Saturday, September 22, 2007


Computing specialist and notorious anti-DDT propagandist Tim Lambert links approvingly to a supposedly myth-destroying article on DDT by fellow computer nerd Aaron Swartz. Now since damn near everything Lambert has ever written about DDT has been comprehensively debunked his link automatically makes Swartz's article suspect. And Swartz does nothing for his credibility in praising Lambert:
"...Deltoid, tracks the DDT myth and other scientific misinformation in the media."
Swartz is almost right: Lambert is a source of "misinformation", scientific and otherwise.

Anyway, lets take a look a closer look at self-proclaimed perfectionist Swartz's article, which starts off:
Sometimes you find mass murderers in the most unlikely places. Take Rachel Carson. She was, by all accounts, a mild-mannered writer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—hardly a sociopath’s breeding ground. And yet, according to many in the media, Carson has more blood on her hands than Hitler.

The problems started in the 1940s, when Carson left the Service to begin writing full-time. In 1962, she published a series of articles in the New Yorker, resulting in the book Silent Spring—widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The book discussed how pesticides and pollutants moved up the food chain, threatening the ecosystems for many animals, especially birds. Without them, it warned, we might face the title’s silent spring.
It would be helpful if Swartz specified exactly which problems he's referring to but it doesn't really matter because Carson didn't leave the Fish and Wildlife Service until 1952. Also, the New Yorker "articles" didn't "result" in Silent Spring; rather, the magazine printed excerpts from the soon-to-be-released book.

Swartz obviously hasn't done his homework and certainly can't be regarded as a reliable source of information on a complicated topic like DDT's use in the fight against malaria. As always, nothing Lambert writes or links to can be assumed to be accurate.

Note: the article linked by Lambert contains no links -- to read it with links go here.


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