The Week Unwrapped: Mercenaries, climate angst and the right to repair

What are Russian soldiers doing in Libya? Are doom-laden climate headlines bad for our mental health? And are DIY gadget fixers about to get a break?

(Image credit: SpaceX)

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:

Russian mercenaries

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When Vladimir Putin was attempting to exert Russian control over Crimea, platoons of “green men” in military uniform but without any identifying insignia were seen patrolling the streets. Now similar forces, believed to answer to the Russian government but not officially acknowledged, have been spotted in Libya. What are they up to, and which other governments are using similar tactics?

Climate anxiety

This week the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate published a devastating report on the effects of man-made climate change on the planet, warning that the target for limiting global heating to 1.5C is rapidly slipping beyond reach. Indeed, extreme weather events and increasingly apocolyptic headlines mean more and more people are reporting feelings of anxiety and fear over the climate crisis, dubbed by some as “eco-anxiety”. Should we avoid pathologising feelings of fear towards a genuine crisis, and how can we avoid feeling too hopeless to take action?

Right to repair

Any time you want to buy a McFlurry the machine is broken. This is because the company that makes them is the only one licensed to do the repairs. Right-to-repair advocates say that this is a common practice: engineers design complex machinery that is hard to fix without proprietary software or specialist equipment and then charge over-the-odds for servicing. Now a series of legal efforts could tip the balance in favour of DIY repairs.

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