Super Critical Podcast

Tim Westmyer

Podcast overthinking movies about nuclear weapons with policy analysis, quasi-science, pop culture debates, and too many puns.

All Episodes

In this episode, we went interstellar with our intercontinental ballistic missiles to talk about nuclear weapons in two science fiction shows: The Expanse and Battlestar Galactica. How are nuclear weapons used as weapons (and themes) in these two stories? What would the impact of a nuclear weapon actually be against a space ship? When are we getting our Gaius Baltar and Paolo Cortázar buddy comedy? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guest Stefan Sasse (@StefanSasse), host of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour podcast, answer these questions and more. Before we get in our crash couches and jump the ship, we recommend: -John McPhee, The Curve of Binding Energy: A Journey into the Awesome and Alarming World of Theodore B. Taylor, 1974 -Marco Fey, et al., The nuclear taboo, Battlestar Galactica, and the real world: Illustrations from a science-fiction universe, Security Dialogue 47 no. 4, 2016 - Neal Stephenson, Seveneves, 2015 -The Foundation (Apple TV) -Raised by Wolves (Apple TV) Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Nov 21

1 hr 10 min

In this episode, we watched the documentary False Alarm (2021) about that time in 2018 no one talks about anymore when the people of Hawaii received an erroneous warning on their phone that North Korea fired a nuclear armed ballistic missile and they had minutes to live. What was the reaction of people who received this ominous message? How does this ordeal stack up to Hawaiians’ long history of being on the short end of the nuclear arms race? Have there ever been a worse case of Textmergency/Textastrophe than this nuclear attack warning appearing on every cell phone in Hawaii? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and the documentary’s director Nick Lyell (@FalseAlarmFilm) answer these questions and more. The documentary is streaming thru Vimeo On-Demand for the month of November 2021: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/falsealarm/311014137 Movie information: www.FalseAlarmFilm.com Before we clear our nuclear notifications on our mobile phones, we recommend: -False Alarm (documentary 2021) -Super Critical Podcast episode #21 on Ladybug Ladybug (1963) -Alia Wong, “Pandemonium and Rage in Hawaii,” The Atlantic, January 14, 2018 -Sean Flynn, “The Real Story of the Hawaiian Missile Crisis,” GQ, April 2, 2018 -Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua, et al, A Nation Rising: Hawaiian Movements for Life, Land, and Sovereignty, 2014 -Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawaii (2008 documentary) -The Bomb (PBS 2015 documentary) -Solarpunk Futures (card game made by Nick Lyell and the Solar Punk Surf Club at thefuture.wtf)

Oct 29

44 min 34 sec

In this episode, we called opened our nuclear launch code safes to pull out the DVD box for Crimson Tide (1995) about two leaders on a submarine butting heads about whether to launch nuclear missiles and possibly start and/or stop WWIII. How accurate did the film portray nuclear command and control launch procedures? What role do boomers play in nuclear deterrence? How does Captain Ramsey’s dog have such a keen sense of a person’s character? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and returning special guests Geoff Wilson of the Council for Arms Control and Nonproliferation (@NuclearWilson) and nuclear expert Will Saetren (@WillSaetren) answer these questions and more. Note: Tim gets his wires crossed as he recommends a documentary (The Man Who Saved the World) that is actually about Soviet missile launch officer Stanislav Petrov instead of the Soviet naval officer Vasily Arkhipov who Geoff and Will talk about during the episode. The documentary is still excellent and it is scary how many examples of nuclear near misses there are that this mistake could happen. Before we concur on the latest EAM, we recommend: -The Man Who Saved the World (2013 documentary) - -Jeffrey G. Lewis and Bruno Tertrais, “The Finger on the Button: The Authority to Use Nuclear Weapons in Nuclear-Armed States,” CNS Occasional Paper #45, February 2019 -Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew, and Annette Lawrence Drew, Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of Submarine Espionage, 2016 -Project Azorian -Elliot Ackerman and Admiral James Stavridis, 2034: A Novel of the Next World War, 2021 -Robert Moore, A Time to Die: The Untold Story of the Kursk Tragedy, 2016 -Armageddon Letter, http://www.armageddonletters.com/ Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Oct 19

1 hr 37 min

In this episode, we called our sommelier for advice on the best atomic alcohol to drink while watching the Alfred Hitchcock movie Notorious (1946) telling a spy romance story that discovers uranium ore stashed in a wine bottle owned by ex-Nazis hiding out in Brazil. How did Hitchcock introduce the first major atomic MacGuffin plot device so soon after the reveal of the Manhattan Project? What could a rogue element do with uranium ore hidden in a wine cellar? Why don’t the ex-Nazis hide the uranium in a bottle of Wild Turkey because nobody would ever want to look closer at that bottle. Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and co-host Gabe answer these questions and more. Full movie online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LwPhO2qPcQ Before we check out tea for poison, we recommend: -Rear Window (1954 movie) -The Boys From Brazil (1978 movie) -Uranium Glass (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium_glass) -Casablanca (1942 movie) -“How Atomic Physics Helped Solve a Wine Fraud Mystery,” NPR, June 3, 2014 -Pitch Meeting series on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyXMyxkJQV4&list=PLRE-UFLEgWzBuOiqemhEI9b4gmmBbutnC) Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Aug 22

