13 episodes

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.

Catastrophe! Jess Phoenix

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 62 Ratings

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.

    Can of Worms

    Can of Worms

    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?

    • 24 min
    Raving Mad

    Raving Mad

    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?

    • 25 min
    No Prospect of an End

    No Prospect of an End

    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.

    • 24 min
    No Vestige of a Beginning

    No Vestige of a Beginning

    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.

    • 20 min
    Alpha & Omega

    Alpha & Omega

    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. 

    • 36 min
    Do No Harm

    Do No Harm

    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.

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
62 Ratings

62 Ratings

Mike Knobel ,

Fascinating

Extremely well done and I highly recommend it

BillW384 ,

Highly underrated pod!

This pod is super fascinating! I’m captivated by the episode topics. The delivery from Jess & Carlos is fantastic. The episodes aren’t over-produced or under-developed. And lastly, the episode length is just right!

It may take a couple of episodes to get into this pod, but wow it’s good!!

Jakskdkxnsjsnd ,

Fascinating!

I’ve been obsessed with disasters ever since I can remember. I’m not even really a podcast person, but I thought I’d give this a shot because I had been following Jess for a few years and always love seeing her pics and hearing her stories from her field work. She goes into so much detail about these catastrophes and gives me even more info than I already knew about some of them. I particularly liked the episode on the Centralia mine fire because I don’t live too far from there (and now I’ve been convinced never to visit). Some of the things Carlos says make me laugh out loud (he compared something to minions, and I cracked up, scaring my family). Highly, highly recommend.

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