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.

‘Disinfo Kills’: Protesters Demand Facebook Act to Stop Vaccine Falsehoods (Maria)

The author writes, “Activists descended on Facebook’s Washington headquarters on Wednesday to demand the company take stronger action against vaccine falsehoods spreading on its platform, covering the area in front of Facebook’s office with body bags that read ‘disinfo kills.’ The day of protest, which comes as COVID-19 cases surge in the US, was organized by a group of scholars, advocates and activists … [who are] urging Facebook’s shareholders to ban so-called misinformation ‘superspreaders’ — the small number of accounts responsible for the majority of false and misleading content about vaccines.”

‘Coup’ in Tunisia: Why Arab Spring’s Last Light Is Dimming (Russ)

From The Christian Science Monitor: “With a single announcement, the last embers of the once-blazing Arab Spring were dimmed by what some are calling a constitutional coup in the Arab world’s lone democracy. On Sunday, Tunisia’s populist president, Kais Saied, seized emergency powers for what he pledged would be a 30-day interim period. He dismissed the prime minister and defense minister, ‘froze’ parliament, and mobilized army units to bar elected representatives from the parliament building. By using the emergency measure, Mr. Saied, a former constitutional law professor, upended a carefully devised system that had divided powers to avoid a backslide into a strongman dictatorship such as that of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who was ousted in the Arab Spring.”

How Sacramento Sheriff Used Inmate Welfare Fund for Cameras, Fencing — And a Tahoe Resort (Reader Steve)

From The Sacramento Bee: “The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office employees booked a trip to the Beach Retreat & Lodge at Tahoe, a laid-back hotel on the south shore that touts beach access, in-unit fireplaces and balconies. There’s a view from every room. The November 2019 reservation for six people cost $2,018 — paid by Sacramento County’s inmates and their loved ones. Out-of-pocket fees from inmate phone calls and items such as toothpaste, potato chips and shaving cream have also paid for county employees to fly Southwest Airlines to San Diego and stay at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, a Sacramento Bee review of financial records found.”

How Roblox  Became a Playground for Virtual Fascists (Mili)

The author writes, “[Roblox] isn’t really a game; it is a hub of interconnected virtual worlds, more like a sprawling mall video arcade than a stand-alone Street Fighter II machine. Roblox gives players a simple set of tools to create any environment they want, from Naruto’s anime village to a high school for mermaids to Somewhere, Wales. Players have built games about beekeeping, managing a theme park, flipping pizzas, shoveling snow, using a public bathroom, and flinging themselves down staircases. They have also built spaces to hang out and role-play different characters and scenarios — rushing a sorority, policing Washington, DC.”

‘Protected Again And Again’: How a Fencer Made It to the Tokyo Olympics Despite Sexual Assault Allegations (Sean)

From BuzzFeed News: “Ten days after fencer Alen Hadzic secured a spot as an alternate on the US Olympic team, a group of women took their concerns about him straight to the top. The six women fencers, including two Olympic athletes, wrote to the Olympic committee that Hadzic should not be allowed to represent the US because he was under investigation for at least three accusations of sexual misconduct reported to the US Center for SafeSport, the nonprofit agency responsible for protecting athletes from abuse. His presence at the Games, they said, was a ‘direct affront’ to fellow athletes and put them at risk. … Two months later, Hadzic is one of 24 Olympic fencers in Tokyo, an alternate on the men’s épée team, attaining a rarefied spot at the pinnacle of his sport, to the dismay of his teammates.”

US Drilling Approvals Increase Despite Biden Climate Pledge (Dan)

The author writes, “Approvals for companies to drill for oil and gas on U.S. public lands are on pace this year to reach their highest level since George W. Bush was president, underscoring President Joe Biden’s reluctance to more forcefully curb petroleum production in the face of industry and Republican resistance. The Interior Department approved about 2,500 permits to drill on public and tribal lands in the first six months of the year, according to an Associated Press analysis of government data. That includes more than 2,100 drilling approvals since Biden took office January 20.”

Hobby Lobby’s $1.6 Million Gilgamesh Tablet Has Been Forfeited to the US (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “A 3,500-year-old clay tablet purchased by the Hobby Lobby arts and crafts chain for $1.6 million has been forfeited to the United States. The tablet, which bears a portion of the epic of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian poem considered one of the world’s oldest works, originated in the area of modern-day Iraq and was illegally transported to the U.S. in 2003 and 2014. A false provenance letter was used to sell the tablet several times before Hobby Lobby purchased the item from a London-based auction house in 2014.”

print

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to the Daily WhoWhatWhy

Relevant, in-depth journalism delivered to you.
Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.