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.

NASA Climate Research Scientist Wins World Food Prize (Maria)

The author writes, “A NASA climate research scientist who has spent much of her career explaining how global food production must adapt to a changing climate was awarded the World Food Prize on Thursday. Cynthia Rosenzweig, an agronomist and climatologist, was awarded the $250,000 prize in recognition of her innovative modeling of the impact of climate change on food production. She is a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and serves as adjunct senior research scientist at the Columbia Climate School at Columbia University, both based in New York. Rosenzweig, whose win was announced during a ceremony at the State Department in Washington, said she hopes it will focus attention on the need to improve food and agricultural systems to lessen the effects of climate change.”

Republicans’ Outrage Over the Roe v. Wade SCOTUS Leak Is a Cynical Ploy to Excuse Jan. 6 (Sean)

The author writes, “Republicans spent decades building the right-wing judicial machinery that enabled this week’s devastating Supreme Court draft decision that when made official would overturn nearly 50 years of abortion rights in America. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a single Republican lawmaker eager to celebrate what by any measure is a generational victory for anti-abortion rights conservatives. Instead, Washington’s political media is abuzz with the race to uncover who leaked the court’s draft plan. And no one is more outraged than Senate Republicans, who lined up on Tuesday to condemn the leak as a dangerous attack on democracy itself.”

Why Did Federal Police Square Off With Abortion Rights Protesters In LA Streets? (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “An abortion rights protest had been going on peacefully for hours in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday when a ‘help call’ suddenly went out over police radios about 9 p.m. The SOS didn’t come from Los Angeles police officers, but a small group of federal officers with the Department of Homeland Security. They claimed, according to a statement by the LAPD, that they had come ‘under attack’ from protesters while in their patrol cars near the intersection of 5th and Hill streets — about a half-mile away from the federal courthouse where the protest had begun and where federal officers have jurisdiction.”

Ferndale in Northern California Is a Popular Tourist Town That’s Split Into Two Americas (Reader Steve)

From SFGate: “The political spectrum is on display in Ferndale. It is shown through an abundance of signage and influences where the townspeople choose to gather or eat. The Hotel Ivanhoe Restaurant and Saloon was a bastion for folks who didn’t want to wear a face mask, whereas The Old Steeple concert venue features musicians who openly denounce the Donald Trump administration. It’s an age-old tug of war between tradition and progress, and the community is split down the middle like the central yellow lines on its Main Street. There is a faceoff for the future of Ferndale.”

False Witnesses (Bethany)

From The Point: “Let’s start with a glorious death. Imagine a young, idealistic Englishman leaving for war in December of 1916, telling his mother, ‘There is a fine heroic feeling about being in France…’ Let us imagine that fine heroic feeling fading as he sees trench warfare, as he is gassed, as he marches through shelled and flooded terrain, as men lose their boots in the mud and march on with freezing, bloody feet while machine-gun fire impacts around them. Imagine him with his men, caught in the snow, in a field, with no support troops. … Imagine him blown into the air by a shell and then spending days trapped beside the body of a dead friend, after which he receives medical and psychiatric treatment in England. Imagine him beginning to speak out against what is happening overseas, developing his own poetic language of protest. Imagine him horrified by the war, traumatized by the war, morally repulsed by the war. Now imagine him deciding to return to France anyway.”

These Birds Aren’t Lost. They’re Adapting. (Laura)

The author writes, “From what we can tell, the Steller’s sea eagle trekking across North America does not appear homesick. The bird has strayed thousands of miles from its native range in East Asia over the last two years, roving from the Denali Highway in Alaska down to a potential sighting in South Texas before moving eastward and back north to Canada and New England. Its cartoonish yellow beak and distinctive wing coloration recently attracted crowds of rapt birders to Maine before turning up on April Fools’ Day in Nova Scotia. … But the rogue Steller’s sea eagle isn’t just a lost bird: It is an avian vagrant, a term that describes birds that wing their way well beyond their species’s normal range of movement.”

Why Does the US Government Have 1.4 Billion Pounds of Cheese Stored in a Cave Underneath Springfield, Missouri? (Sean)

From the Desert News: “Have you heard of ‘government cheese’ before? No, it isn’t money but actually cheese, 1.4 billion pounds of it to be exact, stored in a cave in Missouri. According to The Washington Post, the U.S. has the largest domestic reserve of cheese of all varieties, including cheddar, Swiss and American. You may wonder why the government has a massive cheese stockpile. Well, it started in the 1970s, during former President Jimmy Carter’s era and his promise of giving farmers a break. He wanted to raise the price of milk, but the government couldn’t just buy milk and store it, so it started buying as much cheese as people wanted to sell, according to Pacific Standard Magazine.”