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.

Military Blogging Goes Mainstream
James Dao, The New York Times | Military Blogging Goes Mainstream | May 2, 2011

A long, long time ago — in the year 2003, to be exact — when Facebook was a gleam in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye and twittering was still for birds, blogging was the now thing. For troops heading to war, it was a revelation. Through personal blogs, they could send letters home to friends and relatives in a single dispatch. They could mock commanding officers in ribald, and anonymous, prose. They could describe combat with the immediacy of Ernie Pyle, without the filter of actual editors. Many discovered, to their shock and glee, that thousands of strangers were reading their posts...

Osama Bin Laden Is Dead
Helene Cooper, The New York Times | Osama Bin Laden Is Dead | May 2, 2011

President Obama announced late Sunday that Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, was killed in a firefight during an operation he ordered Sunday inside Pakistan, ending a 10-year manhunt for the world’s most wanted terrorist. American officials were in possession of his body, he said...

The Consequentialist
Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker | The Consequentialist | April 30, 2011

How the Arab Spring remade Obama's foreign policy...

Fair Chase
Charles Bethea, Outside Magazine | Fair Chase | April 30, 2011

On the plains of New Mexico, a band of elite marathoners tests a controversial theory: that humans can outrun the fastest animals on earth...

A Delicacy on Chinatown Plates, but a Killer in Water
Liz Robbins and Jeffrey E. Singer, The New York Times | A Delicacy on Chinatown Plates, but a Killer in Water | April 30, 2011

The walls in the basement of a building in Brooklyn’s Chinatown were whitewashed, and boxes of cleaning supplies were stacked on the red tile floor. But beneath the disinfectant smell, the unmistakable odor of fish lingered as the flimsiest calling card of a former tenant. That tenant, Yong Hao Wu, sold fish until October for his Howei Trading Company out of this shop on Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park. Mr. Wu is now out of business and under arrest because the authorities have accused him of illegally importing thousands of live snakehead fish...

Hosting The WHCD Is No Joke
Patrick Gavin, Politico | Hosting The WHCD Is No Joke | April 29, 2011

Seth Meyers, the featured funnyman at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, hemmed and hawed a bit before accepting the gig.


Though honored to join the ranks of past headliners including Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Conan O’Brien, Lewis Black and Jay Leno, Meyers, head writer on “Saturday Night Live” and anchor of the show’s mock news report, Weekend Update, had to think about it...

Herzog Finds His Inner Cave Man
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times | Herzon Finds His Inner Cave Man | April 29, 2011

What a gift Werner Herzog offers with “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” an inside look at the astonishing Cave of Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc — and in 3-D too. In southern France, about 400 miles from Paris, the limestone cave contains a wealth of early paintings, perhaps from as long ago as 32,000 years...

My Father, The Hero
Amina A., A Gay Girl in Damascus | My Father, The Hero | April 28, 2011

We had a visit from the security services: it was late at night, in the wee small hours. Everyone was fast asleep. I woke when I heard the clamor and immediately guessed what had happened....

The Birthers Who Still Don't Believe
John Avlon, The Daily Beast | The Birthers Who Still Don't Believe | April 28, 2011

...History will be more unforgiving and see the birther conspiracy more clearly than we have in our contemporary debates. It will be hard to miss the fact that so much time and energy was spent trying to prove the illegitimacy and un-American-ness of our first black president. It will seem shameful. And it is.

The Stakes Are Real in the Yukon as a Modern Gold Rush Is On
Chip Cummins, The Wall Street Journal | The Stakes Are Real in the Yukon as a Modern Gold Rush Is On | April 28, 2011

Denis Jacob has been staking claims for gold-company clients since 1975. But he's never seen a frenzy quite like the one playing out in the Yukon—Canada's western-most territory and the site, more than 100 years ago, of one of history's greatest gold rushes. Mr. Jacob is part of a small, secretive band of "stakers," who hike miles at a time across the territory's mountains and forests, hammering wooden stakes into the ground. For years, they've quietly marked off and registered land for mining companies, who then have the right to explore for riches underneath. As gold prices have soared—setting a new record Wednesday of $1,516.70 an ounce—stakers have done what they typically don't: They've worked straight through the harrowing Yukon winter. Some recent discoveries of gold here have stoked activity. "As soon as gold went up, bang, everything changed," says Mr. Jacob, 60 years old. "Staking has become wild, quite wild."...