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"It makes people funnier" is just one of the many benefits, apparently

China has had some serious issues with smog lately, to the point of closing schools and delaying or canceling flights. But the Chinese media has put quite a spin on these recent problems with pollution, insisting that there are five benefits to choking on the air you breathe. 

According to Yahoo News, China's state broadcaster CCTV attempted to shine some absurd light on the smog situation by listing five reasons as to why this air pollution is beneficial. The list is as follows:
  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'). 
This list is one of the more imaginative spins seen on a poor situation. Not even former Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf can top this one.
 
China's smog problem has certainly escalated in recent weeks, and since the country is trying to make Shanghai in particular a hub for new business, this air pollution isn't doing it any favors. 
 
Last week, hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled in Shanghai on Friday alone, citing record levels of air pollution. 
 
Schools were affected as well, as hazardous air pollution forced them to shut down or cancel outdoor activities in at least two cities in eastern China on Thursday. Some schools cancelled outdoor activities on Friday, too. 
 
The Shanghai government issued its most severe health warning last Friday afternoon when the city's pollution index ranged between 23 times and 31 times the levels recommended by international health officials.
 
The Shanghai government said the level of PM2.5 particulate matter reached 466 on Friday, which is categorized as "severely polluted." 


China's smog problem [Image Source: Sensible Reason]
 
PM2.5 particulate matter involves small particles in the air that are the most hazardous to health. 
 
The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai took a reading of a whopping 503. 
 
This is definitely not good news, as the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no more than a reading of 20 as a daily level. Anything over 300 is labeled hazardous. 
 
The Chinese government has said that it would battle the smog problem, but its efforts don't appear to be working too well. 
 
In a recent Reuters report, the United States offered to help China crack down on vehicle emissions in order to combat the air pollution situation. More specifically, the U.S. said it would offer technical assistance to create a new round of vehicle emissions standards -- known as China VI -- which would require cars to have filters that capture particulate matter.
 
This could be a helpful step in fighting smog, considering the fact that China's Ministry of Public Security said passenger car ownership in China reached 120 million by the end of 2012, and will top 200 million by 2020 at the current growth rate.
 
However, China V standards for diesel and refined gasoline will be the next to be introduced, and they will not take effect until 2017. But the good news is that the standards will lower the sulfur content limit to 10 parts per million.
 
The most recent reports on Chinese air pollution are certainly not the first. Back in July of this year, a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported that heavy pollution in northern China causes citizens in that area to have lower lifespans than those in the south. In fact, the study says that the 500 million people who live north of the Huai River will lose 2.5 billion years of life expectancy because of air pollution. Breaking it down further, each northerner has a 5.5-year drop in life expectancy compared to southerners. 
 
Way back in 2008, a NASA study said 15 percent of America's air pollution is from Asia. A year before that, China became the world's top CO2 emitter

Sources: Yahoo News, Time Magazine



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RE: Caption fix
By MaDeuce on 12/11/2013 1:33:00 PM , Rating: 0
We aren't far off in the US from communism. Everything is controlled in some way by the government.

We go nuts with the environmental stuff.


RE: Caption fix
By Etsp on 12/11/2013 1:44:52 PM , Rating: 1
You... really don't know what communism is, do you?


RE: Caption fix
By MaDeuce on 12/11/2013 1:55:05 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not expert in it by any means, but why don't you educate yourself on the tenets of communism and get back to me on that...


RE: Caption fix
By ClownPuncher on 12/11/2013 1:57:57 PM , Rating: 1
China isn't a communist country. It has roots in communism, but it is a far cry from even Marxist/Leninist communism.


RE: Caption fix
By Etsp on 12/11/2013 2:55:48 PM , Rating: 3
Communism isn't about regulation, or "control by the government". It's about ownership by government.

Government Regulation: You can't sell food products that you know are unsafe, and do not meet specific standards of safety.

Communism: You will sell these specific food products produced using these methods, at this price, in this amount. We expect this much profit ("Profit" goes back to government, as the government is the business owner).

Again: You really should open an encyclopedia and study up on what communism actually is, if you're going to be using it to describe the United States.


