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!
– National Geographic Explorer Kenny Broad endures the dangers of Scuba diving in caves as deep as 300 feet below the surface in the name of science. Broad stresses that on land, he’s much more accident prone than underwater, but says that he takes the risks that he does to study “blue holes” on Bahamian islands to learn about our past. Broad explains that one mystery that still leaves him guessing is the fact that humans only very recently settled the Bahamas, despite the fact that humans had been living on the North American mainland, just 60 miles away, for thousands of years.
– Kenyans are known internationally as long distance runners. Canada has hockey, Australians swim, and New Zealand plays rugby. And while these countries have relatively small populations for their outsized sport successes, their people to sport notorieity ratio is dwarfed by that of the boxing fame enjoyed by Ghana’s Bukom neighborhood in Accra. Joe Haldeman recently spent the summer there, living amongst Bukom’s boxers trying to understand their boxing recipe. He explains that it can be understood historically: the once wealthy port neighborhood lost many of its jobs, leaving behind crowds of people competing for space and resources. Among idle young men, fights often happen. The British introduced the ring, and a long while later, Joshua Clottey is the welterweight world boxing champion, while two of his brothers fought professionally in other weight classes. Haldemann is making a documentary about Bukom’s success in the “sweet science”.
– The Middle East has recently been ravaged by religious-driven conflict, scarring generations of people who are just trying to live. But a historic hallmark of the religious warfare in that region for centuries has been the “destruction of cultural heritage for its symbolic meaning.” Syrian anthropologist Salam al Kuntar explains that ISIS’ insistence on destroying relics and monuments devoted to Muslim leaders that don’t conform with their worldview, and that’s intended to “obliterate the meaning of people’s lives, including their connection to their history.”
– Everybody knows that snow is white. But that’s precisely the problem facing the glaciers on Greenland and in the Himalayan Plateau: the once white snow, in many places, is black. Because of the color change, it’s melting much faster than it otherwise would, from the extra focus of the sun’s rays. Dr. Tami Bond has received one of the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius” Grants for her research on black carbon, the microscopic agent that floats through the atmosphere and ultimately lands back on earth, sometimes settling on top of glaciers. Dr. Bond is studying ways to cut down on atmospheric black carbon. And, she says, that while it may be expensive to cut down on, “the cost of fixing an environmental problem always has to be compared to the cost of not doing anything.”