In China, grass-roots journalism meets the modern news weekly. Mention “participatory media,” and what comes to mind are blog conventions, crowd-sourced op-ed columns, Twitter feeds from disaster zones, and citizen journalists typing out eyewitness accounts of local, breaking situations. A slick, full-color magazine sponsored by a state media group does not. Enter Blog Weekly, a new biweekly print magazine that uses China’s army of bloggers to report on current events. — Danwei

Air travel and its discontents. One of the saddest stories of the 20th century is the fate of air travel. In 1900 it was a dream, feverishly speculated upon, subject to all manner of Jules Verne imaginings; by 1999 it was a chore, a tedious, uncomfortable ritual undertaken in order to get from A to B. — New Statesman. (link via Interpreter which takes issue with the article, saying “The reason modern air travel is so ‘tedious’ an ‘uncomfortable’ for some is that it has become attainable and affordable for so many.”)

Without real leadership, we face disaster. A lethal new threat is emerging at the dark heart of the financial system. We must have a unified global response or an already perilous position will become a calamity. — Will Hutton, The Observer

The science of gossip: Why we can’t stop ourselves. Why does private information about other people represent such an irresistible temptation for us? In his book Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language, psychologist Robin Dunbar of the University of Liverpool in England suggested that gossip is a mechanism for bonding social groups together, analogous to the grooming that is found in primate groups. Sarah R. Wert, now at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Peter Salovey of Yale University have proposed that gossip is one of the best tools that we have for comparing ourselves socially with others. The ultimate question, however, is, how did gossip come to serve these functions in the first place?– Scientific American