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MinnPost Picks: on preserving Penn Station, Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ and a specific reason that Twitter is awful

Our weekly roundup of great stories from around the web, as recommended by MinnPost’s staff and contributing journalists.

People look at the sign boards at Penn Station in New York City.
People look at the sign boards at Penn Station in New York City.
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Preservationists Want to Save Penn Station. Yes, That Penn Station. CityLab

If there is a birthplace for the American historic preservation movement it is on the sidewalk in New York where Penn Station, the 1910 architectural masterpiece, was being demolished in 1963. So there is irony now that some in the same movement want to give landmark protection to the dank, dysfunctional station that replaced it. Such a move could block — or at least complicate — long-delayed plans to build something better. Kriston Capps in Bloomberg/CityLab explains the dilemma.
—Peter Callaghan, state government reporter

Miracle And Wonder: Conversations With Paul Simon, excerpt, The Last Archive

I’ve heard lots of people debate the Paul Simon album “Graceland” and you probably have, too: Was it right or wrong for Paul Simon to go to apartheid South Africa during a U.N. boycott to record an album with Ladysmith Black Mambazo? Is the album a genre-bending tribute or cultural appropriation? Rich with audio, this audio excerpt from a new book adds some interesting context without shying away from the controversy. It includes audio from the album as well as interviews with Simon and some of the South African artists about the process and the politics of making the album.
—Greta Kaul, data reporter

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Twitter, the Intimacy Machine, The Raven

It’s probably not news to you that Twitter is terrible, but this piece by C. Thi Nguyen illustrates a particular facet of that terribleness by highlighting a thing that Twitter is actually good at: creating a community with shared context where humor is possible. Unfortunately, Twitter also provides the tools to break posts outside that context, ruining the joke — and worse. As clear a case as I’ve seen for why Twitter used to seem fun and now is just dreadful.
—Tom Nehil, news editor

Billion Dollar Whale, by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope

Andrew PutzI’m a sucker for a good heist story, especially one involving brazen financial fraud, Malaysian politics, very large yachts, Goldman Sachs — and Britney Spears jumping out of a birthday cake. So it’s a little weird that it took me a few years to discover this book, meticulously reported and engagingly told by two longtime journalists. But that’s the thing about stories like this: as with grift itself, they never really go out of style.
—Andy Putz, editor