1 hr 10 min

In this episode, we put on our skis and telemarked our way to the winter lodge to watch the movie The Heroes of Telemark (1965) about a team of Norwegian resistance fighters sabotaging a heavy water plant during WWII to prevent Germany from getting closer to an atomic bomb. How close was Nazi Germany from building a nuclear weapon? What is the importance of heavy water in a nuclear program? What is more likely: that Tim builds a homemade nuclear device or Tim properly pronounces all these Norwegian names? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast), and returning special guest returning special guest Will Saetren (@WillSaetren) answer these questions and more. Full movie online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axBiR8ZipPM Before we synchronize our ticking clock time bombs, we recommend: -William Stephenson, A Man Called Intrepid, 2016 -Neal Bascomb, The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb, 2017 -The Final Countdown (1980 movie) -Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond (VR game with Norwegian heavy water plant level) -The Heavy Water War (2015 Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation show) -Norway Resistance Museum -Vemork Hydro Plant Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Jul 5

1 hr 36 min

In this episode, we put a crew together to seize a movie theater to watch the nuclear missile silo hostage taking movie Twilight’s Last Gleaming (1977). How easy is it to hijack a nuclear Titan ICBM launch site? What does the Vietnam War have to do with the logic of nuclear deterrence? Is “Twilight’s Last Gleaming” what they call the sparkly skin in those vampire movies? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast), Gabe, and returning special guest returning special guest Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst), answer these questions and more. Full movie online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMnX8Hd0TPQ Before we disable our cutoffs and inhibitors, we recommend: -Kiss Me Deadly (1955 movie) also directed by David Aldirch -The Parallax View (1974 movie) -David Halberstram, The Best and the Brightest, 1972 -Defence of the Realm (1986 movie) -A Very British Coup (1988 TV series) -Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, South Dakota Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Apr 29

1 hr 53 min

In this episode, we looked at our calendars and realized it was finally the day to watch The Day After (1983). What would happen to a “middle of nowhere” city in Kansas in the event of a nuclear war? How did this TV movie impact the public dialogue about nuclear weapons? What about the movie scared Ronald Reagan so much he had to write about it in his diary (this is not a joke)? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guest David Craig (@Producing2Power), Clinical Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Southern California and author of an upcoming book - Before The Day After - answer these questions and more. Full movie online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iyy9n8r16hs&t=3840s Thanks to everyone who pointed out that some of the movie's stock footage came from the documentary First Strike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlPEBROvR9w&t=74s Before we start power up our ham radios with the rare car battery, we recommend: -David Craig’s book (Before The Day After)when it is available! -Dawn Strover, Facing Nuclear Reality: 35 Years After the Day After, December 2018 -Physicians for Social Responsibility, The Last Epidemic -Testament (1983) -Threads (1984) -Viewpoint episode that aired right after The Day After -Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, 1986 -Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb, May 2013 -That Certain Summer (1972) -Beth A. Fisher, The Reagan Reversal: Foreign Policy and the End of the Cold War, 2000 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Apr 19

2 hr 19 min

In this episode, we raised the periscope on our nuclear submarine to enjoy the story of On the Beach - both the movie (1959) and book (1957). What is the more likely ultimate catastrophe of a nuclear war: global nuclear fallout or nuclear winter? Why did the Eisenhower administration try to shut this movie down? If you read On the Beach while sitting on a beach, is that just tempting fate? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guest Joe Cirincione (@Cirincione), Distinguished Fellow at the Quincy Institute and recent president of the Ploughshares Fund, answer these questions and more. Before we start our engines at the Australian Grand Prix, we recommend: -Beverly Gray, “The Continuing Relevance of ‘On the Beach,’” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, August 3, 2015 -Fallout (2013 documentary) -Collisions (2015 documentary) -Office of Technology Assessment, The Effects of Nuclear War, May 1979 -Warfare History Network, “One of America’s Most Legendary Generals Had a Terrifying Plan to Win the Korean War,” The National Interest, July 16, 2017 -Fail Safe (1964 movie) -Them! (1954 movie) -Seven Days in May (1964 movie) Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Feb 22

1 hr 17 min

In this episode, the high school yearbook voted us “Most Likely to Join the Nuclear Club” after we watched the 1986 movie The Manhattan Project where student Paul Stephens builds a nuclear bomb with plutonium stolen from a secret government lab run by the guy dating his mom. How easy is it to build a homemade nuclear weapon? What motivates a brilliant scientist to devote their life to WMD? Do you enter a homemade nuclear bomb at the science fair under the project category of physics, chemistry, or psychopath? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and returning special guest Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) answer these questions and more. Before we earn extra credit by weaponizing some anthrax in AP Bio class, we recommend: -Special Bulletin (1983 movie) -Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes game -“Fat Man and Little Boy,” The Simpsons, season 16 episode 5 -Science Fair (2018 documentary) -Ken Silverstein, “The Radioactive Boy Scout,” Harper’s Magazine, November 1998 -Ken Silverstein, The Radioactive Boy Scout: The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor, 2005 -The Day After Trinity (1980 documentary) -WarGames (1983 movie) -“Nth Country Experiment,” Atomic Heritage Foundation, March 1, 2019 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Jan 31

2 hr 2 min

In this episode, we left the polling booth to watch the movie Deterrence (2000) about a president fighting a nuclear war against Iraq while stranded in a diner during a snowstorm on the campaign trail. Are nuclear weapons useful to deter chemical, biological, or conventional weapon attacks? Can anyone stop an irrational president from ordering a nuclear strike? Is there a connection between the diner’s famous greasy chiliburger and the IBS News station? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and co-host Gabe answer these questions and more. Before we reach our positive control point, we recommend: -Kevin Pollak Chat Show (2009-2019) -Thomas Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict (1960) and Arms and Influence (1966) -The Contender (2002 movie) Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Dec 2020

