New York, shark sightings, Jones Beach, climate change, warming oceans
Photo credit: Pxhere

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

Shark Sightings Off New York’s Coast Are Linked to Climate Change, Scientists Say (Maria)

The author writes, “Repeated shark sightings off New York’s Atlantic coastline are causing concerns this summer, especially after another sighting at Long Island’s popular Jones Beach State Park Thursday morning. Scientists say warming waters caused by climate change are helping to drive the sharks farther north. Just a day before a shark was spotted at Jones Beach, a neighboring beach was closed after multiple sharks were seen about 20 yards off the coast. ‘Our guards spotted numerous — not just one, but numerous blacktip reef sharks,’ said Hempstead, L.I., Town Supervisor Don Clavin. ‘These are really unique sharks … they’re Caribbean sharks.’”

Justice Department Declines to Defend Rep. Mo Brooks Against Jan. 6 Incitement Lawsuit (DonkeyHotey)

From Politico: “The Justice Department and the House of Representatives declined on Tuesday to represent Rep. Mo Brooks in a lawsuit that accuses him of helping to incite the deadly riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The Alabama Republican is one of several defendants in the suit filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who says Brooks knowingly incited a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters to storm the Capitol, using incendiary rhetoric at a rally near the White House before the violent assault began. Trump himself, as well as Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.”

The Texas Election Bill Contains a New Obstacle to Voting That Almost No One Is Talking About (Reader Steve)

From Texas Monthly: “There’s a problem buried inside Texas’s latest election bill, and it’s not one of the headline-grabbing restrictions that have torn the Legislature apart during the special session. Nonetheless, it could disenfranchise a significant number of the state’s voters. Amid all the fighting, most lawmakers have apparently overlooked a provision that would force counties to automatically reject some mail-in ballot applications. Here’s why: The Republican-authored legislation would require voters to submit either their driver’s license number or a partial Social Security number when applying to vote by mail. That number would then be cross-checked with the state’s voter-registration database. Most applicants would be fine, because almost 90 percent of all registered Texas voters have both their Social Security number and driver’s license number in the database. However, 1.9 million voters — about 11 percent of the total — have only one of the two numbers on file with the state.”

Workers Beg Joe Manchin to Save West Virginia Pharma Plant as His Daughter Walks Away with $31M (Reader Jim)

From Democracy Now: “More than 1,400 workers in West Virginia are set to lose their jobs this week when the Viatris pharmaceuticals plant in Morgantown shuts down and moves operations overseas to India and Australia. Workers say they’ve had no response to their urgent requests for help from their Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, who is often called the most powerful man in Washington. Viatris was formed through a merger between two pharmaceutical companies, Mylan and Upjohn. Mylan’s chief executive, Manchin’s daughter Heather Bresch, got a $31 million payout as a result of the corporate consolidation before the new company set about cutting costs, including the closure of the Morgantown plant.”

Ketchum, Idaho, Has Plenty of Available Jobs, but Workers Can’t Afford Housing (Dan)

The author writes, “Like many towns in the West with economies built around tourism, Ketchum is facing a cascading housing crisis caused by a rush of new residents during the Covid-19 pandemic, growing demand for workers during the economic boom that has followed, and a shortage of affordable homes that was years in the making. Businesses in this community of 2,700, located in central Idaho near the Sun Valley ski resort, are struggling to fill open positions, forcing some to cut hours. Some workers live in trailers or tents in the Sawtooth National Forest. And the waiting list for the 113 affordable-housing units for sale or rent in surrounding Blaine County is yearslong.”

How the Coronavirus Infects Cells — And Why Delta Is So Dangerous (Doug)

The author writes, “The coronavirus sports a luxurious sugar coat. ‘It’s striking,’ thought Rommie Amaro, staring at her computer simulation of one of the trademark spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2, which stick out from the virus’s surface. It was swathed in sugar molecules, known as glycans. … Many viruses have glycans covering their outer proteins, camouflaging them from the human immune system like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But last year, Amaro’s laboratory group and collaborators created the most detailed visualization yet of this coat, based on structural and genetic data and rendered atom-by-atom by a supercomputer. On 22 March 2020, she posted the simulation to Twitter. Within an hour, one researcher asked in a comment: what was the naked, uncoated loop sticking out of the top of the protein? Amaro had no idea.” 

Scientists: COVID Did Little to Slow ‘Catastrophic Threat’ of Climate Crisis (Sean)

The author writes, “Nearly 18 months after COVID-19 began to take hold and slow the pace of life worldwide, scientists are reiterating a dire warning: The climate crisis is still very much with us. In November 2019, the journal BioScience published an article co-signed by over 11,000 scientists that declared a global climate emergency. On Tuesday, the same journal released an update to the declaration, showing improvements in a few key metrics due to the pandemic but ultimately concluding it did little to reverse the concerning trajectory of the planet’s natural systems.”

Sunisa Lee’s All-Around Gymnastics Gold Hailed by Hmong in US (Dan)

The author writes, “While [Simone] Biles watched and whooped from the stands, 18-year-old Sunisa Lee held her nerve in an epic four-way tussle for gold. She had already made waves by becoming the first Hmong American to compete for Team US — and then again during a nerveless performance in Tuesday night’s team competition after Biles withdrew citing anxiety concerns. This, though, was a performance bursting with energy, boldness and power.”

Some Dogs Are Geniuses — Just Like Humans (Mili)

The author writes, “Many of us like to think our dogs are smart, as we point to their ability to read our facial expressions and understand what we say. But some dogs are exceptional. Take Chaser, an American border collie dubbed the ‘smartest dog in the world,’ who could recognize and remember 1,022 nouns —  one for each of her toys. In Germany, another border collie, a male named Rico, practiced ‘fast-mapping,’ or figuring out the names of new things with the speed and acumen of a three-year-old child. … Yet such examples of canine genius are often ‘about only one dog,’ says Claudia Fugazza, an ethologist who studies dog cognition at Budapest’s Eotvos Lorand University. ‘There has never been a decent sample size.’”


Comments are closed.