Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Wednesday 29 March 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Wikimedia Commons Fallen Astronaut
# 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. Fallen Astronaut

The only piece of art that has the unique claim of being on the moon is a 3″ sculpture by Belgian artist Paul Van Hoeydonck. Corey S Powell and Laurie Gwen Shapiro tell us how he came to create it.

(Slate – 38 minutes reading time, 7702 words)

In reality, van Hoeydonck’s lunar sculpture, called Fallen Astronaut, inspired not celebration but scandal. Within three years, Waddell’s gallery had gone bankrupt. Scott was hounded by a congressional investigation and left NASA on shaky terms. Van Hoeydonck, accused of profiteering from the public space program, retreated to a modest career in his native Belgium. Now both in their 80s, Scott and van Hoeydonck still see themselves unfairly maligned in blogs and Wikipedia pages—to the extent that Fallen Astronaut is remembered at all.

2. Child workers

Juan is just 10 years old, but he heads to work each day with a pickaxe and a shovel. He makes bricks in a town outside Lima, Fernando Molina Cortés writes, in order to support his incredibly poor family.

(Narratively – 7 minutes reading time, 1556 words)

“This is where I live, this is where I work,” Juan tells me with a tired voice as he incessantly uses his bare feet to knead an amalgam of clay and water. He lives with his family in an adobe tin-plate house, with mats for flooring, just one bed to share, warmed by a tiny kerosene heater. Cheerful melodies playing in the background are at times able to lift the sordid sadness of poverty.

3. Sticks and Stones

Clare Hartwieg writes over on Opinion & Insight about being both the bully and the bullied – and what her advice is to young people.

( – 6 minutes reading time, 1384 words)

One day I made a cruel remark to her. I can no longer remember what it was. She turned around with hurt and anger in her eyes and snapped back at me. Again, I don’t remember her words anymore – but I do remember how disgusted I was with myself in that moment.

Want some more longreads? Then check out Sitdown Sunday>