Scientific Anthology: Debunked Scientific Theories

Introduction

A scientific theory is a well-tested, comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature supported by evidence and facts gathered over time (Oregon State). These theories are typically proposed by one scientist or researcher and then retested and reexamined over time by other scientists and researchers, who will either agree with and add onto the original theory or will find evidence against it and eventually debunk it.

Debunked scientific theories are these theories that were once widely accepted within the mainstream scientific community but nowadays are considered to be inaccurate descriptions of nature. Often times, these debunked scientific theories are only disproven when scientists and researchers work to retest the original theory and another theory emerges from this research to replace it as the norm. In this anthology, a series of famous debunked scientific theories, such as the Flat Earth Theory or the idea of Geocentrism, are given an in-depth look.

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Scientific Anthology: Debunked Scientific Theories

Genentech: A Science-Business Hybrid

Genentech: The Beginnings of Biotech is a book that tells the story of how Genentech, one of the first biotechnology companies, was founded.  It tells the story of how “The company inspired a new industrial sector transforming the biomedical and commercial landscapes ever after” (Hughes Prologue 1). It is written by Sally Smith Hughes, a historian of science at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Virus: A History of the Concept and Making Dollars out of DNA: The First Major Patent in Biotechnology and the Commercialization of Molecular Biology (“Sally Smith Hughes” 2012). She has lots of experience detailing the history of scientific processes and companies as she is also the creator of an extensive collection of in-depth oral histories on bioscience, biomedicine, and biotechnology. This shows in her book about Genentech, as she is able to provide lots of information on the key figures in the company’s start-up, such as Herb Boyer, Stanley Cohen, and Robert Swanson. She is also able to describe the scientific processes that made the company successful such as the use and discovery of recombinant DNA. Continue reading “Genentech: A Science-Business Hybrid”

Genentech: A Science-Business Hybrid

From Foe to Friend

“the building, christened Genentech hall, stands today at the center of campus, a symbolic reconciliation so both sides pointedly portrayed-of long term protagonists of biopharmaceutical research”(Hughes,153).

Competition is one of the most important thing in life, it what drives us to make the best of our abilities, and to not fall behind, In the book, Genentech and UCSF are competing labs trying to beat each other to to biotech punch. Genentech had hired former UCSF scientists who “borrowed” old work and brought it with them to Genentech and helped create human insulin. This lead to USCF suing Genentech. This is interesting because it seems to be only done because Genentech succeeded at insulin, where if not they would have maybe been left alone. The issue is resolved and Genentech gives money to build a new research building at UCSF, and is interestingly named after them. This seems like the best friend you make after being in a fight, sometimes competition can bring who entities closer together.

 

From Foe to Friend

Frediani: Murderer or Victim?

Pointing from the Grave: a True Story of Murder and DNA is a scientific, crime novel about the murder of Helena Greenwood, a young DNA scientist who was sexually assaulted and then murdered a year later, and the main suspect in both of these cases, David Paul Frediani. It is written by Samantha Weinberg, a British author, journalist, and politician. She has written both scientific books such as A Fish Caught in Time, the story of J. L. B. Smith who was tasked with identifying a prehistoric fish, the coelacanth, and fictional novels such as The Moneypenny Chronicles which detail the life of James Bond’s secretary, Ms. Moneypenny. She combines both of these styles of writing in Pointing from the Grave, which is written as a novel but is filled with detailed scientific processes which Weinberg explained very well. In addition to detailing the story of both Helena Greenwood and Paul Frediani’s lives, she also describes the birth of many essential modern forensic DNA techniques with chapters focused on key figures such as Kary Mullis, a Nobel Prize winning biochemist. Continue reading “Frediani: Murderer or Victim?”

Frediani: Murderer or Victim?

The Facade of a Sociopath

“Frediani has the personality of a sociopath, charismatic..and ultimately remorseless”(Weinberg, 339).

Samantha Weinberg visited Frediani while he was in prison, and while learnng about him, talked to a psychiatrist who was on the defense case, She described Frediani as “Charismatic, impulsive, hedonistic, smart, manipulative, faithless in sexual relationships, and utterly remorseless”(Weinberg, 339). We have learned so much about Frediani, And I do believe that he is a sociopath, wether he did it or not. For not showing emotion during the trial, relationships ending in failure, but always able to start a relationship, and convince many people that he was a good guy and was innocent. He was even convincing to Samantha, as she wrote the book in a way that we wanted him to be innocent. What doesn’t show that he is maybe not one?

