The tactical herbicide Agent Orange, which was used in South-east Asia by the United States Department of Defence during the Vietnam War, was made from equal parts of the n–butyl esters of 2,4,5-T and 2,4,-D. For almost half a century, controversy has surrounded its use, mainly because it contained a highly toxic dioxin impurity (TCDD). Despite this impurity being thoroughly investigated, there is still a lot of confusion by the public regarding how it was formed and why it took so long to be detected. To answer these questions, you have to have a basic understanding of the synthesis of one of the herbicides precursors – once you have that, you soon begin to realise that what you thought you knew about Agent Orange may be wrong.
This week the nerds are joined by Kevin Folta once again he has recently being spreading awareness of PETA’s latest campaign of harassment. Dr Christine Lattin is a postdoc researcher at Yale, her work focuses on how stress can effect behaviour in birds. She is also trying to develop new methods to reduce having to kill these birds. PETA have decided that anyone working with live animals should be targeted for harassment. PETA members have surrounded venues where Dr Lattin is talking and engaged in a campaign of hate mail and sharing her families address.
Alcoholics Anonymous is often held as the best way to cure an Alcoholic. Is Alcoholism a disease? – does AA work? – whats with all the religious stuff? Buck and Myles (the B team) are joined by Jon Stewart, he spent 14 years attending AA meetings but left and stayed sober. He tells the B team his story.
- Jon Stewart’s Blog Essay “Leaving AA, Staying Sober” contains links to more of the resources we discussed.
- The 12 Steps of AA
- “AA Agnostica”, the Atheist AA resource
- Claudia Christian’s documentary on The Sinclair Method, One Little Pill
- An excellent general introduction to The Sinclair Method
- SMART Recovery, which uses CBT rather than the 12 Steps
Oh boy another hot button topic, we had planned this episode a long time in advance in order to not be accused of milking any hype or drama, then the universe spat in Myles’ furry little eye by having Sargon/Anita drama at vidcon. Troy Leavitt (veteran Game developer/designer) talks to the nerds about his industry opinion on gamergate.