In the mid-1980s, a small problem began to surface in a relatively obscure corner of the world. In 1994, just about a decade later, the World Health Organization published a statement that this little problem had developed into “the largest mass poisoning of a population in history.” On today’s show, we speak to the doctors, epidemiologists, and geologists who helped hunt down the origin of this tragic event. Join us as we venture through the human body and through geologic time to uncover the twists and turns and remarkable coincidences responsible for this ongoing epidemic.
A few weeks ago, we made an announcement that we’d be trying out some new material on our site while we spent a little more time working on larger audio stories. We’ve now got a few written pieces out there and a video too. We’ve been really thrilled with the response to this work, and thanks to all of you for the kind words. For those audiophiles out there, please don’t fret. We’re excited to say that this week, we’re in final preparations of our first big, shiny, new story. Look for it soon on our site, on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or anywhere else you find our show.
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Most of the epic survival stories you’ve read probably involve crazy mountain climbers, adventurous cave divers, or bearded and grizzled desert hikers. Scientists aren’t typically mentioned in this company. But sometimes, geologists find themselves enduring nature’s worst in the pursuit of that must-have dataset… or at least, a dataset that seemed really important at the time. Here are three stories about four geologists who found themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time when nature removed her flowery veil and donned her murder hat. But before I get into those, it needs to be said that people perished during the events of some of these stories. Given that, please consider this a celebration of the perseverance, luck, good fortune, and bad-assery of those who survived. Continue reading