RE: Caption fix
By melgross on 12/11/2013 3:09:44 PM , Rating: 3
Your notion of communism is interesting, but totally incorrect. There has never been a communist country, and it's not likely that there will ever be one.

What we call communist countries are really socialist countries, even though the ruling parties call themselves communist.

True communism means no government at all. Everyone is doing what they should for their country because they know that's what should be done, and they want to do it. It assumes that people are perfect, and care about everyone else. The part of the definition that matters here is that everyone does what is needed, and receives what they need back. No greed, no hoarding, no individual wealth or power. In other words, an ideal that humans can't possibly meet, a utopia.

So we can forget it.


RE: Caption fix
By Etsp on 12/11/2013 4:04:30 PM , Rating: 2
I would argue that the term "communism" has been co-opted into also meaning a totalitarian government that owns most or all industry. Many people refer to-and have referred to-the old USSR as communism. Some of these people were heads of state.

Just because it wasn't pure communism as described by Marx, doesn't mean that many of its concepts weren't implemented by these totalitarian governments. They limited the application of communism to their economic structure, and certainly made exceptions to whom even that was applied to, but the many of the major tenets were there.


RE: Caption fix
By ClownPuncher on 12/11/2013 4:21:56 PM , Rating: 2
No, if you lack a dictatorship of the proletariat, you're not communist. That is probably the most important aspect.


RE: Caption fix
By boeush on 12/12/2013 9:45:25 PM , Rating: 2
Not really. The dictatorship of the proletariat was supposed to be a transitional stage that cleanses away the evils of the old social and economic order, following which the dictatorship would dissolve as under true Communism there's no need for a big central government imposing its will upon the people. This is going back to the "Commune" in "Communism" -- and realizing that Communism has its philosophical roots in the French communes of the late 19th century:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Commune#Retrosp...


RE: Caption fix
By melgross on 12/12/2013 7:26:56 AM , Rating: 2
You are looking at something that has nothing to do with real communism though. They are socialist. Real communism begins with the "withering away of the state". Only once the state (the government) is gone can communism be accomplished.

It doesn't matter what these parties called themselves, or what outsiders called those governments, the weren't communist. The parties themselves weren't interested in promoting the withering away of anything except freedom.

Not communist at all. Idealism such as communism or other economic systems always sound nice at first, until you have to live with it.


RE: Caption fix
By FaaR on 12/11/2013 4:40:44 PM , Rating: 2
China is not a socialist nation (any more). If you can't afford to pay for things like hospital or child care, education, retirement benefits and so on then generally, you don't get them.

If you don't have money, you're as fucked or more in China as in the US for example. Europe is by and large far more socialist than China is, minus the dictatorship, mostly. Unless you live in Belarus, Khazakstan and a few other places (including Russia, arguably.)


RE: Caption fix
By Reclaimer77 on 12/11/2013 5:39:57 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
In other words, an ideal that humans can't possibly meet, a utopia.


It's sad that is your definition of a utopia.


RE: Caption fix
By melgross on 12/12/2013 7:30:57 AM , Rating: 2
You don't know what Utopia means if you say that. Utopia means an ideal that can't be met.

Look it up. It's not my definition. It's THE definition.


RE: Caption fix
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/13, Rating: 0
RE: Caption fix
By TSS on 12/13/2013 1:17:02 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong. No government at all = Anarchy. Which, like communism, always leads to dictatorship.

Communism = central planning. Which is where the dictatorship comes in, absolute power corrupts absolutely, so those who plan the whole shindig always come to belive they're just a bit more equal then the rest of the proles.

I will agree communism as it is in theory is the perfect system for perfect human beings. Which is also it's flaw; it refuses to take into account human imperfection. Which is why it'll never work in practice, and you can be sure, both Stalin and Mao have tried to put it into practice in it's purest form. Thousands of communes in russia and millions in china starved because of it.

Your notion of history is wrong.


RE: Caption fix
By Vertigo2000 on 12/11/2013 2:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
Kevin Newman Live, a Canadian TV show, recently aired a spot about the US gov't pulling funding from CDC/scientists who want to research or create a database to log all deaths related to guns in the US. Apparently, in the US, you're simply not allowed to track that with government funding. Even in light of all the gun related tragedies that have occurred recently.


