November 24, 2013: Hanging From Antarctic Cliffs, Living With Wolves and More

Jim and Jamie Dutcher spent six years living with a wolf pack. They didn’t see the blood-thirsty monsters that ranchers and hunters paint them as. They saw intelligent, social animals that killed as they needed and avoided humans as much as possible. (photo by Joel Sartore/National Geographic)

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

Exploration seems like a glamorous, exciting job. And National Geographic photographer and climber Cory Richards confirms that it is. But he also says that it’s often painful, uncomfortable and it’s always hard. Richards discusses a trip to Antarctica, where he battled the frozen continent’s katabatic winds, that blow downhill from the pole, while trying to summit never-before conquered cliffs. Richards’ photos were featured in the September 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine. Listen here.

Children often aspire to careers that don’t factor in things like money or power. National Geographic explorer Emily Ainsworth hoped to be a circus performer. But unlike many of the world’s professionals who succumbed to the temptations of more comfortable careers, Ainsworth pursued her passion for costumes, music and dancing animals when she put on an impromptu dance solo to gain access into Mexico’s circus culture. She pulls back the curtain on the big-top tent, and also discusses future plans that involve Indian magicians. Listen here.

The dream of flying like a bird has eluded man for centuries. Soaring with the birds has eluded the best engineering minds of history, until Cameron Robertson and his partner Todd Reichert put their heads together. In addition to figuring out how to flap their wings and fly, the pair have solved the mystery of human-powered helicoptering, winning a competition prize that had gone unclaimed for 32 years. Listen here.

There are scientific laws and principles at play in nearly every invention that makes the world tick: washing machines apply Newton’s First Law of Motion, GPS uses any three of 24 satellites installed by the U.S. government to triangulate locations on earth, and aluminum was once a rare, valuable element. Science writer David Pogue discusses National Geographic’s new book, The Science of Everything, which breaks down the underlying science that might not seem obvious, but is necessary for many of the modern comforts to which we’ve grown accustomed. Listen here.

David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, describes a lottery that rewards commuters for taking public transportation, rather than driving, and pulling carbon from the atmosphere and sinking it the bottom of the ocean by fertilizing plankton. Listen here.

Hour 2

Wolves are the subject of much debate in the United States today. Ranchers often point to the apex predator as a reason why they lose livestock and hunters cry wolf about thinner elk herds that are harder to track. But Jim and Jamie Dutcher know the wolves more intimately: they share stories of the wolves’ social hierarchy that they learned while living amongst the canines for six years. They also know that healthy wolves don’t threaten people, rarely take livestock, and that they’re currently being hunted at an unsustainable rate across the continental United States. Listen here.

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Kenny Broad lives in Miami, Florida. The environmental anthropologist warns Boyd that in Miami Beach, high tides regularly flood certain roadways, making it difficult for cars to drive. Given a small amount of sea-level rise, and many human areas will be profoundly impacted. He also shares stories about the world’s climate past and which he learns about by diving deep in underwater blue holes, including the world’s deepest, which runs 660 feet underneath an island in the Bahamas. Listen here.

Last week, in Denver, the government crushed six tons of ivory, as a display of solidarity with the thousands of elephants whose deaths contributed to the boon of carved trinkets and holy relics confiscated at the border. International Fund for Animal Welfare’s North American Regional DirectorJeff Flocken, says that the United States needs to take elephant poaching and the ivory trade more seriously. For all of the conversation surrounding China’s appetite for ivory, Flocken says that  the United States is likely the second largest market for ivory in the world. Listen here.

Shannon O’Donnell has been traveling nonstop for the past five years. Like anybody who has been in a job for years, she’s developed an expertise in globe-trotting that has helped her create a resource for people looking for volunteer opportunities in countries that aren’t their own, called “Grassroots Volunteering“. She also shares some of her hard-earned travel wisdom that she regularly dispenses on her personal website, “A Little Adrift“. For all of her efforts, she has earned the honor of being one of National Geographic Traveler magazine’s “Travelers of the Year” for 2013. Listen here.

On this week’s “Wild Chronicles” segment, Boyd shares some stories of less extreme adventures on Antarctica: admiring penguins and leopard seals. Listen here.


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.