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August 11, 2013: Holding our Breath in Underwater Caves, Biking Across Kyrgyzstan Mountains, and More

Join us this week, as we explore the labyrinth of underwater caves deep under Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula for clues of its Mayan past, cycle solo through Central Asian mountain passes to climb remote peaks, and debunk American historical myths from the Wild West to the Surfin’ Safari.

Geography in the News: Eurasia’s Boundaries

By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM THE GEOGRAPHICAL DIVISIONS OF EUROPE AND ASIA Europe and Asia, while often considered two separate continents, both lie on the same landmass or tectonic plate, the Eurasian supercontinent. The historic and geographic story of the Eurasian boundary is intriguing.   Most students of history,…

World Heritage and Climate Change: Lessons From Indigenous Peoples of Altai, Russia

Shaman Maria Amanchina stands over the tomb of the Ukok Princess Kadyn. Photo © Gleb Raygorodetsky. The sacred Ukok Plateau at the heart of the Golden Mountains of Altai World Heritage Site, Russia, is changing because of climate. For local people, dealing with climate change means restoring and sustaining the role of the ancestral burial kurgans…

May 26, 2013: Staying Safe Going Up Mountains, Injuries Flying Down Cliffs and More

This week, we chat with Conrad Anker who reflects on how difficult it is for even the best climbers to avoid disaster on Everest, Jon Jenkins who is scouring the deepest reaches of the universe looking for signs of intelligent life, and daredevil Angela Proudfoot who skydives against all odds after sustaining a serious base jumping injury.

Geography in the News: The Caucasus’ Storied Cultural Geography

By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner Geography in the NewsTM and Maps.com CHECHNYA AND THE CAUCASUS REGION Among the world’s longest-lived hotspots is the Caucasus region, rivaling only the Balkans as a volatile kettle of violent and rebellious ethnic cultures. Attention is now focused on Chechnya and the Caucasus region because of the ethnicity…

Save the Saiga: Poachers Responsible for a Dwindling Population

The grasslands of Russia and Kazakhstan are host to an animal that has roamed the earth since the Ice Age, but may soon become extinct: the saiga, a hump-nosed antelope whose population has declined by more than 95 percent since the early 1990s. The critically endangered saiga, which stands just about two feet tall, is in…

Best Videos From Meteor Strike in Russia

Friday’s meteor strike over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia allowed dashboard cams and people with hand-held cameras to capture some fascinating moments. Here are some of the best ones. The above video captures the sounds of glass breaking and car alarms set off by the meteor’s shock wave. (News Article: Meteorite Fragments Injure a Thousand…

Meteorite Boom Injures a Thousand in Russia

Shockwaves from a meteor caused damage to buildings in central Russia, hurting at least a thousand people on Friday, according to news reports. More than 200 children were among those injured in the Chelyabinsk region, Russia’s Interior Ministry told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. “Verified information indicates that this was one meteorite which burned…

Protecting Russia’s Last Siberian Tigers

Earlier this year Rolex announced the five winners of the 2012 Rolex Awards for Enterprise, who are being honored in New Delhi, India, on November 27. This profile looks at the work of 2012 Laureate Sergei Bereznuk, director of the Phoenix Fund, a small environmental NGO in Russia. Bereznuk and his team of six people are carrying out an impressive range of activities to preserve the endangered Siberian tiger over a territory of 64,000 square miles (166,000 square kilometers).

Should We Import Belugas for Display?

If you’re an animal lover, you’ve probably heard by now about the 18 beluga whales that a group of U.S. marine park and aquarium owners wants to import from Russia. The 18 whales were captured in the wild off the Siberian coast specifically to be put on display—that is, for our entertainment. And that’s where the issue gets sticky. Because we now know from numerous animal behavior studies—in laboratories and in natural habitats–that all mammals are thinking and feeling beings.

George Kennan: An Investigative Reporter Who Helped Found the National Geographic Society

Asked once where he was educated, George Kennan supposedly replied, “Russia.” That one word sufficed, for he was not quite 20 years old when he decided to make his first journey there, a journey that resulted in his first book, in a series of difficult assignments in dangerous places, and in his being a founder of the National Geographic Society. From the horrors of the Russian prison system to the volcanic destruction of Martinique, Kennan was one of the pre-eminent globetrotting journalists of his day–one who wrote with such authority that his words have had far-reaching impact.

NG Explorers Help Record Xyzyl Language

The Enduring Voices team reports back on the Xyzyl (pronounced “hizzle”) language from the Republic of Xakasia northwest of Mongolia.

The Key to Addressing Climate Change – Indigenous Knowledge

We have the knowledge that can contribute to finding solutions to the crisis of climate change. But if you’re not prepared to listen, how can we communicate this to you? — Marcos Terena, Xané leader, Brazil. The precipitous rise in the world’s human population and humankind’s ever-increasing dependence on fossil fuel-based ways of living have…

Russia Takes Gold at National Geographic World Championship

In a showdown during what host Alex Trebek called the toughest final in the competition’s history, the team from Russia defeated Canada and Chinese Taipei in the 2011 National Geographic World Championship.