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Watching China Turn Off the Pollution

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the like-flipping-a-switch dept.

Earth 427

NewbieV points out coverage of the effort to assess Beijing's air pollution control efforts. Quote from one of the investigators: "This will be a very interesting experiment that can never happen again." Here's the main project scientist's site on the monitoring effort, and Newsweek coverage that brings out a paradoxical effect of reducing pollution on global warming. "Unmanned aerial vehicles are measuring emissions of soot and other forms of black carbon. The instruments are observing pollution transport patterns as Beijing enacts its 'great shutdown' for the Summer Olympic Games. Chinese officials have compelled reductions in industrial activity by as much as 30 percent and cuts in automobile use by half to safeguard the health of competing athletes immediately before and during the games."

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Fuck China (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24558781)

What's up with this Georgian shit?

Fuck Georgia!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24558891)

ALABAMA ALL THE WAY!!!!!

Re:Fuck China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559447)

>What's up with this Georgian shit?

I'm waiting to hear about somebody in the Southern USA who believes that the Russians have invaded the State of Georgia while President Bush was in China.

Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24558789)

Just like recycling...

Watching China (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24558807)

What about the American athletes who got in trouble for wearing breathing masks due to the (still) poor quality of the air?

Is the Olympic Committee going to step up and make sure future governments who host the Olympics don't get to prevent the athletes from protecting themselves?

Re:Watching China (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#24558923)

Hey, I have an idea: let's develop a series of competitive events dedicated to showing off the pinnacles of raw physical endurance and human health...

...and then host it in one of the world's most polluted cities!

Re:Watching China (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24558929)

Why would the athletes need protection? It is not like the air quality has been worse than 12.1 times [ap.org] (Aug 10) the WHO limit of 50 micrograms/m^3. And it isn't like independent readings are tracking [bbc.co.uk] .

It is all just 'mist.' Does anybody think that China would ever consider cooking the books (on Aug 10 AP measured 604 micrograms/m^3, the BBC measured 278 in another location, and Beijings Air Quality Index which is supposed to be the highest of many different readings measured 82).

Re:Watching China (2, Funny)

raymansean (1115689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559017)

that is 82 times the WHO limit...

Re:Watching China (3, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559059)

"It is all just 'mist.' Does anybody think that China would ever consider cooking the books (on Aug 10 AP measured 604 micrograms/m^3, the BBC measured 278 in another location, and Beijings Air Quality Index which is supposed to be the highest of many different readings measured 82)."

Don't worry...it isn't real. It is some kind of CGI 'mist'. They wipe it clean electronically for the games.

:)

Re:Watching China (2, Interesting)

Broken Toys (1198853) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559077)

The irony is the Olympic Committee gave the Americans the masks because they complained about the air pollution.

I expect the "Daily Show" will have a field day with that.

Re:Watching China (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559095)

Is the Olympic Committee going to step up and make sure future governments who host the Olympics don't get to prevent the athletes from protecting themselves?

What a dumb thing to say. They didn't get into any trouble with the Chinese government nor is anybody preventing them from "protecting themselves". They were criticized in the media for a potentially offensive gesture and they apologized, that's all. As one US athlete put it "You don't come in a host's home and plug your nose as you walk through the doorstep". After all, the air is not that bad.

Re:Watching China (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559217)

After all, the air is not that bad.

I beg to differ [wikipedia.org] . Look at how Hong Kong and Singapore warn about [wikipedia.org] levels higher than 200! Singapore's standard writes:

PSI levels above 400 may be life-threatening to ill and elderly persons. Healthy people may experience adverse symptoms that affect normal activity.

I wonder what they would write about levels above 550!

The air quality in Beijing is little better than being on the outskirts of a forest fire.

Re:Watching China (4, Funny)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559273)

PSI levels above 400 may be life-threatening to ill and elderly persons. Healthy people may experience adverse symptoms that affect normal activity.

I wonder what they would write about levels above 550!

The air quality in Beijing is little better than being on the outskirts of a forest fire.

The better questions is, what happens when it's over 9000

Re:Watching China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559315)

PSI levels above 400 may be life-threatening to ill and elderly persons. Healthy people may experience adverse symptoms that affect normal activity.

I wonder what they would write about levels above 550!

The air quality in Beijing is little better than being on the outskirts of a forest fire.

The better questions is, what happens when it's over 9000

Death?

Re:Watching China (3, Funny)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559397)

Well, despite the DBZ reference. You do just kind of die.

Easy solution... (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559241)

Just get the US government to reprint their passports with them wearing the breathing masks.

Then it'll be okay.

Re:Watching China (2, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559645)

Is the Olympic Committee going to step up and make sure future governments who host the Olympics don't get to prevent the athletes from protecting themselves?

A more useful idea would be to be proactive: make local health factors like air pollution a critical consideration in selecting a site.

Smashing (0)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24558811)

We should have more Olympic games. Every month, in each and every single country in the world.

Entertainment, physical well-being and saving the planet. Pick all three.

Re:Smashing (3, Insightful)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 6 years ago | (#24558857)

I think I've heard that before... Something about bread and circuses.

Or maybe eating cake...

You should write your presidential candidate of choice, perhaps they can make it a campaign slogan.

Re:Smashing (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24558901)

We should have more Olympic games. Every month, in each and every single country in the world.

