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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.

Why Saturday Night Live Writers Lean On Kenan Thompson
Bryan Tucker, Slate | The Way Of Kenan | September 26, 2014

Here’s a secret. If you’re a Saturday Night Live writer, and you want to get an extra laugh in your script, just add this line: “KENAN REACTS.” Sure, it’s sort of cheating. But we still do it sometimes. Because it works...

Hunting for the Source of the World's Most Beguiling Folk Music
Amanda Petrusich, The New York Times Magazine | The World's Most Beguiling Folk Music | September 25, 2014

On Sept. 20, 1926, the Greek violinist Alexis Zoumbas recorded one of the most devastating bits of music I’ve ever encountered. The song, “Epirotiko Mirologi,” is a pentatonic lament — mirologi — that, for millenniums, has been sung beside fresh graves in Epirus, a historically contentious chunk of land on the Greek-Albanian border...

Why Your Kids Must Watch 'South Park'
Nick Gillespie, The Daily Beast | Watching 'South Park' | September 25, 2014

At 18 years old, it's still the greatest -- and most educaitonal -- show on Earth...

Online Shaming Gives Creeps The Spotlight They Deserve
Samantha Allen, The Daily Beast | Online Shaming | September 24, 2014

Women are coming together online to shame men who harass and abuse them. But can online embarrassment spark a real change in behavior?...

Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million In 4 Months, C.D.C. Estimates
Denise Grady, The New York Times | Worst-Case Ebola Scenario | September 23, 2014

In the worst-case scenario, Liberia and Sierra Leone could have 21,000 cases of Ebola by Sept. 30 and 1.4 million cases by Jan. 20 if the disease keeps spreading without effective methods to contain it. These figures take into account the fact that many cases go undetected, and estimate that there are actually 2.5 times as many as reported...

A Writerly Chill At Jeff Bezos' Fire
David Streitfeld, The New York Times | A Writerly Chill at Jeff Bezos' Fire | September 22, 2014

When Jeff Bezos tells writers to keep quiet, they obey.

Every fall, Mr. Bezos, the founder of Amazon, hosts Campfire, a literary weekend in Santa Fe, N.M. Dozens of well-known novelists have attended, but they do not talk about the abundance of high-end clothing and other gifts, the lavish meals, the discussion under the desert stars by Neil Armstrong or the private planes that ferried some home...

Meet the College Women Who Are Starting a Revolution Against Campus Sexual Assault
Vanessa Grigoriadis, New York Magazine | Revolution Against Campus Sexual Assault | September 22, 2014

A few years ago, an Ivy League student going public about her rape, telling the world her real name—let alone trying to attract attention by lugging around a mattress—would have been a rare bird. In America, after all, we still assume rape survivors want, and need, their identities protected by the press. But shattering silence, in 2014, means not just coming out with an atrocity tale about your assault but offering what Danielle Dirks, a sociologist at Occidental, calls “an atrocity tale about how poorly you were treated by the people you pay $62,500 a year to protect you.”...

Linda Tirado: "It Was Insane. I Got 20,000 Emails In A Week"
Rachel Cooke, The Guardian | 20,000 Emails / Wk | September 22, 2014

The author of Hand to Mouth on the shock of going viral online, being vilified by critics, and now being able to afford to have her teeth fixed...

We Are A Camera: Experience And Memory In The Age Of GoPro
Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker | The Age Of GoPro | September 17, 2014

The GoPro short video is a post-literate diary, a stop on the way to a future in which everything will be filmed from every point of view. The pervasiveness of cameras, seemingly playful and benign, may be anything but...

'The Power Broker' Turns 40: How Robert Caro Wrote A Masterpiece
Scott Porch, The Daily Beast | 'The Power Broker' Turns 40 | September 16, 2014

Forty years ago today, Caro's mageisterial 1,296-page life of New York master builder Robert Moses rewrote the rules of biography...