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Communications of the ACM

Editor's letter

What Do DDT and Computing Have in Common?

CACM Editor-in-Chief Andrew A. Chien

Writing on the 50th Earth Day brings to mind the origins of U.S. environmental movement.

DDT is, of course, Bis(4-chlorophenyl)- 1,1,1-trichloroethane, perhaps the most effective insecticide ever invented. DDT was used widely with remarkable effectiveness in the 1940s and 1950s to combat malaria, typhus, and the other insect-borne human diseases. Its efficacy was unsurpassed in insect control for crop and livestock production, and even villages and homes. In short, it was a wonder chemical.7


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