Overheard at National Geographic
Overheard at National Geographic
National Geographic
Come dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations overheard at National Geographic’s headquarters, as we follow explorers, photographers, and scientists to the edges of our big, weird, beautiful world. Hosted by Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs.
A Traveling Circus and its Great Escape
Decades of daring acrobatics, spectacular motorcycle stunts, and mind-blowing magic tricks couldn’t prepare Central America’s oldest-running circus for its most challenging feat yet—how to get home during a pandemic. Photographer and National Geographic Explorer Tomas Ayuso encountered the Segovia Brothers Circus stranded in Honduras amid the coronavirus lockdown, and then chronicled the performers’ rollercoaster journey back to their native Guatemala–and the surprising circus fan who ultimately came to the rescue. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? If you’d like to read the magazine article that inspired this episode, you can find that in our show notes. There, you’ll find another story from Tomas Ayuso – it’s about the impact that coronavirus has had on migrant families applying for asylum in the United States. Also explore: If you’d like to read more circus coverage from National Geographic, check out our story about traditional tightrope walking in remote Russian villages.  And for paid subscribers: Check out a recent National Geographic Magazine feature on COVID-19. It takes the work of photographers in five countries and compiles it all into one photo essay about how the pandemic became a painful shared experience around the globe.
Dec 15, 2020
28 min
An Accidental Case of the Blues
Pigments color the world all around us, but where do those colors come from? Historically, they’ve come from crushed sea snails, beetles, and even ground-up mummies. But new pigments are still being discovered in unexpected places, and for researcher Mas Subramanian, a new color came, well, out of the blue. Overheard’s Amy Briggs ventured into the National Geographic photo studio to see the new color—the first blue pigment of its kind discovered since Thomas Jefferson was president. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? Read about how underwater cave explorers discovered a 11,000 year old pigment mine in Mexico and what it might tell us about the people who lived there. The names of colors are usually fanciful, but mummy brown is a surprisingly accurate description of this macabre pigment.  This episode is all about color, and so we have two colorful photo galleries for you to dive into: Photos through the eyes of the color blind, and the 12 different kinds of rainbows defined by science. Also explore: Check out the pigment collection and Harvard’s Art museum.  Read more about Mas Subramanian’s research at Oregon State University. And for paid subscribers: In this episode, Amy Briggs went into the Nat Geo studio to see our staff photographers hard at work photographing YInMn blue and other pigments. Take a look at our magazine feature to see the final product. The Phonician empire was shaped by the production of Tyrion purple, a pigment with its weight in gold which was made by boiling the mucus glands of thousands of sea snails.
Dec 8, 2020
23 min
Introducing: Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller
Today we share an episode of a new podcast series called Trafficked, hosted by National Geographic Channel’s Mariana van Zeller. The series pulls back the curtain on the people operating trafficking rings and shadow economies. In this episode, Mariana sits down with country rapper Struggle Jennings. An outlaw country rapper—and the grandson of country music legend Waylon Jennings— he once got busted for trying to purchase a big load of oxycontin in a Walmart parking lot in Memphis, Tennessee. Mariana and Jennings discuss the day he got busted, his life leading up to it, and the toll it took. This episode features some strong language and drug references, so if your kids are around, you might want to check out another one of our episodes.   The Trafficked TV series is available now on National Geographic, and new episodes air Wednesdays.
Dec 3, 2020
34 min
The Trouble with America’s Captive Tigers
Less than 4,000 tigers live in the wild, but experts say there may be more than 10,000 captive in the U.S., where ownership of big cats is largely unregulated. Overheard’s Peter Gwin talks with National Geographic Channel's Mariana van Zeller about her investigation into tiger trafficking and how wildlife tourism encourages a cycle of breeding and mistreatment. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? For Mariana van Zeller’s reporting on tiger tourism and trafficking around the world, tune into National Geographic’s series Trafficked.  Learn about what the Netflix series Tiger King left out about captive tigers and how visitors of roadside zoos can pose health risks to big cats. And check out how some of the series’ characters, like Doc Antle and Jeff Lowe, have been penalized for their treatment of wild animals.  Also explore: Listen to our previous episode about the hidden costs of wildlife tourism.  And for paid subscribers: Read “Captive tigers in the U.S. outnumber those in the wild. It’s a problem,” the National Geographic magazine story that looked into why there are thousands of big cats in the U.S.
