climate crisis, wheat breeding, future, drought, heat, fungus resistance
Photo credit: The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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

The Race Against Time to Breed a Wheat to Survive the Climate Crisis (Maria)

The author writes, “A dozen or so farm workers perched on wooden stools carefully emasculate wheat spikes using nail scissors and tweezers — the first step in a years-long breeding process to develop climate-resilient varieties. It’s late afternoon, and the farmhands … work in an experimental wheat field in northern Mexico, preparing the wheat flowers to be cross-pollinated in a couple of days. For each pollination, both wheat parents have been selected by crop scientists for desirable traits, such as fungus resistance, photosynthesis efficiency, and yield. It’s a quiet scene, but the stakes increase every year as concerns grow that our food system is not ready for the climate crisis.”

How Trump’s Team Conned Susan Collins Into Dooming Roe v. Wade (DonkeyHotey)

From Rolling Stone: “When the Supreme Court’s draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade leaked, Sen. Susan Collins said she was flabbergasted, deeply troubled, even shocked. After all, soon-to-be-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had promised her in 2018 that Roe was a matter of settled law — despite his deeply conservative track record on abortion. Turns out, Collins wasn’t just wrong about Kavanaugh. She was deliberately manipulated by Trump administration officials — and a future Supreme Court Justice — who viewed her as an easy mark. Two former senior Trump White House officials tell Rolling Stone that the pro-choice Collins wasn’t even considered a serious threat to the devoutly conservative Kavanaugh. Instead, the team predicted she’d need only a vague assurance that the nominee would uphold the half-century-old ruling defending abortion rights.”

31 Patriot Front Members Arrested Near Idaho Pride Event (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Authorities arrested 31 members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front near an Idaho pride event Saturday after they were found packed into the back of a U-Haul truck with riot gear. The men were standing inside the truck wearing khakis, navy blue shirts and beige hats with white balaclavas covering their faces when Coeur d’Alene police stopped the U-Haul and began arresting them on the side of the road.”

Russia Launches Production for Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plant (Mili)

From Al-Monitor: “In early June, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy company, Rosatom, announced the start of production of equipment for the Egyptian nuclear power plant in Dabaa, northwest of Cairo. The Russian announcement coincided with the visit to Moscow of a high-level Egyptian delegation led by the head of Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA), Amgad al-Wakeel, on June 1, during which he visited the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant and Russian factories in the city of Kolpino.”

Shielded From Public View, Misconduct by Corrections Staff in Illinois Prisons Received Scant Discipline (Howard)

The author writes, “At least 18 corrections employees abused or used excessive force against incarcerated people in Illinois, according to internal corrections investigations. They all remained on the job.”

The Age of Outbreaks: Experts Warn of More Animal Disease Threats (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “With the spread of monkeypox across the world coming hot on the heels of Covid-19, there are fears that increasing outbreaks of diseases that jump from animals to humans could spark another pandemic. While such diseases — called zoonoses — have been around for millennia, they have become more common in recent decades due to deforestation, mass livestock cultivation, climate change and other human-induced upheavals of the animal world, experts say. Other diseases to leap from animals to humans include HIV, Ebola, Zika, SARS, MERS, bird flu and the bubonic plague.”

Johnny Depp’s Playbook Won’t Work for Most Men (Russ)

From The Cut: “In the week since Johnny Depp won his defamation case against Amber Heard, survivors have been calling lawyers, panicking about what this verdict means for them. Should they reconsider coming forward or fighting their abusers’ libel suits? Will they be sued for things they said on social media? Their fears aren’t unfounded: Since the verdict, defamation attorney Alexandra Tracy-Ramirez says she has seen a sharp uptick in requests from men who have been accused of abuse wondering if they have grounds for a lawsuit. But she has found herself reminding prospective clients that Depp’s victory isn’t necessarily a road map for their own. Instead of a Hollywood ending, she explains that most plaintiffs should expect to bleed money while publicizing the most painful moments of their life. Even if the verdict has emboldened men to take retaliatory legal action — ‘a Johnny Depp effect,’ she says — ‘you have to have a certain amount of power and resources and money to carry it through.’”

Stellar “Ghost” Discovered: Astronomers May Have Detected a “Dark” Free-Floating Black Hole (Sean)

The author writes, “A team led by University of California, Berkeley, astronomers has for the first time discovered what may be a free-floating black hole by observing the brightening of a more distant star as its light was distorted by the object’s strong gravitational field — so-called gravitational microlensing.”


Comments are closed.