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.

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...

Iran Hunts For Uranium
George Jahn, Associated Press | Iran Hunts for Uranium | February 24, 2011

Iran is expanding its covert global search for the uranium it needs for its nuclear activities and a key focus is Zimbabwe, says a new intelligence report acquired by The Associated Press...

Gaddafi Blames Revolt on Bin Laden
Leila Fadel, Liz Sly and Ernesto London, Washington Post Foreign Service | Gaddafi Blames Revolt on Bin Laden | February 24, 2011

Moammar Gaddafi blamed the revolt in his country on Osama Bin Laden, in what came across as a desperate plea to citizens Thursday to abandon their 10-day-old rebellion. The revolt seemed to be closing in on the capital, with most of the eastern part of the country controlled by protestors and signs that demonstrations also were spreading in the west. In a rambling phone call to Libyan state television, Gaddafi, 68, said young protesters were under the influence of hallucinogenic pills given to them "in their coffee with milk, like Nescafe."...

How To Make Oatmeal...Wrong
Mark Bittman, New York Times Op Ed | How To Make Oatmeal...Wrong | February 24, 2011

There’s a feeling of inevitability in writing about McDonald’s latest offering, their “bowl full of wholesome” — also known as oatmeal. The leading fast-food multinational, with sales over $16.5 billion a year (just under the GDP of Afghanistan), represents a great deal of what is wrong with American food today. From a marketing perspective, they can do almost nothing wrong; from a nutritional perspective, they can do almost nothing right, as the oatmeal fiasco demonstrates...