The Great Smog


December 5th 1952: Great Smog of London begins

On this day in 1952, the Great Smog descended on London, beginning a national crisis which lasted for four days. Following the Industrial Revolution, which began in the late eighteenth century, London saw a sharp rise in polluted, smoky fog (known as smog) due to toxic coal fumes emitted by factories. Smog, unlike fog, is often thick, discoloured, and foul-smelling, and several smogs affected London throughout the nineteenth century. December 1952 was bitterly cold, and as Londoners burned large amounts of coal to keep warm, the smoke joined with toxic fumes from factories. The smoke was trapped by an anticyclone in the region, and, unable to disperse, combined with fog to create a smog. The thick smog caused chaos in London, with traffic halted by poor visibility of a few metres, opportunists committing crime, and the poisonous air filling hospitals with people suffering from breathing problems. Around 4,000 people, plus numerous animals and livestock, are known to have died as a result of the fog, though recent estimates taking into account long-term damage are much higher at 12,000. The smog was London’s worst civilian disaster, producing more casualties than any single incident during the Second World War and the Blitz. To prevent future disasters, Parliament passed the Clean Air Act of 1956 which tried to limit smoke emissions. Innovations in technology and environmental legislation ensured that no such smog has ever occurred again, but invisible pollution remains a grave concern for modern cities.


Monarch Timeline: Complete Transcript

1915 – Splitting the Atom. Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity ultimately leads to the splitting of the atom and the dawn of the atomic age. This epoch-defining stage in human evolution will act as a beacon that awakens ancient superspecies sustained by nuclear energy.

1943 – The U.S.S. Lawton Incident. [unreadable] only survivor. Haunted by the memory of that day, Randa will go on to become one of Monarch’s foremost operatives, searching for the truth behind the ancient creatures that exist beneath the surface of our world.

1944 – [unreadable; likely concerning the disappearances of Hank Marlow and Gunpei Ikari]

1946 – Monarch Founded. In the aftermath and cover-up of the U.S.S. Lawton incident, President Truman unofficially establishes “Monarch Unit”, a small, off-book research team established to engage in the systemic study of “Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms”. Privately, many of Truman’s allies question the validity of the group’s theories and work to keep their existence a secret.

1952 – The Great Smog of London. Baffling meteorologists and defying atmospheric physics, this unexplained weather phenomenon saw London’s streets overwhelmed by huge clouds of air-polluting smoke. Monarch theorizes that the beating wings of a giant creature could have created an anticyclone that unleashed airborne pollutants across the city.

1954 – Monarch Goes Golbal [sic]. As the age of the atom bomb dawns, Monarch expands into a multinational coalition of scientists and discoverers leading covert missions to understand and contain the threat of M.U.T.O.s. Authorized unofficially by President Eisenhower and overseen by General MacArthur, Monarch [unreadable] a containment flotilla under the guise of “nuclear [unreadable] weapons across the Bikin Atoll in the [unreadable] were not tests. They were trying to kill [unreadable]

1959 – Siberian Mystery. At the height of the Cold War, aerial photography taken from a Russian spy plane reveals a huge containment facility established around an icecap in Siberia. The Monarch symbol can be seen emblazoned across the canopy of the structure.

1973 – Mission: Skull. Monarch surreptitiously partners with Landsat and the 1st Aviation Brigade, 3rd Assault Helicopter Company to mount an expedition to the mythical “Skull Island” in an uncharted corner of the South Pacific. Encountering the god-like superspecies known as Kong, they soon discover that mankind does not belong here.

1991 – Isla de Mona. A covert Monarch team establishes a quarantine zone around the island’s dormant volcano, under the guise of ‘environmental research’. Over the coming years, what began as a small scientific outpost will expand to become a full containment facility around the mouth of the volcano.

1995 – Return to Skull Island. Monarch security officer Aaron Brooks defies his father Houston Brooks and leads an off-the-books mission to Skull Island, to determine what has become of Kong since the 1973 expedition.

1999 – Janjira Meltdown. Following an explosive disaster [unreadable] Power-Plant, Monarch establishes [unreadable] zone outside of Tokyo. What the [unreadable] the Janjira Q-Zone is in reality a containment facility established around a dormant M.U.T.O.

