Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Python Says, "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life." Beijing Agrees

The Chinese just set a new record.  The northeastern industrial city of Shenyang took top honours for PM 2.5 particulate matter concentrations in the city's air. The World Health Organization safety limit is 25 parts of PM 2.5 per cubic metre of air. Those busy beavers in Shenyang managed to get their levels up to 1400 parts per cubic metre.

Now I know that sounds pretty horrific given that about 1.6-million deaths in China each year are caused by air pollution and, sure, it's going to get worse as that particulate matter embedded in their tissue begins to spawn an epidemic of lung cancer and other diseases, but the Chinese know that every cloud has a silver lining.

A couple of years ago, China Central Television's web site listed some of the pluses most Chinese might not appreciate, including:

1. It unifies the Chinese people.
2. It makes China more equal.
3. It raises citizen awareness of the cost of China’s economic development.
4. It makes people funnier.
5. It makes people more knowledgeable (of things like meteorology and the English word haze).

And China's military chimed in pointing out that, even as the smog was slowly killing them off, it was also helping defend the Chinese people from foreign threats.

“Smog may affect people’s health and daily lives … but on the battlefield, it can serve as a defensive advantage in military operations,” said an article on the website of Global Times, a nationalist newspaper affiliated to the Communist Party’s mouthpiece the People’s Daily.

Missile guidance that relies on human sight, infrared rays and lasers could be affected by smog in varing degrees, the article said. It explained that tiny particles in the air contributing to air pollution could hinder missile guidance systems.

The article said that during the Kosovo war, soldiers of the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia used smoke from burning tyres to hamper Nato air strikes. The smoke reduced visibility, hindering reconnaissance efforts, the article said.

Photographic reconnaissance equipment employed by satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles and reconnaissance vehicles would be rendered useless by smog it added.

The article also said that during the first Gulf war, sand storms reduced the identification distances of thermal imaging equipment on US tanks from 2,500 metres to 800 metres, while optical detection of Iraqi tanks was reduced to almost nil.

So there you have it. But, of course, don't take it just from the Chinese not when you've also got the crew from Monty Python:


Anonymous said...


Cathie from Canada said...

Off topic, but are you having trouble reaching the Canadian Progressive bloggers site? I am getting a "forbidden" message from this page tonight, and clearing my cache doesn't help.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi Cathie. It seems to be working just fine.

Cathie from Canada said...

Thanks. It is fine again for me so I guess it was just one of those things.