ThePodcastofDoom's podcast
The Podcast of Doom explores famous disasters and calamities throughout history.

A not so brief announcement about future podcast episodes.

Direct download: Episode_51_-_A_Podcast_Announcement.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:40pm PDT
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On December 26, 2004, an earthquake measuring approximately 9.1 on the seismic scale struck just off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. It was the third largest earthquake ever recorded. The shaking lasted between 8 and 10 minutes. The quake jolted the seafloor displacing hundreds of billions of gallons of water. The death toll was enormous, at 280,000 people. Fatalities took place in 14 countries when oceans waves pushed inland, crushing and flooding everything in its path. The tsunami also caught by surprise thousands of western tourists who had flocked to those coasts to enjoy their beautiful beaches.

Direct download: Episode_50_-_The_Indonesian_Earthquake_and_Tsunami.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 5:09pm PDT
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On January 28, 1986, Space Shuttle Challenger blew up 73 seconds into its flight during liftoff, killing all seven members of the crew. The entire sequence of events was carried live on television as a shocked nation watched the spacecraft explode and break apart in front of their eyes. 17 years later, Columbia had finished its mission and was returning to earth when it burned up and disintegrated during its return to Earth. The cause was a large hole in the left wing. In both cases the true source of the problem was organizational not mechanical. The failure of parts without negative consequences was so common in the space shuttle program, there was a name for it, "normalization of deviance." 

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In 1975, the Communist Party Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia, and began a series of measures to eliminate their perceived internal opponents and to transform their country into an agrarian-based, communist society. Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge, tried to cleanse Cambodian society along racial, social, religious and political lines. They would eventually be overthrown by a foreign army, but only after they had killed 1.5 to 3 million people.

Direct download: Episode_48_-_The_Killing_Fields_of_Cambodia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:33pm PDT
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As the Ottoman Empire went into decline in the early 20th century relations between Muslim Turks and Christian Armenians deteriorated. Demands for reform were met with violence. After the Ottomans entered into World War I the battlefield losses mounted and blame was focused on the Armenians marking the beginning of a genocide that would ultimately take 800,000 to 1.5 million lives.

Direct download: Episode_47_-_The_Armenian_Genocide.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:38pm PDT
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In 1846, a wagon train of emmigrants left Springfield, Illinois for the sunnier climes of California. Leaving at the ideal time for a cross-country trip by covered wagon, they knew they would need to get past the Sierra Nevada mountain range by early October. Instead, they were delayed by death, injuries, conflicts, and an ill-advised short cut that took them through thick forests and barren deserts where food and water were in short supply. They arrived at the Sierra just as the season's first blizzard blew in. Cut off by massive snow drifts the members of the Donner Party could only look at each other for food.

Direct download: Episode_46_-_The_Donner_Party_Tragedy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:41am PDT
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An announcement of the next five episode topics and an analysis of the current state of the world.

Direct download: Episode_45a_-_Charmed_Times.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 2:45pm PDT
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On August 29, 2005, Louisiana and Mississippi were hit by the full force of Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 storm that had been a Category 5. Lashing New Orleans with wind and rain, the storm surge caused all 53 federally-built levees to collapse inundating the city with water from the surrounding sea and lakes. Close to 2,000 people died including residents trapped in their attics and patients in hospitals. Thousands of people were left trapped on their roofs with no food or drinkable water, while tens of thousands crowded into the Superdome and Convention Center, where they suffered for days.

Direct download: Episode_45_-_Hurricane_Katrina.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 3:03pm PDT
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In control of Russia's ancient capital of Moscow, Napoleon and the Grand Armee found they were in control of little else. With winter closing in, food supplies running low, morale disintegrating and his supply route under threat, Napoleon had no choice but to evacuate Moscow. The retreat and decimation of his army would play out on a grand scale.

