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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.

Crawling Home
Robert O. Leaver | I Crawl Home | February 4, 2014

Mr. Leaver is crawling the length of Manhattan. You can read about it here.

Crawling away from Columbus Circle on another cold morning.  Sunshine and Larry with new electric green bootlaces. Better for me to spot him. This is my tenth crawl. My son is about to turn ten. Today I will crawl ten blocks. I am half way home, give or take a few blocks. I am deep into this relationship now.  I suppose I am roughly half way through with my life too, give or take a few years and barring anything unexpected…

Man Says He Ate Birds, Turtles In 13 Months Adrift In The Pacific Ocean
Nick Perry, Associated Press | 13 Months Adrift | February 3, 2014

It's a story that almost defies belief: A man leaves Mexico in December 2012 for a day of shark fishing and ends up surviving 13 months on fish, birds and turtles before washing ashore on the remote Marshall Islands some 5,500 miles away...

St. Francis: The Times They Are A-Changin'
Mark Binelli, Rolling Stone | Gentle Revolution | February 2, 2014

Nearly every Wednesday in Rome, the faithful and the curious gather in St. Peter's Square for a general audience with the pope. Since the election of the former Jorge Mario Bergoglio last March, attendance at papal events has tripled to 6.6 million. On a recent chilly morning in December, the thousands of amassed pilgrims appear to gleam in the sunlight, covering the square like a pixelated carpet. Maybe it's all the smartphones raised to the heavens...

His Friends Know Him As Petroswickonicovick
Simon Romero, The New York Times | His Friends Know Him As Petroswickonicovick | February 2, 2014

When he became a teenager, Wonarllevyston Garlan Marllon Branddon Bruno Paullynelly Mell Oliveira Pereira did what any self-conscious person worried about merciless taunting from his peers might do: He pleaded with his parents and the courts to let him change his name.

“I never had anything in common with Marlon Brando,” he said, referring to the American actor for whom he was partially named. So with the permission of his parents and the legal system, he whittled down his nine names to an economical four, Bruno Wonarleviston Oliveira Pereira...

Ganjapreneurs Flock To Colorado Following Marijuana Legalization
Abby Haglage and Caitlin Dickson, The Daily Beast | Ganjapreneurs | January 29, 2014

From "Cannabranders" to The Medicine Man, everyone's rushing to cash in on the green in colorful Colorado.

“The future is so bright, I gotta wear shades,” croons Peter Williams, the 46-year-old chief of operations at a Denver dispensary that hopes to be known as the IKEA of Weed...

Biotech's Mommy Issue
Julie Gunlock, National Review | Biotech's Mommy Issue | January 29, 2014

Advertisers and marketing experts know that in the typical household, the woman is the primary shopper. Whether they are selling cars or light bulbs or groceries, they have to appeal to women, their consumer base.  

The same goes for organizations selling fear and worry: If they want to attract converts to their cause, they have to convince women to embrace their views and join them in agitating for action. And so it goes for activists opposed to the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), who bombard women with misinformation about food safety...

Fact-Checking Obama's 2014 State Of The Union
Katie Sanders, PolitiFact.com | Fact-Checking SOTU | January 29, 2014

Fact-checking Obama's 2014 State of the Union...

Pete Seeger
Stuart Stotts | Singing Together | January 28, 2014

There are ways in which now might be considered a golden age of kids’ music. At the Grammys this week, some excellent recordings were nominated, many with well-produced and well-written songs that speak directly to the experiences of growing up. Funny, thoughtful, and catchy, there is a wealth of rich material to choose from.

Pete wasn’t about that, though. He was about singing together. Better than anyone I can think of he promoted the power and pleasure that comes from being in a room with a bunch of other people making a coordinated sound, filling the air and heart with ancient, mysterious, and yet direct and tangible energies of connection and joy. This is what is most important to me when I perform. I want us all to have an experience of singing...

Pete Seeger, Songwriter And Champion Of Folk Music, Dies At 94
Jon Pareles, The New York Times | Pete Seeger, R.I.P. | January 28, 2014

Mr. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama.

For Mr. Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action...

The State Of The State Of The Union? A Mess
Jeff Shesol, The New Yorker | State Of The SOTU | January 27, 2014

“I must say to you,” President Gerald Ford said to us, in 1975, “that the state of the Union is not good.” In the same spirit of candor, I must say to you that the state of the State of the Union is not good. I don’t mean tomorrow night’s speech. I mean the State of the Union Message as an institution. This may not rise to the level of economic inequality as a national problem, but the speech is no less in need of fixing.

The litany of grievances about the State of the Union is as long as the litany of proposals, ideas, appeals, and admonitions that the speech always contains...