UI design is largely about directing flow. Scrolling down is certainly not the end of the world, and hiding less-commonly used features helps make those which are used stand out.
BRU is an extreme case, but it's clear that it is a tool. Spend 5 minutes looking at it / reading a manual, and you'll be infinitely more productive with it than with whatever the beautiful UX artpiece du jour is.
And honestly, I'm tired of this dumbing down (= making useless) of everything. General-purpose computing is a very powerful technology and we're absolutely underutilizing it.
Mixing consoles also look complicated to a first-time user but I don't think anyone would argue that they need simplification.
Interestingly, Apple News app on the iPad uses cards and a simple layout, yet seems to work well and with no stuttering. This cannot be said for Google+ (and no, I don't want to join communities, stop showing them to me).
Whether a tool needs learning beforehand or not determines how likely you are to try the tool in the first place (by estimating whether the expected result justifies the effort), and how likely you are to actually be able to use the tool to solve that problem successfully.
It helps to determine what the real goal is in this case. It is not really "allow me to browse through lots of headlines at maximum efficiency", but something more like "entertain me and let me keep in touch with people".