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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.

Richard Thompson Interview: Cul De Sac Ending
John Glynn, AMU | Richard Thompson Interview: Cul De Sac Ending | August 22, 2012

JG: Can you tell us a little about why you've decided to suspend Cul De Sac?

RT: I was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's disease in the summer of 2009. At first it didn't affect my drawing, but that's gradually changed. Last winter I got an excellent cartoonist, Stacy Curtis, to ink my roughs, which was a great help. But now I've gotten too unreliable to produce a daily strip...

Laughs Were On Her, By Design
Richard Severo and Peter Keepnews, The New York Times | Laughs Were On Her, By Design | August 21, 2012

...Ms. Diller, who became famous for telling jokes that mocked her odd looks, her aversion to housekeeping and a husband she called Fang, was far from the first woman to do stand-up comedy. But she was one of the most influential. There were precious few women before her, if any, who could dispense one-liners with such machine-gun precision or overpower an audience with such an outrageous personality.

One chestnut: “I once wore a peekaboo blouse. People would peek and then they’d boo.”

Another: “I never made ‘Who’s Who,’ but I’m featured in ‘What’s That?’ ”

Ms. Diller, a 37-year-old homemaker when she took up comedy, mined her domestic life for material, assuring audiences that she fed Fang and her kids garbage soup and buried her ironing in the backyard...

The Irony Of The Anti-Immigration Violence in Assam
Dilip D'Souza | The Irony Of The Anti-Immigration Violence In Assam | August 21, 2012

The anti-immigrants violence in the Indian state of Assam and the Sikh shooting in Wisconsin both come from the hate of the other. But why do immigrants themselves hate that which they are or were? Dilip D'Souza on the irony of immigration...

 

Life With Syria's Rebels In A Cold And Cunning War
C.J. Chivers, The New York Times | Life With Syria's Rebels In A Cold And Cunning War | August 21, 2012

Abdul Hakim Yasin, the commander of a Syrian antigovernment fighting group, lurched his pickup truck to a stop inside the captured residential compound he uses as his guerrilla base.

His fighters had been waiting for orders for a predawn attack on an army checkpoint at the entrance to Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. The men had been issued ammunition and had said their prayers. Their truck bomb was almost prepared.

Now the commander had a surprise...

This Feature Will Return In A Few Weeks
David Stanford, Duty Officer, Doonesbury.com | | July 27, 2012
This Feature Will Return In A Few Weeks
David Stanford, Duty Officer, Doonesbury.com | | July 27, 2012
This Feature Will Return In A Few Weeks
David Stanford, Duty Officer, Doonesbury.com | | July 27, 2012
New Film Captures Ai Weiwei's Defiance
Dan Levin, The Daily Beast | New Film Captures Ai Weiwei's Defiance | July 27, 2012

A new documentary captures how China's most famous artist has also become the country's most well-known dissient.

Known for their smug brutality, police in China do not, as a matter of course, get interrogated—especially not by the people whom they beat and harass. Yet there’s a remarkable scene in Alison Klayman’s new documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry in which Ai, the Chinese artist-turned-dissident walks into a Chengdu police station, trailed by his camera-wielding entourage and demands an investigation into his assault months earlier by the city’s police force. Surprised, the officers respond by taking out their own cameras, as the scene turns into a tense face-off that serves as a metaphor for the artist’s harrowing four-year battle against the Chinese state. The film, which opens in the U.S. on Friday, is a riveting look at Chinese tyranny and the people who fight back...

Mystery Tug On Spacecraft Is Einstein's 'I Told You So'
Dennis Overbye, The New York Times | Mystery Tug On Spacecraft Is Einstein's 'I Told You So' | July 27, 2012

It’s been a bad year to bet against Albert Einstein.

In the spring physicists had to withdraw a sensational report that the subatomic particles known as neutrinos were going faster than light, Einstein’s cosmic speed limit; they discovered they had plugged in a cable wrong.

Now scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have reported that they have explained one of the great mysteries of the space age, one that loomed for 30 years as a threat to the credibility of Einsteinian gravity...

Florida At The Forefront As States Plan Fresh Assault On Voting Rights
Ed Pilkington, The Guardian | Florida At The Forefront As States Plan Fresh Assult On Voting Rights | July 26, 2012

Voting rights groups are struggling to hold back a tide of new laws that are likely to make it harder for millions of Americans to vote in the presidential election in November and could distort the outcome of the race for the White House.

Since January 2011, 19 states have passed a total of 24 laws that create hurdles between voters and the ballot box. Some states are newly requiring people to show government-issued photo cards at polling stations. Others have whittled down early voting hours, imposed restrictions on registration of new voters, banned people with criminal records from voting or attempted to purge eligible voters from the electoral roll...