The term “epidemic” is something heard often in the news, in doctors offices, and in the world around today. However, most of the population do not have an idea of what the medical term means. The Center for Disease Control defines an epidemic as “the occurrence of more cases of disease than expected in a given area or among a specific group of people over a particular period of time.”
This anthology will introduce twenty epidemics of the past that had a major impact mankind. From viruses to fatal bacterial strains, these diseases has caused major distress, panic amongst major populations. The and ideas topics of how these diseases were started, vehicles for transmission and how society has responded to the outbreaks will be examined and discussed.
Something that you’ll find interesting is how diseases are spread eerily similar. However, the the biotechnological methods of treatment to combat these deadly disease are even more intriguing.
We are going on a Nerdventure! – Dr. Christopher Thompson
Image courtesy of Shuttershock
Continue reading “Scientific Anthology: Epidemics”
The film Groundswell Rising is documentary showing how the effects of fracking are affecting towns in low socioeconomic standing. The idea of fracking is a discovery that has lead to the collection of gas during the late 1860’s. This done by drilling down deep into the Earth and injecting a high pressure mixture of water inside the hole made. The high pressure is directed at the rocks, beneath the Earth’s surface, release the gas inside the holes made. The result ends with the collect of the gas released into the rocks into wells. The growing scarcity of fossil fuels has allowed for the flourishment of the fracking industry. The growth in the fracking market is an idea mentioned in Steven Johnson’s book Where Good Ideas Come From. In it Johnson states that with unregulated markets that we have today, the growth and decline markets are allowed to occur. In this case, fracking is allowed to growing to a huge industry as a means of an alternate energy source. This growing industry can create new jobs and help many towns additional income. However, the health implications associated with fracking can cause devastating effects. During the fracking process many different types of chemical molecules are released into the air and the water supply. The side effects of fracking can lead to many birth defects, gastrointestinal and respiratory issues. With all of these health and medical issues present, people affected are left to seek medical help. However, most people cannot afford to pay for their medical bills due to their low income. This situation leaves many vulnerable populations in a corner where they cannot get the medical attention that they need. Hopefully, as time goes society will generate new alternative or seek already existing technologies to resolve these important issues.
In Sally Smith Hughes book, Genentech, readers learn about a small genetic engineering company whose name became known after one biochemical invention. The use of biotechnology to invent a better system of creating pharmaceutical drugs for distribution had been a goal for many biotech companies. Genentech was the first company to pioneer recombinant DNA technology to manufacture a crucial hormone our body needs in order to regulate sugar intake. Before this innovation, insulin was collected from the pancreas of pigs and used to treat people with diabetes. By using biological machinery that naturally occurs in bacteria, scientist Herbert W. Boyer and Stanley Cohen were able to manipulate its biological software to produce human hormones. Once their breakthrough was known, Robert A. Swanson, a young entrepreneur, joined the team of scientist and created a business which is now Genentech. This was not Hughes first encounter with the company’s technology. Before publishing the history of this company, she published a novel with Boyer himself called Recombinant DNA Research at UCSF and Commercial Application at Genentech: Oral history Transcript, in 2001. Already being familiar with the technology, she was able to craft together the birth of Genentech by giving detailed descriptions of its co-founders, details of their innovations, and the business aspect that went into creating the company. This book is a great read for those interested in learning how biotechnology has evolved into one of the tools we now use to create better pharmaceuticals. Continue reading “GENENTECH: A NEW APPROACH OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERING NEW MEDICINES”
“By the late 1970’s, anyone following commercial biotechnology was entranced by the new about the interferon, a protein discovered in 1957 and thought to prevent virus infection”-Hughes (pg 141)
After reading the chapter I became very interested in the topic of interferons. However, chapter 6 didn’t really touch on the topic as I would have liked. After completing some research I found out was the interferons are a groups of proteins containing beta and alpha domains that help with immune responses to other cells. They are represent a family of cytokines. Which means these protein molecules act as ligands for the receptors on neighboring cells to boost their immune response to the viral infection. This happens when a virus inserts itself into the cell of an organism. The virus hijacks the cell’s machinery for replication, transcription and translation to create more viral cells. During this time the cell actually makes interferons of its own, naturally, to signal neighboring cells that an infection has occurred and to boost up an immune response. The neighboring cells then respond by activating immune cells (i.e. macrophages) to destroy the unhealthy cells, increasing the amount of antigens secreted. These two contributions alone help the cell coordinate an immune response to a foreign pathogen. Antibodies are able to coat the foreign agents and the activated macrophages will be able to recognize the infected cells and destroy them. This seems very cool on how our own body has to do this whenever we come into contact with a viral agent. Our cell are able to orchestrate a uniform response in order for the organisms survival.
