Great balls of China to defend against 'apocalypse'

As people across the globe tremble in anticipation of next week's supposed Mayan-predicted apocalypse, one Chinese villager says he may have just what humanity needs: tsunami-proof survival pods.

Camouflage-clad former farmer and furniture maker Liu Qiyuan, 45, inspected his latest creation, a sphere several metres tall he calls "Noah's Ark", designed to withstand towering tsunamis and devastating earthquakes.

"The pod won't have any problems even if there are 1,000-metre-high waves... it's like a ping pong ball, its skin may be thin, but it can withstand a lot of pressure," he told AFP at his workshop in Qiantun, an hour from Beijing.

Liu's seven completed or under-construction pods, made using a fibreglass casing over a steel frame, have cost him 300,000 yuan ($48,000) each, he says, and are equipped with oxygen tanks, food and water supplies.

They also come with seat belts, essential for staying safe in storms, Liu said, strapping himself into position before his assistants shook the sphere vigorously from outside.

"The pods are designed to carry 14 people at a time, but it's possible for 30 people to survive inside for at least two months," he said.

Their insulation was such that "a person could live for four months in the pod at the North or South Pole without freezing, or even feeling slightly cold," he said.

One of the spheres even boasts the domestic comforts of a table, bed and flowery wallpaper.

Liu claims he came up with the design after watching the 2009 Hollywood disaster film "2012", which is inspired by the expiry on December 21 of the Mayan Long Count, a more than 5,000 year calendar used by the ancient Central American civilisation.

"If there really is some kind of apocalypse, then you could say I've made a contribution to the survival of humanity," Liu said.

Apocalyptic predictions have provoked widespread fears among believers, including in China, where two rural counties sold out of candles this month after a panic that three days of darkness would begin on Dec 21, the Xinhua news agency reported.

A businessman in China's eastern Zhejiang province has received 21 orders for bright yellow doomsday survival pods also sold as "Noah's Ark," for five million yuan each, the state run China Daily reported.

A man from China's northwestern province of Xinjiang told AFP that he has invested all his savings, approximately $160,000, to build a survival ark, fearing that his home will be engulfed in a doomsday flood.

Chinese authorities have sought to reassure citizens, with Beijing's police force publishing an online notice on Wednesday stating that "the so-called end of the world is a rumour", and advising citizens to use "scientific concepts".

Liu first conceived of spherical houses to withstand earthquakes, which occur frequently in China, but switched his focus to survival technology after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which claimed nearly a quarter of a million lives.

Liu, who is married with a daughter, said many were sceptical when he first outlined his plans. But despite building them he has not sold any, and is worried about repaying loans he took from neighbours and friends to fund his workshop.

"I worked for many years without saving much money... I invested most of my money in the pods, because it's worth it, it's about saving lives" he said.

Keen to demonstrate the design's strength to AFP, he used a step-ladder to clamber inside one pod before an assistant reversed a pick-up truck into it, inflicting only a minor scratch on its surface.

Peeking out of the hatch, he grinned triumphantly.

"No problem," he said. "I didn't feel a thing."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Nonviolent disciplining of kids pushed

    Child rights advocates called on senators to pass and strongly endorse a law that will institutionalize positive and nonviolent methods of disciplining children.The Child Rights Network (CRN), Plan International Philippines (PIP), Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLPCD), and Lihok Pilipinas Foundation led the call for the enactment of the Positive Discipline Bill.Several Quezon City Council members led by Majority Floor Leader Jesus Manuel Suntay, Victor Ferrer …

  • Method to their madness

    [caption id="attachment_256768" align="alignright" width="212"] Illustration by Rod Cañalita[/caption] EMMANUEL PORTUGAL Country Manager for the Philippines, VMware I look after the garden. I’d like to think that I have a green thumb—no plants have died so far! The ones I like now that I planted a few months ago is the Blue Iris. Like the town in the movie, my Blue Iris shows up in the morning and only appears for one day. …

  • JGFP Summer Tour on today

    The summer tour for local junior golfers kicks off with the holding of the ICTSI-JGFP Baguio Junior Open today and tomorrow at the treacherous Baguio Country Club course in Baguio.Sixty players aged 6 to 17 years old are entered in the 36-hole tourney serving as the opening leg of the summer circuit organized by the Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines with the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. Foundation as main sponsor. ... …

  • PH now market ready to absorb infra bonds

    The Philippine market is now ready to absorb infrastructure bonds that will be issued by private companies amid a growing pipeline of infra-related projects under the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program. President Benigno Aquino III last week said the government is still committed to spend more on the country’s infrastructure, with 16 PPP projects currently on the pipeline and nine that have already been awarded. Over the years, some of the country’s biggest infrastructure …

  • Filipinos are saving more – BSP survey

    More Filipinos have the extra cash to save for that proverbial rainy day, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Philippines (BSP). Based on a quarterly survey on consumer confidence, domestic households with savings have the means to increase family reserves and to bring up the amount to historical highs. The central bank said improved family income, a generally positive outlook on the economy, inflation and foreign exchange rates encouraged saving behavior during the first three months of 2015. …

  • AXA Philippines growing alongside its parent firm

    Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corp. is growing side by side with its parent firm, global insurance firm AXA, after posting significant growth in its total premium income amid an increasing market share in the country. A statement showed that in the Philippines, multi-billion firm AXA Group saw P18.35 billion in total premium income. The local entity of AXA, AXA Philippines is a joint venture between AXA Group and the Metrobank Group. In 2014, it saw an increase in market share to 11.6 …

  • End to traffic jam in sight? Japan to lend P4B to PHL for road projects

    The Japanese government will be providing some P4 billion to the Philippines for road projects aimed at decongesting monstrous jams in Metro Manila.Noriaki Niwa, chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said the loan will cover major interchanges to address traffic congestion in Metro Manila, including flyovers, and road links.Among them are the interchanges on EDSA-Roosevelt/Congressional, EDSA-West/North, and C-5-Green Meadows and North/Mindanao Avenue. ... …

  • US won’t provide flexibility for countries interested in TPP

    Washington D.C.—The US government will not provide any flexibility for potential member countries, like the Philippines, in their bid to become part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a senior official said. Economic and Business Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary William E. Craft, Jr., said all restrictions stated under the TPP trade deal will be maintained and have to be met by the current and future member countries. Earlier, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options