China considers telling its 300 million smokers to put 'em out in public

Chinese office workers take a smoke break

More than 300 million Chinese are regular smokers, giving the country one of the highest smoking rates around the world. Part of the reason for that is the country's lax regulation of smoking advertisements — they even show up inside schools — and low taxes on tobacco products.

But China may be ready to take steps to tighten the screws on the country's smokers, by imposing a total indoor smoking ban. According to Time, 90 percent of Beijing residents back an indoor smoking ban. But the ban would go further than that even, outlawing smoking in certain outdoor locations, like bus stops and sports venues. It would also restrict tobacco sales to minors and introduce package warnings about the dangers of smoking.

The new rules were introduced to the public for the first time this week and have attracted thousands of comments. There's no clear timeline for implementation, however.

(Editor's note: The Global Scan can be delivered straight to your inbox every weekday. Just register and sign up today.)

Google unveils its next smart product: A spoon

Google has its self-driving car, and its Google Glass eyewear. But its latest smart product is decidedly more low-tech: a spoon. But this product may be far more useful than Glass, or perhaps even than the self-driving car. The idea behind Google's smart spoon is to help people whose hands shake when they eat.

According to The Guardian, the Liftware spoon senses how a person's hand is moving and makes hundreds of minute adjustments to keep it balanced. It reportedly can reduce shaking by as much at 76 percent. The spoons sell for $295 each.

An heir of Standard Oil puts that money to work saving the environment

The Rockefeller family fortune was largely made on oil, when the Standard Oil company became the largest refiner and seller of petroleum products in the US in its day. It became so large and so pervasive it was broken up by government officials. The fortune, however, was already made — and much of it persists to this day.

David Rockefeller Jr., an heir to the family fortune, has used the Rockefeller Foundation to aid environmental causes. Specifically, his goal is to save the world's oceans. PRI's Living on Earth talked to Rockefeller about why he thinks saving the oceans is so important to the future of humanity.

Japanese company proposes a sort of modern day Atlantis

London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo — they all have astronomically high property values. And that puts a squeeze on housing prices too. But a Japanese company thinks it has developed a solution. Instead of building out, build down — in the ocean. The Independent reports on the Shimizu Corporation plan to build a modern day Atlantis, a self-sufficient community that sits on or underneath the ocean surface.

Their project is called The Ocean Spiral and uses huge spirals to connect watertight residential spheres to the ocean floor. The spirals would create power via methane-producing micro-organism factories. They would be able to move above and below the ocean's surface as weather dictates. Shimizu says the first city could be built by 2030 at a cost of three trillion yen — about $25 billion.

In India, there aren't nearly enough toilets — and that's a major problem for women

India has a toilet shortage. In a typical Mumbai slum, there may be just six toilets for 8,000 women to share. In business districts and in public buildings, there are severe shortages of toilets as well. Even pay toilets are in short supply. And while it's an inconvenience for men, let's face it. When a man has to pee, he can pee almost anywhere.

That's not the case for women. PRI's The World looks at India's toilet shortage, and the costs that it imposes on the country. For example, bladder and urinary tract infections are common — a side effect for women who are forced not to empty their bladder for 12 or more hours at a time. The Indian government is finally starting to deal with the problem, but it has a long way to go. 

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

Montreal set a fall record Monday, with temperatures topping out at 18 degrees Celsius, 64 degrees Fahrenheit, according to AccuWeather. Temperatures are expected to drop all week, with periods of snow forecast. Hello winter.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.