The Olympics can only happen the way that they do because advertisers are willing to pay MegaBucks to the host city for the privilege of becoming an official sponsor, because tourists will flock in droves, and for a million other reasons that essentially center around the fact that the Olympics are a rather limited and exclusive event.

You hold it every month and you dilute the brand value.

Depends on the Intelligence of Your Audience (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24558981)

I'd explain this more but I have to go pick up The Land Before Time XIII: Littlefoot's Revenge [imdb.com] for my daughter.

Re:Depends on the Intelligence of Your Audience (2, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559027)

I'm unsure if your pick of XIII for the title was supposed to be a joke, because there actually IS a XIII. I think you should have gone with XIV.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1139111/ [imdb.com]

Re:Depends on the Intelligence of Your Audience (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559167)

The existence of a XIII is enough of a joke for most people.

Re:Smashing (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559029)

Whoosh.

Re:Smashing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559415)

The Olympics can only happen the way that they do because advertisers are willing to pay MegaBucks to the host city for the privilege of becoming an official sponsor, because tourists will flock in droves, and for a million other reasons that essentially center around the fact that the Olympics are a rather limited and exclusive event.

You hold it every month and you dilute the brand value.

It might be that sponsors [msn.com] for future Olympics may not be so enthustic.

Haha (0, Troll)

electronixtar (1042742) | more than 6 years ago | (#24558813)

just comment here, see how many China haters there are on Slashdot

Re:Haha (5, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#24558883)

see how many China haters there are on Slashdot
 
No reasonable person hates "China"; China is a great place with a lot of fascinating history and culture. Maoist style communists, on the other hand, most reasonable people can agree to hate.

Re:Haha (-1, Flamebait)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559379)

Right, it's kind of liking France but not liking the French. An apparent logical disconnect unless you actually go there, and then you'll understand pretty much right away. Beautiful country, fantastic architecture and history - and full of smelly, rude, and, well, French people.

Re:Haha (4, Insightful)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559387)

No. I do not hate Maoist style communists. I do not like anyone that denies *reality* for propaganda purposes. Of course, this also includes the so called "communists" in China as well as some standing under Mission Accomplished banners on aircraft carrier.

Anyone that stands there proclaims fact A in-spite of the facts - I do not believe that person anymore.

But then maybe this makes me a "science hugger" or whatever term is coined for that. You know, people that look at facts as they are and can change their mind in light of new information? You know, people that *think*?

So no, I do not hate "Maoist style communists" because,

    1. I do not know enough about them

    2. I do not believe in extremist's propaganda vs. communists (they also hate Castro for some reason while they supported Batista - Castro cared and did a lot more for Cuba than Batista even cared to think)

    3. China is rifled with corruption. So called "Maoist style communists" that people hate is probably more to do with that corruption than the actual economic ideology.

    4. There is a lot worse abuses around the world than in China yet same people that so crazily *hate* the Chinese leaders do not exactly hate or care about the real atrocities.

    5. Most reasonable people do not hate - hate is an irrational emotion. And if you can hate one thing, you can easily be manipulated to hate another, including your own mother.

    6. China doesn't have "Maoist style communists" anymore. None that actually matter. All of them basically converted to nationalistic "china first - me second - rest way behind" type of people.

Re:Haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559517)

hate is an irrational emotion. And if you can hate one thing, you can easily be manipulated to hate another, including your own mother.

Your rationality is an inspiration for us all.

According to Yoda... (3, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559561)

No reasonable person hates.

Re:Haha (1)

enosys (705759) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559593)

From an economic standpoint, China seems mostly capitalist nowadays. Sure, they have a communist party but the actual way the economy works wouldn't even qualify as socialist anymore. The problem is that the government doesn't respect human rights in certain areas, not the economic system. There are lots of other capitalist countries which don't respect human rights.

"Compelled?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24558827)

Chinese officials have compelled reductions in industrial activity by as much as 30 percent and cuts in automobile use by half to safeguard the health of competing athletes immediately before and during the games.

Uh, what kind of compulsion are we talking here?

Re:"Compelled?" (1)

Adriax (746043) | more than 6 years ago | (#24558875)

Just a guess, but probably not the calvin klein fragrance kind.

Re:"Compelled?" (1)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559093)

Through politely worded mass mailings and TV commercials with catchy jingles shown during reruns of "Will & Grace" of course...how else would you expect a totalitarian regime to enforce anything?

Re:"Compelled?" (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559099)

The 'government agents will arrest you and send you to an unpleasant prison if you don't comply' kind of compulsion.

The conclusions for those who want to skip ahead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24558831)

from my rough understanding of Chinese and Mandarin:

the researchers have concluded "me so horny, me rove you rong time, me so horny. Too beaucoup, too beaucoup."

Summary: (5, Interesting)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 6 years ago | (#24558839)

Carbon Dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) increase heat retention. Soot (and other opaque particulate matter) reflect heat before it reaches us. The trick is determining the effect of each in isolation. The temporary reduction in soot emissions in Beijing gives us a chance to see the effect of soot in isolation (or close to it).

This isn't exactly new ground (we've previously observed the effect of increased particulate matter in the wake of large volcanic eruptions), but it's one of the few times we see it in reverse, triggered by human activity.

In the wake of large volcanic eruptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24558959)

It was also reported that there was a nice uptick in temps when the American airspace was shutdown during 9/11.

Re:In the wake of large volcanic eruptions (5, Informative)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559101)

About 3% of all cloud cover is caused by jet tails [sciencedaily.com] .

