- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
The lede of the day was written by Andrew Jacobs of the New York Times, who grabbed my attention with this first sentence:
A noxious cocktail of soot, smog and toxic chemicals is blotting out the sun, fouling the lungs of millions of people and altering weather patterns in large parts of Asia, according to a report released Thursday by the United Nations.
Interstingly, the report (pdf), put together by the United Nations Environment Program, says that the “atmospheric brown clouds” (ABCs) could be mitigating the impact of climate change on a global basis by as much as 80 percent, though they are in some places amplifying the impacts of greenhouse gases and on the whole are a Very Bad Thing.
Below is a graphic showing different “plumes” where the brown clouds peaked at different times of the year from 2001 to 2003:
The report names 13 “mega-city ABC hotspots”: Bangkok, Beijing, Cairo, Dhaka, Karachi (sorry, guys), Kolkata, Lagos, Mumbai, New Delhi, Seoul, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Tehran.
Having lived in Cairo for about a year and a half, I can testify that the air there is simply awful. I used to start coughing as my plane was landing at the airport outside of town, if only out of habit.
(Hat tip: Matt Yglesias)