Slate’s weekly roundup: Josh Keating on what he read about Venmo, the Oscars, and Become Ocean.

Josh Keating on His Favorite Reads From Slate This Week

Josh Keating on His Favorite Reads From Slate This Week

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Feb. 27 2015 9:30 AM
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What Happened at Slate This Week?

Josh Keating read about making music in the Anthropocene and journeyed into the heart of coding darkness.

Josh Keating
Josh Keating.

Photo illustration by Slate. Illustration by Charlie Powell.

Hello Plussers,

My name is Josh Keating and I’m a staff writer focusing on international affairs and foreign policy, which basically means I can write about things that happen outside America (though I also sometimes write about things that happen in America as if they were outside America). ISIS and Ukraine have been taking up most of my attention lately, but as always, I’ve made time to see what my colleagues are up to. Here’s what I’ve been reading this week.

While very different in content, two of this week’s best pieces also featured some gorgeous art and design: I’ve been listening to John Luther Adams’ Become Ocean a lot over the past few months so I was really excited to read his meditation on making music in the Anthropocene. And whether he’s untangling Middle East alliances or Travoltifying your name, Chris Kirk’s interactives are consistently some of the most distinctive and memorable content on Slate so I loved reading about his journey into the heart of coding darkness in an attempt to build a better email client. (The revelation that there’s a “Slate Millennial” Slack channel made me feel old for a few days—until Ali Griswold restored my smugness about not using Venmo.)

The culture team kicked into overdrive during the Oscars with a plethora of content that I frankly enjoyed a lot more than the actual event. (For that matter, I also enjoy listening to June and Seth talk about Downton Abbey a lot more than I enjoy Downton Abbey these days.) I especially liked Dana Stevens’ reflection on the career of Julianne Moore. No way am I clicking that video clip of Safe though—I saw that movie 10 years ago and am still creeped out. Slate superfans should also check out Dan Kois’ Genius-annotated version of his Boyhood piece for a revealing look at how your Slate sausage gets made.

I love to see writers smartly countering the outrage herds, as in Torie Bosch’s argument that Keith Olbermann wasn’t entirely wrong about her alma mater, Penn State. Speaking of highly unsympathetic public figures who are frustratingly correct in one particular case, read Mark Joseph Stern on why Washington football team owner Dan Snyder has a legitimate first amendment case against the U.S. patent office.

Slate also delved into some frustratingly undercovered political debates this week. Jamelle Bouie looked at some of the cynical upcoming attempts to restrict voting access while Leon Neyfakh poured some cold water on hopes of an emerging bipartisan consensus on criminal justice reform.

That’s it for now. Whether you’re spending your weekend smoking (sort of) legal weed, watching Robin Hood: Men in Tights before it disappears from Netflix, staring at the airport carpet, or combining those activities, I hope you’ll also make time to catch up on your Slate reading. Thanks, as always, for your support.

—Josh

P.S. Join us in Brooklyn on April 8 for the Political Gabfest’s next live show! To purchase early access tickets and to receive your 30 percent member discount, go to slate.com/gabfestnyc before 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 1.