RE: Caption fix
By bah12 on 12/11/2013 3:15:57 PM , Rating: 5
Or it could be because the results of the $10mil wasted study did not support the Obama agenda so they didn't bother to fund it further.

Here is the CDC actual report.
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=18319&pa...

Below are some notable findings.

quote:
1. Armed citizens are less likely to be injured by an attacker:
“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

2. Defensive uses of guns are common:
“Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year…in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.”

3. Mass shootings and accidental firearm deaths account for a small fraction of gun-related deaths, and both are declining:
“The number of public mass shootings of the type that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School accounted for a very small fraction of all firearm-related deaths. Since 1983 there have been 78 events in which 4 or more individuals were killed by a single perpetrator in 1 day in the United States, resulting in 547 victims and 476 injured persons.” The report also notes, “Unintentional firearm-related deaths have steadily declined during the past century. The number of unintentional deaths due to firearm-related incidents accounted for less than 1 percent of all unintentional fatalities in 2010.”

4. “Interventions” (i.e, gun control) such as background checks, so-called assault rifle bans and gun-free zones produce “mixed” results:
“Whether gun restrictions reduce firearm-related violence is an unresolved issue.” The report could not conclude whether “passage of right-to-carry laws decrease or increase violence crime.”

5. Gun buyback/turn-in programs are “ineffective” in reducing crime:
“There is empirical evidence that gun turn in programs are ineffective, as noted in the 2005 NRC study Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review. For example, in 2009, an estimated 310 million guns were available to civilians in the United States (Krouse, 2012), but gun buy-back programs typically recover less than 1,000 guns (NRC, 2005). On the local level, buy-backs may increase awareness of firearm violence. However, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for example, guns recovered in the buy-back were not the same guns as those most often used in homicides and suicides (Kuhn et al., 2002).”

6. Stolen guns and retail/gun show purchases account for very little crime:
“More recent prisoner surveys suggest that stolen guns account for only a small percentage of guns used by convicted criminals. … According to a 1997 survey of inmates, approximately 70 percent of the guns used or possess by criminals at the time of their arrest came from family or friends, drug dealers, street purchases, or the underground market.”

7. The vast majority of gun-related deaths are not homicides, but suicides:
“Between the years 2000-2010 firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearms related violence in the United States.”


RE: Caption fix
By ClownPuncher on 12/11/2013 3:22:47 PM , Rating: 3
Shut your fact hole. This does not support the progressive agenda.


RE: Caption fix
By FaaR on 12/11/13, Rating: -1
RE: Caption fix
By ClownPuncher on 12/11/2013 5:02:05 PM , Rating: 2
Japanese people dress up like cats.


RE: Caption fix
By kerpwnt on 12/11/2013 6:36:10 PM , Rating: 2
Japan. Where you can buy used panties in a vending machine. You can pay to cuddle with a girl in an anime suit. And they go in to the woods and kill themselves in droves. Totally the perfect society!


RE: Caption fix
By ClownPuncher on 12/11/2013 6:44:22 PM , Rating: 2
A rich culture and interesting society, nonetheless.


RE: Caption fix
By tamalero on 12/12/2013 2:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
seems like a free culture that is not as tightlocked into following a old book that is 2 centuries old (which as outdated information of everything, favors just certain things.. and the best of all? when they hypocritically blast you for breaking X law,while they break Y law with impunity)


RE: Caption fix
By rountad on 12/12/2013 2:04:05 PM , Rating: 2
Japanese culture is not at all like ours. It's like apples and oranges.


RE: Caption fix
By Icaarus on 12/11/2013 5:00:25 PM , Rating: 3
Here's a lesson in government agencies for you. The report you linked to was not from the CDC, it was from the National Academies. This is not a comment on its validity, only that actual source does not serve as evidence for your claim.

Here's the bit that was referenced: "Congress, after all, has long barred the CDC from funding any research that could be used to “advocate or promote gun control.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/20...

Yes the CDC has been barred from gun violence studies, this ban however has not been as great of impediment for members of the national academies who are granted more academic freedom.


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