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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.

Meet the Glamorous Celebrity Tutors of Hong Kong
Hillary Brenhouse, Slate | Meet the Glamorous Celebrity Tutors of Hong Kong | August 31, 2011

It's a Saturday evening, and 45 teenagers have gathered here to watch Richard Eng perform. Some days he'll play to three or four times as many kids, his high cheekbones and bright teeth projected on flat-screen TVs. Tonight, the bangs that sweep in a copper-streaked diagonal across his forehead are frozen in place with what looks to be a copious amount of hair spray...

The History of the World in Two Minutes or Less
Linda Yablonsky, The New YorK Times | The History of the World in Two Minutes or Less | August 30, 2011

For the artist Marco Brambilla, any debate over the origins of life is wasted breath. God didn’t create humankind, nor did it evolve by Darwinian means. Hollywood made it happen. And, in typical Hollywood style, Brambilla is remaking it — in 3-D. He’s also cut the story of human history down to about 90 seconds...

How Hard Is It To Get a Cartoon Into The New Yorker?
James Sturm, Slate | How Hard Is It To Get a Cartoon into The New Yorker? | August 30, 2011

It was a Tuesday in July and I was sitting in the "cartoonist lounge" on the 20th floor of the Condé Nast building in Times Square with an envelope containing 10 drawings: my first cartoon submissions to The New Yorker. Every Tuesday is judgment day, the day Robert Mankoff, the magazine's cartoon editor, meets with cartoonists face to face...

Dick Cheney's Memoir: How to Think (and Satirize) Like a Cartoonist
Michael Cavna, The Washington Post | Dick Cheney's Memoir: How to think (and satirize) like a cartoonist | August 30, 2011

It’s no wonder that when taking on the former vice president’s memoir, the critical cartoonist is likely to exploit one of the few most ready Cheney associations that the general public holds, rightly or wrongly...

String of Accidents Could Leave International Space Station Without Crew
Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor | String of Accidents Could Leave International Space Station Without Crew | August 29, 2011

When the International Space Station's crew departs this fall, the station could be left unmanned. Flights there have been halted until the cause of last wek's spae freighter crash is determined...

Vermont Battles Floods in Irene's Aftermath
Dave Gram, Burlington Free Press | Vermont Battles Floods in Irene's Aftermath | August 29, 2011

Vermont towns battled floods of historic proportions, utility crews struggled to restore power to 5 million people along the East Coast, and big-city commuters coped with transit-system disruptions Monday as the rainy remnants of Hurricane Irene finally spun into Canada....

Europe's Big Mistake
James Surowiecki, The New Yorker | Europe's Big Mistake | August 29, 2011

One might have thought that the E.C.B. would learn from the experience. No such luck...

Hurricane Prep: Are you smarter than a storm tracker?
Jacob Turcotte, The Christian Science Monitor | Hurricane Prep: Are you smarter than a storm tracker? | August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene is one of the biggest hurricanes to hit the U.S. East Coast in years. But how much do you know about these powerful storms?...

A Body Blow Against Al-Qaeda
David Ignatius, Washington Post Opinion | A Body Blow Against Al-Qaeda | August 28, 2011

The death of Atiyah Abd al-Rahman in an Aug. 22 drone attack in Pakistan may appear to be just another in the revolving-door fatalities among al-Qaeda’s operations chiefs. But it was a crucial blow to the core group that once surrounded Osama bin Laden...

Global Warming's Heavy Cost
Bill McKibben, The Daily Beast | Global Warming's Heavy Cost | August 28, 2011

Irene’s got a middle name, and it’s Global Warming.

As she roars up the Eastern Seaboard, everyone is doing what they should—boarding windows, preparing rescue plans, stocking up on batteries. But a lot of people are also wondering: what’s a “tropical” storm doing heading for the snow belt?...