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.

Obamacare Advocates Struggle To Convince Rural Uninsured
Melissa Nelson-Gabriel, The Huffington Post | Obamacare Advocates Struggle To Convince Rural Uninsured | January 5, 2014

In this rural part of the Panhandle, Christopher Mitchell finds few takers when he delivers his message about the importance of exploring insurance options under the federal health overhaul. People in the conservative-leaning area tend to have a bad impression of President Obama's signature law because of negative messages they hear on talk radio or from friends, said Mitchell, marketing director for a network of nonprofit health clinics...

Eons Before The Yoga Mat Became Trendy
Holland Cotter, The New York Times | Eons Before The Yoga Mat Became Trendy | January 4, 2014

Yoga, in this instance, is not a matter of meditation mats and Whole Foods Wellness Clubs. It’s a shattering personal revolution. It’s about leaving home, going naked, fasting for years, freezing in winter, roasting in summer, being shunned by the living and lying down with the dead. It’s about perfecting your body in order to lose it, loosening your mind till the cosmos floods in. Whether, in the end, you glow like a god or blow away like an ash, pain and pleasure will be a thousand yesterdays in the past...

Beirut's Captured Mastermind
Jamie Dettmer, The Daily Beast | Beirut's Captured Mastermind | January 4, 2014

The identity of a captured jihadist leader who masterminded attacks in Israel and Lebanon—most recently, the deadly November twin suicide bombings on the Iranian embassy in Beirut that left 30 people dead and 160 wounded—was finally confirmed yesterday through DNA testing, say Lebanese officials...

A Speck In The Sea
Paul Tough, The New York Times Magazine | A Speck In The Sea | January 3, 2014

Aldridge grabbed for the side of the boat as it went past, his fingertips missing it by inches. The water hit him like a slap. He went under, took in a mouthful of Atlantic Ocean and then surfaced, sputtering. He yelled as loud as he could, hoping to wake Sosinski, who was asleep on a bunk below the front deck. But the diesel engine was too loud, and the Anna Mary, on autopilot, moving due south at six and a half knots, was already out of reach, its navigation lights receding into the night...

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...