Man Spent 36 Years in Prison for Stealing $50 ; The Wonders of Spider Silk ; and More Picks 9/16

Alaska’s Last Wild Place Is Open for Drilling. Will the Birds Survive? (Mili)

The author writes, “Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, where millions of birds come to nest and raise their young, is now under threat from petroleum development.”

After Fire, Philadelphia Refinery Paid Execs Over $4.5M in Bonuses (Chris)

From the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Philadelphia Energy Solutions paid out about $4.6 million in retention bonuses to eight key executives after a devastating June fire closed the giant Schuylkill River refinery complex, but before the company declared bankruptcy, court records show. Most of the payments were made on July 5, while PES was in the process of closing the East Coast’s largest refinery, according to a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. At the time, the refinery had announced plans to permanently shut the fuel complex and lay off most of its 1,100 employees without severance pay or health insurance coverage.”

Man Spent 36 Years in Prison for Stealing $50 From a Bakery (Chris)

The author writes, “Alvin Kennard was 22 years old when he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole back in 1984. Alabama state law at the time mandated that since it was his fourth offense, the judge had no other option than to sentence him to life in prison. That law, the Habitual Felony Offender Act, has since been changed so that judges now have the option of giving fourth-time offenders the possibility of parole.”

Civil Rights Groups Challenge Trump’s ‘Racially Discriminatory Scheme’ to Skew Redistricting (Reader Pat)

From Mother Jones: “A new lawsuit attacks a plan to harness citizenship data and take power away from Democrats and Latinos.”

How Spider Silk Is One of the Most Versatile Materials on Earth (Mili)

The author writes, “Actually a protein created by special organs known as spinnerets, spider silk can be used for transportation, shelter, courtship, and all kinds of creative ways to trap prey.”