Re:Summary: (4, Interesting)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559103)

It would seem to me, not that I understand this being a layman, but, it would seem, that the effect of the year of burning oil fires in Kuwait after Sadaam's people torched them at the end of Gulf 1 would have been the single greatest contributor to global warming, carbon footprint, or whatever the term du jours is. How does Bejing rank compared to that massive injection?

Re:Summary: (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559321)

Between coal and all the other oil fields in the world (a great deal of the oil that gets pumped out of the ground eventually gets burned...), that event would probably be a blip locally, but hardly noticeable globally.

Re:Summary: (1)

chaim79 (898507) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559547)

Not true, many people noticed more "colorful" sunsets and sunrises during the oil fires, all the added pollution made for some spectacular colors. And I'm talking about Wisconsin USA.

Re:Summary: (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559497)

It seems silly to attach this to global climate change. Smog is a fairly localized problem--it doesn't last that long in the open atmosphere. As environmentalists are so fond of pointing out, global warming is about global changes, particularly in how it affects the heating of the ocean and the poles. An increase in temperature around Beijing doesn't matter much.

Attaching random problems to global warming is a great way to give the climate hoax people credibility.

Re:Summary: (5, Informative)

Jonny_eh (765306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559573)

This actually, isn't unprecedented. Some scientists actually reported a drastic change on 9/11/2001. With all the airplanes in North America grounded, there was an immense reduction in global dimming.

Check it: http://archives.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/08/07/contrails.climate/index.html [cnn.com]

Perhaps (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#24558877)

You also noticed the oil price falling too. Watch what happens to that after the olympics.

 

Excellent (1, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 6 years ago | (#24558905)

So next time someone complaints about air pollution, we can just tell him that this is our fight against the global warming.

Let's all pollute the air, the Earth will cool down, then we can stop polluting I guess.

Cue the rationalists.... (4, Insightful)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 6 years ago | (#24558907)

Particles in pollution that enter the atmosphere cool the Earth by shielding radiation from the sun and bouncing it back out to space. Cutting down on the release of these particles by improving air quality, which China is doing right now and which the West has been doing for some time, actually diminishes this shield and the Earth's temperature rises, Ramanathan and others say.

Cue the rationalists who will use this as yet another argument against the climatologists and environmental "whackjobs" who are trying to destroy capitalism in order to protct their "American" way of life.

To paraphrase my wife: "It doesn't matter if global warming is true or not. We all want cleaner air."
SHe was talking to right winger who was "educated" (told) by a talk radio host that global warming is a myth created by anti-capitalist environmental whackjobs.

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (3, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559011)

"It doesn't matter if global warming is true or not. We all want cleaner air."

Except that "fighting global warming" isn't about cleaner air. It is about reducing "greenhouse gases", primarily CO2, which is an essential part of the atmosphere. So, it does matter if "global warming" is true, because people like Al Gore are asking us to cripple our economies to reduce CO2 emissions, which are only a problem if global warming is a problem.
Which is a question that I rarely seen discussed. If Global Warming is true, is it really a problem?

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (5, Informative)

HertzaHaeon (1164143) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559261)

Decreasing CO2 levels will have more benefits than a cooler climate, as many articles and studies will tell you. It would lower ocean acidification, for one thing.

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (1)

Broken Toys (1198853) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559295)

The poster's wife isn't interested in global warming, she just wants cleaner air.

Your arguments about global warming don't apply if the propostion is, "It doesn't matter if global warming is true or not. We all want cleaner air."

And reducing CO2 output isn't going to cripple the US econmy. You'd be amazed at how quickly large corporations can adapt and improvise when they have to.

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (4, Insightful)

asc99c (938635) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559407)

The science says definitively it is real and it is a problem - the melting icecaps will raise sea levels and flood a lot of coastal cities.

An interesting question though is whether it's a problem for us or the planet. Certainly the planet has been a lot warmer than it is now and the world didn't end. It's really our fixed infrastructure that will suffer if sea levels change.

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559463)

people like Al Gore are asking us to cripple our economies to reduce CO2 emissions...

Why does changing our economy cripple it? Why is driving 50+ miles to work every day a good thing? Why is walking to your grocer a bad thing? Why is being energy conscious crippling?

The number one best way to reduce harmful emissions is through conservation. So why do the nay sayers focus on extreme ideas like shutting off all the coal fire plants at once? Try shutting off the light when you leave the room first.

I think everyone would love to buy a car that gets 50miles to the gallon, sounds like the car industry can capitalize on that. Gas stations can become battery exchange stations, or alternative fuel stations or mini-marts, and if entire petroleum industry shrinks by 20% over 10 years is that catastrophic?

I don't think so.

All FUD aside, the economy will benefit from greater efficiencies. The power companies want/need help supplying power to an ever growing demand, they would welcome more solar installations.

Tourism will benefit, with more fuel efficient cars and cheaper fuel people will fly/drive more places.

Restaurants and other amenities will benefit, less money going to fuel thus more disposable income.

Feel free to stop me if I missed the "crippling" part.

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (5, Interesting)

Bjrn (4836) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559501)

If Global Warming is true, is it really a problem?

Well if you are just looking for the economic consequences of global warming the Stern review must be the most well known work. Nicholas Stern was the chief economist of the World Bank, 2000-2003. Here is the Wikipedia summery [wikipedia.org] :

Although not the first economic report on global warming, it is significant as the largest and most widely known and discussed report of its kind.

Its main conclusions are that one percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) per annum is required to be invested in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change, and that failure to do so could risk global GDP being up to twenty percent lower than it otherwise might be. Sternâ(TM)s report suggests that climate change threatens to be the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen, and it provides prescriptions including environmental taxes to minimize the economic and social disruptions. He states, "our actions over the coming few decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century." In June 2008 Stern increased the estimate to 2% of GNP to account for faster than expected climate change.

The Stern Review has been criticized by some economists, saying that Stern did not consider costs past 2200, that he used an incorrect discount rate in his calculations, and that stopping or significantly slowing climate change will require deep emission cuts everywhere. Other economists have supported Stern's approach, or argued that Stern's conclusions are reasonable, even if the method by which he reached them is open to criticism.

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (4, Interesting)

tfoss (203340) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559647)

It is about reducing "greenhouse gases", primarily CO2, which is an essential part of the atmosphere.

The incorrect implication being that we risk reducing CO2 too much, as it is 'essential.' It is unlikely that we even *could* do this, and we are certainly not at risk of doing so.

So, it does matter if "global warming" is true, because people like Al Gore are asking us to cripple our economies to reduce CO2 emissions, which are only a problem if global warming is a problem.

The cripple our economies claim is so non-sensical, I wonder if people actually believe it. Reducing carbon emissions != economic disaster. It will mean an adjustment that more accurately prices the use of carbon-heavy items (fossil fuels in particular) by accounting for the huge negative externalities they cause. So yes, oil will get more expensive, but cleaner technology will get cheaper. Capital investment will funnel towards greener technology at the cost of high-carbon-output technology. Rather than there being tons of profit in, say, mining coal, there will profit in, say, developing high efficiency refrigeration or higher temperature superconductors.

The crippling-the-economy baloney assumes that our economy can not change and adapt to a different set of value models, something that is just clearly not true.

If Global Warming is true, is it really a problem?

If you care to believe science, climate change is true. If you think adapting 6 billion people to new shorelines, climates, and weather patterns is not a problem, then no..it might not be such a big deal. Seems to me, though, it probably will be.

-Ted

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (1)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559021)

I always thought global warning was a myth created by climate scientists who couldn't get their grants approved.

Now you tell me it's for real.

Damn next thing you'll be telling me the big yellow ball in the sky has nothing to do with this global warming?

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (1)

AlamedaStone (114462) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559479)

Damn next thing you'll be telling me the big yellow ball in the sky has nothing to do with this global warming?

Of course, it's all so obvious now! Monty Burns was right - we just need to blot out the sun!

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (1)

this great guy (922511) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559049)

That's what SHE said ?

Not really about the "American" way of life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559069)

Considering that we've already grown our middle class and gotten all rich and post-industrial.

It is about the "Developing World's" way of life. And telling them not to do what we did. And who the hell is going to pay them not to do it the way we did.

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559085)

But one of the prime talking points of the anti-global-warming crowd is that mankind's activities aren't sufficiently significant to cause climate changes. Except now we're not even doing a global experiment - it's a large one-city experiment. If it yields significant results - even negative results - it should be scalable. Tonnage of emissions, area, those are all measurable things, and it can all be extrapolated. (Wind is harder, but it should only lesson measured results, still leaving a bounding case.)

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559475)

Tonnage of emissions, area, those are all measurable things

Well, so is the amount of light from the sun that reaches the Earth, but that doesn't stop the idiots (seen all over slashdot, even) from saying "well, maybe carbon has nothing to do with it and it's all 'cause the sun is putting out more heat, have ya thought of that? Nobody knows how much energy we're getting from the sun! MARS!"

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559199)

"It doesn't matter if global warming is true or not. We all want cleaner air."

By that logic, "It doesn't matter if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Saddam was a cruel and ruthless dictator who oppressed and murdered his people." Something I hear right wingers say everytime someone brings up the WMD discussion.

Honestly, I agree with the sentiment. I think the recent improvements in alternative energy are a direct result of the global warming scare and will greatly benifit the entire world. At the same time, global warming being true or false is very important. We are making decisions that will affect the world in many different ways, both positive and negative. We have the right to be informed when making these decisions, and changing the reasons why the decisions were made after the fact is wrong.

I'm not saying global warming is wrong, but this kind of logic (revisionist rationalizing) destroys accountability. Quite frankly, if global warming turns out to be incorrect, I hope that it's advocates will have the decency to stand up and say "we were wrong, and we understand that our mistake has impacted countless lives" rather than "but... but... but... the air is cleaner people!".

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (1, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559453)

"It doesn't matter if global warming is true or not. We all want cleaner air."

By that logic, "It doesn't matter if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Saddam was a cruel and ruthless dictator who oppressed and murdered his people." Something I hear right wingers say everytime someone brings up the WMD discussion.

That discussion sucks. Saddam didn't have stockpiles of nuclear warheads. We did find a large cumulative amount of scattered uranium ore (processable into weapons grade or nuclear fuel-- but he wasn't supposed to have it!), long range planes and missile engines (that he wasn't supposed to have), chemicals and processing equipment for dual use (benign or bio/chem warfare), and secret military research facilities.

So what we found was a bunch of stuff that was kept secret but could be COMPLETELY INNOCENT (minus planes/missile engines), but could also possibly be used to bring up a WMD program full-scale in a month or so (i.e.: Very fast). Depending on the logic you apply, we found nothing or everything. Both sides have an argument.

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559239)

A few points
-Most who call themselves environmentalists today are extremist whackjobs. Real, science based environmentalism has been sidelined for the last 20 years in favour of the politicized variety.
-Climate change is a real, recurring, natural phenomenon. Human induced global warming is greatly exaggerated. IPCC still won't explain the fudge factors they had to include to make their models work. Ptolomy would be proud.
-Lower greenhouse gas emissions != cleaner air. The pollution controls in your car consume power to run. This decreases your fuel economy and actually increases your total CO2 production.
-Your wife's newsletter, subscription, etc.

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (1)

Broken Toys (1198853) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559421)

You really shouldn't post anonymously. You make some very good points and should be rewarded.

I recently discovered that "Anonymous Coward" has 422,567 mod points. If only I could log into that account and share the joy.

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559435)

-You are a dumbshit.

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (4, Informative)

Artraze (600366) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559319)

> It doesn't matter if global warming is true or not. We all want cleaner air.

That's true, but global warming isn't about cleaner air. Global warming is the y2k of this decade. It's about creating a problem/minor panic and a cause that can generate new markets and flow megabucks for things that just aren't worth it.

Carbon credits? Seriously? What's that got to do with cleaner air. I know someone who has a tree (hardwood) farm. But now, instead of just burning capitol for their upkeep, he can sell carbon credits to offset the emissions of Al Gore's private jet. And we've got all sorts of money flowing into this corn ethanol crap and all it's doing is raising food prices _and_ emissions because getting ethanol to break even is hard enough without using such a bad source. And how about nuclear power? If this was about cleaner air, than that would be a _fantastic_ way of cleaning up the air, at the cost of some difficulties of waste storage. (Which, I would point out, could be vastly reduced if we were to build some recycling plants, but one thing at a time.)

The list goes on. I _wish_ global warming was about cleaner air. I want cleaner air. What I don't want, however, is all this BS about trying to find some sort of magic bullet of greenness that will solve the "Global Warming Crisis".

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559553)

It sounds like she resorted to using the argument of "don't confuse me with facts that conflict with my emotions."

Sadly, we can't just make these important decisions on emotion or on potentially flawed data. There is a cost associated with them, and a potentially heavy one at that.

There is a point where regulations can become onerous enough to stop manufacturing activity from taking place, and if that happens, then a lot of jobs disappear, and a lot of goods are not produced.

It is necessary to think these things through properly, and decide not only that we want to do something, but how, and on what timelines.

Simply mandating reductions in fuel use with no viable alternatives being available is national suicide.

And does anyone actually believe that China and India are actually going to comply with clean air agreements?

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559577)

Global Warming is a myth! Have you ever looked at the numbers and graphs yourself? Doubt it. So how can you sit there preaching your "facts" when you have yet to research them yourself. It takes a big boy to go against the grain - but when you realize that Mr. Gore and all his friends drive hummers and live in 5000+ sqft homes which have to be both heated and cooled you'll understand why this global warming issue is a business ploy for those who can't make money any other way ;-)

Hey, if they gave me a couple of million to make a "documentary" like they did Gore, I'd do it.

They aren't all whackjobs (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559583)

but damn if a large number of the bigger pushers of carbon credits not heavily invested in those "credit industries" let alone massive abusers themselves.

The global warming as defined; feel free to pick your definition it seems the experts love to change it up a lot too; is not a hoax but a carefully planned wealth and power transfer. Did you ever wonder why the interest in it spiked even with proof we haven't warmed in years but actually may have cooled? Simple, many figured how to make money off of it and many realized how they could get power over other groups by crafting laws to give them oversight.

Its an eco system. I know we can influence it but when I see the results that show one Pacific volcano was measurable beyond doubt yet its passed over like how all the planets warmed too. Go figure, the fact is that the whackjobs lost their credibility when they kept moving the line. They then fell back on total scare tactics, TWENTY YEARS TILL DOOM, EIGHTEEN YEARS, TWELVE, hell some even go as low as TEN YEARS AND WERE DOOMED!

Sheesh, people lament religion here and fail to see the newest one.

Re:Cue the rationalists.... (2, Insightful)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559653)

SHe was talking to right winger who was "educated" (told) by a talk radio host that global warming is a myth created by anti-capitalist environmental whackjobs.

Even if it was created by anti-capitalist environmental whackjobs, how do they explain away the fact that reducing emissions is about reducing waste, which in turn improves efficiency? Running efficiently is good for your bottom line. Even if it is a crazy idea cooked up by enviro-nazis, it still makes good economical sense to be conscious about the waste you're producing.

Facts Tell a Different Story (5, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#24558951)

Why is it, when there are more important issues, this ONE, probably a lesser issue, gets all the "controversy" air-time?

Some reported facts and anecdotes:

As told to velonews, air pollution builds-up because Bejing sits on the edge of the Gobi desert. A good rain is required to clear the air that's trapped in Bejing. http://www.velonews.com/article/81199 [velonews.com]

As a former competitive cyclist living in Los Angeles, I can tell you from experience, you feel the pollution later, not really during the event.

What *would* affect most outdoor performances more than pollution is the heat/humidity combination.

Finally, the last olympics had major heat issues for road cyclists, so each location has issues. Smog is not a major one for Bejing.

