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Pandora's Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone…
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Pandora's Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong (edición 2017)

por Author Tbd (Autor), Author Tbd (Autor)

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1737124,825 (4.18)8
What happens when ideas presented as science lead us in the wrong direction? History is filled with brilliant ideas that gave rise to disaster, and this book explores the most fascinating-and significant-missteps- from opium's heyday as the pain reliever of choice to recognition of opioids as a major cause of death in the U.S.; from the rise of trans fats as the golden ingredient for tastier, cheaper food to the heart disease epidemic that followed; and from the cries to ban DDT for the sake of the environment to an epidemic-level rise in world malaria. These are today's sins of science-as deplorable as mistaken ideas from the past such as advocating racial purity or using lobotomies as a cure for mental illness. These unwitting errors add up to seven lessons both cautionary and profound, narrated by renowned author and speaker Paul A. Offit. Offit uses these lessons to investigate how we can separate good science from bad, using some of today's most controversial creations-e-cigarettes, GMOs, drug treatments for ADHD-as case studies. For every "Aha!" moment that should have been an "Oh no," this book is an engrossing account of how science has been misused disastrously-and how we can learn to use its power for good.… (más)
Miembro:DanteAshton
Título:Pandora's Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong
Autores:Author Tbd (Autor)
Otros autores:Author Tbd (Autor)
Info:National Geographic (2017), Edition: 1, 288 pages
Colecciones:eBooks
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Pandora's Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong por Paul A. Offit M.D.

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Mostrando 1-5 de 7 (siguiente | mostrar todos)
We recently elected a new President in the U.S. who pledged, among other things, to reduce federal regulations and to remove obstacles which make it harder for many businesses to compete and innovate, and stay profitable. However, Paul Offit's book, "Pandora's Lab" provides a number of examples as to why regulations are often required. These examples should make us better appreciate the oversight of organizations such as the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), the American Medical Association (AMA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), etc. If you've ever questioned the rational behind the rules and requirements of the organizations such as these, and why they mandate extended field trials before prescription drugs or new medical procedures are approved, or before fertilizers and chemicals are approved for use, then this book is for you.

The book is subtitled "What happens when brilliant ideas go wrong?", and provides seven examples of studies which were not properly reviewed were misused, and the catastrophic and unintended consequences which resulted from each.

​The first example discusses the development of certain classes of painkiller​s, which seemed ideal initially, but then led to addiction​s​ and deaths from misuse.​ ​As the search for safe and effective painkillers over the years, innovators progressed through heroin, morphine, and opioids. ​Dr. Offit takes us through the progression of opioids starting out as a miracle drug, but overprescription and abuse led to addiction​s​. ​Abuse of these drugs ​are now ​​the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50. ​

​Dr. Offit then discusses another Nobel Prize winning innovation, that of Nitrogen fixation (Haber Process). Extracting nitrogen from the air was a huge breakthrough for feeding the world​ via fertilization. But before long, a negative affect was identified when inefficient crop fertilization led to dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico from excess nitrogen fertilization in farmlands along the Mississippi River. Similar dead zones have been identified in the North Sea and around many river discharges around the world. Also, the fame and fortune from this innovation led to Haber becoming the head of German poison gas development in WW I, and Zyklon B used in Nazi death camps in WW II.

​Another innovation ​discussed in the book concerns transfats. Margarine, vegetable oils, to Crisco seemed to be improvements for cooking and recipes, until the relationship to heart disease and heart attacks were identified.

​Offit then talks about Eugenics. ​ American eugenicist and amateur anthropologist Madison Grant wrote an influential book in 1916 which purported to give a scientific basis for racism. Grant's beliefs were widely accepted at the time, and his book was read by Adolph Hitler while in a Bavarian jail in 1925, helping form Hitler's beliefs on racial purity. ​Unfortunately, the ideas put forth in the book are still followed by white ​supremacists and those opposed to minorities,​ the​ mixing of the races, and ​hoping to ​limit immigration. ​

​​Another unfortunate example in the book is the history of Lobotomies​. Mental institutions in the United States were overflowing with people being treated for mental problems, and lobotomies became a popular treatment. While making patients more manageable in these institutions, it also often turned them into vegetables, and was horribly overused, even on people with only minor learning difficulties. ​

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring​ and the banning of DDT is the next subject in Offit's book. He offers what may be a controversial viewpoint that the banning of DDT was not justified, ​could have been used in smaller quantities, and its banning led to millions of unnecessary ​malaria ​deaths, ​mostly of children in third world countries.

