Bigfoot, aliens, and nuclear power — oh my! ‘Wild Thing’ is back at the intersection of human obsession and scientific inquiry

Science May 22, 2022
Listen to ‘Wild Thing’

“Wild Thing” is a longform podcast that sits at the intersection of the unknown, scientific inquiry, and human obsession. It’s a podcast about all of the things we as a society have a collective fascination about. The first two seasons this podcast dove into the existence of Bigfoot and aliens.

Now, “Wild Things” is in its third season, where it will be focusing on a subject backed a little more intensely by science but is still deeply misunderstood to the point of being unknown: nuclear energy.

From the 1961 Idaho Falls nuclear meltdown to Chernobyl, nuclear power has terrified and fascinated us for half a century. Using science, history, and culture, host Laura Krantz is diving into our fascination (and sometimes ambivalence) towards anything atomic. They’ll be finding answers about the dangers that splitting atoms poses, the potential it has, and if we as humans even have the power to harness all that power.

“Wild Thing” is a Foxtopus Ink production. Each of its previous two seasons is made up of around 10 episodes with plenty of bonus episodes thrown in the mix. Make sure you stream episodes in order! Episodes are typically just half an hour long, with bonus episodes averaging to around just 15 minutes.

The first episode of this new season of “Wild Thing” tells us about the first nuclear reactor disaster to ever occur on American soil. During World War II, scientists had harnessed the power of the atom, the smallest unit of ordinary matter in the universe, to create the deadliest weapons mankind had ever seen. But, harnessing the power of atoms had more than just disastrous uses, which the U.S. military was testing.

Laura tells us the story of the SL-1 nuclear meltdown. For all intents and purposes, on January 3rd, 1961, the nuclear reactor in Idaho Falls exploded, brutally killing the three military men inside the plant. In just seconds, dreams of an atomic future vanished, and fear spread across the country.

In this episode, Laura tells us the history of the Idaho Falls nuclear testing sites, which had been around since the end of the second World War. She speaks with historians about the purposes of these plants and how people in surrounding communities felt about nuclear testing so close to home. Which, surprisingly, many people were on board with: people were excited about an atomic future of clean, cheap energy.

In “Wild Thing,” Laura will tell us how we got from excitement about harnessing nuclear power to being downright terrified of it. The first three thoughts most people conjure up when they hear the word “nuclear” are Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima. Yet, many of us still dream of a society run on entirely clean energy harnessed through nuclear power.

So, just like in her past seasons, Laura will be exploring all facets of nuclear energy. She’s exploring how it’s been portrayed in pop culture, she speaks with the people who study it, and she’ll explore its history.

Her past seasons have been just as delightfully silly as they have been scientific — Laura seems to lean neither one way nor another when it comes to these topics — and we are looking forward to more incredible content from her and her slew of expert guests. Be sure to tune into “Wild Thing” every Tuesday to hear more.

Listen to ‘Wild Thing’

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