 

The Facade of a Sociopath

Underqualified for a Huge Deal

“you are not an expert in… molecular biology…biochemistry…Population studies…demography?” “No” (Weinberg, 289)

one of the biggest things that stood out to me in this case about Frediani getting the death penalty or not was when Bartick called Harmor to the stand, who made the DNA analysis and said that it was Frediani, but the man does not have an expertise in the fields mentioned that are major factors for finding answers in the DNA for the case to prove innocence or guilt. With anything that takes the most accuracy and for it to be done right, you have to have someone who is the most capable doing it. This case might end alot different because of this, and people don’t realize it.

Underqualified for a Huge Deal

Planting to Wrap Up

“”Why would we want to plant evidence?, ‘to close the case””(Weinberg, 230)

In chapter 15 of Pointing from beyond the grave, Frediani is finally arrested after a decade after the murder of Helena Greenwood. He was brought into the station and was as expected interviewed. One of the parts that caught my eye was the remark that maybe DNA evidence was planted by the police to try to wrap up a grueling case. Is there any instance of where police plant evidence to get a case closed or for other reasons. According to multiple sources like Atlas Obscura, Police have been known to plant things such as drugs, or guns to get names, info, and so on. This really makes me think that maybe something was planted in this case along the way

Planting to Wrap Up

The Return to Violence

“He was two personalities'” Just like Jekyll of Hyde. He even looked different when he was in a rage, his nostrils flaring, these wild eyes, this strange…”(Eileen, 185).

One of the main characters of the book, suspect Paul Frediani, is not one to always be calm, cool and collected. Fighting legal battles and personal life, he can never seem to always stay in control, and have easily created anger outbursts, wether he wants to or not. Could it be in Frediani’s genetics to why he is easily angry? as we saw in class, there is a gene called the warrior gene, that when life goes certain ways, cna bring out into the light. according to the Daily mail, “German researchers asked more than 800 people to fill in a questionnaire designed to gauge how they handled anger.They also took a DNA test to determine which of three versions of a gene called DARPP-32 they were carrying.he gene affects levels of dopamine, a brain chemical linked to anger and aggression. Those with the ‘TT’ or ‘TC’ versions were significantly more angry than those with the ‘CC’ version, the journal Behavioural Brain Research will report.” So does Paul have the gene? or

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1176974/Keep-losing-temper-Blame-angry-gene.html#ixzz43CLoZZ1O

The Return to Violence

Coincidental Evidence

“The jury had played their trust in the system, in the police and in the science, and chosen to disregard the defense’s alternative explanation of the events of the previous year.”(weinberg, 108).

This chapter really put the idea head on that in a case where the victim dies while a trial goes on, DNA becomes even more important. The type of blood and enzyme type that Frediani has, and that one finger print have been enough to hurt him, and the mention of wearing cologne and talking smartly also hurting him, but with no similar DNA found, and still the one print, can you fully convict a person with beyond reasonable doubt? this is something that i hope comes up later in the book.

 

Coincidental Evidence

Group 6 Book Where Good Ideas Come From Review

Many people ask where do I get ideas or how do ideas come to be. In the first book we read this semester Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson he seeks to answer that question by developing his own theory of the “slow hunch” rather than the traditional flashbulb ideas. The book is a nonfiction look at business, science, history, and psychology used to analyze innovation. Properly cited and filled to the brim with scientific facts, the book is able to defend its position in a scholarly way. Johnson is aiming his book at no particular group in general, instead calling for everyone to take a step into becoming more creative.   Continue reading “Group 6 Book Where Good Ideas Come From Review”

Group 6 Book Where Good Ideas Come From Review

How We Are Raised

“She was clearly delighted, but for paul it was like another heavy weight landing on the seesaw of his life”(Weinberg, 27).

When it come to how we are as adult comes to how we were raised as a child, When reading this chapter, It was intriguing to see if the development was to why Paul got to where he was, a criminal assault. He was an intelligant kid who did not apply himself, always going for pleasure over fun, and that lead to his parents being very controlling of him. But could all the restrictions that they put on him really make him a criminal? Maybe not on his clear mind, because he even said that he wondered how he got home after drinking sometimes. But being in a now happy life with a family, would that really make someone want to be sexually agressive? who knows

How We Are Raised

Dependency on DNA

“In the Future, murderers would not be able to claim bloodstains on their shirts came from their families dinner”(Weinberg, 51).

