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.

Scientists Unveil Bionic Robo-Fish to Remove Microplastics From Seas (Maria)

The author writes, “Scientists have designed a tiny robot-fish that is programmed to remove microplastics from seas and oceans by swimming around and adsorbing them on its soft, flexible, self-healing body. Microplastics are the billions of tiny plastic particles which fragment from the bigger plastic things used every day, such as water bottles, car tires and synthetic T-shirts. They are one of the 21st century’s biggest environmental problems because once they are dispersed into the environment through the breakdown of larger plastics they are very hard to get rid of, making their way into drinking water, produce, and food, harming the environment and animal and human health.”

How Elites Misread Public Opinion (Sean)

From Politico: “Sure, the left and right frame the problems with and solutions to elite influence in radically different ways, but at their core, these movements share a common presumption: To understand what’s gone wrong with American democracy, you have to understand how elites think. But how, exactly, can we get inside the heads of America’s political elite? It turns out that political scientists are trying to do just that.” 

We’ve Only Scratched the Surface of How Bad the Crypto Crime Wave Has Gotten (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “These are tough days for cryptocurrency investors. Values are cratering. Prominent crypto firms are faltering. And it’s coming after a massive surge of criminal fraud that has been pummeling crypto owners users with unknown billions of dollars in losses with little relief in sight. … Some outsiders have outright mocked crypto fans for what they see as tulip mania, spending life savings on digital drawings that anyone can look at online for free. But many crypto supporters have been drawn to the experimental and entrepreneurial community that’s gathered around the technology, which many fraudsters have found ripe for exploitation.”

VIDEO: Surviving Russia’s ‘Filtration Camps’ (Sean)

From The New York Times: “Thousands of refugees from Ukraine have been sent to so-called filtration camps, where they have been interrogated and then forced to resettle to Russia. Some Ukrainians escaped to Estonia. They told us their stories.”

Biden Wants to Rebuild the EPA. He Doesn’t Have the Money to Do It. (Laura)

The author writes, “After years of neglect, President Biden promised to reinvigorate the EPA as part of his push to tackle climate change and ease the pollution burden placed on poor and minority communities. But the agency’s budgetary woes are preventing the nation’s top pollution regulator from doing its job, in ways large and small. … The lack of resources and workers has undercut its ability to inspect facilities, measure contamination, punish violators and write new rules to stem pollution and climate change at a time when scientists say the world needs to act faster to stop runaway global warming.”

The Grotesque Sportswashing of the Saudi Golf League (Howard)

The author writes, “What’s the latest news from the wild intersection of international sports and despotic regimes? Well, the Saudi Arabian–funded breakaway golf league known as LIV is off to a wretched start. And in case you didn’t know there was such a thing as ‘the Saudi Arabian–funded breakaway golf league,’ well, strap in. LIV represented a grand coming together of interests around the common goal of founding a lavish and lucrative competitor to the Professional Golf Association. This new venture was to feature (and handsomely compensate) some of the game’s best-known names: Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Sergio Garcia, among others. In return, Saudi Arabia’s rulers hoped that these fabled sportsmen’s reputations would burnish their own deservedly awful one. You know, the one the Saudis earned for, among other things, the brutal blockade of Yemen and the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”

How Electric Fish Were Able to Evolve Electric Organs (Mili)

The author writes, “Electric organs help electric fish, such as the electric eel, do all sorts of amazing things: They send and receive signals that are akin to bird songs, helping them to recognize other electric fish by species, sex and even individual. A new study in Science Advances explains how small genetic changes enabled electric fish to evolve electric organs. The finding might also help scientists pinpoint the genetic mutations behind some human diseases.”

Jupiter Apparently ‘Eats’ Other Planets (Dana)

The author writes, “All things considered, Jupiter seems like a pretty scary place. More than 300 times bigger than Earth (and twice the size of all the rest of our solar system’s planets combined), the King of Planets has double the strength of our gravity and an exceptionally dense, dry atmosphere. And you know that Big Red Dot on its surface? Well, apparently that’s a storm that’s been raging for centuries. Truly terrifying stuff. But some scientists now reckon that Jupiter could be even more beastly than we previously thought. An article in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics says that the planet may have become its ginormous, monstrous self by eating other planets.”