To go with the report (below) about Chinese police using Segway scooters, I had to smile at the story of the algae threat to the Olympic sailing venue in Qingdao.
China's been dumping untreated sewage and unfiltered industrial chemicals into its rivers and off its coastline for decades. With the economic boom in recent years, the quantities involved have become astronomically large - and all that pollution produces very, very fertile conditions for the growth of algae. In fact, algae is Nature's answer to such pollution, as it eats the stuff.
Unfortunately, algae doesn't take international sporting contests into account: so it's taken over about a third of the Olympic sailing venue. The Chinese are working flat-out to remove it, with over 10,000 workers and volunteers involved - but as fast as they remove the stuff, more floats in.
Nicknamed 'The Blob', this vast algal bloom is hampering the British Olympic team's training - their boat repeatedly becoming stuck in the quagmire. With the texture of wet hair and starting to smell like a strongly fishy soup, it is no wonder that the Chinese authorities are desperately trying to get rid of it.
... They have already managed to clear more than 170,000 tonnes, and Chinese officials are predicting that the clean-up will take another two weeks.
But, worryingly, there are whispers that the algae is beginning to creep back into those areas that have already been weeded.
All this has, once again, pushed China's environmental problems into the spotlight.
While officials are blaming a new exotic type of algae blown in on warmer seas, scientists are looking to pollution as the most likely cause.
High levels of nutrients in the water can cause algae to bloom at alarming rates. Tom Wang, an expert on water pollution in Beijing, has concluded that: 'These algae blooms are due to farmers using too much fertiliser and cities failing to treat their sewage.'
None of which seems to have deterred some locals from swimming in the stuff - dragging strands of it out of the sea as they emerge. Despite its horror movie looks, the algae bloom is not, in itself, harmful. Quite the opposite - by absorbing carbon dioxide, it actually helps to clean the water beneath. And if you really took a fancy to it, the algae would be perfectly safe to eat.
Athletes call it the blob, the carpet, the fairway, the serious problem.
"We almost think of it as land," said Carrie Howe, a member of the U.S. team and her three-person squad's unofficial algae remover. During practice, she dips her hand into the goo three or four times an hour to remove it from the rudder.
When it collects shaggily on the boat's tow rope, she and her teammates refer to it as "the dog." They've named it Hickory.
I'm thinking of taking bets on who's going to win - the Chinese, or the algae!