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.

Private Equity’s Dirty Dozen: The 12 US Firms Funding Dirty Energy Projects (Maria)

The author writes, “American private equity tycoons are profiteering from the global climate crisis by investing in fossil fuels that are driving greenhouse gas emissions, a new investigation reveals. Oil and gas pipelines, coal plants and offshore drilling sites linked to Indigenous land violations, toxic leaks and deadly air pollution are among the dirty energy projects financed by some of the country’s largest private equity firms, according to an investigation by the corporate accountability nonprofits LittleSis and the Private Equity Stakeholder Project (PESP). Private equity refers to an opaque form of financing away from public markets in which funds and investors buy and restructure companies.”

US Donates Leftover Border Wall Materials, Including to Texas for Its Own Wall (Reader Steve)

From the Arizona Daily Star: “The federal government has donated at least $6 million worth of leftover border wall materials to Texas, which will use them for the state’s plan to build its own wall. The materials bought with federal tax money were donated to that effort despite the fact that on his first day in office, President Joe Biden said that no more American taxpayer dollars would be used to construct a border wall. The donated materials are part of a federal effort to clear out the estimated $265 million in leftover wall parts from dormant construction sites along the U.S.-Mexico border. Many of the materials are going to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson for processing.”

A Giant Donut-Shaped Machine Just Proved a Near-Limitless Clean Power Source Is Possible (DonkeyHotey)

The authors write, “There’s no silver bullet to the climate crisis, but nuclear fusion may be the closest thing to it. In the quest for a near-limitless, zero-carbon source of reliable power, scientists have generated fusion energy before, but they have struggled for decades to sustain it for very long. [Last week] however, scientists working in the United Kingdom announced that they more than doubled the previous record for generating and sustaining nuclear fusion, which is the same process that allows the sun and stars to shine so brightly.”

Philippines Abolishes Child Marriage (Aline)

From End Violence Against Children: “The Philippines has banned child marriage by adopting a law that criminalses the practice as of  January this year. The new law imposes penalties for those involved in as well as facilitating or solemnizing underage marriages. This is a crucial development for children as the country currently has the 12th highest rate of child marriage in the world. One in every six girls in the Philippines is wedded before the age of 18. Abolition of this widely prevalent practice is an essential step to ensure the rights and safety of children in the country.”

The First Evidence of Omicron Spilling Over Into Wild Animals Has Just Been Found (Mili)

The author writes, “Vaughn Cooper sees white-tailed deer every day in his neighborhood outside Pittsburgh. The species is common in most US states. Pennsylvania alone has around 1.5 million white-tailed deer — about 30 per square mile (2.6 square km) — while the US has around 30 million in total. ‘My dog goes ripping after the deer every morning,’ Cooper, the director of the Center for Evolutionary Biology and Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, told Insider. Interactions between humans and deer — or deer and other animals — are a pressing concern among scientists, since the coronavirus now appears widespread in the US white-tailed deer population. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University identified nearly 20 white-tailed deer in Staten Island, New York, that were infected with the Omicron variant between December 2021 and January 2022.”

How Yiddish Scholars Are Rescuing Women’s Novels From Obscurity (Dan)

The author writes, “Yiddish novels written by women have remained largely unknown because they were never translated into English or never published as books. Unlike works translated from the language by such male writers as Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Chaim Grade, Yiddish fiction by women was long dismissed by publishers as insignificant or unmarketable to a wider audience. But in the past several years, there has been a surge of translations of female writers by Yiddish scholars devoted to keeping the literature alive.”

Australian Protesters Go Crazy About ‘Spy Cam’ in Tree (Dana)

The author writes, “Footage has emerged of the bizarre moment a group of anti-vaxxers whipped themselves into a frenzy over an alleged ‘hidden camera’ in a tree. The group were some of just thousands of protesters who descended on the nation’s capital as part of the ‘Convoy to Canberra’ demonstration over the weekend, rallying against vaccine mandates. The odd moment, uploaded to TikTok, began with a man approaching a tree and declaring ‘it’s a f***ing peephole camera, motion detected.’”