China is experiencing the worst air pollution in history today. These photos might actually make you cough.

The picture at top was taken at 11:30am Shanghai time today, in "broad daylight."
The picture on bottom was taken 7.5 hours later, when they turned the night lights on.

Every week we are reminded of China's game of catch-up with America. Well, there's one area in which China has already produced results that we could never dream of: pollution. And that has been on display in Shanghai for the past 48 hours, as a blinding, choking smog descended on the city. It's the kind of pollution we could never hope to match.

Don't get me wrong, America was a great polluter, once. But then a Native American cried on TV and we stopped all that (we also shifted our heavy-polluting industries guessed it...China). Still, even at our worst, we have nothing on the Chinese for sheer polluting power: 

This was also taken today. TODAY. THIS IS HAPPENING TODAY. (via)

That tiny lightbulb up top is the sun. (via)

American cities like LA and Houston still look at the Air Quality Index to decide whether or not to issue a Smog Alert on a particular day. China uses their own Air Quality Index, but it's substantially the same (via Wikipedia):

Is it bad that smog alerts always make me think of the movie Clueless?

Shanghai hit 590 last night. This is a screenshot from press time (approx. 3:30 EST) of a site that measures Asian air pollution levels. Shanghai's levels have fallen since a few hours ago when the photos up top were taken, but they're still horrendous:

In the past 2 days, the best was "Moderately Polluted" and the worst was 590, aka Black Lung.

300 on the API scale used to be a 10.0 for earthquakes, i.e. they thought it was impossible. China passed that barrier a long time ago, and the worst score ever recorded was a 755 in Beijing, but today's outbreak is much wider-spread. So, Shanghai hit a 590 last night and it was news, but Beijing is rocking a 444 right now without even making headlines. What the eff is this? What do people even do in conditions like those? They do this:

Ironically, I've only seen those used to ingest smoke here in the US. (via)

Lady, those Uggs make you look like some kind of crazy person. 

I have never seen someone so clearly bored while inside a gas mask. 

Here are some phots from the suburb(ish) areas of Shanghai. In this one, there is a train station less than 250 yards away here:

Thank goodness trains don't have to do anything but move forward. (via)

And you may tell yourself, "this is not my beautiful house! Wait, or is it? I can't even tell." (via)

So, you know what, China? The future is yours if you want it. Just be careful not to suffocate on it.

(by Johnny McNulty)

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