On a Cheerier Note: Solar Impulse, Mischke Highlights

A fair amount of bleak news recently, and upcoming, so in the ever-necessary "looking on the brighter side" spirit:

1) Solar Impulse goes intercontinental. Over the years I've mentioned the heartening progress of Solar Impulse, a fully solar-powered light airplane that flies (even at night!) with no supplementary power at all.

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Now that the Solar Impulse has completed a number of runs within Europe, it is planning a much longer trip, from Europe to Morocco, later this year. More info at GizMag; thanks to EG for the tip.  

mischke.jpg2) Mischke and the Life Coach. A dozen years ago I wrote in the magazine about my nominee for the radio humorist most deserving wider renown, Tommy Mischke of St. Paul, Minnesota. He has had his ups and downs since then (for instance here, here, here). It is great that he is on live nighttime radio again, with WCCO in Minnesota, and putting out great material.

Archives of some past Mischke riffs are here and here. A listener alerted me to a wonderful episode just last night, in which he interviewed a "Life Coach" and, all in super earnest Minnesota deadpan, ended up asking how her techniques might have helped for Elie Wiesel's family, during the Bataan Death March, and so on. ("It sounds like your Radiant Body Stretch might really have helped us with the Japs!" Don't worry, in context it's preposterous rather than offensive, and it is similar in its "how long can he keep this going?" nature to the classic "Bocky" episode I mention in the original article.) The purely improvised wackiness of his approach is rare in modern media. Last night's episode, and a large selection of his WCCO broadcasts, are available free on the iTunes store. Thanks to MS for the tip.

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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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