PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to picks@whowhatwhy.org.

Climate Change Is Going to Be Gross (Maria)

The author writes, “It’s called marine mucilage, but the world knows it better as ‘sea snot,’ thanks to the tsunami of stories that went viral when it overtook the Sea of Marmara in May. The internet marveled at the mess and moved on, but here in Istanbul, the sea snot hijacked the summer. … If the story of the Sea of Marmara in the summer of 2021 is a preview of what’s to come, the effects of climate change will be not only terrifyingly destructive but also weird, uncomfortable, and unbearably gross.”

The Pro-Trump Conspiracy Internet Is Moving From Facebook to Your Doorstep (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “The man at the door said he was just there to verify some publicly available information. In the home security video, he seems nervous and out of breath as he waits at the doorway, glancing frequently at his phone. Strangers don’t knock on doors much in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, a small ski town. For a decade, it had just 250 year-round residents, until the pandemic hit and a bunch of Massachusetts residents decided to cross state lines and turn their rural vacation spot into a home. But the man at the door wasn’t one of them. He said his name was Dean and he was with the New Hampshire Voter Integrity Group. The homeowner knew right away something was up.”

Biden’s Infrastructure Czar Comes With Friendly Record on Fossil Fuels (Reader Jim)

From The Intercept: “Climate activists … were dismayed when President Joe Biden announced in November that [Mitch] Landrieu had been selected to oversee the dispersal of new funds for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill now signed into law. It’s a high-visibility role that will allow Landrieu to travel around the country and build his profile as he eyes even greater national political power. But more importantly, they warn, his new post could tilt the scales in favor of fossil fuel interests as companies gun for new billion-dollar contracts to build roads, bridges, and pipelines.”

Water Scarcity Main Theme of Colorado River Conference (Doug)

From The Aspen Times: “Sobering. Troubling. The new abnormal. Crazy bad. These were the words used to describe conditions on the Colorado River at the largest annual gathering of water managers and experts in Las Vegas. … Water scarcity — and a sense of urgency to address it — has underscored this year’s Colorado River Water Users Association conference. In 2000, the storage system was nearly full, but over the past two decades, the river’s two largest buckets, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, have fallen to just one-third of their capacity.”

War on Public Education in Idaho Causes Businesses to Rethink Locating, Expanding There, Leaders Say (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Political hostility to public education in the Republican-dominated Idaho Legislature is causing some businesses to doubt the wisdom of moving to or expanding in a state that ranks at or near the bottom in what it spends on K-12 students and has one of the nation’s worst graduation rates. The Legislature also targeted higher education earlier this year when it cut $2.5 million from universities despite a budget surplus. An influential libertarian group that wants to abolish public education entirely says it will push for a $20 million cut to universities in 2022.”

‘Time We Can’t Get Back’: Stolen at Birth, Chilean Adoptees Uncover Their Past (Bethany)

The author writes, “Investigators looking into coercive adoptions in Chile since the first cases came to light in 2014 have come to a stunning conclusion: The practice was widespread during the rule of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who actively encouraged overseas adoptions to reduce poverty in the 1970s and 1980s. The process was abetted by a vast network of officials — including judges, social workers, health professionals and adoption brokers — who forged documents and are widely assumed to have taken bribes. More than 550 adoptees have reconnected with their birth families in recent years. But investigators say the scheme, which is still being uncovered, most likely involved many more children.”

Red-Nose Rage: Aggressive Deer Keep Attacking This Rudolph Decoration (Dana)

From the CBC: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was famously left out of reindeer games. In fact, all of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. However, at no point in the classic Christmas song do the other reindeer head-butt and stomp the living daylights out of Rudolph. But that’s what keeps happening to a Rudolph-themed decoration in Fort Nelson, B.C., where young male deer can’t seem to tell the difference between a Christmas ornament and a rival buck competing for the attention of female deer.”