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.

Tiny Burrowing Owls Find Safer Homes With the Help of Scientists (Maria)

The author writes, “Colleen Wisinski has a tough job: Relocating tiny, adorable owls before their grassland homes are taken over by urban development in California. Developers are required by the state to safely remove western burrowing owls — a federally protected subspecies — from their land. But there’s often little guidance on how to do that, and even less information on what happens to the birds in their new homes. … But now, Wisinski and colleagues have devised some new tools to keep these little raptors safe.”

Jailed Oath Keeper’s Estranged Wife Shares Snaps of ‘Escape Tunnels’ Dug Into Backyard (DonkeyHotey)

From The Daily Beast: “When a federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed pending his trial for conspiracy charges on Wednesday, they cited testimony by Rhodes’s estranged wife, who alleged that he installed ‘elaborate escape tunnels’ in his backyard. On Wednesday, she posted the receipts. Tasha Adams shared several snaps on Twitter appearing to show Rhodes snugly tucked into a muddy hole and wrote in a separate tweet: ‘Folks if you ever feel tempted to rent a backhoe and dig escape tunnels in the backyard of your rental house, keep in mind it may back to haunt you if you later attempt to overthrow the U.S. government.’”

Start the Steal: New MAGA Emails Reveal Plot to Hand Arizona to Trump (Reader Steve)

From Rolling Stone: “The technology was complicated, but the plan was simple: Scan mail-in and absentee ballots in populous Maricopa County, remove the ‘invalid votes,’ and recertify the state’s 2020 election count, surely declaring then-President Donald Trump the rightful winner. This scheme to subvert the election outcome in Arizona is laid out in newly released emails obtained by Rolling Stone. Sent in early December 2020, the emails cover a critical moment when the post-election push by Trump and Republican allies to find fraud and overturn the presidential election was in full swing.”

Tennessee School Board Bans Holocaust Graphic Novel ‘Maus’ – Author Art Spiegelman Condemns the Move as ‘Orwellian’ (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “A Tennessee school board has voted to remove the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus from an eighth grade language arts curriculum due to concerns about profanity and an image of female nudity in its depiction of Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust. The Jan. 10 vote by the McMinn County School Board, which only began attracting attention Wednesday, comes amid a number of battles in school systems around the country as conservatives target curriculums over teachings about the history of slavery and racism in America.”

‘Ongoing Brutality’: Lourdes Maldonado Third Journalist Killed in Mexico in Less Than a Month (Dan)

From the Committee to Protect Journalists: “Mexican authorities must immediately and thoroughly investigate the killing of reporter Lourdes Maldonado López, determine whether she was attacked in direct relation to her work and bring her attackers to justice. Maldonado, a veteran broadcast journalist, was shot dead in Tijuana, a city bordering the United States in the northern Mexican state of Baja California, in the evening of January 23, according to news reports. Maldonado was the second journalist in that city to be killed in less than a week and the third Mexican reporter killed this year.” 

‘Super Immunity’ Against COVID-19 More Widely Possible, New OHSU Research Finds. (Sean)

The author writes, “Getting a COVID-19 infection before or after the COVID-19 vaccine can create ‘super immunity,’ researchers in Oregon found, complementing previous research that could point to an eventual path to co-existence with the virus. ‘These results, together with our previous work, point to a time when SARS-CoV-2 may become a mostly mild endemic infection like a seasonal respiratory tract infection, instead of a worldwide pandemic,’ one of the Oregon Health & Science University study’s co-authors, Marcel Curlin, said in a statement.”

Babies Learn About the World by Looking at Who Shares Saliva (Doug)

The author writes, “The complexities of human relations are difficult enough for adults to navigate — and they have at least some idea of the rules. Children have yet to learn those rules. Infants are, nonetheless, able quickly to identify close relationships between other people, and thus to build up a map of the social world around them. How they do this has perplexed sociologists, anthropologists and developmental psychologists for decades. In a paper just published in Science, Ashley Thomas of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology proposes a partial answer: slobber.”