1 hr 43 min

In this episode, we scrambled our B-52s so we could watch the in-flight movie By Dawn’s Early Light (1990). What is the U.S. president to do once a nuclear war begins? Who is in command of the nuclear stockpile when POTUS is missing? Why is James Earl Jones always finding his finger on the nuclear button? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guest Sylvia Mishra (@MishraSylvia), doctoral researcher at King’s College London where studies nuclear strategy and emerging technologies, answer these questions and more. Note: Tim mistakenly says in the episode that Tsar Bomba was not a deployable nuclear weapon. While it is not a really practical nuclear bomb (weight, yield size, requiring a HUGE parachute to slow decent long enough for plane to get away safely), it was still an air-dropped test that was deployable. Thanks to everyone who pointed out what we got wrong, nuke wise! Before we reach our positive control point, we recommend: -Sylvia Mishra, “Directing Doomsday: Lessons Learned from Nuclear War in Film,” CSIS Next Generation Nuclear Network, July 8, 2020 -Fail-Safe, 1964 movie -Countdown to Looking Glass, 1984 movie -David Hoffman, The Dead Hand, The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy, 2010 -Daniel Ellsberg, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, 2017 -Christian Brose, The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare, 2020 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Nov 2020

1 hr 33 min

In this episode, we got the family together over Zoom to watch the most depressing “Hallmark movie” of all time, Testament (1983). How can one Mom keep the family going after a nuclear attack cuts off their community? How accurately does the movie portray the horrors of radiation sickness? How does nuclear war turn ham radio operators into the most important people on the planet? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and returning special guest Lucy Steigerwald (@LucyStag), contributing editor to AntiWar.com answer these questions and more. Before we go blow out the candles on our sad birthday cake, we recommend: -DVD extras for Testament, including “Testament at 20” -Cormac McCarthy, The Road (2006) -Airplane! (1980) -Carol Amen, “The Last Testament,” Ms. Magazine, August 1981, https://www.scribd.com/doc/59083080/Amen-Carol-The-Last-Testament-Ms-Aug-81 -The Day After (1983) -On the Beach (1959) -Threads (1984) -TheStagBlog.com, “Testament” Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Oct 2020

1 hr 35 min

In this episode, we pulled an all-nighter to watch the thrilling movie Miracle Mile (1986) about star crossed lovers trying to escape Los Angeles at night before a possible nuclear attack. Why do we keep nuclear weapons in North Dakota? How long would you have before the missiles start landing in your backyard? Does Google Maps have a good escape route preprogrammed in the event of a pending nuclear war? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and Gabe answer these questions and more. Before we answer this random payphone that is ringing nearby, we recommend: -Cloverfield (2008 movie) -10 Cloverfield Lane (2016 movie) -Six String Samurai (1998 movie) -La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, CA -Fred Kaplan, The Wizards of Armageddon, 1983 -Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, South Dakota -NORMS Restaurants Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Sep 2020

1 hr 16 min

In this episode, we aced our foreign service exam and started our undercover mission to the movie Spies Like Us (1995). How well does this comedy deploy a Soviet road mobile nuclear missile for hilarious effect? Can you actually recall a nuclear missile once it is in the air? Doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor, and doctor. Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and Gabe answer these questions and more. Before we open up the nuclear disarmament negotiation board game box, we recommend: -Fletch, 1985 -The Man Who Knew Too Little, 1997 -International Spy Museum -Nuclear War Card Game, 1965 -Steven Pomeroy, An Untaken Road: Strategy, Technology, and the Hidden History of America’s Mobile ICBMs, 2016 -Get Smart, 1965-1970 TV Show Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Jul 2020

1 hr 17 min

In this episode, we leave our bunkers and march like atomic ants to the movie theater to enjoy the film Matinee (1993). What does this story about director Joe Dante’s love of B-movies monster flicks have to say about the Cuban Missile Crisis and its impact on kids living in Florida? How do you write an effective comedy about topics that are usually nightmare fuel? When can we equip our own home theaters with Atomovision? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guest Matthew Gault (@mjgault), VICE journalist and host of the War College Podcast (@War_College) answer these questions and more. Before we turn up the Rumble-Rama setting on our seats, we recommend: -War College Podcast -Them (1954) and Blast from the Past (1999) -Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) -Barry Atkinson, Atomic Age Cinema: The Offbeat, the Classic, and the Obscure, 2014 -Matthew Gault, “How to Survive a Nuclear Bomb,” Vice, January 9, 2020 -L. Douglas Kenney, 15 Minutes: General Curtis LeMay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation, 2012 -Adam Curtis, “To The Brink of Eternity,” Episode in the Pandora’s Box documentary series, 1992 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Jul 2020

1 hr 11 min

In this episode, school is out for nuclear winter break, so we binged the Netflix series Daybreak about high school students surviving post-WWIII. How well does a nuclear war plot mesh with a John Hughes teenage comedy? What is the connection between sunflowers and nuclear disarmament? Who in our high school yearbook was voted “most likely to depress everyone with a podcast about nuclear war movies”? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guest Cecili Thompson-Williams (@cecilitw), Executive Director of Beyond the Bomb (@BeyondtheBomb), answer these questions and more. Before we decide which post-apocalyptic clique to join, we recommend: -The 100 (TV series) -BeyondTheBomb.org -Phineas and Ferb (TV series) -WarGames (1983 movie) -Night of the Comet (1984 movie) -Elizabeth King, “How Growing Up with the Threat of Nuclear War Shapes Kids’ Psyches,” TheCut, June 7, 2017 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

May 2020

58 min 49 sec

In this episode, we tried to get healthy during quarantine by watching an episode of the TV show Gilligan’s Island called “Pass the Vegetables, Please” where the castaways get super powers from eating crops grown from radioactive seeds. Can radiation actually help farmers? What would happen if you ate radioactive food? Is the Professor a stand-in for Dr. Oppenheimer of the Manhattan Project? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and Gabe answer these questions and more. Before we our three hour tour sets sail, we recommend: -“HI FI Gilligan,” Gilligan’s Island, season 2, episode 10 -AtomicGardening.com -“JUGHEAD,” LOST, “season 5, episode 3 -Visiting Tangier Island -Archipelago tiki bar in Washington, DC Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

