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.

How Extreme Heat From Climate Change Distorts Human Behavior (Maria)

The author writes, “Physiologically, human bodies aren’t built to handle heat beyond a combined measure of heat and humidity of about 95°F. Mounting evidence shows that when heat taxes people’s bodies, their performance of various tasks — as well as overall coping mechanisms — also suffer. Researchers have linked extreme heat to increased aggression, lower cognitive ability and, urban planner Meenu Tewari of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her colleagues showed, lost productivity.”

The $88 Billion Gamble on the Afghan Army That’s Going Up in Smoke (Dana)

From Politico: “The United States spent more than $88 billion to train and equip Afghanistan’s army and police, nearly two-thirds of all of its foreign aid to the country since 2002. So why are they crumbling in the face of the Taliban onslaught? The breathtaking failure to mold a cohesive and independent Afghan fighting force can be traced to years of overly optimistic assessments from U.S. officials that obscured — and in some cases, purposely hid — evidence of deep-rooted corruption, low morale, and even ‘ghost soldiers and police’ who existed merely on the payrolls of the Afghan Defense and Interior Ministries, according to current and former officials directly involved in the training effort.”

The Co-Founder of Snopes Wrote Dozens of Plagiarized Articles for the Fact-Checking Site (Russ)

From BuzzFeed News: “David Mikkelson, the co-founder of the fact-checking website Snopes, has long presented himself as the arbiter of truth online, a bulwark in the fight against rumors and fake news. But he has been lying to the site’s tens of millions of readers: A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that between 2015 and 2019, Mikkelson wrote and published dozens of articles containing material plagiarized from news outlets such as the Guardian and the LA Times. After inquiries from BuzzFeed News, Snopes conducted an internal review and confirmed that under a pseudonym, the Snopes byline, and his own name, Mikkelson wrote and published 54 articles with plagiarized material.”

Bolsonaro Discredits Electronic Voting, Prompting Fears of a Power Grab (Dan)

From The New York Times: “Facing the prospect of a crushing defeat at the polls next year, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is rousing supporters for an existential battle — against voting machines. Beleaguered by the devastating toll of the coronavirus, a sputtering economy and a surging rival, the president has launched a full-throated attack on the electronic voting system Brazil has relied on for 25 years. Unless voters get to record their choice on paper ballots, which the current system doesn’t allow, Mr. Bolsonaro has warned that the 2022 election could be suspended.”

Alabama Doctor Says He Won’t Treat Unvaccinated People: ‘COVID Is Miserable Way to Die’

The author writes, “An Alabama doctor is taking a bold stance in the efforts to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19. Dr. Jason Valentine, a physician at Mobile’s Diagnostic and Medical Clinic Infirmary Health, posted a photo on his Facebook page showing him posed next to a sign that says ‘effective Oct. 1, 2021, Dr. Valentine will no longer see patients that are not vaccinated against COVID-19.’ Since posting the sign, Valentine wrote that three unvaccinated patients asked where they could get a vaccine.”

AI Predicts Diabetes Risk by Measuring Fat Around the Heart (Mili)

The author writes, “A team led by researchers from Queen Mary University of London has developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool that is able to automatically measure the amount of fat around the heart from MRI scan images. Using the new tool, the team was able to show that a larger amount of fat around the heart is associated with significantly greater odds of diabetes, independent of a person’s age, sex, and body mass index.”

Mattel Creates Barbie Doll of Scientist Who Designed Oxford Coronavirus Vaccine (Sue)

The author writes, “British coronavirus vaccine developer Sarah Gilbert has many science accolades to her credit but now shares an honor with Beyonce, Marilyn Monroe and Eleanor Roosevelt: a Barbie doll in her likeness. Gilbert, a 59-year-old professor at Oxford University and co-developer of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, is one of six women in the COVID-19 fight who have new Barbies modeled after them. Toy maker Mattel Inc is recognizing them with a line of Barbie ‘role model’ dolls.”

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to the Daily WhoWhatWhy

Relevant, in-depth journalism delivered to you.
Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.