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Concrete Canvas, YouTube

Worldcrunch

CARDIFF - Introducing the concrete tent: It’s made of a material called Concrete Canvas and needs only water and air to "pitch it."

The material has all the elements of concrete, but is flexible enough to move before it hardens. Inspired by plaster casts for broken bones, the fibers of the materials evenly absorb the water. After the water is introduced, it takes 5 hours to harden and become completely solid.

The material comes in an outer plastic casing, into which 800-1000 liters of water is added. Then, it is inflated using a leaf blower and a car, or other method of towing to drag out the 50m2 structure. In just 24 hours, a totally solid structure can be erected.

It is being touted as a way to revolutionize the way that humanitarian aid is delivered in disaster or conflict zones. With thermal properties -- so it stays warm or cool inside -- it also keeps a sterile environment for surgery or other medical treatment.

The tents are designed to last more than 10 years, and have been created to withstand a high compressive load -- be that sandbags, fill material or even snow. They can also provide protection against shrapnel, blasts and small arms fire.

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China

How China's Mass Protest Took The World By Surprise — And Where It Will End

China is facing its biggest political protests in decades as frustration grows with its harsh Zero-COVID strategy. However, the real reasons for the protests run much deeper. Could it be the starting point for a new civic movement?

Photo of police during protests in China against covid-19 restrictions

Security measures during a protest against COVID-19 restrictions

Changren Zheng

In just one weekend, protests spread across China. A fire in an apartment block in Urumqi in China’s western Xinjiang region killed 10, with many blaming lockdown rules for the deaths. Anti-lockdown demonstrations spread to Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Chengdu and other cities. University students from more than half of China's provinces organized various protests against COVID restrictions.

Why and how did the movement spread so rapidly?

At the core, protesters are unhappy with President Xi Jinping's three-year-long Zero-COVID strategy that has meant mass testing, harsh lockdowns, and digital tracking. Yet, the general belief about the Chinese people was that they lacked the awareness and experience for mass political action. Even though discontent had been growing about the Zero-COVID strategy, no one expected these protests.

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