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NG Weekend: The Ocean’s Ultimate Abyss


This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about the ocean’s ultimate abyss, Miami tweets, Chinese tea, Tibetan horses, giant lizards, sustainable seafood, solitary lockup, ecotravel, charging gorillas, and Vietnam.

Hour 1

  • There is only one living person who has ever been to the deepest part of the ocean, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, 6.78 miles (10.9 kilometers) below the ocean surface. In 1960, Don Walsh descended the depths aboard the United States Navy bathyscaphe Trieste. National Geographic recently bestowed its highest honor, the Hubbard Medal, on Walsh for his accomplishment. Walsh joins Boyd in the studio to talk about his record-breaking dive.
  • National Geographic Traveler writer Andrew Nelson put social networking to the test during a recent trip to Miami. Nelson’s April 2010 article “Tweet me in Miami,” explains how he planned almost every moment of his trip over Twitter.
  • Chinese tea and Tibetan horses were long traded on a legendary trail. Today remnants of the passageway reveal grand vistas—and a surprising new commerce. Photographer Mike Yamashita tells Boyd about his work for the article “The Forgotten Road” in the May 2010 National Geographic magazine.
  • Charles Darwin knew nothing of DNA when he came up with his theory of evolution. But Darwin’s great-great-grandson is taking a close look at his own genetic past thanks to Spencer Wells and National Geographic’s Genographic team. Wells joins Boyd in the studio to talk about what Darwin’s genes have revealed.
  • Where do you hide if you’re a 6-foot dragon? Apparently, in plain sight! Scientists recently discovered a new species of human-sized lizard in the Philippines. David Braun, head of National Geographic News, joins Boyd to talk about the find.

Hour 2

  • Barton Seaver was recognized as Esquire magazine’s 2009 “Chef of the Year.” Now Boyd is hoping he’ll cook up some food in the studio. Seaver joins Boyd to talk about sustainable seafood.
  • Today, more than 80,000 Americans are in solitary confinement. “Explorer: Solitary Confinement,” a new National Geographic Channel show, looks at the science of solitary and discovers what it means to be absolutely alone. Director, writer, and producer Peter Yost joins Boyd to talk about the practice that some say borders on torture.
  • In her new book Ecotourists Save the World, Pamela Brodowsky outlines more than 300 programs in which volunteers can vacation while working to heal the planet. Brodowsky joins Boyd to talk about some of her favorite sites.
  • Primatologist Mireya Mayor has a new program on the National Geographic Wild channel called “Wild Nights with Mireya Mayor.” Mayor joins Boyd to talk about being charged by gorillas and other adventures she experienced while filming the show.
  • Boyd tells the tale of his life-threatening tour in Vietnam last month.

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.

Artist’s rendering of Trieste on the seafloor courtesy U.S. Naval Historical Center