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.

Severity of Hurricane Ida Reflects Threat From Global Warming: Reports (Maria)

The author writes, “Hurricane Ida’s power as a category 4 hurricane with up to 150 mph winds barreling through Louisiana as what Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said could be the worst storm to hit the state since the 1850s reflects government findings that, as devastating as 2020 was for the economy because of COVID-19 shutdowns, Mother Earth continues to warm at record levels. The Energy Information Agency reported recently that, ‘In 2020, as the country responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, CO2 emissions from energy consumption in the United States fell to the lowest level since 1983,’ which is promising. But it only declined 11%, and did not stop the forward march of global warming – which is causing more severe storms and more extreme weather events in the US and globally.”

‘Like Tuskegee’: Southern Jail Treats COVID With Dangerous, Unproven Drug Ivermectin (Dan)

From The Daily Beast: “The head doctor at an Arkansas jail has been treating inmates suffering from COVID-19 with ivermectin, a drug commonly used to treat parasites in animals. A version of the same drug has been approved by the FDA for topical diseases in humans, but warned against by the agency as completely unproven — and downright dangerous — in treating the coronavirus. Still, the drug has been prematurely and widely hyped by conservatives and far-right types — some of whom oppose vaccines — as a sort of latter-day pandemic miracle drug. As The Daily Beast reported, this recently set off a wave of disturbing prescriptions and even calls to poison-control centers, in some cases over people who apparently took the ‘horse paste’ version of the drug intended for animals.”

Army Veteran Dies of Treatable Illness After Being Unable to Get ICU Bed Due to Pandemic Shortages (Mili)

The author writes, “U.S. Army veteran Daniel Wilkinson needed an ICU bed to save his life. … Wilkinson’s mother, Michelle Puget, rushed him to a hospital in Bellville, Texas, after he started feeling sick. His symptoms weren’t related to COVID-19. In fact, his illness was very treatable. Dr. Hasan Kakli, an emergency physician at Belville Medical Center, diagnosed the veteran with gallstone pancreatitis. … The medical center wasn’t equipped to treat Wilkinson. The veteran who served two tours needed to be transferred to another hospital to have the procedure to remove the stone. Unfortunately, due to a rise in severe COVID-19 patients in ICU beds across the entire Southern U.S., there wasn’t a spot available for Wilkinson.” 

A Texas Father Stripped Down to His Swim Shorts at a Town Meeting to Make a Point About Masks (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Kids are headed back to school, and in many states, they will be accompanied by mask mandates. Parents across the country are making their voices heard as school districts decide whether to require students and staff to wear masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 as cases spike due to the highly transmissible Delta variant. … In Texas, one father made his stance clear. At a school board meeting for Dripping Springs Independent School District Monday, James Akers took off one article of clothing at a time until he was stripped down to just swim shorts. The stunt was captured on video and widely circulated this week. His point? ‘We follow certain rules for a very good reason,’ Akers told the board.”

Pakistan’s Mission to Plant 10 Billion Trees Across the Country, in Photos (Russ)

The author writes, “August marks the beginning of monsoon season in Pakistan, and with the rain comes another busy stretch for the country’s ambitious tree-planting program. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, residents of all stripes, from government officials to Boy Scouts, fan out along the hills. They bring with them chinar tree saplings — which can grow to nearly 100 feet tall — along with other varieties, and they begin digging. It’s all part of an effort that started in 2015, when Imran Khan — then a provincial politician and now Pakistan’s prime minister — backed a program dubbed a ‘Billion Tree Tsunami.’ The initiative reached its provincewide target in 2018 and was so successful that federal officials expanded the drive nationally in 2019 with a new goal of 10 billion trees — or, the ‘Ten Billion Tree Tsunami.’”

The Big Scary ‘S’ Word: Why Are People so Terrified of Socialism? (Inez)

The author writes, “In a new documentary, film-maker Yael Bridge looks back and forward to see why some people have been so repelled by socialism and how things might change in the future.”

Australian Farmer Expresses Grief With ‘Sheep Art’ Heart (Dana)

The author writes, “Expressing grief after the loss of a loved one is challenging. It can also be a creative outlet. A sheep farmer in Australia found an artistic way to share his feelings after his aunt died by creating a huge heart featuring hundreds of pregnant ewes. Ben Jackson of New South Wales used a drone to video the scene so it could be played at her funeral in Brisbane, which the sheep farmer could not attend because of a Covid-19 lockdown.”

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