Louis Pasteur

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pages: 300 words: 84,762

Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases by Paul A. Offit

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1960s counterculture, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, discovery of penicillin, en.wikipedia.org, germ theory of disease, Isaac Newton, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Ronald Reagan

Ernest William Goodpasture: Scientist, Scholar, Gentleman. Franklin, TN: Hillsboro Press, 2002. Debré, Patrice. Louis Pasteur. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. De Kruif, Paul. Microbe Hunters. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1926. Etheridge, Elizabeth. Sentinel for Health: A History of the Centers for Disease Control. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992. Fitzpatrick, Michael. MMR and Autism: What Parents Need to Know. London and New York: Routledge, 2004. Galambos, Louis, and Jane Eliot Sewell. Networks of Innovation: Vaccine Development at Merck, Sharpe & Dohme, and Mulford, 1895–1995. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Geison, Gerald. The Private Science of Louis Pasteur. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995. 240 Hall, Stephen. Merchants of Immortality: Chasing the Dream of Human Life Extension.

Jeryl Lynn Eight Doors The Destroying Angel Coughs, Colds, Cancers, and Chickens The Monster Maker Political Science Blood Animalcules An Uncertain Future Unrecognized Genius Epilogue Notes Selected Bibliography Acknowledgments Searchable Terms About the Author Copyright About the Publisher PROLOGUE Scientists aren't famous. They never endorse products or sign autographs or fight through crowds of screaming admirers. But at least you know a few of their names, like Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine; or Albert Schweitzer, the missionary who built hospitals in Africa; or Louis Pasteur, the inventor of pasteurization; or Marie Curie, the discoverer of radiation; or Albert Einstein, the physicist who defined the relationship between mass and energy. But I'd bet not one of you knows the name of the scientist who saved more lives than all other scientists combined-a man who survived Depression-era poverty; the harsh, unforgiving plains of southeastern Montana; abandonment by his father; the early death of his mother; and, at the end of his life, the sad realization that few people knew who he was or what he had done: Maurice Hilleman, the father of modern vaccines.

But I'd bet not one of you knows the name of the scientist who saved more lives than all other scientists combined-a man who survived Depression-era poverty; the harsh, unforgiving plains of southeastern Montana; abandonment by his father; the early death of his mother; and, at the end of his life, the sad realization that few people knew who he was or what he had done: Maurice Hilleman, the father of modern vaccines. Hilleman's science followed a long, rich tradition. In the late 1700s Edward Jenner, a physician working in southern England, made the world's first vaccine. Jenner found that he could protect people from smallpox-a disease that has claimed five hundred million victims-by injecting them with cowpox, a related virus. One hundred years passed. In the late 1800s Louis Pasteur, a chemist working in Paris, made the world's second vaccine. Pasteur's vaccine, made by drying spinal cords from infected rabbits, prevented the single most deadly infection of man-rabies. Only one person has ever survived rabies without receiving a rabies vaccine. During the first half of the twentieth century, scientists made six more vaccines. In the 1920s French researchers found that bacteria made toxins and that toxins treated with chemicals could be used as vaccines.


pages: 476 words: 148,895

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan

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biofilm, bioinformatics, Columbian Exchange, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dematerialisation, Drosophila, energy security, Gary Taubes, Hernando de Soto, hygiene hypothesis, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, microbiome, peak oil, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Steven Pinker, women in the workforce

Yeast could now be treated simply as another ingredient rather than as a locally variable community of organisms in need of special care and feeding. In fact, as microbes go, S. cerevisiae is notable for not playing well with others, especially bacteria. Compared with wild yeasts, commercial yeast cannot survive very long in the acidic environment created by lactobacilli. While scientists have known about yeast since Louis Pasteur first identified it in 1857, the intricate microbial world within a wild sourdough culture like mine was a complete mystery until fairly recently—and remains at least a partial mystery even today. In 1970, a team of USDA scientists based in Albany, California, collected samples of sourdough starter from five San Francisco bakeries and conducted a kind of microbial census. Why San Francisco?

They splash onto leaves, find their way into milk, drift onto seeds and flesh, but ultimately they are on a mission from the soil, venturing out into the macrocosm—the visible world of plants and animals we inhabit—to scavenge food for the microbial wilderness beneath our feet. All cooking is transformation and, rightly viewed, miraculous, but fermentation has always struck people as particularly mysterious. For one thing, the transformations are so dramatic: fruit juice into wine?!—a liquid with the power to change minds? For another, it has only been 155 years since Louis Pasteur figured out what was actually going on in a barrel of crushed grapes when it starts to seethe. To ferment is to “boil,” people would say confidently (“to boil” is what the word “ferment” means), but they could not begin to say how the process started or why this particular boil wasn’t hot to the touch. Most other kinds of cooking rely on outside energy—the application of heat, mainly—to transform foodstuffs; the laws of physics and chemistry rule the process, which operates on the only formerly alive.

No wonder so many cultures have had their fermentation gods—how else to explain this cold fire that can cook so many marvelous things? Now, any true fermento would say that, by dwelling on the links between fermentation and death, I’m being way too hard on these microbes, most of which they count as benign friends and partners. I’m trapped in a hygienic, Pasteurian perspective, they would say, in which the microbial world is regarded foremost as a mortal threat. Actually, Louis Pasteur himself held a more nuanced view of the microbes he discovered, but his legacy is a century-long war on bacteria, a war in which most of us have volunteered or been enlisted. We deploy our antibiotics and hand sanitizers and deodorants and boiling water and “pasteurization” and federal regulations to hold off the molds and bacteria and so, we hope, hold off disease and death. I grew up on that field of battle.


pages: 436 words: 123,488

Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine by John Abramson

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germ theory of disease, Louis Pasteur, medical malpractice, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, p-value, placebo effect, profit maximization, profit motive, publication bias, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Accessed August 4, 2002. 191 release enzymes that destroy the fibers: Ibid. 191 American College of Rheumatology’s: American College of Rheumatology Subcommittee on Osteoarthritis Guidelines, “Recommendations for the Medical Management of Osteoarthritis of the Hip and Knee,” Arthritis and Rheumatism 43:1905–1915, 2000. 194 Louis Pasteur accepted a position: René Dubos, Pasteur and Modern Science. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books, 1960, p. 40. 194 bacteria, which appeared rod-shaped: Louis Pasteur (1822–1895), Zephyrus. Viewed at http://www.zephyrus.co.uk/louispasteur.html. Accessed December 16, 2003. 194 devastating the silkworm industry: Dubos, op. cit., p. 101. 194 working on a rabies vaccine: Ibid, pp. 122–123. 195 “acute and harrowing anxiety”: “Historical Perspectives: A Centennial Celebration: Pasteur and the Modern Era of Immunization,” MMWR Weekly 34:389–390, 1985. 195 Pasteur went on to treat 2490 people: Dubos, op. cit., 122–123. 195 Robert Koch: Ibid, p. 106. 195 “magic bullet”: Paul Starr, The Social Transformation of Medicine, New York: Basic Books, 1982, p. 135. 195 Johns Hopkins University: Ibid., p. 115. 196 American Medical Association in 1906: Ibid., p. 118. 196 Flexner Report: Ibid., pp 119–122. 197 Osler wrote a letter: Harvey Cushing, The Life of Sir William Osler, vol. 2, London: Oxford University Press, 1925, pp. 292–293. 197 Flexner himself eventually became disappointed: Starr, op. cit., p. 123. 199 one out of every 200 patients: L.

Part of the problem is that professionals on the front lines of medicine have no reliable way to differentiate between care that is necessary and beneficial and care that has been pushed into use by financial incentives and will not stand the test of time. Much more important, however, is the template of “good medicine” that is permanently imprinted on doctors during their long years of training. Ever since Louis Pasteur discovered that bacteria cause disease, doctors have been committed to the biomedical approach to medicine: the idea that the cause and cure of every symptom and every disease can, with enough research, be understood and successfully treated at its most basic biological level. Modern scientists and doctors find this idea enormously appealing—identify the biological process that has gone awry, and fix it.

Martin’s knee were very unlikely to help it get better any sooner, and no amount of Celebrex or Vioxx was going to allow Mrs. Martin to resume walking enough to control her anxiety. There was plenty of time for other diagnostic tests if her symptoms did not respond to these simple measures. THE ROOTS OF THE BIOMEDICAL MODEL In the second half of the nineteenth century, medical science took a giant leap forward. Microbiology, the study of infectious microorganisms, or germs, began shortly after Louis Pasteur accepted a position as chair of the department of chemistry at the University of Lille, in the north of France. The local industry relied upon the precise harnessing of fermentation in the production of beer and wine, and the making of alcohol from beet juice. Pasteur’s work on the industrial problems associated with fermentation led to the discovery that fermentation was caused by live organisms.


pages: 237 words: 50,758

Obliquity: Why Our Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly by John Kay

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Andrew Wiles, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, bonus culture, British Empire, business process, Cass Sunstein, computer age, corporate raider, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, discounted cash flows, discovery of penicillin, diversification, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, market fundamentalism, Myron Scholes, Nash equilibrium, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, shareholder value, Simon Singh, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, urban planning, value at risk

In science and mathematics, there are sometimes eureka moments, after the famous if apocryphal occasion when Archimedes jumped from his bath having discovered the principle of displacement. But even these flashes of inspiration, in which a solution suddenly reveals itself, generally come to people who have been thinking about a problem obliquely for a long time. The nineteenth-century French scientist Louis Pasteur made numerous important scientific discoveries, including that of immunization based on artificial tissue cultures. His method of discovery was oblique: Pasteur observed the effect when a botched experiment by his assistant produced unexpected results. That fortunate accident anticipated the similar obliquity of the most important of all pharmacological discoveries, that of penicillin. Pasteur’s pioneering innovation was not even an intermediate goal.

Kilgore, “Origin and History of Wildland Fire Use in the U.S. National Park System,” George Wright Forum 24, no. 3 (2007). 7 Le Corbusier, The Radiant City (London, Faber & Faber, 1964), p.154. 8 Robert A. Caro, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (New York, Vintage Books, 1975), p. 11. 9 Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1965), p. 350. 10 Louis Pasteur, 1854, quoted in Maurice B. Strauss, Familiar Medical Quotations (London: J & A Churchill, 1968), p. 108. Chapter 7: Muddling Through—Why Oblique Approaches Succeed 1 Charles Lindblom, “The Science of “Muddling Through,” Public Administration Review 19, no. 2 (1959), pp. 79–88. 2 H. Igor Ansoff, Corporate Strategy (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1985), p. 41. 3 Ibid., p. 10. 4 Ibid., p. 312. 5 Robert Heller in Ansoff, Corporate Strategy, p. 360. 6 Ansoff, Corporate Strategy, pp. 326–7. 7 Saint-Gobain, “Annual Report 2008,” Courbevoie, 2008. 8 Charles Lindblom, “Still Muddling, Not Yet Through,” Public Administration Review 39, no. 6 (1979), pp. 517–26. 9 Cass R.


pages: 298 words: 81,200

Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

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Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, digital map, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, mass immigration, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

PLASTIC (1862) British metallurgist Alexander Parkes developed the first major commercial man-made plastic—a synthetic material made from cellulose and treated with nitric acid—and debuted it at the 1862 World’s Fair in London. Improvements were made on the material through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. GERM THEORY (1862) While the idea that germs carried contagious disease was not new and had been proposed before, French chemist Louis Pasteur was one of the first to develop experiments to prove the theory conclusively. DYNAMITE (1863) Seeking to develop new methods for blasting rock more effectively, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel built on his experiments with nitroglycerin and invented a detonator that used a strong shock to spark explosions, which he patented in 1863. PERIODIC TABLE (1864) In 1864, Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev developed upon earlier notions of British chemist John Newlands that chemical elements could be arranged in a pattern according to their atomic masses, providing a more comprehensive chart with a focus on recurring trends in properties.

