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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.

J.D. Salinger Slept Here (Just Don't Tell Anyone)
Michael Winerip, The New York Times | J.D. Salinger Slept Here (Just Don't Tell Anyone) | March 23, 2011

For years, officials at Ursinus College had been trying to figure out how to capitalize on the fact that J. D. Salinger had spent one semester there in the fall of 1938...

Why I'm Staying in Japan
Aimee McFarlen, Salon | Why I'm Staying In Japan | March 22, 2011

As my coworkers flee quake-stricken Sendai, I've made a tough decision -- to trust the government over here...

Oily Mystery Investigated on Louisiana Coast
Ryan Dezember, The Wall Street Journal | Oily Mystery Investigated on Louisiana Coast | March 22, 2011

An oily substance of unknown origin is washing ashore in parts of Louisiana that were among the hardest hit by BP PLC's Deepwater Horizon oil spill last year, the U.S. Coast Guard and local government officials said Monday...

Freed Times Journalists Give Account of Captivity
Jeremy W. Peters, The New York Times | Freed Times Journalists Give Account of Captivity | March 22, 2011

The Libyan government freed four New York Times journalists on Monday, six days after they were captured while covering the conflict between government and rebel forces in the eastern city of Ajdabiya. They were released into the custody of Turkish diplomats and crossed safely into Tunisia in the late afternoon, from where they provided a harrowing account of their captivity...

At Qaddafi Compound, A Human Shield
David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times | At Qaddafi Compound, A Human Shield | March 20, 2011

Even as the allied intervention began, a group of foreign journalists were bused on a rare visit inside Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s compound — a labyrinth of concrete barracks, fortified walls and barbed wire designed to deter potential military coups...

Rebecca Black: "I'm Being Cyberbullied"
Chris Lee, The Daily Beast | Rebecca Black: "I'm Being Cyberbullied" | March 20, 2011

In her first interview since becoming a viral sensation with her song "Friday," 13-year-old Rebecca Black talked to Chris lee about how the video came to be -- and "haters"...

James Gleick's History of Information
Review by Geoffrey Nunberg, The New York Times Book Review | James Gleick's History of Information | March 19, 2011

The universe, the 18th-century mathematician and philosopher Jean Le Rond d’Alembert said, “would only be one fact and one great truth for whoever knew how to embrace it from a single point of view.” James Gleick has such a perspective, and signals it in the first word of the title of his new book, “The Information,” using the definite article we usually reserve for totalities like the universe, the ether — and the Internet. Information, he argues, is more than just the contents of our overflowing libraries and Web servers. It is “the blood and the fuel, the vital principle” of the world. Human consciousness, society, life on earth, the cosmos — it’s bits all the way down...

Gadhafi Strikes Rebels As Diplomats Mull Action
Ryan Lucas and Hadeel al-Shalchi, Associated Press | Gadhafi Strikes Rebels As Diplomats Mull Action | March 19, 2011

Moammar Gadhafi took advantage of international indecision to attack the heart of the 5-week-old uprising on Saturday, sending troops, tanks and warplanes to swarm the first city seized by the rebels. Crashing shells shook buildings, and the sounds of battle drew closer to Benghazi's center. "Where is France, where is NATO?" cried a 50-year-old woman in Benghazi, where a doctor said 27 people were killed Saturday. "It's too late...

NPR Woes Escalate As House Votes To Strip Its Federal Funding
Gloria Goodale, The Christian Science Monitor | NPR Woes Escalate As House Votes To Strip Its Federal Funding | March 18, 2011

Congress dealt a setback to public broadcasting Thursday, approving in two separate votes funding cuts that conservatives, in particular, have long sought. The House voted Thursday to eliminate NPR's federal funding – and to prohibit public radio stations from using taxpayer money to pay NPR dues or to buy NPR programs. At the same time, the Senate approved a three-week budget resolution that includes a $50 million cut to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, parent of NPR and PBS...

UN Security Council Resolution On Libya: Key Points
Press Association, Guardian.co.uk | UN Security Council Resolution on Libya: Key Points | March 18, 2011

The main details of UN Resolution 1973 authorising action to protect Libyan civilians from Muammar Gaddafi...