Resources

 

Books, Articles, & Other Research Material by Episode:

Click on an episode title below to see more.

Full Episodes
Episode 1: True Lies
Episode 2: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Episode 3: WarGames
Episode 4: Broken Arrow
Episode 5: Star Trek (TOS) – The City on the Edge of Forever
Episode 6: Star Trek (TOS) – Assignment: Earth
Episode 7: G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Episode 8: The Peacemaker
Episode 9: Fail-Safe
Episode 10: Nuclear War Card Game
Episode 11: Independence Day
Episode 12: The Terminator Movies
Episode 13: Star Wars
Episode 14: Twilight Zone – The Shelter
Episode 15: Special Bulletin
Episode 16: Threads
Episode 17: The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
Episode 18: Star Trek First Contact
Episode 19: Fallout
Episode 20: Octopussy
Episode 21: Ladybug Ladybug
Episode 22: The Man in the High Castle
Episode 23: Watchmen
Episode 24: Nuke Cage Podcast
Episode 25: Blue Sky & Nuclear Test Site Visit
Episode 26: The Hunt for Red October
Episode 27: Atomic Train
Episode 28: Atomic Alcohol

Mini-Nuke Episodes:
Episode 1: Star Trek: Beyond
Episode 2: Blast from the Past
Episode 3: The “Daisy” Ad
Episode 4: The Martian
Episode 5: Batman v Superman
Episode 6: Jaws
Episode 7: The Interview
Episode 8: The Leftovers
Episode 9: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Episode 10: Back to the Future

Episode 1: True LiesSC-TrueLies-FaceBook-thumbnail

In this episode, we go undercover with the 1994 action spy comedy, True Lies. What does this movie tell us about nuclear terrorism? Can a nuclear warhead really be confused for a snow cone maker? Why wasn’t Tom Arnold at least considered to play the new James Bond? We explore these questions and more.

Before the podcast reached the part of the bridge that was out, we recommended reading:

Episode 2: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

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In this episode, our mission — we chose to accept — is to talk about the nuclear nonsense in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Can you nuke a city to save a city? Why is there always an “abort the launch” button? Would the Nuclear Football deflate if it is in Siberia? We answer these questions and more.

Before the podcast self-destructed, we recommended reading:

Other sources to check out:

Episode 3: WarGames

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In this episode, we play a nice game of chess. After five minutes of that, we put on the 1983 Cold War movie and techno-horror story, WarGames. Can a country “win” a nuclear war? Could a faulty computer actually lead to WWIII? How did ICBM silo missileers keep themselves occupied before there were portable DVD players? We answer these questions and more.

Before the podcast went back to DEFCON 5, we recommended reading:

Other sources to check out:

Episode 4: Broken Arrow

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In this episode, we eject from our aircraft and land on John Woo’s 1996 slow-motion action opera, Broken Arrow. What happens when a disgruntled Air Force pilot decides to steal from his employer? Does an underground nuclear explosion set off an EMP? Is it really that easy for nuclear bombs to fall out of airplanes? We answer these questions and more.

Before the podcast finds the nukes we are looking for, we recommended reading:

Other sources to check out:

Episode 5: Star Trek (The Original Series) – The City on the Edge of Forever

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In this episode, we boldly overanalyzed what no one had deemed necessary to overanalyze before: the nuclear nonsense in the acclaimed Star Trek episode, The City on the Edge of Forever. How close was Nazi Germany to actually building an atomic bomb? Could one person convince America to stay out of WWII? Will Captain James T. Kirk ever catch a break in his love life? With the help of our special guest and Star Trek enthusiast Gabe, we answer these questions and more.

Before the podcast beamed back aboard the Enterprise, we recommended reading:

Other sources to check out:

Episode 6: Star Trek (The Original Series) – Assignment: Earth

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In the second part of our two part Star Trek marathon, we continue to boldly overanalyze what no one had deemed necessary to overanalyze before: the nuclear nonsense in the fail Star Trek spin-off pilot, Assignment: Earth. Why did countries think it was a good idea to put nuclear weapons in space? What does it look like when a nuke goes off in the vacuum of space? Is it still okay these days to name your cat Isis? With the continued help of our special guest and Star Trek enthusiast Gabe, we answer these questions and more.

Before the podcast attempted a gravitational slingshot maneuver around the sun to travel back in time, we recommended reading:

  • Joseph Goldsen, Outer Space in World Politics, (Literary Licensing, 1963) especially chapter by  Thomas Schelling on “The Military Use of Bombardment Satellites”
  • Bob Preston, Dana Johnson, Sean Edwards, Michael Miller, and Calvin Shipbaugh, Space Weapons, Earth Wars (RAND, 2002)

Other sources to check out:

Episode 7: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

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In this episode, we are still unaware of what the other half of the battle is, but we do know some things about the 2013 action movie, G.I. Joe: Retaliation. How can a villain trick the world into global nuclear disarmament? Does the U.S. military really have plans to steal Pakistan’s nuclear weapons? Does The Rock action figure come with a kung-fu grip? We answer these questions and more.

Before the podcast parachuted out of our exploding helicopter, we recommended reading:

Other sources to check out:

Episode 8: The Peacemaker

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In this episode, we leave our boring jobs and become Jason Borne Bureaucrats, because we watch the 1997 action-thriller, The Peacemaker. How easy is it to steal a Russian nuclear warhead? What the heck does SS-18 mean? Is it really a good idea to try and stab a plutonium core and smash it with a gun? We answer these questions and more.

Before our podcast jumped in the pool to wash off our radioactive debris, we recommended reading:

Other sources to check out:

Episode 9: Fail-Safe

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In this episode, we maxed out our conference call lines while debating the 1964 drama-thriller movie, Fail-Safe. What happens when you can’t recall your own nuclear bombers en route to Moscow? How many air planes can you knock out of the sky with a nuclear bomb? How do you convince your enemy that accidents — even nuclear ones — do happen? The podcast hosts and special guest/TCM guru Victoria answer these questions and more.

Before the podcast’s phone line melts in a fireball, we recommended reading:

Other sources to check out :

Episode 10: Nuclear War Card Game

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In this episode, we flipped over the Monopoly board to make room to play the dark comedy Nuclear War Card Game from 1965. Does having a background in nuclear policy help win a card game about nuclear war? Will the horrors and intensity of nuclear weapons translate to a card game? Can three loving couples survive three hours of pretending to nuke each other? Tim and his elite team of board game competitors answer these questions and more

Before we decided this game was too dark and switched to playing Candy Land, we recommend checking out the sources below about the unique and fun history of the Nuclear War Card Game:.

Episode 11: Independence Day

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In this episode, we took advantage of the new world-wide federal holiday to watch the sci-fi action blockbuster Independence Day (the good one from 1996). How effective are nuclear weapons against 15 mile wide spaceships? Are aliens keeping tabs on Earth’s nuclear stockpiles? How did Jeff Goldblum write a computer virus that works on alien technology? Tim and Joel answer these questions and more.

Before Elvis left the building, we recommend reading and checking out these resources:

Episode 12: The Terminator Movies

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In this episode, we prepared for Judgment Day by watching all of the Terminator movies (1984-2015/forever). How did the franchise end up with some of the most iconic imagery of nuclear weapon use? Should we be worried about artificial intelligence taking over our nuclear command and control systems? Why does Skynet seem to put out more models of terminator than Apple does iPhones? Tim, Joel, and special guest Alex answer these questions and more.

Before we say “hasta la vista… baby,” we recommend reading:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 13: Star Wars

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In this episode, we built a Death Star and made Alderaan pay for it! While waiting for the check to clear, we overanalyzed the Death Star as a stand-in for nuclear weapons throughout the Star Wars movies but especially in Rogue One (2016). How much did the franchise borrow nuclear weapon imagery? What similarities are there in the strategies for using either nuclear weapons or Death Stars? Will the Empire ever consider investing its resources more into galactic poverty reduction and less into overly vulnerable battle stations? Tim and Joel answer these questions and more.

Before we went rogue, we recommend reading:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 14: Twilight Zone – The Shelter

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In this episode, we sought shelter in the Twilight Zone and watched the 1962 episode, “The Shelter.” What was the deal with everyone building fallout shelters in the 1960s? Would you share a cozy shelter with friends and neighbors who neglected to build one? What should you prioritize in your shelter: food, water, medicine, a surround sound system, or a Jacuzzi? Tim and Joel answer these questions and more.

Before we double lock our fallout shelter door, we recommend:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 15: Threads

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In this episode, we tuned our TV dial to watch the 1983 TV movie, Special Bulletin. How would local broadcast news cover a nuclear terrorism incident? How would the federal government and the news media handle this crisis? WWWBD (What Would Wolf Blitzer Do)? Tim and Joel answer these questions and more.

Before we the news anchors switched to local sports and the weather, we recommend:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 16: Threads

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In this extra long episode, we ruined all our sweaters by pulling at the 1984 TV movie, Threads. What would nuclear war look like to average people in a medium sized city in the United Kingdom? How did the British plan to survive a nuclear attack? How do you mind the gap when the gap is a 100-meter crater at a radioactive ground zero? Tim and his special guest co-host Tim Collins answer these questions and more.

Before the news anchors switched to local sports and the weather, we recommend:

Thanks again to Tim Collins for being a guest on the podcast. He is a Ph.D. candidate at King’s College London studying early British nuclear history and you can follow him on Twitter @WarAndCake.

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 17: The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss

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In this episode, we went to the children’s section of the library to read The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss. Does this 1984 book have anything to tell us about the dangers of the Cold War arms race? What is the right age to start talking to your kids about nuclear war? Why wasn’t there a Goosebumps book about nuclear winter? Tim, his sister Diana, and his 7-year old nephew Jairus answer these questions and more.

Before we fly/hop away in our Utterly Sputter, we recommend checking out:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 18: Star Trek First Contact

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In this episode, we decide to break the ice and watch the Star Trek movie First Contact. Is global thermonuclear war a necessary prerequisite for realizing the utopian vision of Star Trek? How did a Titan II ICBM help humanity go where no man has gone before? Why did Zefram Cochrane get a statue before Lily Sloane? Tim, Gabe, and special guest Manu Saadia (author of Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek) answer these questions and more.

Before we get noticed by some Vulcans, we recommend checking out:

Episode 19: Fallout

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In this episode, we wandered into the wasteland and played the Fallout video game series. What does this particularly popular post-apocalypse tell us about life after nuclear war? Is the video game series realistic in how it portrays nuclear devastation? How much can you mix together comedy and utter bleakness before you go a little insane? Tim and special guest Lucy Steigerwald answer these questions and more.

Follow Lucy on Twitter at @LucyStag and her Apocalypse Project at www.TheStagBlog.com.

Before our Rad count gets too high, we recommend checking out:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 20: Octopussy

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In this episode, we paid our respects to the late Roger Moore and all the times he stopped a nuclear war by watching the movie Octopussy. Could a rogue Soviet commander trick Europe into disarming its own nuclear weapons? Why did the United States have so many nukes in Europe? How easy is it for James Bond to disarm a nuke while wearing clown makeup? Tim, Gabe, and returning special guest Alex answer these questions and more.

Thanks to our listeners for dealing with the November 2017 hiatus of episodes while Tim moved into a new place and barely survived holiday family visits.

Before our M gives us another mission, we recommend checking out: 

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 21: Ladybug Ladybug

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In this episode, we compared the Hawaii ballistic missile threat false alarm in real life and the 1963 film, Ladybug Ladybug. What does an elementary school do when the nuclear attack warning bell goes off? How did Americans respond to similar false alarms during the Cold War? What happens when it is North Korea’s turn to experience an IT problem? Tim Westmyer and Gabe answer these questions and more.

Before we start our long walk home — uphill both ways — after school, we recommend checking out:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 22: The Man in the High Castle

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In this episode, we stormed The Man in the High Castle television show to explore nukes in a world where Germany and Japan won World War II. What difference would a Nazi nuclear bomb have made in the war? How would Japan go about getting their own nuclear weapon in secret? Who is Joe Blake and why should we care? Tim Westmyer and special guest Tim Collins answer these questions and more. Follow Tim Collins, PhD candidate studying British nuclear history, on Twitter @WarAndCake.

Before we meditate our way through the multiverse, we recommended checking out:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 23: Watchmen

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In this episode, who watches the Watchmen? Spoiler alert: we did and got super critical about the nuclear war plots of the Watchmen comics and movie. What will keep us from moving the Doomsday Clock to midnight? How would the Cold War play out if Nixon had a walking nuclear superhero? Does Dr. Manhattan make house calls? Tim Westmyer and special guest Luis Navarro answer these questions and more.

Before we meditate our way through the multiverse, we recommended checking out:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 24: Nuke Cage Podcast

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In this April 1 edition of the Nuke Cage Podcast, we rage about the multitude of movies where Nic Cage takes on nuclear, chemical, biological, and conventional weapons in a post-Cold War security environment. How accurate are the movies Face/Off, The Rock, Next, and Lord of War? Why has Nic Cage done so many of these films? Can we make Nic Cage an honorary NEST member already? Tim Westmyer and Tristan Volpe answer these questions and more. Follow the podcast @NukeCage and Tristan @TeeAndersVolpe.

