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.
When a ranking Chinese government official slammed the U.S. embassy and consulates in China earlier this month for measuring local air pollution data, calling it “violating diplomatic conventions,” Chinese web users snapped back. “Can’t you see the bad pollution yourself?” asked one typical comment.
China’s censors have tremendous power in print, online, and even in public spaces such as Tiananmen Square. But when it comes to air pollution, even the Chinese government can’t obscure the facts. People see and breathe it every day.
Some say the hardest part of learning how to ride a bike is the pavement. The second hardest may be convincing the world to reconsider this quaint form of transportation as a new leap forward for environmental sustainability.
Yale researchers have discovered a type of mushroom that can eat plastic. During an expedition to the jungles of Ecuador, Professor Scott Strobel and his team of researchers have found a new fungus that eats polyurethane (plastic). The fungi, called “Pestalotiopsis microspore”, is able to survive on eating plastic alone—while without the need for air or light. Students Jonathan Russell and Pria Anand have written in the journal ‘Applied and Environmental Microbiology’, that the enzyme the fungus uses to decompose plastic has been isolated. Scientists hope to use the extracted chemical to solve the plastic trash and help bioremediation projects. If successful, this could change the way we get rid of trash. (via Recently-Discovered ‘Magic Mushrooms’ Can Eat Plastic - DesignTAXI.com)
If you look at Shanghai during high tide, you can see the water level is higher than the streets but separated by the wall. This is a situation where if you have a major disaster like a hurricane, tsunami or tropical storm, it can cause serious damage.
This is the Toilet Bike Neo, built by Japan’s uber-commode maker TOTO and powered by biogas (i.e., your poop). Starting October 6, the poopmobile will take a 600-mile trip from TOTO’s headquarters in Kitakyushu to Tokyo to promote the company’s “Green Challenge” of reducing CO2 emissions by 50% over the next five years. (No mention of any other kinds of emissions, however.) Since this motorcycle is fueled entirely by human waste, it can theoretically run forever as long as the driver is kept well-fed. There is one unanswered question, though: is the driver supposed to sit pantsless the whole time? How does that work?
Update: Oh well, I guess the company felt it had to add this disclaimer after everyone thought the bike was, uh, self-powered:
TOILET BIKE NEO does not have the mechanism to run on the rider’s waste. It runs biogas fuel (fertilized, purified and compressed livestock waste and household wastewater) […] Therefore, the NEO REST seat does not function as a toilet
The Liter of Light project makes “light bulbs” out of plastic bottles. Each bottle can give as much light as a 60W incandescent bulb. Not only does this provide illumination without electricity, it reuses plastic bottles that otherwise would (probably) have gone to the landfill.