In Depth

The Week Unwrapped podcast: Social epilepsy, hydrogen and a retail boom

Why are retail sales growing? Should social media companies clamp down on flashing images? And why are German railways turning to hydrogen?

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

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Sales boom

Although you wouldn’t know it from reading the gloomy headlines, retail sales in the UK are higher now than they were before the pandemic. Home and garden stores in particular have benefited from the surge in spending, which seems to be the result of a lot of people cooped up with little else to spend their money on. Perhaps even more surprisingly, the majority of people have been saving more too.

Seeing the light

In the next few weeks TikTok will be introducing a new feature that will let people with epilepsy automatically skip videos that might trigger seizures. They’re the first social platform to respond to a call last year for more to be done to protect people who are vulnerable to flashing lights - a condition believed to affect 18,000 people in the UK.

Hydrogen trains

Germany has announced plans to build a hydrogen-powered train which has a top speed of 100mph and can go for up to 370 miles in between refuelling. The goal is to replace all 1,300 remaining diesel trains on non-electrified lines with these zero-emissions locomotives. It marks something of a comeback for hydrogen, which was once held up as the fuel of the future but has recently lost out to battery power in the motoring market.

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