About 9 years ago in 2008, a former student of Tsinghua University in China donated around 2,500 bamboo “strips” containing vast amounts of knowledge and history of China. Included in the bunch was 21 strips containing multiplication tables for simple calculations. They were likely used for trade or land area calculations. The strips were crafted around 2300 years ago and survived the book burning of Qin Shi Huang. Aside from the ‘calculator’, on the strips are around 65 ancient texts with artifacts from the Warring States Period in China.
Guiness Book of World Records recognizes this as the world’s first decimal calculator.
The student noticed the strips starting to decay, after this time the strips were soft like tofu and very fragile. Some had mold forming which would have quickly decayed the strips if not quickly dealt with. With such a vast collection they alone did not have the resources to properly preserve the strips and chose to donate them. A team of 10 people worked for 4 months cleaning the strips day and night.
Some of the strips are still unread and could contain anything, the team really enjoys the excitement of reading them. They now hold meetings on Monday discussing and reading the strips for new artifacts.
As car companies battle for sustainability models many manufactures are looking at bamboo to replace wood, plastic, and fiberglass in their cars. Ford is exploring adding bamboo to the interior of their cars. While this may be long down the road for ford, companies such as Mercedes, Lexus, BMW and Rolls-Royce already have models with bamboo interiors. Mercedes has a bamboo interior trim upgrade in their 2017 SL550 Roadster. Lexus offered a bamboo trim option in the 2013 Lexus GS as well. We believe this trend will continue.
Bamboo is extremely strong and with the right techniques can rival steel in strength. It’s entirely possible the body of your cars will be made from bamboo some day. While trim accent pieces are nice, using a more sustainable material like bamboo for the rest of the car could prove beneficial.
As a major snow storm hits the northeastern US, everyone seems to care except the red pandas at the Trevor Zoo. Located in Millbrook, NY, about 90 miles north of New York City, they got less snow than expected. The storm was forecasted to surpass the Blizzard of 1888, but the storm stayed along the coast which kept warmer air.
These pandas didn’t seem to care, mindlessly munching on some bamboo and frolicking around.
See the full video here
Last Sunday, Pandas in the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo mated for the first time in 4 long years. The encounter only lasted for 52 seconds, but they hope it will be a successful one.
Both pandas 11 years old were separated after the encounter. Pandas are lonely creatures and will fight if left together. Pandas reach sexual maturity at 5.5-6.5 years old. The mating season is between March and May and the pandas will typically only associate with each other for just a few days. They have one of the shortest breeding season of any other mammal.
The zoo closed the panda exhibit in preparation for the mating season. It has been closed since February 22, 2017 and now they have mated we would assume it shall be open soon.
Image Source: https://www.pandasinternational.org
There has been much talk about the rest of the world’s ability to produce/use bamboo. Let’s not count the United States out yet. The Black Belt Region has always been great at agriculture. Now a very unique opportunity exists, bamboo. Phyllostachys Edulis or Moso bamboo, the species used in China for everything from construction to power production can only be grown to maturity in the margins of climate zone 7 and 8. The best place in the United States to grow this plant lies in the best soil in this climate zone – which is the Black Belt region of the southeast U.S. This unique opportunity can allow for domestic growth and production of so many products that we already import from China. Bamboo has a variety of applications. It is a woody plant that can replenish itself quickly.
Primary bamboo products are timber substitutes (e.g. bamboo flooring, paper, and furniture), cotton substitutes (e.g. clothing, sheets) and food (bamboo shoots). Some additional uses are activated carbon, fodder, charcoal, bio-energy, reinforcement in structures, medicine, etc. It is also desirable in its natural state for privacy plants or harvested poles. Bamboo also provides a higher rate of exchange of carbon dioxide than trees. Asian nations have used bamboo in its culture for years instead of trees. However, many Western cultures are not set up to manufacture bamboo like the Eastern cultures. This should be a changing trend over the next decade as the world shifts toward a green approach concerning products it consumes. Investment in bamboo may take a while but, it is worth the time and effort to help establish quickly renewable resources that also help benefit the environment with better carbon exchange.