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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.

How Will The Universe End?
Alina Simone, Slate | How Will The Universe End? | October 29, 2014

Not with a bang but a bubble.

Cosmologist Alex Vilenkin gave a lecture at the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan earlier this year called “The Universe and Beyond.” I attended the talk, along with a few of my friends, and we all had the same reaction afterwards: “That was awesome! I didn’t understand a thing.” I understood even less of the lecture than the rest of my friends, which pretty much makes me the poster child for regression toward the mean, because Alex Vilenkin is my father...

Navajo Nation Presidential Campaign In Turmoil Over Language Requirement
Reid Wilson, The Washington Post | Navajo Nation Campaign Turmoil | October 29, 2014

A requirement that the president of the Navajo Nation be fluent in the tribe’s language has forced one candidate off the ballot, just a week before Election Day.

Navajo President Ben Shelly on Tuesday vetoed a measure that would have eased the language requirement. As a result, Chris Deschene, an Arizona state representative, said he would drop his campaign for the post...

The Secret Life Of An ISIS Warlord
Will Cathcart, Vazha Taveridze, and Nino Burchuladze, The Daily Beast | The Secret Life Of An ISIS Warlord | October 27, 2014

Abu Omar al=Shishani has a fierce, gorgeous Chechen bride. He learned intelligence operations from the U.S. And his older brother may be the real genius of ISIS...

NATO Coalition Hands Over Two Major Bases To Afghan Military
Tim Craig, The Washington Post | Afghan Combat Ops End | October 26, 2014

The NATO coalition ended its formal mission in restive and dangerous Helmand province Sunday, handing over two major bases and an airstrip to the Afghan military as U.S. Marines and British forces prepare to withdraw.

The transfer of Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion, the hub for coalition forces in southwestern Afghanistan, is the most dramatic signal to date that the 13-year-old war is drawing to a close...

Joan Quigley, Astrologer To A First Lady, Is Dead At 87
Douglas Martin, The New York Times | Joan Quigley, R.I.P. | October 26, 2014

In his 1988 memoir, Donald T. Regan, a former chief of staff for President Ronald Reagan, revealed what he called the administration’s “most closely guarded secret.”...

Five New York Epidemics That Were Way Worse Than Ebola Will Be
Tim McDonnell, Mother Jones | Five New York Epidemics | October 24, 2014

The city hasn't always dodged the pathogen bullet. Here are a few epidemics in New York that were far worse than Ebola is likely to be...

A Print Magazine For Hackers
Nicolas Niarchos, The New Yorker | Hacker Mag | October 24, 2014

On a Saturday afternoon earlier this summer, dozens of hackers, journalists, and activists sat on the floor in a darkened hallway of the Pennsylvania Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, watching a projection of an empty lectern. Many of the gathered were shoeless, and some were dancing to a rolling beat that issued from a pair of speakers...

An Apple A Day, For 47 Years
Michael Tortorello, The New Yorker | 17,000 Apple Varieties | October 24, 2014

In the early spring of 1983, Dan Bussey started a file on his computer. The event would prove to be momentous in the annals of American pomology, though no one realized it at the time, including him...

Ben Bradlee, Washington Editor And Watergate Warrior, Dies At 93
Mailyn Berger, The New York Times | Ben Bradlee, R.I.P. | October 22, 2014

Ben Bradlee, who presided over The Washington Post’s Watergate reporting that led to the fall of President Richard M. Nixon and that stamped him in American culture as the quintessential newspaper editor of his era — gruff, charming and tenacious — died on Tuesday at his home in Washington. He was 93...

'No Stairway, Denied!' Led Zeppelin Lawsuit Winds On Down The Road
Keith Phipps, The Daily Beast | 'Stairway' Lawsuit | October 22, 2014

Is Led Zepplin guilty of plagiarizing its most iconic song? 'Stairway to Heaven' would hardly be the first time the band faced legal action for borrowing too liberally...