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Episode 1117—Air Date: April 23, 2011

This week on National Geographic Weekend host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about the voyage of the Plastiki, why your pet may be a dangerous killer, flying high with the National Geographic engineers, celebrating Machu Picchu 100 years after Hiram Bingham’s discovery, understanding nature’s greatest defender, rallying in support of frogs, finding the best lodging in South America, and hanging out of helicopters to capture aerial photographs.

HOUR 1

• In his new book Plastiki—Across The Pacific on Plastic: An Adventure to Save Our Oceans, David de Rothschild chronicles his adventure sailing across the Pacific Ocean on a boat built out of plastic bottles. Through his vessel, his journey, and the book, de Rothschild continues to remind the world that we must find a smarter way to use plastics. A film about the adventure, Plastiki: 12,000 Bottle Boat, will air on the National Geographic Channel on Friday, April 22.

Peter Marra is a research scientist with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Marra says many of us may have unlikely killers living in our homes: our furry companions, otherwise known as pets. Marra, who recently wrote an op-ed in the The Washington Post titled “No good for the birds, but also no good for the cats,” says free-ranging domestic cats are wreaking havoc on birds, mammals and other indigenous species.

Graham Wilhelm is an engineer with National Geographic’s Remote Imaging division. Wilhelm joins Boyd in the National Geographic courtyard to unveil and fly his latest creation: an eight-rotor helicopter video camera. The helicopter will be used by National Geographic Television to photograph difficult aerial shots. Check out the video filmed during the interview.

• July 24 marks the 100-year anniversary of Hiram Bingham’s expedition to Machu Picchu. He discovered the Inca ghost town with the help of local farmers and with support from Yale University and the National Geographic Society. Heather Pringle writes about the Inca empire of Machu Picchu and Bingham in “Lofty Ambitions of the Inca,” from the April issue of National Geographic magazine.

National Geographic's Daily News editor David Braun shares some of the week’s hottest stories, including vicious eunuch spiders and changing a shark’s eating habits.

HOUR 2

Nature’s Greatest Defender, by filmmakers Cathe Neukum and Thomas Veltre, tells the story of George Schaller, a tireless conservationist who has worked to save giant pandas, mountain gorillas, tigers, and more. The film shows the extent of Schaller’s efforts over his long and celebrated career.

• Animals can’t read or write, so how do you give one an intelligence test? Josh Plotnik, a comparative psychologist at England’s University of Cambridge, devised a test that assesses the cooperation skills of elephants. The results showed that elephants demonstrate a complex understanding of when to lend a trunk to solve a problem.

• The National Mall has been the site of civil rights marches, anti-war protests, anti-tax demonstrations and the Million Man March. Now the masses will be gathering on the steps of the nation’s Capitol Building to save the frogs. Kerry Kriger, founder and director of Save the Frogs, joins Boyd to talk about the rally on April 29.

• As a travel writer, National Geographic Traveler columnist Daisann McLane has traveled all over the world and stayed in all kinds of hotels. In the April issue of the magazine, she shares suggestions for the “Best Hotels in South America".

Boyd has ridden in helicopters in an attempt to photograph great aerial shots, and usually, he says, he’s trying to get out of the aircraft while it’s still in flight.

Listen to National Geographic Weekend

Episode 1117—Air Date: April 23, 2011

  • 00:06:00 Kerry Kriger

    The National Mall has been the site of civil rights marches, anti-war protests, anti-tax demonstrations and the Million Man March. Now the masses will be gathering on the steps of the nation’s Capitol Building to save the frogs. Kerry Kriger, founder and director of Save the Frogs, joins Boyd to talk about the rally on April 29.

  • 00:08:00 Daisann McLane

    As a travel writer, National Geographic Traveler columnist Daisann McLane has traveled all over the world and stayed in all kinds of hotels. In the April issue of the magazine, she shares suggestions for the “Best Hotels in South America.”

  • Boyd has ridden in helicopters in an attempt to photograph great aerial shots, and usually, he says, he’s trying to get out of the aircraft while it’s still in flight.

  • In his new book PlastikiAcross The Pacific on Plastic: An Adventure to Save Our OceansDavid de Rothschild chronicles his adventure sailing across the Pacific Ocean on a boat built out of plastic bottles. Through his vessel, his journey and the book, DeRothschild continues to remind the world that we must find a smarter way to use plastics. A film about the adventure, Plastiki: 12,000 Bottle Boat, will air on the National Geographic Channel on Friday, April 22.

  • 00:09:00 Peter Marra

    Peter Marra is a research scientist with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Marra says many of us may have unlikely killers living in our homes: our furry companions, otherwise known as pets. Marra, who recently wrote an op-ed in the The Washington Post titled "No good for the birds, but also no good for the cats," says free-ranging domestic cats are wreaking havoc on birds, mammals and other indigenous species.

  • 00:06:00 Graham Wilhelm

    Graham Wilhelm is an engineer with National Geographic’s Remote Imaging division. Wilhelm joins Boyd in the National Geographic courtyard to unveil and fly his latest creation: an eight-rotor helicopter video camera. The helicopter will be used by National Geographic Television to photograph difficult aerial shots. Check out the video filmed during the interview.

  • 00:08:00 Heather Pringle

    July 24 marks the 100-year anniversary of Hiram Bingham’s expedition to Machu Picchu. He discovered the Inca ghost town with the help of local farmers and with support from Yale University and the National Geographic Society. Heather Pringle writes about the Inca empire of Machu Picchu and Bingham in “Lofty Ambitions of the Inca,” from the April issue of National Geographic magazine.

  • National Geographic's Daily News editor David Braun shares some of the week’s hottest stories, including vicious eunuch spiders and changing a shark’s eating habits.

  • Nature’s Greatest Defender, by filmmakers Cathe Neukum and Thomas Veltre, tells the story of George Schaller, a tireless conservationist who has worked to save giant pandas, mountain gorillas, tigers, and more. The film shows the extent of Schaller’s efforts over his long and celebrated career.

  • 00:09:00 Josh Plotkin

    Animals can’t read or write, so how do you give one an intelligence test? Josh Plotnik, a comparative psychologist at England’s University of Cambridge, devised a test that assesses the cooperation skills of elephants. The results showed that elephants demonstrate a complex understanding of when to lend a trunk to solve a problem.