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Creating a Language by Committee

On the white board, nine words in Khmer are listed in blue. In the cool, dim room, members of the Cambodian Sign Language committee are seated at an oval conference table scattered with the various implements essential to their work—iced coffee sweetened by condensed milk, a Khmer-English dictionary, pencils and paper. Papers ruffle on the table as a breeze surges through the barred window, slightly swinging the heavy green shutters. Over the next three hours, the committee will invent four new signs.

Hmong Use Tech to Keep Old Traditions Alive

Hmong communities in Vietnam use modern technology to preserve their ancient arts, crafts, and oral history. See photos and learn more about their traditions.

Bhutan: a Frontier for Culture, Biodiversity, and Adventure

Bhutan straddles an area with high biodiversity richness—the Eastern Himalayas. Precipitation from the monsoons, great altitudinal variation, and its location connecting the Indian plains to the high Himalayan peaks on the edge of the Tibetan plateau allow for an amazing assemblage of biodiversity that is still being discovered today. Bhutan is the only place on Earth where snow leopards and tigers share the same habitat. Recent survey results show that both these endangered large cats are not only surviving, but thriving, in Bhutan. And this is only one example of how Bhutan is a coveted destination for scientific exploration and adventure, writes Tshewang Wangchuk, the first Bhutanese National Geographic explorer, and Executive Director for the Bhutan Foundation in Washington, D.C .

Scenes From Mongolia’s Changing Steppe

National Geographic Grantee Hannah Reyes is a photojournalist curious about cultures in transition—how old traditions are surviving, what remains under broader social pressure, and the new forms emerging through the fusion, interaction and conflict of cultures. Mongolian herders are one such culture.

Healthy Seas and Healthy Communities: The People of Honduras’ Mesoamerican Reef

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) and features the work of our Fellows on iLCP projects and expeditions.  Read our other articles on the National Geographic News Watch blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and photos by iLCP Fellow Karen…

Spadefoot Toad and Other Weird State Symbols

Louisiana’s official crustacean? Crayfish. New Mexico’s honored amphibian? The spadefoot toad. See what other states have quirky symbols to show their pride.

Family of SeaWorld Trainer Killed by Orca Speaks Out for First Time

The family of Dawn Brancheau, the trainer killed by Tilikum the killer whale, speaks out for the first time about the documentary Blackfish.

Tech & the Cheetah

Some regions of Kenya have better cell phone reception than the heart of San Francisco’s financial district.  This is no exaggeration.  One can easily make a call or text from the Maasai Mara National Reserve.  It’s changed the country’s economy, society in both rural and urban areas, and launched millions of voices onto Twitter and…

Traditional Skills to Confront Tomorrow’s Challenges

How a small group of Pacific Islanders are working to preserve one of their most valuable assets.

This Friday the 13th, Bone Up on Animal Superstitions

This Friday the 13th, we dare you to click on a story about animal superstitions. Go ahead…

September 1, 2013: Speed Hiking From Mexico to Canada, Coming Face to Face With a Grizzly and More

This week, we set a speed record walking from Mexico to Canada, pack bear spray in the event that we encounter a bear, dog or family member who gets out of line, and cycle across the United States in just 42 days.

San Style: Dancing in Botswana

You never know what you’ll encounter in your travels.  During my time reporting on Cheetah Conservation Botswana’s work, I headed to the town of Ghanzi to get supplies and run a few errands with CCB’s camp manager. Right when we arrived, the Botswana National Youth Council was staging a huge outreach festival in the town…

The Cheetah & The San Bushmen of Botswana

While traveling with Cheetah Conservation Botswana, I had the rare experience to meet the Nai Nai San Bushmen of the Central Kalahari. The name Nai Nai translates directly as “people of the bush” thus they consider themselves to be the true bushmen.  This small family group is one of many who travel through the area…

Tribes Living in Historic ‘Cultural Crossroads’ of Ethiopia’s Omo Valley Endangered by Dam and Land Grabs.

It rises in Ethiopia’s Shewa Highlands, and flows for 760 kms through terraced hillsides, volcanic outcrops and fertile grasslands as far as the world’s greatest desert lake, Lake Turkana, in Kenya. The lower valley of the Omo River is believed by some historians to have been a cultural crossroads for thousands of years, where a…

Google Doodle Honors Mathematician Leonhard Euler

Today’s Google Doodle honors Leonhard Euler—an 18th-century numbers whiz who’s credited with being the most prolific mathematician in history.