January 26, 2014: Riding Rio Roosevelt’s Rapids, Sliding Headfirst at 90 MPH and More

Trip Jennings eyes Rio Roosevelt’s rapids that he became the first to kayak down. (photo courtesy Still Life Projects)

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

– Trip Jennings sees adventure as a give-and-take negotiation with nature, rather than an attempt to claim victory over the earth’s raw natural power. When the National Geographic kayaker and filmmaker went to kayak Brazil’s Rio Roosevelt Class V rapids, the locals were praying that he would decide not to paddle the river. But Jennings trusted his eye for risk-assessment and his talent gleaned from years of trial-and-error on smaller rapids and he successfully “survived” the river. He also shares a few tips on how to tell whether or not it’s prudent to paddle over a particular waterfall. Listen here.
– National Geographic Traveler‘s “Travelers of the Year” explore with purpose, hoping to see the world and, in doing so, leave it better place. And Seth McBride‘s inspirational journey, hand-cycling from Washington State to Patagonia, certainly meets those requirements. He and his partner, Kelly Schwan, blog along The Long Road South, 10,000 miles from Washington State to Patagonia, challenging assumptions and expectations of those who have disabilities. Listen here.
– Television executives are forced to get creative when they plan programs to run during the Super Bowl. Puppies have been put in bowls, as have kittens, but this year, Nat Geo Wild Executive Vice President and General Manager Geoff Daniels plans to feature an animal that belongs in a bowl: Goldie the goldfish. From 6-10 pm ET on February 2, alternately known as “Super Bowl Sunday,” Goldie will visit with some well known friends, including Cesar Millan and The Incredible Dr. Pol, and entertain animal lovers everywhere with her zany goldfish antics. Listen here.
– Acetaminophen, better known as Tylenol, is a common remedy that many perceive as a risk-free cure for headaches and other minor pains. But ProPublica senior reporter Jeff Gerth warns that acetaminophen is also a common ingredient in 600 other common drugs including DayQuil and Vicodin. If a sick person ends up taking multiple doses of various medicines, Gerth says it’s easy to quickly surpass the recommended dosage of acetaminophen and run the risk of overdosing, which can be lethal. Listen here.
– Living inside of a national park doesn’t guarantee safety for animals inside of many West African countries. Plains from Senegal to Nigeria once was home to lions, but a recent study of key protected areas reveals that only a few prides still dot the landscape.Panthera Lion Survey Coordinator Dr. Philipp Henschel explains that poor government oversight and poaching have pushed West Africa’s lions to the brink of extinction. Listen here.
Hour 2
– Concussions aren’t just a plague for full-contact sports like football and hockey. Many Olympic athletes run the risk of injuring their brain, just as a cost of competing. Kimber Gabryszak a former professional skeleton slider explains the sport, where competitors slide head-first down an icy track with their faces an inch or less above the ice. Gabryzsak says skeleton combines speeds up to 90 miles per hour with g-forces 5 to 6 times the regular force of gravity. Gabryszak quit competing because of repeated concussions. Listen here.
– The Colorado River snakes through 5 American states and, historically, two in Mexico. But our demands on the water in the face of persistent drought deplete the river to the point that it no longer feeds the once wet lands at the river’s outlet in the Gulf of California.Photojournalist Pete McBride has followed the river in many ways: on foot, by raft and boat, and in the air. He explains that the water slakes our thirst, allows farmers and ranchers to produce food, and, just as importantly, provides for birds, fish and shrimp, which ultimately help our own survival as well. McBride has documented the Colorado River in films and still photosListen here.
– Komodo dragons look like a hang over from the Cretaceous Period, but they’re a modern day problem for those who live inside Indonesia’s Komodo National Park. The vulnerable reptiles, that grow up to 10 feet long and weigh as much as 300 pounds, more or less go where they want in pursuit of food, says Jennifer Holland, who describes their conflict with people in the January, 2014 issue of National Geographic magazine. She also clarifies for Boyd that this particular breed of dragon doesn’t breathe fire, although their bacteria-infested mouths are to be avoided at all costs. Listen here.
– Despite knowledge of Western amenities like supermarkets, lighters and eye-glasses, many tribes who live in the Amazon River basin continue to thrive in their traditional ways of life. But Chip Brown, author of “Kayapo Courage” in the January, 2014 issue ofNational Geographic magazine, explains that it’s increasingly difficult for the tribes live the way they want, with natural gas, hydroelectric dams and loggers wanting to disrupt their neck of the woods. But Brown says that the Kayapo have pushed back threats in the past and display a savvy understanding of using the general public’s appetite for conservation to their benefit. Listen here.
– For people who count another year’s passing by the Super Bowl’s Roman numerals, 2014’s XLVIII celebrates another football season in the books. In this week’s Wild Chronicles story, Boyd recounts his visit to the infamous Super Bowl VI, when he bribed a New Orleans police officer. Listen here.

Human Journey

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.