In Depth

The Week Unwrapped: Electric trees, government weed and skywriting

Could leaves power the homes of the future? Why isn’t legal cannabis catching on? And will British skies soon fill with messages?

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:

Skywriting

The UK government is considering the legalisation of skywriting, six decades after it was banned during the Cold War. If it goes ahead, we could see advertisements, marriage proposals and other messages written in the sky by the summer. Can the dying art be revived to take aviation to dizzy new heights or is it just pie in the sky?

Electric trees

Catalina Lotero, an industrial designer, believes we can harness the static electricity produced naturally when leaves brush against each other to power homes in remote off-grid communities. The technology is in its early stages, but Lotero says a single tree could provide enough electricity for seven homes.

Legal weed

Cannabis was legalised in Canada 18 months ago, but the nation’s marijuana black market is booming. Weed aficionados point to high prices and poor quality as the reason they are sidestepping legal traders, favouring instead their old dealers. The boon for underground dealers, meanwhile, has wiped billions of dollars off the values of the industry’s largest companies, in a collapse that is being compared to the dotcom bubble.

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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