Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Perhaps there was something to Howard Hughes' germ phobia

Who would have ever thought of elevating surgical masks to something of a fashion statement? Little smiling faces, with cute little English sayings adorn the typical masks for children so they will keep them protected from anything that could possibly get them sick. Yet as March approaches, there is a very good reason to wear these adorable little creations, the infamous Chinese dust storms . They don't take them lightly here in Korea for these storms have been known to spread their unspecified toxic dust as far away as...Denver, Colorado.
What causes this phenomenon every March? The rapid deforestation of China...and their ever expanding desert kicks up a plume of yellow dust that spreads hundreds of miles to urban areas within China, picking up toxic elements from cities such as Beijing and Hong Kong...and it is carried eastward. China has classified these storms as a 'state secret'. Thus begins the season of yellow rain and dust...and depending on the severity of the season, can usher in closures of schools and warning for those with respiratory problems. If you think you are safe from this event...think again...NASA has taken to tracking these events due to the encroachment into US air space.

My mask is an ordinary blue one...I didn't get my 'Hello Kitty' order in time, but I will be brave enough to try to capture this moment...if I can breathe.

Hmm...Howard Hughes may not have been so insane after all.

Postscript: There is a way to track the air quality in South Korea after all. Special thanks goes to Mark Patterson in Seoul for sharing this link...I recommend all in South Korea to bookmark it. Already you should get your masks ready. Yellow Sand

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