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.

X-Rays May Have Revealed the First Planet Outside Our Galaxy (Maria)

The author writes, “The Milky Way is full of planets, and it’s very likely that they are plentiful in other galaxies as well. But there’s a big difference between it being likely that planets exist outside of our galaxy and having evidence that they do. And the methods that have allowed us to spot planets in the Milky Way simply won’t work at such vast distances. But this week, researchers announced that a technique they proposed may have turned up the first indication of a planet in another galaxy.”

Michigan Republicans Are Quietly Replacing Officials Who Certify Vote Totals (DonkeyHotey)

From Talking Points Memo: “Like lots of other rank-and-file Republicans, Robert Boyd has his doubts about the integrity of the last election, particularly in his home state of Michigan — and particularly in Detroit’s TCF Center, where the city’s votes were counted last year despite a concerted effort from local Republicans to disrupt the counting process. ‘People saw ballots come in the back door, so, you know, there were cameras in there that people weren’t aware of, that were there,’ Boyd told TPM over the phone Tuesday. ‘They had a bunch hiding under the table. It was not a very pleasant thing to see.’” 

The 5 Most Important Revelations From the ‘Facebook Papers’ (Nick)

From Time: “A more complete portrait of how Facebook was vividly aware of its harmful effects came to light Monday, both at Frances Haugen’s testimony in front of the British Parliament and via a series of reports based on internal documents she leaked, deemed ‘The Facebook Papers.’ During the 2.5 hour question-and-answer, Haugen repeatedly said that Facebook puts ‘growth over safety,’ particularly in developing areas of the world where the company does not have language or cultural expertise to regulate content without fostering division among users. Here are the most explosive revelations from her Oct. 25 testimony and the internal documents.”

Why Facebook Whistleblower and Her ‘Crypto Friends’ Moved to Puerto Rico (Russ)

The author writes, “When Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen isn’t flying around the world urging lawmakers to regulate her ex-employer, she’s apparently living off little-taxed cryptocurrency profits in her new home of Puerto Rico. ‘For the foreseeable future, I’m fine, because I did buy crypto at the right time,’ Haugen said in an interview with the New York Times published Sunday when asked how she’s supported herself since leaving Facebook. Her move to Puerto Rico in March was motivated by a desire to join her ‘crypto friends’ on the island, as well as a health condition, Haugen added.”

Men Shot by Rittenhouse Can Be Described as ‘Rioters’ and ‘Looters’ but Not ‘Victims,’ Judge Rules Ahead of Trial (Dan)

From the Chicago Tribune: “Kyle Rittenhouse’s lawyers can refer to the men he shot as ‘rioters’ and ‘looters,’ but prosecutors still may not call them ‘victims’ at any time during the teen’s upcoming murder trial, a judge ruled Monday. Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder cautioned the defense team against using pejorative terms during opening statements, but he said they could use them in their closing arguments if the evidence suggested the men engaged in criminal acts.”

The Little-Known Hiking Trail That Built Canada (Mili)

The author writes, “Predating the Silk Road and the Amber Road, Canada’s Nuxalk-Carrier Grease Trail is a narrow, little-known footpath that’s been worn deeply into the earth by 6,000 years of walkers. From time immemorial, this 279-mile trail — which starts at a glacier-fed fjord near Bella Coola in the Great Bear Rainforest, climbs east over mountain ranges and then fans out across what’s now known as British Columbia — has been an overland trade route. Over the millennia, it’s seen the exchange of goods such as jade, copper, basketry, food, hides, obsidian and the highly valued commodity the trail was named for: the nutritious oil or ‘grease’ of the small eulachon fish that continues to be a delicacy among First Nations people.”

That’s No Turtle. Toddler Spots Huge Alligator in Sewer Outside Florida Restaurant (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “A man recently revealed in a Reddit photo his 2-year-old son spotted what the toddler thought was a ‘turtle’ that turned out to be an alligator in a sewer outside of a Jacksonville, Florida restaurant. ‘My 2-year-old son looked down into the sewer outside the restaurant and said “turtle” not quite,’ the photo was captioned.”