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.

A Pretty Good Year For Government
George Packer, The New Yorker | The Bright Side | December 23, 2014

Here's a consolation to carry into next year, and the next election: in 2014, the maligned, left-for-dead U.S. government worked pretty well...

'Ready For Romney' Is Amateur Hour
Tim Mak, The Daily Beast | Romneyland Abuzz | December 23, 2014

Romneyland is abuzz over the new super-PAC -- and not in a good way. Why a 26-year-old with no ties to the 2012 GOP nominee and no campaign experience has them worried...

The Lesson Of The SONY Hack: We Should All Jump To The 'Erasable Internet'
Frhad Manjoo, The New York Times | The 'Erasable Internet' | December 18, 2014

This month’s news provides yet another occasion for a friendly public-service reminder to anyone who uses a digital device to say anything to anyone, ever. Don’t do it. Don’t email, don’t text, don’t update, don’t send photos. At least, don’t do it if you have any expectation that what you say will remain private...

One Woman Is Responsible For Starting Nickelodeon's Golden Age Of Cartoons
Lauren Duca, The Huffington Post | Coffey's Vision: Golden Age Of Cartoons | December 18, 2014

It seemed like Nickelodeon didn't have any plans to start work on animation before Vanessa Coffey showed up in 1988...

There's Nothing Like Train Travel For Tossing Together People Who'd Never Otherwise Meet
Jennifer Finney Boylan, Salon | Train Travel | December 18, 2014

I spent 17 days this fall traveling the country by train as one of Amtrak’s inaugural crop of “Writers in Residence,” a program that fills otherwise unoccupied sleeper berths with authors...

Kandinsky At 148: A Rebolutionary Google Doodle Star
Jonathan Jones, The Guardian | Kandinsky At 148 | December 16, 2014

The great abstract artist's paintings are spiritual symphonies that reveal hidden truths and speak directly to our senses and feelings...

I Was Gang-Raped At A U-VA Frat 30 Years Ago, And No One Did Anything
Liz Securro, The Daily Beast | I Was Gang-Raped At A U-VA Frat... | December 16, 2014

I was gang-raped at the University of Virginia. I was gang raped at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house...

Should Writers Respond To Their Critics?
James Parker and Zoe Heller, The New York Times | Should Writers Respond? | December 16, 2014

Getting a bad review is no longer an elite experience. We've all been trolled, oafed, flambeed in some thread somewhere...

Sprouting Feathers And Lost Teeth: Scientists Map The Evolution Of Birds
Ian Sample, The Guardian | Avian Family Tree | December 12, 2014

Mass genome sequencing reveals avian family tree -- and how imitative birdsong gives birds genetic similarities to humans...

Top 10 Things To Love About Letterman's Top Ten Lists
Ben Blatt, Slate | Slate | December 11, 2014

10. Their topicality 9. Their absurdity 8. Their longevity 7. Their irreverence 6. Their silliness 5. Their brevity 4. Their self-deprecation 3. Their surprise 1. Regis.