Watch where urbanization sprawls in and around the U.S.’s capital between 1984 and 2010, via NASA Earth Observatory:
Any surface that water cannot pass through—for instance, rooftops, roads, parking lots, and sidewalks—is considered impervious.
The maps above show the extent of impervious surfaces in 1984 (top) and 2010. Areas with the greatest concentration of impervious surfaces are depicted with dark blue; areas with the lowest concentration of impervious surface areas are white.
Here’s a much more dramatic urbanization case study, China’s Pearl River Delta area, where you can see the rapid development of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan between 1988 and 2014, also thanks to NASA Earth Observatory:
Flying back between Berkeley, CA and Beijing, China on graduate school projects, an idea struck me to record air quality with a picture every day, initially out of a friend’s apartment window. Then that project grew and took roots at Asia Society and now China Air Daily tracks five cities in China and the U.S. on an hourly basis.
Here below are two videos about China’s notorious air pollution issue I produced with Emmy Award winning studio MediaStorm:
Here below is the homepage of the site, a visual record of daily air quality in China and the U.S., featuring Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, New York City and Phoenix:
I write in The Atlantic: A Stunning Visualization of China’s Air Pollution
The debate over whose statistics are most “accurate” can be confusing — how to sort out truth from spin? That’s why a group of us at the Asia Society decided to launch China Air Daily, a website that provides up-to-date information on air pollution in the country’s largest urban sectors, and even compares them to major cities from elsewhere in the world.
I write in Foreign Policy: Watch China’s Silent Assassin in Action
For the past eight years in Beijing, as well as four years spent in other Chinese cities, I have recorded impressions of daily air quality by taking photographs from fixed points. I thought I had seen the worst smog a developing country had to offer — then came the so-called “Airpocalypse” of January 2014. Finally, in March 2014, the Chinese government declared an all-out “war against pollution.” For a few months, as my photo archive suggests, Beijing’s air quality appeared to improve. But this winter, it is getting bad once again:January 15 saw an AQI measurement near 500.
Air quality improved after the Olympics, and there have been good days since, but why August was this bad is something of a mystery. Trying to get to the bottom of the air-quality-in-China issue is the work of China Air Daily, a web site produced by the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations. The site is produced by the journalist-programmer Michael Zhao. China Air Daily publishes near-hourly snapshots several times a day. You can see how blue it was for most of March 2011.
One of its useful devices is the China Air Daily site, which allows Web users to track the sometimes awful state of smog in three Chinese metropolises, as well as two in the U.S.
Last but not least, I blog about the issue on ChinaFile.com and here are some slides from the blogging:
Brewer and his graduate students at Berkeley have concocted a wireless networking scheme called Wildnet (Wild is short for “Wi-Fi over long distance”). Two Wildnet transmitters can shuttle 5 million bits per second, as much as a cable modem, over distances of up to 60 miles. A relay station is needed if the antennas aren’t in direct line of sight. Wildnet takes Wi-Fi technology and extends its range 100 times farther than an airport hot spot.
A Beijing upstart is betting it can transform China’s subways with commercials that play on tunnel walls as trains barrel past.
Want to own a Gustav Klimt? You may not have been bidding on the Austrian master’s “Adele Bloch-Bauer I,” which went to Manhattan’s Neue Galerie museum in June for $135 million. However, you can get a reduced-size reproduction for $109 by clicking on OilPaintingsGallery.com or for $189 at Oceansbridge.com.
A variety of other animal-oriented occupations have popped up in China of late, including trainers, stylists, mental therapists and crematoriums. Pet clothes, which are not uncommon, are often more expensive than name-brand T shirts. And a styling runs anywhere from $10 to $80. The overall pet economy, with an estimated value of $2 billion, is projected to be worth $5 billion by 2010.
The notional value of reward points, half based on cell phone usage, is at least an annual $640 million, growing 10% to 20% a year.
China is new to this hunt. The U.S. has a well-established sector of so-called performance-improvement companies, some of which are 100 years old. They manage loyalty programs, employee-recognition awards and the like for corporate clients or provide software and support for these. Such fare–airline mileage points long being the currency of choice in the U.S.–are a $30-billion-a-year industry.
HUANG YIXIN and Wei Wei, two students at the Guangzhou College of Fine Arts, were hanging around their dormitory last summer and decided—as one does—to turn on their webcam, put on their Houston-Rockets jerseys and lip-synch a few of their favourite songs by the Backstreet Boys. They uploaded the clips to Google Video, a free website full of such stuff. Their grimaces are over the top, self-consciously ludicrous. And they became famous almost instantly.
Here below are some of their webcam performances. Enjoy: