The Week Unwrapped podcast: Streaming, postal prejudice and inside animals’ minds

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days. With Guy Anker, Leaf Arbuthnot and Arion McNicoll.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Streaming court case

Five people who had been convicted of illegally streaming Premier League games were sent to prison this week, one of them for 11 years, after they allegedly made £7 million from their piracy operation. What does this case tell us about football rights, the power of streaming companies, the financial pressures on viewers – and, given that this case was only brought because the Premier League pursued a private prosecution – the priorities of the police?

Racism at the post office

It emerged this week that the victims of a long-running scandal at the Post Office, in which sub-postmasters were wrongly accused of theft and fraud, were classified in 2008 by officials using outdated and offensive racial terms, including “negroid” and “dark-skinned European types”. The revelation is seen as emblematic of the high-handed behaviour of the Post Office throughout its 13-year campaign against its own employees, some of whom took their own lives before their names were cleared. 

Animal sentience

A flood of new research is overturning our old understanding about what animal minds are capable of. Some recent studies seem to suggest that animals really aren’t as inferior to us as we have long liked to tell ourselves. Is there a hierarchy of intelligence or just different types of intelligence? For example, dogs and elephants are able to respond to scent in a far more sophisticated way than humans, as are bees with magnetism.