The City's recovery

20110818-093141.jpg Courtesy of the new high-pressure weather that so mercifully started hovering above Beijing a few days ago, I am finally seeing, actually seeing, my surroundings for the first time since the summer started 2-3 months ago.

And the other day, when reflecting over the fact that being swept into a haze is, also historically, the default condition for most of China, I could see why it made so much more senseto build around a courtyard rather than isolated elements on a surface. You are not trying to grasp an ungraspable landscape far away, but having full control over your nearest surroundings, your family and your own belongings. Considering the cultural AND climatic aspects, this must be the underlying logic why Chinese (traditional) architecture works the way it does.

This brings me to the next question: What is its current logic? It seems to often come down to one word: Speculation.

Beyond Index

It is an unusually creamy sky this morning. Yesterday broke the streak of 43 consecutive days of clear blue skies and sunshine and today is even worse. A reading from the US Embassy's air pollution meter shows a return to a state of public hazard to the point that it is beyond the index of 500. At 4 am this morning, the PM2.5 (nano particles) reading was 595, the highest I've ever seen. In november, this reading was called "crazy bad", probably the most accurate description, but was soon modified to "beyond index". Between 400 and 500, the reading is "hazardous". Which means we are currently in a state "beyond hazardous". Below are photos from my window, roughly the same view eastwards. From today and December 12. Congratulations if you can identify any similarities.