May 2020

57 min 1 sec

In this episode released on April 1, the show gets inverted and becomes the Super Critical Angle of Attack podcast to talk about the movie Air Force One (1997). Sure, the movie has some nuclear weapon plots, but how well did it accurately portray POTUS’s airplane? Did the movie do justice to flight physics? If aviation accident prone Harrison Ford is your pilot, would you have a bad feeling about this? New podcast host Gabe and special guest Tim Westmyer (@Westmyer) answer these questions and more. Before we fired up the Air Force One fax machine, we recommend: -Countdown to Looking Glass, 1984 TV movie -Independence Day, 1996 movie -“The Air Force’s ‘Doomsday Plane’ is in the Shop,” DefenseOne, November 6, 2019 -On Board Air Force One, National Geographic documentary, 2009 -CBS News photo tour of Air Force One -National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton Ohio -Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA Enjoy!

Apr 2020

1 hr 28 min

In this episode, we see how many scientists in the desert it takes to build an atomic bomb by watching the 1989 movie “Fat Man and Little Boy.” How did scientists and the military both collaborate and clash in the pursuit of the first nuclear weapon? What was the role of women scientists in this endeavor? Could you actually buy a condo in Manhattan even if you had the budget of the atomic bomb project? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guests/nuke experts Erin Connolly (@Erin_Conn17) and Kate Hewitt (@BlondNukeGirl) from Girl Security answer these questions and more. Before we started eating our Pentagon cakes, we recommend: -Day One, 1989 TV Movie -Robert Serber, The Los Alamos Primer: The First Lectures on How to Build the Atomic Bomb, 1992 -Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, 1986 -Denise Kiernan, Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II, 2014 -John Hersey, Hiroshima, 1946 -Kate Brown, Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, And The Great Soviet And American Plutonium Disasters, 2015 -GirlSecurity.org -HighlyEnriched.com (coming soon) Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Feb 2020

1 hr 36 min

In this episode, we make time to watch two Twilight Zone episodes that deal with both “time” and nukes: “Time Enough at Last” and “No Time Like the Past.” How would the development of thermonuclear weapons impact your reading habit? If you had a time machine, how would you prevent the WWII atomic bombings? Does every household need a 2-in-1 bank vault/fallout shelter to protect their loved ones and valuables? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast), Gabe, and returning guest Elliot answer these questions and more. Before we update our reading list for the apocalypse, we recommend: -Twilight Zone episode “Walking Distance” -Last Man on Earth (TV show, comedy) -Black Mirror episode “San Junipero” -Arctic, 2018 movie -12 Monkeys, 1995 movie -H.G. Wells, The Time Machine, 1895 book -Dan Carlin, “Supernova in the East,” Hardcore History Podcast -Dan Carlin, “(Blitz) The Destroyer of Worlds,” Hardcore History Podcast -Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever” -Star Trek episode “Patterns of Force” Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Jan 2020

1 hr 33 min

In this episode, we ring in the holidays with the Weird Al Yankovic song, Christmas at Ground Zero. What does this 1986 jingle tell us about nuclear war? How does Weird Al repurpose Duck and Cover propaganda footage from the Cold War for his holiday melody? Is “dreaming” about a white Christmas technically a nightmare if it is snowing radioactive fallout? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and returning special guest Kevin answer these questions and more. Here is the song on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t039p6xqutU Before the next song on the nuclear war playlist comes on, we recommend checking out: • We Will All Go Together When We Go, Tom Lehrer • Amish Paradise, Weird Al, 1996 • Santa with Muscles, 1996 movie with Hulk Hogan • The Night They Saved Christmas, TV movie 1984 • Running with Scissors, 1999 Weird Al • Bad Hair Day, Weird Al, 1996 • Blue Christmas, Willie Nelson Here is a clip of Kevin playing the song on his ukulele: https://twitter.com/NuclearPodcast/status/1205942558058303488 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Dec 2019

52 min 57 sec

In this episode, we explore what happens when someone with superhuman speed tries to finish the nuclear arms race in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). How easy would it be for Superman to destroy the planet’s nuclear weapons himself? What happens with Lex Luthor decides to rearm the world? Is that a bird? Is that a plane? Is that… a giant wad of nuclear missiles flying toward the sun? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast), Gabe, and special guest Will Saetren (@WillSaetren), Project Lead in Nonproliferation at CRDF Global, answer these questions and more. Before we visit Nuclear Man at the nuclear power plant tour, we recommend checking out: • Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013-2016 comics) • Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2016 documentary) • The Day the Earth Died!, June 1985, Superman no. 408 • Michael O'Hanlon, A Skeptic's Case for Nuclear Disarmament, 2010 • Watchmen (1986-1987 comics) • Eric Schlosser, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, 2013 • Keren Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary: Leaders, Intelligence, and Assessment of Intentions in International Relations, 2014 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Nov 2019

1 hr 37 min

In this episode, we picked When the Wind Blows out of the children’s book bin to see what advise the 1982 graphic novel (and 1986 animated movie) have for surviving nuclear war in Britain. How easy was it to follow official government radiation survival guides during the Cold War? What was it like for the average family trying to make sense of nuclear deterrence? Will you ever be able to look at a baked potato again the same way after witnessing this story? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guest Sebastian Brixey-Williams (@seb_bw), Co-Director of the think tank BASIC, answer these questions and more. Dramatization of the graphic novel available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=484h0mnU0-M Before we give up waiting on the Powers that Be to arrive, we recommend checking out: -The Atomic Hobo podcast episodes on Meals on Wheels and When the Wind Blows -Protest and Survive (1980) -Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, (1987 cartoon show) -The Snowman (1982) -Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984) -Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986) -CISD podcast episode “Setsuko Thurlow: Interview with a Hiroshima Survivor”, 2016 -BASIC Think Tank Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Oct 2019

