NG Weekend Show #1249 - Air Date: December 2

This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson as we climb all of the tallest mountains on each continent, visit every state and meet someone new every day, prepare our culturally appropriate funerals, hunt rats in Chicago with the city's coyote population, climb into the canopy of Costa Rica's cloud forest with Barbie, back up our computer files in our DNA, follow India's invisible workers through Delhi, and fight rebels by ending poaching.

HOUR 1

  • Most people never attempt to climb just one of the world's seven tallest mountains. Jordan Romero was 11 when he climbed Mount McKinley, North America's tallest peak. Just four years later, he had climbed all seven mountains by reaching the summit of Antarctica's Mount Vinson. He tells Boyd of his big plans for the future—but first, he has to finish high school.
  • Theron Humphrey was one of millions of twentysomethings who wasn't thrilled with his job, but felt lucky to have one. Realizing he didn't want to live his life that way, he sought out something he was more passionate about. He ended up spending a full year pursuing This Wild Idea by driving to every state in the country and documenting the lives of everyday Americans, one at a time. By the end of the year, he had traveled 66,000 miles, taken 91,000 pictures, and preserved glimpses into the lives of 365 people he met. Theron's efforts earned him the title of one of Traveler magazine's Travelers of the Year.
  • Death is one of the most common human experiences, yet many of us find it so difficult to deal with. Sarah Murray, in her new book, Making an Exit: From the Magnificent to the Macabre—How We Dignify the Dead, discovers how different cultures from around the world digest death and have beliefs that let the living go on with their lives. She also reveals how she would like to be commemorated after her own death.
  • There are coyotes running wild on the streets of Chicago. Initially when Stanley Gehrt started studying the urban coyotes, he thought there would be a few dozen of them, and that they would easily be deterred from making the city their home. But living close to large numbers of people means there are plenty of food sources for the canines, including the city's hundreds of thousands of rats. He was surprised when he discovered that hundreds of the canines make Chicago their home. Gehrt tells Boyd that every major North American city has a population of coyotes and, the animals being as opportunistic as they are, there is very little humans can do about it.
  • David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, tells Boyd about the world's deepest living creature, a nematode. The "devil worm" can survive 2.2 miles below the Earth's surface, withstanding heat and crushing pressure. The story appears in his new book, National Geographic Tales of the Weird: Unbelievable True Stories.

HOUR 2

  • Nalini Nadkarni has been climbing trees for decades. And not long after she did so recreationally as a kid, she began climbing them for science. The pioneer of canopy research tells Boyd that once people understood how to climb tall trees safely, science began to discover just how diverse the treetops are as an ecosystem, distinct from the forest floor. She's also earned a reputation as an independent thinker: she developed "TreeTop Barbie" to foster scientific curiosity among young girls, and also created a program where inmates grow moss for science.
  • The information in our world is multiplying faster as we learn more and develop better tools to foster bigger discoveries. The trick is saving all of the information that we possess in a stable format that will last. Sriram Kosuri and his colleagues at Harvard decided to code a book into a strand of DNA, allowing the data to be preserved for hundreds of thousands of years. Kosuri points out that the limitations of DNA data storage are its currently prohibitive costs and how long it takes to retrieve the data.
  • Aman Sethi explores the "informal sector" of India's economy in his new book, A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi. In the book, Sethi follows around some members of the lowest classes of workers in Delhi, who are day laborers. They work day-by-day, without knowing when their next paycheck will come. Sethi points out that while this gives the workers a certain amount of freedom, their lives are fraught with difficulties like not being able to open a bank account and having nowhere to store their tools.
  • There is so much money in the illegal rhino horn and elephant ivory trade that it can corrupt even a park ranger. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recently pledged American support to end poaching in Africa. WWF analyst Crawford Allan says that as Asian money increasingly penetrates Africa, governments have become concerned about poaching's ability to fund rebel groups to destabilize African governments.
  • In this week's Wild Chronicles segment, Paul Nicklen gives Boyd some insight on what it's like to be a National Geographic photographer. Nicklen tells Boyd that he takes between 20,000 and 90,000 photos per assignment, in order to have a seven-picture article in the magazine.

