space, tech, NASA, James Webb telescope, spinoff, LASIK surgery
Photo credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

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

You Can Find the Tech Behind the Webb Telescope Down Here on Earth (Maria)

From NPR: “NASA’s James Webb telescope has been wowing astronomers lately with stunning photos of some of the first stars in the universe — photos that capture light from more than 13 billion years ago. But while the JWST flies through space, it’s done more for us here on Earth than show images of distant galaxies. The technology developed to build the JWST has also helped improve the vision of millions of eye surgery patients. It’s one of the latest examples in a long history of NASA inventions making an impact on everyday life.”

DOJ’s Election Threats Task Force Gets Grilled After Securing Just One Conviction Despite More Than 1,000 Referrals (DonkeyHotey)

From Raw Story: “A Department of Justice task force to combat violent threats against election workers has received more than 1,000 referrals since it was launched in July 2021 but has only secured one conviction, a House hearing revealed Wednesday. ‘It’s received well over 1,000 reports of threats, but it’s only secured one conviction,’ said Rep. Richie Torres, D-NY, House Homeland Security Committee vice chair. ‘Which raises the question, “Why only one conviction?”’ At the hearing on the election security landscape, the lack of accountability was also tied to more local law enforcement. Often police departments were reluctant to press charges after being contacted by the election officials, the committee was told, because police officers often did not know where the legal line was between illegal threatening conduct and permissible political speech.”

Murdoch’s New York Post Dumps Trump, Calling Him ‘Unworthy to Be Chief Executive Again’ (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “One of Donald Trump’s favorite newspapers — controlled by his media ally Rupert Murdoch — says Trump is ‘unworthy to be this country’s chief executive again.’ Those words, in this weekend’s New York Post, may be the tabloid’s strongest critique of Trump yet. It was published online on Friday evening, around the same time another Murdoch publication, The Wall Street Journal, also published an editorial harshly critiquing the former president.”

A Government Official Helped Them Register. Now They’ve Been Charged With Voter Fraud. (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “In 2020, a representative of the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections conducted a series of outreach efforts at the local county jail to let inmates know of their new rights and offer to help them add their names to the voter rolls. During three visits to the jail, the official helped sign up at least 10 inmates. … In all, 10 of the men who the official helped register to vote have been charged with voter fraud on the grounds they were ineligible.”

The Supreme Court’s Attack on Tribal Sovereignty, Explained (Mili)

From High Country News: “Four federal Indian law experts digest the Supreme Court’s ‘shocking’ decision to grant state governments the power to prosecute crimes in Indian Country.”

Billionaire ‘French Murdoch’ Is Building His Own Right-Wing Media Empire (Russ)

The author writes, “The seven-part 2019 American television series The Loudest Voice on Roger Ailes, the mastermind behind the rise of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News into a powerhouse of right-wing politics in the US, found an avid viewer in France: billionaire Vincent Bollore. The series resonated with the French media baron, a person close to him said. Bollore has taken his own CNews TV channel sharply to the right by tapping into the formula that’s paid off handsomely for Murdoch — catering to conservative audiences deemed to be under-served by the mostly left-leaning mainstream media. As Bollore takes that winning blueprint to his ever-expanding media empire, he’s being dubbed the ‘French Murdoch.’” 

Blots on a Field? (Sean)

From Science: “A neuroscience image sleuth finds signs of fabrication in scores of Alzheimer’s articles, threatening a reigning theory of the disease.”

Humpback Whales Learn Songs and Share Culture With Each Other (Mili)

The author writes, “Scientists have found that humpback whales share culture and learn complex songs from other whales. Humpback whales were documented learning ‘incredibly complex’ songs from whale populations in other regions, according to new research published in the journal Scientific Reports. The study followed the song patterns of different pods of humpback whales located near Australia’s east coast and New Caledonia. Over six years, the groups were found to transmit their cultures to each other through song with a ‘remarkable accuracy.’”

Comments are closed.