long-shot for WOTY: beyond index

James A. Landau <JJJRLandau@netscape.com> JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Wed Jan 23 12:54:05 UTC 2013

What is interesting about the phrase "beyond index" is that it apparently was brought to public attention by a machine, not a person, namely the air quality monitor at the US Embassy in Beijing, which has its own Twitter feed, @Beijingair.  The most recent Tweet as I write this is:


 01-23-2013 20:00; PM2.5; 336.0; 386; Hazardous (at 24-hour exposure at this level)
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from http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/070109air.html.  That is, PM2.5 reading of 336 and ozone at 386.

Particulates less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM 2.5) are referred to as “fine” particulates and are believed to pose the largest health risks.  PM 2.5 is a standard recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and allows us to compare against U.S. standard measures.  PM 2.5 particulates are of concern since they are small enough to directly enter the lungs and even the blood stream.  For more information, please visit the EPA site.

The U.S. EPA has developed a formula to convert PM 2.5 readings into an air quality index (AQI) value than can help inform health-related decisions. For example, an AQI value of 50 represents good air quality with little potential to affect public health, while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality. Please note that AQI is different from the Air Pollution Index (API) used in China.
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An air quality reading of 300 is considered "hazardous".  Anything above 500 is "beyond index".  According to


The index gives an "unhealthy" reading most of the time, and anything above 300 is hazardous, while "beyond index" is above 500. The reading was "beyond index" for 16 hours in a row at the weekend, and reached an appalling 845. Welcome to life in the exhaust pipe of the world's economic growth engine. Flights were cancelled, traffic disrupted, and you could barely see the coal-fired power station in front of you.
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- Jim Landau

Netscape.  Just the Net You Need.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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