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 T-Mobile Data Breach You Can’t Ignore (Maria)

The author writes, “Not all data breaches are created equal. None are good, but they do come in varying degrees of bad. And given how regularly they happen, it’s understandable that you may have become inured to such news. Still, a T-Mobile breach that hackers claim involves the data of 100 million people deserves your attention — especially if you’re a customer of the ‘Un-carrier.’”

As Children’s COVID Cases Surge, There’s Another Virus on the Rise (Russ)

From NPR: “Early versions of COVID-19 largely spared children but the delta variant proved to be much less discriminating, and has led to more child hospitalizations. Now, health care workers on the front lines say there is another frightening prospect looming: a surge in children diagnosed with a combination of COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus. Pediatric hospitals in Texas — and around the country — are reporting unseasonably early outbreaks of RSV, a respiratory virus that mostly manifests as a mild illness with cold-like symptoms in adults but that can cause pneumonia and bronchiolitis in very young children. The CDC reports it can be life-threatening in infants and young adults.”

Mississippi 8th Grader Dies With COVID Hours After Gov. Reeves Downplays Child Cases (DonkeyHotey)

From the Mississippi Free Press: “An eighth-grade girl died the morning of Saturday, Aug. 14, in Raleigh, Miss., mere hours after testing positive for COVID-19. Multiple sources told the Mississippi Free Press that the student had attended classes at the school most of the week, including Wednesday, before testing positive for COVID-19 at week’s end. Her health quickly declined afterward. On Sunday, Aug. 15, the Smith County Reformer, the area’s long-time local newspaper, reported that 13-year-old Mkayla Robinson ‘who has died of complications from Covid-19.’”

Andrew Cuomo, Donald Trump, and the Epidemic of New York Strongmen (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “To me, ‘New York tough’ means a daily willingness to share space with millions of other souls crammed onto a small island without overreacting to their presence. It means functioning amidst the din of humanity. It means overcoming the adversity, or simply accidents, thrust upon you by millions of others and continuing to do whatever it is you do. But there is an alternative view: the idea that being from or of New York is a license to be a jerk. Indeed, some will contend that being a giant briefcase-swinging brute is the only way to ‘succeed’ in New York, and those who are not built for permanent, unrelenting aggression are doomed to fail in the big city. The vast majority of New Yorkers thrive precisely because they’ve developed a high tolerance for difference, along with an amenable ‘live and let live’ approach, but there are others who contend that ‘my way or the highway’ is the only way to be a real New Yorker.”

In a Sudden Bout of Racial Killings, a South African Suburb Sees a Dark History Repeating Itself (Dan)

From The Washington Post: “Thirty-six years separated the infamous race riots of 1949 and 1985 in this area, when people of African and South Asian descent — pitted against one another at the bottom rungs of the apartheid system — killed each other in a bubbling over of resentment. Last month, another 36 years after the last riots, Phoenix and surrounding towns ignited once again. Amid a week-long bout of looting, arson and clashes that saw at least 342 killed across two South African provinces, 36 were killed in this patchwork of poor Black townships and more developed ‘Indian’ suburbs that had been coexisting peacefully, though unequally. Most of the dead were Black this time, and most of the suspected killers were Indian, the country’s police chief said this week.”

The First mRNA-Based HIV Vaccine Is About to Start Human Trials (Dana)

The author writes, “Two of Moderna’s mRNA-based HIV vaccines could start human trials this week, according to a new posting in the National Institutes of Health’s clinical trial registry. The Phase I study would test the vaccines’ safety, as well as collect basic data on whether they’re inducing any kind of immunity, but would still need to go through Phases II and III to see how effective they might be.”

How to Sell ‘Carbon Neutral’ Fossil Fuel That Doesn’t Exist (Doug)

The author writes, “Energy companies are starting to pitch the idea that planet-warming natural gas can be erased by paying villagers to protect forests. Experts can’t make the math work.”

Mexican Archaeologists Forced to Bury an Unusual Discovery Made in Old Aztec Capital (Mili)

The author writes, “In a strange turn of events, researchers in Mexico have announced they plan to rebury an unusual archaeological monument found in the outskirts of Mexico City — covering up an important historical discovery until some unknown time in the future. The discovery in question is a tunnel built centuries ago as part of the Albarradón de Ecatepec: a flood-control system of dikes and waterways constructed to protect the historical city of Tenochtitlan from rising waters.”

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