While landing the 2014 Winter Olympic games was a crowning political achievement for Russian President Vladimir Putin, preparations for the Sochi games have not been so triumphant. With just three weeks until opening ceremonies, security officials are actively chasing down members of a terrorist group that has publicly threatened to disrupt the games. The seaside resort town of Sochi and neighboring sites of Olympic events have a long history of anti-government friction. Only a day’s drive from Chechnya, the region borders recently disputed territory with Georgia and was the site of an alleged genocide perpetrated by Russian Tsars in the 19th century. Our guest is writer Brett Forrest, he examined the landscape and geopolitics of the upcoming 2014 games in the January issue of National Geographic magazine.
A cloud-to-ground lightning strike severs the sky near Los Lunas, New Mexico. Tim Samaras and his crew chased the slow-moving storm cell until they ran out of road, and now can only watch as it moves on. New Mexico's sparse road system makes lightning chasing difficult. Far easier to navigate are the tight grids of farm roads crisscrossing the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles.
Veteran storm chaser Tim Samaras was one of 14 people killed when tornadoes ripped through El Reno Oklahoma last Friday. Tim, his son Paul Samaras and their colleague, Carl Young, perished while trying to document the storm. Tornadoes weren’t the only elusive weather phenomenon Tim was chasing. Last summer, we spoke to him about a more painstaking quest…he spent six years and traveled tens of thousands of miles to try and capture a lightning strike in super-slow motion using a six-foot-tall, 1600 pound, cold war-era camera, an endeavor profiled by National Geographic Magazine.
We begin with a story that defies credibility: descendants of escaped slaves still thriving in the Brazilian forest. Of the five million Africans brought to the Portuguese colony of Brazil, thousands escaped into the dense rainforest to live freely in isolated communities – called quilombos – where many of their descendants still live.