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.

'He Knew That Death Was Coming': Survivors Mourn After A Massacre By Syrian Rebels
Joshua Hersh, The Huffington Post | Massacre In Syria | March 11, 2014

The rebel fighters arrived in the early hours of the night, moving swiftly and aggressively from village to village across the mountainous terrain 15 miles from the border with Turkey.

Issam Darwish, a 33-year-old farmer, was asleep in his small, ramshackle home when he heard the cries of warning from neighbors. Jumping out of bed, he roused his family, including his 90-year-old grandfather, and hastily shepherded them out onto the road, where some jumped into available pickup trucks and others ran away through the wooded valleys below.

But Darwish’s grandfather refused to leave...

What You Think You Know About The Web Is Wrong
Tonny Haile, Time | Web Myths | March 10, 2014

If you’re an average reader, I’ve got your attention for 15 seconds, so here goes: We are getting a lot wrong about the web these days. We confuse what people have clicked on for what they’ve read. We mistake sharing for reading. We race towards new trends like native advertising without fixing what was wrong with the old ones and make the same mistakes all over again.

Not an average reader? Maybe you’ll give me more than 15 seconds then...

The New 'Cosmos' Reboot Marks A Promising New Era For Science
Lawrence M. Krauss | 'Cosmos' Reboot | March 9, 2014

The new reboot of the classic Carl Sagan series, now starring Neil deGrasse Tyson, needs our support -- seeing more science on mainstream TV may depend on it...

The Fat Drug
Pagan Kennedy, The New York Times Op Ed | The Fat Drug | March 9, 2014

Manufacturers brag about the miraculous effects of feeding antibiotics to chicks and nursing calves. Dusty agricultural journals attest to the ways in which the drugs can act like a kind of superfood to produce cheap meat.But what if that meat is us?...

The Face Behind Bitcoin
Leah McGrath Goodman, Newsweek | Bitcoin's Creator | March 6, 2014

Satoshi Nakamoto stands at the end of his sunbaked driveway looking timorous. And annoyed.

He's wearing a rumpled T-shirt, old blue jeans and white gym socks, without shoes, like he has left the house in a hurry. His hair is unkempt, and he has the thousand-mile stare of someone who has gone weeks without sleep.

He stands not with defiance, but with the slackness of a person who has waged battle for a long time and now faces a grave loss...

"Tiny" Asteroid To Give Us A Close Shave Today
Phil Plait, Slate | Today's Asteroids | March 6, 2014


At about 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. Eastern time) today, the 24-30 meter-wide asteroid 2014 DX110 will pass just 350,000 km frmo the Earth -- closer than the Moon!...

Gentryifing The Dharma: How The 1 Percent Is Hijacking Mindfulness
Joshua Eaton, Salon | Hijacking Mindfulness | March 6, 2014

As big corporations embrace meditation, some Buddhists fear their religion's being co-opted by elites...

The Dalai Lama's Ski Trip
Douglas Preston, Slate | The Dalai Lama's Ski Trip | March 5, 2014

The Dalai Lama arrived in Santa Fe on April 1, 1991. I was by his side every day from 6 a.m. until late in the evening. Traveling with him was an adventure. He was cheerful and full of enthusiasm—making quips, laughing, asking questions, rubbing his shaved head, and joking about his bad English. He did in fact stop and talk to anyone, no matter how many people were trying to rush him to his next appointment. When he spoke to you, it was as if he shut out the rest of the world to focus his entire sympathy, attention, care, and interest on you...

A Letter From Ray Jasper, Who Is About To Be Executed
Ray Jasper, Gawker | Letter From Ray Jasper | March 4, 2014

Texas death row inmate Ray Jasper is scheduled to be put to death on March 19. He has written us a letter that, he acknowledges, "could be my final statement on earth." It is well worth your time...

The Last Casualties: As A Long War Ends, Risks Still Prove Real
Ernesto Londono, The Washington post | Report From Bagram | March 4, 2014

There are currently roughly 33,700 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, down from a peak of more than 100,000 in the spring of 2011. Those who have been wounded here have had a better chance at survival than in any previous U.S. war — a result of stunning achievements in battlefield care...