Month: March 2014

Chong Chong and Friend

The weather was absolutely fantastic today, so we took Chong Chong to the neighborhood square. We stayed there about an hour, walking Chong Chong around and having him meet other babies around his age.

The baby in this shot with him is about eight months old.

Q&A: Do China’s Cities Have the World’s Worst Air Pollution?

Q: Do China’s cities have the world’s worst air pollution?

A: No.

Q: Umh, what about all those articles about the subject?

A. Most of the articles regarding China’s air pollution problem (and there certainly is one), don’t offer any data. That is, they merely state that the air in China’s cities is the worst.

Or, if they do provide data, it usually isn’t comparative in nature. For example, they’ll give the air quality index for a city in China, tell you it is bad (which it probably is), but then won’t tell you how cities in other countries are faring.

Q. Okay, fine, which countries have worse urban air pollution?

A. For those countries for which there is data, they are:

No Country Data
1 Mongolia 279
2 Botswana 216
3 Pakistan 198
4 Senegal 145
5 Saudi Arabia 143
6 Egypt 138
7 United Arab Emirates 132
8 Iran (Islamic Republic of) 124
9 Nigeria 124
10 Kuwait 123
11 Bangladesh 120
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina 117
13 India 109
14 Nepal 106
15 Ghana 98

Q. Where is this data from?

A. The World Health Organization.

In particular, a page on Public Health and Environment (PHE): outdoor air pollution, charting exposure to particulate matter less than 10 µm in diameter in urban areas*, from data available between 2003 and 2010.

Q. Can I look at the data myself?

A. Sure.  The data is available (in sortable table, bar chart, and map forms) at:

Note: See underneath the map for information regarding the asterisk in the previous answer.

Cars of Beijing

I’ve started a new blog about cars that I’m photographing around Beijing.

It is, simply enough:

The blog has pictures of both low-end and high-end cars. Many of these aren’t available in the US for one reason or another.

A big part of the project is to show the scenery around the cars.

I’d appreciate folks following the page if this subject interests you. There’s also a facebook like link on the site.


Su Jinyan



The Basement Dwellers

I once lived in a basement apartment. It was in a two-fare zone out of the Flatbush Station on the 2 Line. That is, I needed to pay one fare to take the subway home from work, and then another fare (to bus or black cab) to get to the apartment, which was at 59th and Ralph Ave in Canarsie.

My girlfriend Sonja, who would later become my fiance, and still later my ex-fiance, and I lived there at the beginning of our relationship. It was 1986, and I was in New York City for the first time. I’d joined the US Coast Guard Reserve, was fresh out of boot camp (Cape May, NJ), and based on Governors Island for what was supposed to be six months of Electronics Technician training before returning home to California.

I’d started falling in love with NYC from the moment I got there and meeting Sonja, well, that sealed the deal. Quickly. I didn’t end-up moving back for another six years.

We’d met in Washington Square Park, setup by Missoni, her roommate at the time. Missoni was like no other girl I’d ever dated. She’d only let me kiss her once, a brief peck on the lips, during the time we were together. I guess she sensed that things wouldn’t work-out for us, so she arranged for me to meet Sonja.

Anyway, in time, I moved into the apartment, and Missoni moved out. The apartment had a good-sized living area, a very small kitchenette attached to the living area, and a small bedroom with large pipes running overhead. Two shafts outside the living area brought some very limited light down from the sidewalk. In the hallway, there was a toilet closet and two showers that we shared with the adjoining apartment, which was rented by two guys from Haiti. (The landlord, as was much of the neighborhood, was Haitian.)

Disclaimer… my memory is not the best, and it is 11:33 pm as I post this. Things above might be a bit jumbled. 🙂