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.

‘Momentum Computing’ Pushes Technology’s Thermodynamic Limits (Maria)

The author writes, “In case you had not noticed, computers are hot — literally. A laptop can pump out thigh-baking heat, while data centers consume an estimated 200 terawatt-hours each year. … Now physicist James Crutchfield of the University of California, Davis, and his graduate student Kyle Ray have proposed a new way to carry out computation that would dissipate only a small fraction of the heat produced by conventional circuits. In fact, their approach, described in a recent preprint paper, could bring heat dissipation below even the theoretical minimum that the laws of physics impose on today’s computers.”

Russia Is Screwed (Sean)

From National Review: “In the short to medium term, Russia is fairly screwed. But in the long term, Russia is really screwed. We all know that the Russian economy is in dire straits as it faces unprecedented sanctions from the West, and that countries pulling out of the Russian market now are unlikely to return for a long, long time. The ruble is now almost worthless outside the country, interest rates jumped to 20 percent, and inflation in Russia could rise to a jaw-dropping 20 to 30 percent. Even the longer-term outlook for Russian oil production is darkening. The Russian military is performing badly, has lost its fearsome reputation, and will need a major expenditure to replace all its lost tanks and transport trucks in addition to its expended precision-guided missiles, artillery, and other weapons. But the Russian invasion is exposing other weaknesses that Moscow would rather the world didn’t notice.”

Missouri Station Offering Russian State Radio to Listeners (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “A man who runs a little-known, low-budget radio station in suburban Kansas City says he is standing up for free speech and alternative viewpoints when he airs Russian state-sponsored programming in the midst of the Ukrainian war. Radio Sputnik, funded by the Russian government, pays broadcast companies in the U.S. to air its programs. Only two do so: One is Peter Schartel’s company in Liberty, Missouri, and one is in Washington, D.C.”

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Long Pause Explained Racism and Sexism in America (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “For me, it was the pause. I knew that the confirmation hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson would produce a lot of insults and smears from Republicans trying to be racist enough for Fox News viewers to get the message but not so racist that The New York Times would have to acknowledge it. Jackson surely knew it too. And despite over 20 hours of questioning over two days, during which Republicans yelled at her and grandstanded and repeatedly insinuated that she was a terrorist and child-sex-trafficker sympathizer in front of her daughters and parents, she never once lost her cool. But she did take one really long pause.” 

Attorney General Who Killed a Man Manages to Dodge Impeachment (DonkeyHotey)

From The Daily Beast: “More than a year and a half after he ran down and killed a man, South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg may be done with facing any consequences. A special investigative committee of the South Dakota House of Representatives emerged from a closed-door meeting Monday to recommend against impeaching Ravnsborg. It would have been the first impeachment trial in the state’s 133-year history. According to a 22-page report released early Monday evening, there were not sufficient grounds to remove Ravnsborg from office”

Edible Extinction: Why We Need to Revive Global Food Diversity (Laura)

From Yale Environment 360: “The Green Revolution helped feed a surging global population, but at the cost of impoverishing crop diversity. Now, with climate change increasingly threatening food supplies, the need for greater agricultural resilience means restoring endangered crop and food varieties.”

Meet the Bike Man Who Brought the Trucker Convoy to a Crawl (Russ)

The author writes, “The sound reached Daniel Adler first: a chorus of honks that seemed to be moving closer. ‘This is quite loud,’ thought Adler, an Australia native who has lived in the Dupont Circle neighborhood for a decade. On a bike ride for groceries at the time, he decided to take a detour toward the circle to see the commotion. The choices that Adler, 49, made in the ensuing minutes led him to the front of a section of the ‘People’s Convoy,’ the coalition of drivers that has espoused far-right beliefs and disrupted Washingtonians’ lives for two weeks. Amid this protest of vaccine mandates — which also encapsulates a range of other grievances — residents have grown tired of drivers treating the District as their playground.So, as a group of semi-tractors that Saturday afternoon blared their horns on 17th Street and became separated by traffic, Adler slipped in front of a few of them. Then, taking up an entire lane, he started pedaling as slowly as he could.”