Direct download: Episode_44_-_Napoleons_Invasion_of_Russia_Part_II.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:25am PDT
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Napoleon Bonaparte worked his way up from artillery commander in  to unchallenged emperor of a French colussus that stretched across Europe from Spain to the Russian frontier. Napoleon seemed to have complete control over the continent, but he was challenged on the seas by the British and in the east by the Russians. Failing to launch a seaborne invasion against the British, he chose to invade Russia instead. It would turn out to be one the worst military decisions ever.

Direct download: Episode_44_-_Napoleons_Invasion_of_Russia_Part_I.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:24pm PDT
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When the Dutch merchant vessel the Batavia left Amsterdam in 1628 it took an unexpected trip that included a planned mutiny, being steered off course, and crashing on a reef in the Indian Ocean. But things were about to get a whole worse for the survivors. Their captain and commander would abandon them in a desparate search for drinking water, while a meglomanical apothecary would take absolute control of the island in which they were beached. He would soon hatch a plan to kill most of them, overwhelm the rescue party and abscond with all the silver and jewels from the ship.

Direct download: Episode_43_-_The_Batavia_Shipwreck.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:27pm PDT
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There was a time when the Concorde supersonic jet represented the future of pasenger air travel. The jets were sleek, modern and traveled twice as fast as conventional jets cutting the flight time from New York to Paris to just 3.5 hours. The future of the Concorde ended shortly after this tragic accident, when 109 people died on the plane and four died in the hotel where the jet crashed.

Direct download: Episode_42_-_The_Concorde_Jet_Crash.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT
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Just as the world's most lethal war was drawing to a conclusion, humanity was about to face a crisis of even greater proportions. The Spanish Influenza or flu turned out to be the second most fatal panedemic follwoing the Bubonic Plague of the middle ages. More than 50 million people would die from the flu and more than 500 million people would be infected. It was a truly global disease spreading from Europe and America out to all of the continents including Asia, Africa, South America and the islands of the South Pacific.

Direct download: Episode_41_-_The_Spanish_Flu.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:24pm PDT
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We'll be answering listener questions and revealing the topics for Episodes 41 - 45.

Direct download: Question_and_Answer_Time_Plus_Five_New_Episodes.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 2:31pm PDT
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Following the death of Mao Zedong, China liberalized its market policies. Under the guidance of new leader Deng Xaioping, China’s economy expanded rapidly, but growth was uneven. While a lucky few grew rich, most Chinese suffered the effects of inflation, limited job opportunities, nepotism and large scale corruption. All while the Communist Party stifled individual freedoms. Following the death of a popular reformer, hundreds of thousands of young Chinese gathered in Tiananmen Square in the heart of China’s capital, Beijing. After more than a month of protests, the government responded—with a very heavy hand.

Direct download: Episode_40_-_The_Crackdown_at_Tiananmen_Square_v.2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:54pm PDT
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Bram Stoker, used this actual prince as the inspiration for his famous vampire character, Count Dracula. Vlad Tepes or Vlad Dracula was the real life ruler of Wallachia in the 15th century. In the war between the Hungarians and the Ottomans he switched sides several times depending on his immediate needs. Once in power he used the threats of impalement and being burned alive to maintain order. To many he was a villian, but to Romanians he was a hero.

Direct download: Episode_39_-_Vlad_Tepes_-_The_Original_Dracula.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 12:40pm PDT
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On the morning of December 6, 1917, the French cargo ship, SS Mont-Blanc, laden with high explosives collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Canadian port city of Halifax, setting the Mont-Blanc on fire. When the ordinance on board the French vessel ignited, it caused the largest man-made explosion prior to the development of nuclear weapons. 30 years later in Texas City, Texas, another vessel, the SS Grandcamp was transporting 2,200 tons of ammonium nitrate when a fire started in the ship’s cargo hold. That fire started a chain reaction of explosions that killed nearly 600 people.

Direct download: Episode_38_-_The_Halifax_and_Texas_City_Ship_Explosions.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 1:05pm PDT
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In 1986, Russia was still communist and Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union. The town of Chernobyl in northern Ukraine was home to a major nuclear power plant that produced 10% of Ukraine’s electrical needs. During a late night safety test, inherent reactor design flaws along with operator error resulted in an uncontrolled reaction that resulted in a steam explosion and eventually a graphite fire. For the next 9 days, plumes of fissionable material were lofted into the air eventually dropping back down on the USSR and Europe. 

