Roger Cox, environmental lawyer, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, court victory
Photo credit: Ted van den Bergh / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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

How Law Can Fight Climate Change (Maria)

The authors write, “Royal Dutch Shell Plc hired a team of pricey lawyers for its defense against environmental activists in a Dutch court — and lost. A decade-old, $22 book might have upped their chances of winning. ‘Revolution Justified: Why Only the Law Can Save Us Now,’ is no bestseller, ranking in the mid-600,000s in Amazon’s Kindle store. But the book, by environmental lawyer Roger Cox, laid out arguments that were integral to his landmark victory over the Anglo-Dutch oil giant on May 26.”

The US National-Security State Has an Invisible Army (Reader Pat)

From Jacobin: “Tens of thousands of Americans work for US military and intelligence agencies, operating domestically under false identities with fake documents and James Bond–style spy gizmos. Why? To allow the national-security state to pursue its forever wars smoothly, forever.”

Revealed: Rightwing Firm Posed as Leftist Group on Facebook to Divide Democrats (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “A digital marketing firm closely linked to the pro-Trump youth group Turning Point USA was responsible for a series of deceptive Facebook ads promoting Green party candidates during the 2018 US midterm elections, the Guardian can reveal. In an apparent attempt to split the Democratic vote in a number of close races, the ads purported to come from an organization called America Progress Now (APN) and used socialist memes and rhetoric to urge leftwing voters to support Green party candidates. Facebook was aware of the true identity of the advertiser – the conservative marketing firm Rally Forge – and the deceptive nature of the ads, documents seen by the Guardian show, but the company determined that they did not violate its policies.”

In Pursuit of Equality, French Cities Adopt Gendered Budgets (Dan)

The author writes, “On March 25, the French city of Lyon announced its municipal spending plans for the year ahead, unveiling a policy aimed at improving gender equality. Under the newly elected progressive mayor Grégory Doucet, France’s third-largest city adopted a ‘budget sensitive to gender’: Going forward, Lyon will scrutinize its 615-million-euro annual budget for signs that public investments are distributed fairly between men and women. Such gendered budgets have already been adopted by some smaller French municipalities, including Grenoble, Rennes, Bordeaux and Brest; the capital, Paris, is now considering joining them. But Lyon is the first French city of more than 500,000 to pursue the idea, which aims to comb through the city’s spending to address gender biases in what kinds of facilities and programs are getting funded.”

DNA, Forensic Genealogy Close 65-Year-Old Double Homicide (Dana)

The author writes, “DNA evidence preserved after a 1956 double homicide and the use of forensic genealogy have helped a Montana sheriff’s office close the books on the 65-year-old cold case, officials said. Investigators with the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office concluded that Kenneth Gould — who died in Oregon County, Missouri, in 2007 — more than likely killed Patricia Kalitzke, 16, and Duane Bogle, 18, the Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune reported. Both had been shot in the head. Detective Sgt. Jon Kadner, who took over the case in 2012, said Tuesday that it was the oldest case he could find nationwide that had been solved using forensic genealogy, which searches commercial DNA databases to find familial matches to the DNA of a crime suspect.”

Intermittent Fasting Boosts Long-Term Memory Retention (Mili)

The author writes, “A new study from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London has established that Intermittent Fasting (IF) is an effective means of improving long term memory retention and generating new adult hippocampal neurons in mice, in what the researchers hope has the potential to slow the advance of cognitive decline in older people. The study, published [this month] in Molecular Psychiatry, found that a calorie restricted diet via every other day fasting was an effective means of promoting Klotho gene expression in mice. Klotho, which is often referred to as the ‘longevity gene’ has now been shown in this study to play a central role in the production of hippocampal adult-born new neurons or neurogenesis.”

Frozen Microscopic Animals Brought Back to Life after 24,000 Years (Sean)

From Sci-News: “Microscopic multicellular animals called bdelloid rotifers are known for their ability to survive extremely low temperatures. They had been reported to survive 6-10 years when frozen between minus 20 and 0 degrees Celsius. Now, an international team of biologists has successfully revived bdelloid rotifers that have been frozen in the Siberian permafrost for 24,000 years.”


Comments are closed.