Archives for February, 2010

In my previous post, we got into the gory saga of Vlad III Dracula (1431-1476), the Transylvanian-born prince of Walachia whose penchant for bloodletting led Bram Stoker to borrow his name for the central character in his seminal 1897 novel. As detailed by scholars Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu in their fascinating book In Search of Dracula: The…

Little Dogs, Big Ancestors

I have a tiny little gray-black terrier named Joey. It’s a bit of a challenge to describe him: imagine an oversized Yorkie, probably about 10-12 pounds, with a little poodle and/or salt-and-pepper miniature schnauzer mixed in, and a pronounced Napoleonic complex.  Sure, he looks cute when he sits in your lap, but he barks ferociously whenever there’s a squirrel perched…

by Craig PumphreyFight Science: Super Cops ParticipantFight Science: Super Cops airs Thursday Feb 25 9P et/pt FIGHT SCIENCE!!! I was there in the beginning and I came back for another episode that is close to my heart….Law Enforcement. I have been a police officer since 2002 and I have seen my share of horror, tragedy, sadness,…

Dr. Mireya Mayor is an explorer and wildlife expert hailed a “female Indiana Jones,” by the New York Times. As a media correspondent, leading primate researcher and higher-education lecturer, Mayor travels all over the world to promote animal conservation. She has been profiled in People magazine, made television appearances on Today and MSNBC, and was…

Great Great Dane

source: Guinness World Records What canine weighs 245 pounds, sleeps on a queen-size bed and has a Facebook fan page?  Meet George, a four-year-old blue Great Dane, the new titleholder of “World’s Tallest Dog” by the Guinness Book of World Records.   Giant George lives in Tucson, Arizona with his owners, Dave and Christine Nassar,…

When we reached Casey Anderson by phone at his home a half-hour away from Yellowstone National Park, the host of Nat Geo Wild’s upcoming Expedition Wild was in the middle of packing for a five-day stint of camping in a snowy cave in the park to get some documentary footage of wolves in their natural…

Welcome to the Inside WILD blog. Watch this space for amazing behind-the-scenes look at the shows, hosts, and animals featured on Nat Geo Wild, the new television network from National Geographic launching March 29, 2010. In the lead up to launch, we’ll give you a preview of our exciting new shows, introduce you to the…

Lately, there’s been a flurry of Chupacabra-related news coming out of Bridgeport, TX, a burg of 5,800 inhabitants 45 miles from Fort Worth that, up until this point, was known chiefly as the site where a toll bridge was built across the Trinity River in 1860 to facilitate the St. Louis-to-San Francisco stagecoach route. But…

(read part I, UFOs Over Phoenix) In the wake of the March 13, 1997 sighting by thousands of people of two sets of peculiar lights over Phoenix, AZ, an official explanation gradually emerged.  The lights were not alien spacecraft but rather flares, dropped that night by pilots from the Maryland Air National Guard, who were…

Origins of Vampire Lore

If you’re a teenager, you might think that the idea of bloodsucking immortal ghouls originated with Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight novels (or maybe, if you have a really short attention span and/or the tedium of reading words on paper seems like an epic fail, the blockbuster flick The Twilight Saga: New Moon). Your parents, in contrast, might harken back…

Cesar Millan’s beloved pit bull, Daddy, passed away peacefully this Sunday, surrounded by family. View Nat Geo’s Photo Gallery Tribute to Daddy >> Adopted by the Millans when he was just four months old, Daddy was a key fixture in more than 50 episodes of Dog Whisperer, and was often referred to as America’s pit bull ambassador due…

Working Like A Dog

Since I work from home, my two dogs are always by my side. If it’s chilly in the house, Roscoe snuggles up on my office chair and Moose sleeps by a crackling fire. On a toasty afternoon, they both stretch out on the cool wood-paneled floor. Although they don’t make an obvious contribution to my…

