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.

Plan to Let Troops Cast Ballots Over the Internet Draws Opposition From Security Experts (Maria)

The author writes, “A group of election security experts is urging lawmakers to drop plans in the annual defense authorization bill which would allow online ballot casting for troops serving overseas, saying the security concerns outweigh the potential benefits. ‘There are solutions to improve military and overseas voting without expanding dangerously insecure voting technology,’ the group wrote in a letter to members of the Senate Armed Services Committee this week. ‘We believe servicemembers deserve the highest standard of safe and verifiable voting. For the foreseeable future, internet voting cannot meet that standard.’ … The effort comes as the Senate prepares to complete its draft of the massive defense policy bill in the next few weeks.”

Amazon Copied Products and Rigged Search Results to Promote Its Own Brands, Documents Show (DonkeyHotey)

From Reuters: “A trove of internal Amazon documents reveals how the e-commerce giant ran a systematic campaign of creating knockoff goods and manipulating search results to boost its own product lines in India — practices it has denied engaging in. And at least two top Amazon executives reviewed the strategy.”

Red States Have Limited Options for Fighting Biden’s Vaccine Rules (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “As Montana intensive care units fill with critically ill, mostly unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, hospital leaders there are caught between two laws that dictate whether they can require their employees to get immunized against the coronavirus. A state law that Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed in May prohibits Montana employers from requiring workers to get vaccinated. But President Joe Biden plans to require health care employers to mandate worker vaccinations at facilities that treat patients with public health insurance. Facilities that don’t comply risk losing federal reimbursement.”

Love the National Parks? Get Ready for Them to Heat Up (Laura)

The author writes, “Glaciers vanishing in Glacier National Park. Sand dunes blowing away at White Sands in New Mexico. Wildfire smoke obscuring the Tetons, flames licking at the sequoias near their namesake park, Joshua trees dying out in their namesake park. These are just some of the ways that global heating is reshaping America’s public lands. If you care about endangered species, it’s not great. If you think we should preserve ecosystems that support human health, it’s no better. And if you enjoy hiking in wildlands during the summer — like I do — you might want to prepare yourself.”

A Recipe for Fighting Climate Change and Feeding the World (Russ)

The author writes, “Most commercial crops are annual. They provide only one harvest and must be replanted every year. Growing these foods on an industrial scale usually takes huge amounts of water, fertilizer and energy, making agriculture a major source of carbon and other pollutants. Scientists say this style of farming has imperiled Earth’s soils, destroyed vital habitats and contributed to the dangerous warming of our world. But Kernza — a domesticated form of wheatgrass developed by scientists at the nonprofit Land Institute — is perennial. A single seed will grow into a plant that provides grain year after year after year. It forms deep roots that store carbon in the soil and prevent erosion. It can be planted alongside other crops to reduce the need for fertilizer and provide habitat for wildlife.”

‘An American Riddle’: The Black Music Trailblazer Who Died a White Man (Dan)

The author writes, “There are, according to the academic Emmett Price, ‘six degrees of Harry Pace.’ He is referring to the man born in 1884 who founded America’s first black-owned major record label; desegregated part of Chicago; mentored the founder of Ebony and Jet magazines and spearheaded the career of blues singer Ethel Waters. Pace is a figure who is seemingly everywhere at once, yet his name has been suspiciously absent from the history books. ‘This story encapsulates how progress comes about in America — and it is never in a straight line,’ says Jad Abumrad. ‘It is often a cycle — one that contains hope and despair, smashed together.’”

A Fish Story That Goes Back Millions of Years: Kansas Fisherman Lands Huge Alligator Gar (Mili)

From USA Today: “This is a real big fish tale: A fisherman in Kansas tossed a line in the water and caught a prehistoric predator fish that dates back nearly 100 million years. Danny ‘Butch’ Smith II of Oswego, Kansas, who landed the fish, a 4-foot, 6-inch alligator gar, weighing 39.5 pounds, knew he had caught something unusual. His fishing buddy identified the fish and said, ‘They ain’t supposed to be here (in Kansas),’ Smith said.”

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