Scheduling Notes, Plus 'Net Needs News'

I have material stored up on a whole range of topics, which I hope to get to ... when I can. In recent days I have, quaintly, been distracted by "writing"; and more traveling-and-writing lie ahead. I'll be off line for the next few days but then in theory I will get to:

 - More on "demographic realities" and the aftermath of last week's Obama-Netanyahu exchanges;
 - More and more, from engineers and airline pilots, on Air France 447; 
 - More on tax-and-deficit, and ability to argue about big public issues;
 - More on communication among non-native speakers;
 - Three notable take-down jobs, and what they signify. (Pre-reading hints: I'm talking about pieces by Eric Alterman, Michael Lind, and Gary Greenberg, with bonus background reading from Benjamin Walllace-Wells);
 - More on password construction and online security;
 - More on Obama's London and Middle East speeches and the linguistic intrigues thereof;
 - More on China's current woes, and strengths;
 - More on the semiotics of Chinese street signs;
 - More on positive-themed aviation news, good and bad;
 - Even more on TSA, including my third encounter with the Full Body Scanning machines (read: my third "enchanced pat down");
 - More on Achilles tendon miracles and the rediscovery of running;
 - Beer;
 - And other stuff. This is my intended to-do list, at a rate of maybe one or so per day starting in a few days.

FOR THE MOMENT,  two mentions timed to observances today (it's still Sunday in Calif, where I am for the moment) and tomorrow.

Today is "Net Needs News" Day, meant as a reminder that the net-based news ecology is great, as long as a "regular" reporting-based news-gathering structure survives to supply info. I've examined this problem last year and this year in the magazine. The campaign this weekend, explained on this Facebook page, is to get editorial cartoonists to illustrate the point. As, for instance, Steve Breen of the San Diego Union-Tribune has done:
Thumbnail image for net needs news.jpg

Tomorrow is of course Memorial Day. For holiday-themed reading I recommend Adm. Mike Mullen's graduation address at West Point last week, which reflected on the realities and responsibilities of a military that was more or less permanently at war, serving a country that was not "at war" in any real sense.  I can't find the text right now, and I've got to sign off and get on a plane. I leave that to your creativity and initiative. It's a way to honor those who deserve recognition for their service on this day. Update: Mullen's speech, which again is very much worth reading, is at the Joint Chiefs of Staff site. You'll find the part I'm talking about if you skip ahead to the paragraph that starts, "But today I'm going to give you another assignment. ..."
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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