2005 – A Mysterious Mercenary. Former British Army Colonel and MI-6 agent Jonah Alan is locked up in Pakistani prison after an encounter with Monarch agents. Alan and his band of mercenary accomplices were caught trying to breach the walls of a subterranean M.U.T.O. dig-site.”

2009 – Temple of the Moth. Mythographic studies of Chinese temples leads Monach to the high-altitude jungles of the Yunnan province. Dr. Emma Russell and her team follow a mysterious bio-acoustic signature to a previously undiscovered megalithic temple, within which lies a gigantic cocoon. A quickening heartbeat is detected inside.

2012 – Message in a Bottle. Days before retirement, Monarch veteran Houston Brooks receives a coded message from his son. The mission to Skull Island has revealed dramatic new information about Kong’s origins, and his role on the island.

2013 – [unreadable]

2014 – The Battle of San Francisco. The existence of giant superspecies is revealed to the world as Godzilla clashes with two M.U.T.O.s in the center of San Francisco. Unleashing devastation upon the urban center, the world watches as Godzilla defends our world and restores balance to the natural order. The time has come for Monarch to step out of the shadows.

2016 – Monster Zero. When Monarch discovers an extraordinary superspecies sealed beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, Dr. Vivienne Graham leads the effort to build a covert containment and research facility around the dormant creature. Her classified field notes contain a mysterious footnote: “The devil has three heads.”

With Kong: Skull Island now out on Blu-ray, those unreadable sections may continue to elude us, although the information in them has already been covered by the films.

What is smog?

On July 26, 1943, Los Angeles was blanketed by a thick gas that stung people’s eyes and blocked out the Sun. Panicked residents believed their city had been attacked using chemical warfare. But the cloud wasn’t an act of war. It was smog. A portmanteau of smoke and fog, the word smog was coined at the beginning of the 20th century to describe the thick gray haze that covered cities such as London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.

This industrial smog was known to form when smoke from coal-burning home stoves and factories combined with moisture in the air. But the smog behind the LA panic was different. It was yellowish with a chemical odor. Since the city didn’t burn much coal, its cause would remain a mystery until a chemist named Arie Haagen-Smit identified two culprits, volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and nitrous oxides. VOCs are compounds that easily become vapors and may contain elements, such as carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, chlorine, and sulfur. Some are naturally produced by plants and animals, but others come from manmade sources, like solvents, paints, glues, and petroleum. Meanwhile, the incomplete combustion of gas in motor vehicles  releases nitrous oxide. That’s what gives this type of smog its yellowish color.

VOCs and nitrous oxide react with sunlight to produce secondary pollutants called PANs and tropospheric, or ground level, ozone. PANs and ozone cause eye irritation and damage lung tissue. Both are key ingredients in photochemical smog, which is what had been plaguing LA. 

Smog isn’t just an aesthetic eyesore. The two forms of smog irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, exacerbate conditions like asthma and emphysema, and increase the risk of respiratory infections like bronchitis. Smog can be especially harmful to young children and older people and exposure in pregnant women has been linked to low birth weight and potential birth defects. Secondary pollutants found in photochemical smog can damage and weaken crops and decrease yield, making them more susceptible to insects.

After the Great Smog of London shut down all transportation in the city for days and caused more than 4,000 respiratory deaths, the Clean Air Act of 1956 banned burning coal in certain areas of the city, leading to a massive reduction in smog. Similarly, regulations on vehicle emissions and gas content in the US reduced the volatile compounds in the air and smog levels along with them. 

Smog remains a major problem around the world. Countries like China and Poland that depend on coal for energy experience high levels of industrial smog. Photochemical smog and airborne particles from vehicle emissions affect many rapidly developing cities, from Mexico City and Santiago to New Delhi and Tehran. Governments have tried many methods to tackle it, such as banning cars from driving for days at a time. As more than half of the world’s population crowds into cities, considering a shift to mass transit and away from fossil fuels may allow us to breathe easier.

From the TED-Ed Lesson The science of smog - Kim Preshoff

Animation by Juan M. Urbina Studios


MonsterVerse timeline! 

1915 - Albert Einstein’s relativity theory ultimately leads to the creation of the atomic bomb, thus a new dawn of The Atomic Age has begun. This act of human evolution sparks the beginning of a new Age of Monsters. 

