Patrick J. Kiger

Blogger for the National Geographic Channel. I have written over the years for numerous print publications, ranging from GQ and Mother Jones to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and for a variety of news websites. I also am the co-author with Martin J. Smith of "Poplorica: A Popular History of the Fads, Mavericks, Inventions, and Lore that Shaped Modern America," and "Oops: 20 Life Lessons from the Fiascoes That Shaped America," both published by Harper Collins. I have appeared as a guest on numerous radio and TV programs, including NPR's "Talk of the Nation" and Fox News Weekend. In my spare time, I'm a student of kung fu (brown sash level) and a movie and pop music buff. You can read more of my work at www.patrickjkiger.com

Meet the Man Who Discovered Pluto

Mission Pluto, which airs on tonight at 9/8c on the National Geographic Channel, tells the story of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which is about to culminate a nine-and-half-year, three billion-mile journey by transmitting the first close-up photos of the dwarf planet’s surface. In addition to its unprecedented scientific mission, New Horizons has an honorary function…

Revisiting the Boston Bombings

It all began on April 15, 2013, when two homemade pressure-cooker bombs hidden in backpacks exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. A four-day-long manhunt eventually smoked out the alleged perpetrators 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, who eventually tried to flee…

9 Things We Could Appreciate More About the ’90s

Were the ‘90s the last great decade? It turns out that, while the decade had its share of violence, tragedy, and Pauly Shore movies, there were some things that, one could argue, deserve to be appreciated. Here are nine of them. What did we miss? Share the reasons you’re grateful for the ’90s in the comments below.…

Caribbean’s Deadly Underworld: Q&A With Bob Ballard

Tonight on Caribbean’s Deadly Underworld, renowned ocean explorer Bob Ballard and a team of scientists embark on a daring deep-sea expedition to explore the hidden geologic dangers of the Caribbean, and the bizarre life that inhabits these extreme ocean depths. Ballard, currently director of the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, has conducted…

Real-Life “Argo” Hero to Be Featured on Locked Up Abroad

Actor-director Ben Affleck’s Argo, which won the Best Picture statuette at Sunday night’s Academy Awards, is such an evocative spy thriller that from now on, it’ll be difficult to resist picturing  Affleck as the CIA agent who ingeniously rescued six U.S. diplomats from Tehran in 1980 by staging a fake movie production. But if you want to…

Tonight’s the Night: Killing Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, but some have said that his spirit has lingered on—and not just figuratively, either. Over the years, there have been multiple purported sightings of his ghost—at the White House and Ford’s Theatre where he was assassinated, at Fort Monroe in Virginia, and at his tomb in Springfield, Ill. The…

“The Following” — Could a Serial Killer Crowdsource His Crimes?

By Patrick J. Kiger The new Fox TV series The Following, which premieres January 21 at 9 p.m. Eastern time, offers an unusual—and zeitgeist-infused–twist on the usual police procedural in which an investigator pursues a serial killer. After Joe Carroll (portrayed by James Purefoy)—a former college literature instructor who murdered 14 female students-escapes from death…

Get Prepped: Hurricane Sandy is Coming

The participants in the National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers  tend to be preparing for scenarios that many of us would consider remote, such as a catastrophic collapse of the global economic system, or an electromagnetic pulse attack by terrorists or a foreign enemy that would disable the nation’s electricity grids and render much of our…

Dangers of Deep-Sea Exploration

Deep-sea exploration, of course, is an inherently dangerous pursuit. Venturing nearly seven miles down into the Challenger Deep, for example, means  surviving perhaps the most extreme, forbidding environment on the planet. The pressure is 1,000 times that experienced at sea level, the rough equivalent of having 50 jumbo jets piled atop the submersible, and the temperature…

The Challenger Deep’s First Explorer

In March, as filmmaker and undersea explorer James Cameron recently descended nearly seven miles into the Challenger Deep section of the south Pacific’s Mariana Trench in a submersible of his own design, a retired Navy officer named Don Walsh waited on the surface in Cameron’s support ship. Of all the people who were part of…