Still, the discovery earned him a doctorate in botany because, hey, he did find a way to speed up the growth of soybeans. Yes, in concentrated doses it pretty much dissolved vegetation, but nobody really cared about that. Why would anybody want to murder literally every single plant in a given area?
Noooo! You Maniacs!
Military researchers messed around with Galston's soy steroids, eventually leading to the invention of Agent Orange, the deadly Vietnam War herbicide that was dropped over huge swathes of land to kill everything that was green and could be used to hide or feed enemy combatants. When Galston went over there to investigate the effects of mishandling his invention, he was so lost for words regarding the destruction of plant, animal, and marine life that Agent Orange caused that he had to invent a whole new one to describe it: "ecocide."
But the Air Force insisted that Agent Orange didn't hurt people. That's why it technically didn't count as illegal chemical warfare and was really more like strategic gardening when you think about it. And indeed, the tree-smiting chemicals themselves weren't that harmful. The catch is that synthesizing those up creates dioxins, a byproduct so spectacularly bad for humans that just reading about them can probably give you cancer.
Department of Defense
We could show you photos of the people, instead of the plants, but you're probably on your lunch break. You're welcome.
Back home, Galston rallied his scientist pals, and together they did pretty much everything besides mass streak at the Super Bowl with "dioxins" Sharpied on their dongs to raise awareness of the dangers of Agent Orange. Finally dioxins were proven to be carcinogenic, which was enough evidence to make Richard Nixon order to stop the sprayings in 1970. And thus the military never did anything horrifying or morally reprehensible ever again.
Blair is on Twitter and sometimes writes short stories for his friend's Carnisnora Tumblr. Daniel has a humor blog, the existence of which he regrets on a daily basis.
For more inventors who saw their innovations go wrong, check out 6 Geniuses Who Saw Their Inventions Go Terribly Wrong. And also be sure to check out 7 Inventors You Didn't Know You Wanted to Punch In the Face.
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