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Episode 1228—Air Date: July 8, 2012

This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson as we eat cobra venom soup in Thailand, sample Turkey's best honey, admire sharks through the eyes of an artist, celebrate America's forgotten heroes, explore the Mediterranean's depths, navigate the Pacific without compass or GPS, institute climate policy in Rio, and sew together a 3,000-bead necklace in Mexico.

Please reference National Geographic's local listings to find out the best way for you to listen to the show. National Geographic Weekend is also available on SiriusXM satellite radio, as well as iTunes podcast.

HOUR 1

• Asia's increasing economic clout, combined with their tradition of organic medical practices, provides Western medics with many relevant cures. But for each cure that works, there are several with no medical value at all. Their use of rhino horn to cure cancer simply threatens rhinos, without helping anybody. National Geographic Emerging Explorer and snake expert Zoltan Takacs was in Thailand, where cobras are raised for meat and their venom used to help male virility. The snakes aren't endangered, but Takacs tells Boyd that their handlers are, since many hospitals lack antivenoms to save human lives.

• Turkey is famed for its honey, which is music to Boyd's ears—he has a notorious sweet tooth. He visited National Geographic grantee Cat Jaffee, a beekeeper who left her job in Washington, D.C., to make honey in rural Turkey. She says that bees harvest pollen from their surroundings: the best honey comes from bees with natural surroundings and large meadows, rather than urban environments. Most people, Jaffee says, eat honey that is basically a synthetic mix of sugars from all over the world.

• Sharks have been demonized for centuries as the monsters of the deep. Richard Ellis, however, chooses to see the beauty in the animal. In his book Shark: A Visual History, Ellis collects images of the fish, from the movie poster hysterics of Jaws to the anthropomorphized lazy shark in Jim Toomey's "Sherman's Lagoon" comic strips.

• Everybody knows the most celebrated names in American history. We will never forget Martin Luther King, Jr., Neil Armstrong, or Thomas Jefferson. But former National Geographic Traveler editor Paul Martin has done in-depth research to revive some of our important, but forgotten, characters in his book Secret Heroes: Everyday Americans Who Shaped Our World. He tells Boyd about Hedy Lamarr's work pioneering radio-guided torpedoes, Jimmie Angel's "mile high" waterfall, and the first convict to be released on DNA evidence.

David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, tips his cap to Lonesome George, the last Galápagos tortoise of his subspecies who refused to mate and passed on, alone, this past week. He was over 100 years old.

HOUR 2

• National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Bob Ballard has been scouring the bottom of the world's oceans for nearly a quarter century. He discovered the Titanic, and countless other forgotten shipwrecks in the Mediterranean and other areas. He tells Boyd that he is wrapping up his exploration of ancient Roman wrecks and is turning his attention to the "unexplored America." He hopes to be one of the first to do an exhaustive search of the seafloor off the United States' Pacific coast.

• Most of human history existed before the advent of GPS technologies that can pinpoint where we are at any time. National Geographic Fellow and ethnonavigation expert Elizabeth Lindsey has taken it upon herself to understand what it was like for Polynesian explorers to colonize tiny, remote islands across the South Pacific Ocean. To better appreciate the skills it takes to study the clouds and winds in search of land, Lindsey plans to join a team of Polynesian women who are island-hopping using traditional methods: no GPS, no cell phones, and no compass.

• Many pundits and environmental experts left the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development feeling it was a large failure of nations to commit to solid changes they plan to make in the future. But National Geographic's Rio reporter Brian Howard said the main event may have actually been the side talks, where many corporations made solid promises to implement environmentally sustainable business practices.

• Many people picture archaeology as the swashbuckling adventure portrayed in the Indiana Jones trilogy. But in reality, it can be much more tedious than discovering the Holy Grail and fighting Nazis. National Geographic grantee Bruce Bachand has been meticulously sewing a 3,000-bead necklace back together in Mexico after discovering a pre-Olmec burial site that housed a tribal chief and his wife, undisturbed for several centuries.

• In this week's Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd reflects on the many reasons why he'd rather be back in the Norwegian Arctic—and it's not just to avoid Washington, D.C.'s heat wave.

