Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

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 the James Webb Space Telescope Changed Astronomy in Its First Year (Maria)

The author writes, “As Christmas approached last year, astronomers and space fans around the globe gathered to watch the much-anticipated launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. … Despite the debates over the telescope’s naming and history, one thing has become abundantly clear this year — the scientific ability of JWST is remarkable. Beginning its science operations in July 2022, it has already allowed astronomers to get new views and uncover mysteries about a huge range of space topics. The most pressing aim of JWST is one of the most ambitious projects in the recent history of astronomy: to look back at some of the first galaxies, which formed when the universe was brand new.”

Mark Meadows Threw Documents Into White House Fireplace, Ex-Aide Testified (Sean)

The author writes, “A former top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows testified under oath that she saw her old boss burning documents around once or twice a week in the weeks leading up to the Capitol riot. During a closed-door interview with the House committee investigating Jan. 6 in May, Cassidy Hutchinson said that she had seen Meadows throw documents into his office’s fireplace ‘maybe a dozen, maybe just over a dozen’ times between December 2020 and January 2021, according to a new round of transcripts released Tuesday.”

EPA Investigating Colorado for Discriminatory Air Pollution (Reader Steve)

The authors write, “The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating whether Colorado’s regulation of air pollution from industrial facilities discriminates against Hispanic residents and other racial minorities, according to a letter released Wednesday.”

CDC Reports a New Strain of Omicron Taking Over in the US (Sean)

From NBC News: “A new version of omicron has taken hold in the US, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The subvariant of omicron, named XBB.1.5, has raised concerns about another potential wave of Covid cases following the busy holiday travel season. The CDC projected Friday that about 40% of confirmed US Covid cases are caused by the XBB.1.5 strain, up from 20% a week ago. In the Northeast, about 75% of confirmed cases are reported to be XBB.1.5.”

A Charity Tied to the Supreme Court Offers Donors Access to the Justices (Russ)

From The New York Times: “The Supreme Court Historical Society has raised more than $23 million in the last two decades, much of it from lawyers, corporations and special interests. All the recipients [of the Supreme Court Historical Society’s gilded seal] have given at least $5,000 to a charity favored by the justices, and, more often than not, the donors have a significant stake in the way the court decides cases.”

Abortion Access Tied to Suicide Rates Among Young Women (Mili)

The author writes, “Restrictions on access to reproductive care were associated with suicide rates among women of reproductive age, researchers found. … Enforcement of a [Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers] law was associated with a 5.81% higher annual rate of suicide than in pre-enforcement years, the researchers found.”

These 5 Biomedical Advances Gave 2022 A Sci-Fi Feel (Kiana)

The author writes, “COVID-19 may continue to dominate headlines, but this year’s biomedical advances weren’t all about ‘the Rona.’ 2022 saw fruitful and seemingly fantastical research that could one day mean good news for patients.”

Comments are closed.