To learn more about interferons click on the underlined words to gain access to journal articles.
Here are some YouTube videos I found on interferons:
“Modern biotechnology originates in 1973 with the invention of recombinant DNA technology, a now universal form of genetic engineering. It entails recombining (joining) pieces of DNA in a test tube, cloning (creating identical copies of DNA) in a bacterium or other organism, and expressing the DNA code as a protein or RNA molecule.”- Hughes (pg.1)
The discovery and use of recombinant has paved the way into finding new ways to treat patients with protein (nucleotide) based medications such as RNA. This form of treatment does not grow old with time and still is prevalent in our society today. In my health communication class we discussed that there have been many new innovations in the health and pharmaceutical industry. New technologies in wearable technologies, tools for diagnosis, and portable gaming are becoming more apparent.
An online computer game, called EteRNA, has the user puzzled in making single strands of RNA molecule fold and in certain shapes. My first impression of the game was how fun and easily addicting this game can become. However, the importance of this game is critical for the development of new drugs. The RNA in our cells are involved in many important biological functions. Including whether or not certain genes, within our DNA, gets expressed. Scientists want to use the RNA for customized treatments for viral infections (i.e. the Zika virus) or inherited disorders (i.e. cystic fibrosis) by targeting genes and other parts of our cells. But first, the scientists have to figure out how does RNA fold when it interacts with those structures. So some researchers from Stanford and Carnegie Mellon University, who were inspired by the success of Foldit (another mHealth game), developed EterRNA. What the community of gamers noticed from the game were traits that made some RNA structures harder to design. In the “Principles for Predicting RNA Secondary Structure Design Difficulty” published in the Journal of Molecular Biology explained that gamers had difficulty in designing folded RNA molecules that are symmetrical (containing similar RNA bases) were also difficult to synthesize in the laboratory. What these gamers learned can help scientists to save time and money when designing RNA structures in the lab. EteRNA is a gaming technology has led to more positive health outcome in the medical research field that can help benefit society.
In Samantha Weinberg’s book, Pointing From the Grave: A True Story of Murder and DNA, readers get the first inside look to how the innovation of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology evolved to become a key aspect within forensic criminology. Following the story of young scientist, Helena Greenwood, Weinberg places the reader into a courtroom drama while giving accurate details about this cutting-edge technology. This was the first novel Weinberg had ever published with the topic of DNA. After publishing this novel in 2003, she went on to fully establish herself as a novelist by creating a trilogy known as the Moneypenny Diaries. Although Pointing From the Grave was the first criminology novel for this British novelist, she was able to successfully take complex scientific terminology and break it down to where her readers can fully understand it in a more simplistic manner; the need for a scientific background is not necessary. Weinberg is able to show the true story of Helena Greenwood’s sexual assault and murder by providing accurate forensic evidence and integrating different perspectives from those who knew the victim and suspect best. Continue reading “POINTING FROM THE GRAVE: THE INVISIBLE HELIX THAT TRACKS YOUR EVERY MOVE”
” Paul is the kind of guy who sends Christmas cards and thank you cards on time. I keep thinking, did I miss something? Did I see any anger brewing up where it might have become uncontrollable? And the answer is no.”-Weinberg (p.341)
In Pointing From the Grave, many people who knew Mr. Frediani describe him very differently. Some people, like Andrea, would describe him as very hostile, aggressive, and angry. However people from Frediani’s workplace and Kathy describe him as amiable, kind, and passionate. It can be baffling for readers to think Frediani as a normal person if he behaves very differently at times. However, what if Frediani wanted to portray himself in one way and a different way to others?
