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June 2, 2013: Skiing Down Everest, Chasing Ice (and Oscars), and More

Glaciers quickly retreat around the world and National Geographic Explorer James Balog has documented their decline in his film "Chasing Ice". (photo by B. Anthony Stewart)
Glaciers quickly retreat around the world and National Geographic Explorer James Balog has documented their decline in his film “Chasing Ice”. (photo by B. Anthony Stewart)

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, or pick your favorite segments and listen now below!

Episode: 1322 – Air Date: June 2

HOUR 1

Jimmy Chin has a knack of capturing some of the most breathtaking images, and it’s only partly because he has access to places that few others are able to go. Equal parts ski-mountaineer and photographer, Jimmy tells Boyd that it’s occasionally difficult to compartmentalize skiing down Everest while looking for a perfect shot, but his years of climbing experience has him comfortable while in precarious positions on the mountain.

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For as long as humans have watched birds float gracefully on air currents, we have fantasized about leaving the earth behind. Most people are content to enjoy flight with a drink and some peanuts, but Yves Rossy wanted the wind in his face. The Jetman took four engines, strapped them to a wing and now soars like a jet-powered bird, flying across the English Channel in 10 minutes. His next mission is to fly in formation with a jet powered protégé.

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Camping can be a tremendously rewarding activity to get away from the city and enjoy nature, but bad equipment can hijack any weekend getaway. Boyd checks in with gear guru Steve Casimiro to learn about the latest technology in silent-opening tents, portable espresso-makers, and a solar-heated shower.

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Rule number one of eating abroad is, “Eat like a local.” So for a visitor to Texas, that means eating local BBQ. And for such a big state, the barbecue Sherpa would undoubtedly be Daniel Vaughn. Author of The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue, he estimates that he has eaten at 500 barbecue joints across the state’s breadth. He gives Boyd some tips to find good eatin’ in the Lonestar State.

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Because of their close relations to chimpanzees, but they’re known to be more docile and friendly, young bonobos are popular to keep pets in certain countries. But just like chimps, they make terrible housemates. Claudine Andre, founder of Lola ya Bonobo, tells the story of introducing one bonobo to his jungle home in her film, Beny Back To The Wild.

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HOUR 2

Glaciers around the world are quickly receding as average global temperatures inch higher each year. Few people understand this as well as James Balog. The photographer and filmmaker left extremely durable cameras on glaciers in Greenland, Montana, Arctic Canada, Europe and Bolivia to capture time lapse footage of glaciers steadily retreating over several years. His award-winning film, Chasing Ice, has provided beautiful and chilling footage of our world’s increasing heat.

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Dogs and humans have a long history of life together. Although they started as wolves, Carl Zimmer tells Boyd that the less aggressive members of the canine family crept closer to man and learned to wait his turn for table scraps. Eventually co-feeding grew into cohabiting.

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Many people think of dolphins as active, playful animals who are always jumping and splashing in the waters. But National Geographic grantee Justine Jackson Ricketts says that the rare Irrawaddy dolphins tend to be quieter and stay in the water. She’s studying the dolphins’ habitat of choice in order to better preserve them.

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Many people who would classify themselves as “non-tech savvy,” speak of The Cloud as if it were an omnipotent information sponge that hovers nearby, preserving all of our MP3’s, family photos and emails. But Andrew Blum explains in his new book, Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, that “The Cloud” is really a series of tubes that connect laptops to the surprisingly few data hubs that dot the landscape and make the Internet run.

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In this week’s Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd returns from a jaunt to Iceland and reflects on the cons of volcanic ash – crippling flight patterns across Europe – but notes that the volcanic ash spa treatment he received left his skin feeling refreshed.

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