Throughout the whole book so far, DNA has been needed to try to identify the suspect. In chapter 4, they finally use the DNA of the fingerprint and other genetic substances to identify Paul as the guilty party. Since its inception in the early 1900’s DNA has been the powerhouse of crime solving. But is it even now still not 100 percent efficient? Its known that no two people have the same fingerprints, but could two people have ones that are so close that there could be a mistake? and what if two people have similar genetic makeups, like family? There can still be error, even with its most dependency, confession could be the most effective way of finishing a crime.

Dependency on DNA

Reluctance of Change

“The academic world apparently did not have enough time to read a paper on peas Written by and unknown monk and published in an obscure journal” (Weinberg, 31).

When something that is introduced that could change the game, why is it that we are reluctant to look at it or even fear what it has to say, Brother Mendel discovered a new theory about genetics,”but there was no reaction. no response, no recognition”(31). He was also ridiculed by a bishop for it secularly, and geneticists in Russia were sent to Gulags for it being a different thought. Going back to Johnson, some things ,such as DvD’s, take a while to be accepted by the general public. It can seem odd, Why would we not immedietly accept a new finding, well we have grown up with a different view on things, and changes can take a while to digest, its just in our genes.

Reluctance of Change

The Trouble of DNA

DNA can be a very helpful thing to police in trying to find the true suspect of a crime, but if there is nothing to go on, it can almost be impossible. Even with all the correlation with the attacks that occurred  around the area of the community, there was not enough evidence to get a viable suspect. Detective Chaput was not even aware of the similar attacks when the Greenwood case came to him. What is interesting to me is that there seems to only be a criminal database of fingerprints, and that leads me to wonder why when Paul was arrested, why he was not fingerprinted. Going with what his former friends said about him, and the arrest and previous events, how could they not have enough to get even some DNA?

The Trouble of DNA

The Race card

In the first chapter, during the hearing, the defense attorney asked Helena Greenwood ” did you render an opinion about the persons race?” and she said in here statement that the person who attacked her might be. “half-black” it feels very promient in this day and age of justice that the race cad might be used when the defendant is of a certain color. Mrs. Greenwood would then go on to say that more of the factor was that the individual was athletic but slim, and was tall, nothing happened due to the color of the suspect being presented. but it could have played into the account if the persons color did come to more of an account, and that the race card would have been used as a defense.

The Race card

What it Boils Down Too…

“By some measure, every important innovation is fundamentally a network affair” (Johnson, 221).

If monetary gains were not an issue for innovators, perhaps works of innovation could have reached further than the have. Since we lie in a physical and online network, anyone who has an idea and wants other people’s ideas would share with others who could give suggestions and put in factors that could make it better. But most of Us are worried about the profit and try to keep it for ourselves. In the conclusion of this book, Johnson talks about the four quadrants. How a product could be in am market of the individual and the network, and the Non-market for both of them. The main difference between the individual and the network is was something created within a web, the Alphabet was created by many individuals, so it would be a network non-market, because it has no value, where a market would be ball bearings. Individual comes into play when one individual was not able to use the network due to outside factors. but the market and non-market still play a factor. But to conclude all of this, even when something is individual or of a netork, it is from one amount of extreme to another, of the size of a web. just because you thought of somehing, does not mean that someone somewhere did not think of it either. we are all connected, all ideas are in a way connected, webs are simply where good ideas come from.

What it Boils Down Too…

Something out of Nothing

Something starting out of virtually nothing, this is what this section of Johnsons book talks about. How something can be the platform for a web to eventually grow out of it. How coral polyps can eventually make an atol, how a beaver dam can create an ecosystem with many new animals coming into it, or how a talk at lunch can eventually lead to GPS. I think this is not only very interesting, but can also be also applied at every level, you could say that the platform of gold got people to go out west and the eventually settlement community of the western united states. or the platform of youtube leading to the almost dominance of internet cable.

Something out of Nothing

Coffeehouse Fortress

“If open and dense networks lead to more innovation, how can we explain apple, which on the spectrum of openness is far closer to Willy Wonka’s factory than it is to Wikipedia”(Johnson, 169).

We all know the scenario, we get our special whatever order at starbucks, and we look over and see a group of people with laptops and ipads talking about who knows what. It may seem annoying, but this is small scale “coffee” liquid business networks at work. So much in recent times can seem ot be tied with these kind of meetings. So what happens when a company closes it’s doors to the outside world like apple? Well as it turns out, there can be an internal “coffeehouse” thinking of good ideas. But it also takes fire and passion, when concepts come out, it is so futuristic and innovative, that by the time it comes out it is barely an upgrade. apple has mostly been able to avoid this and stay with teh adjacent possible. Which raises the question of why companies aren’t putting as much fire and passion to push the limit of the adjacent possible.

