed country that it was 30 years ago... or even 10 years ago. The opening up of China in the 70's and the second opening up in '96 really has changed the political scape of the country - and with the Olympics comming to Beijing in '08 China's opening up even more.

It'd be great to see real freedom being given there, but the Communist party has come a long way.

How much did it cost? (3, Insightful)

clockwise_music (594832) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813843)

It also comes at the same time that the number of Chinese people living in extreme poverty rose by 800,000 last year.

Re:How much did it cost? (1)

Manchot (847225) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814016)

How accurate can that figure really be? China has over a billion people, so 800,000 people is .08% of the population. I don't know of any studies which are that accurate.

The Asian Century (5, Insightful)

JymBrittain (880082) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813847)

While we [the /. crowd] bitch and moan about Microsoft and while the great herd worry more about Britney's spawn than credible science, more about the latest American Idol than engineering and while China and India graduate more scientists and engineers than the US...you can expect many, many more reports like this. The 21st century just may be when the Sino-Communist brand of capitalism eclipses lAmerican power and influence.

Re:The Asian Century (0, Troll)

Microlith (54737) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813894)

I assume we'll also get Chinese style freedoms to go along with it, right?

Oh that's right, no freedom.

Chinese "American" Idol (2, Informative)

katharsis83 (581371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813925)

Haha maybe this'll cheer you up:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-05/2 7/content_446335.htm [chinadaily.com.cn]

"The name may not roll off the tongue quite like American Idol does, but that hasn't kept the Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Super Girl contest from sweeping China. Zhao Jingyi, 17, the "schoolgirl" candidate won the Changsha competition.

Like Idol, which named its winner Wednesday night, China's Super Girl gives aspiring singing stars a shot at televised fame and fortune."

Looks like American culture has spread far and wide...

Re:Chinese "American" Idol (1)

FRiC (416091) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814023)

Actually, the Idol type programs are far more popular China than America since cellular phones and Internet are much more common in China than anywhere else, it's common to vote for your favorite idol by using SMS or online.

Here's one where a friend's friend entered, go vote!
http://topidol.netandtv.com/showdj.aspx?ContentID= 10&VoteID=10 [netandtv.com]

Har har. (2, Interesting)

ToasterofDOOM (878240) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813956)

You had me until the 'capitalist' part. Chinese have so few freedoms, and businesses are no exception. I researched them for a human right project last year and, while there are many successful businesses in China, it happens falsely most of the time with heavy government interference. Without it much of their economy would crumble. Most of the big names in Chinese business are at least partially government owned or run. While they are not entirely 1984, i wouldn't go so far as to call them capitalism either, I'd rather not soil that name.

Re:The Asian Century (2)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814024)

The 21st century just may be when the Sino-Communist brand of capitalism eclipses lAmerican power and influence.

I for one don't really care. My life goals do not include "maintain America as the premier super-power". I would like to think most Americans think the generally the same.

Besides, the world is now joined at the hip when it comes to economic and social prosperity. There isn't gonna be a powerful China without the US, and vice versa. We are all in this together, the sooner everyone realizes this the better.

Is Slashdot broken? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813854)

Slashdot seems to be acting wierd.

[ Reply to This ]
  • Re:Is Slashdot broken? by gnu-sucks (Score:3) Monday October 17, @10:20PM
  • I don't think so but I could be wrong by laughingcoyote (Score:1) Monday October 17, @10:21PM
  • Yup, slashcode is broken (Score:5, Interesting)
    by Kid_Korrupt (464945) on Sunday October 16, @10:23PM (#13813853)
    Broken as hell.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

Rising temperature? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813857)

The National Climate Centre said in June that rising temperatures would affect operation of the railway by 2050. I don't understand. How would rising temperatures affect a railroad at 16,640 feet, much less affect any railroad?

Boy am I pissed (4, Funny)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813867)

I actually rode on the Central Rail Line in Peru which was the former highest. Now I am going to have to go to China to ride this thing.

DAMN.

I will say the Peruvian one seems still a bit more challenging - no wussy sealed cars. You get to experience altitude sickness in all its glory.

Re:Boy am I pissed (1)

stontu (886760) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813961)

he's right, i'm from peru

Re:Boy am I pissed (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814019)

I got to experience some altitude sickness at around 10k feet when I went to Maui on my honeymoon. I wasn't a pussy like you in your sealed train! I was out in the open riding a bike down the volcano [lazylightning.org] !

