A professional wrestling hold, technically a reverse bulldog, named after the infamous (and currently illegal) pesticide. While both wrestlers are standing facing one another, the recipient is bent at the waist and his head is hooked under the initiator's arm. The initiator then falls backwards, driving the recipient's head into the mat. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, among other wrestlers of the late seventies and early eighties, made this hold famous to the point that the crowd would chant its name.

Allegedly, a fan once asked Jake what DDT stood for; his response, "The end."
DDT, short for dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, was first synthesized in 1874 by German chemist Othmar Zeidler, but it was not until 1939 that Dr Paul Müller discovered its potent insecticide qualities. DDT was used around the world during the next 20 years to kill disease-bearing insects such as lice (typhus) and mosquitos (malaria). The complete elimination of malaria from North America and Europe during the mid-20th century can be credited largely to DDT.

DDT was also widely used -- in fact badly over-used -- as an agricultural pesticide, and began to accumulate in rivers, soils and animal tissues. Rachel Carson's 1962 blockbuster Silent Spring linked DDT to falling raptor and songbird populations. Her evidence has since been challenged, but the damage was done: there was a massive public backlash against DDT and it was outlawed for use in most developed nations by the mid-1970s. DDT is now popularly believed to be extremely toxic to both humans and animals and has been implicated in particular in breast cancer and the feminising of fish, reptiles and perhaps mammals. In fact, the studies have been contradictory and there is no clear evidence that DDT, even with long-term exposure, has significant negative effects on human health.

DDT has, nevertheless, been characterised as a persistent organic pollutant (other POPs include chlordane, dieldrin and polychlorinated biphenyls) and there is currently a campaign, led by the World Wildlife Fund and others, to ban its use globally.

The proposed United Nations treaty on POPs is facing significant opposition, however, because DDT remains for many developing nations the single most effective and cheapest weapon in the war against malaria.

Malaria is one of the world's deadliest diseases. There are 300-500 million cases each year, 90% of them in Africa, and these result in two and a half million deaths annually, mostly of children. It was the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa until it was recently overtaken by AIDS. The incidence was dramatically reduced by the use of DDT, and has been rising steadily wherever DDT use has been stopped.

Nations which need DDT for malaria control are not obliged to sign up to a global ban, but they have little room to act independently: DDT production facilities have been shut down everywhere but in India and China, with the result that it is now more difficult and expensive to obtain. Donors, under pressure from environmental groups in the richer nations, have also in some cases forbidden the use of DDT as a condition for receiving aid. This paradoxically condemns the populations of countries like Mozambique to further ill-health and poverty -- sick people make bad workers, and foreign investors are understandably reluctant to expose themselves to a disease which carries a significant risk of permanently damaged health or death. DDT seems the lesser of two evils.

Material sourced from www.malaria.org, www.junkscience.com, the World Wildlife Fund, the WHO, the American Council on Science and Health, www.sciencenews.org (Science News Vol 158, No 1, July 1, 2000, p. 12), www.altgreen.com.au and the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

I'm just trying to fortify the writeup above:

DDT was first introduced massively in World War II. It helped stop disease-carrying insects and protect crops. It was especially effective in protecting against malaria, typhus, yellow fever, river blindness, and encephalitis. Malaria was nearly eliminated by the late 1960s. India, which before the introduction of DDT had over 75 million cases of malaria, had less the a million by 1962, and by 1970 had only 200,000. The World Health Organization estimates that 100 million lives were saved by DDT.

"Silent Spring" went so far as to predict the extinction of the robin and other birds of prey if the use of DDT was not halted. It was argued that DDT would find its way into fields and rivers, accumulate in fish, and from the fish, reach humans.

Environmentalists speculated that high levels of DDT in birds caused their eggshells to thin, but where as there was hard proof that DDT was saving millions of lives, there was no proof that their was any danger to the bird population. Of course, they showed us examples of damaged bird colonies as proof that DDT cause damage to them, but every single example they showed were of birds that were exposed to DDT and PCB (which has been proven to cause damage to eggshells). Even three decades after the ban on DDT, there is still no proof that DDT is harmful. Not only has there been no proof that it causes any damage to birds, but also the bird population increased in the period that DDT was in mass production.

The Audubon field census found that bird populations from 1941 to 1960, the period which saw the introduction of DDT, the peak of its use, and the beginning of its decline, increased. Swallow, robin, heron, and eagle populations all grew over 20 years of the use of DDT. Other reports showed increasing raptor populations during that same period of time. The bald eagle population increased 25% over the years of 1942 to 1960.

DDT also destroyed blood-sucking insects that pestered and killed blackbirds in Kentucky. The birds also saw an abundance of fruits and berries where the insects had formerly ravaged the land. It created an ideal habitat for birds in that area.

Many also claim that DDT causes disease in humans such as cancer, mutations and hepatitis as typical results of ingestion. Studies were executed after the ban on adult volunteers, After 18 months there were no ill effects reported on the test subjects. In 1981 in Tirana, Albania there was a massive DDT spill which exposed villagers to the highest level of ingestion of DDT ever recorded. No health effect was reported. Other post-ban research has concluded that DDT does not build up in animal tissue. We now know that DDT does not cause any harm to humans or animals and yet we still have not lifted the ban. We have the ability to create a "miracle chemical" yet we still haven't reexamined the ban. This ban was the first in a series of campaigns against non-existent threats to mother earth.

Sources: World Health Organization http://www.who.org ; Global Warming in a Politically Correct Climate, M. Mihkel Mathiesen ; National Audobon Society http://www.audobon.org
A mosquito cried out in pain:
"A chemist has poisoned my brain!"
The cause of his sorrow
was para-dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane.

Adam Bernard (adamb@bgumail.bgu.ac.il)
First seen on rec.humor.funny in March of 1997.

dd = D = de-rezz

DDT /D-D-T/ n.

[from the insecticide para-dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethene] 1. Generic term for a program that assists in debugging other programs by showing individual machine instructions in a readable symbolic form and letting the user change them. In this sense the term DDT is now archaic, having been widely displaced by `debugger' or names of individual programs like adb, sdb, dbx, or gdb. 2. [ITS] Under MIT's fabled ITS operating system, DDT (running under the alias HACTRN, a six-letterism for `Hack Translator') was also used as the shell or top level command language used to execute other programs. 3. Any one of several specific DDTs (sense 1) supported on early DEC hardware and CP/M. The PDP-10 Reference Handbook (1969) contained a footnote on the first page of the documentation for DDT that illuminates the origin of the term:

Historical footnote: DDT was developed at MIT for the PDP-1 computer in 1961. At that time DDT stood for "DEC Debugging Tape". Since then, the idea of an on-line debugging program has propagated throughout the computer industry. DDT programs are now available for all DEC computers. Since media other than tape are now frequently used, the more descriptive name "Dynamic Debugging Technique" has been adopted, retaining the DDT abbreviation. Confusion between DDT-10 and another well known pesticide, dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (C14-H9-Cl5) should be minimal since each attacks a different, and apparently mutually exclusive, class of bugs.

(The `tape' referred to was, incidentally, not magnetic but paper.) Sadly, this quotation was removed from later editions of the handbook after the suits took over and DEC became much more `businesslike'.

The history above is known to many old-time hackers. But there's more: Peter Samson, compiler of the original TMRC lexicon, reports that he named `DDT' after a similar tool on the TX-0 computer, the direct ancestor of the PDP-1 built at MIT's Lincoln Lab in 1957. The debugger on that ground-breaking machine (the first transistorized computer) rejoiced in the name FLIT (FLexowriter Interrogation Tape).

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

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