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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.

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?...

Grim Evidence of Fighting's Toll Becomes Clearer in Libya
Anthony Shadid and Kareem Fahim, The New York Times | Grim Evidence of Fighting's Toll Becomes Clearer in Libya | August 27, 2011

As the fighting died down in Tripoli on Friday, the scope and savagery of the violence during the nearly weeklong battle for control of the capital began to come into sharper focus...

CEO, COO, CFO, WTF
Jeremy Singer-Vine, Slate Explainer | CEO, COO, CFO, WTF | August 27, 2011

When did we start naming corporate honchos with three letters?...

Inside the Gaddafis' Lair
Babak Dehghanpisheh, The Daily Beast | Inside the Gaddafis' Lair | August 27, 2011

Babak Dehghanpisheh visited a Gaddafi family home this morning and discovered a secret palace hidden behind an ordinary facade. Read about the garden labyrinth, 40-foot-deep bunker, hot tub, waterfall, Playboy magazine collection, yachting brochures and an empty box of Coronas...

What's the Deal With the New Libyan Flag?
Eoin O'Carroll, The Christian Science Monitor | What's the Deal With the New Libyan Flag? | August 25, 2011

Until recently, the flag of Libya held a special place in the hearts of vexillophiles as The World's Most Boring Flag. That's because it was nothing but a green rectangle, with no markings of any kind. But starting in February, a new flag – red, black, and green with a white star and crescent in the center – has been hoisted at Libyan embassies around the world, from Switzerland to Bangladesh. It is the same flag being flown by the jubilant rebels themselves as they descend on Tripoli. So what's the deal with this new flag? Is there a Libyan Betsy Ross among the rebels? Where did it come from?...

Zoo Mystery: How Did Apes and Birds Know Quake Was Coming?
Joel Achenbach, The Washington Post | Zoo Mystery: How Did Apes and Birds Know Quake Was Coming? | August 25, 2011

Her name is Iris, and with her straight, elegant, red-orange hair she is beyond dispute the prettiest orangutan at the National Zoo. She’s calm, quiet, unflappable. “Iris lives the life of a queen,” says great-ape keeper Amanda Bania.

On Tuesday afternoon, the queen lost her cool.

It happened a little before 2 p.m. Primate keeper K.C. Braesch was standing just a few feet away when Iris emitted a loud, guttural cry, known to scientists as belch-vocalizing. Iris then scrambled to the top of her enclosure...

At Temple Mount, Glenn Beck Draws Crowd of Hundreds
Isabel Kershner, The New York Times | At Temple Mount, Glenn Beck Draws Crowd of Hundreds | August 25, 2011

Sounding more preacher than commentator, the American conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck held a rally on Wednesday by a hotly contested holy site here and proclaimed the beginning of a global movement to support Israel, putting its Muslim opponents on notice...

New Clashes Erupt Around Qaddafi Site
David D. Kirkpatrick, Kareen Fahim and Alan Cowell, The New York Times | New Clashes Erupt Arund Qaddafi Site | August 23, 2011

The crackle of gunfire and the rumble of explosions spread across Tripoli in renewed fighting on Tuesday, and Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi remained at large hours after his son Seif al-Islam made a surprise appearance at a hotel with foreign journalists, taunting the rebels who have invaded the city, claiming his father is safe and urging loyalist forces to resist...