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.

How The Reagan White House Bungled Its Response To Iran-Contra Revelations
Malcolm Byrne, The Daily Beast | Reagan And Iran-Contra | November 3, 2014

An excerpt from a new book about Iran-Contra demonstrates that nearly every major player in the Reagan administration participated in covering up the clandestine affair...

Inside The Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire
Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone | Inside The Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire | November 3, 2014

Together, Charles and David Koch control one of the world's largest fortunes, which they are using to buy up our political system. But what they don't want you to know is how they made all that money...

Where The Hills And Hollows Are Alive With Music
Chris Wohlwend, The New York Times | Alive With Music | November 3, 2014

Traditionally those mountains meant isolation, relieved periodically by gatherings for church, for barn-raising or harvest help. And the gatherings meant string-band music...

Braving Ebola
Daniel Berehulak, The New York Times | Braving Ebola | November 1, 2014

Portraits of those who labor and those who survived at an Ebola treatment center in rural Liberia...

What If Meditation Isn't Good For You?
Jay Michaelson, The Daily Beast | Mindfulness's Moment | November 1, 2014

The scholars and teachers responsible for the 'mindfulness revolution' gather for a landmark conference -- and disagree about everything...

How Will The Universe End?
Alina Simone, Slate | How Will The Universe End? | October 29, 2014

Not with a bang but a bubble.

Cosmologist Alex Vilenkin gave a lecture at the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan earlier this year called “The Universe and Beyond.” I attended the talk, along with a few of my friends, and we all had the same reaction afterwards: “That was awesome! I didn’t understand a thing.” I understood even less of the lecture than the rest of my friends, which pretty much makes me the poster child for regression toward the mean, because Alex Vilenkin is my father...

Navajo Nation Presidential Campaign In Turmoil Over Language Requirement
Reid Wilson, The Washington Post | Navajo Nation Campaign Turmoil | October 29, 2014

A requirement that the president of the Navajo Nation be fluent in the tribe’s language has forced one candidate off the ballot, just a week before Election Day.

Navajo President Ben Shelly on Tuesday vetoed a measure that would have eased the language requirement. As a result, Chris Deschene, an Arizona state representative, said he would drop his campaign for the post...

The Secret Life Of An ISIS Warlord
Will Cathcart, Vazha Taveridze, and Nino Burchuladze, The Daily Beast | The Secret Life Of An ISIS Warlord | October 27, 2014

Abu Omar al=Shishani has a fierce, gorgeous Chechen bride. He learned intelligence operations from the U.S. And his older brother may be the real genius of ISIS...

NATO Coalition Hands Over Two Major Bases To Afghan Military
Tim Craig, The Washington Post | Afghan Combat Ops End | October 26, 2014

The NATO coalition ended its formal mission in restive and dangerous Helmand province Sunday, handing over two major bases and an airstrip to the Afghan military as U.S. Marines and British forces prepare to withdraw.

The transfer of Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion, the hub for coalition forces in southwestern Afghanistan, is the most dramatic signal to date that the 13-year-old war is drawing to a close...

Joan Quigley, Astrologer To A First Lady, Is Dead At 87
Douglas Martin, The New York Times | Joan Quigley, R.I.P. | October 26, 2014

In his 1988 memoir, Donald T. Regan, a former chief of staff for President Ronald Reagan, revealed what he called the administration’s “most closely guarded secret.”...