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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.

Why I Will Never, Ever, Go Back To The United States
Niels Gerson Lohman, The Huffington Post Blog | Why I Will Never, Ever, Go Back To The United States | October 17, 2013

After a year of traveling, I had planned a last, short trip. I was going to take the train from Montreal to New Orleans. The travels I had been undertaking earlier this year had brought me to places that were meant to form the background of my second novel.

This trip, however, was for my dad. He, a trumpet player, loved New Orleans and had died a year ago. It felt like the first sensible trip I undertook this year. I had been searching for ways to forget about the last hours at his deathbed. He had been ill for 15 years and his body just would not give up. It was a violent sight. I had decided the trip to New Orleans would put an end to those memories...

G.O.P. Blues: Another Farcical Day On Capitol Hill
John Cassidy, The New Yorker | G.O.P. Blues: Another Farcical Day On Capitol Hill | October 16, 2013

Give the Republicans on Capitol Hill one thing: they don’t leave a job half done. Evidently disturbed by polls showing Congress with a single-digit approval rating, they appear intent on driving it to zero.

What other explanation can there be for Tuesday’s farcical maneuvers, which saw the House Republican leadership try and fail to seize the initiative in the debt-ceiling standoff from the Senate, in the process humiliating Speaker Boehner yet again...

The Band's 'Rock of Ages' Is The Greatest Live Album Ever
Andrew Romano, The Daily Beast | The Band's 'Rock of Ages' Is The Greatest Live Album Ever | October 15, 2013

When you’re young, and you’re obsessed with rock music, and you have friends (particularly male friends) who are equally obsessed with rock music, and none of you have anything better to do, which is usually the case with teenage boys, you tend to ask each other questions like “What’s the best live album of all time?” And because you yourself are a teenage boy, you know your answer is the right answer, the one true answer, and you proceed to argue on its behalf for the next two hours, repeating again and again, as others advocate for Neil Young’s Live Rust or The Rolling Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out, that actually the best live album of all time is Live at Leeds by The Who. Or at least you did if you were me...

South Dakota's Cattle Cataclysm: Why Isn't This Horror News?
Carrie Mess, The Guardian | South Dakota's Cattle Cataclysm: Why Isn't This Horror News? | October 14, 2013

If you aren't in the ag world, you most likely haven't heard about the devastating loss that ranchers in western South Dakota are struggling with after being hit by winter storm Atlas. For some reason the news stations aren't covering this story. I don't understand why they wouldn't. This story has heartbreak, tragedy and even a convenient tie into the current government shutdown. Isn't that what the news is all about these days?But the news isn't covering this story. Instead, it is spreading around on social media, and bloggers are writing from their ranches in South Dakota...

Turning The Page: Reflections On Change
Serge Schmemann | Turning The Page: Reflections On Change | October 14, 2013

On Tuesday, The International Herald Tribune, the global edition of The New York Times, becomes The International New York Times.

The paper has changed names a number of times since its founding 126 years ago, but its mission has always remained the same: to provide a global perspective on events and ideas shaping the world. This is a look at its journey so far...

Today Is Columbus Day
The Oatmeal | Today Is Columbus Day | October 14, 2013

Today is Columbus Day in the United States of America. When asked to describe Christopher Columbus most people generally say two things...

Banksy Was Here: The Invisible Man Of Graffiti Art
Lauren Collins. The New Yorker | Banksy Was Here: The Invisible Man Of Graffiti Art | October 10, 2013

The British graffiti artist Banksy likes pizza, though his preference in toppings cannot be definitively ascertained. He has a gold tooth. He has a silver tooth. He has a silver earring. He’s an anarchist environmentalist who travels by chauffeured S.U.V. He was born in 1978, or 1974, in Bristol, England—no, Yate. The son of a butcher and a housewife, or a delivery driver and a hospital worker, he’s fat, he’s skinny, he’s an introverted workhorse, he’s a breeze-shooting exhibitionist given to drinking pint after pint of stout. For a while now, Banksy has lived in London: if not in Shoreditch, then in Hoxton. Joel Unangst, who had the nearly unprecedented experience of meeting Banksy last year, in Los Angeles, when the artist rented a warehouse from him for an exhibition, can confirm that Banksy often dresses in a T-shirt, shorts, and sneakers. When Unangst is asked what adorns the T-shirts, he will allow, before fretting that he has revealed too much already, that they are covered with smudges of white paint...

How The US Raid On Al-Shabaab In Somalia Went Wrong
Abdalle Ahmed, Spencer Ackerman, and David Smith, The Guardian | How The US Raid On Al-Shabaab In Somalia Went Wrong | October 9, 2013

Navy Seals launched a daring night-time raid in Barawe, but were forced to retreat an hour later without their target. Why?...

For Nobel, They Can Thank The 'God Particle'
Dennis Overbye, The New York Times | For Nobel, They Can Thank The 'God Particle' | October 9, 2013

The “God particle” became the prize particle on Tuesday.

Two theoretical physicists who suggested that an invisible ocean of energy suffusing space is responsible for the mass and diversity of the particles in the universe won the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday morning. They are Peter W. Higgs, 84, of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and François Englert, 80, of the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium...

Focusing On Fruit Flies, Curiosity Takes Flights
James Gorman, The New York Times | Focusing On Fruit Flies, Curiosity Takes Flights | October 8, 2013

To hear Michael Dickinson tell it, there is nothing in the world quite as wonderful as a fruit fly.

And it’s not because the fly is one of the most important laboratory animals in the history of biology, often used as a simple model for human genetics or neuroscience.

“I don’t think they’re a simple model of anything,” he says. “If flies are a great model, they’re a great model for flies.

“These animals, you know, they’re not like us,” he says, warming to his subject...