Daily_briefing_toon

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.

Your Prius' Deepest, Darkest Secret
Kiera Butler, Mother Jones | Your Prius' Deepest, Darkest Secret | November 15, 2011

So you're considering buying a hybrid car. Or maybe you already have. Good for you! You're saving a bundle on gas and reducing your environmental footprint at the same time. But fuel isn't the only natural resource that your car requires. Its motor also contains a small amount of neodymium, one of 17 elements listed at the very bottom of the periodic table. Known as the rare earths, these minerals are key to all kinds of green technology...

Farmer Cultivates His Hmong Roots in Fresno
Diana Marcu, Los Angeles Times | Farmer Cultivates His Hmong Roots in Fresno | November 14, 2011

In a different country and different language, Pang Chang's father told him that if he wanted to survive year-to-year, grow vegetables. But for long-term fortune? Plant trees.

So in the flat, open Central Valley, where the summers burn and the winters can bring freezing snaps, Chang grows mangoes, papayas, 20 varieties of guava — some never before cultivated in the U.S. — and jujubes. Not to be confused with the jelly candy sold as movie snacks...

Gloria Steinem: "I think we need to get much angrier"
Rachel Cooke, The Guardian | Gloria Steinem: "I think we need to get much angrier" | November 14, 2011

Gloria Steinem has been an outspoken figure on behalf of women's rights and the pro-choice movement for half a century. Here, she talks about her opposition to cosmetic surgery and her ambivalence about President Obama...

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Shifting to College Campuses
Malia Wollan and Elizabeth A. Harris, The New York Times | Occupy Wall Street Protesters Shifting to College Campuses | November 14, 2011

 

Goodbye, city park, hello, college green. As city officials around the country move to disband Occupy Wall Street encampments amid growing concerns over health and public safety, protesters have begun to erect more tents on college campuses...

Lives During Wartime
Home Fires, The New York Times | Lives During Wartime | November 11, 2011

Last week, the editors of Home Fires invited readers to send their recollections and photographs of members of the United States Armed Forces in acknowledgment of Veterans Day. Below is a selection of those remembrances submitted by friends and family of veterans, and from veterans themselves...

Should Penn State Cancel Its Season?
Room for Debate, The New York Times | Should Penn State Cancel Its Season? | November 11, 2011

Many Penn State students are angry over the firing of their legendary football coach, Joe Paterno. But a rising number of voices outside the university say the school should go further and cancel Saturday’s game or the rest of the football season altogether, in light of the outrage over the university’s handling of sex-crime accusations against a former assistant coach to Paterno. Should Penn State cancel its remaining games?...

11/11/11: The Greatest Binary Day Of All
Dean Praetorius, The Huffington Post | 11/11/11: The Greatest Binary Day Of All | November 11, 2011

November 11, 2011, (or 11/11/11) will be your last binary day for almost a century, so enjoy it while it lasts. We know we will.

Don't know what a binary day is? It's a date that consists of only 1's and 0's when written in mm/dd/yy format (or dd/mm/yy for our European readers). "Binary years" have only 9 such dates, meaning there are only 36 binary days in a century...

Why We Need 'Negropedia'
Ned Vizzini, The Daily Beast | Why We Need 'Negropedia' | November 10, 2011

In 2008, people were talking about a 'post-racial America. But now that race is back at center stage, the times are ripe for Patrice Evans' Negropedia, a funny/serious dissection of the racial landscape...

Euro Fears Spread to Italy as the Debt Crisis Deepens
Steven Erlanger, The New York Times | Euro Fears Spread to Italy as the Debt Crisis Deepens | November 10, 2011

Since the start of the euro crisis two years ago, the big fear has been contagion, that market unease about the high debt and slow growth in Europe’s southern rim would infect the core. On Wednesday, contagion arrived with brute force...

The Tweaker: The Real Genius of Steve Jobs
Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker | The Tweaker: The Real Genius of Steve Jobs | November 10, 2011

Not long after Steve Jobs got married, in 1991, he moved with his wife to a nineteen-thirties, Cotswolds-style house in old Palo Alto. Jobs always found it difficult to furnish the places where he lived. His previous house had only a mattress, a table, and chairs. He needed things to be perfect, and it took time to figure out what perfect was. This time, he had a wife and family in tow, but it made little difference. “We spoke about furniture in theory for eight years,” his wife, Laurene Powell, tells Walter Isaacson, in “Steve Jobs,” Isaacson’s enthralling new biography of the Apple founder. “We spent a lot of time asking ourselves, ‘What is the purpose of a sofa?’ ”...