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At its peak, the Piper Alpha oil platform was producing 300,000 barrels of oil a day, or 10% of Britain’s total oil production from just one platform. In 1980, the platform was modified to drill for natural gas in addition to oil. In 1988, the rig was due for major maintenance and upgrades. The operator, Occidental Petroleum, made the decision not to shut production down during this work. When a safety valve was removed for scheduled repairs it initiated a series of errors and events that led to a number of massive explosions that took the lives of 167 workers or three-quarters of the crew.

Direct download: Episode_36_-_The_Explosion_at_Piper_Alpha.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 2:47pm PDT
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An announcement regarding the subjects for episodes 36-40.

Direct download: Episode_36_-40_Announcement.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 7:53am PDT
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David Koresh was a powerful figure in the Davidians, a Seventh-Day Adventist splinter group.  In 1993, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives raided Koresh’s ranch in Waco, Texas. A gun battle between the ATF and the Branch Davidians ended with the deaths of four agents and six of Koresh’s followers. Two months later, the FBI attempted to raid the compound again. During the raid, tear gas was launched into the domicile where the Davidians were holed up. There were 98 men, women and children inside the building when it exploded into flames.

Direct download: Episode_35_-_Clampdown_Part_II_-_The_Siege_at_Waco.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 7:15pm PDT
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In 1985, Philadelphia police attempted to enter the residence of a radical religious/political organization known as MOVE. When numerous attempts to enter the house from either side failed, the city police commissioner ordered an explosive device to be dropped on the house right in the middle of a densely populated residential neighborhood. The result was the deaths of six adults and five children and the burning down of an entire neighborhood. This is Part I of two parts. Part II will be about David Koresh and the Branch Davidians.

Direct download: Episode_35_-_Clampdown_Part_I_-_The_MOVE_Bombing.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 5:39pm PDT
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Episode 34 - Jews vs. Romans: The Bar Kokhba Revolt

When the ancient Romans attempted to establish control in Judea during the first century of the modern era, they touched off violent rebellions from the native Jewish residents. These violent wars between the Jews and the Romans led to the deaths of thousands of people. In the year 132, Simon Bar Kokhba led a third and final revolt. After a number of initial rebel victories, Emperor Hadrian called in his general Julius Severus to lead an immense Roman army assembled from every corner of the empire to deal with the Jewish rebels. The war led to the deaths of more than a half a million Jews and the Jewish state was wiped away not to return for 1,800 years. These events played an important part in the bible, particularly the Gospels.

Direct download: Episode_34_-_Jews_vs_Romans_The_Bar_Kokhba_Revolt.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:12pm PDT
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Episode 34 - Jews vs. Romans: The Bar Kokhba Revolt

When the ancient Romans attempted to establish control in Judea during the first century of the modern era, they touched off violent rebellions from the native Jewish residents. These violent wars between the Jews and the Romans led to the deaths of thousands of people. In the year 132, Simon Bar Kokhba led a third and final revolt. After a number of initial rebel victories, Emperor Hadrian called in his general Julius Severus to lead an immense Roman army assembled from every corner of the empire to deal with the Jewish rebels. The war led to the deaths of more than a half a million Jews and the Jewish state was wiped away not to return for 1,800 years. These events played an important part in the bible, particularly the Gospels.

Direct download: Episode_34_-_Jews_vs_Romans_The_Bar_Kokhba_Revolt.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:12pm PDT
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Episode 33 - The French and Russian Heatwaves

Two heatwaves, less than ten years apart and less than fifteen years ago struck Western and Eastern Europe killing tens of thousands of people, many as they suffered in their apartments and homes. Were these freak occurrences or something we should be getting adjusted to?