Before we go looking for some VX rockets, we recommended checking out:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 25: Blue Sky & Nuclear Test Site Visit

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In this episode, we did some atomic tourism, first to the Nuclear Test Site and then on the emotional journey that is the 1994 melodrama, Blue Sky. How does a mild mannered nuclear test site scientist navigate radioactive cover-ups and family crises? What was it like visiting the former nuclear test site in Nevada? How do you convince your friends it would be more fun to record a podcast in a hotel room than to wander the Las Vegas Strip? Tim Westmyer and special guest Clark answer these questions and more.

Before we meditate our way through the multiverse, we recommended checking out:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 26: The Hunt for Red October

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In this episode, we did a deep dive on the nuclear plot of The Hunt for Red October (1990). Is bigger necessarily better for the Red October? Just how bad would it be if the United States could no longer tracker Russian submarines? How easy is it for a cook to hotwire a submarine launched ballistic missile? Tim Westmyer and special guest Boris take a break from their vacation in Las Vegas to answer these questions and more.

Before we listened for the pings of a slot machine (hopefully more than just a single ping), we recommend checking out:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 27: Atomic Train

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In this episode, we took the midnight train going anywhere… far away from the bad TV mini-series, Atomic Train (1999). Could a dangerous Russian nuke end up on a runaway U.S. train? What would a major city like Denver do to evacuate after a nuclear detonation? How can a movie with a runaway train, nukes, hazardous chemicals, Rob Lowe, and 50+ helicopters be so boring? Tim Westmyer, Gabe, and special guest Elliot answer these questions and more.

Before the atomic train conductor yelled “all aboard,” we recommend checking out:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Episode 28: Atomic Alcohol

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In this episode, we stepped up to the bar and ordered a couple rounds of Atomic Alcohol. The podcast collected ten examples of nuclear themed wine, cocktails, and beer with names, history, or other interesting connections to nukes. Why do breweries and wineries go to the nuclear well so many times? Could a beverage change how you think about the atom? How many drinks can the podcast team have and still sound reasonably intelligent? Tim Westmyer (@Westmyer), Gabe, and special guests Will Saetren (@WillSaetren) and Eric Gascho (@EricGascho) answer these questions and more.

Before the bartender announces last call for atomic alcohol, we recommend checking out:

Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode:

Mini-Nuke Episodes

Episode 1: Star Trek Beyond

14188158_539298336276760_520295973555327261_o.pngIn this episode, we suppress our emotional sides and explore the logic behind the 2016 science fiction adventure movie, Star Trek Beyond. This is the first in our new series within the podcast — Mini-Nuke episodes — where we find movies that do not have enough nuclear nonsense for a full-sized episode but nonetheless warrant some over analyzation.

We go into needless detail about Spock’s radioactive jewelry gift to Uhura, which also doubles as a handy tracking device. This plot device has real life inspiration in Trinitite or atomsite glass, a glass byproduct of nuclear detonations in the desert that were the latest fashion trend before they started giving people nasty burns.

Before we jump on ebay looking for our own atomic jewelry, be sure to check out these sources:

Marion Fasel, “Exclusive: Jewelry Details for Star Trek Beyond,” The Adventurine

Thanks to Martin Pfeiffer (@NuclearAnthro) and Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) for the following sources:

Episode 2: Blast from the Past

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In this episode, we venture out of our cozy fallout bunker to watch the 1999 romantic comedy, Blast from the Past.

Tim and a special guest — his sister, Diana — delve into the history and use fallout shelters. Ranging from the overkill shelter in the movie to the more modest versions you’d find in backyards during the Cold War, this episode tells you everything you need to know to protect yourself from radioactive fallout — just not what to do if you get stuck in one for decades.

Photos of Tim’s trip down into a fallout shelter are up on our Facebook page.

Episode 3: The “Daisy” Ad

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In this episode, we got political and watched the infamous “Daisy” commercial run by the Lyndon Johnson for President campaign against Sen. Barry Goldwater in 1964. What was it like before political ads went so negative? Why was this ad so creepy and yet so effective in portraying the country’s nuclear anxieties? Why didn’t this child actor win an Oscar? Tim and Joel answer these questions and more.