 

Coffeehouse Fortress

the human innovation web

“A new idea is a network of cells exploring the adjacent possible of connections that they make in your mind”(Johnson,45).

This chapter talked about how when numerous minds are put together, they create a network. What stuck out to me in this section was the evolution of human innovation. What is stunning, and something that i never considered is the fact that when more people are put together, The more innovations and inventions are created. By the times cities were built, the creation of modern irrigation and structure was created, whereas in aboriginal times, when people were scattered barely anything was created. The same can be applied to today with the worldwide web, having ourselves even more connected than just 10 years ago can lead to more innovations than imaginable.

the human innovation web

outside the box

“The trick to having good ideas is not to sit around in glorious isolation and try to think big thoughts. The trick is to get more parts on the table”(Johnson,42).

sometimes the most jumbled up ideas or the most unlikely ones can be the most effective. In reading this chapter, I have found out so many things that surprised me. Building an incubator out of machine parts to accomodate hospitals in developing countries where they are not as tech savvy, is really amazing. What also is interesting is the idea of adjacent possible. Which asks the question if something is ahead of its time. Interesting to think that if Youtube tried to come out earlier than when videos online were possible, then it would maybe not be around. Hard to think of what would have happened, if we just try outside the box.

outside the box

Acceleration of technology

“We are constantly making equivalent conceptual leaps from biology to culture without blinking” (Johnson, 18

We are always making new innovations and inventions. Today we are connected in a web of the internet and our communities. What stuck out to me in this reading was the Idea of the 10/10 rule. This is the term that when something is released to the general public, it usually takes about a decade for it to be generally accepted. I thought this was interesting. I remember as a kid growing up and DVD’s were just starting to come out, but it wasnt until my later years that DVD completely took over the movie streaming business. But can some things come out too soon for it’s time? is there anything that just is to futuristic for us and it is eventually cast aside? reall makes you wonder

 

Acceleration of technology

The Touchy Issue of Ethics

“Typical Concerns can be divided into a number of areas, ranging from biotechnology’s effects on the environment and human health to impacts on social and economic conditions and religious and moral values”(Grace, 192)

Advances in science have always brought up the question of ethics and wether it is right for something to be done when a new science finding. A new concept coming around is genetic testing, where you can go to your doctor and see if you have any genetic diseases that have been passed onto you or what you might carry. Should people be ble to have this info? what if it is a disease that cannot be treated, is it right for the person to know? I believe that it is, and i think it could save lives if it did.

 

The Touchy Issue of Ethics

innovation in error

“but that noise makes the rest of us smarter, more innovative, precisely because we are forced to rethink our bias, to contemplate,….”(Johnson, 148)

So putting us all in a place surrounded by errors can make us more innovative. If you would have told me that error can be good, and that it can help me with ideas, I would have said that you were crazy. I never knew that error could help so much, such as with De Forest eventually ending up with the vacuums tube after assuming that it was a surge of voltage, or the fact that error lead to the realization that plants create oxygen instead of CO2 and creates our atmosphere. So many things have been invented from error, so it now baffles me how we can be scorned for making a mistake, or that fact that we throw these things away. But what also is interesting is putting people in a room and having them intentionally say inaccurate things, because sometimes that could lead to error, but also innovation.

innovation in error

Dreams and the Adjacent Possible

 ” The work of dreams turns out to be a particular chaotic, yet productive, way of exploring the adjacent possible”(Johnson, 102).

I would never have thought that dreams could be a possible let alone effective way of experimenting the adjacent possible. Johnson talks about how dreams were able to help people figure out hidden problems, or missing connections. Such as configurations for atoms. I previously assumed that since dreams can be forgotten in a flash, that it could not be possible. maybe i just have not dreamt hard enough

Dreams and the Adjacent Possible

The slow hunch

The whole section about hunches is very interesting. How it applies to the idea of a web, and adjacent possible. For a hunch to become reality, it needs a web of many ideas thinking or coming up with the same idea. It is very interesting to look into the past and records of people comin up with similar ideas and what could have happend if they came together, such as the phoenix  project and the flight school maybe stopping 9/11. in a similar time for it to come out to light and be legitimized. and as johnson puts it, ” Hunches that don’t connect are too to stay hunches.”(76)

The slow hunch