Direct download: Episode_33_-_The_French_and_Russian_Heatwaves.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 8:56pm PDT
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Episode 32 - The Ancash Avalanche and Earthquake

On Sunday, May 31, 1970, while most of Peru was watching the World Cup game of Brazil vs. Italy, a major earthquake struck just off the coast. The quake flattened buildings and collapsed bridges and roads, but the worst was yet to come when a 500 meter long slab of ice slid off a 21,000 foot mountain peak and made a beeline for the villages below.

Direct download: Episode_32_-_The_Ancash_Avalanche_and_Earthquake.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:52pm PDT
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Episode 31 - The Deadly Cloud at Lake Nyos

On August 21, 1986, a giant cloud of carbon dioxide rose from Lake Nyos in Cameroon, Africa. As the cloud filtered down it displaced all of the air in its wake. Sixteen miles away it settled into three villages killing some 1,700 people. Lake Nyos was the first known large-scale asphyxiation caused by a natural event.

Direct download: Episode_31_-_The_Deadly_Cloud_at_Lake_Nyos.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 7:49pm PDT
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Episode 30 - The Children's Crusade

After the failures of four Christian crusades to save the holy land from the infidel Saracens, the good people of Europe had finally had enough. It was time for the knights, nobles and corrupt merchant sailors to step aside and make way for the pure warriors--the Children Crusaders.

Direct download: Episode_30_-_The_Childrens_Crusade.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 7:02am PDT
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Episode 29 - The Bomb That Fizzled

In 1968, a Stanford biology professor predicted population growth would outstrip food production. Nations would disappear and 100's of millions of people would die from starvation. It didn't happen that way. Are we finally out of the woods?

Direct download: Episode_29_The_Bomb_That_Was_a_Dud.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 7:24pm PDT
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Episode 28 - King Leopold II of Belgium

A brief overview of Belgium's most notorious king.

Direct download: Episode_28_King_Leopold_II.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 7:29pm PDT
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Episode 27 - Queen Isabella of Castile

A brief overview of the good and the bad of Spain's most famous Queen--Isabella.

Direct download: Episode_27_-_Queen_Isabella_of_Spain.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 7:49pm PDT
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Episode 26 - The Mosul Dam

Iraq's largest dam was built when Saddam Hussein ruled the country. But the planners did not take care to select an appropriate location and the dam ended up being built atop soft rock. If the dam breaks as many engineers feel it will soon, it could wipe out the cities of Mosul and Baghdad where millions of people live.

Direct download: Episode_26_The_Mosul_Dam_II.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 4:07pm PDT
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Episode 25 - Stalin's Great Purge

Joseph Stalin rose rapidly and ruthlessly through the ranks of the Soviet leadership. On his way up he took drastic measures to suppress his enemies including the forced collectivization of peasants that killed millions by famine. Other party leaders resented his tyrannical ways. Stalin countered with the Great Purges: a period when all of his enemies were accused of treason and no Russian could feel safe. The convicted were sent to prisons known as gulags or were executed. Those purged included wealthy peasants, political opponents within the Communist party, national minorities, writers, artists, the Secret Police themselves and eventually the officers of the Red Army just prior to the outbreak of World War II.

Direct download: Episode_25_-_Stalins_Great_Purge.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 10:09pm PDT
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On June 23, 1985, an Air India Boeing 747 blew up over Irish airspace killing all 329 passengers and crew onboard. On the flight were 268 Canadian citizens. It was Canada’s largest mass murder incident ever. A Sikh militant group named Babbar Khalsa was eventually determined to have planted the explosive that brought the plane down. The formal investigation took more than 20 years and was the most expensive in Canadian history, concluding that a cascading series of errors was responsible for the terrorist attack. The investigation held the Canadian government, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Security Intelligence Service responsible for lapses in security and prevention. But the original cause may have gone back to the British partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.

Direct download: Episode_24_-_The_Bombing_of_Air_India_182.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33pm PDT
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Episode 23 - The Ring, Iroquois and Station Fires

At the glorious height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a new opera house was built in the middle of its capital, Vienna. On the night of December 8, 1881, Vienna’s elite came to the theater to watch Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffman.” When lighting the gas lights, the stage hand acciddently ignited the curtains behind him. Although Vienna had established procedures for preventing fires, those procedure were not followed and the curtain burst into flames in front of hundreds of terrified theater-goers.

