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.

Hubble Space Telescope Fixed After Month of No Science (Maria)

The author writes, “The Hubble Space Telescope should be back in action soon, following a tricky, remote repair job by NASA. The orbiting observatory went dark in mid-June, with all astronomical viewing halted. NASA initially suspected a 1980s-era computer as the source of the problem. But after the backup payload computer also failed, flight controllers at Maryland’s Goddard Space Flight Center focused on its data unit, installed by spacewalking astronauts in 2009. Engineers successfully switched to the backup equipment Thursday, and NASA said Friday that science observations should resume quickly if everything goes well.”

Revealed: Leak Uncovers Global Abuse of Cyber-Surveillance Weapon (Reader Pat)

From The Guardian: “Human rights activists, journalists and lawyers across the world have been targeted by authoritarian governments using hacking software sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, according to an investigation into a massive data leak. The investigation by the Guardian and 16 other media organisations suggests widespread and continuing abuse of NSO’s hacking spyware, Pegasus, which the company insists is only intended for use against criminals and terrorists. Pegasus is a malware that infects iPhones and Android devices to enable operators of the tool to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones.”

Joint Chiefs Chairman Feared Potential ‘Reichstag Moment’ Aimed at Keeping Trump in Power (Doug)

From The Washington Post: “In the waning weeks of Donald Trump’s term, the country’s top military leader repeatedly worried about what the president might do to maintain power after losing reelection, comparing his rhetoric to Adolf Hitler’s during the rise of Nazi Germany and asking confidants whether a coup was forthcoming, according to a new book by two Washington Post reporters. As Trump ceaselessly pushed false claims about the 2020 presidential election, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, grew more and more nervous, telling aides he feared that the president and his acolytes may attempt to use the military to stay in office, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker report in ‘I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year.’”

Why Is a Florida-Based Pastor Under Arrest for the Assassination of Haiti’s President? (Dana)

The author writes, “The mystery surrounding the murder of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse deepened Monday as Haitian police arrested a U.S.-based evangelical pastor, placing him at the center of a murky plot surrounding an assassination that has stunned Haitians and international observers. Police claim that Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a Haiti-born 62-year-old who has been living in Florida for more than two decades, helped recruit the group of some two dozen people who stormed Haiti’s presidential palace on July 7 and served as a middleman to the unnamed masterminds of the operation.”

Democratic Schism on Display in Ohio Special (DonkeyHotey)

From National Journal: “The battle for the soul of the Democratic Party is now centered on the streets of Cleveland in a special election that’s poised to signal its future ideological direction. A once-sleepy primary between a stalwart Bernie Sanders ally, former state Sen. Nina Turner, and Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown has suddenly turned into an all-out civil war between the party establishment and the progressive Left. Numerous national party figures, from Hillary Clinton to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to the mother of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge (whose resignation opened up the seat), have made endorsements in the run-up to the Aug. 3 primary that will all but determine the next member of Congress in the Northeast Ohio district.”

Officials Pull ‘Emergency Lever’ as Lake Powell Plunges to New Low (Mili)

The author writes, “The latest megadrought alarm bell just went off in the West. The Bureau of Reclamation began emergency water releases from reservoirs upstream in the Colorado River [last] week in an effort to keep Lake Powell, the country’s second-largest reservoir, full enough to continue to generate hydroelectric power. The manmade lake, which sits along the crucial Colorado River, has reached the lowest levels it’s been in decades due to extreme heat and the searing drought that’s gripped the region coupled with overuse.”

‘He Was a Big Boy’: A Large Koi Was Found Swimming Through Flooded Streets in Connecticut (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Reese Hutchison has held various volunteer roles on town boards in Darien, Conn., over the years, most recently on the Sewer Commission. Now he can add another title to his résumé: koi catcher. … When streets in the coastal town were inundated by the tropical storm that swept through the region, Hutchison found what he described as a roughly 10-pound orange fish with black stripes swimming through the shin-deep floodwaters.”

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