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Scenes from just the past few days. The fascinating aspect in each case was that the plot of land under maintenance was so small or narrow that the drivers' main challenge was doing three-point turns to maneuver a giant mower around. No larger theme here, but it is the kind of thing you start noticing on the road. We'll develop a separate section of the American Futures site for similar leitmotifs.

James Fallows

The total greensward in the shot below was at most about 18' x 18', in front of a outdoor-seating restaurant at noon. The driver appeared to be a teenager on a summer job, and he seemed to be having a good time zooming the thing around, revving the motor, and doing semi-wheelies in front of the diners. No doubt I would have loved doing this as a teenager in similar circumstances.

James Fallows

As previously noted, below at a motel. This is in a different place from the shot above, but it looks like the same kind of a machine. I never give investment tips, but this might be a trend worth watching.

Next up today: a report from Holland, Michigan on what happens to your cans, your bottles, your scrap paper, your cardboard, and whatever else you put in the recycling bin once you saw goodbye to it. Plus what happens to your cars after they die.
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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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