On the night of December 30, 1903, Chicago's Iroquois theater was staging a performance of Mr. Blubeard. That day the theater was packed to beyond capacity in violation of existing city fire codes. In the middle of the second act, an electrical spark touched off a curtain. Attempts to smother the fire only made it spread higher, and an attempt to lower an asbestos fire curtain failed. The theater packed with mostly women and children went into a panic.

In 2003, an excited Warwick, Rhode Island packed the Station nightclub to beyond capacity to see the band Great White. A pyrotechnic display designed for outdoor use only was set off for fifteen seconds. In less time than that it started a fire in the foam acoustic walls that spread with startling rapidity. Confused concertgoers did not move quickly enough to escape the flames.

Direct download: Episode_23_-_Three_Theater_Fires.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:29pm PDT
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Episode 22 - The Assassins

In the 11th Century, a sect of Nizari Ismailis took to the mountains of Iran under the leadership of Hassan-I Sabbah (The Old Man of the Mountain). Sabbah was charismatic and drew followers from all over the Muslim Middle East. Drilling his followers on religious teachings, Sabbah carved out his own kingdom that threatened those around him. He trained his followers to carry out his orders to kill any political figure who stood in his way. These followers were called Hashshashin. It is where we get the word Assassins. The Sabbah’s Assassins made life miserable for competing Muslim as well as the Christian Crusaders who were just entering the scene.

Direct download: Episode_22_-_The_Assassins_.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 7:46pm PDT
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Episode 21.5 - A Word About Paris

A few words about the recent events in Paris.

Direct download: A_Word_About_Paris.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 8:28pm PDT
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Episode 21 - A Couple of Crushes

On June 16, 1883, Mr. and Mrs. Fay presented a magic and variety show at Victoria Hall in Sunderland, England. The show featured conjurers, marionettes, illusionists and talking wax figures. At the end of the show prizes would be given away. More than 2,000 children showed up and filled the hall to capacity. When the prizes were distributed to the children nearest the stage, the children in the upper gallery panicked and rushed the doors in the lower gallery, which had been bolted closed to an opening the width of one child.

One hundred years later, in Sheffield, England, a different stampede took place. Thousands of Liverpool football fans showed up at neutral Hillsborough stadium to watch their team face Nottingham Forest for the right to play for the Cup. When the fans arrived en masse they were faced with narrow entrances and decrepit turnstiles just as the match was about to get underway.

Direct download: Episode_21_-_A_Couple_of_Crushes.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 1:12pm PDT
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Episode 20.5 - Question and Answer Time

Time to answer your questions about Episodes 1-20. Also, an announcement of the topics for episodes 21-25.

Direct download: Post_Episode_20_Question_and_Answer.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:26pm PDT
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Episode 20 - The Jonestown Massacre

You’re familiar with the term “Don’t Drink the Kool Aid?” It basically means don’t go along with the dominant way of thinking. It also has become an easy way for people to end an argument when they have run out of ideas. In this episode we will learn about the origin of the term “Don’t Drink the Kool Aid.” It goes back to a small town Indiana preacher named Jim Jones, who idolized charismatic leaders like Stalin, Marx, Mao, Gandhi and Hitler, and dreamed of building a communist utopia. He gathered about him a congregation of poor and repressed people in a place he called, “The Peoples Temple.” When Jones became overly concerned about the scrutiny of the public eye, he moved his temple out of the United States and into Guyana. However, the move didn’t resolve Jones’s worries. In fact, his paranoia grew only deeper.