Vampire Forensics

Explorer: Vampire Forensics Premieres Tuesday February 23 10P et/pt. By Matteo Borrini Working with National Geographic Television on the Explorer Episode “Vampire Forensics” has been a terrific experience.  Organizing, directing and working on archaeological excavations is usually crazy and chaotic; with a lot of people working shoulder to shoulder with their different personalities and roles,…

I remember being introduced to the Nasca lines by Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy. He narrated the awesomely schlocky 1970s TV documentary show “In Search Of…” – in this episode, In Search of Ancient Aviators, Nimoy solemnly intones the possibility of a lost technology of flight among ancient peoples – as the Nasca lines…

Brits Release UFO ‘X-Files’

The British Ministry of Defense has just released another round of official UFO reports — their fifth release to date.  This is the biggest yet, spanning 6000 pages and covering everything from a former Home Secretary’s close encounter to the MoD’s official position on alien abductions. The release contains about 1000 separate UFO reports, spanning…

UFOs Over Phoenix

Okay, it’s time again to talk about the Phoenix Lights. For those of you who aren’t steeped in UFO lore, that’s not the name of a new brand of herbal cigarettes or a franchise of the defunct XFL . The Phoenix Lights were a series of bizarre optical phenomena seen by thousands of people in Arizona, Nevada…

WELCOME to MYSTERIOUS SCIENCE

In an age when the X-Files is no longer telling us the “Truth is Out There” and the real, fictional Kolchak is a faded memory, when we have so many real-world concerns biting at our heels, what is it about the possibilities of the strange, the paranormal, the just plain “out there” that still mystify…

The snow is gradually receding, but our dogs still seem a little weirded out by the gleaming walls of white. It could be the winter weathers’ effect on their ability to smell their environment. Madge the basset hound-pit bull’s nose contains 220 million olfactory-sensing cells, compared to about five million in my much less impressive…

Vampire of Venice

Explorer: Vampire Forensics Premieres Tuesday February 23 10P et/pt. By Gareth Harvey Filming in Venice, especially a historical reconstruction on the scale of ‘Vampire of Venice’, was never going to be easy. If I’d known just how difficult it would be, I think I would have gone with ‘Plan B’ – and tried to find…

Go behind the scenes of “Naked Science: Preventing Armageddon” with the show’s edit-producer and find out what it takes to work on a Nat Geo production. As an edit-producer, I get to wrestle full-time with the scientific content of a show, working to wrangle it into an entertaining story that gets the facts straight. It’s…

Whether you’re a football fan or not, many people watched the Super Bowl for the commercials. Dog lovers around the world may have noticed one particular controversial Doritos commercial. Created by aspiring filmmakers for just about $200, this “Underdog” advertising bit received high marks from many television viewers. Frito Lay recently awarded the commercial creators…

History’s Mysteries

This weekend on Nat Geo, Explorer delves into history with Nazi Mystery: Twins from Brazil and Easter Island Underworld. They are of different times, but we ask the same question: what really happened? Easter Island is one of the most remote places on the planet. More than 1,200 miles from the nearest inhabited island, its civilization evolved in…

by Michael O’Neill, Field Producer A Traveler’s Guide to the Planets continues tonight at 9P et/pt. Until today, whenever I had cause to think of Hawaii, my mind would immediately drift to beautiful aquamarine water, palm trees, high rise resorts and lurid shirts. A 14,000-foot, snow-dusted volcanic peak with limited oxygen certainly wasn’t on my radar.…

Life On Mars… On Earth?

A Traveler’s Guide to the Planets continues tonight at 9P et/pt. View Mars in 3-D with the interactive tour of the planets. By Richard SmithDeath Valley, Nevada: July 14, 2009 You could tell the temperature was withering even before stepping out of the air-conditioned truck at Stovepipe Wells. The sun had dropped on the drive…

Saturn in a Second-Hand Telescope

When I was a ten, my Dad – a veterinarian – kicked-off my lifelong love for science when he brought home a second-hand telescope that he himself had scoped out in the local Pennysaver. That night was the first of many we would spend in the backyard looking up at the stars, marveling at it…