1943 -  The USS Lawton was attacked by an unidentified creature. William “Bill” Randa was the only survivor to tell the tale. 

1945 - The bombing of Hiroshima awakens the ancient superspecies Godzilla beneath the Earth, along with another ancient monster known as Shinomura. 

• 1946 - 33rd President Harry Truman founded Monarch. 

• 1946-1954 - A series of multiple sightings have occurred across the Pacific Ocean. Godzilla’s existence was not yet proven until 1954.

• 1952 - The Great Smog of London. Baffling meteorologists and defying atmospheric physicists, this unexplained phenomenon saw London’s streets overwhelmed by huge clouds of air-polluting smoke. Monarch theorizes that the beating wings of a giant creature could have created an anticyclone that unleashed airborne pollutants across the city.

• 1954 - Shortly after Godzilla’s discovery, the US military took action and attempted to terminate the monster. The event was later covered up as a “nuclear testing.”

It is unknown at this time if Godzilla had been eliminated or is still alive. 

• 1959 - A secret Monarch base had been found in Siberia. 

• 1973 - An expedition to Skull Island led by Bill Randa encountered Kong and the Skullcrawlers as well as the native Iwi people and other MUTOs that inhabit the island. Houston Brooks and the rest of the survivors learned that mankind does not belong there. 

• 1991 - Monarch installed an outpost on Isla de Mona in Puerto Rico, laying the groundwork for later construction of a “full containment facility” around the inactive volcano there. 

• 1995 - A second, off-the-books expedition to Skull Island led by Aaron Brooks became stranded on the island after their aircraft was attacked by Psychovultures. They were then taken in by the indigenous Iwi tribe, who taught them about the origins of Kong.

It is discovered that Kong has grown larger in size since the 1973 expedition.

• 1999 - The Janjira nuclear power plant underwent a meltdown after the male MUTO breached its reactor. The city was evacuated soon after, and a Monarch facility set up around the MUTO’s chrysalis, which it had constructed around the reactor.

• 2005 - A band of mercenaries attempted to breach the walls of a MUTO digging site. One of the mercs have been arrested and sent to a Pakistani prison under the charges of trespassing a restricted government area.

• 2009 - Mythographic studies of Chinese temples leads Monarch to the high-altitude jungles of the Yunnan Province. Dr. Emma Russell and her team discovered a temple housing a giant cocoon with a “quickening heartbeat.”

• 2012 - Houston Brooks received a coded message from his son containing information about Kong.

• 2014 - The “Battle of San Francisco”, fought between Godzilla and two MUTOs, revealed the existence of giant superspecies to the world. As a result, Monarch went public.

• 2016 - An extraordinary superspecies is discovered beneath the Antarctic ice. Monarch, led by Vivienne Graham, built a containment and research facility in Antarctica around the dormant creature. Her classified field notes contain a mysterious footnote: “The Devil has three heads.”



Weeb in metorology class

I am taking metrology class this semester. Its great and I love it. But one issue Weather weeb. Weather weeb is this weeb who is just a pain in the ass. She talks about hetalia (cause as I found out hetalia weebs are still a thing) and some other anime. Also she’s a big britaboo. Once in class she tried to show me anime. The professor told her to put her phone away. But she never listens. Since I sit next to her I can see she looks up USUK fanfics on her phone. She found out I was going to UK with my sister over break. Weather weeb said and I am not kidding here, “I wanna go.” Ok first I barely know you and secondly this is a trip I am taking with my sister. I told her no. Then she asked for me to get her something. When I returned she kept bugging me for her present. Told her I forgot. No interest in what I did aside for the doctor who museum in Cardiff. She wanted something there. But back to the weeaboo stuff she did. 

So we were given a project where we were to present about something that had to do with weather. I chose the great smog of London. She found out and insisted we work together. Now we did not need a partner and even if we did I would not work with her. She some how convinced our professor to allow her to do the same thing. So skip to the project presentation. People liked mine. Weather web’s project was Hetalia England pictures and minimal info. People were asking her questions and she was like, “I don’t know!” Yeah. When we got grades back she complained how unfair it is that her grade was bad and mine was good. Yeah cause clearly the project that was bad should get a higher grade.

Another note a friend of mine said no one in anime club likes her cause she won’t shut up about hetalia.