TELEPHONE (1876) The patent for the invention of the telephone was a hotly contested item, leading to a last-minute race to the patent office between American engineer Alexander Graham Bell and American electrical engineer Elisha Gray. Bell ultimately received the patent for the device, which transmitted voice signals electrically. ENZYMES (1878) First named by German doctor Wilhelm Kühne in 1878, enzymes—proteins that act as catalysts for chemical reactions by speeding up the process—were more fully understood due to the studies of German chemist Eduard Buchner and French chemist Louis Pasteur. LIGHTBULB (1879) By using electricity to heat a filament, causing it to glow and create light, American inventor Thomas Alva Edison is often considered the inventor of the lightbulb, replacing gas lighting as the main source of illumination. But Edison’s work built on the designs of at least a half dozen other inventors who went before him, including Joseph Swan and William Sawyer. CELL DIVISION (1879) The discovery of cell division, the process known as mitosis among eukaryotes in which a parent cell divides into daughter cells, was the joint discovery of German biologist Walther Flemming, Eduard Strasburger, and Edouard van Beneden.


pages: 374 words: 114,660

The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality by Angus Deaton

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Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, clean water, colonial exploitation, Columbian Exchange, creative destruction, declining real wages, Downton Abbey, end world poverty, financial innovation, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, John Snow's cholera map, knowledge economy, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, new economy, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, structural adjustment programs, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trade route, very high income, War on Poverty

Indeed, the fact that the other major company had recently moved its inlet to purer water upriver enabled John Snow, then a physician in London, to map the cholera deaths and match them to the offending water company, and thus to demonstrate that cholera was spread through contaminated drinking water.28 This was one of the first “natural experiments” in public health, and it gets my vote as one of the most important of all time. Yet Snow recognized that the experiment was hardly decisive—for example, it might have been that one water company might have served only well-to-do patrons, who were protected for other reasons—and went to great pains to rule out other potential explanations for his results.29 Snow’s findings, together with the later work of Robert Koch in Germany and Louis Pasteur in France, helped establish the germ theory of disease, albeit with much resistance from holdout believers in miasma theory. One sticking point was why some people exposed to the disease did not become sick—a serious challenge to causality and understanding.30 Indeed, Koch, who had isolated Vibrio cholerae in 1883, proposed four “postulates,” all of which had to be satisfied if a microbe were to be safely identified as the cause of a disease.

The germ theory itself led to the identification of a range of causative microorganisms, including the bacteria for anthrax, tuberculosis, and cholera in Koch’s laboratories in Germany. Koch was one of the founders of the then new field of microbiology, and his pupils went on to identify the microorganisms responsible for many diseases, including typhoid, diphtheria, tetanus, and bubonic plague. In the next wave of discovery, Louis Pasteur in Paris demonstrated that microorganisms were responsible for the spoiling of milk and showed how to “pasteurize” milk to prevent it. Pasteur also showed how attenuated versions of infectious microorganisms could be used to develop a range of vaccines. (He also invented Marmite, a basic foodstuff without which life would be impossible for contemporary Britons; we shall meet it again in Chapter 6.)

Even when all the prices are available, people spend their money on different things and in different proportions in different countries. One example will be familiar to anyone—like me—who was brought up in Britain and who now lives elsewhere. One of the basic necessities of existence for Brits is a product called Marmite. This is a (very) salty yeast extract that is a by-product of brewing, originally discovered by Louis Pasteur, who in turn licensed it to a British beer manufacturer. In Britain, Marmite is cheap and widely consumed; it comes in large black pots. In the United States, where I now live, Marmite is available, but it is expensive and comes in very small black pots. Marmite is a well-defined and precisely comparable item that is easily priced in both the United States and Britain. But if we compare prices in the United States and Britain by calculating the relative costs in the two countries of the goods that the British buy, including lots of Marmite, we will find that the United States is a very expensive place.


pages: 606 words: 157,120

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov

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3D printing, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Automated Insights, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive bias, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, disintermediation, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, future of journalism, game design, Gary Taubes, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, lifelogging, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, moral panic, Narrative Science, Nicholas Carr, packet switching, PageRank, Parag Khanna, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, pets.com, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart meter, social graph, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

The infrastructure and design of this network of networks do play a certain role in sanctioning many of these myths—for example, the idea that “the Internet” is resistant to censorship comes from the unique qualities of its packet-switching communication mechanism—but “the Internet” that is the bane of public debates also contains many other stories and narratives—about innovation, surveillance, capitalism—that have little to do with the infrastructure per se. French philosopher Bruno Latour, writing of Louis Pasteur’s famed scientific accomplishments, distinguished between Pasteur, the actual historical figure, and “Pasteur,” the mythical almighty character who has come to represent the work of other scientists and entire social movements, like the hygienists, who, for their own pragmatic reasons, embraced Pasteur with open arms. But anyone interested in writing the history of that period cannot just deploy the name “Pasteur” as an unproblematic, objective term; it needs to be disassembled so that its various parts can be studied in their own right. The story of how these disparate parts—including the actual Louis Pasteur—have become “Pasteur,” the national hero of France whom we see in textbooks, is what the history of science, at least in its Latourian vision, should aspire to uncover.

Having closely studied evidence for all four of these changes, Worboys concludes that “historians have read into the 1880s changes that occurred over a much longer period, and that while there were significant shifts in ideas and practices over the decade, the balance of continuities and changes was quite uneven across medicine.” Note that Worboys doesn’t deny the importance of contributions made by Robert Koch or Louis Pasteur (well, “Pasteur” is probably more like it)—he just points out that the actual way in which these discoveries transformed the medical practice was much more convoluted; it was anything but predetermined or inevitable. Such subtle accounts that seek to acknowledge important changes without falling into the epochalist mode are very hard to find in Internet studies. Perhaps it’s time to turn the tables on Internet pundits; instead of having them explain “the Internet,” we must try to understand why they explain digital technologies in this particular way, with constant invocations of “the Internet” and its inherent nature.


pages: 480 words: 138,041

The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry by Gary Greenberg

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Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, back-to-the-land, David Brooks, impulse control, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, late capitalism, Louis Pasteur, McMansion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, selection bias, statistical model, theory of mind, Winter of Discontent

Even Hippocrates and his disciples seemed to know this, as they traded mostly in empiricism—the painstaking observation of the way symptoms appeared to the doctor’s senses, the courses they took, the outcomes they reached, and the interventions that affected them. In the nineteenth century, most doctors still believed that humoral imbalances caused disease. Before John Snow20 could persuade the local government to close the infected well that caused the 1854 cholera outbreak in London, he had to overcome the common idea that the disease was carried by a miasma, bad air that could upset humoral balance. Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch21 had to work hard to convince their colleagues that germs caused diseases like rabies and anthrax, and that they (the germs, not the colleagues) could be targeted and killed. As the microscope and the chemical assay provided incontrovertible evidence of germs and their destruction, doctors were won over to the germ theory, and soon it seemed that they had begun to fulfill Socrates’ dictum to find the natural joints that separated our ills from one another.

So there was really no reason to doubt that patients with genital sores were suffering from a disease different from what patients with a skin rash had, and patients with general paresis, a form of dementia, had yet another illness. There wasn’t even a reason to think that this scheme was based on any a priori principle, that it was anything other than a faithful account of how nature itself sorted diseases. That all changed when some doctors, notably Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, began to insist that there was more to disease than met the unaided eye. Beneath the appearances, the pustules and the fevers and the complaints, was a microbial world populated by the real sources of illness. And if the detectable presence of viruses and bacteria was not convincing enough, the successes of pasteurization and anthrax inoculations soon had doctors abandoning those first principles and peering into microscopes to find the germs that caused diseases.

They underwent countless therapies: For an account of the treatment of homosexuals, see LeVay, Queer Science, chapter 4. 13. 11 percent of the U.S. adult population: Centers for Disease Control, “NCHS Data Brief, October 19, 2011,” http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db76.htm. 14. you got tired of feeling numb: For side effects of antidepressants, see Glenmullen, Prozac Backlash. 15. placebo effect: Kirsch, The Emperor’s New Drugs. 16. this chemical imbalance does not, as far as doctors know: Greenberg, Manufacturing Depression. 17. more than seventy combinations of symptoms: See DSM-IV-TR, 356. There are nine symptoms of depression, but patients need have only five in any combination to earn the diagnosis. 18. “another [of] the ten thousand”: Cartwright, “Diseases and Peculiarities,” Part 1, 336. 19. “Love is a madness”: Plato, Phaedrus, 265e. 20. Before John Snow: The best account of this famous story is probably Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map. 21. Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch: Ullmann, “Pasteur–Koch.” 22. “blessed rage to order”: Stevens, “The Idea of Order at Key West,” The Palm at the End of the Mind. 23. Adam and Eve: Genesis 2:19–21. 24. “loose, baggy monster”: Henry James, The Tragic Muse, 4. 25. “insomnia, flushing, drowsiness”: Beard, American Nervousness, 7–8. 26. “As long as I live”: Gay, Freud, 491. 27. “It burdens [a doctor]”: Freud, The Question of Lay Analysis, 95. 28.


pages: 319 words: 89,477

The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion by John Hagel Iii, John Seely Brown

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, Black Swan, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cloud computing, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, future of work, game design, George Gilder, intangible asset, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Maui Hawaii, medical residency, Network effects, old-boy network, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pre–internet, profit motive, recommendation engine, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart transportation, software as a service, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs

Frustration quickly mounts. Our success in finding new information and sources of inspiration increasingly depends upon serendipity—the chance encounter with someone or something that we did not even know existed, much less had value, but that proves to be extraordinarily relevant and helpful once we find out about it. But it turns out that these “serendipitous” events are not always just chance. Louis Pasteur famously observed, “Fortune favors the prepared mind,” but this still assumes that the initial encounter is pure luck and that it is only a question of being prepared for luck when it happens. What if it is possible to shape those unexpected encounters so that we could increase the probability and quality of the encounters? Consider how Dusty Payne won $50,000 in a contest he didn’t even know he’d entered.

By phoning up the videographer beforehand, as Dusty did, even if we don’t know what good might come from it; by moving to Silicon Valley or some other spike of complementary talent; by being appropriately open with our personal and professional information on social networking sites—in all these ways we can enhance the potential for attracting serendipitous encounters. In other words, we can shape serendipity rather than waiting passively for it to occur. Following Louis Pasteur’s advice, we can work to prepare ourselves. We can reach out, make interesting connections—often for their own sake. But doing this requires an understanding of the areas where the most valuable new ideas, insights, and experiences are likely to surface so that we can position ourselves for serendipity. For many people, it also requires overcoming the terrifying sense that we’ll get it “wrong” when we use digital media like Facebook or Twitter.


pages: 376 words: 110,321

Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson

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Albert Einstein, British Empire, Fellow of the Royal Society, haute cuisine, Kitchen Debate, Louis Pasteur, refrigerator car, sexual politics, the scientific method, Upton Sinclair, Wall-E

Wolley’s method was tediously long: three soakings in warm water, three boilings in sugar syrup, then a final boiling in a fresh sugar syrup. No wonder it was hard work: the work of the stillroom was a kind of magic, a staving off of decay comparable to the embalming of the dead. The most remarkable thing about fruit preserves was the fact that they really did preserve the fruit (at least, most of the time). Throughout history, cooks have aimed to make food safe to eat; and often, they succeeded. Yet until the 1860s, when Louis Pasteur uncovered the microorganisms responsible for spoiling food and drink, cooks had no real knowledge of why food preservation worked. The prevailing view was that decomposition was caused by spontaneous generation, in other words, that mysterious unseen forces caused the mold to grow. People knew nothing of microbes, the living organisms—fungi, bacteria, and yeasts, among others—that cause beneficial fermentation in wine and cheese, and toxic fermentation when food degrades.