1 hr 31 min

In this episode, we explored the nuclear origin story of Godzilla. What famous nuclear test inspired the Godzilla franchise? How did Toho Studios and Hollywood handle the nuclear story over the ages? Will the “King Kong vs. Godzilla” movie have a cameo from Major “King” Kong from Dr. Strangelove? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guests Rachel Emond (@Rachel_Emond) and Geoff Wilson (@NuclearWilson) of the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation answer these questions and more. Before we zipped up the rubber monster suit, we recommend checking out: -Godzilla: Final Wars (2004 movie) -Pacific Rim (2013 movie) -Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness (YouTube series) -Gojira (1954 movie) -Stranger Things (Netflix series) -Chernobyl (2019 HBO series) -Godzilla in Hell (2015 comic book) -Godzilla: Half Century War (2013 comic book) -Cloverfield (2008 movie) -Nukes of Hazard podcast We also discussed the movie Shin Godzilla. Listen to it as a bonus feature on our YouTube channel. Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Sep 2019

2 hr 29 min

In this episode, we lived #ShootYourShot and watched the movie Amazing Grace and Chuck (1987) where an NBA legend joins forces with a little league player to protest nuclear weapons. Could a child’s peaceful act of resistance against nuclear war inspire the world to Global Zero? What is the history of anti-nuclear weapon movements in the 1980s? If your chartered jet is exploded by an evil nuclear illuminate, is that technically a traveling violation? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and Pranay Vaddi (@PranayVaddi), a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, answer these questions and more. Before we assemble our Dream Team of professional athlete protesters, we recommend checking out: -Judith Vigna, Nobody Wants a Nuclear War, 1986 -Laura Yeager, “Talking to Your Children about the Threat of Nuclear War,” July 8, 2018 -“Talking Nukes with Kids,” Awful Library Books, November 9, 2017 -Vincent J. Intondi, African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement, 2015 -Celtic Pride, 1996 movie -Los Angeles Lakers: 2010 NBA Finals Series, DVD -“The Bear,” Things that Go Boom, Podcast s1e1 -Kobe’s Final Game, April 13, 2016 -Strobe Talbott, Deadly Gambits, 1984 -Peter Beinart, “Think Again: Ronald Reagan,” Foreign Policy, June 7, 2010 -Jacob Weisberg, “Ronald Reagan’s Disarmament Dream,” The Atlantic, January 1, 2016 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Aug 2019

1 hr 58 min

In this episode, we plucked Six String Samurai out of the cult movie bin to talk about the zany nuclear plots of this post-apocalypse western Kung Fu musical mashup. How would the power of rock and roll unite the wasteland after a nuclear war? Would Las Vegas be a target during the Cold War? Can this version of Buddy Holly handle the overpressure of ruling Lost Vegas? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and Gabe answer these questions and more. Before we our post-Bomb sanity snapped, we recommend checking out: • Fallout video game series, especially Fallout: New Vegas • Mariachi, 1992 movie • Red Elvises, band • Dick Dale, musician Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Jul 2019

1 hr 14 min

In this episode, we figured out how an RBMK reactor explodes by watching the hit HBO show Chernobyl. What caused the nuclear power plant disaster? How did the Soviet leadership and the Russian people respond to the crisis? If vodka is really such a powerful medicinal wonder, can it be covered by your health care insurance? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guests Meghan McCall (@Nuclear_Ginger_) and Geoff Wilson (@NuclearWilson) answer these questions and more. Our special guests also have excellent podcasts on nuke topics to enjoy: -Meghan McCall's Press the Button -Geoff Wilson's Nukes of Hazard Before we hug our dogs closer than normal, we recommend checking out: -Chernobyl, Podcast by Craig Mazin and Peter Segal -Chernobyl VR Project, The Farm 51 -The China Syndrome, 1979 movie -Adam Higginbotham, Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster, 2019 -Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster, 2006 -David McMillan and David Baillargeon, David McMillan: Growth and Decay: Pripyat and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, 2019 -Pandora’s Promise, 2013 documentary -Eric Schlosser, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, 2014 -Metro video game series Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Jun 2019

2 hr 50 min

In this episode, we debated the virtues of nuclear disarmament and democracy over a couple of days this month, specifically Seven Days in May. Does the movie realistically portray disagreements between the military and civilian leaders over nuclear weapons? What would cause the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to attempt a military coup? How long before General James Mattoon Scott becomes the 40+ person running for president in 2020? Tim Westmyer (@NuclearPodcast) and special guest Stephen I Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) answer these questions and more. Before we went fishing at Blue Lake, we recommend checking out: -The Manchurian Candidate, both the 1962 and 2004 movies -International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, www.icanw.org -Stephen I. Schwartz, Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940, 1998 -David F. Krugler, “This is Only a Test: How Washington, DC Prepared for Nuclear War,” 2007 -The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, https://thebulletin.org/ -Garrett M. Graff, “Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself – While the Rest of Us Die,” 2017 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

May 2019

2 hr 21 min

In this episode, we debate one of the most important questions in international relations and nuclear policy today: are the dragons in Game of Thrones more like nuclear weapons or conventional air power? Does George R.R. Martin deploy the dragons as analogs for nuclear weapons? Do dragons serve more of a conventional air power or close air support role in the story's military battles? Perhaps the dragons themselves aspire to be artists and bakers rather than being typecast as weapons of war? Tim Westmyer (@nuclearpodcast) and Dr. Michael C. Horowitz (@mchorowitz) answer these questions and more. Before winter gets here, we recommend checking out: -Timothy Westmyer, “Dragons, Nuclear Weapons, and Game of Thrones,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 2014 -Michael C. Horowitz and Matthew Fuhrmann, “Are ‘Game of Thrones’s’ Dragons the Equivalent of Nuclear Weapons? We Don’t Think So,” Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog, April 12, 2019 -Matthew Gault, “The Dragons in ‘Game of Thrones’ Aren’t Nukes, They’re an Air Force,” Motherboard, August 2017 -Michael Shurkin, “Dragons, Nukes, and Game of Thrones,” Scientific American, August 2017 -Reign of Fire, 2002 movie -War College, podcast episode titled “What Game of Thrones Teaches Us About Nuclear War, September 2017 -Citadel Dropouts, podcast by Laura Hudson and Spencer Ackerman -A Cast of Kings – A Game of Thrones Podcast, by Joanna Robinson and Dave Chen -Mallory Rubin’s writing and podcasts on The Ringer Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

May 2019

54 min 33 sec

We want to share with Super Critical Podcast listeners an episode of the Authors of Mass Destruction podcast run by Dr. Natasha Bajema. Her awesome new podcast helps writers and authors tell compelling fiction about nukes while getting the details right. Tim Westmyer was a guest on the podcast – along with Dr. Justin Anderson – to talk about the movie Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. We will still try to release a regular episode of the Super Critical Podcast in April 2019. We hope you enjoy this episode, which you can also find on the Authors of Mass Destruction podcast feed. Follow Natasha’s show on Twitter at @WMDgirl and @authorsmass. Enjoy!

Apr 2019

56 min 18 sec

In this episode, we wanted to learn more about the mobile infantry, so we talked about Starship Troopers, both the 1997 movie and 1959 book. How does the story deploy tactical nuclear weapons in the war against the bugs? Why was the book’s author inspired to write a protest against the campaign to end nuclear testing? Who would Herman Kahn enjoy talking to more: Carl or the brain bug? Tim Westmyer (@nuclearpodcast), Will Saetren (@WillSaetren), and Geoff Wilson (@nuclearwilson) answer these questions and more. This is the 12th in our Mini-Nuke episode series, where we overthink pop culture with a smaller slice of nukes than our usual full-sized episodes. Before we take a walk down washout lane, we recommend checking out: -John Scalzi, Old Man’s War, 2005 -Joe Halderman, The Forever War, 1974 -Robocop (1987 movie) -Helldivers (video game) -The Day After (1983 movie) -Robert A. Heinlein, Expanded Universe, 1980 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, Spotify, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Mar 2019

1 hr 43 min

In this episode, we convened a team of nuke nerd to play an Escape Room with a nuclear weapon scenario. Did it help (or hurt) to have a background in nuclear weapons policy? How accurate can an Escape Room capture the complexities of nuclear war? How many red buttons were pushed to the limit in the making of this episode? Tim Westmyer and special guest Will Saetren (@willsaetren) answer these questions and more. Before we look for more clues, we recommend checking out: -BGNlab YouTube series by Scott Nicholson -Spin Master Games - Escape Room The Game - “Nuclear Countdown” -Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes - VR game Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Mar 2019

49 min 7 sec

In this episode, we tuned the radio to the song 99 Luftballons (or 99 Red Balloons) by the band Nena and talked about its connections to nuclear weapons, the Cold War arms race, and anti-nuclear protests. How did the threat of intermediate range nuclear missiles in Europe inspire Nena to write this catchy dirge? What happens when early warning systems confuse 99 balloons for UFOs and nukes? What artist will win their Grammy with a song about the dangers of Gamma Rays? Tim Westmyer and returning special guest Will Saetren (@WillSaetren) answer these questions and more. This is the 11th in our Mini-Nuke episode series, where we overthink pop culture with a smaller slice of nukes than our usual full-sized episodes. Playlist of nuke songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frAEmhqdLFs&list=PLXh-L52NGj3wWH92cBVAjeW-7giQ2B4vW Before we hit shuffle on our nuke war mix to lament the death of the INF Treaty, we recommend checking out: -The Man Who Saved the World (2014 documentary) -Rush, “Distant Early Warning,” Grace Under Pressure, 1984 -No Nukes: The Muse Concerts for a Non-Nuclear Future (1979) -Jeffrey Lewis, The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States, 2018 -Eric Schlosser, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, 2014 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, Spotify, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Feb 2019

1 hr 13 min

In this episode, we did the math about what happens when you add a missing nuclear weapon together with neo-fascists and an unassuming CIA desk analyst in the Sum of All Fears (2002). How can terrorists get their hands on a plutonium core? Why did Russia allow the United States so many inspections of its nukes? Why won’t America just let Jack Ryan finish writing his memo. Tim Westmyer, Gabe, and special guest Jon Duke (@VortexAeroMedia) answer these questions and more. Before we nuke more insects to see what happens, we recommend checking out: -Peter Feaver, Guarding the Guardians: Civilian Control of Nuclear Weapons in the United States, 1992 -Cresson H. Kearney, “Chapter 13: Surviving Without Doctors,” Nuclear War Survival Guide, 1987, http://www.madisoncountyema.com/nwss.pdf -The Fourth Protocol (1987 movie) -Peter Hennessey, The Secret State: Whitehall and the Cold War, 2002 -War Book (2014 movie) -The Letter of Last Resort, BBC Radio 4, 2013, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0210spc Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Jan 2019

