The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Crews Expand Search for Missing Plane

    It’s day four, and there’s still no sign of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Rescue teams are widening their search to the western coast of Malaysia, and China has deployed 10 satellites in a bid to answer the desperate questions plaguing loved ones. Security concerns have flared over the possible use of stolen passports by two passengers, but reports today indicate that one was a young Iranian not believed to have had terrorist links. The flight was carrying 239 people when it vanished from radar screens on Saturday.

    Sources: Al JazeeraBBCNYT

  2. Senator Blasts CIA for Allegedly Searching Congressional Network

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein had choice words for the Central Intelligence Agency on Tuesday, reportedly accusing it of cover-ups and smears targeting elected officials who had been charged with looking into the agency’s work. She even accused the CIA of violating the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Normally a strong advocate for the intelligence community, Feinstein’s critique also came with a confirmation that the matter has been referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution. So far, there’s been no comment from the CIA.

    Sources: Washington Post, The Guardian

  3. NATO Deploys Jets to Monitor Ukraine as EU Prepares New Russia Sanctions

    The West seems to be toughening its stance over Ukraine. NATO has approved airborne reconnaissance missions over Poland and Romania to monitor unrest in the region, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry turned down an invitation to meet with Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, the EU is set to impose new sanctions against Russia, including travel bans and the freezing of assets. Tensions are mounting ahead of a referendum over Crimea’s future, to be held on Sunday, and it’s still unclear whether Ukraine’s western allies are prepared to use force to defend Kiev.

    Sources: NYTReutersDW

  4. Colorado Enjoys Huge Marijuana Tax Revenues

    The “Centennial State” collected more than $3.5 million in taxes from medical and recreational marijuana sales in January. With more than $2 million of that coming from recreational usage, the windfall supports some of the financial arguments made for the wider legalization of pot. A sobering 12.9 percent sales tax and 15 percent excise tax on marijuana sales drove the tax revenue. With the first $40 million of the excise tax going to school construction, the state has plenty of reason to encourage residents to light up.

    Sources: USA TodayNPR

  5. Snowden Speaks to U.S. Audience About Internet Risks

    The World Wide Web is 25 years old this week, but Edward Snowden is warning that its future may be in doubt. In his first-ever live streaming interview, the notorious leaker addressed the South by Southwest conference and condemned the NSA for “setting fire to the Internet” as we know it. He urged tech firms and enterprising start-ups — “the firefighters” — to challenge the culture of privacy invasion and mass surveillance. Everyone, he suggested, can fight back by stepping up website encryption and demanding better technical standards.

    Sources: WiredAl Jazeera

  6. House Investigates GM’s Safety Response, Two Claim Victory in El Salvador

    U.S. House set to probe GM’s response to faulty ignition switches (NYT).

    Recount begins in El Salvador as both presidential candidates claim victory. (BBC).

    Japan marks third anniversary of tsunami and Fukushima disaster. (DW).

    Al Jazeera probe identifies Lockerbie bombing suspects. (Al Jazeera).

    Japan Airlines Dreamliner lands with one engine in Hawaii. (CNN).


  1. Elephants Can Hear You and Distinguish Voices

    The large mammals can tell our ethnicities, genders and ages based on the sound of our voices. We knew elephants were among the most intelligent animals on Earth, but researchers have discovered that they can use their acute sense of hearing not only to sense threats from other animals but also from humans. A flub during the experiment led to Dire Straits’ classic ”Money for Nothing” being blasted accidentally, to which the wild African elephants walked off. So not only can they hear, they’re judgmental to boot.

    Sources: BBCLA Times

  2. New App Can Help Double Your Reading Speed

    You can increase your reading speed with a new app that promises to help you devour fiction faster than ever before. Spritz offers readers a chance to speed up by flashing words one at time, centering each at its optimal recognition point. Users determine the speed at which words whiz by and can set the speed up to 600 words per minute — double the normal reading speed. Although admirers hail the app as “life-changing,” others argue that speed inherently reduces comprehension. Reading between the lines: One app can’t do it all.

    Source: The Atlantic

  3. Human Memories Are Fuzzier With Out-of-Body Experiences

    Human memory may be linked to physical experience, a new study suggests. When researchers used virtual reality to simulate out-of-body experiences, study participants struggled to remember what happened. The study showed that memory consolidation falls apart when people are not seeing events through first-person points-of-view, enabling researchers the ability to draw a clear link between body and memory. While giving science a greater understanding of memory disorders, the report may leave virtual gamers wondering what they’ve just read.

    Sources: Medical DailyNPR 

  4. Archive Offers Thousands of Golden Age Comics for Download

    Batman and Captain America may rake in millions at the box office, but many of their compatriots’ stories are available for free. The big names remain under copyright, but Comic Book Plus is offering free, legal downloads of more than 22,000 comics from the golden and silver ages of graphic novels, stretching from the 1930s to 1960s. You may need to dust off your imagination before diving into the world before CGI, but the downloads offer a chance to discover some new superheroes.

    Source: Open Culture

  5. Could Early Retirement Become the NFL Norm? 

    Rashard Mendenhall, 26, has announced his retirement from the NFL, saying he is not willing to put his body at risk for others’ entertainment. The move could signal the beginning of a new trend. Pro-footballers make more money in three years than most Americans do their entire lives. With increasing concern about the harsh physical impact of the game, why not cash in at 26 and live in financial comfort while steering clear of injuries? Mendenhall loves the game, but he’s chosen to love himself a little bit more.

    Source: Bleacher Report