science, agriculture, rooftop solar panels, agrivoltiacs, laboratory, crops
Photo credit: Justin / Flickr (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

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

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

The Ultra-Efficient Farm of the Future Is in the Sky (Maria)

The author writes, “Five stories off the ground at Colorado State University, a highly unlikely garden grows under a long row of rooftop solar panels. It’s late October at 9 a.m., when the temperature is 30 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind is cutting. Not long before my arrival, researchers had pulled the last frost-intolerant crops out of the substrate underneath the panels, a total of 600 pounds for the season. In their place, cool-season foods like leafy greens — arugula, lettuce, kale, swiss chard — still grow, shaded from the intense sunlight up here. This is no ordinary green roof, but a sprawling, sensor-laden outdoor laboratory overseen by horticulturalist Jennifer Bousselot. The idea behind rooftop agrivoltaics is to emulate a forest on top of a building.” 

Why Democrats Keep Stubbing Their Toes on the Working Class Vote (Al)

From Politico: “On this week’s episode of Deep Dive, [David] Leonhardt joins host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza to talk about how Democrats can salvage their relationship with the working class and how the American system could once again produce the economic and social progress that used to be the norm.”

Amazon Execs Destroyed Years of Evidence Before FTC Action, Agency Says (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Amazon executives allegedly destroyed two years of communications that the Federal Trade Commission requested as part of its antitrust investigation into the company, according to legal documents made public Thursday. Amazon executives knowingly deployed practices that would avoid a ‘perfectly competitive market’ or changed tactics when it realized Amazon could lose its competitive advantage, the FTC alleged in newly unsealed sections of its lawsuit against Amazon.”

Omer and Omar: How Two 4-Year-Olds Were Killed and Social Media Denied It (Mili)

From the BBC: “In the opening days of the Israel-Gaza war two small boys, both aged four, were killed. One was Israeli, one Palestinian. But many posts I saw on social media weren’t mourning their deaths — instead, they were trying to deny the killings had taken place. Omar Bilal al-Banna and Omer Siman-Tov lived roughly 23km (14.3 miles) apart, on either side of the Israel-Gaza perimeter fence. They never met, but both loved playing outside with their siblings. The faces of these little boys have appeared on my social media feed in the past [weeks]. They were both killed as violence unfolded.”

Scarlett Johansson’s Lawyer Orders AI App to Stop Using Her Likeness (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Attorneys, assemble! Scarlett Johansson has taken legal action after an artificial intelligence app circulated a since-deleted ad using the Marvel star’s likeness without permission. Kevin Yorn took action on behalf of the Oscar nominee, 38, who is not a spokeswoman for the app in question, Lisa AI: 90s Yearbook & Avatar, Variety reports.”

The Rio Grande Isn’t Just a Border — It’s a River in Crisis (Laura)

From The Conversation: “In the U.S., people often think of the Rio Grande mainly as a political border that features in negotiations over immigration, narcotics smuggling and trade. But there’s another crisis on the river that receives far less attention. The river is in decline, suffering from overuse, drought and contentious water rights negotiations.”

A Study Says Starfish Are Basically Walking Heads, and Literally Nothing Else (Dana)

The author writes, “Starfish are some of the strangest creatures of the animal kingdom — so much so that scientists didn’t even know for sure if the animals had heads. A new study from Stanford University and UC Berkeley discovered that — contrary to popular belief — starfish were actually giant walking heads, rather than headless sea creatures.”


Comments are closed.