One Friday more than two years ago, an air-quality monitoring device atop the United States Embassy in Beijing recorded data so horrifying that someone in the embassy called the level of pollution “Crazy Bad” in an infamous Twitter post. That day the Air Quality Index, which uses standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, had crept above 500, which was supposed to be the top of the scale.
So what phrase is appropriate to describe Saturday’s jaw-dropping reading of 755 at 8 p.m., when all of Beijing looked like an airport smokers’ lounge? Though an embassy spokesman said he did not immediately have comparative data, Beijing residents who follow the Twitter feed said the Saturday numbers appeared to be the highest recorded since the embassy began its monitoring system in 2008.
The embassy’s @BeijingAir Twitter feed said the level of toxicity in the air was “Beyond Index,” the terminology for levels above 500; the “Crazy Bad” label was used just once, in November 2010, before it was quickly deleted by the embassy from the Twitter feed. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, levels between 301 and 500 are “Hazardous,” meaning people should avoid all outdoor activity. The World Health Organization has standards that judge a score above 500 to be more than 20 times the level of particulate matter in the air deemed safe.
(By comparison, the air quality index in New York City, using the same standard, was 19 at 6 a.m. on Saturday.)
Dear Mr. President:
I am writing to you as a wife and mother of two young daughters, whose 34-year old husband, Matthew Davies, faces 10 years or more in federal prison for providing medical marijuana to sick people in California, even though he complied with state law concerning medicinal cannabis. My questions to you are simple:
What has my husband done that would justify the federal government forcing my young daughters to grow up without a father?
How can your Administration ignore the will of the California people and prosecute this good, law-abiding man for doing exactly what state law permits?
Here is the NYT story on the bust
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But the problems may go deeper than that. The Verge has now learned that the facts of the case are somewhat different than the story CNET and CBS had previously shared with the public. According to sources familiar with the matter, the Hopper was not simply an entrant in the Best of CES awards for the site: it was actually chosen as the winner of the “Best of Show” award (as voted by CNET’s editorial staff).
Apparently, executives at CBS learned that the Hopper would win “Best of Show” prior to the announcement. Before the winner was unveiled, CBS Interactive News senior-vice president and General Manager Mark Larkin informed CNET’s staff that the Hopper could not take the top award. The Hopper would have to be removed from consideration, and the editorial team had to re-vote and pick a new winner from the remaining choices. Sources say that Larkin was distraught while delivering the news — at one point in tears — as he told the team that he had fought CBS executives who had made the decision.
Apparently the move to strike the Hopper from the awards was passed down directly to Larkin from the office of CBS CEO, Leslie Moonves. Moonves has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the Hopper, telling investors at one point, “Hopper cannot exist… if Hopper exists, we will not be in business with (Dish).”
In 1993, a group of researchers published a study that challenged the most basic assumptions of many gun owners: That owning a gun makes you safer.
The study, rigorously conducted by ten credentialed experts, and appearing in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, found instead that the reverse is true. “Although firearms are often kept in homes for personal protection, this study shows that the practice is counter-productive,” the authors wrote. “Our data indicate that keeping a gun in the home is independently associated with an increase in the risk of homicide in the home.”
That pushback from gun-rights supporters sent a not-so-subtle message to the CDC—as well as any other government agency thinking of funding gun violence research, Kellerman said: “You toucha this topic, I breaka your face.”
The result: Nearly two decades later, with Washington mulling gun-violence prevention measures in the wake of last month’s Newtown, Conn. shooting, policymakers find themselves hampered by a lack of objective, scientific information on one of the country’s major public health threats—one which costs the country 31,000 lives and an estimated $100 billion per year. That has left today’s policymakers flying virtually blind.