Them!: nuclear optimism, amateur myrmecology, and Wilhelm-screaming w/ Joe Ruppel

Featuring guest co-host
Joe Ruppel Photo
Joe Ruppel, history nerd

Rise of the nuclear monsters

The era of nuclear nervousness and the nuclear monsters in cinema. “Take an object, and biggify it.” Nuclear power in the 1950s. The possibility of “unmetered” energy. White Sands, gypsum, and the Trinity test.

Nuclear optimism

The nuclear success hit list and the optimism of the early 50s. Recognizing downsides. Converting hydrogen into helium, but like really violently. Eclipses, occlusion, and we didn’t realize it at the time but Joe was right to use “occultation.” Las Vegas atomic bomb parties.

Nuclear fallout

The fallout from southern Nevada testing traveling directly as far as northeast Utah. The bitter, metallic taste of nuclear fallout. When Kodak accidentally discovered a-bomb testing.

A sense of scale

The scale of nuclear weapons since the first atom bombs. Considering the time when “duck and cover” made sense. Using NUKEMAP for a sense of scale.


Issues with upscaling. Myrmecology. Antennae and wayfinding. Evolutoniary history and their waspy ancestors. Ants as superorganism. Formic acid attack spray.


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