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Episode 1206—Air Date: February 5, 2012

This week on National Geographic Weekend host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about climbing 1,000-foot rock faces in Papua New Guinea, skiing across Antarctica alone, braving a Chilean volcano that has been erupting for 8 months, the Mekong River's 600-pound catfish, discovering America’s healthiest cities, performing a human sacrifice deep in Central American caves, hunters and gatherers on Vancouver Island, and inspiring young scientists in the Middle East.

HOUR 1

Mark Jenkins is a capable amateur rock climber. But when Papua New Guinea’s Meakambut tribe began to free climb a 1,000-foot rock face, he pulled out a climbing rope. Jenkins profiles one of the few remaining nomadic cave-dwelling tribes in his article "Last of the Cave People" in the February 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Felicity Aston already trekked to the South Pole with a team. So it just made sense that she would want to conquer the frozen continent on her own too. She became the first person to ski under her own power across Antarctica, as well as the first woman to do it solo.

• For thousands of years, regular explosions from volcanoes formed Patagonia’s landscape. The Puyehue-Cordon volcano has been erupting since June, layering the grazing fields with glass and ash that are killing the region’s sheep flocks. Young Explorer Anand Varma has been photographing the region and joined Boyd in the studio…and out of the ash.

• The world’s largest animals need a friend sometimes too. Megafish expert and emerging explorer Zeb Hogan worries about the Mekong River’s 600-pound catfish, which are in danger due to Laos’ desire to harness the river’s power in a hydroelectric dam.

David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, joins Boyd to discuss octopus impostors and silk worms that shoot spider thread.

HOUR 2

• As far as Dr. Richard Jackson, Chair of UCLA’s Environmental Health Sciences department, sees it, America’s suburbs are killing us. He’s an advocate for living in cities planned around human interaction and community—like Boulder, Colorado, Portland, Oregon, and New York City.

• The Mayans held a worldview that one could go from the living world into heaven by simply occupying a sacred space. According to Waitt Foundation grantee Donald Slater, Central America’s deep caves held a special significance as a place of ritual, and possibly human sacrifice.

• Many Native American cultures have been labeled ‘hunter gatherers’. But National Geographic grantee Nancy Turner feels that label doesn’t fully capture how accomplished they were at cultivating the landscape to suit their needs.

• Emerging Explorer Hayat Sindi developed a method of early, cheap, and portable disease detection. And it’s the size of a postage stamp. She now says her dream is to inspire a generation of Middle Eastern youth to see scientific achievement as an attainable goal through her i2 Institute for Imagination and Ingenuity.

• In the weekly Wild Chronicles segment Boyd reflects on a trip to Papua New Guinea and how native peoples seem torn between their traditional values and modern influences.

Listen to National Geographic Weekend

Episode 1206—Air Date: February 5, 2012

  • 00:11:00 Mark Jenkins

    Mark Jenkins is a capable amateur rock climber. But when Papua New Guinea’s Meakambut tribe began to free climb a 1,000 foot rock face, he pulled out a climbing rope. Jenkins profiled one of the few remaining nomadic cave dwelling tribes in February’s issue ofNational Geographic magazine.

  • 00:09:00 Felicity Aston

    Felicity Aston already trekked to the South Pole with a team. So it just made sense that she wanted to conquer the frozen continent on her own. She became the first person to ski under her own power across Antarctica, as well as the first woman to do it solo.

  • 00:06:00 Anand Varma

    For thousands of years, regular explosions from volcanoes formed Patagonia’s landscape. The Puyehue-Cordon volcano has been erupting since June, layering the grazing fields with glass and ash that are killing the region’s sheep flocks. Young Explorer Anand Varma has been photographing the region and joined Boyd in the studio… and out of the ash.

  • 00:08:00 Zeb Hogan

    The world’s largest animals need a friend sometimes too. Megafish expert and emerging explorer Zeb Hogan worries for the Mekong River’s 600 pound catfish, who are in danger due to Laos’ desire to harness the river’s power in a hydroelectric dam.

  • David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, joins Boyd to discuss mimic octopus’ impostors and silk worms that shoot spider thread.

  • 00:11:00 Richard Jackson

    As far as Dr. Richard Jackson, Chair of UCLA’s Environmental Health Sciences department, sees it, America’s suburbs are killing us. He’s an advocate for living in cities planned around human interaction and community – like Boulder, Portland and New York City.

  • 00:09:00 Donald Slater

    The Mayans held a worldview that one could go from the living world into heaven by simply occupying a sacred space. According toWaitt Grantee Donald Slater, Central America’s deep caves held a special significance as a place of ritual, and possible human sacrifice.

  • 00:06:00 Nancy Turner

    Many Native American cultures have been labeled ‘hunter gatherers’. But Grantee Nancy Turner feels that doesn’t fully appreciate how accomplished they were at cultivating the landscape to suit their needs.

  • 00:08:00 Hayat Sindi

    Emerging Explorer Hayat Sindi developed a method of early, cheap and portable disease detection. And it’s the size of a postage stamp. She now says her dream is to inspire a generation of Middle Eastern youth to see scientific achievement as an attainable goal in her i2 Institute for Imagination and Ingenuity.

  • 00:03:50 Story PNG

    In the weekly Wild Chronicles segment Boyd reflects on a trip to Papua New Guinea and how native peoples can seem torn between their traditional values when faced with modern influences.