This article is supported by brilliant. There once was, an old farmer could have been working his field for many years and then one day his horse bolted away and his neighbors heard about it, and they came over to tell him how sorry they were.
What awful luck they said sympathetically to which the farmer replied, we’ll, see the next morning to everyone’s. Surprise! The horse returned home only have brought three horses with it, and everybody celebrated saying what amazing luck you’re richer than ever before, to which the farmer replied.
We’ll, see a day later, the farmer’s. Son tried to mount one of the wild horses and it bucked him off and broke his leg again. The neighbors gathered around to show sympathy for this horrible event to which the farmer replied.
We’ll, see the next day the village was visited by military men who are looking for young men to conscripted to the army, and they looked at the farmer’s, son with a broken leg and said we can’T use him and kept going again.
The neighbors came around and said what wonderful news your son won’t be sent off to war, to which the farmer replied we’ll see this is a famous Taoists parable. That kind of illustrates how life is sometimes just gon na do what life does and you can’t really control, whether good things turn into bad things, or vice versa, and I’ve, always kind of identified with this honestly.
That’s, not to say that I’m more Zen than other people. I just have a really bad habit of not being able to celebrate when good things happen, because immediately that part of my brain, the anxiety, muscle flexes and starts thing about all the ways that this can go wrong.
I have a Debbie Downer in my brain. It’s, fun, but really the older I get the more. I see this play out. You know terrible tragedies and scandals spurring positive change, both personally and in society as a whole and the opposite.
So many things in my life that start out great and wonderful that didn’t get twisted and go down dark paths that lead to terrible outcomes. The truth is the world is a chaotic and messy place, and you just never really know which direction things are gon na go.
So in honor of me getting a little bit older and the Debbie Downer in my head getting a little bit louder here’s, five great ideas that went horribly wrong. If there’s, one thing we really love to do as a species, its predict, the future, and if there’s, one thing we’re, really terrible at as a species, its predicting the future.
I mean when you think about it. Every single decision that we make in our lives is a prediction on the future. It’s, betting, that this particular action is going to turn out better than all the other potential actions we might take on a personal level.
Sometimes those decisions turn out great and sometimes you wake up at 4:00 in the morning stuck in a park slide naked and covered in Jam. I made a bad decision: okay, but on a societal level, there’s, just so many variables at play, and so many different individual decisions in the works and powers-that-be that have their hands and everything it’s almost impossible to predict the Outcomes, especially in things like monetary systems, in public policy, it’s.
All just Seuss saying this isn’t a call for apathy. You know we have to try and most of the time good intentions wind up with good outcomes, but you know what they say about the road to hell. It’s paved with stories like these Story number one, the lid imide morning, sickness is a normal part of pregnancy.
In fact, 50 % of women experience it. It’s caused by hormonal changes in the first trimester that usually is associated with a lot of nausea and vomiting. So much vomiting. This has just been a part of life in pregnancy, for as long as we’ve been living and getting pregnant, and you know there were always some old folk remedies.
It would sort of help alleviate the problems, but in 1957 a new wonder drug hit the market that did way better than any old wives tale ever could it was called thalidomide, it came out of West Germany and it was originally touted as a cure for anxiety And upset stomach even insomnia, but more than anything it made for the first time it made pregnancy, not awful.
This was like the first trimester equivalent of an epidural for the first time ever, women could just enjoy the process of bringing life into the world. Instead of you know, barfing in their soup so was prescribed like candy women jumped all over it.
It was the pregnancy wonder drug, but what they should have been wondering was what this effect would have on the fetus, because, right away, those effects began to show. Within a couple of years, 7,000 German babies were born with twisted malformed or MS arms and legs other suffered with underdeveloped body parts and organs.
It took a while to make the connection with the lid amide, but once it was made, they banned its use during pregnancy, but not before. A hundred thousand babies were born worldwide with deformities from the drug some as late as 1970, and really those are the lucky ones.
It’s, thought that the load of my views may have led to as many miscarriages as deformities and they actually didn & # 39. T discover the actual reason that the Linum I did this until 2018. It turns out the drug interferes of the transcription protein and the fetus that turns off a gene that’s, crucial to the limb development.
Luckily, other safer drugs and treatments have been developed since then for pregnant women and to date the lid amide is restricted only to cancer patients Story number two kudzu in 1935, the United States and much of the world really was struggling through a Great Depression.
But here in the United States anyway, it was also paired with an ecological disaster, known as the Dust Bowl giant dust storms across the Prairie states in the south, choked off entire farms, killed livestock and made farming impossible.
Now this was partly due to a severe drought, but the main culprit was just topsoil erosion from over tilling the fields so facing food shortages and bankruptcies amongst farmers. The government set up the Soil Conservation Service and one of the first things that they did and try to turn things around was they instituted farm subsidies that would allow farmers to not have to plant in all the fields, all the time lessen fields rest in between Years, some of that is still in place to this day.
They also did something else that’s still around to this day, they planted kudzu kudzu is a hardy Japanese vine that grows quickly roots deeply and has broad thick leaves. It was first brought to the United States in 1876 for the World’s Fair in Philadelphia.
