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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.

The Many Lives Of Artist David Hockney
William O'Connor | Hockney's Lives | November 23, 2014

The artist has achieved what often seems impossible -- to stay relevant throughout his entire career. His secret: not being afraid to change with the times...

In A Shift, Obama Extends U.S. Role In Afghan Combat
Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times | Obama Extends U.S. Role In Afghan Combat | November 22, 2014

President Obama decided in recent weeks to authorize a more expansive mission for the military in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, a move that ensures American troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year...

Barbie Computer Engineer Story Withdrawn After Sexism Row
Alison Flood, The Guardian | Barbie Computer Engineer Story | November 21, 2014

All future Barbie titles “will be written to inspire girls’ imaginations and portray an empowered Barbie character”, Barbie manufacturer Mattel has said, after apologising for the Barbie I Can Be A Computer Engineer book and pulling the problematic title from online sale...

Mike Nichols, Celebrated Director, Dies At 83
Bruce Weber, The New York Times | Mike Nichols, R.I.P. | November 21, 2014

Mike Nichols, one of America’s most celebrated directors, whose long, protean résumé of critic- and crowd-pleasing work earned him adulation both on Broadway and in Hollywood, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 83...

Is Uber The Worst Company In Silicon Valley?
Dominic Rushe, The Guardian | Worst Company In Silicon Valley? | November 19, 2014

Co-founder Travis Kalanick may have apologised for a fellow executive's 'terrible' comments, but anger swirls at tech firm over allegations of sexism and misogyny...

Life Remembered: Neuman A Messenger Of Hope
Julie Wurth, Champaign-Urbana News Gazette | Messenger Of Hope | November 19, 2014

A Holocaust survivor who bore witness to Nazi atrocities and dedicated his life to the future of the Jewish people has died at age 91....He was a messenger of hope, choosing to remember acts of kindness even during one of history's darkest times as "sparks of holiness."...

There's A Suicide Epidemic In Utah -- And One Neuroscientist Thinks He Knows Why
Theresa Fisher, Brain.Mic | Suicide Epidemic In Utah | November 18, 2014

Despite ranking as America's happiest state, Utah has disproportionately high rates of suicide and associated mood disorders compared to the rest of the country. In fact, it's the No. 1 state for antidepressant use. These polarized feelings of despondency and delight underlie a confusing phenomenon that Perry Renshaw, a neuroscientist at the University of Utah investigating the strange juxtaposition, calls the "Utah paradox."...

J. Arthur Wood, Jr., 1927-2014
Richard Thompson, Richard's Poor Almanac | Art Wood Remembered | November 17, 2014

My favorite Art Wood story from among millions is from later, after I'd quit Cul de Sac. I said my new work would look like Cy Twombly if he used his sleeve...

Mosaics Revealed At Ancient Greek City Of Zeugma In Turkey
Daphne Tsagari, Greek Reporter | Mosaics Revealed | November 17, 2014

Archaeologists discovered three unique mosaics at the Ancient Greek city of Zeugma, in south Turkey, near the borders of Syria...

Pope Francis And the G.O.P.'s Bad Science
Michael Specter, The New Yorker | Pope Francis And G.O.P.'s Bad Science | November 14, 2014

It’s a shame that there is no provision in the Constitution of the United States that would permit Pope Francis to serve as the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee...