Sometimes modern marvels aren’t so marvelous. Despite the best intentions of innovative individuals or companies, their innovations sometimes do as much harm as good…or more. The history of human innovation is a history of unintended consequences. It is, in essence, a history of “ready, fire, aim.”
This tendency does not mean one should reflexively distrust every innovation that comes along, but it does suggest that one should not reflexively trust every innovation either. To illustrate the point, let’s take a stroll down Memory Lane…then saunter along Main Street…then make a hard right turn into Tomorrowland — the one from 1967.
When your editor visited Disneyland for the very first time in 1967, he was an 8-year old kid with not nearly enough “E-Tickets” to satisfy him.
Back then, E-Tickets bestowed access to the best rides inside the park, like the Matterhorn Bobsleds. And for your 8-year old editor, the Matterhorn was the only attraction that really attracted him. But since his ticket book also contained several “D-, C-, B- and A-Tickets,” he had to make do with lesser attractions as well, like the D-Ticket “Mark Twain Steamboat” or the C-Ticket “Dumbo Flying Elephants.”
Most of the B- and A-Ticket rides were too lame to interest an 8-year old. Even the free attractions were more entertaining than those, especially General Electric’s “Carousel of Progress” and Monsanto’s “House of the Future.” Both of these attractions paid homage to the marvels of technology.
GE’s “Carousel” portrayed a 60-year history of rapid innovation that yielded to a future of limitless possibility…powered entirely by electricity. Even for an 8-year old, the “Carousel of Progress” was so captivating it could have been at least a D-Ticket. Monsanto’s “House of the Future” depicted an ultra-modern “1986 house” full of gee-whiz gadgets and electrically-powered everything.
But progress is not only about “Wow, that’s awesome!”, it is also about “Wow, that’s horrific!”
Throughout the 1960s, while GE’s Carousel of Progress was busy gushing about the wonders of electricity, GE, itself, was busy flushing tons of carcinogenic PCBs down the Hudson River. The company was also busy rolling millions of asbestos-packed electrical products off its assembly lines. Monsanto, for its part, was enabling farmers to disperse millions of gallons of dioxins across American farmlands, while also enabling the military to disperse millions of gallons of Agent Orange across the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam.
Dousing Vietnam in Agent Orange must have seemed like a good and novel idea to someone. But this “herbicide” achieved a kind of genocide. It killed nearly half a million Vietnamese, most of whom were civilians, while causing birth defects in half a million babies…all of whom were civilians. Agent Orange also produced a wide range of cancers in the US troops who served in Viet Nam.
PCBs, asbestos and dioxins are just three of the most infamous potholes on the road to progress. But they are hardly the only ones.
When Swiss chemist, Paul Muller, developed a new compound that killed typhus-carrying lice and malaria-carrying mosquitoes, the world cheered his “wonder insecticide.” His discovery earned him the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. But Muller’s marvel, “DDT,” did not merely kill lice and mosquitoes; it also pushed several animal species to the brink of extinction.
A decade after Muller received his Nobel Prize, the German pharmaceutical company, Grunenthal, unveiled a new “wonder drug” to treat morning sickness. But this wonder drug, Thalidomide, did not merely suppress nausea, it also produced severe birth defects. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, thousands of babies around the world were born with missing or deformed limbs.
Accidents happen…especially when scientists “prove” ahead of time that they are impossible.
Thalidomide, for example, breezed through a battery of animal tests with flying colors…before failing miserably in the “real time” human trial. According to James L. Schardein, an expert in teratogens (birth defect-causing substances), “In approximately 10 strains of rats, 15 strains of mice, 11 breeds of rabbits, 2 breeds of dogs, 3 strains of hamsters, 8 species of primates and in other such varied species as cats, armadillos, guinea pigs, swine and ferrets in which thalidomide has been tested, teratogenic effects have been induced only occasionally.”
We know what you’re thinking; “How could thalidomide be toxic to humans if it was not toxic to an armadillo?” We share your disbelief. But it’s true. And as it turns out, animal testing rarely proves anything conclusively.
“According to the FDA, a staggering 92% of all drugs found safe and therapeutically effective in animal tests fail during human clinical trials due to their toxicity and/or inefficacy, and are therefore not approved,” states a research paper by the non-profit Medical Research Modernization Committee. “Furthermore, over half of the mere 8% of drugs which do gain FDA approval must later be withdrawn or relabeled due to severe, unexpected side effects.”
