Episode 1227—Air Date: July 1, 2012

This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson as we summit all fourteen 8,000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen, keep tigers and people apart in India, dam the Amazon's biggest rivers, find new ways to commute to work, love Earth's ugliest critters, search for oil in Alaska's Arctic, build the world's first flying machine, and paint China's terra-cotta army in vibrant color.

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• Austrian climber Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner gripped the mountaineering world this year by becoming the first woman in the world to summit all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen. Crowned National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year for 2012, Kaltenbrunner tells Boyd of the tough decision to leave behind her climbing partner, and husband, before summiting her final peak.

• In a country where some of the world’s densest human populations meet the world’s densest tiger population, things are bound to get heated. National Geographic Emerging Explorer and Conservation Trust Grantee Krithi Karanth is on a mission to mediate the conflict between India’s humans, tigers, and Asian elephants. This week Karanth took a break from her circuit of 3,000 Indian villages to convince Boyd that harmony between humans and big mammals is possible.

• While hydroelectric power may seem the obvious green solution to harnessing energy along the Amazon River, National Geographic grantee Matt Finer, an ecologist with Save America’s Forests, is taking a closer look at the 150 new dams planned for South America’s Amazonian floodplains. This week, Finer explains what these dams could mean for the future of some of the last free-flowing rivers on Earth.

• Are you a straphanger? That is, a person who relies on public transportation to go about their daily life? According to author Taras Grescoe, you have already increased your odds for living a longer and healthier life. Grescoe’s book, Straphanger: Surviving the End of the Automobile Age encourages a transportation revolution by mapping out the history and function of the world’s most innovative mass transit systems.

David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, shocks no one by revealing that men’s offices have statistically more bacteria than women’s offices. Paralyzed rats learn to walk again, and high fructose corn syrup could slow down your brain.


• Zoologist, filmmaker, and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Lucy Cooke will battle the tyranny of the cute this summer in her new National Geographic TV show Freaks and Creeps, which gives ode to the ugly and unloved of the animal kingdom. This week the amphibian avenger defends the saggy folds of the scrotum frog.

• Author Bob Reiss sheds new light on Alaska’s conflicted relationship with offshore drilling in his new book, The Eskimo and the Oil Man, the story of an Inupiat Eskimo leader’s fight to protect the people and environment of Alaska’s Northern Slope. This week Reiss shares with Boyd Shell Oil’s plan to start exploratory drilling, and the Eskimo people’s surprising response.

• What would our country look like today if the Confederate Army had built airplanes? This week Boyd talks with Mad Systems CEO Maris Ensing, who rebuilt the plane that could have changed history in the National Geographic documentary Confederate Flying Machine.

• Our guest Louis Mazzatenta was published in the June 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine, sharing the now colorful faces of China’s famous life-size terra-cotta soldiers, recently restored to reflect their original pigment. Boyd grills Mazzatenta on his experience dodging Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi’s 2,000-year-old booby traps and the remnants of his infamous mercury moat.

• In this week's Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd recruits a partner to enjoy a trip to one of Istanbul's few coed bathhouses.

Listen to National Geographic Weekend

Episode 1227—Air Date: July 1, 2012