In Depth

The Week Unwrapped podcast: Cyborg insects, pacifist gamers and satellite overload

Why are locusts being used as bomb sniffers? Are video games becoming less violent? And are there too many satellites?

The Week Unwrapped Team

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.

In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Cyborg insects

Barani Raman, a researcher at Washington Uni in Missouri, published research this week describing the creation of a bomb-sniffing cyborg locust. His team embedded wireless electrodes into the insects’ brains and then exposed them to traces of TNT and other explosives, as well as non-explosives such as hot air and bitter almond oil vapour. Since the scientists could see clear differences between reactions to explosives and non-explosives, the grasshoppers effectively became bionic bomb detectors.

Satellite overload

SpaceX launched 60 satellites into orbit this week, aiming to bring low cost broadband to the entire world via a "constellation" of tens of thousands of satellites surrounding Earth. But astronomers say this could hinder their ability to monitor deep space. Is global internet connection worth sacrificing our view of the universe?

Pacifist gamers

As the video games industry has started to become more diverse, games developers no longer fall into the cliché of being white, male, beardy and with a fondness for sci-fi  – a change that some believe is why video games are becoming less violent.

You can subscribe to The Week Unwrapped on the Global PlayerApple podcastsSoundCloud or wherever you get your podcasts. It is produced by Sarah Myles and the music is by Tom Mawby.

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