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.

FBI, Others Crush REvil Using Ransomware Gang’s Favorite Tactic (Maria)

The author writes, “Reuters [recently] reported that several countries working together took down the ransomware gang [REvil] using one of the criminal organization’s favorite tactics — compromised backups. Though the FBI isn’t commenting on the matter, private-sector cybersecurity experts and a former US official confirmed the operation, Reuters reports. ‘The FBI, in conjunction with Cyber Command, the Secret Service, and like-minded countries, have truly engaged in significant disruptive actions against these groups,’ Tom Kellermann, VMware’s head of cybersecurity strategy and an adviser to the US Secret Service on cybercrime investigations, told Reuters. ‘REvil was top of the list.’”

As Tech Titans Go to Austin and Miami, Will Tech Workers Follow? (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “Elon Musk announced this month that he will move Tesla’s corporate headquarters to Austin, making good on his earlier threat to move his HQ out of California’s Silicon Valley. The Tesla Inc. chief executive officer is hardly the first tech titan to trade the Bay Area for a red state. Peter Thiel and Keith Rabois are just two of the highest profile California venture capitalists who set up shop in Miami. Such relocations are typically attributed to the lower taxes and business-friendly political climates in Florida and Texas. Musk cited limited affordable housing and long commute times as obstacles to the company’s growth in announcing the headquarters’ departure.”

Florida’s Surgeon General Refused to Wear Mask to Meet Senator With Cancer (Dana)

From Ars Technica: “Florida’s top health official was tossed from a meeting last week after refusing to wear a mask in the presence of a state senator with cancer. In a reportedly tense exchange on Wednesday, state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo was asked to leave the office of Democratic state Senator Tina Polsky, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Cancer patients are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and becoming severely ill. They also may not be able to mount a full immune response after being vaccinated against the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Newsmax, Fox News Air Outdated, Out-of-Context Photos of Empty Shelves in Segments Bashing Biden (DonkeyHotey)

From PolitiFact: “Newsmax and Fox News have aired old, out-of-context photos of empty grocery store shelves in recent segments bashing President Joe Biden for the jammed-up supply chain that experts say is backlogged due to the coronavirus pandemic’s strain on the global economy. Shortages of labor and raw materials have certainly created bottlenecks at a time when shoppers are looking to spend. And photos of depleted shelves, like these from the Associated Press in October, have legitimately helped to illustrate that story.”

Women in China Are Waiting for Meaningful #MeToo Reforms (Mili)

The author writes, “China’s corporate leaders and government institutions are failing to meaningfully implement or enforce policies to reduce sexual assault, harassment and to increase gender equality, activists say, despite a recent surge in women coming forward in China to tell their #MeToo stories. The failure not only leaves many women wondering when these issues will be taken seriously, say lawyers and activists. It risks the reputations of companies embroiled in scandal, and the ability of firms to attract well-educated women who are increasingly vital to competitiveness as China’s economy becomes more oriented towards services.”

Ancient Groundwater: Why the Water You’re Drinking May Be Thousands of Years Old (Sean)

The authors write, “Communities that rely on the Colorado River are facing a water crisis. Lake Mead, the river’s largest reservoir, has fallen to levels not seen since it was created by the construction of the Hoover Dam roughly a century ago. Arizona and Nevada are facing their first-ever mandated water cuts, while water is being released from other reservoirs to keep the Colorado River’s hydropower plants running. If even the mighty Colorado and its reservoirs are not immune to the heat and drought worsened by climate change, where will the West get its water? There’s one hidden answer: underground.”

UW Paleontologists Dug Up 4 Dinosaurs in Montana This Summer, Including a Possible ‘Chicken From Hell’ (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Among fossil hunters, the Hell Creek Formation is legendary for the treasures it holds. Ranging from 50 to 180 meters deep, it runs from Montana through the Dakotas to Wyoming, with fossils dating from 66 million to 68 million years ago, in the late Cretaceous period. Most of the world’s Tyrannosaurus rex finds hail from there. This summer, a team including representatives from the Burke Museum and the University of Washington dug up something remarkable from the Hell Creek Formation: fossils from four dinosaurs, including a potential new species.”

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