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.

Vaccine Passports Underscore the Need for US Privacy Legislation (Maria)

The authors write, “As Congress continues to debate the need for federal privacy legislation, now is the time to implement a national standard on how personal data is collected and processed to avoid the abuse of fundamental rights. Federal privacy legislation should be a national imperative as vaccine passports become more commonplace to ensure short- and long-term data protections, especially as more private companies are either collecting or requiring vaccination data.

Federal Court Tosses Antitrust Suits Against Facebook, in Huge Blow To D.C.’s Fight With Tech (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “A D.C. federal court on Monday dismissed antitrust suits by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general seeking to break up Facebook’s social networking monopoly, dealing a massive blow to regulators’ attempt to rein in Silicon Valley’s giants. The ruling by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg sent Facebook’s stock market value surging past $1 trillion, while generating new calls in Congress for rewriting the nation’s antitrust laws to better address monopolistic abuses in the online world.”

Even Michigan Republicans Have Had Enough of the MyPillow Guy’s Crapola (Dan)

From Esquire: “The Republican Party of the state of Michigan would like the world to know that it does not unanimously agree that its state’s governor should be kidnapped. Or something: ‘There is no evidence presented at this time to prove either significant acts of fraud or that an organized, wide-scale effort to commit fraudulent activity was perpetrated in order to subvert the will of Michigan voters. Our clear finding is that citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan. The committee strongly recommends citizens use a critical eye and ear toward those who have pushed demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain.’”

6 Months Inside One of America’s Most Dangerous Industries (Bethany)

The author writes, “On the morning of May 25, 2019, a food-safety inspector at a Cargill meatpacking plant in Dodge City, Kansas, came across a disturbing sight. In an area of the plant called the stack, a Hereford steer had, after being shot in the forehead with a bolt gun, regained consciousness. Or maybe he had never lost it. Either way, this wasn’t supposed to happen. The steer was hanging upside down by a steel chain shackled to one of his rear legs. He was showing what is known in the euphemistic language of the American beef industry as ‘signs of sensibility.’ His breathing was ‘rhythmic.’ His eyes were open and moving. And he was trying to right himself, which the animals commonly do by arching their back. The only sign he wasn’t exhibiting was ‘vocalization.’”

A Rebel Lawyer Accused California Cops of Corruption. Then They Accused Him of Murder. (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “How a controversial criminal defense attorney became the alleged kingpin of a sprawling murder-and-cover-up conspiracy involving nine defendants — and how he remained free to continue practicing in the same court where he was standing trial — is a story with roots in a Central Valley legal community where the cast of characters is small, and the memories long.”

Baby Boom or Bust? (Sean)

From History Today: “When the pandemic sent the world into lockdown in March 2020, many commentators quipped that a mini baby boom would follow nine months later. The reality was entirely different. Financial insecurity, increased parental responsibilities and anxiety about the future, along with other difficulties, prompted many to delay or forego having a baby. Economists are now projecting 300,000 fewer births in the United States this year than would have been expected before the pandemic. “

Animals Can Navigate by Starlight. Here’s How We Know. (Dana)

The author writes, “We still know incredibly little about animal migration — where they go, why they go, and how they use their brains to get there. Storks migrate from Europe to Africa, and they not only know the route, but can discover locust swarms to feed upon in the desert (long before humans detect the swarm). Whales, in their journeys across the ocean, seem to be influenced by solar storms — but no one knows which part of whale physiology allows them to sense magnetic fields. How these animals get from point A to point B can be mysterious — and grows even more so as we uncover each new navigational feat.”

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