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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.

Turning Over The Internet's Rocks To Expose What Creeps Beneath
Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review | Virtual Unreality | July 1, 2014

Charles Seife is a pop historian who writes about mathematics and science, but his abiding theme, the topic that makes his heart leap like one of Jules Feiffer’s dancers in the springtime, is human credulity...Mr. Seife’s new book, “Virtual Unreality,” is about how digital untruths spread like contagion across our laptops and smartphones. The author is unusually qualified to write on this subject, and not merely because his surname is nearly an anagram for “selfie.”...

The Fraught Friendship Of T.S. Eliot And Groucho Marx
Lee Siegel, The New Yorker | The Fraught Friendship Of T.S. Eliot And Groucho Marx | June 30, 2014

In 1961, T. S. Eliot wrote Groucho Marx a fan letter requesting a photograph of the comic actor and humorist. Groucho enthusiastically complied, and the two continued to correspond until they finally met, in June of 1964, in London, when Groucho and his fourth wife, Eden, went to the Eliots’ house for dinner. So far as I know, Eliot never gave a public account of what transpired that evening. Groucho, though, described the occasion in a letter that he wrote to his brother Gummo the following day...

Pancakes And Pickaninnies: The Sage Of Sambo's, The 'Racist' Restaurant Chain America Once Loved
Andrew Romano, The Daily Beast | The Sambo's Saga | June 23, 2014

Not too long ago, Sambo's had 1,117 locations in 47 states -- and a reputation for pushing racist iconography along with its breakfasts...

Not too long ago, right here in America, there was a restaurant called Sambo’s. That’s Sambo: as in, the racist slur for a loyal and contented black servant. Or Sambo: as in, The Story of Little Black Sambo—the controversial 1899 children’s book by Helen Bannerman about a dark-skinned South Indian boy that eventually came to be seen as emblematic of black “pickaninny” stereotypes...

Why I Left '60 Minutes'
Charles Lewis, Politico | Why I Left '60 Minutes' | June 30, 2014

The big networks say they care about uncovering the truth. That's not what I saw.

Ernest Hemingway famously said that "the most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have it."...

How 'Doug' Pioneered A New Era Of Kids' TV (And Taught Us A Few Lessons Along The Way)
Lauren Duca, The Huffington Post | The 'Doug' Story | June 29, 2014

There was nothing like "Doug" prior to 1990. Most of what came before the rise of the new order of Nicktoons -- "Ren And Stimpy" and "Rugrats" -- consisted of pre-approved ideas, taken to the small screen after they had already been widely popularized. That's not to say there wasn't variation, but there was no original content. Shows like "Ninja Turtles" and "Charlie Brown" were taken from comics that came long before their characters found a way to your Saturday morning tube...

'Degree Mills' Are Exploiting Veterans And Making Millikons Off The GI Bill
Aaron Glantz, The Daily Beast | G.I. Bill Racket | June 28, 2014

he GI Bill, designed to help veterans live the American dream, is being gobbled up by for-profit colleges that spend lavishly on marketing but can leave veterans with worthless degrees.

Nowhere is this a bigger problem than in California, where nearly 2 out of every 3 GI Bill dollars go to for-profit companies—institutions created to make money...

The Girl From Ipanema Is Not Alone: Rio's Famous Beach Is A Rich, Cultural Kaleidoscope
Brandon Presser, The Daily Beast | The Girl From Ipanema | June 26, 2014

Bikini models, tweens, drug dealers, and hawker tycoons; Ipanema -- the world's most famous beach -- is so much more than its famous "girl" from that song...

A SWAT Team Blew A Hole In My 2-Year-Old-Son
Alecia Phonesvanh, Salon | Bou Bou's Story | June 25, 2014

That's right: Officers threw a flashbang grenade in my son's crib -- and left a hole in his chest. It gets worse...

The Secret Suarez In All Of Us
Michael Bloomfield, The Guardian | The Secret Suarez In All Of Us | June 25, 2014

Luis Suarez has been accused of biting another football player. As a psychiatrist I'd ask if primitive Freudian urges explain his behavior...

The End Of The Hipster: How Flat Caps And Beards Stopped Being So Cool
Morwenna Ferrier, The Observer | The End Of The Hipster | June 23, 2014

Meet Josh. Josh is a 30-year-old artist/chef who lives in a converted warehouse in Hackney, east London. Josh has a beard, glasses and cares about the provenance of his coffee. He pays his tax, doesn't have a 9-to-5 job and, along with his five polymathic flatmates, shuns public transport, preferring to ride a bike...