It didn’t really have a purpose other than maybe to feed livestock, but most farmers, weren’t really interested in it. At the time, but the idea is that if we could plant kudzu, especially along fence posts and roads and whatnot, then it would not only firm up the ground, but it would create a nice little windbreak to keep the wind from sweeping away the topsoil, not the Worst idea – and it might have helped a little bit, but once the Dust Bowl ended, the kudzu did not end.
In fact, it spread and kind of took over everything there’s, a reason why kudzu is often called the plant that ate the south. It especially flourished in the Sun, and the rain of the southeastern United States then will just completely overtake entire forests and choke them out of resources and sunlight forests that were habitats for wildlife effectively.
Killing off entire ecosystems, plus those dead trees can become our brood and fall, which becomes a danger for cars and pedestrians. They also grow up power lines and way down the power lines, the point of snapping them.
In fact, power companies spend up to 1.5 million dollars. A year just trying to keep kudzu off of their utility poles by 1970, the US government considered kudzu to be an invasive weed and they started funding efforts, keep it under control and the invasive species group named kudzu, one of the top 100 worst invasive species.
In the whole world now, ironically, one thing that might actually be able to bring kudzu under control is another invasive species. The kudzu bug it’s, a Japanese bug and it’s, not known exactly how it first got here.
Most suspected snuck on board an airplane because it was first seen in a garden near Atlanta’s, Hartsfield Johnson Airport in 2009, but its arrival was bad news for kudzu kudzu bug infestations killed the vine because they tap into the main vein and the Leaf which kills the leaves and eventually the whole plant and the native habitats, the kudzu bug kind of keep the plant in check.
That’s. One of the reasons when I grew so easily here and it’s, starting to make a difference. According to one study, a particular location in this study showed a one-third reduction in kudzu over the last two years, so yeah invasive species.
I’m sure nothing bad will come from them Story. Number three MTBE, Auto pollution has always been a problem, especially in cities but oftentimes. The efforts that we take to try to curb that, just to make things worse, one of the biggest missteps we’ve taken in that direction, is MTBE or methyl tertiary butyl ethyl nailed.
It it’s, a chemical compound created by the reaction of isobutylene and methanol, that’s, used as a fuel additive for automobiles and according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, quote at room temperature.
It’s, a volatile, flammable and colorless liquid that dissolves rather easily in water. So the deal is in the early days of the automobile engine. Knock was a problem and engineers were looking at fuel additives that would help with that and in 1921 engineers.
At General Motors came up with a great idea of adding lead. The MTBE came later. They added lead. First, this is a bit of a twofer. They picked lead because the low production cost, but this of course had some massive drawbacks drawbacks like low IQ and children.
Learning, disabilities, nerve damage and behavioral problems, and it impacted adults as well, causing cardiovascular disease and high tension and and its height 200,000 tons of lead were put into gasoline and burned for us to breathe for 50 years from 1921 till as I started, getting phased out In 1970, we were just huffing this stuff, so if you ever look around at the world – and you feel like it’s full of idiots – I mean it’s – probably not all LEDs fall, but for the purposes of this article we Can we can say it is so lab was phased out in the 1970s here in the u.
s. anyway. But pollution from cars was still a problem, and this is where MTBE comes in, because it burns more cleanly and reduces air toxins after combustion and because it was easy to transport and blend into the gasoline.
It was used in 87 % of gasoline, but it was that solubility in water that made it a problem because when it spilled or it leaked, it quickly got into the groundwater, and it could stay there for months and even years, and this happened so much that In 1998, the US Geological Survey found that it was present in 20 % of our groundwater, that’s.
20 % of our drinking water was laced with MTBE and for humans. High levels of MTBE exposure can lead to dizziness nausea, headaches and nervous system problems and in laboratory animals they exhibited kidney and liver failure.
So as of right now, half of the states in the United States have a partial or full ban on MTBE, but we do still continue to export it. I’m sure someday. We’ll, find a way to make burning. Fossil fuels totally clean Story.
Number four cane toads a whole article series can be done on invasive species that were intentionally brought into an area to try to fix a problem that became worse. I just talked about kudzu a second ago.
I could also talk about Mongoose in Hawaii. They brought them in to keep rat infestations down in the cane field. The sugar cane fields there in Hawaii, but it turns out that Hawaii has a lot of birds that lay their eggs on the ground and eggs run much slower than rats.
So the Mongoose ate all the eggs and wiped out several bird species in the fields of Australia. The problem wasn’t rats. It was cane beetles, so they came up with a similar idea and they introduced the cane toad in 1935.
This is a bit before you have pesticides to fix that kind of problem. So you know you have a cane field with cane problems with cane beetles get some cane toads. Three thousand cane toads were released into the sugar cane fields of North Queensland and ostrich and right away.
They immediately did a fantastic job of completely ignoring the cane beetles needing all the food for the livestock, because cane toads eat everything. They also did a fantastic job of they spread like crazy.
