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Wednesday 29 March 2023 Dublin: 14°C
AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File Actress Kristen Bell appears on the set of the television series "Veronica Mars," in San Diego.
# up to speed
Catch-up Wednesday: 3 midweek longreads
Get up to speed with the latest news, opinions and insights with our hand-picked in-depth 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. Going to Mars

The site Kickstarter and the power of fandom helped bring the TV series Veronica Mars to the big screen. The show’s creator, Rob Thomas, explains to Jason Cohen how the project raised $1 million in just four hours.

(Texas Monthly, approx 20 minutes reading time, 4184 words)

Originally conceived with a male protagonist, the idea became the UPN series Veronica Mars, starring Kristen Bell as the teenage daughter of a private eye. High school noir from the same family tree as Nancy Drew, The Outsiders, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the show was set in the fictional, corrupt beach town of Neptune, California.

2. Plastic danger

Can baby bottles be dangerous? Mariah Blake looks at the plastic additive bisphenol A (BPA), which mimics the hormoe estrogen, has been linked to health problems… and is used in many household items. But even BPA-free products might not be safe.

(Mother Jones, approx 31 minutes reading time, 6383 words)

BPA exploded into the headlines in 2008, when stories about “toxic baby bottles” and “poison” packaging became ubiquitous. Good Morning America issued a “consumer alert.” The New York Times urged Congress to ban BPA in baby products. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) warned in the Huffington Post that “millions of infants are exposed to dangerous chemicals hiding in plain view.”

3. What the hell is FanFic?

Stephen Downes examines the world of Fan Fiction, or FanFic, where fans write their own worlds for existing characters. Even Harry Potter isn’t safe.

(, approx 5 minutes reading time, 1176 words)

I see two bigger issues with FanFic which give me cause for concern. The first is the separation of young people from their own lives into the virtual lives of FanFic. One 13-year-old FanFic author I spoke to, in person, described himself as alienated at school; he was ignoring school work, shunning friends and all to produce vast amounts of FanFic for a particular site.

Want some more longreads? Then check out Sitdown Sunday>