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Climate crisis, Paris Summit 2023, IMF, World Bank, developing nations
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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.

Paris Summit Will Test Leaders’ Resolve on Climate, World Banking (Maria)

The authors write, “Heads of state, finance leaders and activists from around the world will converge in Paris this week to seek ways to overhaul the world’s development banks — like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank — and help them weather a warmer and stormier world. While restructuring debt and reducing poverty will be part of the summit Thursday and Friday, climate will be the main driver, with representatives from developing nations in Africa, Asia and elsewhere having a prominent seat at the table.”

No One Believes in Cop City. So Why Did Atlanta’s City Council Fund It? (Laura)

The author writes, “The city first accepted the proposal to build the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center — Cop City in the vernacular, a $90 million, 85-acre campus just outside of the city proper — while crime was rising in 2021, but also while the wounds of the George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks protests were still healing. A multimillion-dollar police training center, in the middle of a forest, with little transparency or recourse for voters, felt like a slap in the face to people who had been marching Atlanta flat for democracy.”

We Should All Be Worried About AI Infiltrating Crowdsourced Work (Sean)

From TechCrunch: “A new paper from researchers at Swiss university EPFL suggests that between 33% and 46% of distributed crowd workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service appear to have ‘cheated’ when performing a particular task assigned to them, as they used tools such as ChatGPT to do some of the work. If that practice is widespread, it may turn out to be a pretty serious issue.” 

What 3 Grieving Dads Want You to Know About America’s Fentanyl Crisis (Roshni)

From Time: “We’ve all seen and heard the headlines on this full-blown epidemic in our country, and we’ve heard cries from all sides of the political spectrum about who is to blame. But, as three grieving dads who lost their children from fentanyl poisoning, we know the truth about illicit fentanyl: it can affect each and every one of us when we least expect it. There is a massive education gap around this issue, and it is important to not only share our stories, but also to share the facts about fentanyl that can better inform all of us, especially the precious young people in all our lives.”

Heat Waves Are Unleashing a Deadly but Overlooked Pollutant (Reader Jim)

From Wired: “Scientists are increasingly raising the alarm about surface ozone. It’s a secondary pollutant that isn’t released from any source, forming naturally when oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds — such as benzene, which is found in gasoline, or methane — react under high heat and sunlight. This makes ozone a particularly ugly modern threat — a problem that arises where pollution and climate change coincide.”

Plants Can Distinguish When Touch Starts and Stops, Study Suggests (Mili)

The author writes, “Even without nerves, plants can sense when something touches them and when it lets go, a study has found. In a set of experiments, individual plant cells responded to the touch of a very fine glass rod by sending slow waves of calcium signals to other plant cells, and when that pressure was released, they sent much more rapid waves. While scientists have known that plants can respond to touch, this study shows that plant cells send different signals when touch is initiated and ended.”

Newly Discovered Exoplanet May Be Covered in Volcanoes (Dana)

The author writes, “Astronomers have located a distant, Earth-sized planet that could be covered with more volcanoes than any body in our solar system. The exoplanet, described for the first time [last month] in the journal Nature, may also have water on its surface, signaling that it might support life.”

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