National Geographic
Menu

June 1, 2014: Slackline Between Hot Air Balloons, Curing “Invisible Diseases” and More

It was once thought that ticks were the only way people could get Lyme disease. Scientists and doctors are learning that might not be the case. Andrea Caesar, a longterm carrier of Lyme, explains that she has suffered for years due to medical misinformation about the condition. (photo by Darlyne Murawski/National Geographic)
It was once thought that ticks were the only way people could get Lyme disease. Scientists and doctors are learning that might not be the case. Andrea Caesar, a longterm carrier of Lyme, explains that she has suffered for years due to medical misinformation about the condition. (photo by Darlyne Murawski/National Geographic)

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

– Slacklining – the act of walking along a loose nylon mesh – is a sport that was pioneered by rock climbers to kill down time when they were unable to be hanging from wall faces. But in the past few years, it has become a sport pursuing its own identity, with daredevil athletes pushing the boundaries of what is possible. One such athlete is“Sketchy” Andy Lewis who recently completed a famous feat of one-upmanship when he slacklined 4,000 feet above the Earth between two hot air balloons, without any leash attaching him to the line. Lewis explains how he and slacklining grew up together, and what he sees in the future for himself and the sport’s.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

– Lyme disease is commonly thought to be transmitted to humans exclusively through the bite of a deer tick; if there isn’t a bite to be found, there isn’t Lyme to be diagnosed. But as science improves, an increasing number of “mystery illnesses” of chronic headaches, body pains, and general malaise are being attributed to the disease. Andrea Caesar is one such person who has been diagnosed with a chronic form of Lyme disease, but it wasn’t recognized until 26 years later. In the interim, doctors tried to diagnose her symptoms as mental disorders and “selfishness”. She and Dr. Joseph Jemsek who co-authored A Twist of Lyme: Battling a Disease That “Doesn’t Exist” share her journey with the elusive disease.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

– The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is probably the best known endurance race along the route from Fairbanks to Nome. But there is another grueling 1,000 mile ride over the packed snow and ice on the trail: the Iditarod Trail Invitational, a bike race that runs in early March. Jeff Oatley won this year’s race in 10 days, 2 hours and 53 minutes, breaking the previous record by nearly 5 days. Oatley said that unusually warm conditions conspired with him to set the pace that would have seen him place 21st in this year’s dog sled race.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

– Recycling old materials for new purposes is always seen as a win for conservation and green friendly living. But when those materials are coated in lead paint and asbestos, the act of reusing that is seen as undeniably positive becomes a bit more ambiguous. Peter Gwin‘s story in the May 2014 issue of National Geographic magazinetells about those who break down large oceangoing ships in India and Bangladesh and use all of the ship’s parts for some new purpose. The dangerous working conditions for “The Ship Breakers” result in new hospital beds, fishing boats and iron rebar for those working nearby.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

– In our “This Weekend in History” segment, National Geographic library research manager Maggie Turqman helps us remember the 1922 dedication of the Lincoln Memorial; the 125th anniversary of the “Great Flood of 1889,” in Johnstown, Pennsylvania; and the 1st anniversary of the deaths of tornado scientist Tim Samaras, his son Paul and partner Carl Young.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Hour 2
 
- The South Pacific’s remotest islands call to people who are searching for something they can’t find anywhere else: author Robert Louis Stevenson searched for health, painter Paul Gauguin’s hoped to leave the “artificial” world of Western society behind, and author J. Maarten Troost left searching for adventure and recovery from his vices. Troost also says that it’s still possible to find remote, isolated places in the South Pacific, but the first trick is to get somewhere that doesn’t have an airport. Troost’s new book is titled Headhunters on my Doorstep.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

- Each year, National Geographic names a new class of Emerging Explorers, who are tomorrow’s visionaries inspiring everybody to care about the planet. Ecologist and epidemiologist Christopher Golden is part of the 2014 class for his work in Madagascar helping local people develop better food cultivation habits than simply turning to the forest for wild meat. Golden says that it’s possible to understand this on a global scale: one example he cited is to encourage people to more sustainably harvest fish from the oceans, so we don’t experience a global collapse of biodiversity.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

- The phrase “fish out of water” is often used to describe someone in a situation that they’re poorly suited for. But National Geographic Young Explorer Andrew Thompson explains that not all fish are in trouble when they run out of water. He studies the killifish, which during droughts and dry seasons, are able to suspend their development when they’re in the egg until more comfortable – and wet – circumstances are available.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Amy Dickman understands what it is to live closely with lions. The biologist and conservationist with National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative has famously had a lion sleep on top of her tent while she was in it, so she can empathize with those like the Samburu who try to live closely with Africa’s most feared predators. But in order to save the cats, she encourages herders to secure their homes and livestock with bomas to cut down on cats killing cows and herders getting heated over their loss.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

- On this week’s Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd shares his personal experiences growing up as a Boy Scout, that brought him from climbing his first mountain in Texas to a life filled with his many adventures at National Geographic.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Comments

  1. D. Wyatt
    South North Carolina
    June 11, 3:10 pm

    Dr. Jemsek is the best. It is a shame that he has had to go through hell to cure people with Lyme and co-infections. But, he is only one person who is stretched too thin. We need many more doctors like him who are not afraid or shouldn’t have to be afraid to pursue these diseases. It would be great if there could be Lyme Centers of America (like there is with cancer) where Lyme doctors could work without fear of losing their licenses, and where sick people could go to get correctly diagnosed, treated, and get cured. Instead, most are shuffled from one doctor to another spending tons of money only to be given worthless meds that only treat “symptoms.” We deserve a cure, and Lyme literate doctors should be able to practice in peace.

  2. ..
    June 4, 7:28 pm

    Thank you, National Geographic, for this story on Lyme Disease. Dr. Jemsek is a foremost expert on the topic and I am happy to see a spotlight shone on the valuable knowledge he posseses through his tireless dedication to helping a disavowed group of people unlucky enough to get Lyme Disease.