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What We Love This Week, Volume CXXXVIII

China Military Parade Soldiers

Image Source: The Atlantic

Front Row At China’s Awe-Inspiring Military Parade

China Military Parade Air Show

Image Source: The Atlantic

Spectacle and sheer size of an awe-inspiring scale are two things that China can certainly bring to the table. The military parade the country held yesterday, commemorating the end of World War II, could very well be its most impressive performance yet. 12,000 troops, 500 pieces of military hardware, 200 aircraft of various types, and god knows how many spectators (as well as Vladimir Putin) were on hand for this dazzling display of synchronization and military might. Take a front row seat at The Atlantic.

China Military Parade Band

Image Source: The Atlantic

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Your World This Week, Volume IX

IBM’s New “Rodent Brain” Chip Could Make Your Phone Super Smart The line between human intelligence and technology is thinning with every passing day–and IBM’s latest chip further diminishes it. Known as…

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This Is What Delhi, The World’s Most Polluted City Looks Like

Most Polluted City

Smog frequently blankets Delhi. Source: News East West

Beijing can rest easier for the moment, as it is no longer the most polluted city in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), that dubious honor goes to Delhi, India. It’s estimated that the city’s air pollution kills 10,500 people in the city every year.

The study analyzed the peak levels of fine particulate matter in the ambient (outside) air. It determined that the highest level of airborne particulate matter of PM2.5 (smaller than 2.5 microns) clocked in at 153 micrograms, which is significantly higher than any other city in the world. For example, Beijing, once considered one of the world’s most polluted cities, has a PM2.5 concentration of only 56 micrograms. Delhi’s level is six times the WHO’s recommended maximum and twelve times U.S. standards.

Here’s a glimpse at what that lethal atmosphere looks like:

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Most Polluted City Smog

View of Delhi through a nearly permanent haze. Source: New East West

Commuters Walking

Commuters travel to work in the thick smog of the morning. Source: Quartz

Trash Mountain

Delhi produces 9,000 tons of trash every day and has very few places to put it. However, 50% of the city’s waste is fit for composting, which could solve some of the storage issues. Source: Sebastian Chatelier

Most Polluted City Yamuna River Pollution

These aren’t soap bubbles; they’re industrial and residential waste particles. Source: Business Insider

Most Polluted City Yamuna River

Pollutants cause the Yamuna River to foam. Source: Daily Mail

Most Polluted City Yamuna River Offerings

The Yamuna is important to observant Hindus who make offerings in the river. The government has encouraged them to use biodegradable and natural materials that won’t harm the water. Source: Daily Mail

Most Polluted City Worker Churns Sludge

This man churns sewage for a living, and does so without proper protective equipment. Building an efficient sewage system can help improve the environment in the city and the livelihoods of its citizens. Source: University Of Texas

Public Water Supply Bathing

Many citizens share public water supplies. Source: Japan Times

Kathputli Slum

Source: ABC

Slum Dogs

Garbage heaps are a common sight in the Indian capital. Source: Vet Help Direct

Presidential Palace

The presidential palace is obscured by air pollution. The skies are cleaned up during the rainy season, but the dry winters keep the smog in place. Source: News East West

Most Polluted City Work In Progress

Construction leaves behind dusty fields that add more particulate matter to the air when they aren’t replanted. Source: Flickr

Most Polluted City Commuter Train

Commuters pack on top of a train outside of Delhi. India’s rising population makes it difficult to provide efficient transport, sanitary housing and clean water to all people, as it grows faster than the current infrastructure. Source: Quartz

Most Polluted City Traffic


Face Masks Students

Citizens wear masks in a futile attempt to protect themselves from air pollution. Source: Indian Express

Oorja Alternative

Alternative stoves are being introduced in an attempt to provide cleaner burning fuel and improve health. Source: The Better India

Indoor Biomass Stove

Biomass stoves contribute to greenhouse gas emissions because they produce carbon monoxide and methane. Source: Lowe Tech Magazine

Clean India Mission

Prime Minister Modi shows his constituents how to use a broom to help clean the streets as part of the Clean India Mission. Source: India Mission

Most Polluted City Yamuna River

A Hindu devotee says prayers in the polluted Yamuna River. Source: Quartz

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São Paolo Is Drying Up: Brazil’s Water Crisis

Brazil water crisis, cracked earth

Cracked earth during the droughts in Sao Paolo. Source: Bloomberg

Brazil’s drought shows no signs of relenting, and residents of the Brazilian city of São Paolo have been left out to dry. Many have resorted to collecting rainwater, using plastic cookware, and going without baths or toilets in order to save what remaining water resources they have. In crisis since late 2014, regional water reserves currently stand at 10% of their capacity. A testament to the perfect storm that lacking governance and poor weather conditions can create, the country’s economists call Brazil’s crisis “a deficiency of medium and long-term planning” on the part of local governments, only exacerbated by the fact that precipitation in Brazil in 2014 was the lowest on record.

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Dried pipes during Brazil's water crisis

Pipes for the water utility in a dried up reservoir. Source: New York Times

High water mark shows Brazil drought

High water mark on a bridge over an important Brazilian reservoir. Source: New York Times

Swimmers at pool during drought in Brazil

Swimmers try to find relief from the droughts in Sao Paolo. Source: New York Times

Cantareira reservoir during Brazil water crisis

The Cantareira Reservoir, post-drought. Source: BBC News

Water levels fall in Brazil

Source: BBC News

Man fishing during Sao Paolo drought

Man attempts to fish in the drying Cantareira reservoir. Source: BBC News

Man awaits water refills during Brazil crisis

Man awaits water refills at a community aid station outside Sao Paolo. Source: LA Times

Water usage leading to Brazil water crisis

Water usage and stresses on the Brazilian water infrastructure. Source: World Resources Institute

Man protects water supply during crisis

Man stretches a mosquito net over his water supply to protect from dengue fever. Source: The Guardian UK

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The drought’s residual effects include a drop on agricultural outputs, which inevitably lead to job losses and invariably protests. Impacted residents have taken to the streets, beating empty buckets and stating that the crisis is the fault of not only climate change, but of local governments as well. With recent protests about bus fare hikes tearing up São Paolo, the water crisis is just another item on the long-neglected laundry list of problems that Brazil’s government will have to address in the coming months.

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