​The book concludes with double Nobelist Linus Pauling ​and ​his fallacious notion ​that megadoses of vitamin C could cure diseases. ​ Unfortunately, because of Pauling's scientific credentials, many have been influenced by his books, leading to wasteful and expensive vitamin consumption which led to poorer, not the promised better health effects. ​

​The important message in the book is that we all need to learn to think critically, and to be cautious in automatically accepting each new breakthrough announcement, especially those on the internet or by bloggers with no scientific background, or by individuals involved in fields outside their area of expertise. It also demonstrates how today's science, requiring peer review and publishing in respected Journals, and confirmation studies by independent panels, give us much improved results compared to the old studies listed in this book. ( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
Series Info/Source: This is a stand alone book. I got this audiobook through Audible Plus.

Audiobook Quality (4/5): The narration for this audiobook is fine; it’s easy to understand and follow.

Story (4/5): This is a series of seven stories about amazing discoveries in science that also led to huge tragedies. They are best listened to individually over time. My family really enjoyed learning about some of these things when we were listening to this an hour or two at a time. Listening to them one after another (on a long car trip) got a bit boring and repetitive. Still the stories were well put together and interesting, even if the last couple did feel a bit longer than they needed to be.

Writing Style (4/5): The stories can wander a bit from the main topic but are generally well put together. Offit makes the science easy to understand and does a good job of explaining chemistry matters in a way that my whole family easily understood. We all learned a lot and enjoyed some of the things that we learned. Towards the end this started to feel a bit long, the recap at the end felt repetitive and we could have done without it.

My Summary (4/5): Overall I am glad I listened to this. I learned a lot and most of it was very interesting. While I don’t plan on seeking out more of Offit’s books (I don’t listen to a lot of non-fiction), I would definitely consider listening to more of his books if I stumbled across them in the future. This was well done and easy to listen to but does require a bit of concentration. It’s not really one of those audiobooks you can listen to absently while doing other things. ( )
  krau0098 | Mar 24, 2021 |
Very interesting, with lots of historical detail and discussion. Maybe a bit too spun to the political left to be considered completely unbiased, and at times uses so dramatic language, but all in all a worthy read.

1)history of Opiates used by medical establishment
2)background on misunderstanding fats to promote margarine (trans fat)
3)How the discovery of cheap nitrogen manufacturing lead to poison gas
4)Eugenics
5)ice pick lobotomies were all the rage for awhile
6)Rachael Carson inspired the environmental movement partly by demonizing DDT, with subsequent fatalities due to malaria because DDT was the cheapest and most effective mosquito killer, also typhus
7)vitamins, HIV, autism quacks

Part of the reason for these blunders was the plain gullibility of the public, part due to simple greed and arrogance, part was just unintended consequences due to not having enough honest data. ( )
  keithostertag | Nov 2, 2018 |
I can't say I looked forward to reading this book for book club but once I started it, I couldn't put it down.
The book is separated into 7 stories of scientific revelations which sound good at the start, like margarine, but have watershed moments where things go entirely wrong. In the name of science and hoping for notoriety, some experiments became nefarious and horrific such as with Dr Josef Mengele. Some ideas sound benign, a quick fix which could help society as a whole but, yeah, lobotomies although the rage at first, wasn't all it claimed.
Which brings the reader to the eighth and final chapter, how to decipher which new and exciting scientific discovery is legit. How to separate good data from bad and which ones are simply pushed by "health gurus" you have little or no scientific credentials....just a well promoted idea. The book concludes with some reasonable and sound advice....."We need to approach all scientific advances cautiously and with eyes wide open". ( )
  Carmenere | Sep 19, 2018 |
I am empressed by the intellectual crispness of this book. The author is well researched and his logic is easily understood. He is able to state opinion but has data to back his opinion. His findings are over a variety of topics and are generally balanced. I found the book interesting and educational. I strongly recommend this book. ( )
  GlennBell | Jan 31, 2018 |
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Nombre del autorRolTipo de autor¿Trabajo?Estado
Paul A. Offit M.D.autor principaltodas las edicionescalculado
Tremblay, GregNarradorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
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What happens when ideas presented as science lead us in the wrong direction? History is filled with brilliant ideas that gave rise to disaster, and this book explores the most fascinating-and significant-missteps- from opium's heyday as the pain reliever of choice to recognition of opioids as a major cause of death in the U.S.; from the rise of trans fats as the golden ingredient for tastier, cheaper food to the heart disease epidemic that followed; and from the cries to ban DDT for the sake of the environment to an epidemic-level rise in world malaria. These are today's sins of science-as deplorable as mistaken ideas from the past such as advocating racial purity or using lobotomies as a cure for mental illness. These unwitting errors add up to seven lessons both cautionary and profound, narrated by renowned author and speaker Paul A. Offit. Offit uses these lessons to investigate how we can separate good science from bad, using some of today's most controversial creations-e-cigarettes, GMOs, drug treatments for ADHD-as case studies. For every "Aha!" moment that should have been an "Oh no," this book is an engrossing account of how science has been misused disastrously-and how we can learn to use its power for good.

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