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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.

Apocalypse on Capitol Hill: Lawmakers Who Love to Vote No
David A. Fahrenthold, The Washington Post | Apocalypse on Capitol Hill: Lawmakers Who Love to Vote No | October 5, 2011

On Capitol Hill, they are the apocalypse caucus. Twenty lawmakers, from both parties, who calculate that the best way to fix government is to act as if you wouldn’t mind if it burned down...

The Pathological Altruist Gives Till Someone Hurts
Natalie Angier, The New York Times | The Pathological Altruist Gives Till Someone Hurts | October 5, 2011

Some years ago, Dr. Robert A. Burton was the neurologist on call at a San Francisco hospital when a high-profile colleague from the oncology department asked him to perform a spinal tap on an elderly patient with advanced metastatic cancer. The patient had seemed a little fuzzy-headed that morning, and the oncologist wanted to check for meningitis or another infection that might be treatable with antibiotics...

Occupy Wall Street: Flash in the Pan or Beginning of a Movement?
Gloria Goodale, The Christian Science Monitor | Occupy Wall Street: Flash in the Pan or Beginning of a Movement? | October 4, 2011

A growth spurt sent the Occupy Wall Street movement sprawling across the U.S. and into other countries. It's showing greater organization and widening appeal. Will it hold together?...

'Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?' : The Provocateur Toure Has a Few Ideas.
J. Freedom du Lac, The Washington Post | 'Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?' "|: The Provocateur Toure has a Few Ideas | October 4, 2011

Ablack man is guided to a table at a pub in Harvard Square. He is surrounded by white people. He sees fried chicken on the lunch menu. Does he dare order it?

Touré shrugs. “I’ll have the fried chicken,” he tells the waiter. Hold the stereotypes....

Can Answers to Evolution Be Found in Slime?
Carl Zimmer, The New York Times | Can Answers to Evolution Be Found in Slime? | October 4, 2011

Most of the aliens that come out of Hollywood don’t really look alien at all. They may have pizza-size eyes or roachlike antennae, but their oddities are draped on a familiar humanoid frame. If you want to find life forms that truly seem otherworldly, your local forest is a much better place than your local cineplex. It is home to creatures that are immensely old, fundamentally bizarre and capable of startlingly sophisticated behavior. They are the slime molds...

Julian Assange: Statement...
Julian Assange, Wikileaks | Julian Assange: Statement... | October 3, 2011

Julian Assange: Statement on the unauthorised, secret publishing of the Julian Assange 'autobiography' by Canongate...

State for Sale
Jane Mayer, The New Yorker | State for Sale | October 3, 2011

A conservative multimillionaire has taken control in North Carolina, one of 2012's top battlegrounds...

The Perfect Day
Jon Katz, Slate | The Perfect Day | October 3, 2011

It is possible to take something beautiful and lasting out of the heart-wrenching experience of seeing the animal you love move inexorably toward death. Nobody can take the grief away, nor should anyone try, but our love for animals is nothing but a gift, and it keeps on giving, even when they go home...

Our Unprepared Graduates
Kathleen Parker, Washington Post Opinion | Our Unprepared Graduates | October 3, 2011

Jobs, jobs, jobs, we keep hearing. But for whom, whom, whom? Certainly not for the many young Americans being graduated from colleges that have prepared them inadequately for the competitive marketplace. The failure of colleges and universities to teach basic skills, while coddling them with plush dorms and self-directed “study,” is a dot-connecting exercise for Uncle Shoulda, who someday will say — in Chinese — “How could we have let this happen?”...

The Documentary Palin Will Hate
Marlow Stern, The Daily Beast | The Documentary Palin Will Hate | October 3, 2011

In-your-face focumentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield turns his uncompromising lens on former Alaska governor in 'Sarah Palin: You Betcha!'...