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.

Facebook, Banks Sued Over Pre-IPO Analyst Calls

Facebook Inc and banks including Morgan Stanley were sued by the social networking leader's shareholders, who claimed the defendants hid Facebook's weakened growth forecasts ahead of its $16 billion initial public offering.

The defendants, who also include Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, were accused of concealing from investors during the IPO marketing process "a severe and pronounced reduction" in revenue growth forecasts...

In Pursuit of Pleasure and Trout: Richard Brautigan Biography, 'Jubilee Hitchhiker'
Dwight Garner, The New York Times | In Pursuit of Pleasure and Trout | May 23, 2012

For a committed sensualist and prototypical hippie, a man who wore floppy hats, granny glasses, love beads and a droopy mustache that made him look like General Custer at an acid test, Richard Brautigan (1935-1984) had a potent work ethic.

He wrote nearly every morning, regardless of keening hangovers. He spent the rest of the day, William Hjortsberg notes in “Jubilee Hitchhiker,” his sprawling and definitive new biography of this most offbeat of American writers, “in pursuit of happiness.”...

Awesome Google Doodle Celebrates Birthday Of Robert Moog With Playable Synthesizer

Google honors the legacy of Robert Moog Wednesday, the father of the modern electronic synthesizer, with what quite possibly is its most elaborate doodle yet -- a working Moog synthesizer. Wednesday marks the late music pioneer’s 78th birthday...

DBO: Taxmageddon Would Throw U.S. Back Into Recession
Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post | CBO: Taxmageddon Would Throw U.S. Back Into Recession | May 22, 2012

Tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect in January would suck $607 billion out of the economy next year, plunging the nation at least briefly back into recession, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

Unless lawmakers act, the economy is likely to contract in the first half of 2013 at an annualized rate of 1.3 percent, the CBO said, before returning to 2.3 percent growth later in the year...

The Most Comma Mistakes
Ben Yagoda, The New York Times Opinion | Most Comma Mistakes | May 22, 2012

Rules and conventions about when to use and not to use commas are legion. But certain errors keep popping up. Here are a few of them...

Chen Guangcheng's New Life In America: A Day In Greenwich Village
Melinda Liu, The Daily Beast | Chen Guangcheng's New Life In America: A Day In Greenwich Village | May 21, 2012

Feeling the warm sun on his face, blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng relaxed in an outdoor playground with his family Sunday, basking in perfect spring weather—and not having to worry about being beaten or harassed for the first time in years...

In Streets And Online, Campaign Fever In Egypt
David D. Kirkpatrick and Mayy El Sheik, The New York Times | In Streets And Online, Campaign Fever In Egypt | May 21, 2012

“Good morning! Who are you going to vote for?”

That is the new standard Egyptian salutation, said Shafiq Abdel Khaleq, 50, an engineer playing chess at a streetside cafe in the working-class Cairo neighborhood of Sayeda Zeinab.

“There isn’t anyone left who doesn’t talk about politics,” he added, moving a piece.

“But no one knows anything!” replied his opponent, Hussein Zayed, a 53-year-old importer, who then called checkmate...

White House Visitor Logs Provide Window Into Lobbying Industry
T.W. Farnam, The Washington Post | White House Visitor Logs Provide Window Into Lobbying Industry | May 21, 2012

Before 9 a.m., a group of lobbyists began showing up at the White House security gates with the chief executives of their companies, all of whom serve on President Obama’s jobs council, to be checked in for a roundtable with the president.

At 1 p.m., a dozen representatives from the meat industry arrived for a briefing in the New Executive Office Building. At 3 p.m., a handful of lobbyists were lining up for a ceremony honoring the 2011 World Series champions, the St. Louis Cardinals...

Ancient Life, Potentially Millions of Years Old and Barely Alive, Found Beneath Ocean Floor



Call it survival of the slowest: Extraordinarily old, bizarrely low-key bacteria have been found in sediments 100 feet below the sea floor of the Pacific Ocean, far removed from sunlight, fresh nutrients and what humans would consider anything interesting to do.

Some of these organisms, scientists say, could be at least 1,000 years old. Or maybe millions of years.

Their strategy for staying alive is to be barely alive at all. Their metabolism is dialed down to almost nothing, an adaptive advantage in a place with so few resources...

Cataloging Wounds of War to Help Heal Them
C.J. Chivers, The New York Times | Cataloging Wounds of War to Help Heal Them | May 18, 2012

To those unfamiliar with a battlefield’s bleak routine, Col. Michael D. Wirt’s database could be read like a catalog of horrors. In it, more than 500 American soldiers are subjected to characteristic forms of violence of the Afghan war. Faces are smacked with shrapnel, legs are blasted away near knees, bullets pass through young men’s abdomens. Vehicles roll over, crushing bones. Eardrums rupture. Digits are severed. Dozens of soldiers die. Hundreds more begin journeys home, sometimes to treatment that will last the rest of their lives.

Each was listed in a small but meticulous computer entry by Colonel Wirt, a doctor intent on documenting how soldiers were wounded or sickened, how they were treated and how they fared...