Aside from the challenge of getting at the food inside the cans, canning posed another danger: it did not always succeed in preserving the food. In 1852, thousands of cans of meat supplied to the British navy were inspected and found to be unfit to eat, “their contents being masses of putrefaction” causing a dreadful “stench” when opened. It was generally assumed that canned meat spoiled because “air has penetrated into the canister, or was not originally entirely exhausted.” Until Louis Pasteur, it wasn’t known that there is a class of microbe that can flourish without air: to kill these, the crucial factor is thorough heating. The original size of cans had been around 2 to 4 pounds (as against ¼ to 1 pound for average cans today); these navy cans were massive, holding on average 10 pounds of meat. The heating time in the factory should have been correspondingly increased, but it wasn’t, leaving putrid pockets in the middle of the can.


pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, ImageNet competition, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

The session was magical, gathering a hundred and four graduate students from twenty-one countries. Sure, it was totally bootstrapped—our campus borrowed, our faculty on loan (made up of the professors Bob, Todd and I recruited and borrowed from our respective alma maters). Yet it was still a complete success Then we did it again, changing only the location (so we could create engagement in wider and wider communities). During that second summer, ISU borrowed the Université Louis Pasteur campus in Strasbourg, France. Then we were off to Toronto, Canada, in 1990, Toulouse, France, in 1991, and Kitakyushu, Japan, in 1992. After the university had five years and about 550 alumni under its belt, we finally decided to try and parlay our assets into step 4 of our vision—a permanent terrestrial campus. One small problem: We had no tangible assets. As a fully virtual university with no campus, no cash, and a borrowed faculty—our only assets were our brand, our alumni, and our vision.

., 27 LIDAR, 43–44, 44 life-extension projects, 66, 81 Li’l Abner (comic strip), 71 Lincoln, Abraham, 109, 194 Lindbergh, Charles, 112, 244, 245, 259–60 linear growth, 7, 9 linear industries, 38, 116 exponential technologies in disrupting of, 17, 18–22 linear organizations, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 76, 85, 116 LinkedIn, 77, 213, 231 Lintott, Chris, 220 Linux, 11, 163 Littler Workplace Policy Institute, 60 live-streaming, in crowdsourcing campaigns, 207 Lloyd, Gareth, 4 Local Motors, 33, 217, 223–25, 231, 238, 240, 241 Locke, Edwin, 23, 74, 75, 103 Lockheed, 71–72, 75 Lockheed Martin, 249 Longitude Prize, 245, 247, 267 long-term thinking, 116, 128, 130–31, 132–33, 138 Los Angeles, Calif., 258 loss aversion, 121 Louis Pasteur Université, 104 Lovins, Amory, 222 MacCready, Paul, 263 McDowell, Mike, 291n machine learning, 54–55, 58, 66, 85, 137, 167, 216 see also artificial intelligence (AI) Macintosh computer, 72 McKinsey & Company, 245 McLucas, John, 102 Macondo Prospect, 250 macrotasks, crowdsourcing of, 156, 157–58 Made in Space, 36–37 Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (Heath and Heath), 248 MakerBot printers, 39 Makers (Doctorow), 38 MakieLabs, 39 manufacturing, 33, 41 biological, 63–64 digital, 33 in DIY communities, 223–25 robotics in, 62 subtractive vs. additive, 29–30, 31 3–D printing’s impact on, 30, 31, 34–35 Marines, US, 222 Markoff, John, 56 Mars missions, 99, 118–19, 128 Mars Oasis project, 118 Maryland, University of, 74 Maryniak, Gregg, 244 Mashable, 238 massively transformative purpose (MTP), 215, 221, 230, 231, 233, 240, 242, 274 in incentive competitions, 249, 255, 263, 265, 270 mastery, 79, 80, 85, 87, 92 materials, in crowdfunding campaigns, 195 Maven Research, 145 Maxwell, John, 114n Mead, Margaret, 247 Mechanical Turk, 157 meet-ups, 237 Menlo Ventures, 174 message boards, 164 Mexican entrepreneurs, 257–58 Michigan, University of, 135, 136 microfactories, 224, 225 microlending, 172 microprocessors, 49, 49 Microsoft, 47, 50, 99 Microsoft Windows, 27 Microsoft Word, 11 microtasks, crowdsourcing of, 156–57, 166 Mightybell, 217, 233 Migicovsky, Eric, 175–78, 186, 191, 193, 198, 199, 200, 206, 209 Millington, Richard, 233 Mims, Christopher, 290n MIT, 27, 60, 100, 101, 103, 291n mobile devices, 14, 42, 42, 46, 46, 47, 49, 124, 125, 135, 146, 163, 176 see also smartphones Modernizing Medicine, 57 monetization: in incentive competitions, 263 of online communities, 241–42 Montessori education, 89 moonshot goals, 81–83, 93, 98, 103, 104, 110, 245, 248 Moore, Gordon, 7 Moore’s Law, 6–7, 9, 12, 31, 64 Mophie, 18 moral leadership, 274–76 Morgan Stanley, 122, 132 Mosaic, 27, 32, 33, 57 motivation, science of, 78–80, 85, 87, 92, 103 incentive competitions and, 148, 254, 255, 262–63 Murphy’s Law, 107–8 Museum of Flight (Seattle), 205 music industry, 11, 20, 124, 125, 127, 161 Musk, Elon, xiii, 73, 97, 111, 115, 117–23, 128, 134, 138, 139, 167, 223 thinking-at-scale strategies of, 119–23, 127 Mycoskie, Blake, 80 Mycroft, Frank, 180 MySQL, 163 Napoléon I, Emperor of France, 245 Napster, 11 Narrative Science, 56 narrow framing, 121 NASA, 96, 97, 100, 102, 110, 123, 221, 228, 244 Ames Research Center of, 58 Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of, 99 Mars missions of, 99, 118 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), 226 National Institutes of Health, 64, 227 National Press Club, 251 navigation, in online communities, 232 Navteq, 47 Navy Department, US, 72 NEAR Shoemaker mission, 97 Netflix, 254, 255 Netflix Prize, 254–56 Netscape, 117, 143 networks and sensors, x, 14, 21, 24, 41–48, 42, 45, 46, 66, 275 information garnered by, 42–43, 44, 47, 256 in robotics, 60, 61 newcomer rituals, 234 Newman, Tom, 268 New York Times, xii, 56, 108, 133, 145, 150, 155, 220 Nickell, Jake, 143, 144 99designs, 145, 158, 166, 195 Nivi, Babak, 174 Nokia, 47 Nordstrom, 72 Nye, Bill, 180, 200, 207 “Oatmeal, the” (web comic), 178, 179, 193, 196, 200 Oculus Rift, 182 O’Dell, Jolie, 238–39 oil-cleanup projects, 247, 250–53, 262, 263, 264 Olguin, Carlos, 65 1Qbit, 59 operational assets, crowdsourcing of, 158–60 Orteig Prize, 244, 245, 259, 260, 263 Oxford Martin School, 62 Page, Carl, 135 Page, Gloria, 135 Page, Larry, xiii, 53, 74, 81, 84, 99, 100, 115, 126, 128, 134–39, 146 thinking-at-scale strategies of, 136–38 PageRank algorithm, 135 parabolic flights, 110–12, 123 Paramount Pictures, 151 Parliament, British, 245 passion, importance of, 106–7, 113, 116, 119–20, 122, 125, 134, 174, 180, 183, 184, 248, 249 in online communities, 224, 225, 228, 231, 258 PayPal, 97, 117–18, 167, 201 PC Tools, 150 Pebble Watch campaign, 174, 175–78, 179, 182, 186, 187, 191, 200, 206, 208, 209, 210 pitch video in, 177, 198, 199 peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, 172 Pelton, Joseph, 102 personal computers (PCs), 26, 76 Peter’s Laws, 108–14 PHD Comics, 200 philanthropic prizes, 267 photography, 3–6, 10, 15 demonetization of, 12, 15 see also digital cameras; Kodak Corporation Pink, Daniel, 79 Pishevar, Shervin, 174 pitch videos, 177, 180, 192, 193, 195, 198–99, 203, 212 Pivot Power, 19 Pixar, 89, 111 Planetary Resources, Inc., 34, 95, 96, 99, 109, 172, 175, 179, 180, 186, 189–90, 193, 195, 201–3, 221, 228, 230 Planetary Society, 190, 200 Planetary Vanguards, 180, 201–3, 212, 230 PlanetLabs, 286n +Pool, 171 Polaroid, 5 Polymath Project, 145 Potter, Gavin, 255–56 premium memberships, 242 PricewaterhouseCoopers, 146 Prime Movers, The (Locke), 23 Princeton University, 128–29, 222 Prius, 221 probabilistic thinking, 116, 121–22, 129 process optimization, 48 Project Cyborg, 65 psychological tools, of entrepreneurs, 67, 115, 274 goal setting in, 74–75, 78, 79, 80, 82–83, 84, 85, 87, 89–90, 92, 93, 103–4, 112, 137, 185–87 importance of, 73 line of super-credibility and, 96, 98–99, 98, 100, 101–2, 107, 190, 203, 266, 272 passion as important in, 106–7, 113, 116, 119–20, 122, 125, 134, 174, 249, 258 Peter’s Laws in, 108–14 and power of constraints, 248–49 rapid iteration and, 76, 77, 78, 79–80, 83–84, 85, 86, 120, 126, 133–34, 236 risk management and, see risk management science of motivation and, 78–80, 85, 87, 92, 103, 254, 255 in skunk methodology, 71–87, 88; see also skunk methodology staging of bold ideas and, 103–4, 107 for thinking at scale, see scale, thinking at triggering flow and, 85–94, 109 public relations managers, in crowdfunding campaigns, 193–94 purpose, 79, 85, 87, 116, 119–20 in DIY communities, see massively transformative purpose (MTP) Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, 253 Quirky, 18–20, 21, 66, 161 Rackspace, 50, 257 Rally Fighter, 224, 225 rapid iteration, 76, 77, 78, 79–80, 83–84, 85, 86, 236 feedback loops in, 77, 83, 84, 86, 87, 90–91, 92, 120 in thinking at scale, 116, 126, 133–34 rating systems, 226, 232, 236–37, 240 rationally optimistic thinking, 116, 136–37 Ravikant, Naval, 174 Raytheon, 72 re:Invent 2012, 76–77 reCAPTCHA, 154–55, 156, 157 registration, in online communities, 232 Reichental, Avi, 30–32, 35 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 4 reputation economics, 217–19, 230, 232, 236–37 Ressi, Adeo, 118 ReverbNation, 161 reward-based crowdfunding, 173, 174–80, 183, 185, 186–87, 195, 205, 207 case studies in, 174–80 designing right incentives for affiliates in, 200 early donor engagement in, 203–5 fundraising targets in, 186–87, 191 setting of incentives in, 189–91, 189 telling meaningful story in, 196–98 trend surfing in, 208 upselling in, 207, 208–9 see also crowdfunding, crowdfunding campaigns rewards, extrinsic vs. intrinsic, 78–79 Rhodin, Michael, 56 Richards, Bob, 100, 101–2, 103, 104 Ridley, Matt, 137 risk management, 76–77, 82, 83, 84, 86, 103, 109, 116, 121 Branson’s strategies for, 126–27 flow and, 87, 88, 92, 93 incentive competitions and, 247, 248–49, 261, 270 in thinking at scale, 116, 121–22, 126–27, 137 Robinson, Mark, 144 Robot Garden, 62 robotics, x, 22, 24, 35, 41, 59–62, 63, 66, 81, 135, 139 entrepreneurial opportunities in, 60, 61, 62 user interfaces in, 60–61 Robot Launchpad, 62 RocketHub, 173, 175, 184 Rogers, John “Jay,” 33, 38, 222–25, 231, 238, 240 Roomba, 60, 66 Rose, Geordie, 58 Rose, Kevin, 120 Rosedale, Philip, 144 Russian Federal Space Agency, 102 Rutan, Burt, 76, 96, 112, 127, 269 San Antonio Mix Challenge, 257–58 Sandberg, Sheryl, 217, 237 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 3 Sasson, Steven, 4–5, 5, 6, 9 satellite technology, 14, 36–37, 44, 100, 127, 275, 286n scale, thinking at, xiii, 20–21, 116, 119, 125–28, 148, 225, 228, 243, 257 Bezos’s strategies for, 128, 129, 130–33 Branson’s strategies for, 125–27 in building online communities, 232–33 customer-centric approach in, 116, 126, 128, 130, 131–32, 133 first principles in, 116, 120–21, 122, 126, 138 long-term thinking and, 116, 128, 130–31, 132–33, 138 Musk’s strategies for, 119–23, 127 Page’s strategies for, 136–38 passion and purpose in, 116, 119–20, 122, 125, 134 probabilistic thinking and, 116, 121–22, 129 rapid iteration in, 116, 126, 133–34 rationally optimistic thinking and, 116, 136–37 risk management in, 116, 121–22, 126–27, 137 Scaled Composites, 262 Schawinski, Kevin, 219–21 Schmidt, Eric, 99, 128, 251 Schmidt, Wendy, 251, 253 Schmidt Family Foundation, 251 science of motivation, 78–80, 85, 87, 92, 103 incentive competitions and, 148, 254, 255, 262–63 Screw It, Let’s Do It (Branson), 125 Scriptlance, 149 Sealed Air Corporation, 30–31 Second Life, 144 SecondMarket, 174 “secrets of skunk,” see skunk methodology Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), US, 172 security-related sensors, 43 sensors, see networks and sensors Shapeways.com, 38 Shingles, Marcus, 159, 245, 274–75 Shirky, Clay, 215 ShotSpotter, 43 Simply Music, 258 Singh, Narinder, 228 Singularity University (SU), xi, xii, xiv, 15, 35, 37, 53, 61, 73, 81, 85, 136, 169, 278, 279 Six Ds of Exponentials, 7–15, 8, 17, 20, 25 deception phase in, 8, 9, 10, 24, 25–26, 29, 30, 31, 41, 59, 60 dematerialization in, 8, 10, 11–13, 14, 15, 20–21, 66 democratization in, 8, 10, 13–15, 21, 33, 51–52, 59, 64–65, 276 demonetization in, 8, 10–11, 14, 15, 52, 64–65, 138, 163, 167, 223 digitalization in, 8–9, 10 disruption phase in, 8, 9–10, 20, 24, 25, 29, 32, 33–35, 37, 38, 39, 256; see also disruption, exponential Skonk Works, 71, 72 skunk methodology, 71–87, 88 goal setting in, 74–75, 78, 79, 80, 82–83, 84, 85, 87, 103 Google’s use of, 81–84 isolation in, 72, 76, 78, 79, 81–82, 257 “Kelly’s rules” in, 74, 75–76, 77, 81, 84, 247 rapid iteration approach in, 76, 77, 78, 79–80, 83–84, 85, 86 risk management in, 76–77, 82, 83, 84, 86, 87, 88 science of motivation and, 78–80, 85, 87, 92 triggering flow with, 86, 87 Skunk Works, 72, 75 Skybox, 286n Skype, 11, 13, 167 Sloan Digital Sky Survey, 219–20 Small Business Association, US, 169 smartphones, x, 7, 12, 14, 15, 42, 135, 283n apps for, 13, 13, 15, 16, 28, 47, 176 information gathering with, 47 SmartThings, 48 smartwatches, 176–77, 178, 191, 208 software development, 77, 144, 158, 159, 161, 236 in exponential communities, 225–28 SolarCity, 111, 117, 119, 120, 122 Space Adventures Limited, 96, 291n space exploration, 81, 96, 97–100, 115, 118, 119, 122, 123, 134, 139, 230, 244 asteroid mining in, 95–96, 97–99, 107, 109, 179, 221, 276 classifying of galaxies and, 219–21, 228 commercial tourism projects in, 96–97, 109, 115, 119, 125, 127, 244, 246, 261, 268 crowdfunding campaigns for, see ARKYD Space Telescope campaign incentive competitions in, 76, 96, 109, 112, 115, 127, 134, 139, 246, 248–49, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269 International Space University and, 96, 100–104, 107–8 Mars missions in, 99, 118–19, 128 see also aerospace industry Space Fair, 291n “space selfie,” 180, 189–90, 196, 208 SpaceShipOne, 96, 97, 127, 269 SpaceShipTwo, 96–97 SpaceX, 34, 111, 117, 119, 122, 123 Speed Stick, 152, 154 Spiner, Brent, 180, 200, 207 Spirit of St.


