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.

Global Temperatures Highest In 4,000 Years
Justin Gillis, The New York Times | Global Temperatures Highest In 4,000 Years | March 8, 2013

Global temperatures are warmer than at any time in at least 4,000 years, scientists reported Thursday, and over the coming decades are likely to surpass levels not seen on the planet since before the last ice age.

Previous research had extended back roughly 1,500 years, and suggested that the rapid temperature spike of the past century, believed to be a consequence of human activity, exceeded any warming episode during those years. The new work confirms that result while suggesting the modern warming is unique over a longer period.

Even if the temperature increase from human activity that is projected for later this century comes out on the low end of estimates, scientists said, the planet will be at least as warm as it was during the warmest periods of the modern geological era, known as the Holocene, and probably warmer than that...

Nora Ephron's Final Act
Jacob Bernstein, The New York Times Magazine | Nora Ephron's Final Act | March 7, 2013

At 10 p.m. on a Friday night in a private room on the 14th Floor of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital on 68th and York Avenue, my mother was lying in her bed hallucinating, in that dream space people go on their way to being gone.

She spoke of seeing trees, possibly a forest. And she mentioned to Nick, my stepfather, that she had been to the theater where her play was showing and that the audience was full. In reality, she had not left the hospital in a month, and the play, “Lucky Guy,” was nearly a year away from opening.

My brother, Max, and I stood there in disbelief. Though it had been weeks since her blood count showed any sign of improvement, the gravity of the situation had crept up on us. Mom’s housekeeper, Linda Diaz, who had worked for her for 25 years, was in the corner sobbing...

Repent, Dick Cheney
Maureen Dowd, The New York Times | Repent, Dick Cheney | March 6, 2013

Dick Cheney certainly gives certainty a black eye.

In a documentary soon to appear on Showtime, “The World According to Dick Cheney,” America’s most powerful and destructive vice president woos history by growling yet again that he was right and everyone else was wrong.

R. J. Cutler, who has done documentaries on the Clinton campaign war room and Anna Wintour’s Vogue war paint room, now chronicles Cheney’s war boom.

“If I had to do it over again,” the 72-year-old says chillingly of his reign of error, “I’d do it over in a minute.”...

Missing Soviet soldier, Bakhretdin Khakimov, Found Living In Afghanistan 33 Years After Invasion

A war veteran who disappeared during the 1980 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan has been found -- 33 years later.

According to a HuffPost translation of Russian-language news service RIA Novosti, the missing Soviet soldier, Bakhretdin Khakimov, lived a semi-nomadic life in Afghanistan during the three decades after he was wounded in battle. Adopting the name Sheikh Abdullah, the war vet was recently found living with locals in Herat, a province in western Afghanistan...

Bumpy Start For A Court Cloaked In Grandeur
Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Book Review | Bumpy Start For A Court Cloaked In Grandeur | March 5, 2013

A review of Sandra Day O'Connor's Out of Order:

The reason to read “Out of Order” is to get Justice O’Connor’s succinct, snappy account of how today’s court — so powerful, so controversial and so frequently dissected by the media — evolved from such startlingly humble and uncertain beginnings that it initially seemed like a jerry-built enterprise constructed on entirely ad hoc principles...

Denis Rodman And Diplomatic Dystopia
Ian Crouch, The New Yorker | Denis Rodman And Diplomatic Dystopia | March 5, 2013

The United States’ new top diplomat made his first official trip overseas last week, becoming the highest-profile American to visit with a young and enigmatic totalitarian dictator since the dictator was installed in power following the death of his father. After his trip, the diplomat, who, years before, had been a talented athlete, and who once wore a wedding dress to a press event promoting his autobiography, returned home and explained the nuances of the leader’s worldview to a high-ranking member of a recent Presidential Administration who now hosts a morning variety show. The diplomat brought good news: the dictator had promised peace, which in translation came out as, “I don’t want to do war. I don’t want to do war.”...

In Medical First, A Baby With H.I.V. Is Deemed Cured
Andrew Pollack and Donald G. McNeil, Jr., The New York Times | In Medical First, A Baby With H.I.V. Is Deemed Cured | March 3, 2013

Doctors announced on Sunday that a baby had been cured of an H.I.V. infection for the first time, a startling development that could change how infected newborns are treated and sharply reduce the number of children living with the virus that causes AIDS.

The baby, born in rural Mississippi, was treated aggressively with antiretroviral drugs starting around 30 hours after birth, something that is not usually done. If further study shows this works in other babies, it will almost certainly be recommended globally. The United Nations estimates that 330,000 babies were newly infected in 2011, the most recent year for which there is data, and that more than three million children globally are living with H.I.V....

Scientists Think They've Found A Lost Continent In The Indian Ocean

William Blake saw the universe in a grain of sand. A team of geologists saw a continent.

In a paper published online Monday in Nature Geoscience, an international research team reports that it has found evidence of a lost "microcontinent" in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar. The scientists analyzed sands they found on the beaches of the island nation of Mauritius and found traces of an ancient mineral called zircon. That's noteworthy because Mauritius is a relatively young, volcanic island, while zircon is typically found in much older, continental crust...

Holocaust Just Got More Shocking
Eric Lichtblau, The New York Times | Holocaust Just Got More Shocking | March 2, 2013

Thirteen years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.

The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945...

The Kimchi-ite: A Stroll Through The Infamous Gangnam
Jonathan Kramer, Gadling | The Kimchi-ite: A Stroll Through The Infamous Gangnam | February 28, 2013

Possibly the most famous thing to ever come out of Seoul, "Gangnam Style" has become one of the few things most people in the world know about South Korea. Judging by the more than 1.3 billion views Psy's music video currently has on YouTube, the most viewed video on the site, I can assume that if you haven't seen it multiple times, you have at least heard of it. I'm only just now, able to walk around my neighborhood without hearing it emanating from some convenience store, restaurant or clothing stand, almost 7 months after its first release...