Listen to National Geographic Weekend

Episode 1228—Air Date: July 8, 2012

  • 00:11:00 Zoltan Takacs

    Asia's increasing economic clout, combined with their tradition of organic medical practices, provides Western medics with many relevant cures. But for each cure that works, there are several with no medical value at all. Their use of rhino horn to cure cancer simply threatens rhinos, without helping anybody. National Geographic Emerging Explorer and snake expert Zoltan Takacs was in Thailand, where cobras are raised for meat and their venom used to help male virility. The snakes aren't endangered, but Takacs tells Boyd that their handlers are, since many hospitals that lack anti-venoms to save human lives.

  • 00:09:00 Catherine Jaffee

    Turkey is famed for its honey, which is music to Boyd's ears—he has a notorious sweet tooth. He visited National Geographic grantee Cat Jaffee, a beekeeper who left her job in Washington, D.C. to make honey in rural Turkey. She says that bees harvest pollen from their surroundings: the best honey comes from bees with natural surroundings, large meadows, rather than urban environments. Most people, Jaffee says, eat honey that is basically a synthetic mix of sugars from all over the world.

  • 00:06:00 Richard Ellis

    Sharks have been demonized for centuries as the monsters of the deep. Richard Ellis, however, chooses to see the beauty in the animal. In his book Shark: A Visual History, Ellis collects images of the fish, from the movie poster hysterics of Jaws, to the anthropomorphized lazy shark in Jim Toomey's Sherman's Lagoon comic strips.

  • 00:08:00 Paul Martin

    Everybody knows the most celebrated names in American history. We will never forget Martin Luther King, Jr., Neil Armstrong, or Thomas Jefferson. But, former National Geographic Traveler editor Paul Martin has done in-depth research to revive some of our important, but forgotten characters in his book Secret Heroes: Everyday Americans Who Shaped Our World. He tells Boyd about Hedy Lamarr's work pioneering radio guided torpedoes, Jimmie Angel's "mile high" waterfall, and the first convict to be released on DNA evidence.

  • 00:03:50 News - July 8

    David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, tips his cap to Lonesome George, the last Galapagos tortoise of his subspecies who refused to mate and passed on, alone, this past week. He was over 100 years old.

  • 00:11:00 Bob Ballard

    National Geographic Explorer in Residence Bob Ballard has been scouring the bottom of the world's oceans for nearly a quarter century. He discovered the Titanic, and countless other forgotten shipwrecks in the Mediterranean and other oceans. He tells Boyd that he wrapping up his exploration of ancient Roman wrecks and is turning his attention to the "unexplored America." He hopes to be one of the first to do an exhaustive search of the sea floor off the United States' Pacific Coast.

  • Most of human history existed before the advent of GPS technologies that can pinpoint where we are at any time. National Geographic Fellow and ethnonavigation expert, Elizabeth Lindsey has taken it upon herself to understand what it was like for Polynesian explorers to colonize tiny, remote islands across the south Pacific Ocean. To better appreciate the skills it takes to study the clouds and winds in search of land, Lindsey plans to join a team of Polynesian women who are island-hopping using traditional methods: no GPS, no cellphones and no compass.

  • 00:06:00 Brian Howard

    Many pundits and environmental experts left the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development feeling it was a large failure of nations to commit to solid changes they plan to make in the future. But National Geographic's Rio reporter Brian Howard said the main event may have actually been the side talks, where many corporations made solid promises to environmentally sustainable business practices.

  • 00:08:00 Bruce Bachand

    Many people picture archaeology as the swashbuckling adventure portrayed in the Indiana Jones trilogy. But in reality, it can be much more tedious than discovering the Holy Grail and fighting Nazis. National Geographic grantee Bruce Bachand has been meticulously sewing a 3,000 bead necklace back together in Mexico after discovering a pre-Olmec burial site that housed a tribal chief and his wife, undisturbed for several centuries.

  • In this week's Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd reflects on the many reasons why he'd rather be back in the Norwegian arctic—and it's not just to avoid Washington D.C.'s heat wave.