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An Optimist's Tour of the Future by Mark Stevenson

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23andMe, Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, augmented reality, bank run, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, clean water, computer age, decarbonisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, flex fuel, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Leonard Kleinrock, life extension, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, off grid, packet switching, peak oil, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, the scientific method, Wall-E, X Prize

Judge Nathan Myhrvold wrote that ‘it is a hallmark of the scientific process that it is fair about considering new propositions; every now and then, radical ideas turn out to be true. Indeed, these exceptions are often the most momentous discoveries in science.’ History is, of course, littered with mavericks initially ridiculed or dismissed and later (sometimes much later) accepted as geniuses: including Charles Darwin (evolution), Gregor Mendel (genetic inheritance), Robert Goddard (liquid-fuelled rockets), Louis Pasteur (germ theory) and the Wright brothers (powered flight). Then again, the past is also full of challenges to accepted wisdom which crashed and burned. I give you James McConnell and Georges Ungar, who believed that memories were encoded in molecules and could therefore be transferred from one animal to another – giving rise to the possibility that you could take a pill and go on to recall the complete works of Shakespeare.

‘We are sequencing two specimens, one with the disease and another that seems immune, and hope to use the differences to guide a breeding program,’ says Miller. A final motivation for collecting all this genomic data is similar to the reason chefs buy lots of cookbooks – to add to their repertoire of dishes and get ideas for how to cook new ones. The next day I head to the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School in the Fenway area of Boston. It’s a slightly oppressive slab of glass and concrete, sited, appropriately, on Avenue Louis Pasteur – named after the iconic Frenchman who gave us pasteurised milk as well as the experiments that would prove to the world that diseases could be caused by ‘germs’ (critters like the bacteria and viruses that George Church’s work has helped unmask and force to give up their genetic secrets). As I approach I’m assaulted by a plethora of signs that announce, sombrely and rather patronisingly, ‘Let’s Be Clear.


pages: 654 words: 204,260

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

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Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Alfred Russel Wallace, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Arthur Eddington, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Brownian motion, California gold rush, Cepheid variable, clean water, Copley Medal, cosmological constant, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Attenborough, double helix, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, Louis Pasteur, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, out of africa, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, supervolcano, Thomas Malthus, Wilhelm Olbers

They learned to form together into complex multicellular beings. Thanks to this innovation, big, complicated, visible entities like us were possible. Planet Earth was ready to move on to its next ambitious phase. But before we get too excited about that, it is worth remembering that the world, as we are about to see, still belongs to the very small. 20 SMALL WORLD IT'S PROBABLY NOT a good idea to take too personal an interest in your microbes. Louis Pasteur, the great French chemist and bacteriologist, became so preoccupied with them that he took to peering critically at every dish placed before him with a magnifying glass, a habit that presumably did not win him many repeat invitations to dinner. In fact, there is no point in trying to hide from your bacteria, for they are on and around you always, in numbers you can't conceive. If you are in good health and averagely diligent about hygiene, you will have a herd of about one trillion bacteria grazing on your fleshy plains—about a hundred thousand of them on every square centimeter of skin.

Brown, who lived from 1773 to 1858, called it nucleus from the Latin nucula, meaning little nut or kernel. Not until 1839, however, did anyone realize that all living matter is cellular. It was Theodor Schwann, a German, who had this insight, and it was not only comparatively late, as scientific insights go, but not widely embraced at first. It wasn't until the 1860s, and some landmark work by Louis Pasteur in France, that it was shown conclusively that life cannot arise spontaneously but must come from preexisting cells. The belief became known as the “cell theory,” and it is the basis of all modern biology. The cell has been compared to many things, from “a complex chemical refinery” (by the physicist James Trefil) to “a vast, teeming metropolis” (the biochemist Guy Brown). A cell is both of those things and neither.

Schopf, p. 212 30 “Animals could not summon up the energy to work,” Fortey, Life, p. 89. 31 “nothing more than a sludge of simple microbes.” Margulis and Sagan, p. 17. 32 “you could pack a billion . . .” Brown, The Energy of Life, p. 101. 33 “Such fossils have been found just once . . .” Ward and Brownlee, p. 10. 34 “little more than ‘bags of chemicals'. . .” Drury, p. 68. 35 “to fill eighty books of five hundred pages.” Sagan, p. 227. CHAPTER 20 SMALL WORLD 1 “Louis Pasteur, the great French chemist . . .” Biddle, p. 16. 2 “a herd of about one trillion bacteria . . .” Ashcroft, p. 248; and Sagan and Margulis, Garden of Microbial Delights, p. 4. 3 “Your digestive system alone . . .” Biddle, p. 57. 4 “no detectable function at all.” National Geographic, “Bacteria,” August 1993, p. 51. 5 “about 100 quadrillion bacterial cells.” Margulis and Sagan, p. 67. 6 “We couldn't survive a day without them.”


pages: 369 words: 153,018

Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane

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Benoit Mandelbrot, clockwork universe, double helix, Drosophila, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, out of africa, phenotype, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, stem cell, unbiased observer

By the nineteenth century, the students of fermentation split into two camps—those who thought that fermentation was a living process with a function (mostly the vitalists, who believed in a special vital force, irreducible to ‘mere’ chemistry), and those who considered fermentation to be purely a chemical process (mostly the chemists themselves). The century-long feud appeared to be settled by Louis Pasteur, a vitalist, who demonstrated that yeast was composed of living cells, and that fermentation was carried out by these cells in the absence of oxygen. Indeed Pasteur famously described fermentation as ‘life without oxygen’. As a vitalist, Pasteur was convinced that fermentation must have a purpose, which is to say, a function that was beneficial in some way for yeast, but even he admitted to being ‘completely in the dark’ about what this purpose might have been.

With no other source of energy, could the organic molecules delivered by asteroids really nourish life for that long? It doesn’t sound very likely to me, especially given the tendency of ultraviolet radiation to break down complex organic molecules in the days before the ozone layer. Second, the perception of fermentation as simple and primitive is wrong. It reflects our prejudice that microbes are biochemically simple, which is untrue, and dates back to the ideas of Louis Pasteur, who described fermentation as ‘life without oxygen’, implying simplicity. But Pasteur, as we have seen, admitted to being ‘completely in the dark’ about the function of fermentation, so he could hardly conclude that it was simple. Fermentation requires at least a dozen enzymes, and, as the first and so only means of providing energy, can be seen as irreducibly complex. I use this term deliberately, for it has been presented by some biochemists to argue that the evolution of life required the guiding hand of a Creator—that life is only possible following ‘intelligent design’.


pages: 412 words: 122,952

Day We Found the Universe by Marcia Bartusiak

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Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, California gold rush, Cepheid variable, Copley Medal, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, Edmond Halley, Edward Charles Pickering, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, horn antenna, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, Occam's razor, Pluto: dwarf planet, Solar eclipse in 1919, William of Occam

That meant searching for stars and novae at the very limit of his telescope's resolving power and using them to measure a distance. Curtis had removed himself from big telescope access; Shapley refused to consider that spirals could be huge stellar systems. Only Hubble pursued the question with dogged effort and even he had been looking for novae at first, not Cepheids in particular. Luck certainly played a small role, but as Louis Pasteur once put it, “In the fields of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind.” Once the news was out, reporters couldn't get enough of the tall and broad-shouldered Major Hubble, as they often addressed him. He was turning into an accomplished popular communicator. “There is just not one universe,” Hubble told a local journalist about his discovery. “Countless whole worlds, each of them a mighty universe, are strewn all over the sky.

