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Best podcasts of the week: A modern take on Pride and Prejudice from Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson | Podcasts

Picks of the week

I Was Never There
Widely available, episodes weekly from 9 Jun
Marsha Ferber made an impression on most people she met – and many have an opinion on what happened when she disappeared in 1988. In this eight-parter, mother-and-daughter team Karen and Jamie Zelermyer, who lived with Marsha in a West Virginia commune, explore her evolution “from suburban housewife to back-to-the-land hippy to drug dealing bar owner”, and dive into their unconventional past in the search for answers. Hollie Richardson

Gay Pride & Prejudice
Spotify, episodes weekly

This slickly produced, gleefully campy remake of Jane Austen’s novelrevolves round Bennet, a single gay man whose friends are all coupling up. Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Rosie O’Donnell inject plenty of fun into the scenes, and a lack of slavish devotion to the original includes Adderall-fuelled attempts to meet lovers in twink-filled nightclubs. Alexi Duggins

Origin Story
Widely available, episodes weekly

What does it mean to be woke? Or a centrist? This intensely researched, discursive podcast from Dorian Lynskey and political columnist Ian Dunt takes a deep dive into the origins of ideas to try to restore something that’s too often missing from their usage: context. AD

The Village: The Montreal Murders
Widely available, episodes weekly from Tuesday

When a serial killer struck Montreal’s gay community in the 1990s, the police were slow to investigate, so activists took matters into their own hands. This podcast focuses on the events, with brilliant eyewitness accounts shining a light on homophobia and the advent of Aids, but also giving a sense of what a beautiful, fun time it was. Hannah Verdier

The System
BBC Sounds, episodes weekly from 10 Jun

This mysterious podcast drama’s second season opens with a vision of 2052 and “it’s a bit like Middle-earth without the orcs or all the boring bits”. But in reality, siblings Maya (Siena Kelly) and Jake (Alex Austin) have been framed for murder and are on the run. If you can resist a binge there are plenty of cliffhangers. HV

There’s a podcast for that

Nikole Hannah-Jones hosts the 1619 podcast, which grapples with the untold truth of America’s slave trade.
Nikole Hannah-Jones hosts the 1619 podcast, which grapples with the untold truth of America’s slave trade. Photograph: Robert Bumsted/AP

This week, Ammar Kalia chooses five of the best history podcasts, from Dan Snow’s deep dives to the New York Times’ powerful six-part series on the true history of slavery

The Memory Palace
History is a story to be told on Nate DiMeo’s charming series, with episodes running anywhere from eight to 20 minutes long. DiMeo’s calming narration presents vignettes on people, places and objects from the past, all recounted through the hazy frame of recollection. Running since 2008, there are hundreds of episodes to delve into, but highlights include the impressionistic story of the Dreamland amusement park in Coney Island, which burned down in 1911, and the remarkable tale of Harriet Quimby, the first woman to fly across the Channel.

Dan Snow’s History Hit
TV’s favourite meandering historian puts his RP accent to work in this wide-ranging series exploring significant anniversaries, the history behind the headlines, and the places in the world where history has been made. Snow’s free range of topics give this podcast a real sense of enthusiasm and expertise, as he expounds passionately on everything from John Donne’s poetry to the myths surrounding the battle of Agincourt.

You’re Dead to Me
For children of the 90s who grew up getting to grips with the past through the illustrations of Horrible Histories books, this audio series from Greg Jenner – the historical consultant on the books’ BBC spin-off show – is a must-listen. Taking the Horrible Histories tack of pairing facts with jokes, Jenner enlists a different comic and historian each episode, to both make sense of the past through humour. Highlights include a romp through the history of ice-cream with sweet-toothed Pointless sidekick Richard Osman, as well as an illuminating insight into a thousand years of disability in history with comic Rosie Jones.

Marking the 400th anniversary of the first arrival of enslaved African people on American shores, this six-part 2019 series from the New York Times is an ambitious, necessary and emotive listen. Host Nikole Hannah-Jones takes us through the history of how enslaved people provided the impetus for an independent United States, as well as how the long shadow of slavery has shaped the country’s economy, society and ongoing inequalities ever since. Critic Wesley Morris’s contributions on The Birth of American Music episode are typically insightful, while the concluding two-parter on the current state of Black land ownership is an urgent reminder of how much work there is yet to be done.

You’re Wrong About
History podcasts have become fertile ground for reassessing the events of the past through a 21st-century lens. Series like Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History or journalist Afua Hirsch’s We Need to Talk About the British Empire open up the context surrounding historical developments in order to affirm that history is an ever-changing discourse, as much as it is fixed in facts. This offering from journalist Sarah Marshall has a playful, pop-culture range to its reexamined topics. From the legacies of Diana, Princess of Wales to Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch, learn how headline-grabbing events have been miscast in the public imagination.

Why not try …

  • Censored journalists and activists, among them Richard Ratcliffe, give their side of the story in Silenced.

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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.

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