In life, human beings show many different attitudes depending who they are with. This touches the sociological concept of face. According to David Yau-fai Ho, the concept of face is clarified and distinguished from other closely related constructs: authority, standards of behavior, personality, status, dignity, honor and prestige. The claim to face may rest on the basis of status but may also vary according to the group with which a person is interacting. The idea of keeping face and portraying yourself to whomever you may be interacting with is a very interesting topic. It speaks to something that all us do. As social human being we desire to keep shown as certain person whenever we may be interacting with a certain group. For example, students in a classroom setting would interact in classmates and professors in a very professional matter. Students would refer to professors, a higher authority, with respect and call on them by their doctoral name. However, when that same student will act differently when he/she is outside the classroom and socializing with their friends. This change in face serves to provide that person with ability to socialize with certain groups depending who he/she is with. These social interactions can vary in considering different cultures. Depending on the culture we live in different social norms are acceptable while other behavior may be considered taboo.
“He directed her to her testimony at the preliminary hearing. She had described then how she had collected the fingernail cuttings and scrapings and put them in paper bindles. Now they were in clear boxes. When had they been transferred? Mary Pierson said had no independent recollection. It was a phrase that was becoming more familiar with the trial.” -Weinberg (p. 287)
During the time of the investigation of a crime scene it is pertinent to keep a chain a custody of any physical evidence collected. This provides a means of monitoring where and when the evidence is being stored. If the chain of custody is improperly managed then the evidence collected at the crime scene could be thought that it it could have been potentially tampered with. In cases where DNA, a piece of physical evidence, is the only evidence that links the defendant to the crime scene it is crucial that this evidence is held under the proper protocol and management. Because if it isn’t properly cares then evidence used court can be dismissed. Taking a forensic entomology class at Loyola, I learned that when investigating a crime scene it is critical to annotate everything done in and out of the crime scene. So that there are no inconsistencies and have the forensic eyewitness report allowed in court.
The chain of custody described by the SART Toolkit says, “To maintain chain of custody, you must preserve evidence from the time it is collected to the time it is presented in court. To prove the chain of custody, and ultimately show that the evidence has remained intact, prosecutors generally need service providers who can testify.” These service providers are typically the forensic scientists or trained policemen that can explain:
- That the evidence offered in court is the same evidence they collected or received.
- the time and date the evidence was received or transferred to another provider.
- That there was no tampering with the item while it was in custody
All these components are critical for a service provider to have. Not only will they explain that the procedures done in the crime were up to protocol standards under oath but also convince the jury that the evidence is reliable. This requires a lot of understanding of the scientific methods used as well as have ability to be well spoken. The art of testifying is can be difficult and daunting for most people. Withstanding the badgering by defense lawyers, and surviving shots made towards your credibility as a scientist are some qualities that not all service providers have. That is why its important when dealing with trials, like the Frediani case, to have service providers that hold their own against sharks of defense lawyers.
Media involving the chain of custody:
Dr. River’s Forensic Entomology Class
“That in the event of guilty verdict, a jury would not pursue the death penalty (for Frediani). In the California courts death penalty cases are treated almost as twin trials; only after a guilty verdict in the central murder case would the jury then consider the death penalty, and this would be almost like a trial in itself.” – Weinberg (p. 236)
This quote incited curiosity into the history of capital punishment and how it is regulated in the United States. Capital punishment is a sentence carried out which finds anyway guilty in the process to be executed. Crime museum state that, “in the United States, the death penalty is primarily reserved for people who have been convicted of murder or other capital offenses. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that capital punishment is neither unconstitutional nor “cruel and unusual punishment,” and exists within the boundaries of the 8th and 14th amendments. There are some instances in which capital punishment has been approved for individuals who have raped or sexually assaulted minors in some way. “.Since the United States still implement the death penalty on criminal offenders, it is pertinent to ensure that no innocent persons are wrongfully sentenced to death.
