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.

Genetic Mapping Boosts Hopes for Restoring Prized Lake Trout (Maria)

The author writes, “Scientists have traced the genetic makeup of lake trout, a feat that should boost efforts to rebuild populations of the prized fish in the Great Lakes and other North American waters where they’ve been hammered by invasive species, overfishing and pollution, officials said Tuesday.”

Pence Aide Blames Stephen Miller for ‘Devastating’ Visa System for Afghans (Mili)

The author writes, “A former aide to former Vice President Mike Pence blamed racist views of a top Trump administration official for the inability of many translators and other allies to get out of Afghanistan before the U.S. withdrew troops. Olivia Troye tweeted that Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to former President Donald Trump, teamed up with ‘enablers’ to undermine anyone trying to get the allies out by ‘devastating’ the special immigrant visa system at the departments of State and Homeland Security. ‘Stephen Miller would peddle his racist hysteria about Iraq & Afghanistan,’ tweeted Troye. She described Pence as ‘fully aware’ of the problem.”

PODCAST: Dexter Filkins on the Fall of Afghanistan (Bethany)

From The New Yorker: “Dexter Filkins covered the American invasion of Afghanistan when he was a reporter for the New York Times, and has continued to report on conflicts in the region for The New Yorker. Filkins’s best-seller from 2008 carried the resonant title ‘The Forever War.’ Thirteen years after the book’s publication, the forever war is over, but its end has been the chaotic worst-case scenario that many feared. Filkins talks with David Remnick about whether it had to go this way, and whether twenty years of war changed America more than it did Afghanistan.” 

AP Urges DeSantis to End Bullying Aimed at Reporter (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Twitter suspended the account of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary for violating rules on ‘abusive behavior’ after The Associated Press said her conduct led to a reporter receiving threats and other online abuse. The DeSantis aide, Christina Pushaw, saw her account locked for 12 hours, a Twitter spokeswoman said. … Incoming AP CEO Daisy Veerasingham wrote to DeSantis, asking him to end Pushaw’s ‘harassing behavior.’ AP is seeking to fight online bullying against journalists, a growing trend that is often triggered by public figures.”

Did They Really Make It Rain Over Dubai? Does It Matter? (Dan)

The author writes, “Driving coastward through Mississippi last month, I hit rain. First it spat at the windshield, a few drops sprinkling down from the sky onto a 2009 Accord. Then the bucket tipped, the road disappearing into smudges of light and water cascading on glass in the milliseconds between frantic wiper swipes. I eased into a doughnut shop’s flooded parking lot and settled in to watch. I was reminded of that downpour by an arresting series of short videos posted to Instagram last month by the United Arab Emirates’ National Center of Meteorology. In one, we see cars speeding through heavy rain while palm fronds shiver and the sun peers meekly through clouds, casting the scene in sepia tones. In another, we see the effects of a deluge: flooded streets, stationary vehicles, brown water streaming over sand. A third shows S.U.V.s traversing what appears to be a bumper-deep lake. It bears repeating that we are looking at the U.A.E.”

What Happens to Your Brain When You Give Up Sugar (Sean)

The author writes, “It might surprise you to learn that sugar consumption (in the UK and other developed countries at least) has actually been steadily decreasing over the past decade. This could be happening for any number of reasons, such as a shift in tastes and lifestyles, with the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets, like keto, increasing in the past decade. A greater understanding of the dangers of eating excess sugar on our health may also be driving this drop. Reducing sugar intake has clear health benefits, including reduced calorie intake, which can help with weight loss, and improved dental health. But people sometimes report experiencing negative side effects when they try to eat less sugar.”

Plastic Waste in Ocean Is Getting Hermit Crabs ‘Excited’ (Dana)

The author writes, “Ocean pollution has many consequences for marine life, including, it appears, getting hermit crabs ‘excited.’ Low concentrations of a common plastic additive called oleamide speed up the crabs’ breathing rate, indicating excitement and attraction to the material, according to a study published … in the Marine Pollution Bulletin. That might sound like good fun for the crabs, but it’s yet another example of ocean plastic disrupting ecosystems and wildlife.”

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