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.

The New 'Cosmos' Reboot Marks A Promising New Era For Science
Lawrence M. Krauss | 'Cosmos' Reboot | March 9, 2014

The new reboot of the classic Carl Sagan series, now starring Neil deGrasse Tyson, needs our support -- seeing more science on mainstream TV may depend on it...

The Fat Drug
Pagan Kennedy, The New York Times Op Ed | The Fat Drug | March 9, 2014

Manufacturers brag about the miraculous effects of feeding antibiotics to chicks and nursing calves. Dusty agricultural journals attest to the ways in which the drugs can act like a kind of superfood to produce cheap meat.But what if that meat is us?...

The Face Behind Bitcoin
Leah McGrath Goodman, Newsweek | Bitcoin's Creator | March 6, 2014

Satoshi Nakamoto stands at the end of his sunbaked driveway looking timorous. And annoyed.

He's wearing a rumpled T-shirt, old blue jeans and white gym socks, without shoes, like he has left the house in a hurry. His hair is unkempt, and he has the thousand-mile stare of someone who has gone weeks without sleep.

He stands not with defiance, but with the slackness of a person who has waged battle for a long time and now faces a grave loss...

"Tiny" Asteroid To Give Us A Close Shave Today
Phil Plait, Slate | Today's Asteroids | March 6, 2014


At about 21:00 UTC (4 p.m. Eastern time) today, the 24-30 meter-wide asteroid 2014 DX110 will pass just 350,000 km frmo the Earth -- closer than the Moon!...

Gentryifing The Dharma: How The 1 Percent Is Hijacking Mindfulness
Joshua Eaton, Salon | Hijacking Mindfulness | March 6, 2014

As big corporations embrace meditation, some Buddhists fear their religion's being co-opted by elites...

The Dalai Lama's Ski Trip
Douglas Preston, Slate | The Dalai Lama's Ski Trip | March 5, 2014

The Dalai Lama arrived in Santa Fe on April 1, 1991. I was by his side every day from 6 a.m. until late in the evening. Traveling with him was an adventure. He was cheerful and full of enthusiasm—making quips, laughing, asking questions, rubbing his shaved head, and joking about his bad English. He did in fact stop and talk to anyone, no matter how many people were trying to rush him to his next appointment. When he spoke to you, it was as if he shut out the rest of the world to focus his entire sympathy, attention, care, and interest on you...

A Letter From Ray Jasper, Who Is About To Be Executed
Ray Jasper, Gawker | Letter From Ray Jasper | March 4, 2014

Texas death row inmate Ray Jasper is scheduled to be put to death on March 19. He has written us a letter that, he acknowledges, "could be my final statement on earth." It is well worth your time...

The Last Casualties: As A Long War Ends, Risks Still Prove Real
Ernesto Londono, The Washington post | Report From Bagram | March 4, 2014

There are currently roughly 33,700 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, down from a peak of more than 100,000 in the spring of 2011. Those who have been wounded here have had a better chance at survival than in any previous U.S. war — a result of stunning achievements in battlefield care...

LSD, Reconsidered For Therapy
Benedict Carey, The New York Times | LSD Recosidered | March 4, 2014

He heard about the drug trial from a friend in Switzerland and decided it was worth volunteering, even if it meant long, painful train journeys from his native Austria and the real possibility of a mental meltdown. He didn’t have much time, after all, and traditional medicine had done nothing to relieve his degenerative spine condition.

“I’d never taken the drug before, so I was feeling — well, I think the proper word for it, in English, is dread,” said Peter, 50, an Austrian social worker...

Putin Goes To War
David Remnick, The New Yorker | Putin Goes To War | March 3, 2014

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President and autocrat, had a plan for the winter of 2014: to reassert his country’s power a generation after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He thought that he would achieve this by building an Olympic wonderland on the Black Sea for fifty-one billion dollars and putting on a dazzling television show. It turns out that he will finish the season in a more ruthless fashion, by invading a peninsula on the Black Sea and putting on quite a different show—a demonstration war that could splinter a sovereign country and turn very bloody, very quickly...