An organization of team member called the Innocence Project work towards protecting those who are wrongfully convicted of crimes and sentenced to death row. Through the use of biotechnology in the form of DNA testing, the Innocence Project has successfully exonerated eighteen people. These exonerated individuals were eventually found not guilt and set free by the judicial system. What helped the organization to do this is through DNA testing. By taking samples of the convicted individuals and the DNA samples from the crime scene, scientist were able to conclude inconsistencies in the DNA match. This is found by analyzing the DNA banding patterns apparent when running these DNA samples against each other. With the addition of eye witness testimony, alibis, and this crucial DNA analysis the Innocence Project were able to overturn the sentence of capital punishment and free innocent people from jail.
Capital punishment has become a huge issue in today’s world. The moral issue of taking another person’s life for the crimes they have committed is something that is heavily debated. And even though it is carried out throughout the world today, there needs to be assurance that innocent individuals do not suffer because their justice system has failed them.
Interesting News and Media
“He is just like Jekyll and Hyde. He looked different when he was in rage, his nostrils flaring, these wild eyes, this rage…”-Weinberg (p. 185)
After reading Eileen’s comment of what she thought of her boyfriend’s attitude, I got interested in searching up some information on psychopathology. Science daily defines psychopathology as a term which refers to either the study of mental illness or mental distress or the manifestation of behaviors and experiences which may be indicative of mental illness or psychological impairment. David Frediani’s attitude and behavior would seem to be on polar ends. During an extended amount of time David would be display signs of happiness in his environment. He would be kind to Eileen’s daughter, show up to work, provide child support for his own children as well. However, David began showing signs of aggression, anger and rage when he comes into contact with a stimulus or trigger. An example that can cause this behavioral change could be if Andrea did not want her children to interact with their father David without reason.
The connection of David Frediani’s behavior and psychopathology is that there could be an underlying mental disorder. There could be a part where his brain could have structural malfunctions. An area that could be the cause within the brain is called the paralimbic system. Scientific American Mind, a media outlet, explains that the paralimbic system “includes several interconnected brain regions that register feelings and other sensations and assign emotional value to experiences. These brain regions also handle decision making, high-level reasoning, and impulse control.” Malfunctions within David Frediani’s paralimbic system could have caused him to not have control of his impulses and desires. Filled with anger and rage, David could be at a higher predisposition to behave violently against other people and possibly hurt them. Trying to extrapolate Eileen’s quote and David’s past it could very well be possible that David could have been involved in the murder of Helena Greenwood as well. Just think about it, David could have been filled with anger and decided to talk to Helena Greenwood to have her not testify in court. She would have not agreed and could have set David off to physically abuse her and eventually kill Helena.
Cool video on psychopaths:
“Reasonable doubt is not a mere possible doubt, because everything relating to human affairs and depending on moral evidence is open to some possible or imaginary doubt. It is that state of the case which after the entire comparison and consideration of all the evidence leaves the minds of the jurors in that consideration that they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction to a moral certainty of the of the charge. “ -Weinberg (p. 107)
I really enjoyed reading this quote in chapter 7 because reasonable doubt is the biggest obstacle that prosecutors must overcome to get a conviction. This quote got me sparked my interest to find cases where the sentence can be either overturned or reversed in the defendant’s favor.
