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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.

China's New Year: There Be Dragons, But Not Enough Train Tickets
Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor | China's New Year: There Be Dragons, But Not Enough Train Tickets | January 22, 2012

This weekend, hundreds of millions of Chinese will return to hometowns to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Dragon. But the annual pilgrimage is marked by the annual struggle at the train station...

A New Definition of Autism Could Exclude Many Now Diagnosed, Expert Says
Casey Schwartz, The Daily Beast | A New Definition of Autism Could Exclude Many Now Diagnosed, Expert Says | January 22, 2012

When an expert on autism argued that a new definition of the disorder being prepared by the American Psychiatric Association could restrict the number of patients currently diagnosed as autistic, he set off a firestorm of criticism and debate...

Obstacles to Danish Wind Power
James Kanter, The New York Times | Obstacles to Danish Wind Power | January 22, 2012

During howling winter weather two years ago, the thousands of windmills dotting Denmark and its coastline generated so much power that Danes had to pay other countries to take the surplus...

Aaron McGruder, Creator of Controversial 'The Boondocks,' Co-Writes 'Red Tails'
Allison Samuels, The Daily Beast | Aaron McGruder, Creator of Controversial 'The Boondocks,' Co-Writes 'Red Tails' | January 20, 2012

The creator of the controversial and popular cartoon strip The Boondocks had been keeping a low profile, but jumped at the chance to work with George Lucas on the new movie about black pilots in World War II...

Bill Clinton: Someone We Can All Agree On
Charles P. Pierce and Mark Warren, Esquire | Bill Clinton: Someone We Can All Agree On | January 20, 2012

Even his staunchest enemies now regard his presidency as the good old days. He has become the rare consensus figure in a country that has lost all sense of consensus. So we talked to him about where it went, and how we might get it back...

SOPA And PIPA Dead -- For Now
Jennifer Martinez, Politico | SOPA And PIPA Dead -- For Now | January 20, 2012

House and Senate leaders abandoned plans to move on SOPA and PIPA on Friday — the surest sign yet that a wave of online protests have killed the controversial anti-piracy legislation for now and maybe forever...

Paul Begala to Rick Perry: Adios, Mofo
Paul Begala, The Daily Beast | Paul Begala to Rick Perry: Adios, Mofo | January 19, 2012

Let us not allow Rick Perry to exit stage right—far right—without a final word or two. What can be said about a man who burst onto the national scene by toying with secession, as if 600,000 dead in the Civil War weren't enough? Rick Perry appealed to the darkest angels of our nature...

Five Myths About The Keystone XL Pipeline
Michael Levi, The Washington Post | Five Myths About the Keystone XL Pipeline | January 19, 2012

After months of intense debates and protests, the Obama administration has finally decided the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline project: It’s not going to happen anytime soon.

The proposed pipeline would have moved about 700,000 barrels of oil-like bitumen from the Alberta oil sands to Texas refineries each day, and oil companies and their allies lobbied hard for it — including with an ad blitz that ran during Republican presidential debates. But, in a victory for environmental activists and parts of the president’s base, the State Department has rejected the permit for its construction (though it has left the door open for its backers to reapply)...

How Obama's Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics
Andrew Sullivan, Newsweek | How Obama's Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics | January 18, 2012

The right calls him a socialist, the left says he sucks up to Wall Street, and independents think he's a wimp. Andrew Sullivan on how the president may just end up outsmarting them all...

Protest on Web Uses Shutdown to Take On Two Piracy Bills
Jenna Wortham, The New York Times | Protest on Web Uses Shutdown to Take On Two Piracy Bills | January 18, 2012

With a Web-wide protest on Wednesday that includes a 24-hour shutdown of the English-language Wikipedia, the legislative battle over two Internet piracy bills has reached an extraordinary moment — a political coming of age for a relatively young and disorganized industry that has largely steered clear of lobbying and other political games in Washington.