It's no secret that China is choking on smog, but the problem has gotten so bad recently that hotels have started issuing guests with gas masks to use during their stay. For real.
Sometimes parents have to explain things to their kids in more child-friendly terms. During World War II, that meant outfitting a child with a weird Mickey Mouse gas mask.
The gas mask has a history that dates back thousands of years, though it wasn't until World War I that it became nightmare fodder for Doctor Who and countless other stories. Here is a sometimes terrifying history of the gas mask, from its beginnings through the present day.
Welcome to the apocalypse: It's 1916, and with the threat of chemical warfare lurking around the corner, these British troops stationed in France aren't taking any chances.
Pictured here: members of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps advance through a cloud of smoke during a gas mask drill, ca. 1942. The masks, combined with the nurse's uniforms, look like something out of a 1940s comic book. These are the ladies we want saving us from peril. More at Retronaut and Adventures in Geneology.
Air raid wardens demo a trio of spooky elephantine gas masks, designed for the elderly, during a simulated gas attack in 1941 London.
In case you've ever wanted to transform your mug into an Aperture Science Portable Quantum Tunneling Device, crafter Two Horns United has built one that fits right on your chin. I imagine it's incredibly useful if you're the kind of clumsy individual who frequently finds yourself plummeting off cliffs face-first. Wear…
Horse gas masks first came about around World War I to protect them from chemical agents. Amazing that we still used horses during warfare then! I do love how fitting them up with these crazy masks makes the little horsey look a lot more intimidating and apocalyptic. Gas masks have that effect. [Industrial Anatomy via
I'm sure you'll agree with me that a marathon is tough work as is, but while wearing a gas mask? Which reduces oxygen intake by 30 per cent? It's obvious Marine Sgt Jeremy Soles is tough as nails.
Oh, you have medical problems and need a puff of the green stuff, but are worried your bong is failing you? Strap on the bong gas mask for size. Just don't think of My Bloody Valentine while doing so.
Will corporations still market to consumers at the end of the world? Designer Carl Bender certainly thinks so, and his series Anarkon imagines the sorts of products companies will try to sell consumers after the apocalypse, complete with pretty packaging.
A poisonous green cloud approaches. To your left, your scared wife and young son, trembling in one another's arms. To your right, three Diddo Velema gas masks complete with Gucci and Luis Vuitton detailing. You realize that the masks are probably just a pointed artistic commentary of the violent, consumer world you…