Thursday, January 16, 2014

That's not smog. THIS is smog!

I'm not sure how the traditional media outlets are covering the latest round of smog in Beijing but it is quite a story.  Yesterday, the pollution readings were "literally off the charts" - the readings were higher than any published guidelines.  The readings were 26 times what is considered acceptable.

Beijing also saw it's first dip in visitors since the financial crisis in 2013 due in part to tourists concerns over pollution.  I keep hearing from expats working in China that they are desperate to get out of China as a result of the pollution.  Some scientists estimate that the current pollution levels are cutting 10-15 yrs off life expectancy and no one with a family wants to hear those numbers.

It's hard to make light of this issue but China's "you will be happy and enjoy this smog" attitude is something to behold. 

In particular, I like this post from NY Times correspondent Edward Wong

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Apparently when the smog is too thick to see the sunrise you can just play a youtube clip of a sunrise on your Jerry Jones style jumbotron and everything will be okay.

One of my pet peeves is when politicians over-promise on economic development.  Last February, I wrote about the NJ governor announcing a plan to bring online gambling to the Garden State.  The loud, traffic loving governor said in 2013 that the venture would generate $1,000,000,000 in revenue in it's first year and produce lots of new revenue for the state.  However, the State budget officials had a less optimistic forecast of $300-$500 million.  Today, they reported that for the first 6 weeks of the program they've generated just over $8,300,000.  Thus, for the year the projections might reach $70-$100 million unless there is a huge increase in participation. 

Just keep this story in mind the next time you hear "This project will bring X new jobs and Y of new tax revenue....." from some politician.


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