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May 18, 2014: Kayaking from Australia to New Zealand, Exploring America by Night, and More

Las Vegas is known for gambling, casinos and the "What happens in Las Vegas..." motto encouraging impulse decisions. But Annie Agnone discovered that the wedding chapels were more often happy couples wanting a uniquely American wedding. (photo by Annie Agnone)
Las Vegas is known for gambling, casinos and the “What happens in Las Vegas…” motto encouraging impulse decisions. But Annie Agnone discovered that the wedding chapels were more often happy couples wanting a uniquely American wedding. (photo by Annie Agnone)

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

- For some adventurers, the thrill of discovery propels them to the unknown with as little preparation as possible. But Australian adventurers James Castrissian and Justin Jones, also known as Cas and Jonsey, find that their expeditions are most successful when they prepare meticulously. Despite careful planning, things still manage to go wrong. While completing a 1,400 mile unsupported crossing of Antarctica, Castrissian lost over 60 pounds and while paddling 2,000 miles unsupported from Australia to New Zealand, blisters and wet seats proved problematic. The friends are tight-lipped about the next adventure but they say whatever it is, they’ll be ready for their challenge.

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- Award-winning beer aficionado and brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery Garrett Oliver loves both wine and music, but he says that neither has as much versatility and potential as a well-crafted beer. Oliver explains that “real beer,” can be anything from “light, bright and lemony” all the way to having “flavors of chocolate and coffee.” Oliver stresses the fact that, when done properly, beers pair with different foods elegantly. He explains how to pair beer with dinner perfectly in The Brewmaster’s Table and lets Boyd in on the secret of which is the perfect beer to bring to nearly any occasion from a summer barbecue to a Christmas party.

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- The solitary cowboy riding off in the sunset isn’t likely to stop to “like” a photo on Facebook. But as Chile’s ranchers and horsemen adapt to life in the 21st Century, they’ve learned to balance living ruggedly off the land with environmental stewardship and tourism. Bridget Besaw visited such a ranch in Chile where she found one such modern cowboy: a 21-year old named Javier living that precarious balance between the past and the future. Javier is featured in her film “El Campo Es Vida.”

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- Malaria is a longtime scourge of the developing world. An average child in Malawi could have as many as 12 episodes of malaria before they turn two years old. And Sonia Shah says that until recently, it was a problem in the United States as well. The disease kills nearly a million people annually, despite being treatable and preventable. Shah explains that malaria is a disease that afflicts those who don’t have screens, doors, and windows to prevent mosquitoes from biting them – namely, the poorest people on the planet. Shah has written “The Fever,” which details the 500,000 year long relationship humans have with malaria.

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- On our This Weekend in History segment, National Geographic library research manager Maggie Turqman brings to light dispatches from the past. On May 16, 1801, the man who bought Alaska was born; on May 17, 1875 the inaugural Kentucky Derby was run; on May 17, 1954, Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional; and on  May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens erupted, killing 57 people.

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Hour 2
 
- Mountain climbing in Pakistan is fraught with difficulties. Western climbers who try to tackle the Himalayan peaks found in that country’s northern reaches have to confront high altitude, falling ice, and long waits for the perfect weather windows to open up. But when other elements like unfamiliar foods and well-armed Taliban-affiliated militants are factored into the equation understandable that many Westerners don’t seek out the country’s beautiful peaks. But against this backdrop, Raphael Slawinski and Ian Welsted completed the first-ascent of K6. Slawinski explains the difficulties, but the pleasures of climbing such an elusive peak. For their efforts, the pair were named as two of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year for 2014.

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- Americans who travel abroad are often left in the uncomfortable position of being uncertain of who to tip and how much to tip them. At home, it’s much less ambiguous: tip smart. That’s the message from Tim Urban who created very clearly defined guide to tipping. He stresses that waiters should always get tipped, even if they do a mediocre job; delivery people are like waiters who have to drive across the city; and every tip is appreciated by service industry workers.

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- When the sun goes down and everything is shrouded in darkness, the most mundane daily activities can seem romantic and mysterious. To better understand the landscape of night, National Geographic Young Explorer Annie Agnone set out to participate and photograph Americans’ evening activities. She shares her experiences in Las Vegas’ nighttime wedding chapels, looking for Sasquatch in the Pacific Northwest’s deepest woods, and treeing raccoons down with some southern hound dogs.

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- Healthy bodies house happy brains is the message from Lyl Tomlinson, a PhD neuroscience student who recently won FameLab. Tomlinson said that frequent aerobic exercise, particularly running, encourages healthy stem-cells in one of the brain’s memory regions, which could reduce the long-term risk of diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Tomlinson also says that running helps reduce stress, which will cause a slower growth of stem cells. Fame Lab is a competition co-hosted by NASA and National Geographic, looking for the next generation of science communicators.

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- Inspired by Annie Agnone’s “America By Night” stories, Boyd shares his various night time activities, including night-scuba diving, pumping gas in his uncle’s gas station and working the overnight shift early in his broadcast career.

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