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.

Joplin Tornado Volunteers Seek Out Owners of 27,000 Photos Found In Rubble
Sharon Cohen, The Huffington Post | Joplin Tornado Volunteers Seek Out Owners of 27,000 Photos Found In Rubble | August 21, 2011

White-gloved workers line the long tables, carefully sifting through photos of proms and weddings, baby's first day, proud soldiers in their uniforms. They gently clean off any dirt, dry rain-damaged pictures – and salvage a city's lost treasures. The history of Joplin, Mo., is slowly coming into focus here, one snapshot, one portrait at a time. A church room in this nearby town has been converted into collection central for more than 27,000 photos buried or blown away in the monster May tornado that left 160 dead and obliterated a third of Joplin...

Mapping Antarctic Ice In Motion
Felicity Barringer, The New York Times | Mapping Antarctice Ice In Motion | August 19, 2011

Put the arguments over how fast Antarctic ice is melting to one side for the moment. The latest study of the southern continent, by a group of scientists led by Eric Rignot of the University of California, Irvine, shows how fast the ice rivers are moving and where they are going...

Unlikely Echo of Ghandhi Inspires Indians to Act
Jim Yardley, The New York Times | Unlikely Echo of Gandhi Inspires Indians to Act | August 19, 2011

In a “new” India often obsessed with wealth and status, where cricket batsmen and Bollywood movie stars are wildly idolized, Anna Hazare is a figure from an earlier, seemingly discarded era. His pointed white cap and simple white cotton clothes evoke a Gandhian simplicity. His rural, homespun demeanor ordinarily might elicit snickers from India’s urban elite...

Why Did Japan Surrender?
Gareth Cook, The Boston Globe | Why Did Japan Surrender? | August 19, 2011

Sixty-six years ago, we dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. Now, some historians say that's not what ended the war...

Bashing E.P.A. Is New Theme in G.O.P. Race
John M. Broder | Bashing E.P.A. Is New Theme in G.O.P. Race | August 18, 2011

The Environmental Protection Agency is emerging as a favorite target of the Republican presidential candidates, who portray it as the very symbol of a heavy-handed regulatory agenda imposed by the Obama administration that they say is strangling the economy...

Michele Bachmann: Crazy Like A Fox
Tim Murphy, Mother Jones | Michele Bachmann: Crazy like A Fox | August 18, 2011

She won the Ames straw poll on Saturday and is the clear favorite to win the Iowa caucuses in January. There's a method to Michele Bachmann's madness...

My Mother, The Hamburger U. Professor
Julia Langbein, GILT / Salon | My Mother, The Hamburger U. Professor | August 17, 2011

Mom went from Finnish farm girl to McDonald's teacher. Only now do I realize how hard the transition must have been...

A Life Unraveled: Whistleblower Who Incurred Wrath of the Murdoch Empire

Relentless legal pursuit of ex-News Corp employee likened to 'Rambo tactics'...

Resistance Transforms a Once Mute Syrian City
Anthony Shadid, The New York Times | Resistance Transforms a Once Mute Syrian City | August 17, 2011

The narrower the streets of this city, a caldron of revolt and resistance against four decades of rule by the Assad family, the blunter the graffiti becomes. It is scrawled on walls, garbage bins, phone booths, doors and even tree trunks, as a city that was long quiescent declares these days that it will no longer stay quiet.

"We won't bow to anyone but God," says one slogan...

Untold Story of the Bay of Pigs
Robert Dallek, Newsweek Magazine | Untold Story of the Bay of Pigs | August 16, 2011

Newly declassified CIA documents reveal new blunders and how close America came to war during the failed invasion of Cuba...