Episode 202 – 30th August 2013

This week we go in depth on Syria, looking at an academic study on whether interventions are effective, and the reasons why chemical weapons are viewed as so unpleasant. We also talk about the black death and the Sochi Olympics gay rights controversy. Because y’know, we’re keeping it light this week.



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Do Interventions Work? (2:34) by James O’Malley (ft Prof Reed Wood)
Chemical Weapons Prohibition (17:00) by Drew Rae
Why Are Chemical Weapons Disgusting? (25:27) by Rich Godbehere
The Black Death Is Back (34:46) by James O’Malley (ft Alison Atkin)
Sochi Boycott? (49:00) by Marc Naimark
The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy & Brian Two
The amazing logo for this week’s show is by Stuart Taylor

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2 thoughts on “Episode 202 – 30th August 2013

  1. At one point the podcast states that running nose and watering eyes in chemical weapon attacks are a sign of how “the nose and mouth expels the poison”.

    Some chemical weapons irritate membranes, sure. But sarin, the agent in discussion when it comes to Syria, works because it’s an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. This inhibition results in a build up of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, keeping those nerves firing and resulting in uncontrollable stimulation that causes streaming noses, watering eyes, sweating, drooling, and the various problems that result in a rather unpleasant death.

    This isn’t an attempt by the body to expel the poison; it’s a rather nasty effect caused by the poison itself.

    1. The claim isn’t that those specific poisons from that specific chemical causes vomiting and eye watering, but that it is a generally public perception that this is how they operate.

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