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.

An Afghan Interpreter's Flight To America
George Packer. The New Yorker | An Afghan Interpreter's Flight To America | November 15, 2013

Janis Shinwari, the Afghan interpreter I wrote about a couple of months ago, finally had his U.S. visa restored, and he’s now in Virginia with his wife and two children. That’s a success story of sorts. But the effort it took to get them out of danger and over here shows how deep the betrayal of Afghans and Iraqis like Shinwari really runs...

A Lost Hiker Ate His Dog To Survive. Why Does This Infuriate Us So?

Canadian outdoorsman Marco Lavoie spent three months stranded in the wilderness of the Nottaway River in Western Quebec. His plight began when a bear attacked and wrecked his boat, ravaging his supplies. Lavoie’s pet German shepherd apparently helped drive off the bear. Eventually Lavoie, starving and dehydrated, struck his dog on the head with a rock and ate him. Lavoie’s actions earned him a torrent of criticism when he was finally found, 90 pounds thinner and dogless, earlier this month...

I've Got Whooping Cough. Thanks A Lot, Jenny McCarthy.
Julia Ioffe, The New Republic | I've Got Whooping Cough. Thanks A Lot, Jenny McCarthy. | November 15, 2013

At this writing, I have been coughing for 72 days. Not on and off coughing, but continuously, every day and every night, for two and a half months. And not just coughing, but whooping: doubled over, body clenched, sucking violently for air, my face reddening and my eyes watering. Sometimes, I cough so hard, I vomit. Other times, I pee myself...

What You're Not Allowed To Talk About in Washington
Jim Wallis, The Huffington Post | What You're Not Allowed To Talk About in Washington | November 14, 2013

Business leaders, law enforcement officials, and evangelical Christians -- key constituencies that are typically part of the Republican base -- have been at the forefront of immigration reform. Given the obvious benefits of, and broad public support for, immigration reform, why are many arch-conservatives in the House of Representatives refusing to address the issue in a serious way? The answer may point to an issue that we still hesitate to talk about directly: race...

How Republicans Rig The Game
Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone | How Republicans Rig The Game | November 14, 2013

National Republicans have waged an unrelenting campaign to exploit every weakness and anachronism in our electoral system. Through a combination of hyperpartisan redistricting of the House, unprecedented obstructionism in the Senate and racist voter suppression in the states, today's GOP has locked in political power that it could never have secured on a level playing field...

Rejecting Billions, Snapchat Expects A Better Offer
Jenna Wortham, The New York Times | Rejecting Billions, Snapchat Expects A Better Offer | November 14, 2013

What business makes no money, has yet to pass its third anniversary and just turned down an offer worth billions of dollars? Snapchat, a social media service run by a pair of 20-somethings who until last month worked out of a beachfront bungalow in Venice, Calif.

Thanks to today’s rabid rat race for the hottest social media start-ups, Snapchat has joined the list of tech companies — like Tumblr and Instagram — with no money coming in but multiple sky-high takeover offers...

Pictures of Typhoon Haiyans' Wrath
The International New York Times | Pictures of Typhoon Haiyans' Wrath | November 12, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan, which cut a destructive path across the Philippines on Friday, is believed by some climatologists to be the strongest storm to ever make landfall, with winds of at least 140 m.p.h. and a storm surge as high as 13 feet. Thousands are feared dead or missing. The storm has upended the lives of millions, as shown in the following photographs.

Elizabeth Warren's Populist Insurgency Enters Next Phase
David Dayen, Salon | Elizabeth Warren's Populist Insurgency Enters Next Phase | November 12, 2013

Sen. Elizabeth Warren — in many ways the avatar of a new populist insurgency within the Democratic Party that seeks to combine financial reform and economic restoration — will speak later today in Washington at the launch of a new report that marks a key new phase in this movement. Released by Americans for Financial Reform and the Roosevelt Institute – and called “An Unfinished Mission: Making Wall Street Work for Us” — the report is a revelation...

Noah's Wreck: Ark Encounter, A Creationist Theme Park, Is Selling Junk Bonds

Building a full-scale wooden replica of Noah’s Ark forces one to confront a number of conceptual challenges. How, for instance, did Noah keep the ark from capsizing? How did he keep his wardrobe fresh? And how, during all that rain, did he and the animals avoid getting seasonal affective disorder?

Ken Ham believes he has the answers to all these questions and more—and he needs only $73 million to teach them to the world. As president of Answers in Genesis, Ham has already gifted us with a bizarre series of children’s books and an unforgettable creationist museum. The next stage of his quest to convert America to young-Earth creationism is Ark Encounter, a massive creationist amusement park centered around an alleged life-size reconstruction of Noah’s Ark...

The Whole First World War In A Cup Of Tea
Andrew Curry, Slate | The Whole First World War In A Cup Of Tea | November 8, 2013

The excavation of Gallipoli is changing our understanding of how the Great War was fought.

Separated by language, culture, and 9,000 miles of ocean, Australia, New Zealand, and Turkey have little in common—except for a hilly peninsula known as Gallipoli in western Turkey. For nearly nine months in 1915 and 1916, Gallipoli witnessed some of World War I’s most intense fighting. The battle pitted untested troops from former British colonies in the Pacific against Turks fighting to protect their homeland from foreign invasion.


Nearly a century later, Australians, New Zealanders, and Turks all regard the conflict at Gallipoli as a central event in their modern history...