tech, electronics, semiconductor industry, microwave oven, nanometers
Photo credit: Carol Highsmith / Library of Congress Collection

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

Modified Microwave Oven Cooks Up Next-Gen Semiconductors (Maria)

The author writes, “A household microwave oven modified by a Cornell engineering professor is helping to cook up the next generation of cellphones, computers and other electronics after the invention was shown to overcome a major challenge faced by the semiconductor industry. The research is detailed in a paper published in Applied Physics Letters. The lead author is James Hwang, a research professor in the department of materials science and engineering. … This discovery could be used to produce semiconductor materials and electronics appearing around the year 2025, said Hwang, who has filed two patents for the prototype.”

Pregnant Women Held for Months in One Alabama Jail to Protect Fetuses From Drugs (Dana)

From “Police arrested Ashley Banks on May 25 with an unregistered gun and a small amount of marijuana. Under normal circumstances, the 23-year-old from Gadsden would have been able to post bond and leave jail until her criminal trial. But Banks admitted to smoking pot on the same day she found out she was pregnant — two days before her arrest. In Etowah County, that meant she couldn’t leave jail unless she entered drug rehab, leaving her in limbo for three months. She’s not the only one, according to attorneys involved in her case. Several pregnant women and new moms accused of exposing their fetuses to drugs have been held for weeks or months inside the Etowah County Detention Center under special bond conditions that require rehab and $10,000 cash. Attorneys with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, an organization that opposes laws that criminalize pregnancy, say it’s unfair to impose special conditions on pregnant women who haven’t been convicted of any crimes.”

Mourn the Queen, Not Her Empire (Dana)

The author writes, “The queen embodied a profound, sincere commitment to her duties — her final public act was to appoint her 15th prime minister — and for her unflagging performance of them, she will be rightly mourned. She has been a fixture of stability, and her death in already turbulent times will send ripples of sadness around the world. But we should not romanticize her era. For the queen was also an image: the face of a nation that, during the course of her reign, witnessed the dissolution of nearly the entire British Empire into some 50 independent states and significantly reduced global influence. By design as much as by the accident of her long life, her presence as head of state and head of the Commonwealth, an association of Britain and its former colonies, put a stolid traditionalist front over decades of violent upheaval. As such, the queen helped obscure a bloody history of decolonization whose proportions and legacies have yet to be adequately acknowledged.”

Poland Seeks €1.3 Trillion From Germany in Reparations for Nazi Occupation (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Poland’s government on … estimated the financial cost of World War II losses to be 1.3 trillion euros and said it would ‘ask Germany to negotiate these reparations.’ Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), announced the huge claim at the release of a long-awaited report on the cost of years of Nazi German occupation. ‘We not only prepared the report but we have also taken the decision as to the further steps,’ Kaczynski said during the report’s presentation, timed to coincide with the 83rd anniversary of the start of World War II.” 

Woman Who Smelled Her Husband’s Parkinson’s Helps Scientists Come Up With Diagnostic Test (Sean)

From Sky News: “A woman who noticed her husband smelled different, before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, has helped scientists develop a test that spots the disease. Joy Milne, 72, said her late husband, Les, ‘developed the smell when he was just coming up for 32.’ She told Sky News: ‘I kept saying to him, you’re not showering properly. And he became quite angry about it at first.’ Mrs Milne said the odor would come and go, and decided they would have to live with it. But the musky aroma became ‘stronger and various other things happened,’ she explained. … Eventually, when he was 44, Mr Milne was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. … Once her husband’s diagnosis was confirmed, Mrs Milne mentioned the change in smell to Dr Tilo Kunath from Edinburgh University. That started a process which has now resulted in a swab test developed by academics at the University of Manchester.”

Hong Kong Therapists Convicted of Sedition Over Children’s Books (Sue)

The author writes, “A court in Hong Kong has convicted five speech therapists of producing ‘seditious publications’ in the form of a series of illustrated children’s books that depicted sheep trying to defend their village from wolves. The convictions are the latest using a colonial-era sedition offense that authorities have deployed alongside a new national security law to stamp out dissent. Prosecutors said the animals were analogies for Hong Kong residents and mainland Chinese respectively, and were intended to incite hatred towards the latter.”

PODCAST: Title IX at 50, with Henry Cordes of the Omaha World Herald (Reader Steve)

From Behind the Headlines: “Part of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or education program that receives funding from the federal government. Five decades on, though, is it working? This week our host Teri Barr is talking with Henry Cordes, a Senior Enterprise Reporter with the Omaha World Herald in Omaha, Nebraska, who has been digging into recent federal data looking for athletic department numbers and what he found could land some schools in court if changes aren’t put in place, and soon.”

Why Does This Keep Happening: Another Teen Got a USB Cord Stuck Up His Penis (Mili)

From Vice: “A case of a 15-year-old boy who managed to thread a USB cable into his penis in 2021 is making headlines after his ordeal was detailed in a medical journal, and it is, unbelievably, far from the first time this kind of thing has been documented by the medical community. Doctors at the University College Hospital at Westmoreland Street in London wrote a case study detailing the plight of a boy who inserted a knotted-up cable into his urethra, and admitted (once his mom left the examining room) that he did it ‘to measure the length of his penis triggered by sexual curiosity.’ A ruler would have worked, too, but at least he didn’t try to get one of those up there.”


Comments are closed.