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.

J.R.R. Tolkien Reveals True Meaning Of 'The Lord Of The Rings" In Unearthed Audio Recording
Noble Smith, The Huffington Post | Tolkien Treasurr | May 22, 2014

Over 20 years ago, a lost recording of J.R.R. Tolkien was discovered in a basement in Rotterdam, but the man who found it kept this importanbt reel-to-reel tape hidden away. Until recently, only he had heard the recording. But now, I am one of those luck Middle-earth lovers who has listened to this magical magnetic tape, and I happily declare that it is awesome. For it proves once and for all that Professor Talkien was, in fact, very much the hobbit that we all suspected him to be...

From 'Acid' To 'Bonfire,' An Archive That Sizzles
Jennifer Schuessler, The New York Times | The Wolfe Archive | May 22, 2014

...A reporter recently got an early look at roughly 170 linear feet of manuscripts, reporter's notebooks, newspaper clippings, sketches and other materials, much of it kept by Mr. Wolfe in elegant orange Queen Bee file boxes made in Richmond, Va., his birthplace...

Mountain Bull Dead: Iconic Kenyan Elephant Reportedly Killed by Poachers
Dominique Mosbergen, The Huffington Post | Mountain Bull, R.I.P. | May 21, 2014

Conservationists did everything they could to save Mountain Bull, the legendary Kenyan elephant...But in the end, it simply wasn't enough...

The Cost: What Stop And Frisk Does To A Young Man's Soul
Rilla Askew, The Daily Beast | Stop And Frisk | May 21, 2014

Every afternoon when Trey left school in his car, two white patrolmen would follow him in their cruiser, sometimes a few blocks, sometimes several miles, before turning on their patrol lights...

Remembering, As An Extreme Sport
Benedict Carey, The New York Times | Memory Athletes | May 20, 2014

The last match of the tournament had all the elements of a classic showdown, pitting style versus stealth, quickness versus deliberation, and the world's foremost card virtuoso against its premier numbers wizard...

Koch Vs. Koch: The Brutal Battle That Tore Apart America's Most Powerful Family
Daniel Schulman, Mother Jones | Koch Vs. Koch | May 20, 2014

Before the brothers went to war against Obama, they almost destroyed each other...

Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm
Jennifer Medina, The New York Times | Trigger Warnings | May 19, 2014

Should students about to read The Great Gatsby be forewarned about "a variety of scenes that reference gory, abusive and misogynistic violence," as one Rutgers student proposed? Would any book that addresses racism -- like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Things Fall Apart -- have to be preceded by a note of caution? Do sexual images from Greek mythlogy need to come with a view-beware label? Colleges across the country this spring have been wrestling with student requests for what are known as "trigger warnings"...

The Mastermind Behind 'International Masturbation Month'
Tracy Clark-Flory, Salon | Masturbation Month | May 19, 2014

In honor of Masturbation Month, Salon talks to the pioneer of self-pleasuring who coined this quirky holiday...

Fox News' Divisive Race Strategy: How O'Reilly, Hannity And Coulter Intentionally Tore America Apart
Matthew W. Hughey and Gregory S. Parks | Divisive Race Strategy | May 19, 2014

False claims go unchallenged, racial fears are stoked -- and political scientists discover it helps GOP at polls...

How Barbara Walters Changed Everything
Jack Mirkinson, The Huffington Post | On Barbara Walters | May 16, 2014

Barbara Walters, who is retiring after 50 years in television today, has had the kind of career that sends writers to their thesauruses, scrabbling around to find another synonym for "legendary" or "pioneering" or "iconic." The scope of her professional life is nearly impossible to sum up coherently. But let's try...