Going from sea level to 10k feet in such a short time sucked *and* I paid a shitload to do it too!

High, but not THAT high! (1)

carlmenezes (204187) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814096)

Anyone see the icons used for this story? "Space" and "Technology" :)

Maybe we need an "Engineering Achievement" icon or something? Maybe a construction hat with a set of spanners orthe like...IANAA (I am not an artist), but I'm sure others will be able to come out with a suitable icon for these types of stories.

They definitely are of interest to the average geek, so they deserve to be on Slashdot. I think that engineering feats like these deserve their own icon too.

Must be light-weight trains (4, Insightful)

Got Laid, Can't Code (897495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813868)

Are they talking about funicular trolleys or actual heavy rail? Because heavy rail generally sees a 4% grade as a maximum due to, well, physics. Since I'm not aware of any fantastic engineering innovations, this must be some sort of light rail--or at least lighter than standard heavy rail.

Re:Must be light-weight trains (1)

corngrower (738661) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814001)

this must be some sort of light rail--or at least lighter than standard heavy rail.

I'm guessing you're correct about this being lighter than standard heavy rail. I'm wondering how the high altitudes affect the performance of the engines that will be pulling these trains. At those altitudes the atmosphere is like half as dense as at sea level.

They remarked that the passenger cars on the line would be pressurized. The atmosphere even at 16,000 feet would not be thin enough to be fatal for most healthy people should pressurization be lost. Some would develop high altitude pulmonary endima, however, and would need to be evacuated to lower elevations within a few hours. A supply of bottled oxygen on board the train would be a good idea.

I'm also wondering how warming temperatures would affect the operation of the train. Would it cause some of the permafrost to melt and destabilize the tracks? Would the atmosphere become still less dense making operation of the locomotives at the altitude very difficult?

Re:Must be light-weight trains (3, Informative)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814005)

Grade is a measure of terrain slope. The story says that the trains go to high elevations, but not necessarily at steep grades.

Re:Must be light-weight trains or maybe COG (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13814034)

or maybe Cog rail, like the one to pikes peak

not the highest (1)

slizz (822222) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813882)

from the first paragraph of the article: "one of the world's highest train routes."

I'm not a transportation engineer... (2, Informative)

ThaFooz (900535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813900)

but what advantage does the railroad have over trucks/busses or planes? I was under the impression that they're rather dangerous and costly in comparison. I mean, here in the US Amtrak is struggling because of the derailings and the fact that it just isn't cost efficent... am I missing something?

Re:I'm not a transportation engineer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813911)

Yeah, we care about pollution and human life.

Re:I'm not a transportation engineer... (5, Informative)

KiranWolf (635591) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813940)

I would hardly call Amtrak representative of rail transportation as a whole. Amtrak is a joke, both to Americans and to the rest of the world and, outside of the Northeast Corridor between D.C. and Boston, and maybe somewhere out on the west coast, is useless.

Meanwhile, rail forms the backbone of most developed nations, including France [wikipedia.org] , Germany [wikipedia.org] , and Japan [wikipedia.org] . In case you weren't paying attention, a train also now links England and France [wikipedia.org] via the Channel Tunnel [wikipedia.org] . Bluntly put, America is the exception, not the rule.

Re:I'm not a transportation engineer... (1)

ThaFooz (900535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814077)

Very true. But I'm well aware of (and have traveled on) the European rail systems and the commuter rails/subways of Boston/DC/NYC/San Francisco.

I guess I should have been more specific. Why do you suppose it is that the rail system doesn't see more use in the US, outside of subways/short commuter rails? The initial thought is probably population density, but the US Northeast is quite densly packed.

The reason I don't take the train from home (Greater Boston) to NYC (a 3 1/2 hour train or bus ride) is simply cost. The train is USD $99, wheras the same bus is $30, and driving to a Metro North commuter rail stop in CT $20 in gas, $5 in train fare, and $8 in overnight parking.

Anways, I was wondering if the US rail system is just horribly mismanaged, or if its a function of population/geography, and what the Chinese/Tibetan border is like in comparison...

