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Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? In India I was constantly confronted with an old philosophical question, Why did the chicken…..? But there was an equally perplexing and more common question involving farm animals and roads in India. And befitting an Eastern philosophy, answers were many and not definitive.
It seemed like a good idea when I ask this headhunter to post for a picture. Then I got worried when I noticed a gleam in his eyes as if he were suddenly having a flashback and considering the possibility of recapturing the glory of a youthful warrior who once took three heads in battle.
After convincing him my head was too big to fit in his pot, I got Langang to demonstrate the best way to approach your enemy in battle. However Langang doesn’t trust me with a real machete, so I’m left holding a casava root. Afterwards I’m in charge of making the tapioca.
Jon Bon Jovi, the later years. I caught his gig in Nagaland. The voice was a little off, but the hair was as good as ever.
Every fall the polar bears move in close to the town of Churchill in Manitoba, Canada waiting for the ice to form on Hudson Bay. With the planet warming, the bay is freezing later and melting earlier each year. That means the bears have less time for hunting and fattening up to survive the summer. For the females, lower body weight also means fewer cubs. But Churchill is still a great place to observe the bears up close.
This is a video of my most recent trip to Churchill where the young males were putting on quite a show doing what young males of many species do, sparring to establish a pecking order. Later when they are out on the ice this fighting will turn serious. That’s when the prize for the winner will be women and food.
Game day in Chicago. This was one of the Bears on the field before the game in Chicago today against the Patriots. It was heavy snow and big winds covering everything in snow and ice. If it looks like this particular bear was asleep on the sidelines, I would have to say based on the final score the whole team was in hibernation before and during the game.
Posted in: on Friday, December 10th, 2010
Episode 437 (Week 1050)
Air Date Dec. 11, 2010
This week on National Geographic Weekend, host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about cave diving in Mexico, finding the warrior gene, what’s killing hibernating bats, saving lions by building fences in Africa, egg-eating polar bears, the 50th anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, wrestling alligators in Florida, what makes the Milky Way galaxy special, launching a homemade balloon into the stratosphere and braving leeches in Borneo to see orangutans.
- Explorer and National Geographic Waitt grantee Sam Meacham regularly goes underground to explore some of the longest underwater cave systems in the world. Meacham joins Boyd in the studio to talk about his work far beneath the jungles of the Yucatán Peninsula. (Seeslideshow)
- Are some people just born to rage? That is the question ex-punk rocker-turned commentator Henry Rollins is trying to answer on the new National Geographic Television “Explorer” episode “Born to Rage,” airing Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 10 p.m. Rollins joins Boyd to talk about his search for the warrior gene that shows up in 30 percent of the male population and can be a factor in violent behavior. (See preview)
- Bats, while creepy, are crucial to controlling insect populations and are important pollinators for commercial agriculture. Now, a previously unknown disease is causing massive die-offs in the bat population. Author David Quammen joins Boyd to talk about his article “Bat Crash” in the December National Geographic magazine. (Read article)
- Good fences make good neighbors. National Geographic Big Cats Initiative grantee Dr. Laly Lichtenfeld has taken this saying to heart. Lichtenfeld is working to save lions in Tanzania by helping people protect their cattle with better fences. She joins Boyd to talk about her work. (Read more)
- Join National Geographic’s daily online news editor David Braun as he shares some of the week’s hottest stories. Braun explains why bats fly better with their eyes closed. (NG News)
- The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses nearly 20 million acres of wilderness along Alaska’s North Slope, is 50 years old this week. Tom Campion chairs the board of the Alaska Wilderness League and is fighting to prevent drilling in the refuge. Campion joins Boyd in the studio to talk about why it’s vital to protect this region. (Read more)
- The Billie Swamp Safari offers visitors face-to-face encounters with ostriches, American bison, wild alligators, venomous snakes, and many other swamp animals. As the park’s director, Ed Woods and his team of swamp men are responsible for working with these animals. It can be a tricky job, and much of it is captured in the second season of “Swamp Men,” airing Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. on the National Geographic Wild channel. Woods joins Boyd to talk about the show. (See preview)
- The Milky Way, home to planet earth, is something to be proud of, says Ken Croswell, author of the December National Geographic magazine article “ Star Struck.” Croswell joins Boyd to talk about our sun, the black hole at the middle of our galaxy and why we live in a pretty special place. (Read the article)
- Colin Rich is a cinematographer looking for a new perspective. That’s why he regularly launches his own weather balloons with payloads of point and shoot cameras to capture remarkable images of the earth from space. Rich joins Boyd to talk about his balloons and the adventures of recovering them after each flight. (See video)
- In his regular Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd shares a story about suffering blood-sucking leeches in order to visit with orangutans in Borneo.
Today I went trekking through the rainforest in Borneo’s Danum Valley hunting for orangutans with my camera. About ten minutes into the hike it was clear I was the one being hunted, and rather successfully. The leeches, which were everywhere, were celebrating and shouting, “Fresh meat coming through.” I lost count after pulling at least 20 of them off my clothes and body. My guide Ben spotted one on my neck and yelled,”there’s a there’s a blood sucking leech going for your jugular.” Some of the sarcastic among you may be asking, “Boyd what was my ex doing in Borneo?, but this was in fact a tiger leech. In the photo you can see the blood continued to flow after the leech was removed.
When I got back to the room, I found one last leech hiding under my shirt. After pulling him off, the bleeding continued for another 3 hours. I had to gaffer tape a half a roll of toilet paper to the wound to absorb all the blood, but I did earn my official Danum Valley blood donor certificate as a result. I’ll leave it to your imagination to guess which part of my body this is in the photo.
We went for a night hike last night in Borneo and saw several pit vipers in the trees. My guide was unconcerned, because the snakes were in the trees a foot above his head, but for me that was hairline high. To compensate I did most of the hike stooped over as low as posssible.