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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Take a Deep Breath, Beijing! U.S. Embassy Deploys Ozone Monitor
12 February 2010 5:40 am
BEIJING—For many of the expats here in one of the world’s most polluted cities, a morning ritual is checking the latest local air-quality readings. This week, a trusted source—the U.S. Embassy’s air-pollution monitor—got a whole lot more interesting.
The embassy has been using Twitter to publish average hourly readings of particulate matter that’s less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5): fine particles from combustion and industrial emissions that penetrate deeply into the lungs and are linked to heart disease and other health problems. This week, without fanfare, it also started tweeting hourly data on ground-level ozone, the prime component of smog. Most in China can’t see these data, however. Twitter is blocked in China; thus, accessing the site requires a proxy server or virtual private network.
In a statement, the embassy noted that the additional ozone information will help the embassy community “make better daily decisions regarding the safety of outdoor activities.” The embassy’s monitor, located at its compound in northeast Beijing’s Chaoyang District, offers a different perspective on citywide readings posted by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, which focuses on PM10 and sulfur dioxide.
Today, on a late Friday afternoon with many Beijingers having already returned to their hometowns for the start of the spring festival, air quality happens to be pretty good. At least it’s nothing like 19 January, when the air in Beijing reeked. In that brownish-yellow miasma, PM2.5 readings were off the chart and the corresponding air-quality index warned of “emergency conditions” that could affect the whole population. Nonetheless, longtime residents insist that the air here is getting better.