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:
Violence and mental health
Lawyers for the gunman who has pleaded guilty to killing 17 people at a school in Florida in 2018 have claimed that his “brain was irretrievably broken” by a difficult childhood and that he should therefore be spared the death penalty. The legal argument has sparked a debate in the US about the link between mental illness and mass shootings, amid fears that people could be stigmatised or discouraged from seeking help.
A group of 53 people from South Korea who were adopted by families in Denmark as children have filed an application with authorities in Seoul calling for an investigation into the circumstances around their adoptions. In the 60 years that followed the end of the Korean war, South Korea was accused of “exporting” hundreds of thousands of children who weren’t orphans to families overseas for adoption. Could an inquiry spark a wider national reckoning with this troubling history?
A photographic project seeking out people who look alike has led to the publication of a scientific research paper. Published in Cell Reports this week, the study found that people who look very similar tend to share more DNA than other members of the population. Other biological characteristics, such as their microbiomes and epigenomes, which are more affected by the environment than by DNA, were no more likely to be similar. What does this tell us about nature and nurture, and does it have a deeper significance?