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Wednesday 29 March 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Screengrab/20th Century Fox Magneto poses for his FBI photofit
# up to speed
Catch-up Wednesday: 3 midweek longreads
Get up to speed with the latest news, opinions and insights with our hand-picked indepth reads.

IT’S MIDWAY THROUGH the week and you want to get up to speed on the latest news topics and catch up on opinions and insights.

We’re here to help you do just that, with our three midweek longreads:

1. A YouTube legend fights to play ball

If you’ve ever fallen into a YouTube hole of watching amazing feats of athleticism, you may have come across Kiwi Gardner. Gardner’s steal and three-point shot in a Bay-area basketball game made him a YouTube phenomenon.

Since then, he has worked to make a basketball career, to little success. Mashable’s Sam Laird followed Kiwi as he battles to make it into the NBA’s development league.

(Mashable – 4,663 words, 23 minutes reading time)

“Basketball-wise, this is it,” Kiwi tells me back in Oakland. The D-League’s Nov. 1 draft is two weeks away. He drinks a Snapple at his favorite local fried fish and chicken joint, resting between workouts in sweatpants and a black Raiders beanie. “It’s do or die now. I’m putting all I got into this. All I got.”

2. The science of kindness

Why are we sometimes hit with an urge to be nice to strangers for no reason? Why do we go out of our way to help someone occasionally, when we don’t make a habit of it?

Apparently, there’s a science to it all.

The Atlantic’s Charles Montgomery explains that it is all just a little performance.

(The Atlantic – 3,024 words, 15 minutes reading time)

Neuroscientists have found that environmental cues trigger immediate responses in the human brain even before we are aware of them. As you move into a space, the hippocampus, the brain’s memory librarian, is put to work immediately.

3. The man who really killed JFK

Full disclosure straight away: this is an ad campaign for the new X-Men movie, Days of Future Past.

The website sets up plot points of Bryan Singer’s upcoming sequel to the comic book sequel/prequel.

It establishes, under the name of Harper Simmons (a recent addition to the Marvel universe), that X-Men villain Magneto is imprisoned for bending the bullet that killed JFK and has been held in an underground prison ever since.

As far as ad campaigns go, it’s genius. As stories go, it’s compellingly believable and eminently readable.

(The Bent Bullet – approx 5,000 words, 25 minutes reading time)

The eyes of John F Kennedy’s killer are not unkind. It’s a peculiar, if quiet revelation to make here, in his company.

Want some more longreads? Then check out Sitdown Sunday>