Given these data, no one should be surprised that more than 100,000 Americans die every year from adverse reactions to prescription medications — making it the nation’s fourth leading cause of death, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
Nevertheless, despite the well-documented tendency of “modern marvels” to produce unintended consequences, Monsanto insists its latest marvels, “GMOs,” are completely safe. GMOs, which stands for “genetically modified organisms,” are kind of like Jackalopes — combining the genetic traits of different species to create a “modified” species. But unlike Jackalopes, Monsanto’s GMOs are real…and do not produce photos suitable for a silly postcard from Wyoming.
That’s right; the same folks who brought you Agent Orange and other delightful dioxins have created a vast array of food products that are even better than what the Almighty, Himself, managed to come up with. Perhaps He simply lacked the imagination to create a strain of corn that could withstand heavy doses of “Roundup,” Monsanto’s top-selling pesticide.
But Monsanto’s genetic engineers suffer no lack of imagination. To borrow a phrase from their Disney counterparts, they are experts in the field of “Imagineering.” But no need for alarm, Monsanto has tested its GMO products numerous times on numerous animal species and has determined that its products are just as safe as safe can be. And yet, some lab rats in France provide evidence to the contrary…and their photos would never appear on a postcard from Wyoming.
Admittedly, an animal study that indicts a particular product might be just as invalid as an animal study that “proves” a particular product’s virtues. That said, this particular animal study does suggest that GMO research remains a work-in-progress…and that humanity might be a bit better off if Monsanto conducted a bit more of its GMO research in a laboratory and a bit less of it in the nation’s farmland.
Eric Fryfor The Daily Reckoning
Eric J. Fry, Agora Financial's Editorial Director, has been a specialist in international equities for nearly two decades. He was a professional portfolio manager for more than 10 years, specializing in international investment strategies and short-selling. Following his successes in professional money management, Mr. Fry joined the Wall Street-based publishing operations of James Grant, editor of the prestigious Grant's Interest Rate Observer. Working alongside Grant, Mr. Fry produced Grant's International and Apogee Research, institutional research products dedicated to international investment opportunities and short selling.
Mr. Fry subsequently joined Agora Inc., as Editorial Director. In this role, Mr. Fry supervises the editorial and research processes of numerous investment letters and services. Mr. Fry also publishes investment insights and commentary under his own byline as Editor of The Daily Reckoning. Mr. Fry authored the first comprehensive guide to investing internationally with American Depository Receipts. His views and investment insights have appeared in numerous publications including Time, Barron's, Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Business Week, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and Money.
I thought the whole DDT thing had been debunked? http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-truth-about-ddt-and-silent-spring
Pingback: Dangerous Marvels | SICK Sensor Vietnam - SICK Vietnam - SICK Việt Nam - SICK Sensor Việt Nam-AUMI-Đại diện SICK Sensor Việt Nam
Unfortunately, your photo is of a jackadeer- more commonly found than the elusive jackalope. Also, In re: your last paragraph- in scientific method, always remember that nothing is proven, but one exception can disprove the theory. That mutated rat is truly alarming and all of our food is GMO to some extent today!
Millions of innocents around the world die for the lack of DDT, and educated Americans still wring their hands over unproven worries about thinning of bird eggs and pushed toward extinction. Even if this were true, which it isn’t, I value human life more than a bird.. I don’t expect this from Eric Fry.
“Roundup,” Monsanto’s top-selling pesticide.
Woops! That would be HERBICIDE.
