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Episode 1221—Air Date: May 20, 2012

This week on National Geographic Weekend host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about circumnavigating the globe solo in a single engine plane, playing in the Elephant Polo World Championships, singing and dancing with tropical birds, tapping the Earth for energy, finding a new page in the Mayan calendar, walking with lions in Zambia, visiting the Indian Ocean's most remote marine protected park, and racing a rickshaw across the Indian subcontinent.

HOUR 1

• On his record solo circumnavigation of the world, 2012 National Geographic Emerging Explorer Barrington Irving flew a single-engine plane around the world when he was just 23 years old. Irving's plane had no de-icing fluid and survived a sand storm 17,000 feet above Saudi Arabia. He speaks with Boyd about giving up the opportunity to play football at the University of Florida in order to pursue his flight dreams.

• Photographers often talk about using their lens to create a barrier between themselves and their subjects—particularly when it's difficult to watch. Photographer Krystle Wright, however, has been known to put down her camera to join the action. She tells Boyd about how she happened to find herself playing in the Elephant Polo World Championships, as well as some sad experiences with base jumpers on Canada's Baffin Island.

• Manakins have the strange distinction of being among a very few animals who create music from rubbing its body parts together. Like crickets, the bird flaps its wings, which emits a musical tone that attracts its mates. The males also channel Michael Jackson and perform a "moonwalk" across the branch, as part of their mating dance. Boyd chats with Dan Koeppel, author of the article "Manakins" in National Geographic magazine's May 2012 issue.

• Geothermal energy may be less easily understood than wind and solar energy, but as National Geographic grantee Andres Ruzo explains, it could be just as important to diversifying our energy sources in the future. He's creating a thermal map of Peru which, ironically, could also be used to help locate oil deposits deep in the earth.

David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, explains how we can gain knowledge about an ancient murder after using modern technology to find blood remains.

HOUR 2

• Popular media has been anticipating the upcoming apocalypse following the end of the Mayan calendar. Unfortunately for doom predictors, National Geographic grantee Bill Saturno recently found another page in the calendar. He also described how accurately the Mayans could predict complicated celestial events, like the movement of Venus--something the ancient Greeks could not do.

• On a recent trip to Zambia, Boyd chatted with Mike Welch, general manager at Mukuni Big Five Safaris, where they allow guests to walk on foot alongside lions and cheetahs. Welch also pointed out that Mukuni is under two miles away from Victoria Falls, a perfect place to relax after a hot day on safari.

• The most remote places on earth are still teeming with life, impervious to the damage caused by humans in other parts of the world. Dr. Charles Sheppard, on a recent trip to the Chagos Archipelago in the center of the Indian Ocean, called from his ship and told Boyd that the waters were eight-to-twenty times as abundant with life than in many other places in the same ocean. The area is home to one of the world's largest marine protected areas.

• Some people take relaxing holidays. Others like their time away from home accompanied by a dash of adrenaline. Fred Kukelhaus recently competed in the Rickshaw Run, a three-week long, 3,500 km race across the Indian subcontinent. Rickshaws are rickety vehicles that can labor as fast as 35 mph, but Kukelhaus advises they're pretty scary at that speed.

• In this week's Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd reflects on the different types of animals that you have to watch out for in different countries. In many places, it's chickens; in India, drivers keep their eyes peeled for cows.

Listen to National Geographic Weekend

Episode 1221—Air Date: May 20, 2012

  • On his record solo circumnavigation of the world, new National Geographic Emerging Explorer Barrington Irving flew a single engine plane around the world when he was just 23 years old. Irving's plane had no de-icing fluid and survived a sand storm 17,000 feet above Saudi Arabia. He speaks with Boyd about giving up the opportunity to play football at the University of Florida in order to pursue his flight dreams.

  • 00:09:00 Krystle Wright

    Photographers often talk about using their lens to create a barrier between themselves and their subjects—particularly when it's difficult to watch. Photographer Krystle Wright, however, has been known to put down her camera to join the action. She tells Boyd about how she happened to find herself playing in the Elephant Polo World Championships, as well as some sad experiences with base jumpers on Canada's Baffin Island.

  • 00:06:00 Dan Koeppel

    Manakins have the strange distinction of being among a very few animals who create music from rubbing its body parts together. Like crickets, the bird flaps its wings, which emits a musical tone that attracts its mates. The males also channel Michael Jackson and perform a "moonwalk" across the branch, as part of their mating dance. Boyd chats with Dan Koeppel, author of "Manakins" in the May 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine.

  • 00:08:00 Andres Ruzo

    Geothermal energy may be less easily understood than wind and solar energy, but National Geographic grantee Andres Ruzo explains, it could be just as important to diversifying our energy sources in the future. He's creating a thermal map of Peru which, ironically, could be used to help located oil deposits deep in the earth.

  • 00:03:50 News - May 20

    David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, explains how we can gain knowledge about an ancient murder after using modern technology to find blood remains.

  • 00:11:00 Bill Saturno

    Popular media has been looking forward to the upcoming apocalypse, following the end of the Mayan calendar. Unfortunately for doom predictors, National Geographic grantee Bill Saturno recently found another page to the calendar. He also described how accurately the Mayans could predict complicated celestial events, like the movement of Venus - something the ancient Greeks could not do.

  • 00:09:00 Mike Welch

    On a recent trip to Zambia, Boyd chatted with Mike Welch, general manager at Mukuni Big Five Safaris, where they allow guests to walk on foot alongside lions and cheetahs. Welch also pointed out that Mukuni is under two miles away from Victoria Falls, a perfect place to relax after a hot day on safari.

  • 00:06:00 Charles Sheppard

    The most remote places on earth are still teeming with life, impervious to the damage caused by humans in other parts of the world. Dr. Charles Sheppard, on a recent trip to the Chagos Archipelago in the center of the Indian Ocean, called from his ship and told Boyd that the waters were eight to twenty times as abundant with life as many other places in the same ocean. The area is home to one of the world's largest marine protected areas.

  • 00:08:00 Fred Kukelhaus

    Some people take relaxing holidays. Others like their time away from home accompanied by a dash of adrenaline. Fred Kukelhaus recently competed in the Rickshaw Run, a three-week long, 3,500 km race across the Indian Subcontinent. Rickshaws are rickety vehicles that can labor as fast as 35 mph, but Kukelhaus advises they're pretty scary at that speed.

  • In this week's Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd reflects on the different types of animals that you have to watch out for in different countries. In many places, it's chickens; in India, drivers peel their eyes for cows.