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.

US Banks Ordered to Promptly Flag Cybersecurity Incidents Under New Rule (Maria)

The author writes, “US banking regulators on Thursday finalized a rule that directs banks to report any major cybersecurity incidents to the government within 36 hours of discovery. Separately, the banking industry said it had successfully completed a massive cross-industry cybersecurity drill that aims to ensure Wall Street knows how to respond in the event of a ransomware attack that threatens to disrupt a range of financial services. The developments highlight the growing threat large-scale cyber incidents pose to financial stability.”

Judge Spares Man in Teen Rape Case: ‘Incarceration Isn’t Appropriate’ (Sue)

The author writes, “The girl was 16 when Christopher Belter raped her, according to court documents. He was a teenager too, a student at an elite private boys school whose family’s western New York home was known as a party house where teens gathered to consume liquor, marijuana and Adderall. It was August 2018, and the girl, identified in court filings as M.M., was at Mr. Belter’s house to spend the night with his sister before going to Chicago the next day. He asked her into his room, and then threw her onto the bed, pulled off her clothes and told her to stop being such a baby, according to court documents. At a hearing this summer, she described focusing her attention on the leaves of a plant in the room as the attack continued. This week, Mr. Belter, 20, was sentenced in the assault on M.M. and in sexual attacks on three other teenage girls. Facing up to eight years in prison, he was instead given eight years’ probation by a judge who said he had ‘agonized’ over the decision.”

Is Your Company Secretly Monitoring Your Work at Home? Since COVID, the Practice Has Surged (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Despite evidence that working from home has not diminished U.S. productivity during the pandemic, employers are increasingly turning to monitoring software that can track workers’ keystrokes, log active hours, take regular screenshots and even activate a web camera. And many companies may be using such tracking systems without workers’ knowledge. Gartner, a technology research and consulting firm, estimates that 60% of large corporations now employ monitoring software, double the share of early last year.”

The Many Trials of Keith Davis Jr. (Dana)

From Baltimore Magazine: “Prosecutors have tried Keith Davis Jr. four times for the same murder without sustaining a conviction. Incarcerated since June 2015, Davis remains in jail awaiting a fifth trial while his wife fights for his freedom.”

Tucker Carlson’s Jan. 6 ‘Documentary’ Is His Most Nakedly Fascist Piece of Propaganda Yet (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “Tucker Carlson’s ‘Patriot Purge,’ a revisionist history of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, clocks in at an easily binge-watchable 70 minutes, spread over three episodes. It’s produced with the aesthetics and narrative suspense of an action thriller. The good guys are the ‘patriots’ who stormed the Capitol. The bad guys are those in the media and government who are persecuting them. ‘The left is hunting the right,’ Carlson warns his viewers. It is the most nakedly fascist piece of propaganda Carlson has ever produced. And it comes at a dangerous moment: The insurrection is on its way to becoming as noble an enterprise as the Boston Tea Party for large parts of the American right.”

Increasingly Frequent Wildfires Linked to Human-Caused Climate Change (Mili)

The author writes, “Research by scientists from UCLA and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory strengthens the case that climate change has been the main cause of the growing amount of land in the western U.S. that has been destroyed by large wildfires over the past two decades. Rong Fu, a UCLA professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and the study’s corresponding author, said the trend is likely to worsen in the years ahead. ‘I am afraid that the record fire seasons in recent years are only the beginning of what will come, due to climate change, and our society is not prepared for the rapid increase of weather contributing to wildfires in the American West.’”

SATIRE: Ted Cruz Attacks Bob the Builder for Spreading Pro-Infrastructure Propaganda (Dan)

The author writes, “In his latest attack on a fictional character beloved by children, Senator Ted Cruz has lambasted Bob the Builder for spreading what the legislator called ‘blatant pro-infrastructure propaganda.’ Cruz said that Bob, who originates from the United Kingdom, should ‘stop throwing his precious wrench into the American economy by supporting runaway government spending.’”

A Roadrunner Got Trapped in a Moving Van in Las Vegas — And Ended Up in Maine (Reader Steve)

From The Boston Globe: “Someone should have warned this speedy bird that the coyotes aren’t any better here in New England. A father and son were greeted by a strange passenger on Saturday when they opened the door of a moving van that had traveled from Las Vegas to Westbrook, Maine: A roadrunner that had somehow hitched a ride across the country. Now, wildlife experts in Maine are working to get the small bird back to its natural environment as soon as possible.”

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