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.

New York City Grants Noncitizens Voting Rights in Local Elections (Maria)

The author writes, “The New York City Council voted 33-14 on Thursday to allow noncitizens to vote in local elections starting in 2023. Advocates say immigrants who live in the city, pay taxes and participate in its communities should be able to help decide local leaders. The city is the largest municipality to approve such a measure, Washington Post reports. … Roughly 800,000 noncitizens will now be allowed to cast ballots for the mayor, City Council members and other municipal offices, per NBC. They will remain ineligible to vote in state and federal elections.”

Mark Meadows Provided the January 6 Committee With a Truly Insane Document (DonkeyHotey)

From Esquire: “I have resisted the temptation to say ‘Will o’God!’ the way my grandmother used to say it to signify any disaster from burning her hand on the stove to my disinclination to eat eggs in any form. But there was a development Thursday morning that had me scream it off my front porch, to the astonishment of the neighbors and the guys picking up the recyclables three stories down. Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the House special committee investigating the insurrection of January 6, is showing himself to have a very deft hand with the stiletto. In response to the duplicity of former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who bailed on cooperating with the committee and then launched a comical lawsuit against it, Thompson released a document Meadows had provided to the committee and, WILL O’GOD!, it’s the damndest government record I’ve read since the transcript of the smoking-gun tape was released in August of 1974. And it’s 10 times as insane.”

Some Texas Religious Leaders Live in Lavish, Tax-Free Estates Thanks to Obscure Law (Reader Steve)

From the Houston Chronicle: “Most people know that religious organizations pay no property taxes on their houses of worship. Lesser known is that many also get a valuable break on residences for their clergy as well. The word ‘parsonage,’ as these residences are called, conjures images of humble, spartan rooms attached to drafty churches. A few still are. Yet in many places across Texas, parsonages are extravagant estates nestled in the state’s most exclusive enclaves. Like their wealthy neighbors, the clergy occupants enjoy spacious and well-appointed homes, immaculate grounds, tennis courts, swimming pools, decorative fountains and serene grottos. Unlike their neighbors, the parsonage owners pay nothing in taxes, leaving other Texans to backfill the uncollected revenue to cover the cost of schools, police and firefighters.”

Remote Work Should Be (Mostly) Asynchronous (Sean)

From Harvard Business Review: “Digital transformation should be a means to an end, but it often gets mistaken for an end in itself. This is partly why 70% of all digital transformation efforts fail — because they’re done purely for the sake of going digital without full consideration of the bigger picture. The pandemic accelerated many trends, from streaming, e-commerce, and food delivery platforms to the widespread adoption of remote work. But instead of taking advantage of this opportunity to improve how we work, most organizations simply took their offices online, along with the bad habits that permeated them.”

In Iraq’s Famed Marshlands, Climate Change Is Upending a Way of Life (Laura)

The author writes, “A water buffalo, her stomach bloated and haunches sunken, lies dying on a dry expanse of cracked earth. Her calf nuzzles her but she doesn’t respond. A few yards away, another water buffalo, all skin and bone, wallows in the mud at the edge of the drying marsh waters. The people who herd these animals in Iraq’s southern marshlands are unable to save them. Drought and extreme temperatures that scientists link to climate change are altering the habitat around them and slowly ending a way of life as old as civilization itself.”

A Nigerian Medical Student Wondered Why His Textbooks Only Depict White Patients. So He Drew His Own Illustrations — and They Went Viral (Dan)

The author writes, “What is missing from medical textbooks? Illustrations showing non-white bodies. This lack of representation has long been the status quo, but Chidiebere Ibe, a 25-year-old first-year medical student at Ukraine’s Kyiv Medical University, is hoping to help change that — starting by making his own medical illustrations featuring Black men, women, and children. His work has found an eager audience online among medical professionals and laypeople alike. ‘Textbooks are essential to medical training,’ Ibe wrote on YouTube. ‘They walk medical trainees through conditions they will encounter during their practice. The skin is an important organ that protects us and can signal when something is wrong in our body. Yet, most medical illustrations are on the Caucasian skin. This lack of diversity has important implications for medical trainees and their future patients because many conditions and signs look different based on the patient’s skin color.’”

Forget Miss Universe: Saudi Camel Beauty Contest Queens Banned Over Botox (Dana)

The author writes, “As beauty queens gather in Eilat, Israel for the Miss Universe contest, a competing beauty event has been rocked by scandal — Dozens of camel beauty queens vying to become ‘Miss Camel’ were banned from the King Abdulaziz Festival for camels for Botox injections and other artificial enhancements, Arab media reported on Wednesday. In what Al Jazeera called the ‘biggest-ever crackdown’ on deceptive dromedaries, at least 43 comely camelids were disqualified from the event for artificially modifying the beauty of the beasts.”