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 to Fight an Invasive American Bug With a Badder Russian One (Maria)

The author writes, “Hanging a cluster of twigs on a tree might sound like a pointless exercise, but Heather Disque, a forest pest entomologist for the state of Maryland, isn’t hanging just any sticks in Martinak State Park. Hundreds of immature parasitic wasps are hidden in Disque’s bundle, and when these Spathius galinae mature in several days, they’ll be driven by a single need: to lay their eggs on the larvae of the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle that has over the past few decades ravaged many species of ash trees across the United States.”

Hackers Launch Over 1.2 Million Attacks Through Log4J Flaw (Sean)

From the Financial Times: “Hackers including Chinese state-backed groups have launched more than 1.2 million attacks on companies globally since last Friday, according to researchers, through a previously unnoticed vulnerability in a widely used piece of open-source software called Log4J. Cyber security group Check Point said the attacks relating to the vulnerability had accelerated since Friday, and that at some points its researchers were seeing more than 100 attacks a minute. Perpetrators include ‘Chinese government attackers,’ according to Charles Carmakal, chief technology officer of cyber company Mandiant.”

Texas Gerrymandering Is All About Keeping a Grip on White Power (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Whenever I find myself thinking, ‘I can’t believe Texas would do that,’ I remember that former Gov. Rick Perry used to invite lawmakers to his family’s hunting camp. A place fondly known by some locals as ‘N—head.’ According to the Washington Post, the name was painted ‘in block letters across a large, flat rock standing upright at its gated entrance.’ As you may recall, this piece of information became a bit of a sore spot in 2011 for Perry, who, you know, was running for president at the time. A decade later we have another Texas governor, Greg Abbott, whose name is being mentioned as a potential candidate for the White House. And similarly, he faces accusations of racism, too.”

Oklahoma Guard Leader Tells Vaccine Refusers to Prepare for ‘Career Ending Federal Action’ (DonkeyHotey)

From Military.com: The leadership of the Oklahoma National Guard has acknowledged that its fight with the federal government over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate ultimately may lead to ‘career ending federal action’ for troops. Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino, the top officer for Oklahoma’s Guard, released a statement Thursday that opened with a forceful defense of service members under his charge exercising their ‘personal responsibility’ and ‘the right to not take the vaccine.’ However, the message quickly pivoted as Mancino began to note that his and Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt’s authority is limited.”

New Orleans Has a Trash Problem. Climate Change Means Other Cities Will Too. (Dana)

From Southerly: “As crews in New Orleans cleared roads, tarped roofs, and worked to restore power following Hurricane Ida this August, something else was festering — literally. Parts of the city went weeks without garbage collection in the aftermath of the storm, leaving food and wet debris to rot in the heat, and attracting swarms of disease-carrying insects and vermin. Alexander Wallace, a Black actor living in the city’s Seventh Ward, said the last time his trash was picked up before the storm was August 19 — 10 days before Ida hit. It wasn’t picked up again until September 29, a full month after the hurricane. Wallace’s neighborhood was one of the last in the city to have its trash hauled away.”

A Mysterious Cephalopod-Headed Statue Appeared in Downtown Dallas Park (Dana)

The author writes, “Something fishy is going on in Downtown Dallas. A mysterious statue claiming to portray 1800s Dallas pioneer Sarah Horton Cockrell was placed in Pioneer Park Cemetery near the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center at around 10:30 a.m. on Monday. (Convention center security guards themselves discovered the guerilla installation later in the day, but were able to pinpoint its arrival after reviewing camera footage of the park.) … A plaque, which accompanied the new statue, claimed that it was the work of an anonymous Dallas artist named Solomon, and a donation to the City of Dallas by the late local oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens.”