Pollution Spin

China to US embassy: Stop telling people how bad the air is in Beijing. – CSMonitor.com. – June 18, 2012

First, a tangent: This article provides another cautionary tale of coding less than professional error messages or parameters: the Chinese did not appreciate the US Embassy’s describing Beijing air quality as ‘crazy bad’ on 2010 November 19.  My examples are: the early version of the AIX Pascal compiler had an error message that directed the user to contact his IBM Sales Rep and including the hexadecimal string ‘BADBEEF’ in an alternate MAC Address.

As illustrated by this article, public perception of and response to air pollution is tied to the availability and presentation of information on that pollution – hence the Chinese government is not pleased that the US Embassy in Beijing makes a value judgement about the healthfulness of the air.

In the ’80’s the Los Angeles Times regularly reported on Mexico City’s air quality – because it made LA’s look good in comparison.

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