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

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 PST

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." 


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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST