Stats Pr0n of the Day: Bejing is an Airport Smoking Lounge
This chart from Bloomberg News shows Bejing’s average concentrations of PM2.5, or fine particulate matter that can cause airway inflammation and leave residents at a higher risk for lung and heart disease. As you can see here, on January 12th, the PM2.5 count reached a peak of 886, which is 532% of the daily average found in 16 U.S. airport smoking lounges. In 2012, Greenpeace estimated that exposure to PM2.5 in China led to more than 8,500 premature deaths in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xi’an. Hat tip to BoingBoing.
3dprinted: 3D printing being used to restore ancient artefacts from Beijing’s Forbidden City. The Forbidden City’s Palace Museum is undergoing major restoration work, involving thousands of individual relics, funded by the Chinese government. Traditionally, objects needed to be measured, photographed and repaired using manual techniques - an extremely time consuming and expensive task. However, Loughborough Design School PhD student Fangjin Zhang and colleagues have been investigating the use of 3D printing within the context of restoration in order to save money. The team is capturing the shape of the original objects using laser or optical scanners then cleaning up the data using reverse engineering techniques. This allows damaged parts of intricate artefacts to be restored in the 3D model before being 3D printed. This has been possible for some time, but Zhang has developed a formalised approach tailored to the restoration of historic artefacts. The teams is working on the ceiling and enclosure of a pavilion in the Emperor Qianlong Garden.
This is Zhengyangmen (正陽門). If the Wikimedia notes are correct, this photo was taken between 1906 and 1910.
This gate is the southern access point into Beijing’s Inner City, hence it also has the colloquial name of Qianmen (前門), literally meaning “front gate.” It lies on the direct north-south path to and from Forbidden City, and its formal name translates to “gate of the zenith Sun.” The gate structure consists of two towers: the brick-faced archery (watch) tower, and the gatehouse, or city tower. This photo shows the city tower and would’ve been taken from the watchtower, situated to its south. Today, the gate lies at the southern end of Tiananmen Square. You can see it on a map here.
Beijing and Tianjin, China as seen from the International Space Station.
The two cities are about 70 miles apart yet remain distinct despite a combined population of roughly 20 million people. In comparison, the 120-mile stretch between Los Angeles and San Diego has the same population but long ago morphed into a single mass of endless suburbs.
Update: Maybe not. Based on this video, the area between Los Angeles and San Diego appear pretty uninhabited from space as well.