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.

The Decreasing Cost of Renewables Unlikely to Plateau Soon: Report (Maria)

The author writes, “Past projections of energy costs have consistently underestimated just how cheap renewable energy would be in the future, as well as the benefits of rolling them out quickly, according to a new report out of the Institute of New Economic Thinking at the University of Oxford. The report makes predictions about more than 50 technologies such as solar power, offshore wind, and more, and compares them to a future that still runs on carbon. ‘It’s not just good news for renewables. It’s good news for the planet,’ said Matthew Ives, one of the report’s authors and a senior researcher at the Oxford Martin Post-Carbon Transition Programme.”

Top Republicans Rub Shoulders With Extremists in Secretive Rightwing Group, Leak Reveals (Reader Pat)

The author writes, “A leaked document has revealed the membership list of the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP), showing how it provides opportunities for elite Republicans, wealthy entrepreneurs, media proprietors and pillars of the US conservative movement to rub shoulders with anti-abortion and anti-Islamic extremists. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors rightwing hate groups, describes the CNP as ‘a shadowy and intensely secretive group [which] has operated behind the scenes” in its efforts to “build the conservative movement.’”

Deaf Man Arrested, Jailed for 4 Months After He Couldn’t Hear Police Commands: Lawsuit (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Two years ago, Brady Mistic of Colorado was approached by a pair of police officers, who’d followed him into a parking lot after he allegedly ran a stop sign. Mistic, then 24, did not comply with the officers’ demands. He had no idea what they were saying to him, according to his attorney, because he is deaf in both ears and does not lip-read, communicating primarily through American Sign Language.”

Americans Have No Idea What the Supply Chain Really Is (Sean)

From The Atlantic: “Everyday life in the United States is acutely dependent on the perpetual motion of the supply chain, in which food and medicine and furniture and clothing all compete for many of the same logistical resources. As everyone has been forced to learn in the past year and a half, when the works get gummed up — when a finite supply of packaging can’t keep up with demand, when there aren’t enough longshoremen or truck drivers or postal workers, when a container ship gets wedged sideways in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes — the effects ripple outward for weeks or months, emptying shelves and raising prices in ways that can seem random. All of a sudden, you can’t buy kettlebells or canned seltzer.”

Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show (Russ)

From The Wall Street Journal: “About a year ago, teenager Anastasia Vlasova started seeing a therapist. She had developed an eating disorder, and had a clear idea of what led to it: her time on Instagram. She joined the platform at 13, and eventually was spending three hours a day entranced by the seemingly perfect lives and bodies of the fitness influencers who posted on the app. ‘When I went on Instagram, all I saw were images of chiseled bodies, perfect abs and women doing 100 burpees in 10 minutes,’ said Ms. Vlasova, now 18, who lives in Reston, Va. Around that time, researchers inside Instagram, which is owned by Facebook Inc., were studying this kind of experience and asking whether it was part of a broader phenomenon. Their findings confirmed some serious problems.”

Philippine ‘Angels of the Sea’ Use Their Voices to Repel Chinese Ships (Reader Steve)

The authors write, “The foreign fishing boats were deep in Philippine waters near a speck of coral reef known as Sabina Shoal. They bore no official markings, but their blue hulls of reinforced steel — used to ram other vessels — were the telltale signs of Chinese maritime militia. They had not come to fish, but to stake a claim to the sea. A white patrol ship approached. A woman’s voice lifted through the crackle of a radio: ‘This is Philippine coast guard. You are within Philippine exclusive economic zone. You are requested to provide the following: name of vessel, intention, last and next port of call.’ The stand-off quietly ended as all seven Chinese boats pulled up anchor and sailed to other waters. The radio operator, Ensign Gretch Mary Acuario, was hailed a hero on social media and lauded in local news reports as ‘the woman who made the Chinese ships go away.’”

How a Team of Musicologists and Computer Scientists Completed Beethoven’s Unfinished 10th Symphony (Doug)

The author writes, “When Ludwig van Beethoven died in 1827, he was three years removed from the completion of his Ninth Symphony, a work heralded by many as his magnum opus. He had started work on his 10th Symphony but, due to deteriorating health, wasn’t able to make much headway: All he left behind were some musical sketches. Ever since then, Beethoven fans and musicologists have puzzled and lamented over what could have been. His notes teased at some magnificent reward, albeit one that seemed forever out of reach. Now, thanks to the work of a team of music historians, musicologists, composers and computer scientists, Beethoven’s vision will come to life.”

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