China's not-so-happy New Year

In one of the biggest annual movements of humanity, about 200 million Chinese make roughly 2.2 billion trips over the Lunar New Year holiday. This year, Jack Frost made a guest appearance, causing massive travel delays, damaging key infrastructure, and disrupting coal shipments to power plants. 

How does China's winter disaster stack up against Hurricane Katrina? Here's a look: 

Fatalities 60
$7.5 billion
$96 billion
Evacuees 1.7 million
1.1 million
Homes damaged or destroyed Over 1 million 300,000
Official visits PM Wen Jiabao to Guangzhou Bush to New Orleans
Industries affected coal oil & gas
Power supply 17 of 31 provinces in brownouts 2.5 million without power
Troops Deployed 500,000 soldiers, 1.6 million paramilitary  50,000 National Guard Troops

Photos: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images; ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images


What We're Reading


Kate Palmer

Mike Boyer

  • The Pentagon: A History, by Steve Vogel. Vogel provides a fascinating history of how the Pentagon came to be and, along the way, hints at what it tells us about ourselves. 

Carolyn O'Hara

  • The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, a book that deserves all the praise it has received and more. 

Blake Hounshell

Prerna Mankad 

Preeti Aroon

Caitlin Wall

  • Social Conflict: Escalation, Stalemate and Settlement, by Dean G. Pruitt and Sung Hee Kim. An overview of how psychology governs conflict, from a typical argument about who gets to use the family car, to the most rancorous and intractable violent conflicts around the world.