Episode #53: By Dawn's Early Light

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.