Direct download: Episode_20_-_The_Jonestown_Massacre.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:37pm PDT
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Episode 19 - The Irish Potato Famine

Potato blight was the proximate cause of the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1849, but there were many contributing causes including the high dependency on this food staple, the harshness of British rule, the passage of laws that prohibited Irish Catholics from owning land, absentee landlords, dire poverty, and the subdivision of holdings that made the raising of any crops other than potatoes nearly impossible. As the famine took its toll, more than 1.5 million people would die of starvation in Ireland and another 1 million would emigrate to other countries

Direct download: Irish_Potato_Famine.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:49pm PDT
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China is a nation of many rivers and following mass industrialization efforts in the mid-20th century, China also became a nation of dams. One of those important dams was the Banqiao on the River Ru. The Chinese government boasted that the Banqiao Dam was built to withstand a once-in-a-thousand-year rainstorm. There was only one small problem: in August of 1975, eastern China was about to be hit by a once-in-a-two-thousand year rainstorm. The combination of a typhoon colliding with a cold front caused more than 40 inches of rain to fall in one day with 7.5 inches falling in just one hour. During the storm more than 62 dams would fail and more than 200,000 people were reported killed.

 

Direct download: Banqiao_Dam_Failure_3.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 7:16am PDT
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Episode 17 - The Iranian Blizzard and Carolean Death March

Two giant blizzards on two different continents in two different centuries. The Iranian Blizzard of 1972 killed more than 4,000 people, many who died from exposure or suffocation beneath the snow. In one week the storm dropped as much as 26 feet of snow. In a different century on a different continent, a Swedish army prepares to invade Norway as part of a plan to retore their power and pride. But a campaign that starts in August and was only supposed to last 6 weeks ends up taking just a little longer. Things get really complicated when the King of Sweden dies and this army in the far north must return to the homeland over a range of difficult mountain passes just as the worst winter in years is about to hit.

Direct download: Episode_17_-_The_Iranian_Blizzard_and_Carolean_Death_March.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 7:51pm PDT
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Three months after the surrender of Nazi Germany to Allied forces concluded World War II in Europe, fighting was still raging between the Allies and the Japanese Imperial government. Between mid-April and mid-July, 1945, Japanese forces inflicted half as many casualties as those suffered during the three previous years of fighting in the Pacific. With the capture of the Japanese Island of Okinawa, American forces were at the doorstep of the main island. With his military advisors cautioning Harry Truman that a conventional attack would result in over 1 million American casualties, the U.S. President faced one of the most difficult decisions in world history: risk millions of lives in a ground invasion or use the most powerful weapon ever developed against a civilian population.

Direct download: Episode_16_-_The_Bombing_of_Nagasaki.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:15pm PDT
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I am back for a quick update on the status of the podcast. The good news is we will continue the project. The downside is you will have to wait until July. Hang in there and thanks for listening.

Direct download: Podcast_of_Doom_Mid-Sabbatical_Message.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:21pm PDT
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Episode 15 concludes with a summary of what happend after the Trail of Tears and The Death March of Bataan and what we can learn from those two forced marches.

Direct download: Episode_15_-_A_Tail_of_Two_Trails_II_-_Conclusion.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 12:44pm PDT
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A comparison of two different forced marches, on two different continents and in two different centuries. In one case, Americans were the victims, in the other case, they were the perpetrators. Thousands died in the Bataan March during World War II, as the Japanese Army forced the defeated American and Filipino troops on an 80-mile march to Camp O’Donnell. The forced relocation of Native Americans out of the American South led to the deaths of thousands of people by exposure, disease and starvation. We will look at how two forced marches changed history. 

Direct download: A_Tail_of_Two_Trails.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 8:42pm PDT
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Episode 14 - The Black Death

The Bubonic Plague, a.k.a. The Black Death, first appeared in China, and owing to improved trade routes, quickly moved across the Asian plateau to the Black Sea and eventually all of Europe. Killing at the rate of 1 out of every 3 people, it wiped out whole villages and towns at a time. Panic led to the mass persecutions of Jews, Romani, and lepers. The plague changed world history and European culture; and it continued to strike again and again in the centuries that followed.

