· By Alex Lim

April 2021

Reykjanes peninsula, Iceland

Erupting volcano!

Iceland already has an unearthly landscape, but the scenes captured via drone by Bjorn Steinbekk during a volcano's live eruption seem more unreal than usual. Watch in 4K/HD for full effect... this is a planet we live on.
A podcast unearthing spy secrets

I Spy

There's nothing flashy about the format – no sound effects or dramatic music. Instead this podcast from Foreign Policy features in-depth interviews with real-life operatives from the murky world of espionage which provide a rare glimpse of the people involved in covert operations. Infiltrating the Hells Angels, interrogating Saddam Hussein, the CIA's "chief of disguise" – it's all in day's work. Slow-paced but utterly fascinating.

A story of a century’s worth of disease and epidemics in one building

Hackney Borough Council Disinfecting Station

An article chronicling the history of a London building that we never knew existed: Hackney Borough Council Disinfecting Station, built to deal with 19th-century diseases such as smallpox, diphtheria, scarlet fever, measles and whooping cough. It was a "state-of-the-art disinfecting and disinfesting station", which required that those using it placed infested clothes in metal hoppers before taking a sulphur bath to treat scabies. Mask-wearing and social distancing seem a doddle by comparison.

Vorkuta, Russia

The An Ice-Covered Russian Ghost Town

Photographer Maria Passer visits the ice-covered abandoned buildings of Vorkuta, a dwindling coal-mining city north of the Arctic Circle. Temperatures can drop as low as -70c and the unemployment crisis has driven residents to abandon their homes to the elements.

Animal navigation

Why Animals Don't Get Lost

This New Yorker article - available to all as an audio piece - delves into the amazing ability of animals to find their way "home" across unimaginable distances.

There's also an event celebrating the seasonal migration of nightingales to the UK by listening to a livestream of their birdsong, without having to camp in the woods.