Archives for April, 2011

The First Baseball Stadium

In 1919, the New York Yankees acquired a pitcher-turned-outfielder named Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox, a move that forever changed baseball. In Yankee pinstripes, Ruth would become a full-time outfielder and blossom overnight into the greatest power hitter the game had ever seen–and trigger a surge in popularity that would transform baseball into…

Mysteries of the Great Wall

The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest engineering wonders on the planet. Every year millions of tourists visit this system of defensive lines – often called the Stone Dragon – that stretches from the mountains to the sea. The original fortress idea can be traced back to the third century B.C. But there…

Society Rules

From scaring skin to resemble a crocodile hide to the autopsy of a human’s remains, beauty and death are controversial topics. And what one culture views as normal and common, for another might be taboo… CROCODILE SCARS For some people, the idea of intentional skin disfigurement would be taboo. But in the remote village of…

In October 1915, the polar exploration ship the Endurance was crushed by Antarctic ice, tearing out the ship’s stern and rudder posts and breaking the main deck, and forcing the crew to take refuge on an ice floe. In the months that followed, the expedition gradually ran out of provisions, and its leaders explorer Sir James Shackleton,…

Around the world, our appetite for one-time-use plastics is making a devastating impact on our natural world. Think you know what happens to that plastic razor, milk jug, bottle or bag tossed in the trash?  Each year, in the United States alone, more than 31 million tons of plastic are thrown out. Two billion disposable…

A blog from Plastiki crew member and TreeHugger founder, Graham Hill. This piece was originally written for the Huffington Post. It’s about a week into the Kiribati to Fiji or New Caledonia or wherever we end up being able to make it to on this side-slipping, 60 foot raft made from recyclable plastic and 12,500…

National Geographic is devastated by the tragic news of Tim Hetherington’s death in Libya. This is a sad and terrible day. We join the community of dedicated photojournalists and documentarians around the world who are mourning his loss. Our thoughts are also with his family, who just released this statement: “It is with great sadness…

Since the early days of Christianity, some particularly fervent believers have venerated the remains of martyred saints or objects they once possessed, out of a belief that God utilizes those relics as a vehicle for performing miracles. Handkerchiefs touched by St. Paul supposedly were able to cure the sick. A catechism written at the Council of Trent…

Radical Body Reshaping

In a poor, remote village on the Thai-Burmese border, many local Kayan women carry an item of great value – brass rings – around their necks. These shiny collars can weigh up to twenty-two pounds, disfiguring the bodies of those who wear them. This tradition has been part of Kayan culture for nearly one thousand years, and ancient…

Be on a Nat Geo Wild Show!

Want to become one of the stars of Wild? We’re launching a brand new series where our team of wildlife investigators solve animal mysteries in people’s own backyards. Are your pets under attack? Is something stealing the fish from your fish pond? What is the source of the strange shrieking you hear in the dead…

Photo Credit: NASA Solar activity peaks every decade or so, and we’re entering a period – 2012-2014 – in which the sun is “waking up,” according to NASA. Solar storms occur when an eruption or explosion on the sun’s surface propels high-energy sunlight, radiation or a cloud of electrically-charged particles towards our planet. A large…

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck 75 km off the eastern coast of Japan. The powerful quake violently shook coastal communities and large cities, including Tokyo, located 231 miles southwest of the epicenter. Almost immediately, tsunami warnings blared, urging residents along Japan’s coast to quickly move to higher ground.  For the next…

A Moment of Cuteness

We were poking around the web, in search of more details about UFOologist George Filer’s highly publicized prediction that UFOs would visit the April 29 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Instead, we stumbled across a UFO angle on another current news story of considerably greater importance. Filer’s March 23 UFO summary includes this item: Confirmed…

We always know spring is upon us here at Nat Geo headquarters when this duck shows up in the courtyard pond. She comes back year after year, usually with her mate, and they travel between NG headquarters and Farragut Square — just a couple of little ducks in the big city. But this year, she…

Sea Monster Cemetery

One hundred and fifty million years ago, what is now the Arctic tundra was completely submerged with water, and massive marine reptiles ruled our sparkling, tropical seas. The Earth was warm and lush, and the dinosaurs were apex land predators. Over time, land appeared, and glaciers spread over 60% of Svalbard’s archipelago. And here in…

Tigers in Africa

A hundred years ago, 100,000 tigers roamed their native range in Asia. There were nine subspecies of tigers (Bengal, Siberian, Indochinese, South Chinese, Caspian, Malayan, Sumatran, Bali and Javan). But today the wild tiger population is around 3,200 individuals – with only 1,000 being breeding females. Three subspecies are extinct, one is extinct in the wild,…

Bhutan Tiger Search

In the last century, the world has lost about 95% of its tigers. If the wild population continues to decline at this rate, this big cat species faces extinction in the wild by 2022. The tiger is an adaptive species, but it requires adequate territory and prey to survive. And they’re threatened by poaching, illegal…

Volcano Danger

The Volcano Devils – photographer and filmmakers Maurice and Katia Krafft – were individuals independent of faculty association and government funding. They were professionals passionate about documenting volcano activity, offering precious images that volcanologists around the world use as reference. In about twenty-three years of work, they witnessed 120 volcanic eruptions and filmed approximately 500 hours of…

Iceland’s Volcanoes

As the mid-Atlantic rift opened some 24 million years ago, magma began to pour out at the bottom of the ocean. It spread across the sea floor in what is now the north Atlantic Ocean. But it took millions of years for volcanoes to reach the surface. Iceland, with about 200 post-glacial volcanoes, is one…

One of the lesser-known and less savory aspects of Benjamin Franklin’s diplomatic career in France during the Revolutionary War was his role in organizing pirate attacks on British shipping. Lest you judge Franklin too harshly, it should be mentioned that in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, unleashing freelance maritime bandits–”privateers” was the more polite-sounding…

America’s Undercover Pirates

One year into the American Revolution, and the outlook is bleak. The British have taken New York. The Continental Army is in desperate need of supplies and manpower. And hundreds of elderly American men are captured while en route to Paris. Personal letters from these apprehended men reach Benjamin Franklin. They speak of starvation, freezing…

Mysterious Ghost Ship

While searching for a Swedish spy plane shot down by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, an expedition team stumbles upon another Baltic Sea mystery: a long-forgotten shipwreck. A faint, intact outline hints its made of wood, possibly from the 17th century. But why did it go under, and what happened to the crew?…

Forgotten Ancient City

In the second millennium, the Egyptians were a superpower, having existed for over a thousand years. But in the shadows of the pyramids, an ancient city has been lost in time, disappearing from historical record. Whatever happened to the ancient empire of Qatna? Qatna was once a major city located directly at Egypt’s northern border.…

Gladiator Bones

Gladiators were the celebrities of roman pop culture. Larger-than-life figures, they were fearless individuals, trained to kill. And it’s estimated that over one million gladiators died fighting in Roman Empire arenas. But who were these ultimate prize fighters? From ancient texts, we know gladiators practiced their skills with a rudes (wooden sword), and were often…