Re:I'm not a transportation engineer... (2, Insightful)

spitzak (4019) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813964)

Trucks and busses are only cheaper if there is already a highway going where you want. Highways are not free, even though a lot of Americans seem to think they are a natural feature of the landscape.

Re:I'm not a transportation engineer... (4, Informative)

FredGray (305594) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813968)

Railroads generally use a whole lot less energy (i.e. fuel) per passenger or unit of cargo than a truck/bus (not to mention a plane). There are economies of scale in running one large engine (or electric motor) relative to lots of smaller ones, and with a metal wheel you don't dissipate energy into the tires. Amtrak's problems come from several sources: (a) they don't own the tracks, but have to lease them from private owners on very poor terms; (b) the management isn't exactly clever; (c) the labor costs are extremely high; (d) they operate under an immense set of regulations. It's nothing fundamental about railroad technology, just that we aren't willing to run one sensibly in the US.

Re:I'm not a transportation engineer... (1)

ToasterofDOOM (878240) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813978)

Train systems, like mass transit in general, exhibits its benefit when its USED, like a turbine engine. Sure, a single passenger in a buss is more polluting than a car. In the US, Amtrak is ... all most people have and it isn't that great. One of the Few things i admire about Europe is their mass use of train systems, they are very reliable, fast, efficient, and overall a good solution to mass transit problems.

in my day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13813913)

This news comes at the same time that their Chinese taikonauts return from their spaceflight after just 115 hours in orbit.

Yeah I mean, the chinese have it easy. 115 hours? In my day we stayed in space for at least a year so that at least it was worth it. Hell, we had to communicate down to Houston once in a while to make sure they didn't forget about us. And the trip wasn't easy. We had to endure a hell of G force. Both ways. And we like it!

Now you can... (5, Funny)

elzurawka (671029) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813936)

...join the mile high club without ever leaving the ground!

Re:Now you can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13814073)

Last I checked, a pre-requisite for the mile high club is getting laid. Remember, you ARE talking to the /. crowd here.

Sad to see all the sheer arrogance at /. (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813938)

Reading comments here saddens me.

The sheer arrogance emitted from some posts are really not worthy of slashdot, and/or its readers/posters.

What China has done, - in terms of the Qinhai-Tibet rail-line, or its spacecraft, - is not better, nor worse, than those from other countries.

Do we see any comments like the

" Some of the images of the spacecraft look fake"

and

"and the ones that don't look fake show damage on the spacecraft"

and

"This just seems unsafe to me. Imagine something goes wrong and the train is stuck up at that altitude?"

and

"Well that seals the cultural genocide of the Tibetan people"

and

"Wow, you are finally almost to the point where the USA's space program was over 40 years ago. That is impressive"

and

"It also comes at the same time that the number of Chinese people living in extreme poverty rose by 800,000 last year"

ad nauseum

if the spacecraft or railway is from the United States of America or Russia ?

This development of sheer arrogance, is not checked, might even venture into the territory of racism.

I'm an /. old-timer, and I'm really sad to see /. goes to the dog because of these type of postings.

Re:Sad to see all the sheer arrogance at /. (1)

michaeltoe (651785) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813957)

As someone probably not qualified to call themselves an "old-timer", I can at least appreciate your concern. A lot of these comments are unabashedly moronic and xenophobic.

Re:Sad to see all the sheer arrogance at /. (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814083)

You are right. It doesn't have to take a /. old-timer to be nauseated by those postings.

Unfortunately, these type of postings keep occuring in /. This is supposed to be a place for those interesting in tech and style, to educate and to be educated, to share with each others what one knows .... and so on.

Have been with /. ever since it started, and I'd have to say that I have no idea what /. would be like 10 years from now, if these type of postings keep on drowning out other meaningful messages.

Re:Sad to see all the sheer arrogance at /. (1)

AlthalusUK (901826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814028)

Weird, I both agree with you and disagree with you...

some comments were way over the top, some were fair..

it _IS_ wrong that their spending billions on developing a space program with the amount of poverty there...
it _IS_ wrong what they have done, and continue to do to the tibetan people, etc...

but it's also wrong to be racist.

Re:Sad to see all the sheer arrogance at /. (1)

tgbrittai (599035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814071)

We're just trying to keep China's arrogance in check (: Get over yourself...

