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.

‘No-Code’ Brings the Power of AI to the Masses (Maria)

The author writes, “Sean Cusack, a software engineer at Microsoft and beekeeper on the side, wanted to know if anything besides bees was going into his hives. So he built a tiny photo booth (a sort of bee vestibule) that took pictures whenever something appeared around it. But sorting through thousands of insect portraits proved tedious. … [A new] platform allowed him to drag and drop sample photos and click a few buttons to make a system that could recognize his beloved bees and spot unwelcome visitors. Cusack is part of a growing army of ‘citizen developers,’ who use new products that allow anyone to apply artificial intelligence without having to write a line of computer code. Proponents of the ‘no-code’ A.I. revolution believe it will change the world.”

How the War in Ukraine Hurts the US Economy (Sean)

From Axios: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens to pull the rug out from under our previously pretty sweet economic recovery. It’s kind of a Godfather 3 moment — just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in. Why it matters: We just went through a massive economic upheaval. The recovery is still fragile — supply chains aren’t fully recovered, and inflation is at record highs. Now, add on the fallout from both the war itself and the crippling economic sanctions levied against Russia for its unprovoked attack.”

John Bolton’s Crusade to Debunk Trump’s Revisionist History on Russia and Ukraine (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “When former President Donald Trump hasn’t been praising Vladimir Putin’s strategic savvy in invading Ukraine or conspicuously and repeatedly declining to morally judge Putin for it, he’s generally fallen back on one big talking point: that this wouldn’t have happened if he were still in charge. It carries the benefit of both being plausible to the legions of Trump supporters who have believed far-less-plausible things involving Trump, as well as being largely unfalsifiable. And yet all along, one of his top former foreign policy aides has sought — with increasing gusto — to make sure this claim doesn’t go unchallenged.”

Saudi PR Pays Off at The Atlantic (Russ)

From FAIR: “A glowing profile of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in The Atlantic (3/3/22), promoting him as a reformer in the notoriously repressive kingdom, has raised questions about the magazine’s ethical integrity. Technically the second in command after the 86-year-old king, bin Salman is widely recognized as the country’s most powerful figure. When a Saudi hit squad lured Washington Post columnist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi to the country’s consulate in Istanbul to kill and dismember him (New York Times, 11/12/18), signs pointed to the murder being committed with the prince’s approval. Khashoggi was a vocal critic of the regime — specifically undermining the prince’s image as a modernizer, saying that he has ‘no interest in political reform’  (NPR, 10/16/18) — and recordings of the grisly crime indicated the prince’s involvement (New York Times, 11/12/18).”

Stacey Abrams Makes a Personal Case for Medicaid Expansion (Reader Steve)

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Stacey Abrams kicked off her first day on the campaign trail in front of a shuttered hospital in rural Cuthbert with a vow to expand Medicaid. She ended it atop a stage in west Atlanta where she sharpened her message before a cheering crowd of hundreds of supporters. Much like her 2018 campaign for governor, the Democrat’s central argument hinged on expanding the federal program, which Gov. Brian Kemp and other Republicans contend would be too costly and inflexible in the long term. … Abrams shared a deeply personal story to underpin her demand for expanding healthcare access, a story that she’s scarcely mentioned in public until the Monday start of her first statewide tour this election.”

Scientists Can Now Turn Stem Cells Into Bone Using Nothing More Than Sound (Mili)

The author writes, “Stem cells have the superpower of turning into any other kind of cell — a superpower that some animals use to regrow limbs; for medicine, they yield the potential to help us repair parts of the human body that have been damaged by injury or disease. Carrying out those repairs requires the ability to manipulate stem cells on demand, and a new study outlines an innovative way of doing just that: by using high-frequency sound waves to turn stem cells into bone cells in as little as five days, with 10 minutes of stimulating treatment per day.”

Shackleton’s Endurance Shipwreck Is Teeming With Bizarre Ocean Life (Dana)

The author writes, “During Ernest Shackleton’s 1915 Antarctic expedition, his ship Endurance was crushed by ice. After 106 years, scientists announced last week that the vessel had finally been found. A team of undersea explorers located the wreck roughly 10,000 feet deep at the bottom of the icy Weddell Sea, just east of the Antarctic Peninsula. As soon as the ships’ rediscovery was announced, scientists jumped at the opportunity to see what life forms have made their home on Endurance.”