Some Google Earth enthusiasts have found a strange and unexplainable grid pattern in the middle of China's Gobi Desert.
The official "StreetView" map of China is eerily reminiscent of SimCity, rendered in perfect isometric perspective without a pixel out of place: Shanghai, the Forbidden City, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. That hasn't stopped companies from trying to create a more true-to-life photographic alternative: there is coverage of Hong Kong and Macau in Google Street View; sanction to cover the rest of China appears to have been given to City8, which covers 40 cities. (The latter site is in Chinese, but Chrome or language plugins do a decent job of translating the content). [more inside]
Preserved in the cave excavations of Mogao and listing 1,339 stars the Dunhuang Star Chart is the oldest graphical star atlas known to exist. Dated to between 649 and 684 AD, it features two sections. The first consists of 26 diagrams of asterisms (including a recognizable Big Dipper and Orion) and the second contains 12 star maps each showing a 30 degree east-west section of sky in cylindrical projection plus an azimuthal projection circumpolar map. Star positions are accurate to within 1.5 degrees and it includes some stars in the southern sky. [more inside]
Live, From Outer Space: rural fires [1, 2], The Haze in China [1 ,2, 3] and its movement, aerosols, and the brothers carbon monoxide [a photochemical smog agent] and carbon dioxide.