Scheduling Notes, Plus 'Net Needs News'

By James Fallows

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. ..."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/05/scheduling-notes-plus-net-needs-news/239575/