October 20, 2013: Paddling and Kite Surfing East Africa, Reenacting Civil War Battles and More

Adventurers always need to prepare for the worst. But Seth Warren hadn’t quite expected things to go quite so poorly as he paddle boarded and kite surfed Africa’s East Coast. (photo courtesy Seth Warren)

Every week, embark with host Boyd Matson on an exploration of the latest discoveries and interviews with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, on National Geographic Weekend.

Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend on radio, or listen below!

Hour 1

Adventures are so named, because they incorporate difficult travel to remote locations, undertaken at the personal risk of the adventurer. By this definition, Seth Warren was primed for adventure when he set out to SUP and kite surf 600 miles down Africa’s eastern coast. But just as the adventure was getting started, he was bit by a recluse spider, and spent more time and energy recovering from the ensuing infection than he ever did in the Indian Ocean’s surf. Listen here.

September 20th, 2013 marked the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War’s second bloodiest battle, in Chickamauga, Georgia. Here, the Confederate Army baited the Union into a fight in hopes of recovering Chattanooga for the South. Just last month, 6,400 men, women and horses met on that battlefield to fight it out all over again – this time using blanks. National Geographic Weekend producer Justin O’Neill attended the reenactment to learn about our need to relive these painful memories. Listen here.

The pursuit of answers to life’s big questions have fueled many travels to far-flung lands. Jeremy Kroeker shipped his motorcycle to Europe as he wrestled with spiritual questions. He tells Boyd that because of his trip through the Middle East, his faith in humanity was strengthened, and he’s learned to accept life’s uncertainty. He shares his journey in his new book, Through Dust and Darkness: A Motorcycle Journey of Fear and Faith in the Middle East. Listen here.

David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, returns to the show, shares stories of deer-hunting eagles and spiders in space. Listen here.

Hour 2

There are few similarities between creating rock music and decoding the DNA of viruses. But National GeographicEmerging Explorer Pardis Sabeti, has proven adept at both, but points out that they both take dedication and an extreme attention to detail. She pores over the human genome to try to better understand how we interact with these infectious diseases that continue to plague people around the world. Listen here.

Centuries of tradition can be difficult to change, especially all at once. But National Geographic Emerging Explorer Kakenya Ntaiya is the catalyst for many changes for Maasai girls, from helping to end the practice of female circumcision, to the perception that women can become well-educated community leaders. She is looking to replicate her school’s model across Kenya and Africa, and is being recognized abroad for her work, notably by CNNand the Dining for Women program. Listen here.

Cameras obscura were a precursor to modern photography, using lights and mirrors to to project a landscape or image to the artist’s paper, so they can reproduce it in a drawing. The principles behind the camera obscura have been understood for centuries, but photographer Abelardo Morrell combines them with modern technology to create truly stunning images of the National Parks in the October, 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine. Listen here.

As we increasingly become dependent on technology, the computers that most adept at anticipating a human’s needs will prove to be the most useful. Which is why National Geographic Emerging Explorer Tan Le is poised to make computers much better at working with their humans. The company has created hardware that uses brain sensors to scan for electrical impulses that humans usually call thoughts and emotions. This allows users to control cars, wheelchairs, video games, and many other things, simply by using their brains. Listen here.

In this Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd shares some fun with foreign illnesses and just how difficult it can be to get a proper diagnosis and treatment when you return to the United States. Listen here.

Changing Planet

Meet the Author
Justin O'Neill produces the weekly radio program National Geographic Weekend with host Boyd Matson. Check it out on on SiriusXM satellite radio (XM channel 133 Sundays at noon), subscribe to the iTunes podcast, or stream it directly to your smartphone with Stitcher Radio.