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.

Gun Violence Is Surging — Researchers Finally Have the Money to Ask Why (Maria)

The author writes, “Spurred by advocacy that followed high-profile school shootings, Congress has authorized $25 million for each of the past two years to go to the NIH and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the study of gun violence as a public health issue. Although researchers were initially slow to answer the funding call, studies are starting to look at how gun policies affect homicide rates. Others will investigate strategies to reduce suicides, which typically account for nearly two-thirds of gun deaths in the US. And a handful of state health departments around the country are getting funding to collect better statistics on gun-related injuries.”

Outrage as a Business Model: How Ben Shapiro Is Using Facebook to Build an Empire (DonkeyHotey)

From NPR: “In 2021, Ben Shapiro rules Facebook. The conservative podcast host and author’s personal Facebook page has more followers than The Washington Post, and he drives an engagement machine unparalleled by anything else on the world’s biggest social networking site. An NPR analysis of social media data found that over the past year, stories published by the site Shapiro founded, The Daily Wire, received more likes, shares and comments on Facebook than any other news publisher by a wide margin. Even legacy news organizations that have broken major stories or produced groundbreaking investigative work don’t come anywhere close.”

Illinois Becomes First State to Ban Police From Lying to Minors During Interrogations (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Police will be forbidden from using deceptive tactics while interrogating minors under a measure Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law [last] Thursday, making Illinois the first state in the nation to ban the practice. Advocates of the new law say lying or using other means of deception while questioning a young person in police custody can lead to false confessions and ultimately wrongful convictions. That’s what Terrill Swift — who spent nearly 15 years in prison after falsely confessing to a 1994 rape and murder — says happened to him. DNA evidence later tied the crime to a previously convicted murderer and sex offender.”

Global Electricity Production Is Roaring Back — and so Are CO2 Emissions (Mili)

The author writes, “Carbon emissions from power plants around the world declined in recent years, but they’re poised to make a dramatic comeback over the next 18 months, according to a worrying report released July 15 by the International Energy Agency (IEA). COVID-19 lockdowns were responsible for some of the recent decline, as office buildings, for instance, reduced their energy consumption while employees were working remotely. … But as economies recover, global power consumption is set to erase those reductions, with electricity demand expected to increase by 5% in 2021 and 4% in 2022, per the IEA report.” 

Unesco Strips Liverpool of Its World Heritage Status (Dan)

The author writes, “Liverpool has been stripped of its coveted world heritage status after Unesco blamed years of development for an ‘irreversible loss’ to the historic value of its Victorian docks. The UN’s heritage body concluded at a meeting in China on Wednesday that the ‘outstanding universal value’ of Liverpool’s waterfront had been destroyed by new buildings, including Everton football club’s new £500m stadium. The decision is a humiliating blow for the city and gives Liverpool the ignominious distinction of being only the third place to lose the status in nearly 50 years.”

Over 20,000 Years Ago, a Coronavirus Epidemic Left Marks in Human DNA

The author writes, “A crown of spike-shaped proteins make coronaviruses recognizable when viewed under a microscope. But modern genetic analysis offers another way to find evidence of coronaviruses: detecting the marks the virus leaves behind in the populations it infects. In a study published on June 24 in the journal Current Biology, researchers analyzed the DNA of thousands of people from around the world from 26 populations to look for signs of ancient coronavirus epidemics. The researchers found that people living in China, Japan and Vietnam faced a coronavirus for about 20,000 years in an epidemic that ended 5,000 years ago, Gemma Conroy and Anna Salleh report for ABC Science.”

Norway Fined for Not Wearing Bikini Bottoms at European Beach Handball Competition (Russ)

From Euronews: “Norway has been fined €1,500 after their women’s beach handball team did not wear bikini bottoms at a European competition. Norway’s players wore shorts in their bronze medal match against Spain at the European Beach Handball Championship in Varna, Bulgaria, on Sunday. But the uniform violated the regulations of the International Handball Federation (IHF), which requires players to wear ‘fitted, low-cut bikini bottoms.’”

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