Smith noted that he found no documentary proof but judged there were “some pointers to its possible truth.” Allan Sandage elaborates on the tale in his history of Mount Wilson. Sandage (2004), pp. 495–98. 217 “spiral nebulae” were on his agenda and that “cosmogony” would be his future field: HUA, Shapley to Kellogg, June 10, 1920, and December 1, 1920. 217 “The work that Hubble did on galaxies was very largely using my methods”: Shapley (1969), pp. 57–58. 217 “in the fields of observation”: Louis Pasteur, Inaugural Lecture, University of Lillé, December 7, 1854. 218 “There is just not one universe”: HUB, Box 28, Scrapbook. 218 catchiest headline: Ibid. 218 “more systems of stars than there are hairs in the whiskers of Santa Claus”: Blades (1930), p. J10. 218 “Professor Edwin Hubble announces that he has found another universe”: “The Universe, Inc.” (1926), 133. 218 “Astronomy, as a matter of popular interest”: “Crowd Jams Library for Hubble Talk” (1927). 218 “It is like looking at those lights”: Blakeslee (1930). 218 did by chance discover “Comet Hubble” in August 1937: HUB, 100-inch Logbook. 218 “I am commuting to a spiral nebula”: HUB, Box 8, biographical memoir. 219 “astronomy is a science in which exact truth is ever stranger than fiction”: Jeans (1929), p. 8. 219 “How terrifying!


pages: 372 words: 111,573

10% Human: How Your Body's Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness by Alanna Collen

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Asperger Syndrome, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, biofilm, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, David Strachan, discovery of penicillin, Drosophila, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, germ theory of disease, hygiene hypothesis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, illegal immigration, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, Maui Hawaii, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, placebo effect, the scientific method

‘Doctors are gentlemen, and gentlemen’s hands are clean,’ said one leading obstetrician at the time, all the while infecting and killing dozens of women each month. The mere notion that doctors could be responsible for bringing death, not life, to their patients caused huge offence, and Semmelweis was cast out of the establishment. Women continued to risk their lives giving birth for decades, as they paid the price of the doctors’ arrogance. Twenty years later, the great Frenchman Louis Pasteur developed the germ theory of disease, which attributed infection and illness to microbes, not miasma. In 1884, Pasteur’s theory was proved by the elegant experiments of the German Nobel prize-winning doctor Robert Koch. By this time, Semmelweis was long dead. He had become obsessed by childbed fever, and had gone mad with rage and desperation. He railed against the establishment, pushing his theories and accusing his contemporaries of being irresponsible murderers.

Far be it from me to critique the degree of adherence to the scientific method of a Nobel prize-winner, but Metchnikoff’s dabblings in intestinal microbiology, in this book at least, barely met reasonable standards of repeatability, comparison against a control, or concerns of causation. His scientific coming-of-age coincided with a period of history in which medical scientists were overcome with excitement about the research avenues opened up by Louis Pasteur’s germ theory. Hypotheses thrived, and little time or mental energy was devoted to patient study, experimentation or evidence-building before the new cohort of medical microbiologists bounded off, tails wagging, to sniff out new ideas. Nonetheless, the media, the public and a slew of charlatans jumped on the autointoxication bandwagon in the early twentieth century. Aside from inflicting colon surgery, a couple of other treatments for bad bacteria emerged.


pages: 476 words: 120,892

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden, Jim Al-Khalili

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, complexity theory, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Ernest Rutherford, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, New Journalism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, theory of mind, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, Zeno's paradox

Cells were thought to be filled with a mysterious living substance called protoplasm that was described in almost mystical terms. But vitalism was undermined by the work of several nineteenth-century scientists who succeeded in isolating chemicals from living cells that were identical to those synthesized in the laboratory. For example, in 1828 the German chemist Friedrich Wöhler managed to synthesize urea, a biochemical that had previously been thought to be peculiar to living cells. Louis Pasteur even succeeded in reproducing chemical transformations, such as fermentation, previously thought to be unique to life, by using extracts from living cells (later called enzymes). Increasingly, the matter of the living appeared to be made up from pretty much the same chemicals that made up the nonliving, and thereby likely to be governed by the same chemistry. Vitalism gradually gave way to mechanism.

When he recovered the capsules he discovered that the meat was completely digested, despite the fact that, protected within the metal, it could not have been subject to any mechanical action. Descartes’s cogs, levers and grinders were clearly insufficient to account for at least one of life’s vital forces. A century after de Réaumur’s work, another Frenchman, the chemist and founder of microbiology Louis Pasteur, studied another biological transformation hitherto attributed to “vital forces”: the conversion of grape juice into wine. He showed that the transforming principle of fermentation appeared to be intrinsically associated with living yeast cells that were present in the “ferments” used in the brewing industry, or in the leaven used to make bread. The term “enzyme” (Greek: “in yeast”) was then coined by the German physiologist Wilhelm Friedrich Kühne in 1877 to describe the agents of these vital activities, such as those performed by living yeast cells, or indeed any transformations promoted by substances extracted from living tissue.


pages: 141 words: 46,879

River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life by Richard Dawkins

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double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, job satisfaction, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, out of africa, phenotype

The same is true of other sugar molecules, and lots of other molecules besides, including the all-important amino acids. Perhaps here is an opportunity for "like begets like"-for chemical heredity. Could right-handed molecules spawn right-handed daughter molecules and left-handers spawn southpaw daughter molecules? First, some background information on mirror-image molecules. The phenomenon was first discovered by the great nineteenth-century French scientist Louis Pasteur, who was looking at crystals of tartrate, which is a salt of tartaric acid, an important substance in wine. A crystal is a solid edifice, big enough to be seen with the naked eye and, in some cases, worn around the neck. It is formed when atoms or molecules, all of the same type, pile on top of one another to form a solid. They don't pile up huggermugger but in an orderly geometric array, like guardsmen of identical size and immaculate drill.


pages: 184 words: 54,833

Why Orwell Matters by Christopher Hitchens

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anti-communist, British Empire, colonial rule, deindustrialization, Etonian, hiring and firing, land reform, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes

This was where Orwell suffered the premonitory pangs of a man living under a police regime: a police regime ruling in the name of socialism and the people. For a Westerner, at least, this epiphany was a relatively novel thing; it brushed the sleeves of many thoughtful and humane people, who barely allowed it to interrupt their preoccupation with the ‘main enemy’, fascism. But on Orwell it made a permanent impression. Coincidence, said Louis Pasteur, has a tendency to occur only to the mind that is prepared to notice it. He was speaking of the kind of openness of mind that allows elementary scientific innovation to occur, but the metaphor is a serviceable one. Orwell was, to an extent, conditioned to keep his eyes open in Spain, and to register the evidence. It is often said in mitigation of the intellectuals of the 1930s that they could not really have known what Stalinism was like.


pages: 257 words: 13,443

Statistical Arbitrage: Algorithmic Trading Insights and Techniques by Andrew Pole

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algorithmic trading, Benoit Mandelbrot, Chance favours the prepared mind, constrained optimization, Dava Sobel, George Santayana, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, market clearing, market fundamentalism, merger arbitrage, pattern recognition, price discrimination, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, risk tolerance, Sharpe ratio, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic volatility, systematic trading, transaction costs

In this case, U0 reduces to 0 and: µZ = µX 1 − (−σY ) = 2µX [1 − (−σY )] 1 − (0) Therefore, total expected revealed reversion is: 2µX [1 − (−σY )] − µX = µX [1 − (−σY )] = exp(µY + σY2 /2)[1 − (−σY )] √ Special Case µY = 0, σY = 1. Then µX = e, σX2 = e(e − 1), X0 = median = e0 = 1. Now, U0 = logX0 = 0, so that: µZ = √ √ 1 − (−1) = 2 e[1 − (−1)] e 1 − (0) From standard statistical tables (see references in Johnson, Kotz, and Balakrishnan), (−1) = 0.15865 so the mean of the median truncated lognormal distribution (with µY = 0, σ = 1) is 2.774. CHAPTER 8 Nobel Difficulties Chance favors the prepared mind. —Louis Pasteur 8.1 INTRODUCTION this chapter, we examine scenarios that create negative results for I nstatistical arbitrage plays. When operating an investment strategy, and notwithstanding risk filters and stop loss rules, surprises should be expected to occur with some frequency. The first demonstration examines a single pair that exhibits textbook reversionary behavior until a fundamental development, a takeover announcement, creates a breakpoint.


pages: 285 words: 78,180

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life by J. Craig Venter

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Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, Barry Marshall: ulcers, bioinformatics, borderless world, Brownian motion, clean water, discovery of DNA, double helix, epigenetics, experimental subject, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing machine

In 1855 Rudolf Virchow (1821–1902), the father of modern pathology, proposed what was called the Biogenic Law: Omnis cellula e cellula, or “All living cells arise from pre-existing cells.” This stood in marked contrast to the notion of “spontaneous generation,” which dates back to the Romans and, as the name suggests, posits that life can arise spontaneously from non-living matter, such as maggots from rotting meat or fruit flies from bananas. In his famous 1859 experiments Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) disproved spontaneous generation by means of a simple experiment. He boiled broth in two different flasks, one with no cover and open to the air, one with an S-curved top containing a cotton plug. After the flask open to the air cooled, bacteria grew in it, but none grew in the second flask. Pasteur is credited with having proved that microorganisms are everywhere, including the air.


pages: 262 words: 80,257

The Eureka Factor by John Kounios

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active measures, Albert Einstein, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Flynn Effect, functional fixedness, Google Hangouts, impulse control, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, pattern recognition, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, theory of mind, US Airways Flight 1549, Wall-E, William of Occam

His technique for removing writer’s block includes taking six or more showers per day. However, bathing isn’t the only way to disengage from the outer world. The acclaimed writer Jonathan Franzen used more extreme measures while working on his novel The Corrections. To coax his imagination, he would often type in the dark while wearing earplugs, earmuffs, and a blindfold. Whatever works. INSIGHT AND OUTSIGHT * * * Louis Pasteur, the great pioneer of biomedical research, once said, “Chance favors only the prepared mind.” This statement is a bit ambiguous even in its original context. We interpret “prepared mind” to mean a specific brain state that inclines one to solve problems by insight. Clearly, the existence of such a brain state would be an important discovery, not only because it would yield evidence about the origins of insight, but also because it would suggest ways to spark aha moments.


pages: 257 words: 66,480

Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System by Ray Jayawardhana

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Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, cosmic abundance, dark matter, Donald Davies, Edmond Halley, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, Louis Pasteur, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Solar eclipse in 1919

Organic molecules have either a left-handed or right-handed orientation, but biochemistry selects for one variety over the other. Dealing with only one version, scientists suspect, is an advantage, if not a necessity, when building complex compounds like DNA and proteins. The same should hold true for life elsewhere. The question is how to espy this subtle characteristic from a distance. It’s fairly easy to detect chirality of purifed samples in the lab, as the French microbiologist Louis Pasteur did in 1848 for a compound derived from wine lees by measuring how the electric feld of light passing through the material is rotated clockwise or counterclockwise—a phenomenon known as circular polarization. Recently a team led by William Sparks of the Space Telescope Science Institute managed to do the same with photosynthetic microbes. They found a value between 0.1 and 0.01 percent. That would be tough to measure from a distance, though perhaps not impossible with a future telescope, depending on what fraction of an alien planet’s light comes from living organisms.


