The Week Unwrapped: Missiles, ransoms and awe
Does the US still need ballistic missiles? Why is Boko Haram releasing schoolgirl hostages? And do we need to experience more awe?
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:
When America’s current generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles entered development, Lyndon Johnson was president and the first series of Star Trek was on TV. Now the aging nuclear delivery system is due for an overhaul, but questions are being asked about whether the US still needs its ICBMs and if updating them goes against the spirit of the country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament.
While the kidnapping of schoolchildren is, sadly, not uncommon in northern Nigeria, it is mostly associated with ideological attacks by Boko Haram. Now, however, it seems that other armed groups are abducting children simply for ransom - and the Nigerian government stands accused of encouraging the practice by paying up.
In search of awe
Scientists in California have published new research suggesting that experiencing awe may reduce our attachment to certain ideological convictions - and that more awe and wonder in our lives could decrease political polarisation. Their work builds on emerging research about how awe can make us happier and kinder - which may be particularly important after a year of confinement.