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NG Weekend: Tragedy, Heroism on K2

k2_map.jpg

This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about K2, the invention of GIS, biking across the U.S., alligators, Restropo, Plastiki, kayaking in Kamchatka, and the “Zero-Second Rule.”

Hour 1

  • Seasoned climber Freddie Wilkinson recently completed a book about a climbing tragedy on K2, the mountain second only to Everest in height, where 11 men lost their lives. In the book, Wilkinson focuses on the Nepali Sherpas who risked their lives to save other climbers, and in one case perished in the process.
  • The National Geographic Society recently awarded Dr. Roger Tomlinson an Alexander Graham Bell Medal for conceiving and developing geographic information systems (GIS). Known as “the father of GIS,” Tomlinson’s pioneering work to digitize maps was the forerunner of Google Earth. Tomlinson and Boyd discuss how GIS has revolutionized life as we know it.
  • Travel writer Marybeth Bond, author of 50 Best Girlfriends Getaways in North America, took her own advice and hit the road with her daughter. Far from the shopping and sightseeing she describes in her books, the pair are biking across the country. Bond calls Boyd from the road to share some scenes and stories from the journey.
  • National Geographic’s Daily News editor David Braun tells Boyd about hundreds of alligators engaged in “cooperative feeding,” and then explains how a dam project on the Mekong River may put the world’s fish supply in jeopardy.

Hour 2

  • Filmmaker and war reporter Tim Hetherington spent a year embedded with a platoon in Afghanistan’s most deadly combat region. Armed only with his camera, Hetherington went through everything the soldiers went through, including daily fire and the loss of friends. The result of this work is the feature-length documentary film Restrepo, a harrowing look at the truth of war.
  • National Geographic Emerging Explorer David de Rothschild calls in from Sydney, Australia, after successfully crossing the Pacific Ocean aboard his unconventional ship called the Plastiki, a catamaran crafted from thousands of used plastic bottles. De Rothschild tells tales from the voyage and explains how human wastefulness is hurting the oceans, and what we can do about it.
  • he National Geographic Weekend team takes a field trip to Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, where the Boy Scouts of America held their 100th Anniversary Jamboree. We go whizzing down the zip line, fire shotguns on the shooting range, and trip down Boyd’s Boy Scout memory lane.
  • National Geographic Expedition Council grantee Bryan Smith is part of a team in Eastern Siberia, charting rivers that have never been explored before. Smith’s Kamchatka Project, as he explains to Boyd via satellite phone from the field, is part excitement, part scientific inquiry. Learn why are fish doing so well in these rivers and hear how the team survived going over a 70-foot waterfall.
  • Boyd explores the truth and fiction of the “Five Second Rule,” which should be re-named the “Zero Second Rule” in this week’s Did You Know? segment.

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.

Map of K2 climbing route by Haisam Hussein