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.

Early Facebook Investor Calls Metaverse Plan ‘Dystopian’ and ‘a Bad Idea’ (Maria)

The author writes, “One of Facebook’s earliest investors has labeled the social media giant’s plans for a metaverse as ‘dystopian.’ Meta, as Facebook is now known, is investing billions in the project. But Roger McNamee told the BBC: ‘It’s a bad idea and the fact we are all sitting and looking at this like it’s normal should be alarming everyone.’”

How Republicans Swept a Bluish State (Sean)

From FiveThirtyEight: “Despite what you may have heard, Virginia can still be a purple state. Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s gubernatorial contest on Tuesday, becoming the first Republican to win a statewide office in Virginia since 2009. As of Wednesday morning, Youngkin led by around 2.5 percentage points — pretty much in line with what pre-election polls showed and good enough to become the Old Dominion’s next governor.”

The Supreme Court Is Poised to Make Us All Live Under Texas’ Gun Laws (Russ)

The author writes, “The Supreme Court is apparently preparing to send us a message: No matter where you live, no matter what you and your neighbors feel, you’ll have to live with the idea that just about anyone who wants to will be able to carry a gun in your community. If you’ve ever said, ‘I’m glad I don’t live in a place where people are armed,’ you may no longer have any choice. Precisely how far the court will go is still unknown. But in oral arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit challenging New York state’s requirement that those who want a permit to carry a gun most places must show a ‘special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community,’ a few things became clear.”

Census May Have Missed More Than 1.5 Million, Independent Report Suggests (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The 2020 census may have missed more than 1.5 million people, enough to cost New York the congressional seat that went to Minnesota, according to a report released Tuesday. Research conducted by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, also estimated that the Census Bureau double counted white residents and missed people of color, renters and young children in its once-a-decade count, which was hampered by the coronavirus pandemic and decisions by the Trump administration.”

Christian Radio Host Doc Gallagher Gets 3 Life Prison Terms for Bilking Listeners Out of Millions of Dollars (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “A Texas radio host was sentenced to three life prison terms Monday for a Ponzi scheme in which he bilked elderly listeners out of millions of dollars. William Neil ‘Doc’ Gallagher also got a 30-year prison sentence from state District Judge Elizabeth Beach for his August guilty pleas. The sentences are to be served concurrently.”

‘It’s Absolutely Insane’: The US-Based Camp Where Jews Guarded Nazis (Inez)

The author writes, “Too vast in scope to be contained within war drama, the Holocaust movie constitutes an entire genre unto itself, collecting a potentially infinite number of tragedies great and small. The history of the 20th century’s most massive atrocity comes with thousands of footnotes now gradually expanded upon by media depicting the unsung courage and untold evil. Israeli documentary film-makers Daniel Sivan and Mor Loushy singled out one such extraordinary tale for their latest joint project, Netflix’s short film Camp Confidential, drawing attention to a highly covert military operation only recently released from behind redaction-marker bars.”

Greenland’s Ice Sheet Is Melting So Fast, It’s Raising Sea Levels and Creating Global Flood Risk (Mili)

From USA Today: “Greenland’s ice sheet, the biggest ice sheet in the world behind Antarctica, has melted so much in the past decade that global sea levels rose by 1 centimeter, and trends predict sea levels can rise nearly a foot higher by the end of the century. Research published in the journal Nature Communications on Monday says 3.5 trillion tons of Greenland’s ice sheet melted from 2011 to 2020, which would be enough to flood all of New York City in 14,700 feet of water.”

After 30 Years of Breeding Condors, a Secret Comes Out (Dan)

The author writes, “When you get to be as endangered as the California condor, your sex life becomes a highly public affair. Since 1983, when the number of California condors in existence was a mere 22, biologists have been carefully breeding the birds in captivity. They kept track of who mated with whom, how many offspring they had, and when those offspring were released into the wild. All of this is logged in the official California-condor ‘studbook.’ So it was quite a shock when, a few years ago, scientists conducting DNA tests as part of routine research found two condors with unexpected paternity. These two birds — known by their studbook numbers as SB260 and SB517— were not related to the fathers recorded in the studbook. Actually, they had no fathers at all.”