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