Thoughts on Beijing


I was in Beijing just a little over a week ago. Steve isn’t kidding about the smog — on the bad days, visibility is about 10 blocks. On the very worst day, I couldn’t see clearly from one side of Tienanmen Square to the other. That was a Friday, which is important because, according to locals, that is the day of the week on which the clouds are seeded to clear out the pollution. I was told on a clear Friday afternoon that there would be heavy rain at precisely 7:30 and sure enough, the rains came.
A prediction: the big story BEFORE the Olympics start will be athletes complaining about the pollution. Right now, it’s not a story because the bureau chiefs and in-country reporters who are there are used to it. After the torch arrives, it’ll be all about the events (plus, the government plans to limit driving in the city and shut down local industry). But somewhere in the middle, when athletes and sports reporters arrive in advance of the games, this is going to be a big story.
Here’s one more uncorroborated rumor passed along from an architect currently supervising the construction of the CCTV building, pictured above. According to the architect, the building will be the second largest building in the world by square footage to the Pentagon. More interestingly, its construction has single-handedly created a spike in world steel prices.
Can anyone confirm or deny? I’m curious.
— Scott Paul


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