Direct download: Episode_14_-_The_Black_Death.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 10:03pm PDT
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Episode 13 - The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755

On November 1, 1755, All Saints Day, the city of Lisbon, Portugal was hit by a massive earthquake. The shaking lasted more than three-and-a-half minutes. Frightened residents ran out from beneath their crumbling buildings for the open safety of the harbor. But those who lingered too long, were swept out to sea by the tsunami that followed forty minutes later. And then came five days of fire. The earthquake not only shook up the people of Portugal; it had a profound effect on the European Enlightenment.

Direct download: The20Great20Lisbon20Earthquake20of201755.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 4:16pm PDT
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I just wanted to get you caught up on why it has taken so long to produce the next episode. Also, a special POD segment on the History Podcasters College project on Terrible Leaders. And, the Nicki Minaj POD video special.

Direct download: Apology_and_Explanation.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 2:30pm PDT
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In the last months of World War II, German forces were in full retreat from Eastern Europe. German commanders decided they had no choice but to evacuate Courland in East Prussia. The last remaining route for escape was through the Baltic; and so the Germans launched Operation Hannibal. It would be the largest evacuation by sea in history. On the night of January 30th, the luxury cruiser, Wilhelm Gustloff was loaded down with more than 10,000 civilians and military personnel when it came within firing range of a Soviet submarine.

Direct download: Episode_12_-_Wilhelm_Gustloff_-_Final.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 4:44pm PDT
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Episode 11 - The British Retreat from Kabul

During the "Great Game" with the Russian Empire, the British invaded and took control of Afghanistan as a colonial possession. Within a few years, the Afghan people were in open revolt against their British occupiers. With assurances of safe passage from rebel leader, Akbar Khan, Major General Sir William Elphinstone, evacuated 4,000 soldiers and 12,000 camp followers. The British and their Indian allies were lulled into a trap that along with severely cold weather, a lack of equipment and incompetent leadership led to the deaths of almost the entire force.

Direct download: Episode_11_-_The_British_Retreat_from_Kabul.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 4:34pm PDT
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A look back at the last five episodes and a sneak peak at the next five episodes. A some well deserved recognition for listener suggestions and contributions. We will look at Kabul, Afghanistan, the British Army, Jalalabad, Germany, German, Russia, Russian, Soviet, Crimea, Wilhelm Gustloff, Lisbon, Portugal, earthquake, tsunami, fire, the Black Death, Bubonic Plague, Europe, China, India, Caffa, Bataan, Philippines, American, Japanese, Trail of Tears, Choctaw, Seminole, Cherokee, Muscogee and Indian Removal Act of 1830.

Direct download: Intermezzo_and_Sneak_Peak_into_Episodes_11_-15.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:22pm PDT
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On the night of December 2-3, 1984, the people of Bhopal, India and the surrounding areas were exposed to a massive chemical leak of methyl isocyanate gas from the nearby Union Carbide plant. The people of Bhopal suffered coughing, vomiting, severe eye irritation and a feeling of suffocation. For many death eventually followed. Animals bloated and died and the tree leaves turned yellow and fell.  The leak would be the cause of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries.

Direct download: Episode_10_-_The_Bhopal_Gas_Leak_.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 12:56pm PDT
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Located on the small island of Martinique in the Caribbean, the  volacano of Mt. Pelee showed signs of activity around the turn of the last century. Day by day inhabitants of the island watched the activity increase. Sulfur vapors gave way to a light rain of cinders and eventually expolosions and columns of black smoke. Yet the inhabitants of the nearby town of Saint-Pierre were completely unprepared for the blast of superheated gas and rock that was headed their way at one hundred miles an hour.

Direct download: Mount_Pelee_take_2.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 1:45pm PDT
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Episode 8 - The Cultural Revolution

Stung by the enormous failure of the Great Leap Forward, Chairman Mao Zedong, discredited leader of Communist China, institutes a plan to regain his former popularity and erradicate his critics. The revolution's outward aim was to reinvigorate Marxist-Leninist ideology in the Chinese people. It's less publicized goal was to restore Mao's Cult of Personality--his unquestioned authority over the government and his adoration by the people. It resulted in the persecution of millions and the deaths of hundreds of thousands.