I wanted to have a little more understanding of what reasonable doubt meant. I did some online searching and sound some YouTube videos that explains reasonable doubt a little better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezGcrdklYh0,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQw8r1xW4CM
After looking over some cases involving reasonable doubt, I stumbled upon the Manuel Velez case of 2013. This case involves a construction worker named Manuel Velez who got convicted for killing his girlfriend’s child, Angel. Velez was sentenced to death row in the state of Texas. Velez could have been killed by the state of Texas until a team of civil litigators working pro bono with the ACLU’s Capital Punishment Project tried to appeal the case. Looking through the medical files of deceased baby Angel the team of lawyers found an unusual file. In Angel’s pediatrician files, the attorney found that Angel’s head circumference had grown rapidly before Velez moved in with the mother. Forensic witness expert, Dr. Daniel Brown testified that the abnormal and rapid growth of baby Angel’s head is a sign of reoccurring violent head trauma. It was also noted that Angel was also vomiting and convulsing months before his death. These signs and symptoms point towards Velez’s girlfriend. This new evidence displays that the death of Angel could not be confirmed without a doubt Manuel Velez’s involvement with the murder of his child Angel. After nine 9 years in prison and in death row, Manuel Velez was found innocent on the grounds of reasonable doubt. The jury during the trial found that the death of Angel could not be attributed to Manuel Velez based on the newly found evidence.
“Detective Decker and Kelly learned a lot about Helena Greenwood in the last of the day she was murdered. They took down names of her friends and business associates, found out about her activities of the previous twenty four hours, her normal routine. And for the first time, they heard the name David Paul Frediani… You don’t focus on one person until you have done all the interviews and read all the lab reports.”- Weinberg (pp.74)
In a criminal investigation, especially murder, it is important to take on all considerations. In the case of Helena’s murder it is vital to consider a list of multiple suspects than to just point to obvious person. David Paul Frediani, is the obvious person to blame because of his criminal history and the impeding sexual assault trial. I think that the detectives investigating Helena’s murder are taking the right steps in order to pinpoint the culprit. Decker and Kelly are compiling a list of possible suspects, checking alibis, and waiting for the lab reports to come in before accusing anyone of murder. Following this detective provides a solid base as to find a conclusion. Because when all other alternatives are ruled out, the one that remains must be the explanation.
Looking at our world’s most compelling innovations, theories, and discoveries, it seems as if brilliant minds of those like Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, and Charles Darwin could produce ingenious insight in the blink of an eye. Author Steve Johnson however, believes that the components of our surrounding environment play a vital role in how we arrive at these “eureka moments” of enlightenment. In his book, Where Good Ideas Come From, Johnson documents the roots of innovation and creativity, while exploring the factors that play a role in determining how we ultimately arrive at ideas. Johnson uses seven different elements of thinking to outline our thought process; The Adjacent Possible, Liquid Networks, The Slow Hunch, Serendipity, Error, Exaptation, and Platforms. Slow hunches, densely populated areas, liquid networks, platforms are important themes our group noted as critical for the growth of innovation. Through Steven Johnson’s use of biological metaphors, scientific research, and innovative stories we are able to read where great ideas come from. Continue reading “Book Review: Where Good Ideas Come From”
“They have learned nothing new– the case rests on that single fingerprint found outside Helena Greenwood’s house, together with her testimony that he has the same “height and type of build” as the man who had attacked her thirteen months previously. He cannot believe that he will be convicted on such flimsy evidence..”-Weinberg (pp. 56)
Reading this passage from Pointing from the Grave got me interested in finding a case in where an individual was convicted of a crime solely on their fingerprints. It didn’t take too long until I found something a case. In the state of Indiana Lana Canen has been convicted of murder in 2002 for the murder of Helen Sailor. The conviction has made possible through using only fingerprint analysis. The detective of crime scene, Dennis Chapman, conducted the analysis based on fingerprints found on a prescription bottle at the crime scene. The analysis concluded that the fingerprints were a match even though detective Chapman did not have no training in latent print comparisons. “This was the only evidence against Canen and she was convicted and sentenced to 55 years in prison.” After the conviction, attorney Cara Wieneke believed that Lana Canen was innocent and appealed the case. Cara Wieneke hired and independent forensic analyst that concluded that the fingerprints of Canen and from the prescription bottle did not match. The report was used in court and got conviction turned over.
