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.

World’s Largest Plant Is a Vast Seagrass Meadow in Australia (Maria)

The author writes, “Scientists have discovered the world’s largest plant off the Australia coast — a seagrass meadow that has grown by repeatedly cloning itself. Genetic analysis has revealed that the underwater fields of waving green seagrass are a single organism covering 70 square miles (180 square kilometers) through making copies of itself over 4,500 years. The research was published Wednesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Scientists confirmed that the meadow was a single organism by sampling and comparing the DNA of seagrass shoots across the bed, wrote Jane Edgeloe, a study co-author and marine biologist at the University of Western Australia.”

‘It’s Going to Be an Army’: Tapes Reveal GOP Plan to Contest Elections (DonkeyHotey)

From Politico: “Video recordings of Republican Party operatives meeting with grassroots activists provide an inside look at a multi-pronged strategy to target and potentially overturn votes in Democratic precincts: Install trained recruits as regular poll workers and put them in direct contact with party attorneys. The plan, as outlined by a Republican National Committee staffer in Michigan, includes utilizing rules designed to provide political balance among poll workers to install party-trained volunteers prepared to challenge voters at Democratic-majority polling places, developing a website to connect those workers to local lawyers, and establishing a network of party-friendly district attorneys who could intervene to block vote counts at certain precincts.”

Some Democrats Voting in GOP Primaries to Block Trump Picks (Reader Steve)

The authors write, “An Associated Press analysis of early voting records from data firm L2 found that more than 37,000 people who voted in Georgia’s Democratic primary two years ago cast ballots in last week’s Republican primary, an unusually high number of so-called crossover voters. Even taking into account the limited sample of early votes, the data reveal that crossover voters were consequential in defeating Trump’s hand-picked candidates for secretary of state and, to a lesser extent, governor.”

Imaginology (Sean)

From Aeon: “A chasm divides our view of human knowledge and human nature. According to the logic of the chasm, facts are the province of experimental science, while values are the domain of religion and art; the body (and brain) is the machinery studied by scientists, while the mind is a quasi-mystical reality to be understood by direct subjective experience; reason is the faculty that produces knowledge, while emotion generates art; STEM is one kind of education, and the liberal arts are wholly other. These are no longer productive ways to organize knowledge in the 21st century.”

Scientists Identify the Most Extreme Heat Waves Ever Recorded Globally (Mili)

The author writes, “A new study has revealed the most intense heat waves ever across the world — and remarkably some of these went almost unnoticed decades ago. The research, led by the University of Bristol, also shows heat waves are projected to get hotter in the future as climate change worsens.

Some Elephants Are Getting Too Much Plastic in Their Diets (Sean)

The author writes, “Some Asian elephants are a little shy about their eating habits. They sneak into dumps near human settlements at the edges of their forest habitats and quickly gobble up garbage — plastic utensils, packaging and all. But their guilty pleasure for fast food is traveling with them — elephants are transporting plastic and other human garbage deep into forests in parts of India. ‘When they defecate, the plastic comes out of the dung and gets deposited in the forest,’ said Gitanjali Katlam, an ecological researcher in India.”

Vegas Chapels All Shook Up by Elvis Likeness Crackdown (Dana)

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Elvis might be leaving the buildings. The company that lords over the King’s image and likeness is cracking down on Las Vegas chapels that book Elvis-themed weddings and otherwise embrace his persona. Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which licenses Elvis Presley-related merchandise, has issued a cease-and-desist letter dated May 19 to several Las Vegas chapels. ‘This couldn’t hit at a worse time. It’s not a good thing,’ Clark County Clerk Lynn Goya, who has presided over Las Vegas’ wedding marketing campaign, said Monday. ‘It might destroy a portion of our wedding industry. A number of people might lose their livelihood.’”