Pingback: new business ideas
Pingback: zoom 18
Pingback: free online credit report
Pingback: dich vu du lich
Pingback: home based business ideas
Pingback: be on reality tv
Pingback: master degrees online
Pingback: make money
Pingback: swingers dating
Pingback: best pu erh tea
Pingback: msn plus
Pingback: our website
Pingback: fast weight loss
Pingback: how to get taller calcium
Pingback: movers in marietta ga
Pingback: civil lawsuit
Pingback: SEO Services
Pingback: music promo
Pingback: paxil lawsuit information
Pingback: Buy Computer Accessories
Pingback: where to buy a computer
Pingback: book of ra
Pingback: Read More Here
Pingback: naprawa sterownikow pomp
Pingback: flames love test
Pingback: improve search engine rankings
Pingback: teufel gutscheincode versandkosten 2013
Pingback: otto gutscheinnummer
Pingback: skin whitening
Pingback: rao vat tong hop
Pingback: nha hang tiec cuoi
Pingback: gutscheincode notebooksbilliger versandkosten
Pingback: social media
Pingback: meinpaket gutschein versandkosten
Pingback: gutscheincode comtech 10 euro
Pingback: zalando lounge gutschein juni 2013
Pingback: gutscheincode vertbaudet mai
Pingback: Mon ngon
Pingback: mexx gutscheincode 5 euro
Pingback: aktuelle s. oliver gutscheine
Pingback: Tom Hunsleyï¿½
Pingback: prosolution pills
Pingback: yoox gutschein versandkosten
Pingback: mirapodo gutschein 10 euro
Pingback: mister spex gutschein juni 2013
Pingback: plus gutschein juni 2013
Pingback: home24 gutscheine
Pingback: gutscheine blume2000
Pingback: frontlineshop gutschein aktuell
Pingback: aktuelle docmorris neukunden gutscheine
Pingback: gutscheincode amazon versandkosten
Pingback: weltbild gutschein aktuell
Pingback: Barton Thibertï¿½
Pingback: koffer direkt gutschein versandkosten
Pingback: Venus Labarba
Pingback: gutscheincodes von ernstings family
Pingback: baur gutscheincode 10
Pingback: Valene Luebbert
Pingback: aktuelle promod neukunden gutscheine
Pingback: deichmann gutscheincode 5 euro
Pingback: gutscheincode cewe versandkostenfrei
Pingback: versandkostenfrei gutschein toys'r'us
Pingback: indie clothing women australia
Pingback: redcoon gutschein mai
Pingback: electrician raleigh
Pingback: boneka full body
Pingback: Orthodontist Chandler
Pingback: contractor marketing
Pingback: Plastic Surgery SEO
Pingback: chandler dentist
Pingback: love it
Pingback: abogados en linea edo mexico gratis
Pingback: gutters clearwater fl
Pingback: tenerife forum
Pingback: Estate Planning
Pingback: website seo analysis
Pingback: Garcinia Cambogia Extracts
Pingback: how to get bigger boobs without plastic surgery
Pingback: pakaian wanita
Pingback: czytaj całość
Pingback: wczasy wladyslawowo
Pingback: czytaj mój blog
Pingback: Home Based Business Ideas
Pingback: independent music promoters london
Pingback: Green Coffee Bean Max
Pingback: Izolacja akustyczna
Pingback: Izolacje akustyczne
Pingback: guitar lessons for beginners
Pingback: dermatologist NYC
Pingback: web hosting india
Pingback: belt promotion
Pingback: Bisnis Investasi Aman
Pingback: Affordable Graphics
Pingback: Anja Denseï¿½
Pingback: compaq pavilion dv8 1010er 7 64bit
Pingback: Military Dog Tags
Pingback: distance healing
Pingback: small business ideas
Pingback: baby shoes
Pingback: more details
Pingback: Homeowners Insurance in FL
Pingback: diet plans
Pingback: hair dye
Pingback: e cigarette reviews
Pingback: locksmiths london
Pingback: auto insurance
Pingback: czy aspartam jest szkodliwy
Pingback: e cigarette
Pingback: sahte lida
Pingback: online betting
Pingback: cheap car insurance
Pingback: benefits of green coffee bean extractï¿½
Pingback: volvo u?ywane
Pingback: hap lida
Pingback: promo codes host server
Pingback: volvo s40 spalanie
Pingback: best lida
Pingback: do?ru lida
Pingback: jadwal pelatihan hipnoterapi
Pingback: Facebook Marketing
Pingback: VMware Promo Code
Pingback: Video Presentation
Pingback: bali wedding photography
Pingback: negocios online
Pingback: Video Logo Reveal
Pingback: Buy Google Plus Circles
Pingback: voyance gratuite en direct par mail
Pingback: Buy Google Plus Followers
Pingback: ice vending machines
Pingback: Yellow Diamond Rings Shop
Pingback: Google ranking
Pingback: plastic surgery corpus christi
Pingback: LED Light Bulbs
Pingback: how to make your hair grow faster
Pingback: music man stingray 5
Pingback: go here
Pingback: promo codes
When you've got a room full of 200 oil insiders scratching their heads at current high prices, something's gotta give.
For most investors, it’s weird to think of stocks as their go-to investing option.
The petropoly has bills to pay and setting the price of oil was a simple way to balance their budgets.
Investors don’t seem to care that what's propping up their investments is what will ultimately destroy them: government monetary policy.
For the next decade the energy revolution will be likely confined to the US, displaying the robustness of American entrepreneurship.
Why the Sage of Baltimore’s commentary persists through America’s changing times.
After attending Platt’s oil conference in London I want to relay two important themes you need to know.