Technology Podcast: Einstein’s Photons, Lasers And Cheaper Solar Power

How has Einstein’s work on photons ushered in a golden age of light? Oliver Morton, The Economist’s briefings editor, explores why laser’s applications have been spectacular and how solar power became the cheapest source of electricity in many countries. 

Also, he talks to the scientists scanning the skies with the largest digital camera in the world.

Wildlife: ‘Amazon Pigmy Geckos – The Unsinkable Lizard’ (BBC Earth Video)

This little pygmy gecko has an amazing superpower, that helps it survive in the wet season.

The Amazon pigmy gecko is a species of lizard in the Sphaerodactylidae family found in northern South America in Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, Brazil, Ecuador, and northern Peru. 

Train Travel: ‘Kyushu – Southern Japan’ (Video)

Kyushu is said to be the wellspring of Japanese civilization. Yet few tourists visit the southernmost of Japan’s main islands. This documentary contrasts modern Japanese cities with traditional customs in the countryside.

The rail journey begins in Fukuoka – a city with a metro population of 2.5 million – and ends at the southern tip of the island, in the city of Ibusuki. As the train rolls along, it travels through time – and reveals the amazing diversity and contrasts of the most southerly of Japan’s four main islands. The trip provides spectacular landscape views, as well as deep insight into a foreign culture, and its ancient traditions and modern lifestyles. In the West, Kyushu is one of the lesser-known regions in the “Land of the Rising Sun.”

Even for the Japanese, the green, mountainous island is seen mostly as a holiday spot. Europeans rarely visit this part of the country – but there are plenty of restaurants and cafes that have names like “Wolfgang,” “Bavaria,” or “Côte d’Azur.” Travel guides say that these words sound “European” to Japanese.

The family of the emperor, or Tenno, comes from Kyushu as well. This is also where the dynasties of the proud warrior class, the samurai, have their roots. And there are a number of active volcanoes on Kyushu. One of the most famous is Mount Aso. Its caldera – the cauldron-like hollow at the top — has a circumference of about 120 kilometers.

Walks: ‘Baden’ – A Spa Town Near Vienna, Austria (4K)

Baden bei Wien is a spa town southwest of Vienna, the Austrian capital. The focus of its main square is the Trinity Column plague memorial. Narrow surrounding streets are known for their 19th-century Biedermeier architecture. The leafy Kurpark features the Casino Baden, memorials to composers like Beethoven and Mozart, and trails leading to Kalvarienberg, a hill where the park transitions into the Vienna Woods.

Culinary: Pitmaster John Lewis Perfects The ‘Art Of The Barbecue’ (Video)

Pitmaster John Lewis is known not only for his mouthwatering South Carolina brisket, sausages, and ribs, but also for his dedication to “perfecting” the art of barbecue by customizing his own smokers, and getting creative with brining, rubbing, and smoking techniques.

Profiles: ‘Brigadier Sir Nils Olav III’ – A King Penguin In Edinburgh Zoo (BBC Video)

Meet the most famous penguin in the world – Brigadier Sir Nils Olav III – who lives in Edinburgh Zoo!

Find out how Brigadier Sir Nils Olav III was knighted and came to be an official part of the Norwegian Military Guard.

Venice Palazzo Tour: Castello On Canal (Video)

Five minutes from the Ponte di Rialto and Piazza San Marco, elegant restored apartment on the first floor of a 17th-century historic palazzo in the Castello district, Venice. The property (85 sqm) is made up of an ample living room with cooking corner, a studio/bedroom, double bedroom, and bathroom. The building was recently restored and improved with the restoration of the private bridge, the porta d’acqua and the beautiful entrance hall.

Castello, Venice, covers a large vibrant area, with one section bordering St. Mark’s Square and dotted with luxury hotels. Farther from St. Mark’s, the neighborhood gets more laid-back, with casual bars where locals stop in for a glass of wine. Shops and eateries catering to all budgets line buzzing Via Garibaldi. In alternating years, the Giardini della Biennale park hosts the Biennale exhibition of contemporary art. 

Walks: ‘Kathmandy City – Nepal’ (4k Video)

Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, is set in a valley surrounded by the Himalayan mountains. At the heart of the old city’s mazelike alleys is Durbar Square, which becomes frenetic during Indra Jatra, a religious festival featuring masked dances. Many of the city’s historic sites were damaged or destroyed by a 2015 earthquake. Durbar Square’s palace, Hanuman Dhoka, and Kasthamandap, a wooden Hindu temple, are being rebuilt. 

French Estate Tour: ’12th Century Abbey Aubeterre-sur-Dronne (Video)

This beautiful former abbey has been restored to a high standard and comes with 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms served by a central stone spiral staircase. It also offers beautiful views, land and 2 stocked lakes. Located 100 kms from Bordeaux, 30 kms from Angouleme (TGV to Paris under 2 1/2 hrs), near Aubeterre-sur-Dronne (one of the prettiest villages in France) in a quiet location down a no through road.

Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is a commune in the Charente department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of Southwestern France. It has been officially listed as “One of the most beautiful villages in France” since 1993. Aubeterre-sur-Dronne is also well known for its Church of Saint Jean, an underground, Monolithic Church.