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.

Marijuana Shoppers Flock To Colorado For First Legal Recreational Sales

"This is going to be a turning point in the drug war," says one customer at a cannabis dispensary, "a beginning of the peace."...


Photographing Hiroshima, Fukushima And Everything In Between
Hiroyuki Ito, The New York Times | Photographing Hiroshima, Fukushima And Everything In Between | January 2, 2014

Kikujiro Fukushima’s life in photography took off when he promised to avenge the Hiroshima bombing. It was 1952, and Mr. Fukushima — a watchmaker, volunteer social worker and photographer — met Sugimatsu Nakamura, a 43-year-old fisherman, who was gravely ill from the atomic bomb’s effects.

“For the first two years I was too timid to photograph him,” Mr. Fukushima told me a few weeks ago. “But one day, he got on his knees, crying, and begged me.”

“Fukushima, can you please take revenge on the atomic bomb?”

“Yes, but how?”

“Take pictures of my pain and let the world know how terrible it is.”...

The Birds: Why The Passenger Pigeon Became Extinct
Jonathan Rosen, The New Yorker | The Birds: Why The Passenger Pigeon Became Extinct | January 2, 2014

In 1813, John James Audubon saw a flock—if that is what you call an agglomeration of birds moving at sixty miles an hour and obliterating the noonday sun—that was merely the advance guard of a multitude that took three days to pass. Alexander Wilson, the other great bird observer of the time, reckoned that a flock he saw contained 2,230,272,000 individuals...

Animal-Rights Activists Bully Dying Italian Girl
Barbie Latza Nadeau, The Daily Beast | Animal-Rights Activists Bully Dying Italian Girl | December 31, 2013

When 25-year-old veterinary student Caterina Simonsen posted an update on a Facebook page supporting the use of animals in medical research before Christmas, she was trying to say how lucky she felt to be alive.  The Padua native suffers from four rare genetic pulmonary diseases that require her to use breathing tubes and experimental medication to thin the mucus in her lungs in order to breathe.  Her extreme illness makes her quickly immune to treatments, and, as a result, she has been a human guinea pig in a host of medical trials as doctors search for ways to help her live longer.  At 18, her doctors told her she couldn’t be cured, but this year, she had survived another birthday and simply wanted to say thanks.  “I am 25 thanks to genuine research that includes experiments on animals.  Without research, I would have been dead at nine. You have gifted me a future.”...

Searching For Kristin, Or The Deeply Profound Sighting Of A Pile Of Rocks In The Woods
Jennifer Bendery, HuffingtonPost Blog | Searching For Kristin | December 31, 2013

With all these stories coming out about what happened in 2013 and what we'll remember -- in sum, the Pope and Jennifer Lawrence are awesome, Syria is a mess and Congress got totally pwned by the gun lobby -- it got me thinking about what the hell happened in my little world over the past year...

The Deaths You Missed This Year
Malcom Jones, Jimmy So, and Michael Moynihan, The Daily Beast | The Deaths You Missed This Year | December 31, 2013

You've already read the major obits. From Hitler's bodyguard to the godmother of burlesque, the human computer to the world's ugliest dog, the 2013 exits you may not have heard of...

The Mystery Of The Singing Mice
Rob Dunn, Smithsonian | The Mystery Of The Singing Mice | December 30, 2013

A scientist has discovered that high-pitched sounds made by the small rodents could actually be melodious songs...

The Year In Crazy
Tom Tomorrow, via Dailykos | The Year In Crazy | December 30, 2013

A highly subjective and woefully inadequate look back at the year in CRAZY...

A Deadly Mix In Benghazi
David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times | A Deadly Mix In Benghazi | December 29, 2013

Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam...

Indian Family Sees Its History In A Shirt
Leslie Macmillan, The New York Times | Indian Family Sees Its History In A Shirt | December 28, 2013

Ten years ago, lost to drugs and alcohol, Karen Little Thunder moved back to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where, she said, she saved her own life by reconnecting to her Lakota heritage, particularly the legacy of her great-great grandfather. He was Little Thunder, a Lakota leader and a contemporary of Crazy Horse, whose life spanned several decades central to the history of the tribe — from the battles it fought across the Great Plains to its resettlement on reservations...