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Daily Briefing

Deep buzz for the content-deprived

Every weekday, while you get showered and dressed, we pluck these dewy- fresh, breaking stories from the info-clogged byways of the datasphere. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and stoke up on everything you need to know, or at least enough to fake it.

A Writerly Chill At Jeff Bezos' Fire
David Streitfeld, The New York Times | A Writerly Chill at Jeff Bezos' Fire | September 22, 2014

When Jeff Bezos tells writers to keep quiet, they obey.

Every fall, Mr. Bezos, the founder of Amazon, hosts Campfire, a literary weekend in Santa Fe, N.M. Dozens of well-known novelists have attended, but they do not talk about the abundance of high-end clothing and other gifts, the lavish meals, the discussion under the desert stars by Neil Armstrong or the private planes that ferried some home...

Meet the College Women Who Are Starting a Revolution Against Campus Sexual Assault
Vanessa Grigoriadis, New York Magazine | Revolution Against Campus Sexual Assault | September 22, 2014

A few years ago, an Ivy League student going public about her rape, telling the world her real name—let alone trying to attract attention by lugging around a mattress—would have been a rare bird. In America, after all, we still assume rape survivors want, and need, their identities protected by the press. But shattering silence, in 2014, means not just coming out with an atrocity tale about your assault but offering what Danielle Dirks, a sociologist at Occidental, calls “an atrocity tale about how poorly you were treated by the people you pay $62,500 a year to protect you.”...

Linda Tirado: "It Was Insane. I Got 20,000 Emails In A Week"
Rachel Cooke, The Guardian | 20,000 Emails / Wk | September 22, 2014

The author of Hand to Mouth on the shock of going viral online, being vilified by critics, and now being able to afford to have her teeth fixed...

We Are A Camera: Experience And Memory In The Age Of GoPro
Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker | The Age Of GoPro | September 17, 2014

The GoPro short video is a post-literate diary, a stop on the way to a future in which everything will be filmed from every point of view. The pervasiveness of cameras, seemingly playful and benign, may be anything but...

'The Power Broker' Turns 40: How Robert Caro Wrote A Masterpiece
Scott Porch, The Daily Beast | 'The Power Broker' Turns 40 | September 16, 2014

Forty years ago today, Caro's mageisterial 1,296-page life of New York master builder Robert Moses rewrote the rules of biography...

RIP, Tony Auth : Colleagues Salute Pulitzer-Winning Philadelphia Journalist As A Singular, Big-Hearted Artist
Michael Cavna, The Washington Post | Tony Auth, R.I.P. | September 16, 2014

"It's been a great ride." Those were Tony Auth's words just two years ago, when the Pulitzer-winning cartoonist talked about his decision to end his remarkable four-decade run and reign at the Philadelphia Inquirer...

Reanimation Library Breathes New Life Into Old Books
Maddie Crum, The Huffington Post | Reanimation Library | September 15, 2014

There exists a book, published in 1955, called A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates, which is exactly what it sounds like. Aside from the front matter -- copyright materials, the publisher's name -- it contains nothing but lines of numbers, arranged into columns.

Its creator, the RAND corporation, explains the text's initial function: physicists, cryptographers and the like often need to use random strings of numbers for "experimental probability procedures."...

Elusive Peace: 'Thirteen Days in September', by Lawrence Wright
Joe Klein, The New York Times Book Review | Thirteen Days | September 13, 2014

On March 11, 1978, 11 Palestinian militants came ashore in Zodiac boats north of Tel Aviv and set about murdering as many Israelis as they could with guns and grenades. They hijacked a taxi and two buses; 38 were killed, including 13 children. The massacre was intended as a provocation; a disproportionate Israeli response was assumed. And three days later, Israel invaded southern Lebanon...

A Lost-And-Found Nomad Helps Solve The Mystery Of A Swimming Dinosaur
Kenneth Chang, The New York Times | Spinosaurus | September 11, 2014

The first bones came in a cardboard box. Nizar Ibrahim, a paleontologist, was in the Moroccan oasis town of Erfoud at the edge of the Sahara, returning from a dinosaur dig in the sands. Inside the box, brought to him by a nomad, were sediment-encrusted pieces more intriguing than anything he had found himself, including a blade-shaped bone with a reddish streak running through the cross section...

An Ex-Radical's Open Letter To ISIS Fighters: Quit Now While You Can!
Maajid Nawaz, The Daily Beast | Letter To ISIS Fighters | September 10, 2014

I address these words directly to you Muslims from Western nations who went to Syria to fight that brutal dictator Assad, and now may be feeling like you joined the wrong war. I reach out to you...