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.

Who Invented The Ice Bucket Challenge?
Josh Levin, Slate | Ice Bucket Origins | August 26, 2014

A search for the fundraising phenomenon's cold, soaked patient zero.

“Where does a phenomenon begin?”

That’s the question ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi seeks to answer in a long SportsCenter feature on the ice bucket challenge, which has reportedly raised more than $50 million for ALS charities in less than a month...

The Hipster Coffee Revolution Is Going To Save Your Morning And The Planet. Are You Ready To Pay A Little More To Help?
Chermelle Edwards, The Guardian | Third Wave Coffee | August 26, 2014

In the third wave...we buy coffee based on its origins, its process, its methods -- and its evangelists are out to get specific about what separates it from being a standard commodity...

ISIS, Hip-Hop Jihadists And The Man Who Killed James Foley
Christopher Dickey, The Daily Beast | Hip-Hop Jihadists | August 25, 2014

Sick as this may sound, the super-slick HD depiction of a pseudo-ninja murdering American journalist James Foley is, not least, a recruiting video. In the warped world of new-generation jihadists – especially those coming out of Western cities -- hacking off heads has become a status symbol...

Rare Superman Book...: THe Long, 'Cool' Journey Of A Record-Setting Comi
Michael Cavna, The Washington Post | The Long, "Cool" Journey Of A Record-Setting Comic | August 25, 2014

A comic book is best stored in a place that’s “cool, dry and dark,” Adams says, with low exposure to oxygen. His Superman book was purchased off the newsstand in the ’30s by a man who kept it in a cedar chest at high altitude in the mountains of West Virginia, where it rested for decades until that owner himself was laid to rest...

Nixon Unbound
Douglas Brinkley and Luke A. Nichter, Vanity Fair | Nixon Unbound | August 24, 2014

Though Richard Nixon’s reign was cut short by the Watergate scandal, his first term was on many fronts a triumph. In an adaptation from their new book, which draws on 3,700 hours of Nixon’s White House tapes, two historians reveal the 37th president as crisis manager, geopolitical strategist, and duplicitous paranoid...

Ape-Woman, Artist
Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker | Ape-Woman, Artist | August 22, 2014

The Great Unanswered Question — well, one of them, to go along with what makes music emotionally meaningful, why people first thought of Gods, and how long it will be before the Expos return to Montreal — has always been at what moment humans began communicating with symbols, and why...

Sherman Alexie On His New Film, The Redskins, And Why It's Okay To Laugh At His Work
William O'Connor, The Daily Beast | Winter In The Blood | August 22, 2014

Forgotten, but not gone—such is the plight of Native Americans in the modern U.S. Debates about immigration, profiling Muslims, or police brutality ensure that the causes of many minority groups see their time in the spotlight. The same cannot be said for today’s Native Americans, the descendants of those who had their land taken from them in one of our country’s two original sins (the other being slavery). Issues confronting the community, both on and off the reservation, are rarely found on the evening news or on the front page of major papers...

You've Never Watched The Simpsons Before? That's Unpossible!
Megan Greenwell, Slate | Simpson Mania | August 22, 2014

Marathon-watching the show that gave my generation its soul...

The Baltimore Bottle Cap Factory That Became A Haven For Musicians And Artists
Joradn G. Teicher, Slate | Bottle Cap Factory | August 21, 2014

In 2011, Alex Wein took a year off from college in San Fransisco, and when he moved back to Baltimore, he immediately got an apartment in the Copycat. “I soon realized what a machine it was; all these people cranking out these projects in all kinds of mediums: music, art, performance. So you start meeting your neighbors and they invite you into their places. It was a creative explosion,” he said...

Gateway Bug: How Crickets Could Hook America On Eating Insects
Matt McFarland, The Washington Post | Gateway Bug | August 20, 2014

When you’re on the frontier of food — a land full of experimentation — sometimes you have to sleep with the lights on.

Jakub Dzamba, a Ph.D. candidate at McGill’s architecture school, was experimenting with farming crickets in his Montreal apartment about a year and a half ago. He’d glued together plastic bottles into a contraption capable of storing the insects...