Re:Facts Tell a Different Story (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559039)

Smog is not a major one for Bejing.

When pollution is so bad you cannot see the sun for weeks/months on end, and when it does rain

A good rain is required to clear the air

it leaves a disgusting film of nastiness over everything, I'd say you have a major problem.

Re:Facts Tell a Different Story (4, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559053)

Why is it, when there are more important issues, this ONE, probably a lesser issue, gets all the "controversy" air-time?

I, for one, would like to hear a little more coverage of how the Chinese got all of their 16 year old female gymnasts to all look between the ages of 8 and 12. We know they're all 16, though, because, according to the broadcast, their passports confirm it. What's the point of the new "16 and over" rule if the only way they check ages is by looking at government issued passports? Surely the government would have no reason to lie! Sort of like the East German women that were all drug-free in the '70s and '80s, despite the adams apples and mustaches.

The gymnastics events have always been sort of a joke as far as fairness is concerned, but the new incomprehensible scoring system and the apparently barely enforced 16 and over rule seems to have made things worse, not better.

Re:Facts Tell a Different Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559537)

They were drug free - they just were guys who became gals...

Re:Facts Tell a Different Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559177)

I was just in LA a couple weeks ago for a dragon boat event. My team practices over in Florida where the air is humid, but pretty clean. Everything was fine until our first practice in LA. After a few short runs, we were all wheezing and coughing. At first we thought it was the cooler air, but even after it heated up, our team was still having breathing issues. It's been almost two weeks, but I still have this cough that I picked up over there.

KL

Re:Facts Tell a Different Story (3, Interesting)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559549)

Smog is not a major one for Bejing.

Tell that to anyone not living in that cesspool.

All I had to do was travel to Toronto for few days and I was feeling scratchy throat and "like something was coating my lungs". That was NOT on a smog alert days which I think is when their particulate matter is over 50 or something. Well, Beijing has PM10 readings of about 4x that. 4x what in Toronto is a smog alert.

Sorry, but I would not go there to compete about anything. And if you live there and think it is not bad, go somewhere without smog, like central Australia or central canada (eg. Manitoba) or mid-west US or someplace like that. Then I *dare* go back to Beijing and tell me that it is not too bad.

I know what I speak off. I used to live in Poland with their coal fired house heating. After snow fell, it become coated with soot after a few hours (gray coating). Frankly, I never knew there is such a thing as *clean snow* until I came to Canada. Here, snow is as clean on the day it fell as it is 5 months later when it melts.

People living in cesspools like that have NO IDEA the shit they are living in. You have to GET OUT and live someplace else for a while, then go back and compare.

The only thing I can compare this too is like getting your first pair of glasses. You think you can still see fine, but your eyesight is crappy and foggy. Then you get your eyeglasses and you can't believe how sharp everything is! Same thing with pollution. It sneaks up on you until you can't breath anymore. And then you end up complaining that it must be the food or something unrelated.

Wake up people. Wake up and put on your first glasses to see the crap you area breathing!

OK put it simply. (1, Insightful)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559005)

short summary:

1)We have global warming which is from the greenhouse effect.

2)You have a shitload of sooty pollution it keeps the sun out from the ground level so it feels cooler.

3) The sun comes out after you clean up your disgusting air and you start to notice the global warming.

4) Global warming was always there.

Re:OK put it simply. (1)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559143)

From what I read in the article, it sounds like the soot actually repels the radiation back out into space. This literally stops global warming. So global warming is not always there technically.

Re:OK put it simply. (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559465)

This is a huge city. It's a heat sink. That doesn't prove or disprove global warming.

China effect (2, Funny)

dashesy (1294654) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559015)

Imagine all Chinese girls wear mini skirts (or better wear bikinis) everyday, there will be more fabric than needed for the poor and of course a lot more to ponder about. o(kX) when k is very large.

what this is really telling us (5, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559035)

Chinese officials to citizens: We can move heaven and earth when we deem it sufficiently important; foreigners will enjoy proper breathing conditions. Once they are gone, you'll go back to sucking down the equivalent of a cigarette drag every time you breathe outdoors. STFU, coolies, and get back to work.

Everybody is talking about how this will be the Chinese century, rah-rah, all is grand. History doesn't always go along with the popular consensus. The communist revolution was supposed to occur in advanced, capitalist countries, not a semi-feudal backwards backwater like Imperial Russia. Everyone was convinced the Shah's Iran was a model of western influence in the region and a shining bulwark against religious radicals. Hardly anybody saw the Iranian revolution coming.

I'm not saying it will go one way or the other, I'm just proposing a scenario on how China could fail in a couple of broad brushstrokes.

1. Eroding faith in government. We already saw how bad their construction was after that recent quake. 20 year old buildings stood up to the shaking, more recent buildings fell down. Government regulation and enforcement has failed.

2. Shitty infrastructure. A lot of reports talk about how the Chinese are building a bunch of stuff but the quality has been poor. This is not infrastructure that will last for decades, this is just slapping stuff together as quickly as possible, Haliburton style. We already know Three Gorges Dam has a lot of problems, what happens when it fails during a quake? Go back to point 1, eroding faith in government.

3. The pollution is freaking out of control. What kind of collapses and failures environmentally can they look forward to? The Gobi is expanding rapidly. What happens if they have famine?