2 hr 34 min

In this episode, we followed chirping sounds in the desert and discovered GIANT RADIOACTIVE ANTS in the movie THEM! (1954). What happens to insects exposed to radiation in the real world? How did nuclear testing and atomic monster movies change public opinion on nuclear weapons? Where was Ant-man when the people Alamogordo needed him to calm these killer atomic ants? Tim Westmyer and returning special guest Tim Collins (@WarAndCake), PhD candidate studying British nuclear history, answer these questions and more. Before we nuke more insects to see what happens, we recommend checking out: -Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth, 1982 -Barry Atkinson, Atomic Age Cinema: The Offbeat, the Classic and the Obscure, 2018 -Spencer Weart, The Rise of Nuclear Fear, 2012 --Richa Malhotra, “Ants Trapped in Nuclear Bunker are Developing Their Own Society,” NewScientist, September 5, 2016 -Gerard J. DeGroot, The Bomb: A Life, 2006 -Richard Rhodes, Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb, 1996 -Godzilla (1954 movie) Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Dec 2018

2 hr 6 min

In this episode, we worked out our plutonium cores while watching the movie Mission: Impossible –Fallout. How easy is it for a rogue scientist – Norwegian or otherwise – to build a nuclear bomb if they got access to a plutonium core? Why do apocalyptic terrorist organizations seek nuclear weapons? When does Wolf Blitzer find time to report the news between all his movie shoots? Tim Westmyer, Gabe, and special guest James Finnegan answer these questions and more. Before we nuke more insects to see what happens, we recommend checking out: -Ronin (1998 movie) -Fatman and Littleboy (1989 movie) -Matthew Gault, “Mission Impossible Fallout Missed its Chance to Tell a Good Story,” The National Interest, July 30, 2018 -C'était un Rendezvous (1976 movie) -Mythbusters, Episode 160 about Mission: Impossible Masks Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Nov 2018

1 hr 41 min

In this episode, we place bets on the biggest fight in the cinematic universe: nuclear weapons vs. asteroids. What do the movies Armageddon, Deep Impact, and Meteor tell us about how planet Earth will defend itself against space rocks? How effective would nukes in these doomsday scenarios? How can we thank the dinosaurs for becoming oil so that the drill team in Armageddon learned the skills necessary to save us from another asteroid extinction event? Tim Westmyer and returning special guest Boris (@bmelnikov) answer these questions and more. Before we decide to violate the Outer Space Treaty, we recommend checking out: -“Chicxulub crater,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_crater -Vladimir Rubtsov, “The Tunguska Mystery,” 2009, https://www.amazon.com/Tunguska-Mystery-Astronomers-Universe/dp/0387765735 -“Space Weapons Earth Wars,” Rand Corporation, 2002, https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monograph_reports/2011/RAND_MR1209.pdf -Force Majeure (2014 movie) -Meteor Man (1993 movie) Thanks to Brgfx for creating and hosting the meteor image graphic on Freepik.com used in the podcast thumbnail. Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Oct 2018

1 hr 33 min

In this episode, we took a break from studying our nuclear attack plans binder to watch an episode from the TV show Madam Secretary called Night Watch (Season 4, Episode 22). What happens when the President gets the call that nuclear missiles are incoming to the United States? What systems are in place to prevent mistakes and accidents from signaling false reports? Why don’t they rename the Presidential Emergency Satchel to the Nuclear Skeeball? Tim Westmyer and special guest Jamie Withorne (@JamieWithorne) answer these questions and more. Before we receive our text message notifying us about our all expenses paid trip to Mount Weather, we recommend checking out: -Women of Mass Destruction at https://www.womenofmassdestruction.org/ -Fail-Safe (1964), Ladybug Ladybug (1963), WarGames (1983) -Matt Stevens and Christopher Mele, “Causes of False Missile Alerts: The Sun, the Moon, and a 46-cent Chip,” New York Times, January 13, 2018 -Terry L. Deibel, “The Death of a Treaty,” Foreign Affairs 81 no. 5, September/October 2002 -The Man Who Saved the World (2018) Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Sep 2018

1 hr 8 min

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, 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: -Alex Wellerstein, “Beer and the Apocalypse,” Restricted Data, 2012 -Frank Kelly Rich, “Boozing with the Bomb: Alcohol in the Atomic Age,” Drunkard Magazine -Charlie Papazian, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Special thanks to: -Tori Mason at Forbidden Root for the cans of Atomic Child -Tony Fitzpatrick and Robert Finkel at Forbidden Root for the interview -@VortexAeroMedia for sending the bottles of Atom Splitter -William Henry at Nuclear Wine, Chris Kotiza at Nuclear Nugget, and Steve at Cit of Cambridge Brewing for answering my questions about their beer -Outro music by Slim Gaillard and His Quartette (1945 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Aug 2018

2 hr 29 min

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: -Threads (1984 TV movie) and Special Bulletin (1983 TV movie) -The Stand (1994 TV mini-series) -Michael Krepon, “Moving from MAD to Cooperative Threat Reduction,” Stimson Center, December 2001, https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/93680/Report41.pdf -Unstoppable (2010 movie) Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Jul 2018

2 hr 8 min

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: -Douglas Waller, Big Red: Three Months On Board a Trident Nuclear Submarine, 2001 -Pavel Podvig, Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, 2004 -Run Silent, Run Deep, (1958 movie) -Russian Naval Blog, “Even The Russians Know They Suck, Part I,” February 7, 2010 -Tom Clancy, The Bear and the Dragon, 2000 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Jun 2018

1 hr 47 min

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 the 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 returning special guest Kevin answer these questions and more. This is the tenth 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 activated our time circuits, we recommend checking out: -Back in Time (documentary), 2015 -Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer, Unclear Physics: Why Iraq and Libya Failed to Build Nuclear Weapons, 2016 -Rich Handley, A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon, 2012 -Back to the Future: The Game (2010), Tell Tale Games -DeLorean (documentary), 1981 Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

