Happy Clean Air Day. The Canadian government figured June 7 to be called “Clean air day” here in Canada. It started in 1999 under the Chretien government. This year the day occured at around the worst of the “smoke problems” faced in Ontario, Quebec, and American seaboard cities. Far from a day for celebration of clean air, in 2023 we were ordered to stay indoors for fear of damaging our lungs with the toxic smoke. A Swiss monitoring company called IQAir declared New York City as having the worst air quality on the planet on June 6 and 7, and all flights into LaGuardia Airport were cancelled. Also, professional baseball and basketball games in the city were cancelled. So were grade school recesses. New York City had an air quality index (AQI) of 342 (index values above 150 is already considered unhealthy, while above 300 is “hazardous”), with an orange sky reminiscent of a dust storm on Mars. On 6 June, Toronto had an AQI of 131 and people were told not to go outdoors to play, walk or exercise. Sports and outdoor recess was also cancelled. Before the wildfires, Toronto’s AQI’s hovered between 19 and 39, considered safe by IQAir.
The price of stinginess. (8 June) A Chinese woman who only went by her surname Liu, lost consciousness while returning from the summit after climbing Mount Everest, and had to be rescued by a sherpa on a pre-arranged deal that she pay $10,000 in the event she needed to be rescued. When she needed to be and he held his end of the bargain, she refused to pay the entire $10,000 and instead paid him $4000. This incident went viral on Chinese social media, with 300 million views and comments on Weibo alone, many denouncing and attacking Liu for her ungratefulness. In the end, the sherpas themselves were much more equivocal, saying that “saving her is our choice, and expressing gratitude is hers”, and called for more tolerance.
No sense of humor. The United States Supreme Court voted unianimously that the poop-themed dog chew-toy “Bad Spaniels” meant to parody a bottle of Jack Daniels, constituted a trademark violation. As part of their legal argument, the bottlers of the famous whiskey argued that the chew toy could “confuse” customers, and cause them to associate their brand with dog poop. Nike, The Campbell Soup Company, Patagonia and Levi Strauss had all issued statements urging the justices to side with Jack Daniels. (9 June)