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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.

The End of Japanese Illusions
Yoichi Funabashi, International Herald Tribune Opinion | The End of Japanese Illusions | March 12, 2012

March 11, 2011, was a transformational moment for the Japanese people. It not only shattered the public myth of absolute safety that had been nurtured by the Japanese nuclear-power industry and its proponents. It also destroyed Japan’s self-image as a “safe and secure nation” that grew out of the country’s pacifism since World War II...

Harlem Churches See A Boom Of Tourists Seeking Gospel Music, Buyt Congregants Bristle At Rudeness

The stern warning issued from the pulpit was directed at the tourists – most of whom had arrived late – a sea of white faces with guidebooks in hand. They outnumbered the congregation itself: a handful of elderly black men and women wearing suits and dresses and old-fashioned pillbox hats.

"We're hoping that you will remain in place during the preaching of the Gospel," a church member said over the microphone at this Harlem church on a recent Sunday morning. "But if you have to go, go now. Go before the preacher stands to preach."...

South Korea's Greatest Export: How K-Pop's Rocking the World
Krista Mahr, Time | Korea's Greatest Export: How K-Pop's Rocking the World | March 10, 2012

The members of K-Pop Fans Kuwait seem a little blue. The angsty poem attached to their tower of fan rice at the kickoff of Big Bang’s world tour in Seoul was a bit of a downer for a pop show. The fan rice paid for by a club in Indonesia, on the other hand, was more in the spirit of things, adorned with a message to the band that could even double as a tourism slogan: “Don’t think too much. Just come to Indonesia...

Japan's Nuclear Energy Industry Nears Shutdown, at Least for Now
Martin Fackler, The New York Times | Japan's Nuclear Energy Industry Nears Shutdown, at Least for Now | March 9, 2012

All but two of Japan’s 54 commercial reactors have gone offline since the nuclear disaster a year ago, after the earthquake and tsunami, and it is not clear when they can be restarted. With the last operating reactor scheduled to be idled as soon as next month, Japan — once one of the world’s leaders in atomic energy — will have at least temporarily shut down an industry that once generated a third of its electricity...

Kony 2012: How the Video Spread Across the Internet
Tom McCarthy, The Guardian | Kony 2012: How the Video Spread Across the Internet | March 9, 2012

After the 30-minute video was uploaded to YouTube, we track the online footprints of #StopKony, from Oprah Winfrey to Bieber...

Tibetans Turn to Setting Themselves on Fire to Protest China's Rule

Fed up with the Chinese government's tactics aimed at stemming unrest, some Tibetans have turned to a gruesome show of public protest -- burning themselves.

The latest incidents occurred over the last three days when a Tibetan teenage boy, a teenage girl and a 32-year-old widow and mother died after they lit themselves on fire in public places. During the past year, at least 25 people have committed this act, which the Dalai Lama has said only worsens the situation with China...

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...