Back on the Road

Once the signal came in, riveting radio

I've decided that when heading off on odd reporting or other projects, as I've done in the past two weeks and will again through this summer, I will try to do periodic brief check-ins, rather than just going dark. So here is the thought-drop for the day:

1) I did my two final Aspen Ideas Festival events today, and there is one I hope will be available very soon in video. It was an exchange with Hal Harvey, of Energy Innovation, in a session called "Fear and Hope: Climate Change and Policy Solutions." I don't fully understand the pace at which Aspen videos go up on its site, but please look for this one when it's ready (and I will flag it when I find it). It is as clear and useful an assessment of the problems, and the options, in the climate realm as I've come across in a long while.

2) I also went to a session on the PAL-V Flying Car, straight from the Netherlands. This was too delicious to miss.


More here.

3) Later this evening, I spent four hours on the road in a non-flying car, on the twisty and pass-and-tunnel-filled Aspen-to-Boulder drive. Much of the time, in these mountains, I couldn't find any radio signal at all. But after coming through the Idaho Springs tunnel toward Denver and Boulder, I could finally get Colorado Public Radio, which was running the TED Radio Hour, with my comrade Guy Raz. This segment was called "Turning Points," and had four segments on lives with distinct before-and-after demarcations. It was all interesting, and a brief segment on an airline mishap that actually happened (the USAir "Miracle on the Hudson" river landing four years ago) is an intriguing counterpart to the infamous NYT Magazine story on an airline "disaster" that didn't occur. But I promise that you will not regret listening to the final segment, about a writer named Joshua Prager who had an unusually distinct before-and-after moment. I was listening to this while going down a very twisty mountain highway, in the dark, which increased my attention to what I was hearing\. But in any circumstance you will find it compelling.

Tomorrow, flying cross country at low altitude, about which more anon.

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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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