Catastrophe!

de Jess Phoenix

Episodios

Can of Worms

por Jess Phoenix

How do we evaluate if something rises up to a catastrophe? In this mini catastrophe, co-host Carlos Phoenix and Emilie Fournier explore computer security and threats to our global infrastructure.  They explore the virus/worm Stuxnet and how the United States used it in cyber espionage and attack against Iran's nuclear enrichment plant Natanz. This opened the door for the risk of weaponizing cyber attacks against global infrastructure. Will we convince you that this computer virus attack is a catastrophe?

Raving Mad

por Jess Phoenix

How do we evaluate if something rises up to a catastrophe? This mini catastrophe explores rabies and whether its impact to humans and our pets rises to a level of catastrophe.

In this mini catastrophe format, co-host Carlos Phoenix welcomes a new producer and co-host Emilie Fournier. The vaccine for Rabies has made this a non-issue for some regions of the world, but for others the devastation is significant. Will we convince you that rabies is a catastrophe?

No Prospect of an End

por Jess Phoenix

The second half of our season finale on climate change. It's the single greatest threat in our lifetime. It's the catastrophic global Dust Bowl of the 21st century and beyond. We answer listener questions and give some pointers about how to take action in your life.

No Vestige of a Beginning

por Jess Phoenix

Climate change is the single greatest threat in our lifetime. It's the catastrophic global Dust Bowl of the 21st century and beyond. Cutting through the jargon and myths is essential if we want to stop this disaster-in-motion.

Alpha & Omega

por Jess Phoenix

In the late 1980s, oil and gas production were common in the North Sea, off the coast of Scotland. Rig workers were accustomed to long hours in harsh conditions, but nothing could have prepared the men working on Piper Alpha for the catastrophic series of events that took the lives of nearly three-quarters of the crew one July night. 

Do No Harm

por Jess Phoenix

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment was a 40-year lesson in how not to conduct medical research on human subjects. Sadly, it wasn't the only episode where the United States and its government researchers neglected ethical obligations to participants in experiments. The Guatemala Experiments were a ghastly violation of patient rights, and serve as a stark reminder of why we need someone to watch the watchmen.

De Havilland's Comet

por Jess Phoenix

Air travel has been a dream of humanity since our earliest ancestors gazed up to the heavens longingly. From a relatively earthbound species just a little over 100 years ago, to thousands of airliners cruising the skies daily, our journey to the sky has not been without complication.

The very first jetliner to carry paying passengers was the futuristic, elegant DH 106 Comet. Its streamlined body, innovative engine design, and promise of luxurious travel were a dream come true for a post-war world. However, the Comet’s rise was marked with tragedy that would change the world of engineering forever.

Lions & Tigers & Bears

por Jess Phoenix

Species have evolved, flourished, and died off for eons. It's only within the last few millennia, however, that humans have been responsible for wiping entire species off the face of the planet.

The extinctions of the Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger), the Mexican Grizzly Bear, and the Barbary Lion are case studies in how humans can topple apex predators from their perches. The consequences of eradicating the world's top predators are far-reaching, and bringing them back from the dead - if they're even really gone - has its own set of challenges.

Guns, God, and the United States Government

por Jess Phoenix

In 1993, a fringe religious group with an apocalyptic belief system and a charismatic leader who abused children and called himself the Son of God put the town of Waco, Texas on the map for horrific reasons.

US government agencies knew the group was stockpiling illegal weapons at an alarming rate. Their efforts to serve warrants at the group’s compound resulted in numerous deaths, scores of injuries, a  51-day standoff, and a final, fiery end that would amount to one of the deadliest events in the history of United States law enforcement.

Eternal, Infernal Flame

por Jess Phoenix

A devastating underground fire deep within the coal deposits of Pennsylvania has been burning for 57 years. Started by accident, it grew into a monstrosity that drove an entire town into oblivion. 

The Centralia Mine Fire is one of mining's longest-lived catastrophes, and it provides yet another example of greed and poor decision-making gone horribly, irreversibly wrong. It's such a unique, disturbing place that it was even the inspiration for the Silent Hill series of video games and movies.

The Fault In The Food

por Jess Phoenix

In the summer of 1971, the Middle East was hit with a devastating drought. In an effort to provide its people with food, the Iraqi government purchased 95,000 tonnes of grain from North America. Despite the good intentions, this grain would injure over 6,000 people and kill 459 officially, while more realistic estimates put the casualties at ten times those numbers.

The grain that proved so deadly to Iraqi families wasn't meant to be eaten at all. A special coating applied to the grain was intended to protect it from rot while in transit. The coating was safe for grain that would be planted, but toxic if used to make bread, or feed animals. Governments around the world were aware of this risk, but in 1971 few had actually passed legislation to prevent the kind of poisoning that scarred Iraq forever.

Mulholland's Mistake

por Jess Phoenix

William Mulholland was an almost legendary figure in American engineering, with a career spanning 40-plus years. He was responsible for bringing water to the thirsty young metropolis of Los Angeles.

When he built his second concrete gravity dam, however, he overstepped his own knowledge. The collapse of the St. Francis Dam killed at least 411 people, with many still unidentified to this day. When the dam burst, nearly 12.5 billion gallons of water raced from the mountains above present-day Santa Clarita over 50 miles to the Pacific Ocean, destroying everything - and everyone - in the way.

Horseshoe Nail

por Jess Phoenix

Catastrophes are part of life, but many of the worst are the direct result of human error. Whether it’s poor planning, design flaws, or simply greed or hubris, we are often our own worst enemy.

Join volcanologist Jess Phoenix as she explores the stories of natural disaster, failure, and calamity, and what we learn from our fascination with digging through the rubble.