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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 Government Agencies, Including Energy Department, Hit in Latest Global Cyberattack (Maria)

The author writes, “A global cyberattack targeting a widely used file-transfer service has hit multiple US government agencies, federal officials announced Thursday, joining a string of recent hacks on private organizations that have been largely blamed on a Russian-speaking criminal group. The Department of Energy was among the impacted agencies, a spokesperson told Forbes, noting ‘records from two DOE entities were compromised’ as part of a wider attack.”

Allies Pressure Biden to Hasten NATO Membership for Ukraine (Russ)

From The New York Times: “Mr. Biden, who has been cautious about getting NATO into a direct fight with Moscow, has sought to maintain the status quo of more than a decade: a vague promise that Ukraine, now arguably the most powerful military force in Europe, will eventually join the alliance, but with no set timetable. Now a debate has broken out among the allies that is putting pressure on Mr. Biden to support a significantly faster and more certain path to membership for Ukraine. For Mr. Biden, all the options carry considerable risks, pitting his desire not to allow any fractures to appear in NATO against his standing instruction to his staff to ‘avoid World War III.’”

Health Insurance Claim Denied? See What Insurers Said Behind the Scenes (Dana)

From ProPublica: “Learn how to request your health insurance claim file, which can include details about what your insurer is saying about you and your case.”

Why More of WA Is Becoming an ‘Obstetric Desert’ (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Deciding where to have a baby is often intensely personal for new parents: Do you want to go to a hospital or give birth at home? Are you comfortable with the doctor? Is it close enough to make it in time if complications arise? These choices — a decision about where and how to bring new life into the world — are dwindling for some expectant parents across Washington. Labor and delivery units, particularly in rural areas, have been among the first services to be cut as Washington hospitals face financial turmoil.”

How Could Chicago Sell Lake Michigan Water to Joliet, 35 Miles Away? Five Questions Answered. (Al)

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Chicago struck a deal to sell Lake Michigan water to a city 35 miles southwest of the city. The price tag: $1 billion.  Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed a 100-year agreement that will transport treated Lake Michigan water to Joliet and five of its surrounding suburbs, starting in 2030. The fact that Illinois has a different set of rules when it comes to the Great Lakes Compact, a landmark agreement that generally prohibits diversions out of the basin, is a sore spot for many. And at a time when water is becoming scarcer, some experts believe Illinois should be focused more on sustainable water management.”

First X-Ray of a Single Atom (Mili)

The author writes, “Scientists have taken the world’s first X-ray SIGNAL (or SIGNATURE) of just one atom. This groundbreaking achievement could revolutionize the way scientists detect the materials.”

New York City Is Sinking Due to Weight of Its Skyscrapers (Laura)

The author writes, “New York City is sinking in part due to the extraordinary weight of its vertiginous buildings, worsening the flooding threat posed to the metropolis from the rising seas, new research has found. The Big Apple may be the city that never sleeps but it is a city that certainly sinks, subsiding by approximately 1-2mm each year on average, with some areas of New York City plunging at double this rate, according to researchers.”

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