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.

In Brazil, A Showdown Over Rainforest Deforestation
Taylor Barnes, The Christian Science Monitor | In Brazil, A Showdown Over Rainforest Deforestation | May 26, 2012

A throng of students, young professionals, and activists gathered on the lawn as dusk took over the towering parliament and Planalto, Brazil’s executive branch. They took their tambourines and whistles, promising to camp out until midnight and serenaded the president: “Oh Dilma! You can veto it! Brazil will support you!”

Theirs was the latest in a series of nationwide protests in recent months over a proposed reform of the 1965 “Forest Code” that will, as currently written, effectively legalize the deforestation of tens of millions of Amazon jungle after the fact and reduce requirements on landowners to reforest protected areas...

Nail Armstrong Breaks His Silence to Give Accountants Moon Exclusive

As the first person to walk on the moon, he is a man whose name will be remembered for generations to come. But one of the other well-known things about Neil Armstrong is that he hardly ever gives interviews.

It was therefore something of a coup for Alex Malley, chief executive of Certified Practicing Accountants of Australia, to secure almost an hour of Armstrong's time to discuss the astronaut's trip to the moon...

In Vatican Whodunit, a Punch Line of a Suspect
Rachel Donadio, The New York Times | In Vatican Whodunit, a Punch Line of a Suspect | May 26, 2012

A mysterious source named Maria. A room furnished with a single chair where sensitive Vatican documents are turned over to an investigative journalist at regular meetings. The arrest of the pope’s butler. Perhaps the greatest breach in centuries in the wall of secrecy that surrounds the Vatican...

Facebook, Banks Sued Over Pre-IPO Analyst Calls

Facebook Inc and banks including Morgan Stanley were sued by the social networking leader's shareholders, who claimed the defendants hid Facebook's weakened growth forecasts ahead of its $16 billion initial public offering.

The defendants, who also include Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, were accused of concealing from investors during the IPO marketing process "a severe and pronounced reduction" in revenue growth forecasts...

In Pursuit of Pleasure and Trout: Richard Brautigan Biography, 'Jubilee Hitchhiker'
Dwight Garner, The New York Times | In Pursuit of Pleasure and Trout | May 23, 2012

For a committed sensualist and prototypical hippie, a man who wore floppy hats, granny glasses, love beads and a droopy mustache that made him look like General Custer at an acid test, Richard Brautigan (1935-1984) had a potent work ethic.

He wrote nearly every morning, regardless of keening hangovers. He spent the rest of the day, William Hjortsberg notes in “Jubilee Hitchhiker,” his sprawling and definitive new biography of this most offbeat of American writers, “in pursuit of happiness.”...

Awesome Google Doodle Celebrates Birthday Of Robert Moog With Playable Synthesizer

Google honors the legacy of Robert Moog Wednesday, the father of the modern electronic synthesizer, with what quite possibly is its most elaborate doodle yet -- a working Moog synthesizer. Wednesday marks the late music pioneer’s 78th birthday...

DBO: Taxmageddon Would Throw U.S. Back Into Recession
Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post | CBO: Taxmageddon Would Throw U.S. Back Into Recession | May 22, 2012

Tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect in January would suck $607 billion out of the economy next year, plunging the nation at least briefly back into recession, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

Unless lawmakers act, the economy is likely to contract in the first half of 2013 at an annualized rate of 1.3 percent, the CBO said, before returning to 2.3 percent growth later in the year...

The Most Comma Mistakes
Ben Yagoda, The New York Times Opinion | Most Comma Mistakes | May 22, 2012

Rules and conventions about when to use and not to use commas are legion. But certain errors keep popping up. Here are a few of them...

Chen Guangcheng's New Life In America: A Day In Greenwich Village
Melinda Liu, The Daily Beast | Chen Guangcheng's New Life In America: A Day In Greenwich Village | May 21, 2012

Feeling the warm sun on his face, blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng relaxed in an outdoor playground with his family Sunday, basking in perfect spring weather—and not having to worry about being beaten or harassed for the first time in years...

In Streets And Online, Campaign Fever In Egypt
David D. Kirkpatrick and Mayy El Sheik, The New York Times | In Streets And Online, Campaign Fever In Egypt | May 21, 2012

“Good morning! Who are you going to vote for?”

That is the new standard Egyptian salutation, said Shafiq Abdel Khaleq, 50, an engineer playing chess at a streetside cafe in the working-class Cairo neighborhood of Sayeda Zeinab.

“There isn’t anyone left who doesn’t talk about politics,” he added, moving a piece.

“But no one knows anything!” replied his opponent, Hussein Zayed, a 53-year-old importer, who then called checkmate...