NG Weekend: Bonobo Handshake


This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about bonobos, Mars rovers, the National Geographic Bee, New Guinea wildlife, elephants, Greenland, growing up Maasai, and the mysterious Red Sea rooster.

Hour 1

  • When Vanessa Woods fell in love with a primate researcher, she soon found herself on a plane to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo to study bonobos. Woods lays bare the ups and downs of her relationship and details her research in the new book Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo. Woods joins Boyd in the studio to explain exactly what a Bonobo Handshake is.
  • As an engineer at NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Kobie Boykins is on the frontline of Mars exploration. Boykins designed the solar arrays that power the remarkable Mars Expedition Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Boyd talks with Boykins about how the two rovers have exceeded expectations since being deployed in 2004.
  • The largest city in northern Haiti was renamed following Haiti’s independence from France. What is the present-day name of this city? Answer: Cap-Haïtien. Aadith Moorthy, a 13-year-old from Palm Harbor, Florida, answered this question to win the 2010 National Geographic Bee. Moorthy joins Boyd to explain how he prepared for the competition.
  • On a recent trip to New Guinea, a group of scientists, including National Geographic Emerging Explorer Kristofer Helgen, found a treasure trove of new species. Helgen, the mammal curator at the Smithsonian Institution, joins Boyd to talk about the unusual finds.
  • Not all the rovers on Mars are exceeding expectations. The Phoenix rover has just been declared dead says David Braun, head of National Geographic News.

Hour 2

  • National Geographic Emerging Explorer Beverly Goodman is a marine archaeologist working off the coast of Israel. Goodman tells Boyd that her job can sometimes get dangerous, especially when it comes to confronting the fierce Red Sea rooster.
  • Cows are a typical bridal dowry in the Maasai culture. For many Maasai families in Kenya, the gift proves so tempting that most fathers in rural areas decide their daughter’s education will end and marriage begin by age 13. But as 2010 National Geographic Emerging Explorer Kakenya Ntaiya tells Boyd, she had a different plan for her life.
  • Save the Elephants founder Iain Douglas-Hamilton recently won the 2010 Indianapolis Prize for conservation, for which he will receive $100,000. Douglas-Hamilton joins Boyd to talk about the sate of elephant conservation and what he plans to do with the prize money.
  • As Greenland returns to the warm climate that allowed Vikings to colonize it in the Middle Ages, its isolated and dependent people dream of greener fields and pastures—and of oil from ice-free waters. Tim Folger, author of “Changing Greenland” in the June 2010 National Geographic magazine, joins Boyd for a conversation about the newly green Greenland.
  • Intelligent Travel blog editor Janelle Nanos joins Boyd to share stories about floating castles and unknown national parks.

Hear National Geographic Weekend on XM/Sirius satellite radio (XM channel 133 Sundays at noon), subscribe to the iTunes podcast, or get the show streamed to your iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, or Android OS phone with Stitcher Radio.

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