space, stars, The Ring Nebula, Messier 57, Webb telescope, night sky, new images
Photo credit: Giuseppe Donatiello / Wiki

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

Jaw-Dropping ‘Ring Nebula’ Captured By Webb Telescope. (And How to See It Now.) (Maria)

The author writes, “The James Webb Space Telescope has snapped its first image of the Ring Nebula, one of the most famous celestial sights in the night sky — and it’s visible right now in summer skies. Also known as M57, the Ring Nebula is a planetary nebula, the leftovers of a star that went supernova 4,000 years ago. Like other examples — including the Crab Nebula (M1) and Southern Ring Nebula (NGC 3132) — in its center is a white dwarf, the remaining core of a collapsed giant star.”

Indictment Shows White House Lawyers Struggling for Control as Trump Fought to Overturn Election (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “A few hours after rioters laid siege to the Capitol, overpowering police in a violent attack on the seat of American democracy on Jan. 6, 2021, the White House’s top lawyer, Pat Cipollone, called his boss with an urgent message. It’s time to end your objections to the 2020 election, Cipollone told Donald Trump, and allow Congress to certify Joe Biden as the next president. Trump refused. Trump was no longer listening to his White House counsel, the elite team of attorneys who take an oath to serve the office of the president. But by all accounts, he hadn’t been listening to them for some time.”

Russia Unveils New History Textbooks Praising Ukraine Offensive (Sean)

The author writes, “Written in record time and praising the army: Moscow unveiled new history textbooks Monday ahead of children returning to the classroom for a second school year with troops fighting in Ukraine and ruptured ties with the West. The Kremlin has tightened its control over the historical narrative in schools under President Vladimir Putin — a trend that has hugely accelerated since Moscow launched its Ukraine offensive last year.”

A Simple Law Is Doing the Impossible. It’s Making the Online Porn Industry Retreat. (Al)

From Politico: “On June 15, 2022, a freshman legislator in Louisiana’s House of Representatives accomplished something no other lawmaker or activist in the country could claim: She passed a law that is changing the online porn industry. If you think this was the result of a bitter culture war battle, think again. … The bill holds pornography websites liable unless the websites ‘perform reasonable age verification methods’ — in short, requiring users to show government ID to prove they are 18 or older.” 

California’s Famed Joshua Trees Are Burning Up Fast. They Might Be Impossible to Replace (Laura)

From the Los Angeles Times: “In the past, occasional lightning-sparked fires might have burned a few Joshua trees, but those blazes would typically stay pretty small because there was little fuel to carry flames from one sparse clump of trees to the next. … Now, the fires are fed by invasive species such as cheat grass, Mediterranean split grass and Sahara mustard that litter the desert floor.”

Sweet Smell of Success: Simple Fragrance Method Produces Major Memory Boost (Mili)

The author writes, “When a fragrance wafted through the bedrooms of older adults for two hours every night for six months, memories skyrocketed. Participants in this study reaped a 226% increase in cognitive capacity compared to the control group. The researchers say the finding transforms the long-known tie between smell and memory into an easy, non-invasive technique for strengthening memory and potentially deterring dementia.”

Can Peacock Vasectomies Save This Florida Town? (Dana)

The author writes, “Loud and flashy peafowl have taken over a suburb of Miami. But with the birds’ population growing, residents have been looking for a way to humanely keep their numbers in check. Now, the town is pursuing a clever solution: It has hired a veterinarian to perform peacock vasectomies.”


Comments are closed.