May 2018

1 hr 50 min

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 get on our horses and ride off into the mushroom cloud, we recommend checking out: -Radio Bikini, Documentary (1998), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVwzhGtzDuI -Michael Harris, The Atomic Times: My H-Bomb Year at the Pacific Proving Ground (2010) -Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (TV) -Raphael Honigstein, Das Reboot: How German Soccer Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World (2015) Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Apr 2018

1 hr 23 min

In this April 1st 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 recommend checking out: -Super Critical Podcast, www.supercriticalpodcast.com -Jonathan Tucker, War of Nerves: Chemical Warfare from World War I to Al-Qaeda (2007) -In Time, movie, 2011 -Gregory Koblentz, Living Weapons: Biological Warfare and International Security (2011) -Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley, Barriers to Bioweapons: The Challenges of Expertise and Organization for Weapons Development (2014) -W. Seth Carus, Bioterrorism and Biocrimes: The Illicit Use of Biological Agents Since 1900, August 1998, https://fas.org/irp/threat/cbw/carus.pdf -W. Set Carus, Defining “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” Occasional Paper 8, January 2012, http://ndupress.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/occasional/cswmd/CSWMD_OccationalPaper-8.pdf

Apr 2018

2 hr 5 min

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 recommend checking out: -Doomsday Clock Timeline, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, https://thebulletin.org/timeline -Richard Bensam (editor), Minutes to Midnight: Twelve Essays on Watchmen (2011) -H. Bruce Franklin (editor), Countdown to Midnight: Twelve Memorial Stories about Nuclear Warfare (1984) -Atomic Café, documentary, 1982 -Command and Control, documentary, 2016 -Zero Days, documentary, 2016 -Captain America: Nomad, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomad_(comics) Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Mar 2018

2 hr 48 min

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 recommend checking out: -Superman: Red Son (2003) -Wolfenstein video game series (especially the reboots) -Lawrence Freedman, The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy (1981) -Transcript of Surreptitiously Taped Conversations among German Nuclear Physicists at Farm Hall (August 6-7, 1945), http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/pdf/eng/English101.pdf -That Mitchell and Webb Look, “Are We the Baddies?,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JOpPNra4bw Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Feb 2018

3 hr 5 min

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. Full movie available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3Io7O_V08E Before we start our long walk uphill to home after school, we recommend checking out: -Episode #14: Twilight Zone – The Shelter, Super Critical Podcast -Alice L. George, Awaiting Armageddon: How Americans Faced the Cuban Missile Crisis (2004) -Force Majeure, 2014 movie -“Bart’s Comet,” The Simpsons, Season 6, Episode 14 (February 5, 1995) Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Jan 2018

59 min 14 sec

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. This is the ninth 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 locked the fridge door, we recommend checking out: -Nightbreaker (1989 TV movie) -Doom Towns: The People and Landscapes of Nuclear Testing, A Graphic History (2016) -Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory YouTube page on nuclear tests -The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (TV Show) Credit to Karl Golden on YouTube for his awesome metal cover of the Indiana Jones theme. Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Jan 2018

1 hr 46 min

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: -“Buttons, Not Buttons,” Radiolab Podcast, December 12, 2014, www.radiolab.org/story/buttons-not-buttons/ -Bruno Tertrais, “The Last Nation to Disarm? The Future of France’s Nuclear Weapons,” The Nonproliferation Review 14 no 2, 2007, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10736700701379344 -LOST -Nash Bridges Check out our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com, for more resources and related items. We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Dec 2017

1 hr 43 min

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: -James Bonding Podcast, Earwolf, http://www.earwolf.com/show/james-bonding/ -Amy Woolf, “Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons,” CRS Report, February 21, 2017, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/RL32572.pdf -License to Kill (1989) Also check out the sources below to learn more about the subjects in this episode – you can also access these links on our website, SuperCriticalPodcast.com. -James Bond disarming the bomb, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vPUsPcUYDQ -Awesome Soviet conference table, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x99njmZxaMA -Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris, Worldwide Deployments of Nuclear Weapons, 2014, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September 1, 2014, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0096340214547619 -Michaela Dodge, “U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe: Critical for Transatlantic Security,” Heritage Foundation, February 18, 2014, http://www.heritage.org/defense/report/us-nuclear-weapons-europe-critical-transatlantic-security#_ftnref7 -William Arkin, “America’s Nuclear Weapons in Europe Are the Nuclear Elephant in the Room,” Vice News, March 31, 2016, https://news.vice.com/article/american-nuclear-weapons-in-belgium-kleine-brogel -Nader Elhefnawny, James Bond's Evolution: From Casino Royale to Spectre, 2015, https://books.google.com/books?id=q92nCgAAQBAJ -David Williams, “Why Octopussy is the Best (and Possibly Worst) James Bond Film, GQ, February 2015, http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/louis-jourdan-octopussy-james-bond-007-kamal-khan-roger-moore -Lukas Hechenblaickner, Alexander Walter, Verena Kastenhuber and Michael Hoffman, “The Nuclear Menace in James Bond Movies,” Atoms for Europe Blog, https://atomsforeu.hypotheses.org/group-e-popular-culture We aim to have at least one new episode every month. Let us know what you think about the podcast and any ideas you may have about future episodes and guests by reaching out at on iTunes, Twitter @NuclearPodcast, GooglePlay Music, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Stitcher Radio, Facebook, SuperCriticalPodcast@gmail.com, and YouTube. Enjoy!

Dec 2017

1 hr 59 min