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.

Zen Pencils: Roger Ebert
Gavin Aung Than, Zen Pencils | Zen Pencils | April 15, 2014

"Kindness covers all of my political beliefs..."

This Fish Crawled Out Of The Water...And Into Creationists' Nightmares
Chris Mooney, Mother Jones | Your Inner Fish | April 14, 2014

Some 375 million years ago, Tiktaalik emerged onto land. Today, explains paleontologist Neil Shubin, we're all walking around in modified fish bodies...

In Deep: The Dark And Dangerous World Of Extreme Cavers
Burkhard Bilger, The New Yorker | Extreme Cavers | April 14, 2014

On his thirteenth day underground, when he’d come to the edge of the known world and was preparing to pass beyond it, Marcin Gala placed a call to the surface. He’d travelled more than three miles through the earth by then, over stalagmites and boulder fields, cave-ins and vaulting galleries. He’d spidered down waterfalls, inched along crumbling ledges, and bellied through tunnels so tight that his back touched the roof with every breath. Now he stood at the shore of a small, dark pool under a dome of sulfurous flowstone. He felt the weight of the mountain above him—a mile of solid rock—and wondered if he’d ever find his way back again. It was his last chance to hear his wife and daughter’s voices before the cave swallowed him up...

Leaner And More Efficient, British Printers Push Forward In Digital Age
Georgi Kantchev, The New York Times | On Printing | April 14, 2014

At a media conference a few years ago, the editor of The Guardian newspaper, contemplating the future of print, recalled his paper’s installation of its newest presses in 2005. “I had a feeling in my bones that they might be the last,” said the editor, Alan Rusbridger...

"America As The No. 1 Warmonger": President Jimmy Carter Talks To Salon About Race, Cable News, "Slut-Shaming" And More
David Daley, Salon | Carter's Call To Action | April 10, 2014

Exclusive: The former president on Democrats' white male problem, sexual assault on campus, Barack Obama and more...

All You Need To Be A Modern Digital Stalker Is A Smartphone
Tauriq Moosa, The Daily Beast | Smartphone Stalkers | April 10, 2014

Smartphones have turned us into creeps—snapping strangers’ photos, tweeting about the person next to us on the train, updating a status to disapprove of a sidewalk passer-by. It’s time to check ourselves...

It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing a photograph of yourself, taken without your knowledge. It’s a realization of vulnerability: you didn’t even notice someone using a device aimed at you. That particular moment now exists “forever.” Where Lincoln has a statue, you have a picture of yourself mid-sneeze. Or perhaps, like Sophie Wilkinson, a picture of you halfway through eating a meal...

Peter Matthiessen's Homegoing
Jeff Himmelman, The New York Times Magazine | Peter Matthiessen's Homegoing | April 9, 2014

This article was published online and printed in the Magazine before Mr. Matthiessen died on Saturday April 5.

Out the Montauk Highway, south toward the water, then a quick right before the beach and you’re there, at the Sagaponack house where the author and Zen teacher Peter Matthiessen has lived for the last 60 years...

Famed Jesuit Priest Abducted, Beaten And Executed In Syria
Mitchell Prothero, McClatchy Foreign Staff | Jesuit Priest Executed | April 8, 2014

An activist Jesuit priest who spent three years living alongside besieged civilians and rebels in the Syrian city of Homs was assassinated Monday, according to the Vatican, which said he was abducted by unidentified gunmen who beat him before executing him in front of his monastery.

Father Francis Van Der Lugt, 75, a Dutch Jesuit priest, came to Syria in 1966 and eventually founded a home for children and adults with mental disabilities outside Homs...

Crossing Christie
Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker | Crossing Christie | April 8, 2014

What the bridge scandal says about the Governor's political style, and his future...

Goodbye, Oil: US Navy Cracks New Renewable Energy Technology To Turn Seawater Into Fuel, Allowing Ships To Stay At Sea Longer
Christopher Harress, The International Business Times | Fuel From Seawater | April 8, 2014

After decades of experiments, U.S. Navy scientists believe they may have solved one of the world’s great challenges: how to turn seawater into fuel.

The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel could one day relieve the military’s dependence on oil-based fuels and is being heralded as a “game changer” because it could allow military ships to develop their own fuel and stay operational 100 percent of the time, rather than having to refuel at sea.

The new fuel is initially expected to cost around $3 to $6 per gallon, according to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which has already flown a model aircraft on it...