Editors’ Picks for Feb 4

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.


White Nationalists Continue to Back Trump (Russ)

Groups plan more robocalls in support of his candidacy.


US Wants to More Freely Export Hacking Tools (Reader Pat)

The Obama administration looks to provide ‘cyber intrusion’ tools — i.e. hacking devices — to overseas partners for ‘legitimate cybersecurity’ activities. Companies claim that to know the vulnerabilities in a system, it must be hacked. However, cybersecurity experts and lawmakers worry that these cyber weapons may fall into the wrong hands. And knowing the US track record for supplying the so-called ‘necessary’ ammunition, perilous results seem bound to happen.

Syrian Peace Talks Halted After Two Days, to Resume in Three Weeks (Dan)

Despite a multi-country attempt to bomb — or ‘airstrike’ — away the Syria problem, groups (minus the Kurds and ISIS) are meeting in Geneva to broker a UN-supported solution. Unsurprisingly, neither Assad’s government nor the Syrian opposition were willing to waver on their demands and the talks were suspended. It also doesn’t help that Western powers cannot locate a suitable leader for the Syrian opposition.


Are Profit Margins Causing Goldman Sachs to Rethink Capitalism? (Klaus)

If elevated profit margins continue to stay up instead of coming down, Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note that “there are broader questions to be asked about the efficacy of capitalism.”


France Poised to Resume State of Emergency (Dan)

Just shy of three months after the Paris terrorist attacks, President Francois Hollande is seeking to reauthorize France’s state of emergency for yet another three months. The initial legislation allowed authorities to carry out raids and put people under house arrest without authorization from a judge. Now Hollande wants to extend the power of antiterrorism officials to search bags and vehicles near ‘sensitive buildings’, allow police to hold suspected persons under house arrest for hours despite producing documentation, and place incoming or potentially-departing people into ‘terrorist operating theaters.’


Amazon to Open Hundreds of Physical Bookstores (Russ)

Good news for book lovers–reverses trend of recent years.