As an avowed Olympic hater, the talk of the polluted smog over Beijing is amusing me. Not because I think pollution is in any way funny, but clearly because the sulphurous cloud strikes me as a whole new way of talking about the “Yellow Peril”. And I am not sure what the fuss is. As far as I remember my A-Level chemistry, all the competitors will be breathing broadly the same air, so it won’t really disadvantage any of them above the rest (unless they are used to sucking in polluted gases as they train). Even better, the pollution obscures the view of the events themselves and even potentially adds a very realistic hazard to the poshboy yachting events.

No the most interesting thing about the pollution is the rabid way that the news outlets are reporting it. Here’s is the BBC’s not very scientific pollution-o-meter – a daily photo and a measurement with the astounding error margin of 20%. Elsewhere the Times is resolutely dull on the subject, and the Guardian ramped their hysteria up to fever pitch before swallowing the IOC line that its only a bit of mist.

Elsewhere however we get some nice aerial photos of sulphur dioxide levels over China, compared to other parts of the world. Note that the Beijing area is only really threatened by Mount Etna as a sulphur producer, but its over a much larger area. Cloud seeding can only go so far to shift this, since the coal burners pumping out the niffy gas are probably required to power the TV coverage of all those tedious Olympic sports. However I have a suggestion for the Chinese. Why not take a leaf out of Japan’s book and get in Godzilla.