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Listen to National Geographic Weekend

Episode 1249 - Air Date: December 2, 2012

  • 00:11:00 Jordan Romero

    Most people never attempt to climb just one of the world's seven tallest mountains. Jordan Romero was 11 when he climbed Mount McKinley, North America's tallest peak. Just four years later, he had climbed all seven mountains by reaching the summit of Antarctica's Mount Vinson. He tells Boyd of his big plans for the future—but first, he has to finish high school.

  • 00:09:00 Theron Humphrey

    Theron Humphrey was one of millions of twentysomethings who wasn't thrilled with his job, but felt lucky to have one. Realizing he didn't want to live his life that way, he sought out something he was more passionate about. He ended up spending a full year pursuing This Wild Idea by driving to every state in the country and documenting the lives of everyday Americans, one at a time. By the end of the year, he had traveled 66,000 miles, taken 91,000 pictures, and preserved glimpses into the lives of 365 people he met. Theron's efforts earned him the title of one of Traveler magazine's Travelers of the Year.

  • 00:06:00 Sarah Murray

    Death is one of the most common human experiences, yet many of us find it so difficult to deal with. Sarah Murray, in her new book, Making an Exit: From the Magnificent to the Macabre—How We Dignify the Dead, discovers how different cultures from around the world digest death and have beliefs that let the living go on with their lives. She also reveals how she would like to be commemorated after her own death.

  • 00:08:00 Stanley Gehrt

    There are coyotes running wild on the streets of Chicago. Initially when Stanley Gehrt started studying the urban coyotes, he thought there would be a few dozen of them, and that they would easily be deterred from making the city their home. But living close to large numbers of people means there are plenty of food sources for the canines, including the city's hundreds of thousands of rats. He was surprised when he discovered that hundreds of the canines make Chicago their home. Gehrt tells Boyd that every major North American city has a population of coyotes and, the animals being as opportunistic as they are, there is very little humans can do about it.

  • David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, tells Boyd about the world's deepest living creature, a nematode. The "devil worm" can survive 2.2 miles below the Earth's surface, withstanding heat and crushing pressure. The story appears in his new book, National Geographic Tales of the Weird: Unbelievable True Stories.

  • 00:11:00 Nalini Nadkarni

    Nalini Nadkarni has been climbing trees for decades. And not long after she did so recreationally as a kid, she began climbing them for science. The pioneer of canopy research tells Boyd that once people understood how to climb tall trees safely, science began to discover just how diverse the treetops are as an ecosystem, distinct from the forest floor. She's also earned a reputation as an independent thinker: she developed "Tree-Top Barbie" to foster scientific curiosity among young girls, and also created a program where inmates grow moss for science.

  • 00:09:00 Sriram Kosuri

    The information in our world is multiplying faster as we learn more and develop better tools to foster bigger discoveries. The trick is saving all of the information that we possess in a stable format that will last. Sriram Kosuri and his colleagues at Harvard decided to code a book into a strand of DNA, allowing the data to be preserved for hundreds of thousands of years. Kosuri points out that the limitations of DNA data storage are its currently prohibitive costs and how long it takes to retrieve the data.

  • 00:06:00 Aman Sethi

    Aman Sethi explores the "informal sector" of India's economy in his new book, A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi. In the book, Sethi follows around some members of the lowest classes of workers in Delhi, who are day laborers. They work day-by-day, without knowing when their next paycheck will come. Sethi points out that while this gives the workers a certain amount of freedom, their lives are fraught with difficulties like not being able to open a bank account and having nowhere to store their tools.

  • 00:08:00 Crawford Allan

    There is so much money in the illegal rhino horn and elephant ivory trade that it can corrupt even a park ranger. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recently pledged American support to end poaching in Africa. WWF analyst Crawford Allan says that as Asian money increasingly penetrates Africa, governments have become concerned about poaching's ability to fund rebel groups to destabilize African governments.

  • In this week's Wild Chronicles segment, Paul Nicklen gives Boyd some insight on what it's like to be a National Geographic photographer. Nicklen tells Boyd that he takes between 20,000 and 90,000 photos per assignment, in order to have a seven-picture article in the magazine.