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NG Weekend: Secrets of Sleep

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This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about the big oil leak, getting stalked by a bear, travel nightmares, global warming, flying reptiles, the Arctic thaw, sleep secrets, snow leopards, and treetop lemurs.

Hour 1

  • An oil spill in 1971 off the coast of California compelled John Francis to forego motorized vehicles for 22 years. For 17 of those years he also didn’t speak. While silent, Francis earned a Ph.D. in land resources, focusing on oil spills in the marine environment. He then went to work for the Coast Guard, helping to improve regulation in the wake of the Exxon Valdez spill. Francis joins Boyd in the studio to share his thoughts about the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Doug Lansky’s new book, The Titanic Awards: Celebrating the Worst of Travel, is chock full of places and companies you’ll want to avoid on your next trip. From the airline with the stingiest legroom to the worst airport layout to the most confusing subway system, this book covers it all. Boyd and Lansky laugh over the worst of the worst.

  • When he was twelve years old, Alec Loorz heard Al Gore give a presentation about global warming. Loorz decided then that he would make it his life’s work to help stop climate change. He started the group “Kids vs. Global Warming” and has become the youngest person trained to give Gore’s presentation. Now 15, Loorz joins Boyd in the studio to talk about his ongoing work.

  • A flying reptile with a nine-foot wingspan and 54 needle-sharp teeth is swooping your way. David Braun, head of National Geographic News, joins Boyd to talk about the news you didn’t know you needed to know.

Hour 2

  • From birth, we spend a third of our lives asleep. Yet after decades of research, we’re still not sure why. D.T. Max explores the “Secrets of Sleep” in the May 2010 issue of National Geographic magazine.

  • National Geographic grantee Tshewang Wangchuk studies the elusive snow leopard in Bhutan. Wangchuk joins Boyd in the studio to explain how he and his colleagues study an animal they hardly ever see.

  • National Geographic Weekend climbs into the treetops of Madagascar with National Geographic grantee Natalie Vasey to get a glimpse of life from a lemur’s point of view.

  • Boyd shares some of his own worst travel experiences.

Hear National Geographic Weekend on XM/Sirius satellite radio (XM channel 133 Sundays at noon), subscribe to the iTunes podcast, or get the show streamed to your iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, or Android OS phone with Stitcher Radio.

Photograph by Maggie Steber

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