Before we picked off the last petal on our flower, we recommended reading

Other sources to check out:

Episode 4: The Martian

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In this episode, we had a lot of time on our hand after being marooned on another planet, so we watched the 2015 science fiction/comedy The Martian. How dangerous are plutonium fueled Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators? Does cosmic radiation doom Matt Damon life on Mars? Why does every Mars movie need an impossible sandstorm? Tim and special guest host Gabe answer these questions and more. We also hear from Chris Marisola who breaks down the maritime/space law in the movie for us.

Before we fulfilled our Iron Man fantasies, we recommended checking out:

  • Timothy Jorgensen, Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation (Princeton Press, 2016)
  • The documentary “To Mars by A-Bomb: The Secret History of Project Orion,” BBC, 2003, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYoLcJuBtOw
  • George Dyson, Project Orion: The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship (Henry Holt and Co, 2002)
  • Marshall Savage, The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps (Little, Brown and Company, 1992)

Also check out the sources below to learn more:

Episode 5: Batman v Superman

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In this episode, we teamed up to discuss the portrayal of nuclear weapons in the 2016 superhero movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Just how easy is it to nuke a moving target in space? Do nukes still pack a punch for today’s movie audiences? Why can’t Superman and Batman just talk about their feelings? Tim and Joel answer these questions and more.

Before we recharge our alien cells using solar radiation (or sunflowers), we recommend checking out:

Also check out the sources below to learn more:

Episode 6: Jaws

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In this episode, we explored the history of nuclear weapons as told by the movie Jaws (1975). What happened to the USS Indianapolis after it delivered parts for the Little Boy atomic bomb? Could Jaws actually be the Godzilla of the sea? Tim and special guest Mike answer these questions and more.

Before we start looking for a bigger boat, we recommend checking out:

  • “Nuclear Shark,” Shark Week, Discovery Channel, 2016
  • USS Indianapolis,” Atomic Heritage Foundation
  • “Open Water,” Lionsgate, 2003
  • “Open Water 2: Adrift,” Lionsgate, 2006
  • “Deep Blue Sea,” Warner Bros, 1999

Also check out the sources below to learn more:

Episode 7: The Interview

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In this episode, we sat down with North Korea to conduct a podcast about The Interview (2014). Is North Korea’s nuclear weapon program a laughing matter or something to worry about? How does the Kim family stay in power? How to do you show ‘em what your worth when fireworks are banned in your city? Tim Westmyer and special guest Gabe answer these questions and more.

Before we look to see if our tourist trip to North Korea had refundable airfare, we recommend checking out: 

Also check out the sources below to learn more:

Episode 8: The Leftovers

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In this episode, we pondered the nuke plot mysteries of HBO’s The Leftovers, especially season 3. How easy is it for a random French sailor to launch a nuclear missile? Can forcing the president to kill one person make them think twice about starting nuclear war? What the heck was the departure anyway? Tim Westmyer and Joel answer these questions and more in Joel’s last episode as a regular co-host.

This is the eighth in our Mini-Nuke episode series, where we overthink movies with a smaller slice of nuclear weapons plot than our usual full-sized episodes.

Before we departed, we recommend checking out: 

Also check out the sources below to learn more:

Episode 9: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

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In this episode, we passed the nuclear test of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. How did Indiana Jones end up facing down a nuclear mushroom cloud? Can a lead-lined fridge serve as a decent fallout shelter? Is Indiana Jones an immortal superbeing? Tim Westmyer, Gabe, and special guest Alex answer these questions and more.

Before we locked the fridge door, we recommend checking out:

Check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects discussed in the episode:

Episode 10: Back to the Future

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In this episode, we loaded up our DeLorean with plutonium and popcorn so we could talk about the heavy nuclear plot of the movie Back to the Future. How safe was Doc Brown’s nuclear time machine? Why was Doc Brown cavorting with Libyan terrorists? Does the Mr. Fusion come in as many colors as a Kitchen-Aid mixer? Tim Westmyer and special guest Kevin answer these questions and more.

Before we activated our time circuits, we recommend checking out:

Check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects discussed in the episode:

Other Nuclear Pop Culture References

The Nuclear Spin Cycle: a blog and newsletter by Dr. Natasha Bajema

Bombshelltoe: Bombshelltoe invites  the public to explore how nuclear issues are connected to society’s most pressing conversations