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.

California Farms Are Sucking Up Enough Groundwater To Put Rhode Island 17 Feet Under
Julia Lurie, Mother Jones | CA Drought Report | July 29, 2014

California, the producer of nearly half of the nation's fruits, veggies, and nuts, plus export crops—four-fifths of the world's almonds, for example—is entering its third driest year on record...Here are four key takeaways...

New York City In The New Yorker
Joshua Rothman and Erin Overbey | Five NYC Stories | July 28, 2014

Last week, we announced that, for the rest of the summer and into the fall, we’d be assembling collections of favorite New Yorker stories. Today we’re releasing the second collection, of five stories about New York City, from the archive...

Vertical Farms Offer A Bright Future For Hungry Cities
Tim Heath and Yiming Shao, The Conversation | Vertical Farms | July 28, 2014

It has been suggested that a 30 storey 27,800,000 m2 vertical farm could be achieved within one New York City block. That farm could feed 50,000 people, providing 2,000 calories for every person each day. With results like that as a prospect, it’s easy to see why enthusiasts see vertical farms as the future...

Fear Of Ebola Breeds A Terror Of Physicians
Adam Nossiter, The New York Times | Fear Of Ebola | July 28, 2014

Eight youths, some armed with slingshots and machetes, stood warily alongside a rutted dirt road at an opening in the high reeds, the path to the village of Kolo Bengou. The deadly Ebola virus is believed to have infected several people in the village, and the youths were blocking the path to prevent health workers from entering.

“We don’t want any visitors,” said their leader, Faya Iroundouno, 17, president of Kolo Bengou’s youth league. “We don’t want any contact with anyone.” The others nodded in agreement and fiddled with their slingshots...

How A Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused A Catastrophe On Earth
Jason Samenow, The Washington Post | Solar Storm | July 25, 2014

On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere.  These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years.

“If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,” physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA...

A Relaunch For The New Yorker, With High Stakes
Nicole Levy and Peter Sterne, Capital New York | NYer Relaunch | July 24, 2014

...Yo understand what the imperatives of the new website mean for The New Yorker in 2014, it’s not a bad idea to step back in time just a little...

First The Internet Ruined Sex, Now It's Ruining The Weather
Stuart Heritage, The Guardian | Obsessed By Lightning | July 24, 2014

As I continue to plummet inescapably towards middle age, I have found myself searching for the thing. The thing that all men develop at a certain age. At first this thing will merely be an interest, taken up to escape the drab tedium of day-to-day life. But, gradually and without warning, it will blossom into so much more than that. It will become their entire identity...

23 Women Show Us Their Favorite Position
Elizabeth Plank, Mic.com | 23 Women | July 23, 2014

When reality television star and fashion blogger Lauren Conrad was asked what her "favorite position" was on a live radio program a while back, the women listening held their breath. Although we take great pride in the work that we do, most of us could relate to being undermined and belittled publicly at work. When Conrad cleverly retorted "CEO," it was hard not to aggressively high-five our laptop and movile devies. The words "hell" and "yeah" could be heard all across the nation...

Arizona's Checkpoint Rebellion
Amy Lieberman, Slate | Checkpoint Rebellion | July 22, 2014

Liberals, libertarians, retirees, and activists protest against immigration patrols far from the border.

Barry Goldwater, Father Of The Tea Party
Nicholas Mills, The Daily Beast | Goldwater & The Tea Party | July 22, 2014

On the 50th anniversary of his 'extremism in the defense of liberty' speech to the 1964 GOP convention, it's time to credit Goldwater as the true father of the Tea Party...