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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.

Allies Step Up Bombing in Tripoli
Sam Dagher, Sebastian Moffett, and Nathan Hodge, The Wall Street Journal | Allies Step Up Bombing in Tripoli | March 24, 2011

Allied forces pounded several targets in the Libyan capital Tripoli overnight and in the early hours of Thursday, in what was the most intense night of bombing since the start of the campaign to cripple Col. Moammar Gadhafi's military capabilities...

Paglia on Taylor: "A luscious, opulent, ripe fruit!"
Camile Paglia, Salon Staff | Paglia on Taylor: "A luscious, opulent, ripe fruit!" | March 24, 2011

When news broke that Elizabeth Taylor had died at 79, we immediately reached out to founding Salon contributor and lifelong Taylor obsessive Camille Paglia for her thoughts. We found her in a Philadelphia research library researching her new visual arts book for Pantheon, but she diligently trekked outside in the rain to speak to Salon editor-in-chief Kerry Lauerman by telephone under a portico, as the wind howled around her.

Parents In Japan Comb Through School That's Now A Graveyard
John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Ti | Parents In Japan Comb Through School That's Now A Graveyard | March 23, 2011

Tatsuhiro Karino paused at the top of the muddy hill, took his wife, Masako, by the hand and led her slowly down to the ruins of the elementary school that entombed the body of their daughter, Misaki. Dwarfed by four mammoth cranes digging into the wreckage, the 40ish construction worker gently pulled a veil over his wife's face to shield her from the dust and whiff of death. But he couldn't protect her from this: the grim task of locating the body of their 8-year-old child, among the 94 students and teachers killed when their school was leveled March 11 in nature's twin strike of shaking ground and torrential wave...

The Nuclear Risk
Elizabeth Kolbert | The Nuclear Risk | March 23, 2011

The age of atomic energy could be said to have begun, literally, with the wave of a wand. On September 6, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was vacationing in Denver, passed a pole with a gleaming tip over a cabinet full of electronic equipment. This “neutron wand” supposedly sent a signal that was then conveyed to an unmanned power shovel, twelve hundred miles away, in Shippingport, Pennsylvania. The shovel lurched forward and scooped up three tons of dirt, breaking ground for the country’s first commercial nuclear power plant...

The War on Cats: Jonathan Franzen and Bird-Lovers Fight Back
Ben Crair, The Daily Beast | The War on Cats: Jonathan Franzen and Bird-Lovers Fight Back | March 23, 2011

To the list of recent upheavals, let’s add a new entry: The tide is finally turning against cats. The New York Times made it official Monday with an article headlined “Tweety Was Right: Cats Are a Bird’s No. 1 Enemy.” The article ran beneath a photograph of a gray-and-white kitty munching on the head of a songbird. The cat narrowed its eyes directly at the camera, as if to say, “So?”  ...

J.D. Salinger Slept Here (Just Don't Tell Anyone)
Michael Winerip, The New York Times | J.D. Salinger Slept Here (Just Don't Tell Anyone) | March 23, 2011

For years, officials at Ursinus College had been trying to figure out how to capitalize on the fact that J. D. Salinger had spent one semester there in the fall of 1938...

Why I'm Staying in Japan
Aimee McFarlen, Salon | Why I'm Staying In Japan | March 22, 2011

As my coworkers flee quake-stricken Sendai, I've made a tough decision -- to trust the government over here...

Oily Mystery Investigated on Louisiana Coast
Ryan Dezember, The Wall Street Journal | Oily Mystery Investigated on Louisiana Coast | March 22, 2011

An oily substance of unknown origin is washing ashore in parts of Louisiana that were among the hardest hit by BP PLC's Deepwater Horizon oil spill last year, the U.S. Coast Guard and local government officials said Monday...

Freed Times Journalists Give Account of Captivity
Jeremy W. Peters, The New York Times | Freed Times Journalists Give Account of Captivity | March 22, 2011

The Libyan government freed four New York Times journalists on Monday, six days after they were captured while covering the conflict between government and rebel forces in the eastern city of Ajdabiya. They were released into the custody of Turkish diplomats and crossed safely into Tunisia in the late afternoon, from where they provided a harrowing account of their captivity...

At Qaddafi Compound, A Human Shield
David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times | At Qaddafi Compound, A Human Shield | March 20, 2011

Even as the allied intervention began, a group of foreign journalists were bused on a rare visit inside Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s compound — a labyrinth of concrete barracks, fortified walls and barbed wire designed to deter potential military coups...