Dec 1, 2020
29 min
The Strange Tail of Spinosaurus
Spinosaurus has long been a superstar among dinosaur fans, with its massive alligator-like body and a huge “sail” of skin running the length of its spine. Though the fossil was unearthed a century ago, scientists hadn’t been able to say exactly what it looked like because only a few bones had ever been found. But new fossil discoveries by National Geographic explorer Nizar Ibrahim will forever change the way we think about Spinosaurus—and all other dinosaurs. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? Michael Greshko has a lot more to say about Spinosaurus. Take a look at his article full of pictures and animations of what Spinosaurus might have looked like in the water.  Or learn about why dinosaurs went extinct in the first place. You can also make Spinoaurus and other prehistoric creatures appear in your living room by using Nat Geo's dinosaur instagram AR filter. Follow us at instagram.com/NatGeo.  Also explore: Check out our previous episode about the illegal trade of dinosaur fossils in the United States. And for paid subscribers: In our cover story, “Re-imagining dinosaurs,” you can read about how paleontologists are learning more than ever by using advanced techniques like giving CT scans to frozen crocodiles or using lasers to figure out what color Velociraptor eggs were.
Nov 24, 2020
30 min
The Search for History’s Lost Slave Ships
On the bottom of the world’s oceans lie historic treasures—the lost wrecks of ships that carried enslaved people from Africa to the Americas. Only a handful have been identified so far, but National Geographic explorer and Storytelling Fellow Tara Roberts is documenting the efforts of Black scuba divers and archaeologists to find more, hoping to finally bring their stories to light. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? Follow Tara’s journey around the world on Instagram. And here’s the photo that Tara Roberts saw at the National Museum of African American History and Culture that inspired her to learn to scuba dive. Read about the last slave ship survivor, Matilda McCrear, and what her descendants make of her legacy. Tag along on a scuba mission with DWP divers in this video produced by National Geographic. And for paid subscribers: Read a History magazine article about the Clotilda, the ship that illegally smuggled 110 West Africans into the United States on the eve of the Civil War. We have another History magazine article about 1619, when the first enslaved Africans arrived in colonial North America
Nov 17, 2020
25 min
Chasing the World’s Largest Tornado
How do you measure something that destroys everything it touches? That’s an essential question for tornado researchers. After he narrowly escaped the largest twister on record—a two-and-a-half-mile-wide behemoth with 300-mile-an-hour winds—National Geographic Explorer Anton Seimon found a new, safer way to peer inside them and helped solve a long-standing mystery about how they form. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? See some of Anton’s mesmerizing tornado videos and his analysis of the El Reno tornado. Check out what we know about the science of tornadoes and tips to stay safe if you’re in a tornado’s path. Plus, learn more about The Man Who Caught the Storm, Brantley Hargrove’s biography of Tim Samaras. And for paid subscribers: Read “The Last Chase,” the National Geographic cover story chronicling Tim Samaras’ pursuit of the El Reno tornado.
Nov 10, 2020
29 min
Documenting Democracy
Andrea Bruce, a National Geographic photographer, has covered conflict zones around the world for nearly two decades. She shares how the experience of capturing democratic ideals as a war photographer in Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iraq now shapes the way she's chronicling democracy in America in 2020. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? Explore dispatches from Andrea Bruce’s Our Democracy project as well as her photos from overseas. We also have resources for election night, including how experts say you should talk to your kids about elections and why election maps may be misleading. And for paid subscribers: See what Bolivia, New Zealand, Iraq, and Afghanistan have in common: Women there have made huge advances and gained political power. Andrea Bruce photographed the women in charge—and the women still fighting for change.
Nov 3, 2020
28 min
Can You Hear the Reggae in My Photographs?
Photographer and National Geographic Storytelling Fellow Ruddy Roye grew up in Jamaica, a cradle of reggae and social justice movements. He describes how that background prepared him to cover the historic protests and civil unrest in 2020, what he’s tackling in his new National Geographic project "When Living Is a Protest," and what he tells his sons about growing up in America. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/overheard Want more? See some of Ruddy Roye’s National Geographic assignments, including his coverage of the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as his most recent photographs, depicting the impact of COVID on people of color and the Black Lives Matter protests. And for paid subscribers: See the renaissance happening at historically Black colleges—a surge in enrollment and a new brand of African-American activism.
Oct 27, 2020
30 min
Overheard Season 4
Documenting democracy. Untwisting the world’s largest tornado. Searching for wrecks of lost slave ships. Dinosaur hunting in Morocco. Accidentally inventing a new color. Come dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations overheard at National Geographic’s headquarters, as we follow explorers, photographers, and scientists to the edges of our big, weird, beautiful world. Hosted by Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs.
Oct 13, 2020
2 min
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