The Week Unwrapped: Schoolgirl poisonings, accidental DNA and queer history

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days. With Harriet Marsden, Jess Hullinger and Emma Smith.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Afghan school poisonings

Nearly 90 girls at two schools in Afghanistan were hospitalised after being allegedly poisoned by someone with “a personal grudge”. The incident, which echoes a recent spate of what seem like mass poisonings of schoolgirls in Iran, and a series of events in Afghanistan in the 2000s, has intensified fears about sending girls to school in a country where women’s education after primary level has been banned by the Taliban.

Atmospheric DNA

Researchers discovered that ubiquitous air pollution monitors have a second use: monitoring biodiversity by collecting something called eDNA. This is a potential “game changer” for monitoring and perhaps even preventing the decline of plant and animal species across the world. What are the challenges? And why are some experts worried about how eDNA might threaten our privacy?

LGBTQ+ history

Oxford University has appointed the first permanent fellowship in LGBTQ+ history. Professor Matt Cook will become the first Jonathan Cooper Chair of the History of Sexualities, a role he says will help to end the idea that queer history is a “marginal pursuit” in academia. Does Oxford’s decision symbolise a continued shift towards inclusivity in historic institutions?



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