Failure is often seen as a negative part of scientific discovery. Failure is inherently bad. But failure is not completely bad. When it is not a completely indomitable failure, it provides an opportunity for growth, and quite often is a stepping stone towards success, or brings you one step closer from achieving your goal.
This anthology is a collection of 15 carefully curated pieces which reflect the importance and the nuances around failure and its role in the scientific world. As you will find, failure is not only an irremovable component of science and progress, but a driving force into scientific discovery and advancement.
Continue reading “Scientific Anthology: Failure as a Stepping Stone”
While I was reading chapter 5 about Human Growth Hormone, I could not help but think about the drug’s modern day reputation in sports. It seems all too often stories about legendary sports players come out saying they used this type of performance enhancing drug at one point in their career. The way major sports leagues ban this substance gives it a mostly negative connotation, but can this substance help athletes in more honorable ways than just cheating? This ABC News article breaks down the possibilities of HGH in a deeper context. One of the topics deals with how the drug can be used to help better repair hurt player’s knees. When players tear their ACL, they can lose up to 20% of their power and agility from muscle shrinkage caused by a leakage of synovial fluid. The Michigan doctor’s hypothesis is that HGH will activate a protein called IGF-1, which stands for insulin like growth factor, that will foster muscle growth and deter another protein that stops growth. They are currently testing trials with men the ages 18-35 and should complete this process by 2017. The hope is that the men’s knees will be stronger years after the surgery and that they will be closer to the effectiveness they were at before the injury. If this ends up panning out, major sports leagues should consider the rules against HGH as its use this way could significantly help the careers of injured athletes.
In chapter 16 the book discussed people’s differing opinions on the death penalty. It was decided that the death penalty would have been too harsh and that the jury would not have been able to sentence Frediani to death simply based on the evidence presented. Although Heilig did not agree and she thought that yes Frediani deserved to die because of what he did to Helena. I wanted to know more about the death penalty in the United States and if most people agreed with Heilig’s mentality of an eye for an eye.
I found this article that put the death penalty into a different perspective for me. Lincoln Caplan talks about how there have been “more than fourteen hundred executions in the United States”. This really puts into perspective how much the death penalty has been used throughout the years. Is this acceptable? He also goes into talking about the different ways that these people are killed and how many of these drugs have not been approved by the FDA. Also he says that 152 times people have been exonerated. Mistakes have been made and this has cost innocent people their lives.
I know that Frediani is guilty but what if he wasn’t? Is killing him because he killed Helena really a good punishment? Should the punishment always fit the crime? Before I read this article I completely agreed with Heilig, but after reading the article I have begun to rethink my stance on the death penalty.
“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.
As this chapter talked about Helena’s work on a test to detect drugs such as cocaine, it reminded me of a lecture I attended this fall. The police department has now adopted dogs at birth to train them to detect drugs that are not visible or found by the police themselves. This new technique has been proven to be successful in busting meth labs, marijuana, cocaine etc. What this lecture discussed was a case where a man was tried for possession of cocaine. However, if I remember correctly, the police officer who called for the search was only based off of probable cause. The probable cause came from his canine identifying they smelt the drug. This questioned the validity of the canines smelling ability for detection. The defendants case was that the search warrant was not granted on proper terms and he was falsely charged. Even though the canine had correctly identified the large amount of drugs that man had in his home, he won the case and was freed from all charges based on there not being a standard for canines established in the system yet.
After this case happened, canines were now put into funded training programs that is made to train them into detecting these drugs. At the end of the training they have to pass a series of exams to qualify as a legitimate DEA canine. This put an end to any further court case like the man’s described above.
What was interesting about their training is that dogs are trained in both drugs and bomb detection. Because of this, when they smell a particular oder, they walk up to it and just sit to wait for a policeman. The reason for this is because if it wore a bomb and the dog started scratching at it, it could possibly go off. Cocaine doesn’t have a scent that can be smelt by someone when it is concealed but a dogs noise is so hyperactive that it can.
The price of patented drugs, however, is often artificially inflated due to the monopoly, putting them out of reach of many people and increasing health insurance costs (Johnson, 207).
Before reading this chapter, I had no idea that this happened and was very surprised to discover that it does. Although these patented drugs have the potential to benefit so many, they are out of reach for most people financially. I understand why people could have ethical issues with this. Maintaining a healthy life should not come at an inflated price. Personally, I find it unfair for the individuals and families who may need these drugs but cannot afford them.