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.

John Brockman: The Man Who Runs the World's Smartest Website
John Naughton, The Observer | John Brockman: The Man Who Runs The World's Smartest Website | January 8, 2012

Since the mid-1960s John Brockman has been at the cutting edge of ideas. He is a passionate advocate of both science and the arts, and his website Edge is a salon for the world's finest minds...

Mitt Romney's Weekend From Hell
Maggie Haberman, Politico | Mitt Romney's Weekend From Hell | January 6, 2012

Newt’s seething. Perry’s desperate. Huntsman wants to get noticed. Santorum needs to make a mark.

All of it adds up to a long — and potentially painful — weekend for Mitt Romney, who will run the gauntlet at back-to-back New Hampshire debates. The 2012 front-runner played the pincushion role before, in the lead-up to the 2008 GOP primaries. But this time around, Romney has largely avoided being perforated by rivals. That’s likely to change on Saturday and Sunday due to a mix of personal animus and strategic imperatives...

How Michele Bachmann Went Bust
Chris Cillizza, The Washington Post | How Michele Bachmann Went Bust | January 6, 2012

On Aug. 13, 2011, Michele Bachmann was on top of the world — the winner of the Ames Straw Poll and presumptive frontrunner in the Iowa caucuses. On Wednesday, Bachmann left the presidential race after placing sixth in those same caucuses. What heppened in the 144 days between those two dates was a mix of bad luck, bad strategy and...

Excerpt: The Operators
Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone | Exclusive Excerpt: The Operators by Michael Hastings | January 5, 2012

McChrystal, Petraeus and the inside story of America's war in Afghanistan...

How Many Stephen Colberts Are There?
Charles McGrath, The New York Times | How Many Stephen Colberts Are There? | January 5, 2012

There used to be just two Stephen Colberts, and they were hard enough to distinguish. The main difference was that one thought the other was an idiot. The idiot Colbert was the one who made a nice paycheck by appearing four times a week on “The Colbert Report” (pronounced in the French fashion, with both t’s silent), the extremely popular fake news show on Comedy Central. The other Colbert, the non-idiot, was the 47-year-old South Carolinian, a practicing Catholic, who lives with his wife and three children in suburban Montclair, N.J., where, according to one of his neighbors, he is “extremely normal.” One of the pleasures of attending a live taping of “The Colbert Report” is watching this Colbert transform himself into a Republican superhero...

Japan's Tsunami Has Dealt Lasting Blow To Family Farms
John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times | Japan's Tsunami Has Dealt Lasting Blow To Family Farms | January 5, 2012

The fallout from the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns, coupled with the possibility that Japan will join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade pact, may forever alter a 2,500-year-old tradition...

Steve Jobs Doll Craze Crashes Manufacturer's Web Site
Maura Judkis, The Washington Post | Steve Jobs Doll Crazy Crashes Manufacturer's Web Site | January 4, 2012

For Apple fans worldwide, Steve Jobs was a superhero. Now, he’s been given a tribute usually accorded to superheroes: An action figure has been made in his likeness. The doll, which was created by Chinese company In Icons, will be released in February, but can be pre-ordered now. Of course, you’ll have to wait a bit until the Web site comes back up. It seems rabid Jobs fans have overwhelmed the company with visits...

Iowa Caucuses: 7 Takeaways
Maggie Haberman, Politico | Iowa Caucuses: 7 Takeaways | January 4, 2012

After months of predictions of a boring race and polls showing Mitt Romney leading, the final race was confusing — and uncalled — down to the wire. The muddled result has a series of effects going forward. Below are POLITICO's seven takeaways from the Iowa caucuses...

Iran Warns U.S. Aircraft Carrier Not to Return to Gulf
J. David Goodman, The New York Times | Iran Warns U.S. Aircraft Carrier Not to Return to the Gulf | January 4, 2012

Iran’s military sharpened its tone toward the United States on Tuesday with a blunt warning that an American aircraft carrier that left the Persian Gulf through the strategic Strait of Hormuz last week should not return. The warning, by Iran’s military chief, was the latest and most aggressive volley in a nearly daily exchange of barbed statements between Iran and the United States...

Quadrantid Meteor Shower Won't Have To Compete With Moonlight
Denise Chow, The Christian Science Monitor | Quadrantid Meteor Shower Won't Have To Compete With Moonlight | January 3, 2012

Quadrantid meteor shower peak could hit as many as 100 meteors per hour, says NASA. The Quadrantid meteor shower will peak at 2 a.m. on Jan. 4...