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.

Study Casts Doubt on Climate Emissions Pledge Estimates (Maria)

The author writes, “A new analysis casts doubt on whether scientists can precisely estimate how much nations’ combined emissions-cutting pledges will stem global warming, instead showing a wide range of potential outcomes. World leaders need to know if emissions targets currently on the table would meet the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals or if more stringent commitments are needed. The new study shows they may be placing too much faith in temperature projections.”

Think The Name Crypto.com Arena Will Make Cryptocurrencies Legit? Think Again (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “There’s something endearing, even adorable, in the faith shown in the power of a sports arena‘s name. Take the excitement about the rechristening of Staples Center, where the NBA Lakers and Clippers play, as Crypto.com Arena. The change will take place on Christmas Day. To Kris Marszalek, chief executive of Crypto.com, that will be a red-letter day. ‘In the next few years, people will look back at this moment as the moment when crypto crossed the chasm into the mainstream,’ Marszalek told my colleague Sam Dean from his home in Hong Kong.”

White Supremacist Prison Guards Work With Impunity in Fla. (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “In June, three Florida prison guards who boasted of being white supremacists beat, pepper sprayed and used a stun gun on an inmate who screamed ‘I can’t breathe!’ at a prison near the Alabama border, according to a fellow inmate who reported it to the state. The next day, the officers at Jackson Correctional Institution did it again to another inmate, the report filed with the Florida Department of Corrections’ Office of Inspector General stated. ‘If you notice these two incidents were people of color. They (the guards) let it be known they are white supremacist,’ the inmate Jamaal Reynolds wrote. ‘The Black officers and white officers don’t even mingle with each other. Every day they create a hostile environment trying to provoke us so they can have a reason to put their hands on us.’”

Plastics Poised to Overtake Coal as Climate Driver (Laura)

From E&E News: “Plastics production is on track to become a major source in driving climate change, according to a report … that finds the industry will outpace coal in greenhouse gas emissions within a decade. The findings, which stem from a project with Bennington College in Vermont and the environmental group Beyond Plastics, show that the U.S. plastics industry is quickly gaining on more traditional sources of greenhouse gas emissions and that plastics are already a significant source, with the petrochemical industry rapidly growing.”

Could Weirdly Straight Bolts of Lightning Be a Sign of Dark Matter? (Sean)

The author writes, “For decades, astronomers and physicists have been flummoxed by the mystery of dark matter, spending billions of dollars on sophisticated detectors to search for the elusive particles believed to account for some 85 percent of the matter in the universe. So far, those searches have come up empty. Now a team of scientists has proposed a very different strategy for searching for signs of dark matter, not by means of particle physics laboratories, but by examining the air above us. If we carefully study the flashes seen in ordinary lightning storms, they argue, we just might find evidence of super-dense chunks of dark matter as they zip through our atmosphere. They believe that these speeding chunks of dark matter, known as ‘macros,’ would trigger perfectly straight lightning bolts, which have never been documented.”

How Did the Enslaved Workers of Pompeii Live? A New Discovery Provides a Rare Glimpse (Mili)

From NPR: “A nearly perfectly intact room that served as a kind of dormitory for enslaved people has been unearthed by archaeologists at the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. The room has three wooden beds, a chamber pot, a wooden chest and several tall Roman jars called amphorae. All of it was covered and preserved in cinerite, a sedimentary rock made mostly of volcanic ash, when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. The room was found in a villa in Civita Giuliana, a suburb north of the city, where researchers have uncovered several exceptional discoveries in the past few years, including an intact ceremonial chariot and the remains of two victims believed to have been a master and his slave.”

I’m Not a Pilot, but I Just Flew a Helicopter Over California (Dan)

The author writes, “On a recent Wednesday afternoon, I flew a helicopter over Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles. I took off from a small airport, climbed to about 10,000 feet and banked sharply toward the hills along the eastern skyline of Camarillo. Following a canal as it snaked through the orange orchards below, I sped across the valley, before circling back to the airport. I lowered the helicopter into a hover and landed gently at the end of a concrete runway. The flight was short but remarkable. After all, I am not a pilot.”

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Subscribe to the Daily WhoWhatWhy

Relevant, in-depth journalism delivered to you.
Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.