science, oceans, biodiversity, humpback whales, Brooklyn, Coney Island, sightings
Photo Credit: Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith / Flickr (CC BY-SA 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

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Humpback Whale Sightings at Coney Island Are a Good Sign: Scientist (Maria)

The author writes, “The wildlife in the water at Coney Island has been getting some interesting visitors lately — and we’re not talking about sharks this time. Just a few miles from Coney Island, conservation scientist Sarah Trabue, of the ocean giant’s program at the Wildlife Conservation Society, spotted a humpback whale. She took photos of it and was able to capture the city’s skyline in view, too. She says it’s a great sign if we’re seeing whales so close to our shores. ‘So that’s super exciting; it suggests that efforts to restore the quality of the habitat here have made it more suitable for use by marine mammals, including whales, dolphins and porpoises,’ says Trabue.”

Why Georgia Might Beat the Feds at Holding Trump Accountable (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “State charges could stick against Trump in a way that federal charges might not. If Trump is elected president again in 2024, he would have the capacity to have federal special counsel Jack Smith fired, and he could direct his handpicked attorney general to shut down any still-pending federal prosecutions. He could even try to pardon himself, although the legality of self-pardons is uncertain. But even a newly inaugurated President Trump could not fire Fani Willis, the Georgia district attorney investigating his crimes in that state — or any other state official.” 

Police Stage ‘Chilling’ Raid on Marion County Newspaper, Seizing Computers, Records and Cellphones (Al)

From Kansas Reflector: “In an unprecedented raid Friday, local law enforcement seized computers, cellphones and reporting materials from the Marion County Record office, the newspaper’s reporters, and the publisher’s home. Eric Meyer, owner and publisher of the newspaper, said police were motivated by a confidential source who leaked sensitive documents to the newspaper, and the message was clear: ‘Mind your own business or we’re going to step on you.’”

There’s Far More Scientific Fraud Than Anyone Wants to Admit (Gerry and Sean)

The authors write, “Retractions have risen sharply in recent years for two main reasons: first, sleuthing, largely by volunteers who comb academic literature for anomalies, and, second, major publishers’ (belated) recognition that their business models have made them susceptible to paper mills — scientific chop shops that sell everything from authorships to entire manuscripts to researchers who need to publish lest they perish.”

Medical Debt Among Seniors Is Soaring (Reader Jim)

From The Hill: “Medical debt is rising among older Americans, leading to a crisis where seniors face more than $50 billion in unpaid medical bills. Nearly 4 million seniors reported unpaid medical bills in 2020, even though 98 percent of them had insurance, according to a recent report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

Low Regret, High Satisfaction Long Term After Gender-Affirming Mastectomy (Mili)

The author writes, “People who underwent gender-affirming mastectomy reported high satisfaction and minimal regret over their surgical decision, a small cross-sectional study showed. Among 139 individuals who responded to a survey 2 to 24 years after their surgery, the median score on a 5-point satisfaction scale was 5, with higher scores indicating more satisfaction.”

Animal Actors Are on Strike, Too. These Are Their Stories. (Laura)

From The Washington Post: “Much has been written about the ancillary players — the caterers, florists, costume-makers, prop masters and so on — who are dealing with the repercussions of this summer’s dual Hollywood strikes by screen actors and writers. Their concerns about how they’re going to pay their rent are shared by the industry’s animal trainers and handlers, who face an additional burden: Their animals still have to eat, too. They still have to go to the vet. They still need to be bathed and groomed. On their ranches — some of which have hundreds of thespian animals — they still need to pay for utilities, caretakers and permits.”


Comments are closed.