pages: 304 words: 82,395

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier

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23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Black Swan, book scanning, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, double entry bookkeeping, Eratosthenes, Erik Brynjolfsson, game design, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, obamacare, optical character recognition, PageRank, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Post-materialism, post-materialism, random walk, recommendation engine, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

We can’t even express causal relationships easily in standard equations. Hence even if we think slow and hard, conclusively finding causal relationships is difficult. Because our minds are used to an information-poor world, we are tempted to reason with limited data, even though too often, too many factors are at play to simply reduce an effect to a particular cause. Take the case of the vaccine against rabies. On July 6, 1885, the French chemist Louis Pasteur was introduced to nine-year-old Joseph Meister, who had been mauled by a rabid dog. Pasteur had invented vaccination and had worked on an experimental vaccine against rabies. Meister’s parents begged Pasteur to use the vaccine to treat their son. He did, and Joseph Meister survived. In the press, Pasteur was celebrated as having saved the young boy from a certain, painful death. But had he?


pages: 208 words: 67,582

What About Me?: The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society by Paul Verhaeghe

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Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, deskilling, epigenetics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, invisible hand, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Louis Pasteur, market fundamentalism, Milgram experiment, new economy, post-industrial society, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, The Spirit Level, ultimatum game, working poor

The death rate rapidly fell to below 1 per cent. So what did the authorities do? They sacked Semmelweis. He became depressed and was committed to an asylum, where he died at a relatively young age. The reason his approach did not catch on was simply because it conflicted with the prevailing paradigm that diseases were spread through ‘bad air’ or miasmas. It would take another half-century before the work of the French bacteriologist Louis Pasteur gave rise to another paradigm, in which viruses and bacteria emerged as pathogens. The current dominant paradigm in psychiatry is the illness model. This also ties in seamlessly with the reduction of science to scientism: all results must be generalisable, based on objective and value-free research using accepted methods, independent of context. I shall confine myself to two observations. The selection of certain symptoms — increasingly, of certain behaviour — as indicators of mental illness is far from value-free; rather, the reverse.


pages: 294 words: 80,084

Tomorrowland: Our Journey From Science Fiction to Science Fact by Steven Kotler

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Albert Einstein, Alexander Shulgin, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Burning Man, carbon footprint, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, epigenetics, gravity well, haute couture, interchangeable parts, Kevin Kelly, life extension, Louis Pasteur, North Sea oil, Oculus Rift, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, theory of mind, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

Wounded, his father still beat the man silly. This toughness seems to run in the family. The only fear Irv admits to is spiders. Irv’s father went into the family business. The hardware stores were called Weissman and Sons, but they have since closed down because, well, the sons had other ideas. When Irv was ten years old, he read Paul de Kruif’s book Microbe Hunters about the trailblazing work of Louis Pasteur and Paul Ehrlich and other early bacteriologists. For an entire generation of scientists this book proved seminal. Irv was no different. Inspired by Microbe Hunters and still in high school, Weissman got a job at a local lab doing transplantation research. He published two papers, both on cancer and transplantation, before turning eighteen. He smiles at the thought of them, mainly because these are the same subjects he still puzzles over today, so many, many years later.


pages: 294 words: 82,438

Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull, Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, Checklist Manifesto, complexity theory, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, haute cuisine, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, Network effects, obamacare, Paul Graham, performance metric, price anchoring, RAND corporation, risk/return, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Startup school, statistical model, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Wall-E, web application, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Considering the jaw-gaping complexity of DARPA’s initiatives, it is perhaps surprising that the organization uses two sim­ple boundary rules to decide which projects to fund. First, the project must further the quest for fundamental scientific under­standing, and second, it must have a practical use. DARPA favors projects that meet both of these criteria, allowing them to avoid highly theoretical projects with few practical applications, and projects that may have practical applications but offer few scientific benefits. The model for DARPA’s rules is Louis Pasteur, who advanced basic science while tackling real-world problems, like preservation of food and the prevention of tuberculosis. Boundary rules are also used to diagnose a wide range of medical conditions, from HIV and celiac disease to dangerous infections in infants, among others. Boundary rules can help medical staff make rapid decisions when delay can result in death. There are, for example, over 2.5 million emergency room visits in the United States each year by patients suffering from acute dizziness.


pages: 256 words: 15,765

The New Elite: Inside the Minds of the Truly Wealthy by Dr. Jim Taylor

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British Empire, call centre, dark matter, Donald Trump, estate planning, full employment, glass ceiling, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Louis Pasteur, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, means of production, passive income, performance metric, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ronald Reagan, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Considering oneself to be lucky, in other words, correlates with optimism, risk-taking, confidence, an action-orientation, and many of the other characteristics of the wealthy we have already described. Unlucky people, in contrast, have been shown to be more tense and anxious, creating a broader sense of passivity and risk-aversion, lessening their opportunities to expose themselves to new situations that might give rise to positive interactions or outcomes. As it turns out, Louis Pasteur was right when he said, ‘‘Chance favors only the mind that is prepared,’’ as was F. L. Emerson when he said, ‘‘I’m a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.’’ The wealthy are luckier, but for the most part, they have created their own luck and they work to increase the number of opportunities they have to benefit from good luck. The Challenges of the Entrepreneurial Life The entrepreneurial path, like all life choices, is fraught with tradeoffs.


pages: 206 words: 67,030

Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture by Marvin Harris

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colonial exploitation, land tenure, Louis Pasteur, stakhanovite, the market place, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, zero-sum game

Unlike trichinosis, which seldom has fatal consequences and which does not even produce symptoms in the majority of infected individuals, anthrax often runs a rapid course that begins with body boils and terminates in death through blood poisoning. The great epidemics of anthrax that formerly swept across Europe and Asia were not brought under control until the development of the anthrax vaccine by Louis Pasteur in 1881. Jahweh’s failure to interdict contact with the domesticated vectors of anthrax is especially damaging to Maimonides’ explanation, since the relationship between this disease in animals and man was known during biblical times. As described in the Book of Exodus, one of the plagues sent against the Egyptians clearly relates the symptomology of animal anthrax to a human disease: … and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and beast.


pages: 262 words: 66,800

Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future by Johan Norberg

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agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, availability heuristic, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business climate, clean water, continuation of politics by other means, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, demographic transition, desegregation, Donald Trump, Flynn Effect, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, Haber-Bosch Process, Hans Island, Hans Rosling, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, John Snow's cholera map, Kibera, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, more computing power than Apollo, moveable type in China, Naomi Klein, open economy, place-making, Rosa Parks, sexual politics, special economic zone, Steven Pinker, telerobotics, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transatlantic slave trade, very high income, working poor, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, zero-sum game

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Hungarian obstetrician Ignaz Semmelweis famously noticed a high incidence of puerperal fever among pregnant women who delivered with the help of physicians, whereas it was much lower among those helped by midwives. He connected this with the fact that the physicians had often come straight from autopsies, and made them wash their hands with chlorinated lime water, which reduced maternal deaths by almost ninety per cent. New microscopes had made it possible to see microorganisms. Especially important was the achromatic microscope, invented by Joseph Jackson Lister. The French chemist Louis Pasteur showed that microorganisms could spoil milk and wine, and invented a technique to prevent bacterial contamination – pasteurization. He also developed vaccines for rabies and anthrax. As knowledge about microorganisms began to take hold, it gave an extra urgency to attempts to improve sanitation and water supplies and vaccination became routine. The knowledge about germs in itself also made people change behaviour.


pages: 282 words: 82,107

An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage

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agricultural Revolution, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Bartolomé de las Casas, British Empire, carbon footprint, Columbian Exchange, Corn Laws, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Eratosthenes, financial innovation, food miles, Haber-Bosch Process, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, Mikhail Gorbachev, special economic zone, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, women in the workforce

“First, enclose the substances you wish to preserve in bottles or jars; second, close the openings of your vessels with the greatest care, for success depends principally on the seal; third, submit the substances, thus enclosed, to the action of boiling water in a bain-marie . . . fourth, remove the bottles from the bain-marie at the appropriate time.” He listed the times necessary to boil different foods, typically several hours. Appert was not familiar with the earlier work of Boyle, Papin, and others; he had devised his method solely by experiment and had no idea why it worked. It was not until the 1860s that Louis Pasteur, a French chemist, finally determined that decomposition was caused by microbes that could be killed by applying heat. That is why Papin’s technique, which involved heating, had worked; but most of the time he had not heated his food samples enough to kill off the microbes. Appert’s long process of trial and error had revealed that heat had to be applied for several hours in most cases, and that some foods needed to be heated for longer than others.


pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Robert J. Gordon

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism, yield management

We also visit Karl Benz’s lab, where, just ten weeks after Edison’s discovery, he took the last step in developing a reliable internal combustion engine. Although this book is about the United States, many of the inventions were made by foreigners in their own lands or by foreigners who had recently transplanted to America. Among the many foreigners who deserve credit for key elements of the Great Inventions are transplanted Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell for the telephone, Frenchmen Louis Pasteur for the germ theory of disease and Louis Lumière for the motion picture, Englishmen Joseph Lister for antiseptic surgery and David Hughes for early wireless experiments, and Germans Karl Benz for the internal combustion engine and Heinrich Hertz for key inventions that made possible the 1896 wireless patents of the recent Italian immigrant Guglielmo Marconi. The role of foreign inventors in the late nineteenth century was distinctly more important than it was one hundred years later, when the personal computer and Internet revolution was led almost uniformly by Americans, including Paul Allen, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg.

In the words of David Cutler and Grant Miller, “together with the late 19th century, no other documented period in American history [as 1900–1940] witnessed such rapidly falling mortality rates.”1 How was that epochal improvement in life outcomes achieved? This chapter pulls together the many explanations. These include the development of urban sanitation infrastructure, including running water and separate sewer pipes, that were part of the “networking” of the American home that took place between 1870 and 1929 (as discussed in chapter 4). A contribution was made by Louis Pasteur’s germ theory of disease, which fostered public awareness about the dangers inherent in swarming insects and pools of stagnant water. The internal combustion engine deserves its share of credit for removing the urban horse and its prodigious and unrestrained outpouring of manure and urine onto city streets. Window screens, invented in the 1870s, contributed by creating a barrier in farmhouses to prevent insects from commuting back and forth between animal waste and the family dinner table.

MEDICAL RESEARCH, MEDICAL SCHOOLS, AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE Medical knowledge advanced slowly but steadily before 1940. The elements of surgery and the use of ether as an anesthetic were developed before the Civil War, and research on the use of anesthesia, including ether, chloroform, and even cocaine, continued after the Civil War. In the late nineteenth century, techniques were developed to use anesthesia in surgery, to remove gallstones, and to treat appendicitis, heart murmurs, and liver disease. Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister, and Robert Koch have been described as “the remarkable trio who transformed modern medicine.”89 Although individuals such as Pasteur and Koch often get credit for individual cures, progress was a team effort as scientists from the United States and several European countries replicated and improved on the early experiments. Though some doctors welcomed these new discoveries, others did not and were often hostile to the germ theory of disease.


pages: 686 words: 201,972

Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol by Iain Gately

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barriers to entry, British Empire, California gold rush, corporate raider, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haight Ashbury, Hernando de Soto, imperial preference, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Louis Pasteur, megacity, music of the spheres, Norman Mailer, Peace of Westphalia, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, strikebreaker, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, V2 rocket, working poor

Any moment now he will be dictating a law code superior to all codes known hitherto. He swears solemnly that he will make his peoples happy.” While the debate raged between gourmands and decadents as to the true purpose of wine, the single most important breakthrough in humanunderstanding of alcoholic drinks—a complete and accurate scientific explanation of why they are alcoholic—was achieved in France. The genius responsible for the advance was Louis Pasteur. Prior to his definitive studies, no one in history had been able to describe precisely how grape juice turned into wine. For all they knew, it might have been the invisible hand of Bacchus or some other form of divine intervention. Pasteur made his breakthrough by building on the work of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry, who had discovered that the process of fermentation consisted of the conversion of carbohydrates to carbon dioxide and ethanol, which he named alcohol, thereby introducing the Arabic name for the substance to the West.

