Daily_briefing_toon

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.

A Mudslide, Foretold
Timothy Egan, The New York Times Op Ed | A Mudslide, Foretold | March 31, 2014

Don't tell me, please, that nobody saw one of the deadliest landslides in American history coming. Say a prayer or send a donation for a community buried under a mountain of mud along a great river in Washington State, the Stillaguamish. Praise the emergency workers still trying to find a pulse of life in a disaster that left 25 people dead and 90 missing.

But enough with the denial, the willful ignorance of cause and effect, the shock that one of the prettiest valleys on the planet could turn in a flash from quiet respite in the foothills of the North Cascades to a gravelly graveyard...

 

A Passion To Pitch
Barry Bearak, The New York Times | A Passion To Pitch | March 30, 2014

Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees’ $155 million import, grew up in a nation where joining a baseball team was like entering a religious order. The field was hallowed ground, the equipment sacred gear. Coaches were obeyed with bowed heads.

A baseball-centered life required absolute devotion to the team. Practice made perfect, so the young athletes trained year round with seldom a day off, their after-school drills commonly lasting seven hours. Pitchers sometimes threw 300 times in a single day; hitters took 1,000 swings. And then the team finished its work by picking up stray baseballs and raking the dirt to cleanse it of cleat marks...

Ecstatic Melodic Copulation
Owen Pallett, Slate | Ecstatic Melodic Copulation | March 29, 2014

Explaining the genius of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" -- using music theory.

Katy Perry may have captured the world’s attention with her enormous eyeballs, but as I argued earlier this week, the reason “Teenage Dream” went to No. 1 and remains in radio rotation is that it is a textbook example of the excellence and supremacy of the rules of Western music theory...

Incontrovertible Evidence Proves The First Americans Came From Asia
Doug Peacock, The Daily Beast | The First Americans | March 29, 2014
At last, archeologists have resolved the debate over the first Americans (hint: they walked). Then they screwed up a perfectly good answer to an ancient puzzle.

We finally have a definitive answer to the timeless mystery of where the First Americans came from: They walked across the Bering Straits from Asia (and not from southwest Europe paddling kayaks across the frigid Atlantic sea). The first people to successfully colonize North America are called “Clovis,” and they made their appearance in the lower United States just prior to 13,000 years ago...

In Afghanistan, A U.S. Special Forces Major's Meteoric Rise And Humiliating Fall
David Wood, The World Post | Gant's Rise And Fall | March 26, 2014

A once-promising strategy for stability in Afghanistan ended badly two years ago, along with the career of its author and chief proponent, Army Special Forces Maj. Jim Gant. His gripping story is detailed in a new book, American Spartan, by Ann Scott Tyson, the former Washington Post war correspondent who interviewed him for an admiring story in late 2009. They fell in love. Tyson eventually joined Gant in an Afghan village, where he built a reputation mobilizing local tribes against the Taliban.

A tough, wiry Special Forces soldier, Gant was decorated and recommended for promotion over 22 continuous months of combat in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011. But in the end, the iconoclasm and disdain for military protocol that enabled Gant’s success were instrumental in his eventual downfall...

21 Ways Gloria Steinem Taught Us To Be Better Women
Alanna Vagianos, The Huffington Post | Steinem Lessons | March 26, 2014

Without Gloria Steinem's passionate zest for change and equality, women would not be where we are today.

To celebrate the feminist author, activist and all-around awe-inducing goddess on her 80th birthday, we've compiled some of her best quotes and lessons from over the years.

Here are 21 things Gloria has taught us...

The Art Of Doing Time
Kristin Hohenadel, Slate | The Art Of Doing Time | March 26, 2014

Designboom tipped us off to a monumental feat of ingenuity, will, and resourcefulness by Jesse Krimes, a 31-year-old artist from Philadelphia who stealthily made a 39-panel mural piece by piece using contraband prison sheets, hair gel, plastic spoons, and New York Times clippings while serving a 70-month jail sentence that ended last September...

These 22 Far Away Perspectives Of Famous Places Will Change The Way You See Them Forever
Jake Heppner, Distractify | Famous, From Afar | March 25, 2014

Many of us only know the world's most famous landmarks through images that show them in all their beautiful, historical glory. The world has changed since these structures were built, so the surrounding landscapes might not be what you'd expect...

Forest Farewell: An Ode To An Iconic Tree
Robert Sullivan, Orion Magazine | Forest Farewell | March 24, 2014

We have gathered together today, in a still-dark grove on the side of a hill, to hear a few words about hemlock. We are a small group and there are not many words. Nothing anyone can say can possibly sum up the long life of hemlock on the eastern seaboard of North America, which began about 30 million years ago and includes a long stretch of time that runs from the early Pleistocene era, as the glaciers came and went, up until the arrival from East Asia of a tiny sap-sucking bug, the hemlock woolly adelgid, which landed in the United States around the time Calvin Coolidge made it into office...

'It Wasn't Afghanistan Where He Died. It Was Right Here.
David Wood, The Huffington Post | Moral Injury | March 24, 2014

When 19-year-old Joe Schiano came home to tell his mother he was joining the Marines fighting in Afghanistan, she reacted like any mother would. She grabbed him around the throat with both hands, pushed him against the wall and yelled, “You can’t do this!

 

“I have given you life and I am the only one who can take life from you!”

Then she sighed and wrapped him in a bear hug...