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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.

Shard Hacking: Group Sneak to Top of Europe's Tallest Building
Press Association, The Guardian | Shard Hacking: Group Snea to Top of Europe's Tallest Building | April 9, 2012

Pictures apparently showing a group of urban thrillseekers posing at the top of the unfinished Shard, Europe's tallest building, have appeared online.

The night-time images, said to be from the summit of the 310-metre (1016ft) Shard in central London, were posted on Place Hacking, the blog of the US student Bradley L Garrett, who said they were taken after he slipped past a lone security guard with two friends.

Garrett said he and the group had climbed the tower "half a dozen" times and could do so again tomorrow in spite of increased security...

Sweet And Unusual
Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker | Sweet and Unusual | April 9, 2012

"This year's Biennial enchants -- albeit darkly, in some cases," writes Peter Schjeldahl, in his review of the 2012 Whitney Biennial. In this audio slide show, Schjeldahl describes the exhibition and analyzes a selection of its works, including one of his favorites, a series of paintings by Nicole Eisenmann...

Jump, Twirl, Paint, Act!
Sarah Lyall, The New York Times | Jump, Twirl, Paint, Act! | April 9, 2012

Seventy Shakespeare productions from companies around the world, performed in 30 theaters all over Britain. A 33-foot-high puppet of Lady Godiva (wearing undergarments by the fashion designer Zandra Rhodes) moving through the streets of Coventry and into London, powered by 50 people on bicycles. Music from everywhere performed free in choice spots up and down the Thames...

Sunny Days Are Here Again -- But Is That Good?
NPR Staff, National Public Radio | Sunny Days Are Here Again -- But Is That Good? | April 8, 2012

Across the country, more than 7,700 daily temperature records were broken last month, on the heels of the fourth warmest winter on record.

While it might be time to lie on a blanket in the park, climate scientists are worried. They say all these sunny days are actually an extreme weather event, one with local and global implications.

In Iowa, March was so hot — a record-breaking 84 degrees — that some crops there, like oats, are now running way ahead of schedule.

Joe Prusacki, a statistician with the Department of Agriculture, says this time of year Iowa usually has just 7 percent of its oats planted.

"Right now, they're at 58 percent planted," Prusacki says...

Why the Old-School Music Snob Is the Least Cool Kid on Twitter
Alexandra Molotkow, The New York Times Magazine | Why the Old-School Music Snob Is the Least Cool Kid on Twitter | April 8, 2012

My friend Lily and I met in 2004 at a showcase for a record label that bartered cassette tapes in exchange for things like drawings and telling jokes. I was there to perform some songs I had recorded on my dad’s four-track using chopsticks for drumsticks; Lily was there to support her boyfriend, who was playing in a band led by our mutual friend’s 13-year-old brother. We hit it off, and after that we often went together to see bands play in local out-of-the-way venues, like the dilapidated shack down an alleyway or the basement nightclub that was perpetually flooded with toilet water. The bands were often lousy, but that didn’t matter to us. What mattered to us was that no one else knew anything about them...

Unconventional Charity: Water Aims to Raise $2 Billion For Clean Water
Cody Switzer, The Christian Science Monitor | Unconventional Charity: Water Aims to Raise $2 Billion For Clean Water | April 8, 2012

Scott Harrison, the founder of Charity: Water, takes an unconventional approach to bringing clean water to millions of people. Among his ideas: Put 100 percent of donations directly into projects -- and look to entrepreneurs, not other charities, for great ideas...

The Caricature-In-Chief
Steve Kornacki, Salon | The Caricature-in-Chief | April 6, 2012

With its hysteria over Obama and the courts, the right continues to attack a president who doesn't actually exist...

A Secret Plot in Syria
Andy Warner, Slate | A Secret Plot in Syria | April 6, 2012

An illustrated account of the 1949 coup -- possibly CIA-assisted -- that plunged the country into decades of political turmoil...

Are You Scientifically Literate? Take Our Quiz
Eoin O'Carroll, The Christian Science Monitor | Are You Scientifically Literate? Take Our Quiz | April 6, 2012

You may have an opinion on climate change, evolution education, stem-cell research, and science funding. But do you have the facts? This quiz will test your basic scientific literacy...

Today's Pictures: Baseball Season
Magnum Photos, Slate | Today's Pictures: Baseball Season | April 5, 2012

It's opening week of the American baseball season! We're taking a look at the international nature of the game...