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.

Sudden Eruption From ‘Dead’ Sunspot Could Bring Auroras as Far South as New York (Maria)

The author writes, “Skywatchers, get set for a storm from the sun — and hopefully an ensuing display of the northern lights. After a dead sunspot hurled a ball of plasma, or superheated gas, toward Earth earlier this week, medium-sized auroras may stretch farther south than usual as Earth’s atmosphere absorbs the material. … A slightly milder G1 storm watch is forecast for Friday (April 15), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (NOAA ranks geomagnetic storms on a scale from G1 to G5, the strongest class.) Geomagnetic storms can trigger auroras closer to the equator than is possible during calm conditions, raising hopes for skywatchers.”

The Month That Changed a Century (Sean)

From Foreign Policy: “In little more than a month, Russian President Vladimir Putin has changed the course of this young and already troubled century. He has resurrected the threat of territorial conquest and nuclear war. He has jolted Western Europe awake from its long postwar torpor, raising the prospect of rapid German rearmament. He has put the capstone on two decades of U.S. misdirection by defying American power and influence. Above all, with his invasion of Ukraine, Putin is trying to complete work on a vast project of destruction implicitly supported by several other world leaders, especially Chinese President Xi Jinping. Together, these leaders want to break what they see as U.S. hegemony over the international system and undermine the notion that the world is bound by a common set of values embodied in international law and upheld by institutions such as the United Nations.”

What Democrats Could Learn From Mitch McConnell (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “[Ketanji Brown] Jackson may be one of the few remaining judicial confirmations of the Biden presidency. Last week, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell repeatedly refused to answer whether he would even hold hearings on a nomination if Republicans were to take control of the Senate in the election this November. Doing so would be McConnell’s latest ruthless breach of the norms of government, and one that will make the public lose even more confidence in the political independence of our courts. However, given that McConnell has been rewarded every time he has blown up the intentions of the framers, his continuing to do so is perfectly rational behavior. The question for McConnell’s colleagues and the American public is whether they are willing to stop complaining about McConnell’s behavior and take aggressive steps to stop it.”

In Southwest WA, a Far-Right Clash Tests Power of Trump’s Endorsement in Race for Congress (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “At a recent evening campaign town hall, Republican candidate Joe Kent rattled off his Day 1 priorities if he’s elected to Congress. Impeach Joe Biden. Impeach Kamala Harris. Maybe install Donald Trump — or one of his children — as Speaker of the House. … An ex-Green Beret combat veteran and Gold Star husband, Kent is the Trump-endorsed challenger looking to oust U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in the 2022 midterm election, in retribution for her impeachment vote last year. The race for Congress in Southwest Washington’s 3rd District — with Kent echoing Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and defending people arrested in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol assault as ‘political prisoners’ — is among the closely watched contests around the country that will test Trump’s continued hold over the Republican Party.”

Inside the Contentious Leadership Battle at the Nation’s Biggest Environmental Group (Laura)

From HuffPost: “The intense internal conflicts that have roiled the Sierra Club for the better part of a year will come to a head April 27, when the organization’s roughly 780,000 members finish voting for five candidates to sit on its 15-person board. The election features a group of insurgent petition candidates vying against a slate the majority of the current board supports in a fight over the future of America’s most iconic environmental organization. The four petition candidates, who had to gather signatures to get on the ballot, are running on a platform to ‘save the Sierra Club’ from a board that they contend has engaged in ‘top-down,’ ‘ideologically-driven’ governance, while ‘censoring and silencing’ the club’s grassroots volunteers.”

Gaza’s Horses Still in Shock From Last Year’s War (Mili)

From Al-Monitor: “Horses are sensitive animals that need care, attention, psychological comfort and a healthy diet. When exposed to traumatic circumstances, their psyche is affected and they lose their appetite. To recover and rebuild their muscles, sedatives are often used in their recovery. Horseback riding is a sport that creates a close relationship between the horse and its rider. The animals need a safe environment, but the Gaza Strip does not offer this due to the recurrent Israeli military operations over the years, which led this type of sport to almost vanish.”

Fossil of Dinosaur Killed in Asteroid Strike Found, Scientists Claim (Dana)

The author writes, “Scientists have presented a stunningly preserved leg of a dinosaur. The limb, complete with skin, is just one of a series of remarkable finds emerging from the Tanis fossil site in the US State of North Dakota. But it’s not just their exquisite condition that’s turning heads — it’s what these ancient specimens are purported to represent. The claim is the Tanis creatures were killed and entombed on the actual day a giant asteroid struck Earth. The day 66 million years ago when the reign of the dinosaurs ended and the rise of mammals began.”