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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.

Murray Lender, The Man Who Brought Bagels To The Masses
Lily Rothman, The Washington Post | Murray Lender, The Man Who Brought Bagels To The Masses | March 25, 2012

We can’t know who baked the first bagel. The path from when the first circle of malty dough was moved from a vat of boiling water into an oven to now, to you with your lox spread and Sunday paper, is murky.

But we can be sure that Murray Lender, who died Wednesday at 81, was the most important man in the modern history of bagels. Lender’s bagels may taste like white bread with a hole, but what they lack in authenticity they make up for in meaning...

My Son, The Straight Boy
Heather Aimee O'Neill, Salon | My Son, The Straight boy | March 25, 2012

The day Tommy came out to me, we were walking home from school. He was telling me about Taylor, his most recent crush, when he stopped in the middle of the story, looked up and said, “Mama, you know how you and Mommy are gay?”

I nodded and figured he was going to ask more questions about why we had to get married for the second time.

“Well,” he said, “I’m not. I’m a boy who likes girls.”...

A New Era of the Digital Revolution: The Role of Mobile Devices & Social Media in News Consumption

In early 2012, the digital revolution entered a new era. The age of mobile, in which people are connected to the web wherever they are, arrived in earnest. A new survey of more than 3,000 U.S. adults conducted in January 2012 by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that people are taking advantage of having access to news in their pockets, on their laps and at their desks...

Eric Fehrnstrom's Etch a Sketch
William Saletan, Slate | Eric Fehrnstrom's Etch a Sketch | March 22, 2012

Is Mitt Romney an Etch a Sketch?

No way, say Romney’s aides. They insist that when Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom went on CNN Wednesday morning and compared the campaign to an Etch a Sketch, he was talking strictly about the mechanics of general elections, not about Romney’s malleability. But before you buy that explanation, look at what Fehrnstrom has said in previous years. He’s been erasing his candidates’ positions for a long time...

U.S. Intelligence Report Warns of Global Water Tensions
Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times | U.S. Intelligence Report Warns of Global Water Tensions | March 22, 2012

The American intelligence community warned in a report released on Thursday that problems with water could destabilize countries in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia over the next decade. Increasing demand and competition caused by the world’s rising population and scarcities created by climate change and poor management threaten to disrupt economies and increase regional tensions, the report concludes...

Health Law Could Hinge on Wheat, Pot and Broccoli
Josh Gerstein, Politico | Health Law Could Hinge on Wheat, Pot and Broccoli | March 22, 2012

The survival of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law may come down to wheat, pot, guns — and a nagging question about broccoli.

Strange as it may seem, those diverse topics are apt to surface repeatedly during next week’s arguments at the Supreme Court over the health law’s constitutionality...

Five Reasons For Romney To Be Cheerful
John Cassidy, The New Yorker | Five Reasons For Romney To Be Cheerful | March 20, 2012

Things are looking up in Romney-land.

Following the Mittster’s four-to-one win in Sunday’s Puerto Rico primary, which ensured him another twenty delegates, Public Policy Polling is predicting a “blow-out victory” for him tomorrow in Illinois, the country’s fifth most populous state. P.P.P.’s latest survey of Illinois Republicans, which was carried out over the weekend, shows the G.O.P. front runner with a fifteen point lead over Rick Santorum, forty-five per cent to thirty per cent...

Foxwoods Is Fighting For Its Life
Michael Sokolove, The New York Times Magazine | Foxwoods Is Fighting For Its Life | March 20, 2012

Nearly everything about the Foxwoods Resort Casino is improbable, beginning with its scale. It is the largest casino in the Western Hemisphere — a gigantic, labyrinthine wonderland set down in a cedar forest and swamp in an otherwise sleepy corner of southeastern Connecticut. Forty thousand patrons pack into Foxwoods on weekend days. The place has 6,300 slot machines. Ten thousand employees. If you include everything — hotel space, bars and restaurants, theaters and ballrooms, spa, bowling alley — Foxwoods measures about 6.7 million square feet, more than the Pentagon...

Albert Einstein's Complete Archives To Be Posted Online
Associated Press, The Guardian | Einstein's Complete Archives To Be Posted Online | March 20, 2012

Albert Einstein's complete archives – from personal correspondence with half a dozen lovers to notebooks scribbled with his groundbreaking research – are going online for the first time.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which owns the German Jewish physicist's papers, is pulling never-before seen items from its climate-controlled safe, photographing them in high resolution and posting them online – offering the public a nuanced and fuller portrait of the man behind the scientific genius...

A Tale of Greek Enterprise and Olive Oil, Smothered in Red Tape
Suzanne Daley, The New York Times | A Tale of Green Enterprise and Olive Oil, Smothered in Red Tape | March 19, 2012

It was about a year ago that Fotis I. Antonopoulos, a successful Web program designer here, decided he wanted to open an e-business selling olive products.

Luckily, he already had a day job.

It took him 10 months — crisscrossing the city to collect dozens of forms and stamps of approval, including proof that he was up to date on his pension contributions — before he could get started. But even that was not enough. In perhaps the strangest twist of all, his board members were required by the Health Department to submit lung X-rays — and stool samples — since this was a food company...