4. Economics. Right now they are holding an incredible amount of American debt but to what end? Is this an economic cudgel to use against us? What if they misjudge and the weapon turns out to do them more harm than us? If the US defaults on the loan, what next? Who are they going to sell their cheap shit to? Are their domestic markets ready to create demand and wealth?

5. Disproportionate share of prosperity. The oligarchs are making out fine, what about the rest of the people? Will class resentment grow too powerful?

6. Population time bomb. One Child per Family means there's a lot of boys and not many girls to go around. What are they going to do for wives when they grow up? And what of families who have lost their only sons in disasters like the quake. The Chinese put a huge premium on family, carrying on the line, etc. Could there be massive popular resentment against these policies when such disasters wipe out entire families such as we've seen?

It seems like the current Chinese leadership has learned from the errors of their predecessors -- isolationist thinking in a violent world makes China a conquered country. They're now going to be actively engaged on the world stage. It will remain conflict to be sure, but how much will be diplomatic, how much economic, and will military be resorted to when the other two have failed? Will China get itself involved in wars it cannot win? Could a major loss see the fall of the party? What would the successor states be like? Would we see a return to the warring states period?

Lots and lots of questions. I just think the whole "This is China's century" narrative is only one of several possible outcomes.

Re:what this is really telling us (3, Interesting)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559213)

"Once they are gone, you'll go back to sucking down the equivalent of a cigarette drag every time you breathe outdoors"

that reminds me, there was a new york city marathon runner, never smoked, and when they died their lungs were as black as a life long smoker of 60 years, a 3 pack a day smoker's lungs.

even with 'tough' anti pollution laws, you can still get three packs a day worth of crud in your lungs just from running outdoors in a large city.

Re:what this is really telling us (2, Interesting)

cain (14472) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559457)

I doubt you can back up this anecdote. Cite?

Re:what this is really telling us (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559381)

6. Population time bomb. One Child per Family means there's a lot of boys and not many girls to go around. What are they going to do for wives when they grow up?

Well, they could either (1) turn gay or (2) wives could have multiple husbands as is happening in India (one wife has five husbands).

Re:what this is really telling us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24559485)

4. Economics. Right now they are holding an incredible amount of American debt but to what end? Is this an economic cudgel to use against us? What if they misjudge and the weapon turns out to do them more harm than us? If the US defaults on the loan, what next? Who are they going to sell their cheap shit to? Are their domestic markets ready to create demand and wealth?

Yep. This bite bite them. Hard. There's an old saying in banking: If you owe the bank one million dollars, you have a problem. If you owe the bank one billion dollars, the bank has a problem.

5. Disproportionate share of prosperity. The oligarchs are making out fine, what about the rest of the people? Will class resentment grow too powerful?

In Eastern urban areas, people do OK economically. I know a girl in Guangzhou who makes $25,000 per year. She lives like Bill Gates.

6. Population time bomb. One Child per Family means there's a lot of boys and not many girls to go around. What are they going to do for wives when they grow up?

The sixty million surplus boys will give their rifle female names. If you live in Siberia, get out now. China has an insatiable appetite for natural resources. They share a 4000 mile border with a country with oodles of said natural resources, and a population with the lowest fertility rate on Earth.

A generation from now, China will annex all of Russia east of the Urals.

Re:what this is really telling us (3, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559589)

The sixty million surplus boys will give their rifle female names. If you live in Siberia, get out now. China has an insatiable appetite for natural resources. They share a 4000 mile border with a country with oodles of said natural resources, and a population with the lowest fertility rate on Earth.

A generation from now, China will annex all of Russia east of the Urals.

Russia has nukes and will continue to maintain them for the foreseeable future. It took a while for me to wrap my head around this as a kid since it seemed like China and the USSR should be buddy-buddy since they're both communist. It was hard to understand that the USSR looked at China with as much suspicion as they looked at NATO. Many nuclear scenarios for WWIII saw the Soviets shooting both east and west.

The Soviet bluff was that they believed they could survive a nuclear war. Now I say bluff, I think they were trying to scare us. But hell, maybe they really did think it would be winnable. We already know the Chinese philosophy concerning nuclear war: "So we lose a few million." (This offhand comment was made during the Korean War when MacArthur was demanding we go nuclear.) Honestly, I think the Chinese government would probably see a nuclear attack as doing them a favor. I do not relish the thought of a general war with China. I've got images of Japanese banzai charges but hundreds of times larger.

We're looking at a future of scarcity and resource wars. The only way to truly avoid any number of uncomfortable scenarios is to grow the pie, provide more resources or use existing resources more efficiently so that everyone can have a seat at the table. Unfortunately, human nature says "Why should I work to double the milkshake supply when I can drink yours instead?" And there's Cheney with a straw.

Re:what this is really telling us (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559601)

1. Eroding faith in government. 2. Shitty infrastructure.
Um, pot calling kettle black. I'll point to both Clinton and Bush as to eroding faith in government. The 2 is the same. I remember something about a lack of damns/levies in New Orleans and something about lots of national bridges needing work.

3. The pollution is freaking out of control. What kind of collapses and failures environmentally can they look forward to? The Gobi is expanding rapidly. What happens if they have famine?
They know that and are actually working at fixing it as best as they can. They are working on it, but they are more worried about getting a larger percentage of their population to a higher standard of living first.
Um, the US could say screw Africa. We are sending China all of our surplus food because the US needs Chinese cheap labor intact. Kinda goes with your Number 4.

