After reading Does Poor Air Quality Hurt Stock-Market Returns? in the Wall Street Journal last week, I had a few thoughts.

Design Fiction

One speculative result of this is the weaponization of fear via climate meddling. Russian intelligence develops a method of PM2.5 dispersal. The Kremlin deploys particulate dusters along its western border, turning them on when the winds blow to Ukraine and on into Europe. Citizens of Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan wear masks outside due to fear of PM2.5 wafting in from China or North Korea. Rich countries establish air quality monitoring at land and sea borders, all in the name of national security.

I’m pretty sure this is Sticky’s fear bombs in Singapore, from Islands in the Net.

Machine Learning & Climate

Moving on to something I can actually do with this.

There’s some neat maps at AirNow.gov and this looks like a great example of an image classification and machine learning problem. I’m going to scrape a bunch of images from AirNow and construct a daily air quality index, and then explore correlating the index with a few things.

Some obvious candidates: Trump’s polling numbers, and the Brexit and FARK peace agreement votes.