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.

Guilford Native Gets Second Chance At MLB
LeAnne Gendreau, NBC Connecticut | Guildford Native Gets Second Chance At MLB | September 27, 2012

Adam Greenberg’s major league baseball dream came true on July 9, 2005 and ended moments later when he was hit in the head by a 92-per-mile per hour pitch.

But after a nationwide push, the 31-year-old Guilford native is getting one more chance. It will be with the Miami Marlins, the team he was batting against when he was hit. The team was then the Florida Marlins.

Greenberg, who now lives in Branford, spoke exclusively with the Today Show on Thursday and has been offered a one-day contract to play for the Marlins on Tuesday, Oct. 2 against the New York Mets...

Scientists Create New Element
Clara Moskowitz, CBS News | Scientists Create New Element | September 26, 2012

Scientists in Japan think they've finally created the elusive element 113, one of the missing items on the periodic table of elements.

Element 113 is an atom with 113 protons in its nucleus -- a type of matter that must be created inside a laboratory because it is not found naturally on Earth. Heavier and heavier synthetic elements have been created over the years, with the most massive one being element 118, temporarily named ununoctium.

But element 113 has been stubbornly hard to create...

When You Hear 'Taliban,' Do You Think 'Poetry' ?
Al Kamen, The Washington Post | When You Hear 'Taliban,' Do You Think 'Poetry' ? | September 25, 2012

A book that shouldn’t be missed! It’s “Poetry of the Taliban,” a slim volume hailed by scholars and diplomats as “an essential work” for anyone who wants a better understanding of what makes the Taliban tick.

The book, compiled by writers and researchers Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn and recently published by Columbia University Press, purports to show another side of the infamous bearded beheaders.

The collection “goes beyond humanizing the Taliban toward understanding them,” says a jacket blurb by Harvard’s Michael Semple , a former deputy European Union representative in Afghanistan.

“Anyone claiming to be an Afghan expert should read this book before giving their next opinion,” writes novelist Mohammed Hanif , author of “A Case of Exploding Mangoes.”...

Worldwide Pork Shortage Predicted
British National Pig Association | Worldwide Pork Shortage Predicted | September 25, 2012

A world shortage of pork and bacon next year is now unavoidable, says Britain's National Pig Association. But British supermarkets can protect consumers from shortages and steep price rises if they pay Britain's loss-making pig farmers a fair price, to help them remain in production.

New data shows the European Union pig herd is declining at a significant rate, and this is a trend that is being mirrored around the world. Pig farmers have been plunged into loss by high pig-feed costs, caused by the global failure of maize and soya harvests...

Benghazi Anti-Militia Protest: Libyans March Against Armed Groups After U.S. Embassy Attack

Hundreds of protesters angry over last week's killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya stormed the compound of the Islamic extremist militia suspected in the attack, evicting militiamen and setting fire to their building Friday.

In an unprecedented show of public anger at Libya's rampant militias, the crowd overwhelmed the compound of the Ansar al-Shariah Brigade in the center of the eastern city of Benghazi.

Ansar al-Shariah fighters initially fired in the air to disperse the crowd, but eventually abandoned the site with their weapons and vehicles after it was overrun by waves of protesters shouting "No to militias."...

On Richard Thompson And Cul De Sac
R.C. Harvey, The Comics Journal | On Richard Thompson And Cul De Sac | September 24, 2012

Richard Thompson, the creator of Cul de Sac, is reluctantly retiring from daily comic stripping, effective in September. The last Cul de Sac will be published on Sunday, September 23. Lee Salem, speaking for Thompson’s syndicate, Universal Uclick, explained in a letter to subscribing newspapers:

On September 9, 2007, the remarkable talent of Richard Thompson hit the newspaper pages in the comic strip Cul de Sac. The buzz began even before the strip debuted; Bill Watterson emerged from his retirement to praise the strip’s writing, artwork and imagination. In May, 2011, Richard received the Reuben, the Cartoonist of the Year award from the National Cartoonists Society, an amazing achievement in so short a time. But the last year has been a struggle for Richard. Parkinson’s Disease, first diagnosed in 2009, has so weakened him that he is unable to meet the demands of a comic strip. For a time, he worked with another artist, but the deadlines became too much of a task. So it is with personal and professional sadness that I inform you he has decided to end Cul de Sac.

In accompanying notes and in a subsequent interview with ComicRiffs’ Michael Cavna, Thompson added some details...

America's Dangerous Tech Gap
Chelsea Clinton, The Daily Beast | America's Dangerous Tech Gap | September 24, 2012

Although the term “digital divide” is generally associated with the 1990s, multiple digital divides still exist today.

“Digital divide” first referred to the unequal distribution of personal computers and Internet access in the mid-1990s after eye-popping technology growth. Between 1991 and 1996, the number of personal computers in the U.S. grew by more than 3,000 percent, from 300,000 to more than 10 million, and access to the Internet rose by more than 1,300 percent. In 1996, 64 percent of schools had access to the Internet, but students attending schools in poorer districts and in majority-minority schools were much less likely to have access to computers or the Internet; a majority of minority students had no computer with Internet access at home (PDF)...

A Letter To My Friend Glen Doherty
Brandon Webb, The New York Times | A Letter To My Friend Glen Doherty | September 23, 2012

Glen A. Doherty, a security contractor and former member of the Navy SEALs, was killed in Libya on Sept. 12, 2012, while defending the American Mission in Benghazi, Libya. During a memorial service for Mr. Doherty and the three other Americans killed in the attack — the Ambassador J. Christopher StevensTyrone S. Woods and Sean Smith — President  Obama said of Mr. Doherty: “He believed that his life he could make a difference, a calling that he fulfilled as a Navy SEAL…in Benghazi, as he tended to others, he laid down his life, loyal as always, protecting his friends.”

Mr. Doherty’s best friend and former SEAL Team 3 comrade, Brandon Webb, has written a goodbye letter that we are publishing in full...

The Steve Jobs Of Useless Plastic Trinkets
Will Oremus, Slate | The Steve Jobs Of Useless Plastic Trinkets | September 23, 2012

Steve Jobs once told my graduating class to "stay foolish." I've rarely met anyone who embodies that advice as much as Bre Pettis, founder of the Brooklyn-based home 3-D printing startup MakerBot. If anything, Pettis embodies it more than Jobs himself, who wasn't too foolish to build Apple into the most profitable company in the world. It’s unlikely Pettis will ever do the same, but there’s still something Jobs-like about this ebullient former middle-school art teacher, puppeteer, and assistant at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in London. Pettis has now moved on to run the most influential company in the "3-D printing revolution"—whatever that might turn out to be...

Mugglemarch: J.K. Rowling Writes A Realist Novel For Adults
Ian Parker, The New Yorker | Mugglemarch: J.K. Rowling Writes A Realist Novel For Adults | September 23, 2012

The conifer hedges in front of J. K. Rowling’s seventeenth-century house, in Edinburgh, are about twenty feet tall. They reach higher than the street lamps in front of them, and evoke the entrance to the spiteful maze in the film adaptation of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” the fourth volume of her fantasy series. Rowling, who, at forty-seven, is about to publish her first novel for adults—it is set in a contemporary Britain familiar with Jay-Z and online pornography, but is shaded with memories of her own, quite cheerless upbringing—lives here with her second husband, Neil Murray, a doctor, and their children. She has a reputation for reserve: for being likable but shy and thin-skinned, and not at all comfortable with the personal impact of having created a modern myth, sold four hundred and fifty million books, and inspired more than six hundred thousand pieces of Harry Potter fan fiction, a total that increases by at least a thousand stories a week. Ian Rankin, the writer of Edinburgh-based crime novels, became friendly with Joanne Rowling when they were neighbors in another part of the city; he recently described her as “quite quiet, quite introspective.”...