On a Cheerier Note: Solar Impulse, Mischke Highlights

By James Fallows

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/03/on-a-cheerier-note-solar-impulse-mischke-highlights/255300/