Female cane toads can lay 30,000 eggs at a time today there’s over two billion cane toads in Australia and growing, and this is partly because they have no natural predators in Australia because it turns out the cane toad is highly venomous.
They originated from Central and South America all the way up to southern Texas and in those areas there were predators that had evolved over the years to be able to handle the cane toads. Those did not exist in Australia.
Australia was a little isolated, so not only were they multiplying 30,000 at a time and starving out livestock by eating all their food and also eating all the prey that other predators ate and starving them out.
They were also killing the Predators of them because the Predators were trying to eat them and dying because of the venom and this included pets. Cane toads are still a problem in Australia to this day, and now they’re kind of becoming a problem in Florida.
After an especially warm winter, the toes became so prevalent. They were actually clogging people’s, pool filters and residents said you. Couldn’t, walk anywhere without stepping on one. They’ve, been in Florida for years, sometimes called Bufo toads there, but there are concerns that the population might be reaching a tipping point where Florida might start seeing the same issues.
Australia, hang toads, Australia for plague and story number five asbestos asbestos actually goes back a really long way. It was used as far back as 4000 BC for candle wicks and the ancient Greeks and the ancient Egyptians used to wrap bodies in asbestos when they put them on funeral pyres because it’s.
Fire resistant clay pots in Europe were coated with it, and Charlemagne used to make table-napkins out of it, because apparently table-napkins catching fire at parties was a thing back. Then they use a lot of candles.
Didn’t they. So it sounds like a pretty remarkable material, something you can get a lot of use out of right, yeah asbestos except wrong. No asbestos is horrible. It can kill you. We can totally kill you to death seriously according to asbestos Comus best us is a group of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals composed of thin needle-like fibres exposure to it’s been shown to cause several types of cancers and diseases such as meds, the Oma and asbestosis and yeah it can strengthen and fireproof material, but it’s banned in most countries.
It’s, not fully banned in the United States, believe it or not, but it is highly regulated, but it used to be used like everywhere from the 1930s and 1970s. It was considered this this miracle mineral and it could be found in over 3000 products.
You know of those lawyer commercials are there like. Do you know someone with mesothelioma that’s from asbestos from 1940 to 1979? Over 27 million workers were exposed to asbestos from using it and construction materials and whatnot.
It did finally start to get phased out in the 1970s, though in 2002 the last u.s. asbestos mine was closed and in 2005 it was banned completely in Europe, but the EPA here in the United States kind of put a final nail in the coffin of asbestos.
In April of 2019, by saying in this final rule, it’s, allowed to rigorously review in an expansive list of asbestos products that are no longer on the market before they can be sold again in the United States and also under this rule, the Agency is not allowing any new uses of asbestos and uses of asbestos covered under the partial 1998 ban will also be banned, but still it’s not entirely banned.
Now, in all of these examples, the original idea wasn’t dumb. It might have been kind of smart, even, but they all included some variables that bled it down some passed that nobody could have seen coming.
I could easily do a article on terrible things that led to positive outcomes like World War. One, for example, was horrible, obviously, but it did kind of lead to women getting the vote because during the war, many women left their homes to work in the war factories, and this led to the society kind of you know for the first time, seeing them as You know people the fact of the matter is I’ve.
Seen this more and more as I’ve, gotten older, you just never really know what the events of the day are gon na lead to both good and bad down. The road in 1969 mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz post a question during the 139th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of science.
Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas people, often to find the butterfly effect, is minut occurrences that cause big things later on, but that’s, not really what Lorenz had in mind at The beginning, he said this question quote was to illuminate the idea that some complex dynamical systems exhibit unpredictable behaviors, that small variances in the initial conditions could have profound and why Virgen effects on the systems outcomes outcomes basically are unpredictable, and this became known as chaos.
Theory. Sir Isaac Newton suggested that nature is a probabilistic mechanical system that runs like a clock. Lorenz challenged this. He also disagree with the physicist and astronomer pierre-simon Laplace, who believed that unpredictability doesn’t have a place in the universe.
Lorenz just believed that nature is interdependent. Cause-And-Effect relationship was just too complex to resolve life. Isn’t, a binary experience, it’s, chaotic and messy. It can be serendipitous or misfortunate.
It can be terrifying and exciting and it makes it all worth living and as for where things go from here, we’ll see, you know just goes to show that life is all about probability, and so it might not be a bad idea to Learn a little bit about that.
So if that’s, something you’re interested in doing you might want to check out the probability fundamentals class I’m brilliant this course will help you think critically about probabilistic scenarios through 22 interactive quizzes.
That will explain concepts like expected value, linearity of expectations, rule of product and rule of some symmetry, and even give you a leg up on probabilistic games. In other words, it might make you a better gambler, so there’s that this, of course, is just one of dozens of classes on brilliant, where you can learn everything from quantum mechanics, the computational biology or just bone up on algebra logic and general Scientific fundamentals: you can go as basic or advanced as you want and you can do it through solving problems which trains your brain, to think like a scientist and gives you problem-solving skills that you can apply to everything in your life plus.
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