Aerial Views: Brisbane In Eastern Australia (4K)

Brisbane, capital of Queensland, is a large city on the Brisbane River. Clustered in its South Bank cultural precinct are the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre, with noted interactive exhibitions. Another South Bank cultural institution is Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, among Australia’s major contemporary art museums. Looming over the city is Mt. Coot-tha, site of Brisbane Botanic Gardens.

Science: Sea Squirts And Vertebrate Evolution, Iodine-Powered Satellites

Spineless sea squirts shed light on vertebrate evolution, and an iodine-fuelled engine powering a satellite in space.

In this episode:

00:45 A story of sea squirts, ancient vertebrates and missing genes

When a PhD student set out to study the developmental pathways of a strange sea creature, he hoped to shed light on the origins of vertebrate animals. Instead, researchers found themselves investigating a strange case of missing genes. We hear why gene loss could be a more significant factor in evolutionary processes than was previously thought.

Research article: Ferrández-Roldán et al.

08:17 Research Highlights

The unusual crystal that gives a beetle its glittering green sheen, and the genetics of a fish’s 200 year lifespan.

Research Highlight: Weird crystal makes beetle a living jewel

Research Highlight: Some of Earth’s longest-lived fish show how to reach extreme ages

10:43 An iodine-fuelled engine for satellites

In space, many satellites use xenon-fuelled ‘electric propulsion systems’ to maneuver. However, xenon is rare and requires high-pressure storage systems, so researchers have been working to develop alternative fuels. This week, a team publish details of the first in-space test of an iodine-powered electric propulsion system, which they say has many advantages over xenon systems.

Research article: Rafalskyi et al

16:37 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, issues aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, and what the discovery of a theorised mineral reveals about processes deep within the Earth.

Wired: NASA Tries to Save Hubble, Again

Nature: Diamond delivers long-sought mineral from the deep Earth

City Walking Tours: Sofia – Capital Of Bulgaria (4K)

Sofia is the capital of the Balkan nation of Bulgaria. It’s in the west of the country, below Vitosha Mountain. The city’s landmarks reflect more than 2,000 years of history, including Greek, Roman, Ottoman and Soviet occupation. Medieval Boyana Church has 13th-century frescoes. Built by the Romans in the 4th century, St. George Rotunda Church has medieval and Ottoman decoration dating to the 10th century. 

Previews: Times Literary Supplement – November 19

Walking Tour: Zhuhai In Southeastern China (4K)

Zhuhai is a modern city in China’s southern Guangdong province, on the border with Macau. Transformed into one of China’s first Special Economic Zones in 1980, today the city is known for golf resorts, theme parks and islands off the Pearl River Delta. Pedestrianized Lianhua Road and the malls of Jingshan Road are popular shopping areas selling duty-free goods. 

Morning News: Biden-Xi Summit, Europe’s Trains, South Korean Photo-Ops

The meeting between superpower presidents was cordial and careful, but it will take far more than a video call to smooth such frosty relations.

Europe once had an enviable international rail network—one it must revive if the bloc is to meet its climate targets. And the costly and sometimes dangerous lengths South Koreans are going to for flattering photographs.