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 Risky Rush to Mine the Deep Sea (Maria)

The author writes, “In late June, the island republic of Nauru informed the International Seabed Authority, based in Kingston, Jamaica, of its intention to start mining the seabed in two years via a subsidiary of a Canadian firm, The Metals Company. Innocuous as it sounds, this was a starting gun for a resource race on the planet’s last vast frontier: the abyssal plains between continental shelves deep below the oceans. The risks are enormous, and the impacts are certain to be far-reaching.”

Glitch Reveals Ballot Choices of NYC Voters, Including Mayor’s Son (Dan)

The author writes, “When a well-known 20-something New Yorker cast his Democratic primary ballot in June, he had every reason to assume that no one would know his choice for mayor — a point of interest for many, since his father was the current mayor. As it turns out, Dante de Blasio, the son of Mayor Bill de Blasio, was not afforded that privacy. In a report … researchers said that missteps by the New York City Board of Elections had inadvertently allowed the lab to determine the votes of 378 New Yorkers in the mayoral primary. Those voters include the mayor’s son and a former New York City deputy mayor, Robert K. Steel.”

Californians Will Vote Multiple Times in 2022 for the Same US Senate Seat (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Concerns over the constitutionality of California’s long-standing law regarding vacant seats in the U.S. Senate will result in a potentially confusing one-time solution next year: side-by-side races, on both the statewide primary and general election ballots, for the same job. The change, signed into law Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, will have the most immediate impact on the political efforts of Sen. Alex Padilla, appointed by Newsom after Vice President Kamala Harris left her Senate post to take the nation’s second-highest-ranking job in January.”

Trump Administration Floated Kidnapping, Killing Julian Assange: Report (Sean)

The author writes, “A report claims the CIA raised the prospect of killing or capturing Julian Assange while he evaded possible charges hiding in Ecuador’s embassy in London because they feared the Australian was plotting an escape of his own. The report, published by yahoo!news, relied on interviews with 30 former US officials and said eight of them detailed the plot to assassinate Assange.”

Now, Insulin Can Be Kept Without Refrigeration (Dana)

From The Times of India: “A team of scientists, including two from Kolkata, have developed a ‘thermostable’ variety of insulin, which eliminates the need to keep it refrigerated. The development is being seen as a breakthrough in scientific circles, with portability being the biggest hurdle for insulin-dependent diabetics.”

Yes, We’re Calling It Hispanic Heritage Month and We Know It Makes Some of You Cringe (Dan)

From NPR: “As the headline unambiguously states, here at NPR we’ve kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month. Not Latino Heritage Month. Not Latinx Heritage Month. Not even a compromise or a combination of the three: Hispanic/Latino/Latinx Heritage Month. To be honest, NPR began to participate in the national event that is called Hispanic Heritage Month with no discussion about existing tensions within Latino communities regarding the use of the word Hispanic, its origins and whether it may be time to swap out the catchall label for something different.”

Mammoth Straw Creatures Populate Japanese Farmland in the Annual Wara Art Festival (Dana)

From Colossal: “If you visit Japan’s Niigata Prefecture during the region’s annual rice harvest, you’re likely to find enormous tarantulas, eagles, and dinosaur-like creatures stalking the bucolic landscape. The towering sculptures are part of the Wara Art Festival, a summertime event that displays massive animals and mythical creations fashioned from the crop’s leftover straw.”

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