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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.

Who Wants a Pre-Owned Shuttle? Everyone.
Kenneth Chang, The New York Times | Who Wants a Pre-Owned Shuttle? Everyone. | March 8, 2011

Condition: 27 years old, 150 million miles traveled, somewhat dinged but well maintained.

Price: $0.

Dealer preparation and destination charges: $28.8 million.

So, does anyone want to buy a used space shuttle?

Yes, it turns out...

Gaddafi Forces Mount Fierce Counterattack: Witnesses Describe 'Massacre' In City Under Siege
Leila Fadel and Anthony Faiola, Washington Post Foreign Service | Gaddafi Forces Mount Fierce Counterattack | March 5, 2011

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi escalated their fiercest counterattack yet against the opposition Saturday, laying violent siege to a rebel enclave in the strategic western port city of Zawiyah...

The Disposable Woman
Anna Holmes, The New York Times Op Ed | The Disposable Woman | March 4, 2011

FORTY-THREE minutes into his “special live edition” with Charlie Sheen on Monday night, Piers Morgan finally got around to asking his guest a real question. Before that, Mr. Morgan and Mr. Sheen had mostly traded chuckles and anecdotes about multiday benders, inflated network salaries and meet-ups in Aspen, Colo. But then, after three commercial breaks, Mr. Morgan inquired, “Have you ever hit a woman?”...

Harvard To Let ROTC Back On Campus
Jay Lindsay, Associated Press | Harvard To Let ROTC Back On Campus | March 4, 2011

Harvard University is welcoming the Reserve Officer Training Corps program back to campus after a four-decade banishment caused by dissent over the Vietnam War and disagreement on military policy toward gays...

Libyan Rebels Are Said To Repulse Government Attack
Kareen Fahim and David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times | Libyan Rebels Are Said To Repulse Government Attack | March 2, 2011

In a fierce day-long battle, rebel forces in this strategic oil town successfully repelled an attack on Wednesday by government loyalists backed by artillery and war planes, witnesses in the town said. At least six were confirmed dead and 16 wounded in the fighting, the witnesses said, and the death toll was expected to rise...

Covert Operations: The Billionaire Brothers Who Are Waging A War Against Obama

On May 17th, a black-tie audience at the Metropolitan Opera House applauded as a tall, jovial-looking billionaire took the stage. It was the seventieth annual spring gala of American Ballet Theatre, and David H. Koch was being celebrated for his generosity as a member of the board of trustees; he had recently donated $2.5 million toward the company’s upcoming season, and had given many millions before that. Koch received an award while flanked by two of the gala’s co-chairs, Blaine Trump, in a peach-colored gown, and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, in emerald green. Kennedy’s mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, had been a patron of the ballet and, coincidentally, the previous owner of a Fifth Avenue apartment that Koch had bought, in 1995, and then sold, eleven years later, for thirty-two million dollars, having found it too small...

Gas Drillers Recycle Wastewater, But Risks Remain
Ian Urbina, The New York Times | Gas Driller Recycle Wastewater, But Risks Remain | March 1, 2011

As drilling for natural gas started to climb sharply about 10 years ago, energy companies faced mounting criticism over an extraction process that involves pumping millions of gallons of water into the ground for each well and can leave significant amounts of hazardous contaminants in the water that comes back to the surface. So, in a move hailed by industry as a major turning point, drilling companies started reusing and recycling the wastewater...

Near Tripoli, Rebels in Libya Gain Firepower and Defectors
David D. Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim, The New York Times | Near Tripoli, Rebels in Libya Gain Firepower and | February 25, 2011

The Libyan rebels challenging Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi demonstrated their increasing military coordination and firepower on Sunday, as defecting officers in the east took steps to establish a unified command while their followers in this rebel-held city, just outside his stronghold in the capital, displayed an array of tanks, Kalashnikovs and anti-aircraft guns...

The Next Impasse
Dexter Filkins, The New York Times | The Next Impasse | February 25, 2011

Review of The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy and the Way Out of Afghanistan, by Bing West

In the nine years since the first American troops landed in Afghanistan, a new kind of religion has sprung up, one that promises success for the Americans even as the war they have been fighting has veered dangerously close to defeat. Follow the religion’s tenets, give yourself over to it and the new faith will reward you with riches and fruits....

Cheating, Incorporated
Sheelah Kolhatkar, Business Week | Cheating, Incorporated | February 25, 2011

At Ashley Madison's website for "dating," the infidelity economy is alive, well, and profitable...