Sunday Long Reads: Chernobyl 30 years on, what happened to Facebook's competitors and Venezuela's deepening crisis

Kick back with a cup of coffee and enjoy the best long reads from Newstalk

This week's long reads takes a look back at what happened to some of Facebook's (former) competitors, why the Crucible is so special to snooker and the world's deadliest selfie.

Bebo, Myspace & the failure of Facebook’s competitors

Such is Mark Zuckerberg’s easy dominion over the social networking world these days, when he announced Facebook’s skyrocketing revenue (a cool $5.38 billion) this week, he could also let us know he has bigger fish to fry.

"While helping to connect the world will always be the most important thing I do, there are more global challenges that I feel a responsibility to help solve – like helping to cure all diseases by the end of this century, upgrading our education system so it’s personalized for each student, and protecting our environment from climate change".

With great power and all that... Once upon a time though, Zuck was just your common-or-garden Harvard student (or as close to common as they get) looking to connect dorm rooms, and then, campuses with "Thefacebook". Here are the sites who would have been king, and where they went wrong. 

What makes The Crucible such a special place?

"I don't think the World Championships should ever move from here to be honest. This is the home. There are some things in life that money can't buy. This has a sanctity. You cannot buy that no matter how much you try. It would be like moving The Masters from Augusta to somewhere else. It's not The Masters any more."

1997 World Champion Ken Doherty is not in the minority when he speaks about how special The Crucible is to snooker players, so Daniel Kelly went along to discover what it is about the iconic venue that makes it so unique.

The Elephant's Foot of Chernobyl and the world's deadliest selfie

If you spent just two minutes beside the lumpy pile, a mixture of nuclear fuel, melted concrete, sand, and the melted metal that had once shielded the whole mass, the cells in your body would start draining.

Double the exposure, and you’d start to throw up, experience diarrhoea and run a burning temperature. Stick around for another 60 seconds, and within 48 hours you’d be dead. It’s the Elephant’s Foot, the most dangerous relic of the Chernobyl disaster and the site of the world’s most brazen selfie.

Beyonce's "Lemonade" is an amazing break-up album... But where's the break-up?

When Beyonce dropped "Formation" in February, it led to countless reactionary think-pieces (including our own), as the pop world braced itself for one of the most popular entertainers on the planet to get all political on us.

Last weekend, she performed a semi-Beyonce (because at least she gave us a heads up this time), and released Lemonade, complete with the hour-long visual accompaniment (which you can watch in full here), and things weren't exactly what we were expecting. But when it comes to Beyonce, that's probably to be expected.

Power cuts, queues for food and political crisis: An Irishwoman details what life is like in Venezuela

At some point in our lives, we’ve all experienced the annoyance of a power cut in our home. You’re in the middle of watching TV and the screen goes blank.

After fumbling around in the dark for a minute you locate a candle and a set of matches, and with one strike you can (sort of) see again. Feeling a bit stressed, you head to the kitchen to make a cup of tea but you can’t boil the water because the kettle won’t work. You try to heat some on the hob but then you realise that your cooker is electric, and then you start to worry how long those raw chicken breasts will last in the fridge...

Well imagine living in a country where this is a regular occurrence and, not only that, your government has announced that it will have to cut the power for four hours every day for two months.

This is the reality for 24-year-old Irishwoman Sinead Whitty, along with millions of others living in Venezuela.