The Week Unwrapped: Alien soil, cookies and long dogs

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Martian mining

The uninspiringly named Mars Sample Return project is in fact a highly complex – and controversial – endeavour that involves firing several rockets containing Martian rock samples from the surface of the Red Planet to Earth. It will require the first rocket launch from anywhere other than Earth, and that’s the easy bit. The hard part comes when the samples hurtle back towards the surface of our own planet.

Cookie reform

One consequence of a European data-privacy law known as GDPR is the legally required “cookie warnings” that pop up on every website you visit. The intention was that these would encourage companies to be more transparent about how they track your behaviour on the web – and web users to be more selective about the permissions they grant. But in fact they have led to more confusion and irritation. That could soon be at an end.

Dachshund dilemma

This week, the Kennel Club – the organisation which oversees dog shows like Crufts – published new guidelines for dachshund breeders. The advice said the sausage dogs should no longer be bred with exaggerated features, like extra-long bodies and super-stubby legs, and instead should have “suitable ground clearance” to prevent them from experiencing back pain and other medical issues later in life. But how will these new guidelines help protect the wildly popular dog breed – and are dachshunds really as cute as they look?

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