“Paul Uhlenhuth, an assistant professor at the Institute of Hygiene in Griefswald, found a method of determining the origin of unknown blood using a precipitating antiserum.”- Weinberg (pp. 50)
The use of antibodies have came a long way for the use in science. One of the most useful, cost efficient, and easy tests made in our society are in pregnancy tests. Pregnancy tests contain antibodies within them that contain antibodies. These antibodies in the test binds to a hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin, is secreted when a woman is pregnant. When present in urine the antibodies bind to the hormone and produce a positive result. The specificity of these antibodies for the hormone makes these pregnancy test very accurate for testing. Another uncommon found from using pregnancy tests is used to detect men’s testicular cancer. A study conducted found that the same HCG hormone secreted by women during pregnancy is also secreted in some cases of testicular cancer.
Home pregnancy tests may detect men's cancer
“Yet only a dew countries away, in an Austrian monastery, a fat amiable monk had already-literally-planted the first seeds of what came to be called genetics”-Weinberg (pp.29)
After reading the chapter third chapter. I found that it began explaining the precursors that led to the discovery of DNA. One of the scientists that helped contribute to this discovery is Gregor Mendel. His finding shows one way parents pass on their genetic traits onto their offspring. This sparked interest for me to search for inherited genetic disorders prevalent today. One of the diseases that I found was Huntington’s disease.
Huntington’s disease is an “autosomal dominant allele” that gets passed on from parents on to their offspring. Describing Huntington’s disease as ‘”autosmal dominant” means to say that if a parent is affected with the disease then their children will also suffer from the same disease. And the children will pass on the disease to their children and so forth. The signs and symptoms of this disease causes individuals to suffer from involuntary jerking, muscle problems, slowness in processing thoughts, social withdrawal, insomnia, and fatigue. With individuals affected with Huntington’s disease do not display signs at a young age they do appear around the ages of 35 to 40.
Currently, there is no cure for for Huntington disease. Physicians recommend affected patients to avoid pregnancy because of the high chance that their children will also suffer from the disorder.
“Syca’s main production was a system, known as Emitt, used to detect the presence of drugs— both therapeutic and abused–in the blood.”-Weinberg (p.16)
This quote I lifted off from Point From the Grave because it gave me great interest to know the science behind drug tests. Upon initial research I found that there are many ways science is used for drug testing. These tests range from examining the blood, urine, hair, breath, and even saliva. The one I specifically focused on understanding was blood testing. Because this type of drug testing was mentioned in the Samantha Weinberg’s novel. What I found were some really cool scientific facts about how the blood gets examined for drugs. Of these facts I found that blood testing is used to detect if an individual is currently under the influence of an elicit drug. Meaning that the active forms of the drugs and not the by products are detected. It is known to be a very time consuming, and expensive process to perform. Blood testing also requires a trained professional to perform the procedure due to nature of the test. Because of this blood testings are not the first choice for many law enforcement offices when testing drug use. What law enforcement do instead of blood testing are urine tests. The reason why they do this is because urine testing is easy, efficient, and inexpensive.
“Do you render an opinion of the assailant’s race?” “Yes or no?” “I said that I can’t positively identify the person.” -Weinberg (9)
The inability to positively identify an attacker could be due to stress Helena was going through. Negative bias against people of certain races (white, brown, black) can also contribute towards memory. This vulnerability can brings the chance for witnesses to add that elaborations stemming on their bias. A study made to research this vulnerability in human memory was conducted by Barbara Tversky and Elizabeth Marsh. They discovered participants would make error in retelling experiences. The experiences were categorized as socially cool, neutral and annoying. Participants made minimal errors in retelling the stories that were delivered from a neutral standpoint. But from the socially cool and annoying experiences, participants made many more errors and added characteristics attributed to the bias in their retelling.
“Solo, amateur innovation (quadrant three) surrenders much of its lead to the rising power of networks and commerce (quadrant four).”- Johnson (p.228)
After reading Johnson’s chapter on quadrants. I was interested in finding understanding why amateur innovations would surrendered it lead to the big power of networks and commerce. Upon surfing the web I stumbled across a cool article explaining about a new innovation that will be revolutionary for trauma medicine. The invention that would lead to save many is called VetiGel.