Re:Sad to see all the sheer arrogance at /. (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814097)

We're just trying to keep China's arrogance in check (: Get over yourself..

Gee ...

Does one has to be arrogant in order to keep other's arrogance in check ?!

Gee ... again !

way to go slashdot! (3, Insightful)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#13813989)

I am really starting to hate the China apologists on /. Way to go! you mention the railroad but you dont mention WHERE the railroad was made. If you read up on it you see that it was made to link China to TIBET where the local population is being wiped out by the chinese communists. Of course they are going to invest in somthing that provides more places for an over crowded china to move people to.

No, I am not a stoned "free tibet hippie", i happen to come from that part of the world.

Re:way to go slashdot! (1)

CupBeEmpty (720791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814074)

Despite the general dislike of "yeah me too" posts on Slashdot I will say I COULD NOT AGREE MORE.

This railroad is nothing but bad news for people that have been sh** on more than many. [unhappy sarcasm]Now the Chinese can move troops and settlers more easily into an area that could really use them![/unhappy sarcasm]

I am also neither a hippie nor a member of the "free tibet" movement. I am simply a person that values individual rights and freedom. So the less the Chinese government is involved in any area the happier I am.

5000 m is just not that high (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13814009)

I can't believe any workers would require oxygen at that level. Any workers, that is, in good health.

Ordinary people (i.e., like me) go from low altitudes to the top of Mont Blanc (4807 m) without acclimatization. A worker who actually lived up at 5000 m would rapidly adjust to the altitude. Without pressurization passengers in ordinary health would have some ear discomfort and would puff a good bit when moving around. Pressurized carriages would perhaps make sense for those in poor health.

Someone is confusing this with serious altitude, like 7000-8000 m...

Re:5000 m is just not that high (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13814045)

Most people use the oxygen mainly in their brains. Even at 4000 m. there are efects. Maybe your brain don't user oxygen?.

The Paper Tiger Express (0, Offtopic)

Quirk (36086) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814060)

Historically China has demonstrated some of the large characteristics of state building. The ancient kingdoms of China constructed effective waterways that linked the various areas of what we know as mainland China. The Great Wall of China is another example of state implemented grand scale construction. Of course the The Three Gorges Dam [wikipedia.org] is another example. Having noted these examples I can't see China succeeding as an industrialized state. I see it as a paper tiger destined to burn up. It will be another collapse like that of the USSR.

I've undertaken to read John Kay's book Culture and Prosperity [johnkay.com] . The book has become almost mandatory reading, and, other than finding his narrative construction grating, so far I can see why it's become such a widely read and hearlded book. I strongly recommend it to Open Source advocates who want a more lucid framework within which to understand and foster the Open Source business model.

Pertainent to this thread he lists characteristics common to the most enduring successful market economies versus the perennial failures. As follows successful modern states...

are cooler by climate

democracy

relatively high environmental standards

freedom of expression

gender equality

health

height (go figure)

honesty

egalitariansim

literacy

openness

materialism (most poor country's citizens wish for money above all else)

population growth (slower in wealthy countries)

propery rights

religion (protestant christian countries show better)

tolerance

China fails many of these tests and I don't believe their broadcasted slow but sure movement toward more open egalitarian government.

Space is great. Tibet is Tibet. (3, Insightful)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814062)

If there is any payoff to the destruction of US industrial might by moving it to China, their greater space activity is it. They are to be congratulated for a positive application of their growth and I hope they put the US to shame for the failure of its pioneer heritage. But the railroad, for all of its engineering prowess, is just another nail in the coffin of Tibetan self-determination. There are things more important than economic development.

Only a cynic would suggest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13814069)

...this is all part of China's ongoing policy of populating Tibet with its own citizens to water down dissent, right?

Why pressurize? (1)

cryptor3 (572787) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814075)

I have to wonder why they pressurize? I mean, they are taking people from lower altitudes to higher altitudes right? This seems different from a plane, where people go up to a high altitude, come down to a lower altitude, then get off.

Some people ought to be getting off in tibet, so what happens when they open the doors? Do they get the bends or does their head explode? or just get altitude sickness all at once?

PR Spin? (0)

bleckywelcky (518520) | more than 8 years ago | (#13814086)


China says the line will promote the development of impoverished Tibet.

That, or help enslave Tibet?

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