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Weekly Reading: The best longreads all in one place

The Wireless logo The Wireless 2/03/2017

Our weekly recap highlighting the best feature stories from around the internet.

© Provided by Radio New Zealand Limited Shea Serrano dissects that crazy Oscars moment on The Ringer.

The Ringer

This Oscars Photo Is Worth a Thousand Words, by Shea Serrano, The Ringer

“A question for you: Would you rather — and let’s say these are the only two options available and there’s no way to get out of it and you absolutely have to do it — would you rather hang out with Casey Affleck for a week, or would you rather hang out with a box of snakes for a week? And let’s pretend it’s, like, an assortment of snakes. You don’t know what kind are in there; could be poisonous, could be constrictors, could be tiny, could be huge. And also, the box is just the delivery service. Once they arrive, you have to take them out and carry them around. You can’t just keep them in the box. They’re on your person. That’s you for a week. You’re the Snake Guy.”

The Provocateur behind Beyonce, Rihanna and Issa Rae, by Alexis Okeowo, The New Yorker

“She began to conceive scenes of black history, from slavery through Mardi Gras parades and the Rodney King protests. “I wanted to show—this is black people,” she said. “We triumph, we suffer, we’re drowning, we’re being beaten, we’re dancing, we’re eating, and we’re still here.” She wrote out a treatment and sent it to Beyoncé in the middle of the night. Within hours, the singer had written back to say that she loved it.”

Young People Get Trans Rights. It’s Adults Who Don’t, by Janet Mock, The New York Times

“I felt like any other student, just one of the girls, until one morning when a vice principal, who had always looked at me curiously, blocked me as I followed my friends into the girls’ restroom. The administrator told me to come with her. We walked to the nurse’s office, a five-minute trip from my homeroom, where she pointed to a single-stall restroom. “This is where you go,” she said to me.”

Buried Alive: Stories From Inside Solitary Confinement, by Nathaniel Penn, GQ

“In the age of mass incarceration, solitary confinement—the practice of isolating a human being in a cell for 22 to 24 hours a day—has become a punishment of first resort in America. It's the prison of the prison system, and like the larger institution that feeds it, it is rife with cruelty, racism, and Constitutional violations. Though it was created to reduce violence, solitary increases it. Though it is meant to be a deterrent, solitary promotes recidivism. Though some authorities still believe the medieval fiction that it fosters personal redemption through habits of meditation and penitence, solitary irreparably harms the human psyche.”

How Peter Thiel’s Palantir Helped the NSA Spy on the Whole World, by Sam Biddle, The Intercept

“Palantir’s impressive data-mining abilities are well-documented, but so too is the potential for misuse. Palantir software is designed to make it easy to sift through piles of information that would be completely inscrutable to a human alone, but the human driving the computer is still responsible for making judgments, good or bad.”

Trump, Putin and the New Cold War, by By Evan Osnos, David Remnick, and Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker

“The American political landscape also offered a particularly soft target fordezinformatsiya, false information intended to discredit the official version of events, or the very notion of reliable truth. Americans were more divided along ideological lines than at any point in two decades, according to the Pew Research Center. American trust in the mainstream media had fallen to a historic low. The fractured media environment seemed to spawn conspiracy theories about everything from Barack Obama’s place of birth (supposedly Kenya) to the origins of climate change (a Chinese hoax). Trump, in building his political identity, promoted such theories.”

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