The federal regulator, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF), did not allow alcohol manufacturers to make “therapeutic or curative claims” about their products. Past attempts by people in the wine trade to add positive statements to their labels had been rejected, notably in the case of Kermit Lynch, an importer, who had sought and been refused permission to quote Thomas Jefferson (“Wine from long habit has become an indispensable for my health”), Louis Pasteur (“Wine is the healthiest, most hygienic beverage known to man”), and 1 Timothy (“Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake”) on his merchandise.73 Initial attempts to incorporate quotations from or references to 60 Minutes into publicity material were rebuffed by the BATF. The Leeward Winery of Ventura, California, which summarized the program and the benefits of drinking in its March 1992 newsletter, was told to stop distributing it.


pages: 740 words: 161,563

The Discovery of France by Graham Robb

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Brownian motion, deindustrialization, Honoré de Balzac, Louis Pasteur, New Economic Geography, Peace of Westphalia, price stability, trade route, urban sprawl

In most people’s minds, the man in black was supposed to be useful, like a doctor, a snake-catcher or a witch. He should be willing to write inaccurate letters of recommendation, to read the newspaper and to explain government decrees. He should also be able to pull strings in the spirit world, influence the weather and cure people and animals of rabies. (This partly explains the godlike status of Louis Pasteur, who developed a vaccine for rabies in 1885.) Naturally, this put the priest in a tricky position. If he refused to ring the bells to prevent a hailstorm, he was useless. If he rang the bells and it hailed anyway, he was inept. In 1874, the curé of the Limousin village of Burgnac refused to join a ‘pagan’ harvest procession. It duly hailed, the harvest was lost, and the curé had to be rescued from an angry crowd.

Apart from the overgrown, collapsing terraces that were cut into the hillsides and the almost windowless tenements where the heated silkworms munched the leaves and made the sound of heavy rain, there is nothing in the verdant scenery on either side of the Rhône to show that life in the land of industrial vegetation was just as hard and unpredictable as it was in the foundries and coalfields. In 1852, a disease called pébrine began to spread among the silkworms. By the time Louis Pasteur discovered the cause and a cure in 1869, the industry had collapsed, the Suez Canal had opened and cheaper silk was being imported from the East. A worm had brought prosperity and a micro-organism took it away. At about the same time, the vines that smallholders had rushed to plant on their plots of rye and wheat were attacked by a peppery mildew called oidium. American vines were imported to replace the diseased stock.


pages: 396 words: 112,748

Chaos by James Gleick

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Benoit Mandelbrot, butterfly effect, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, discrete time, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, experimental subject, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Murray Gell-Mann, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, stochastic process, trade route

The heart of the experiment was even smaller, a cell about the size of a lemon seed, carved in stainless steel with the sharpest possible edges and walls. Into the cell was fed liquid helium chilled to about four degrees above absolute zero, warm compared to Libchaber’s old superfluid experiments. The laboratory occupied the second floor of the École physics building in Paris, just a few hundred feet from Louis Pasteur’s old laboratory. Like all good general-purpose physics laboratories, Libchaber’s existed in a state of constant mess, paint cans and hand tools strewn about on floors and tables, odd-sized pieces of metal and plastic everywhere. Amid the disarray, the apparatus that held Libchaber’s minuscule fluid cell was a striking bit of purposefulness. Below the stainless steel cell sat a bottom plate of high-purity copper.


pages: 330 words: 99,226

Extraterrestrial Civilizations by Isaac Asimov

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Albert Einstein, Cepheid variable, Columbine, Edward Charles Pickering, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, invention of radio, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

He showed that broth remained sterile even when open to air, provided the air to which it was exposed had been heated first in order to kill any forms of life it might contain. Advocates of the doctrine of spontaneous generation pointed out that heat might kill some “vital principle” essential to the production of life out of inanimate matter. Heating broth and sealing it away would in that case fail to produce life. Exposing heated broth to air that had likewise been heated was no better. In 1864, however, the French chemist Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) produced the clincher. He boiled a meat broth until it was sterile, and did so in a flask with a long, thin neck that bent down, then up again, like a horizontal 5. Then he neither sealed it off nor stoppered it. He left the broth exposed to cool air. The cool air could penetrate freely into the vessel and bathe the broth. If it carried a “vital principle” with it, that was welcome.


pages: 218 words: 83,794

Frommer's Portable California Wine Country by Erika Lenkert

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Louis Pasteur, Maui Hawaii, place-making, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, white picket fence

Second, cool storage also prevents spoilage, hence the use of caves and cellars. The wines of the Greeks and Romans were probably as good, or as bad, as those made by monks in the Middle Ages and only a bit improved by secular winemakers from the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution. WINEMAKING 101 21 The science called oenology, which has given the world the highest overall quality of wine ever, was developed after Louis Pasteur’s work with fermentation and bacteriology around 150 years ago. Only in the past few generations have winemakers acquired very technical training and earned PhDs in viticulture (the science of grape growing) in a concentrated effort to understand wine and vineyards. Even with this recent development of science applied to wine, the catchphrase today for many winemakers in Sonoma and Napa is, “I want the wine to make itself.”


pages: 289 words: 112,697

The new village green: living light, living local, living large by Stephen Morris

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back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, cleantech, collective bargaining, Columbine, Community Supported Agriculture, computer age, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, discovery of penicillin, distributed generation, energy security, energy transition, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Firefox, index card, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, McMansion, Menlo Park, Negawatt, off grid, peak oil, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review

Alexandra Hicks, food writer and avid gardener, explains garlic's magic:“Simply stated, when a clove of garlic is cut or crushed, its extracellular membrane separates into sections.This enables an enzyme called allinase to come in contact and combine with the precursor or substrate alliin to form allicin, which contains the odoriferous constituent of garlic.” Renowned for his revelation that microscopic germs caused infection, French microbiologist and chemist Louis Pasteur was first to recognize garlic's antibacterial properties.To demonstrate garlic's amazing strength, imagine that one milliliter of raw garlic juice can be compared to a milligram of streptomycin or sixty micrograms of penicillin. 216 chapter 8 : The Good Life Interview Jason and the Laundronauts by Jason Wentworth QUESTION: What work do you do? ANSWER: I am the owner, along with my wife Sandrine, of the Washboard Eco Laundry in Portland, Maine.


pages: 469 words: 97,582

QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance by Lloyd, John, Mitchinson, John

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Ada Lovelace, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, clean water, double helix, Etonian, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, out of africa, the built environment, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman, US Airways Flight 1549

This protected them from the elements and flooded their houses with light, initiating a great leap forward in hygiene. Dirt and vermin became visible, and living spaces clean and disease free. As a result, plague was eliminated from most of Europe by the early eighteenth century. In the mid-nineteenth century, transparent, easily sterilised swan-necked glass flasks allowed the French chemist Louis Pasteur to disprove the theory that germs spontaneously generated from putrefying matter. This led to a revolution in the understanding of disease and to the development of modern medicine. Not long afterwards, glass light bulbs changed both work and leisure forever. Meanwhile, new trade links between East and West in the nineteeth century meant that a technologically backward China soon caught up.


pages: 307 words: 96,974

Rats by Robert Sullivan

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Louis Pasteur, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, trade route, urban renewal, yellow journalism

Fear kept them from utilizing that knowledge—fear on the part of the city's business interests, fear that in turn inspired fear in the poorest parts of the city, which were most susceptible to disease and its ramifications. The plague that arrived in San Francisco was part of the third plague pandemic that had broken out in China in 1850. Alexandre Yersin, a French microbiologist, identified the plague bacillus that was eventually named for him, Yersinia pestis, in 1894. Yersin worked with Louis Pasteur at Pasteur's institute in Paris. Yersin had met Pasteur after Yersin had cut his finger while operating on a man who had been bitten by a wild dog; his finger still bleeding, Yersin ran immediately to Pasteur's laboratory, where he was vaccinated with Pasteur's new rabies vaccine. When a plague epidemic erupted in Hong Kong, Pasteur sent Yersin to investigate. Yersin wanted to draw fluid from the enlarged nodes of the plague victims, but he was not allowed access to the morgue.

Protein Power: The High-Protein/Low-Carbohydrate Way to Lose Weight, Feel Fit, and Boost Your Health--In Just Weeks! by Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades

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agricultural Revolution, Chance favours the prepared mind, Louis Pasteur

We lucked out because that’s how science works. Science progresses because people continue to question why. Researchers propose hypotheses based on their understanding of the natural world and then test them—and most of the time these theories blow up in their faces. The lucky ones stumble onto the hypotheses that turn out to be valid. But of course there’s more than luck involved, because as Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favors the prepared mind,” and in our case our minds were prepared by many years of clinical practice with patients suffering all the illnesses that are heir to disordered insulin metabolism as well as by our unique combination of medical interests. Mike is a collector of diet books and old medical texts and has a strong interest in paleopathology and biochemistry; Mary Dan is interested in anthropology and has published a book on eating disorders and the deranged metabolic status of eating-disordered patients.


pages: 322 words: 107,576

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

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Asperger Syndrome, correlation does not imply causation, experimental subject, hygiene hypothesis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, offshore financial centre, p-value, placebo effect, publication bias, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), the scientific method, urban planning

.* ≡ Disdain for statistics in healthcare research wasn’t unusual at the time: Ignaz Semmelweis noticed in 1847 that patients were dying much more frequently on the obstetrics ward run by the medical students than on the one run by the midwifery students (this was in the days when students did all the legwork in hospitals). He was pretty sure that this was because the medical students were carrying something nasty from the corpses in the dissection room, so he instituted proper handwashing practices with chlorinated lime, and did some figures on the benefits. The death rates fell, but in an era of medicine that championed ‘theory’ over real-world empirical evidence, he was basically ignored, until Louis Pasteur came along and confirmed the germ theory. Semmelweis died alone in an asylum. You’ve heard of Pasteur. Even when Edward Jenner introduced the much safer vaccination for protecting people against smallpox at the turn of the nineteenth century, he was strongly opposed by the London cognoscenti. And in an article from Scientific American in 1888 you can find the very same arguments which modern antivaccination campaigners continue to use today: The success of the anti-vaccinationists has been aptly shown by the results in Zurich, Switzerland, where for a number of years, until 1883, a compulsory vaccination law obtained, and smallpox was wholly prevented—not a single case occurred in 1882.


pages: 398 words: 107,788

Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman

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Benjamin Mako Hill, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Debian, Donald Knuth, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, financial independence, ghettoisation, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, Jean Tirole, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Larry Wall, Louis Pasteur, means of production, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, pirate software, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, software patent, software studies, Steve Ballmer, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, web application, web of trust

But more than any other actor, Lessig’s individual role in translating the meanings of F/OSS deserves attention. He acted as a “spokesperson” for many years—a role conceptualized in the work of Latour (1987, 1988) as a prominent person who enrolls allies, builds institutions, changes perceptions, and translates the message of free software in ways that appeal to a wider constituency. Just as Louis Pasteur served as the spokesperson who made the germ theory of illness compelling and intelligible to wider publics (Latour 1993), Lessig has worked assiduously, passionately, and diligently to bring out and successfully translate the artifacts and messages of F/OSS from the confines of the hacker lab out to the field. He took a highly technical, sometimes-esoteric set of concerns shared among geeks and reenvisioned them in a language accessible to wider groups: academics, lawyers, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, policymakers in Washington, DC, and activists.


pages: 401 words: 108,855

Cultureshock Paris by Cultureshock Staff

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Anton Chekhov, clean water, haute couture, haute cuisine, Honoré de Balzac, indoor plumbing, Louis Pasteur, money market fund, QWERTY keyboard, Skype, telemarketer, urban renewal, young professional