It is a gel used as a clotting factor in animals (and in the near future humans) in extreme blood trauma situations. It can stop bleeding as fast as 12 seconds! The creator of VetiGel, Joe Landolina, created the product when he was 17. Joe is an amateur innovator interested in the pursuit for the advancement of biomedical science and technology. After further reading a dew more articles I found that one of the main reasons why Joe decided to commercialize the product was not only to set himself financially but to also for the benefit of society. By designing this product Joe also gained national and worldwide recognition and opened many doors of opportunityto continue further research.
Platform building is, by definition, a kind of exercise in emergent behavior”-Johnson (pp.182)
This is a scanning electron picture of a phytoplankton. These microorgansims account for half of all photosynthetic activity on Earth. Just as the beavers described by Johnson, these organisms provide the base foundation for many other aquatic species to exist. The Nation Centers for Coastal Ocean Science explains that, “In a balanced ecosystem, phytoplankton provide food for a wide range of sea creature including whales, shrimp, snails, and jellyfish”. Without these crucial microorganisms providing nutrition and oxygen our aquatic ecosystem would not look as it is today.
“Many of history’s great innovators managed to build a cross disciplinary coffeehouse environment within their own private work routines”
This is Nikola Tesla. He was an Serbian American scientist focused on the development of new technology for society. He was heavily involved in many different fields of science including physics, electrical and mechanical engineering. His interest in these different fields along with his futuristic ideas allowed for the creation of inventions that were beyond his time. By the late 1800’s Tesla went to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity. He also speculated the possibility of wireless communication, a technology used so often today. These hobbies and interests in these different fields proves as an example of how scientists can come up with great ideas by integrating concepts together.
“De Forest had stumbled across a classic slow hunch… In 1903, he began a series of failed experiments with placing two electrodes in gas-filled glass bulbs. He continued tinkering with the model…”-Johnson p132-133″
Reading Johnson’s Error’s reminded of other experiments and inventions performed by scientists. One of these scientists that created a breakthrough invention was Thomas Edison. Edison invented the light bulb based on idea he had concerning electricity, currents, etc. Although Edison created the light based on science concerning electricity, he did not have an immediate answer to his question. Edison required long periods of experimental testing on a trial and error basis. With time Edison finally reached a solution to a problem he posed onto himself. When asked about his failed experiments concerning the invention of the light bulb, Edison states that he did not encounter failure but found critical data for his discovery. This statement I believe is something that the entire science community abides by because although an experiment did not follow through as planned the data is critical for knowing what went wrong. By keeping these data point in lab notebooks, databases, etc., scientists can formulate a new experiment to try answer their question in manner different than before.
“patents, digital rights management, intellectual property, trade secrets, proprietary technology… share a founding assumption: that in the long run, innovation will increase if you put restrictions on the spread of new ideas, because those restrictions will allow the creators to collect large financial rewards from their inventions”-Johnson p123-124″
This is Martin Shkreli. He was the CEO of a biotech company called Turing Pharmaceuticals. He is notoriously known from approving the raise price of very important drugs up to 4,000% from the original price. This overnight spike in the these drugs to treat infectious disease caused many people to suffer because they could not afford their medication. Some patients that could only be treated by Turing Pharmaceuticals drug would have no choice but to pay the obscenely high prices. This reminded me of when Johnson begins to talk about exclusive rights such as drug patents.Turing Pharmaceuticals raising the prices of lifesaving drugs overnight shows how easily these patents can hurt society more than benefit society. It shed light on how our government has to regulate patent laws in order to make any product affordable to the common man as well as the company.
“In the months before the Malthus reading, we could probably say that Darwin had the idea of natural selection in his head, but at the same time was incapable of fulling thinking it. This is how slow hunches often mature: by stealth, in small steps. They fade into view. “-Johnson, p81
Found this cool quote from Albert Einstein. Einstein explains how he got to the theory of relativity. This provides another example of how great ideas come from hunches growing over time. Einstein says ” Actually, I was led to it by steps arising from the individual laws derived from experience.” Einstein’s discovery can be comparable to Charles Darwin’s discovery of evolution. It shows the some great ideas come with time in a series of steps.