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.

Mapping Your Life: Embedded Data in Photos Could Tip Off Criminals
Mindy Campbell, IMCOM | Mapping Your Life | February 8, 2011

When a Schweinfurt field artillery officer deployed to Iraq a year ago, he uploaded some photos and videos to several different social media sites. In one instance, the videos and photos showed the officer preparing for a mission where his unit was transporting thousands of Iraqi dinar, which is the country's currency. For many people, posting a photo of one's daily activities may seem like a pretty common thing to do in the world of Facebook, Flickr and with the use of smart phones. However, not everyone sees it that way, said Tonya Heinbaugh, U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg security officer. Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification to photographs, video, websites and instant messages...

The Beer Industry's Mad Inventor
Darren Dahl, Open Forum | The Beer Industry's Mad Inventor | February 7, 2011

Josh Springer doesn’t have much free time these days. He starts his workdays at 5:00 a.m. and he usually doesn’t stop working until 11:00 p.m. Like many founders of startup businesses, Springer – who founded a company called GrinOn Industries in 2009 – wishes there were more hours in a day just so he could keep up with everything he needs to do. A big reason Springer, 28, feels overwhelmed these days is because of a YouTube video that shows his invention: the BottomsUp beer dispenser and beer cup...

Prizing Status Quo, Mubarak Resists Pressure
Helene Cooper and Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times | Mubarak Resists | February 7, 2011

He walks several yards to his office from his living quarters at the presidential palace every day, dressed in his trademark black business suit and tie. On Saturday, he conducted a meeting of his new government’s economic team. And on Sunday, he received an envoy from Oman, who delivered a letter from the sultan. Egyptian, Arab and Western officials who have dealt with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt say that for the past week, he has veered between anger, a sense of betrayal and stoicism. Known for a fierce conservatism that prizes stability above all else, Mr. Mubarak has reacted to the calls for his resignation — some from Western officials who he thought were, if not friends, at least allies — with his usual change-resistant manner. One Arab official called it “his reflex adherence to the status quo.”...

Cairo Protests Make Chinese Censors Nervous
Reshma Patil, Hindustan Times | Cairo Protests Make Chinese Censors Nervous | February 4, 2011

The online censors stepped in when comparisons between Cairo's Tahrir Square and Tiananmen Square began spreading on popular Chinese microblogs. This week, a search typed in the Chinese characters for Egypt was blocked on China's microblogging service Sina Weibo, which has over 50 million users. A search for Egypt leads to a terse statement: according to relevant laws, regulations and policies, the search results are not shown'. Asked about the online censorship at a media briefing on Tuesday, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei replied in one sentence: "The Chinese Internet is open."...

As Islamist Group Rises, Its Intentions Are Clear
Scott Shane, The New York Times | As Islamist Group Rises, Its Intentions Are Clear | February 4, 2011

After maintaining a low profile in protests led largely by secular young Egyptians, the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition force, appeared to be taking a more assertive role on Thursday, issuing a statement asking for President Hosni Mubarak to step aside for a transitional government...

Foreign Journalists Targeted In Egypt Rage: An Inside Look
Kristen Chick, The Christian Science Monitor | Journalists Targeted In Egypt Rage | February 4, 2011

The Egyptian government launched an all-out attack on foreign and domestic journalists Thursday, detaining, beating, and harassing those trying to cover the violence unleashed on peaceful democracy protesters...

Arab World Faces Its Uncertain Future
Anthony Shadid, The New York Times | Arab World Faces Its Uncertain Future | February 3, 2011

The future of the Arab world, perched between revolt and the contempt of a crumbling order, was fought for in the streets of downtown Cairo on Wednesday...

Clashes Erupt in Cairo Between Mubarak's Allies and Foes
Anthony Shadid, David D. Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim, The New York Times | Clashes Erupt in Cairo | February 2, 2011

President Obama’s calls for a rapid transition to a new order in Egypt seemed eclipsed on Wednesday as a choreographed surge of thousands of people chanting support for the Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak fought running battles with a larger number of antigovernment protesters in and around Cairo’s Tahrir Square...

Mubarak Says He Won't Run for President Again
David D. Kirkpatric and Mark Landler, The New York Times | Mubarak Says He Won't Run for President Again | February 1, 2011

President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt said he would not run for another term as president of Egypt. His decision came after President Obama told the embattled president of Egypt, that he should not run for another term in elections scheduled for the fall, effectively withdrawing American support for its closest Arab ally, according to American diplomats in Cairo and Washington. Mr. Mubarak issued the statement on Tuesday evening, saying it was necessary for the stbility of the nation...

Middle East Geography Quiz
Jacob Turcotte, The Christian Science Monitor | Middle East Geography Quiz | February 1, 2011

The Middle East has long been a major center of human affairs. Located at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and Asia, the Middle East was home to the world's earliest civilizations and is the spiritual center of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Yezidi, Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and the Bahá'í Faith. Do you have a good enough understanding of the Greater Middle East to complete this geography quiz?...