Direct download: Episode_8_-_The_Cultural_Revolution.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 12:59pm PDT
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Episode 7 - Elizabeth Bathory: The Blood Countess

Elizabeth Bathory, The Blood Countess, was a powerful member of the aristocracy in 16th century Hungary. Following the death of her husband, with the help of her servants, she began abducting local peasant girls. The abductees were taken to her castle where they were tortured and murdered. Although, she was investigated for murdering hundreds of people, she was never put on trial. Included in this podcast is an interview with Mark Hewitt, of the blog, Radians and Inches. Mark discusses what makes serial killers tick.

Direct download: Elizabeth_Bathory_The_Blood_Countess.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 7:56pm PDT
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For centuries, Londoners had grown accustomed to "Pea-Soupers," thick ground fog that made travel and often walking or bicycling difficult. Following the changes that accompanied the Industrial Revolution, Londoners had also grown accustomed to having a little bit of dust and smoke mixed in with their fog. What they got on a cold December week in 1952 was thicker and more fatal than any man-made disaster before or since.

Direct download: The_Great_Smog_of_London.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:43pm PDT
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Analysis - Episodes 1 - 5

We will analyze Episodes 1 through 5 looking for ways that history could have played out differently. We will compare and contrast The Peshtigo Fire, The Rwanda Genocide, The Man-Eating Tiger of Champawat, The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Airplane Accident at Tenerife. Spoiler Alert! I will also let you know what the topics will be for the next five episodes.

Direct download: Analysis_-_Episodes_1-5.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:04pm PDT
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A short reflection on the life and achievements of Nelson Mandela.

Direct download: Commentary_-_Nelson_Mandela.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 8:31pm PDT
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Introduction to the Podcast of Doom

An explanation of why I started the Podcast of Doom. What is Epic Failure Analysis? Why do bad things happen to good and bad people? How do large disasters happen? What can we do to prevent or limit the damage?

Direct download: 00A_-_Introduction.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 7:46pm PDT
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Following a terrorist bombing at the Canary Islands' largest airport, international traffic is rerouted to the much smaller airport at nearby Tenerife. As jumbo jets line up for take off, a thick fog settles in. A KLM 747 is given clearance to taxi down the runway and complete a 180-degree turn to prepare for take-off. With tragic consequences, a Pan Am 747 enters the same runway from the opposite end and moves straight into the path of the KLM jet.

Direct download: Episode20520-20The20Tenerife20Air20Crash.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 7:19am PDT
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During World War II, after delivering the world's first operational atomic bomb, the United States Navy Cruiser USS Indianapolis is sunk by a Japanese submarine in the middle of the western Pacific. More than 300 sailors drowned; but for the more than 880 survivors of the torpedoes, more horrors awaited.

Direct download: The_Sinking_of_the_USS_Indianapolis_Final.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 11:00pm PDT
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A brief statement about the recent typhoon that hit the Phillipines.

Direct download: Commentary-Typhoon_Haiyan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:58pm PDT
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In turn-of-the-century India and Nepal, an injured Bengal tiger develops a taste for human flesh. During her rampage, she manages to kill over 400 people and strike terror into the hearts of the villagers in the region. She was the fiercest of many man-eating beasts prevalent in Northern India and Nepal during the late 19th and early 20th century.

Direct download: Man-eater_of_Champawat_Final.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:43pm PDT
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The Rwandan Genocide of 1994, resulted in the largest loss of life in the shortest period of time. It is believed that more than 800,000 people died in less than 3 months in a violent struggle that pitted neighbor against neighbor and family member against family member.  Find out how this small sub-Saharan nation became a ticking time-bomb.

Direct download: Rwanda_11.04.13_Final.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 9:25pm PDT
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A raging forest fire obliterates a small Wisconsin lumber town.

Direct download: Peshtigo_Audio_Track._Final_Version.mp3
Category:Social and Culture -- posted at: 10:00am PDT
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