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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.

Onslaught of Solar Flares Brings Space Weather Storms to Earth
Jason Samenow and Brian Vastag, The Washington Post | Onslaught of Solar Flares Brings Space Weather Storms to Earth | March 7, 2012

SpaceWeather.com writes: “Analysts at [NASA’s] Goddard Space Weather Lab .... say the impact [of Tuesday’s solar flare] could spark a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm. Sky watchers at all latitudes should be alert for auroras.” Note - though - aurora viewing, possible late tonight and/or Thursday night, may be compromised by a near full moon....

Data Hint at Hypothetical Particle, Key to Mass in the Universe
Dennis Overbye, The New York Times | Data Hint at Hypothetical Particle, Key to Mass in the Universe | March 7, 2012

After 40 years, more evidence is being reported Wednesday that the end of the biggest manhunt in the history of physics might finally be in sight. Physicists from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., say they have found a bump in their data that might be the long-sought Higgs boson, a hypothesized particle that is responsible for endowing other elementary particles with mass...

'Tree Lobsters,' Presumed Extinct, Rediscovered in Australia

Eighty years after they disappeared, tree lobsters have been rediscovered, living near an old volcano in Australia. And no, they’re not actually “lobsters,” but special six-legged insects that were thought to be extinct decades ago...

Has Limbaugh Identified the G.O.P.'s Woman Problem?
Amy Davidson, The New Yorker | Has Limbaugh Identified the G.O.P.'s Woman Problem? | March 4, 2012

On Friday, President Obama called a law student at Georgetown to tell her not to take it to heart that Rush Limbaugh had called her a prostitute. “What was really personal for me was that he said to tell my parents that they should be proud,” the student, Sandra Fluke, who, needless to say, is not a prostitute, told Andrea Mitchell, of MSNBC. Is anyone proud of Rush Limbaugh—even anyone in his own party? Before answering, one should read his full remarks about Fluke...

Mission Control, Built for cities

Not far from Copacabana Beach here is a control room that looks straight out of NASA. City employees in white jumpsuits work quietly in front of a giant wall of screens — a sort of virtual Rio, rendered in real time. Video streams in from subway stations and major intersections. A sophisticated weather program predicts rainfall across the city. A map glows with the locations of car accidents, power failures and other problems. The order and precision seem out of place in this easygoing Brazilian city, which on this February day was preparing for the controlled chaos that is Carnaval. But what is happening here reflects a bold and potentially lucrative experiment that could shape the future of cities around the world...

Israelis Feel Obama-Netanyahu Summit Will Decide on Iran
Isaac Herzog, The Daily Beast | Israelis Feel Obama-Netanyahu Summit Will Decide on Iran | March 4, 2012

Monday's summit in Washington between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu will decide whether an attack will be launched -- or at least that's how most Israelis feel, says Knesset member Isaac Herzog...

Bullfighter's Return Stuns A Hardened Sport
Raphael Minder, The New York Times | Bullfighter's Return Stuns A Hardened Sport | March 2, 2012

Five months after surviving a horrifying goring, Juan José Padilla, one of Spain’s leading bullfighters, wears a patch over his left eye and cannot chew any food, even after a series of surgeries to reconstruct part of his face. But his recovery is startling for a man who was last seen in images shown around the world stumbling out of a bullring, holding his bloodied face and screaming, “I can’t see!” as his shocked fans looked on...

Man Walks All Day To Create Spectacular Snow Patterns
Katie Hosmer, My Modern Met | Man Walks All Day To Create Spectacular Snow Patterns | March 2, 2012

Artist Simon Beck must really love the cold weather. Along the frozen lakes of Savoie, France, he spends days plodding through the snow in raquettes (snowshoes), creating these sensational patterns of snow art. Working for 5-9 hours a day, each final piece is typically the size of three soccer fields! The geometric forms range in mathematical patterns and shapes that create stunning, sometimes 3D, designs when viewed from higher levels...

The Monkees: Why I'm A Believer In Their Perfect Pop
Bob Stanley, The Guardian | The Monkees: Why I'm A Believer In Their Perfect Pop | March 2, 2012

The death of Davy Jones should give us pause to remember that the Monkees were one of the great groups of the 1960s...

Andrew Breitbart, Conservative Blogger, Dies at 43
Brian Stelter and Michael D. Shear, The New York Times | Andrew Breitbart, Conservative Blogger, Dies at 43 | March 1, 2012

Andrew Breitbart, a conservative blogger and activist who became well known for publishing undercover videos and revealing photographs aimed at liberals and Democrats, died Thursday. He was 43. Among Mr. Breitbart’s targets was a New York congressman, Anthony Weiner, who ultimately resigned over explicit photographs he sent to women via Twitter and Facebook that were published on Mr. Breitbart’s Web site...