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 Terror Behind Our Grief: What We Talk About When We Talk About Robin Williams
Peter Finocchiaro, Salon | The Terror Behind Our Grief | August 20, 2014

Our sadness about the deaths of celebrities is about a lot more than just mourning their loss...

Courageous Filmmakers Are Fighting Ebola On Screen
Abby Haglage, The Daily Beast | Fighting Ebola On Screen | August 20, 2014

The people of Sierra Leone have little faith in the government or foreign doctors, so courageous local filmmakers are showing people how to do battle with Ebola...

The Most Wanted Man In The World
James Bamford, Wired | Most Wanted Man | August 18, 2014

The message arrives on my “clean machine,” a MacBook Air loaded only with a sophisticated encryption package. “Change in plans,” my contact says. “Be in the lobby of the Hotel ______ by 1 pm. Bring a book and wait for ES to find you.” 

ES is Edward Snowden, the most wanted man in the world...



Seeds Of Doubt
Michael Specter, The New Yorker | Seeds Of Doubt | August 18, 2014

...Shiva’s fiery opposition to globalization and to the use of genetically modified crops has made her a hero to anti-G.M.O. activists everywhere. The purpose of the trip through Europe, she had told me a few weeks earlier, was to focus attention there on “the voices of those who want their agriculture to be free of poison and G.M.O.s.”

Amazon's Russell Grandinetti: Kindle Champ Takes On The Books Trade
Edward Helmore, The Observer | Grandinetti vs. Publishers | August 18, 2014

Why are some of the world's most widely read authors now at daggers drawn with Amazon? The answer lies in Jeff Bezos's chief lieutenant, now the most powerful man in publishing...

The Guardian
The Guardian | August 1, 2014
Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor | August 1, 2014
PBS Newshour
PBS Newshour | August 1, 2014
Downsizing The War: Layoffs And Yardsales In Afghanistan
Nick Willard, The Daily Beast | Downsizing The War In Afghanistan | August 1, 2014

The signs of a dying war are everywhere in Afghanistan. An officer serving there reports on the layoffs and yard sales that mark the strange last days of American's longest war.

On July 8, a suicide bomber killed four Czech soldiers, two Afghan security forces, and at least 12 civilians a few miles outside Bagram Airfield. The bombing left another Czech soldier and eight others wounded. The U.N. reported that at least 10 of those killed, and six of the wounded, were children. The base called for blood donors, and the line of volunteers wrapped around the building within minutes...

Research Plan On Bear Bile Medicine Is Hailed By Animal Activists
Shaojie Huang, The New York Times | Synthetic Bear Bile | August 1, 2014

China’s leading producer of bear bile pharmaceuticals says it is searching for synthetic alternatives, a move hailed by animal welfare advocates.

Bear bile, an ingredient prized in traditional Chinese medicine, is harvested from caged live bears through tubes inserted into their gall bladders, a practice animals welfare activists decry as cruel. About 10,000 bears are kept in bile farms in China...