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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.

Male Birth Control, Without Condoms, Will Be Here By 2017
Samantha Allen, The Daily Beast | Male Birth Control | September 9, 2014

Vasalgel, a reversible, non-hormonal polymer that blocks the vas deferens, is about to enter human trials. How will rhetoric change when male bodies become responsible for birth control?...

Seven Steps To Living A Bill Murray Life, by Bill Murray
Jada Yuan, Vulture via Slate | Being Bill Murray | September 9, 2014

Step one to being more like Bill Murray: Sing. And really be into it.
Murray is not his ironic Saturday Night Live lounge singer and he is not his Lost in Translation actor abroad, singing a half-asleep version of “More Than This.” He sings when the mood strikes him, and when it does, he means it...

My First Burning Man: Confessions Of A Conservative From Washington
Grover Norquist, The Guardian | Norquist At Burning Man | September 7, 2014

What is Burning Man? It is a larger version of... what? Woodstock? That was a bunch of teenagers coming to watch artists perform. At Burning Man, everyone is expected to be a participant...

The Origin Of The "Freshman 15" Myth
Olga Khazan, The Atlantic | 'Freshman 15' Myth | September 7, 2014

Most young adults only gain about three pounds during their first year, about the same as those who don't attend college. So why is there such a strong misconception to the contrary?
Freshmen across the country are moving into their dorms this week, hanging up their Target Room Essentials™ curtains and sizing up their roommate's hygiene habits. They might also, on the advice of their forebears, stop to Google articles such as, "15 Ways to Fight the Freshman 15."...

Mean Girl
Hanna Rosin, Slate | Joan Rivers: Relentless, Filthy, Honest | September 5, 2014

Joan Rivers was relentless and filthy. She was also brutally honest about being a woman...

The Masked Avengers
David Kushner, The New Yorker | Inside Anonymous | September 5, 2014

How Anonymous incited online vigilantism from Tunisia to Ferguson...

Tehran Unfetters Cellphones, And The Pictures Start Flowing
Thomas Erdbrink, The New York Times | Iran Cellphones Unleashed | September 2, 2014

Some days ago, Mahdi Taghizadeh did something he never thought he would — at least, not in Iran. He took a screen shot and shared the image with his followers on Twitter. “They were all excited,” Mr. Taghizadeh, an Internet entrepreneur, said. “Finally." Mr. Taghizadeh’s small triumph on the sidewalk of a Tehran street was among the first tangible results of a rare victory for Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani...

New Documentary Bares Crazy Drama Between The Burt's Bees Founders
Richard Feloni, Business Insider via Slate | About Burt's Bees | September 1, 2014

If you’re familiar with the Burt’s Bees brand of lip balms and moisturizing lotions, you may be surprised to learn two things: The bearded man in the brand’s logo is a real guy named Burt (who was born Ingram Berg Shavitz) and despite its small-business image, the company is owned by the Clorox Corp...

Atlanta's Fall Foretold The End Of Civil War Bloodshed
Marc Wortman, The Daily Beast | The Fall Of Atlanta, 1864 | September 1, 2014

Only after the Confederates surrendered Atlanta 150 years ago did Americans know that the union would be preserved.

Everything changed literally overnight between September 1 and 2, 1864. When Atlanta fell to its Union attackers, Americans in both the North and South were finally convinced that the end of the fighting was within sight. Like Americans then, we, too, should remember the day when Atlanta fell, for its surrender marked the new birth of a united nation. It also presaged Atlanta’s rise as the capital city of what would eventually be known as the New South...

You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know The History Of Wahhabism In Saudi Arabia
Alastair Crooke, The Huffington Post | Understanding Wahhabism | August 29, 2014

Saudi Arabia's internal discord and tensions over ISIS can only be understood by grasping the inherent (and persisting) duality that lies at the core of the Kingdom's doctrinal makeup and its historical origins. One dominant strand to the Saudi identity pertains directly to Muhammad ibn ?Abd al-Wahhab (the founder of Wahhabism)...