"The Cloud" as Hindenburg?

The pithiest single sentence I have heard so far at the Aspen/Atlantic Ideas Festival, underway now (and chronicled in detail by my Atlantic colleagues Conor Friedersdorf and Alexis Madrigal here and here, plus passim by other staff members):

" 'The cloud' is a dirigible filled with hydrogen, with pictures of clouds painted on the side."

Hindenburg.gifNo, this was not former DNI/NSA director Mike McConnell, in a Q-and-A session I was just having with him about cyber-security that was sobering enough, but designer Mickey McManus, of the MAYA firm, arguing that we are collectively cruising for a bruising in entrusting so much of humanity's  knowledge and affairs to so few online storage sources. ("This is what we used to call 'client - server' in a fancier version and many fewer providers.")

He had a solution to propose too. Context, details, and all of that another time.

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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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