6. Population time bomb. One Child per Family means there's a lot of boys and not many girls to go around. What are they going to do for wives when they grow up?
That's where those mail order Russian, Indian, African or even US brides come into play.

Re:what this is really telling us (1)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559627)

Corruption.

Corruption brings down governments. Corruption is responsible for most ailings in China and most definitely responsible for almost all problems in Africa.

Why do you think substandard buildings were allowed to be built that collapsed in the earthquake? Because everyone takes a bribe and looks other way. Then they will crucify one or two (maybe) but corruption will continue. And corruption == injustice => unhappy people => revolt.

BBC pollution data available. (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559087)

The BBC is measuring pollution themselves [bbc.co.uk] , much to the annoyance of the Chinese government. August 10 was a really bad day. August 11, not so bad.

The equestrian events are in Hong Kong, which also has high pollution, but the drastic control measures being used in Beijing aren't being applied to Hong Kong. That's a small-scale competition. Hong Kong's racing fans think dressage is boring, and more than half of the 10,000 spectators walked out yesterday.

equestian events (3, Informative)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559299)

As a someone who was a horseman for 15 years (show and racehorses) I can say that the only people who do not think dressage is boring is the dressage people.

It is the equivalent of the technical section of an ice skating competition -exacting but boring -how perfect can you make a circle?

In the context of a three day event it is a little more interesting because you then have the cross country and stadium jumping events to see which horse and rider had the precision to do well in the dressage, the guts for the stadium jumping and the ballsout of the cross country course with the hills and water jumps, etc

I personally think that some of the cowhorse events like cutting and reining would be a lot more interesting to people, but they are too US-centric.

I'm just saying....

It's almost perfect. (2, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559111)

Now we have a wonderful rationale to implement a totalitarian world government because ONLY THEY have the ability to stop those dirty, pollution-making people with their freedoms and their poor personal choices. Finally!

Horrible Article (2, Insightful)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559149)

Journalists have a strange way of muddying the waters of studies like this with regards to intent and theory, so I won't make any conclusions as to the validity of the study, but there are a few points that need to be made.

While this study will be informative as to the pathways pollution will take, I'd really like to know how a 1 month venture is going to address something like climate change. Climate change is something that happens over hundreds of years on a very broad scale. Even though Beijing is a very large city, the pollution there (or lack thereof) will have little (if any) measurable effect over a 1 month period.

The Newsweek article also posts some of the theories which are speculated by Scripps as scientific fact when they are to be determined by the article - which has the above problems. I can see validity to studying pollution effects on people and where the pollution goes after it leaves Beijing, but climate change is really a stretch.

If only... (0, Redundant)

Maniacal (12626) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559181)

"Chinese officials have compelled reductions in industrial activity by as much as 30 percent and cuts in automobile use by half to safeguard the health of competing athletes immediately before and during the games."

If only they cared that much about their citizens

Take this at face value (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559187)

I had heard that China had been spreading salt in the air in order to attempt to get it to rain to clean the air somewhat, and that now they're having trouble because of all the rain.

Tennis matches were delayed, that much I know, but I'm not so sure about the salt thing, it seems a bit farfetched.

Probably not sodium chloride (2, Informative)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559377)

They're probably not using sodium chloride for it, but it's perfectly plausible that they're using cloud seeding [wikipedia.org] to try to control the pollution.

9/11 was another oppurtunity (5, Informative)

Moof123 (1292134) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559363)

Nova had a nice show on this last week, well actually a repeat from 2006.

One fellow showed a pretty dramatic effect on weather in the US just from the lack of con trails (sp?) from jets being absent for 3 days following 9/11. Upshot claim was that Global Dimming accounts for masking roughly 50% of Global Warming's effect. Soot itself was not the chief reflector, but rather clouds with soot reflected much more sunlight than if the soot was not present, it changed the size of the drops and created many more locations for these small drops to accumulate.

The trouble I see with the argument of "Soot helps!", is that soot is temporary, eventually washing out of the air. CO2 is not. CO2 is rapidly saturating it's sinks and is steadily increasing in the atmosphere. So even if we tried to use lots of particulate matter to dim things, eventually the ever accumulating CO2 would swamp things out.

The other bit of warning from the Nova episode is that this cooling is localized to the downstream of the polluters. So by creating localized cooling you can really screw up historic weather patterns. They cited a simulation showing that if you looked at the pollution from the US in the 70's and 80's with the better understanding of the cooling, that it helps explain the long period of draught that screwed over Ethiopia. As our sooty emissions in the US got curtailed, Ethiopia's monsoons went back to a more typical pattern. We can change climate much faster than populations, species, forests, etc can adapt.

Though, if we flood New York and Florida, is that all bad?

This is not the first time (0)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559509)

This is actually the second time that I am aware of showing the paradoxical effect of reduced air pollution aiding in the progress of global warming.

The first time were those "flightless days" following the 9-11 attacks. Because there was a temporary halt on commercial air traffic, there was also a temporary halt on the pollution in the air that comes from commercial air travel. The results, as I recall, were QUITE remarkable and points the way to a solution that nobody wants to consider -- we need to pollute the air MORE to cool the planet... and yes, we need to reduce greenhouse gases as well, but blocking out the sun is an important part of global cooling efforts.

Re:This is not the first time (1)

Moof123 (1292134) | more than 6 years ago | (#24559581)

Tinfoil hats reflect lots of sunlight, and should be included in the overall effort to fight global warming.

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