Paris broadening the lands of France led him to become Emperor. He instituted social, legal and administrative reforms, but disastrous military campaigns forced him into exile. After a triumphant return of 100 days, he was defeated by Wellington at Waterloo, and died eventually on the remote island of Saint-Helena. Alexandre Dumas (1802–1870) A writer popular worldwide, Dumas’ most famous novels are The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) Father of modern medicine whose discoveries are credited with lengthening the human lifespan. Developed a method to eliminate contaminated milk (pasteurisation) and immunisations to combat disease. Georges Auguste Escoffier (1846–1935) Elevated French cooking to an art, creating what is known as haute cuisine. Jean Moulin (1889–1943) Leader of the French Resistance against the Nazi invaders during World War II.


pages: 357 words: 110,072

Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst, Simon Singh

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Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, correlation does not imply causation, false memory syndrome, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, germ theory of disease, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, profit motive, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method

Snow, arguably the world’s first epidemiologist, had demonstrated the power of the new scientific approach to medicine, and in 1866 Britain suffered its last cholera outbreak. Figure 4 John Snow’s map of cholera deaths in Soho, 1854. Each black oblong represents one death, and the Broad Street pump can be seen at the centre of the epidemic. Other major scientific breakthroughs included vaccination, which had been growing in popularity since the start of the 1800s, and Joseph Lister’s pioneering use of antiseptics in 1865. Thereafter Louis Pasteur invented vaccines for rabies and anthrax, thus contributing to the development of the germ theory of disease. Even more importantly, Robert Koch and his pupils identified the bacteria responsible for cholera, tuberculosis, diphtheria, typhoid, pneumonia, gonorrhoea, leprosy, bubonic plague, tetanus and syphilis. Koch deservedly received the 1905 Nobel Prize for Medicine for these discoveries.


pages: 304 words: 88,773

The Ghost Map: A Street, an Epidemic and the Hidden Power of Urban Networks. by Steven Johnson

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call centre, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Dean Kamen, digital map, double helix, edge city, germ theory of disease, Google Earth, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, John Snow's cholera map, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, megacity, mutually assured destruction, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, peak oil, side project, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, trade route, unbiased observer, working poor

page 29 “the noisy and the eager” Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit (London: Wordsworth, 1996), p. 778. page 33 “burst forth… with extraordinary malignity” London Times, September 12, 1849, p. 2. page 34 The epidemic of 1848–1849 Koch, p. 42. pages 34–35 “While the mechanism of life” London Times, September 13, 1849, p. 6. page 35 “countenance quite shrunk” Shephard, p. 158. page 36 With the exception of a few unusual compounds “Louis Pasteur, who proved the microbial origin of such devastating diseases as foot and mouth disease, plague, and wine rot, set the tone of the relationship from the start. The context of the encounter between intellect and bacteria defined medicine as a battleground: bacteria were seen as ‘germs’ to be destroyed. Only today have we begun to appreciate the fact that bacteria are normal and necessary for the human body and that health is not so much a matter of destroying microorganisms as it is of restoring appropriate microbial communities.”


pages: 380 words: 104,841

The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us by Diane Ackerman

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, airport security, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, carbon footprint, clean water, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Earth, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, Internet of things, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microbiome, nuclear winter, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, skunkworks, Skype, stem cell, Stewart Brand, the High Line, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog

We’ve known about bacteria for 350 years, ever since a seventeenth-century Dutch scientist, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, slipped some of his saliva under a homemade microscope, which he had crafted with lenses made from whiskers of glass, and espied single-celled organisms crawling, sprawling, flailing about in the suburbs of our gums. He named them animalcules and peered at them through a vast array of lenses (an avid microscoper, he made over five hundred). In the nineteenth century Louis Pasteur proposed that healthy microbes might be vital, and their absence spur illness. By the time tiny viruses were discovered, only a hundred years ago, people were already driving cars and flying airplanes. But we didn’t have the tools to study the every-colored, shifting, scented shoal of microbes we swim in, play in, breathe in all the day long. Some cross the oceans on dust plumes. Acting as condensation nuclei, they jostle rain or snow until it falls from clouds.


pages: 299 words: 19,560

Utopias: A Brief History From Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities by Howard P. Segal

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1960s counterculture, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, complexity theory, David Brooks, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, deskilling, energy security, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, liberation theology, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, Nicholas Carr, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban planning, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

Another quadrant, named for the inventive genius Thomas Edison, is for research that is exclusively applied, never basic. A third quadrant, to which Stokes gives no name, is for research that does not seek to advance either basic or applied science; examples would be nineteenth-century classification projects in natural history. The fourth quadrant, named for 120 Growing Expectations of Realizing Utopia the great French chemist and life scientist Louis Pasteur, is for Stokes the most important. For this quadrant encompasses research that, like Pasteur’s, is both basic and applied. It advances fundamental understandings while solving significant practical problems. Pasteur’s research “was motivated by the very practical objectives of improving industrial processes and public health. It led directly to applications that saved the French silk and wine industries, improved the preservation of wine and beer, and created effective vaccines.”46 But these applications were based on Pasteur’s breakthroughs in developing the germ theory of disease and in establishing the field of bacteriology.


pages: 301 words: 100,599

The Hot Zone by Richard Preston

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British Empire, Chance favours the prepared mind, Louis Pasteur, out of africa, white picket fence

He kept his African gear hidden away at the Institute, piled in olive-drab military trunks in storage rooms and in tractor trailers parked behind buildings and padlocked, because he did not want anyone else to touch his gear or use it or take it away from him. He wanted to be ready to use it at a moment’s notice, in case Marburg or Ebola ever came to the surface again. And sometimes he thought of a favorite saying, a remark by Louis Pasteur, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” Pasteur developed vaccines for anthrax and rabies. 1989 SUMMER The Army had always had a hard time figuring out what to do with Nancy and Jerry Jaax. They were married officers at the same rank in a small corps, the Veterinary Corps. What if one of them (the wife) is trained in the use of space suits? Where do you send them? The Army assigned the Jaaxes to the Institute of Chemical Defense, near Aberdeen, Maryland.


pages: 297 words: 98,506

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales

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business climate, butterfly effect, complexity theory, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, impulse control, Lao Tzu, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur, V2 rocket

She walked for eleven days through dense jungle while being literally eaten alive by leeches and strange tropical insects, which bored into her, laid their eggs, and produced worms that hatched and tunneled out through her skin. Eventually, she came to a hut along the banks of the river she’d been following. She staggered and collapsed inside. There is always a lot of chance involved in a survival situation, both good luck and bad. It was Juliane’s good fortune that three hunters turned up the next day and delivered her to a local doctor. But, as Louis Pasteur said, “Luck favors the prepared mind.” Tough and clearheaded, this teenage girl, who had lost her shoes (not to mention her mother) on the first day, saved herself; the other survivors took the same eleven days to sit down and die. The forces that put them there were beyond their control. But the course of events for those who found themselves alive on the ground were the result of deep and personal individual reactions to a new environment.


pages: 363 words: 108,670

Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love by Dava Sobel

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Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, cognitive dissonance, Dava Sobel, Defenestration of Prague, Edmond Halley, germ theory of disease, Hans Lippershey, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Murano, Venice glass, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Peace of Westphalia, retrograde motion

Isaac Newton is born in England, December 25. 1643 Galileo’s student Evangelista Torricelli (1608-47) invents mercury barometer. 1644 Pope Urban VIII dies. 1648 Thirty Years’ War ends. 1649 Vincenzio Galilei (son) dies in Florence, May 15. 1654 Grand Duke Ferdinando II improves on Galileo’s thermometer by closing the glass tube to keep air out. 1655-56 Christiaan Huygens (1629-95) improves telescope, discovers largest of Saturn’s moons, sees Saturn’s “companions” as a ring, patents pendulum clock. 1659 Suor Arcangela dies at San Matteo, June 14. 1665 Jean-Dominique Cassini (1625-1712) discovers and times the rotation of Jupiter and Mars. 1669 Sestilia Bocchineri Galilei dies. 1670 Grand Duke Ferdinando II dies, succeeded by his only surviving son, Cosimo III. 1676 Ole Roemer (1644-1710) uses eclipses of Jupiter’s moons to determine the speed of light; Cassini discovers gap in Saturn’s rings. 1687 Newton’s laws of motion and universal gravitation are published in his Principia. 1705 Edmond Halley (1656-1742) studies comets, realizes they orbit the Sun, predicts return of a comet later named in his honor. 1714 Daniel Fahrenheit (1686-1736) develops mercury thermometer with accurate scale for scientific purposes. 1718 Halley observes that even the fixed stars move with almost imperceptible “proper motion” over long periods of time. 1728 English astronomer James Bradley (1693-1762) provides first evidence for the Earth’s motion through space based on the aberration of starlight. 1755 Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) discerns the true shape of the Milky Way, identifies the Andromeda nebula as a separate galaxy. 1758 “Halley’s comet” returns. 1761 Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov (1711-65) realizes Venus has an atmosphere. 1771 Comet hunter Charles Messier (1730-1817) identifies a list of noncometary objects, many of which later prove to be distant galaxies. 1781 William Herschel (1738-1822) discovers the planet Uranus. 1810 Napoleon Bonaparte, having conquered the Papal States, transfers the Roman archives, including those of the Holy Office with all records of Galileo’s trial, to Paris. 1822 Holy Office permits publication of books that teach Earth’s motion. 1835 Galileo’s Dialogue is dropped from Index of Prohibited Books. 1838 Stellar parallax, and with it the distance to the stars, is detected independently by astronomers working in South Africa, Russia, and Germany; Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (1784-1846) publishes the first account of this phenomenon, for the star 61 Cygni. 1843 Galileo’s trial documents are returned to Italy. 1846 Neptune and its largest moon are discovered by predictions and observations of astronomers working in several countries. 1851 Jean-Bernard-Leon Foucault (1819-68) in Paris demonstrates the rotation of the Earth by means of a two-hundred-foot pendulum. 1861 Kingdom of Italy proclaimed, uniting most states and duchies. 1862 French chemist Louis Pasteur (1822-95) publishes germ theory of disease. 1877 Asaph Hall (1829-1907) discovers the moons of Mars. 1890-1910 Complete works, Le Opere di Galileo Galilei, are edited and published in Florence by Antonio Favaro. 1892 University of Pisa awards Galileo an honorary degree—250 years after his death. 1893 Providentissimus Deus of Pope Leo XIII cites Saint Augustine, taking the same position Galileo did in his Letter to Grand Duchess Cristina, to show that the Bible did not aim to teach science. 1894 Pasteur’s student Alexandre Yersin (1863-1943) discovers bubonic plague bacillus and prepares serum to combat it. 1905 Albert Einstein (1879-1955) publishes his special theory of relativity, establishing the speed of light as an absolute limit. 1908 George Ellery Hale (1868-1938) discerns the magnetic nature of sunspots. 1917 Willem de Sitter (1872-1934) intuits the expansion of the universe from Einstein’s equations. 1929 American astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) finds evidence for expanding universe. 1930 Roberto Cardinal Bellarmino is canonized as Saint Robert Bellarmine by Pope Pius XI. 1935 Pope Pius XI inaugurates Vatican Observatory and Astrophysical Laboratory at Castel Gandolfo. 1950 Humani generis of Pope Pius XII discusses the treatment of unproven scientific theories that may relate to Scripture; reaches same conclusion as Galileo’s Letter to Grand Duchess Cristina. 1959 Unmanned Russian Luna 3 spacecraft radios first views of the Moon’s far side from lunar orbit. 1966 Index of Prohibited Books is abolished following the Second Vatican Council. 1969 American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the Moon. 1971 Apollo 15 commander David R.


pages: 349 words: 95,972

Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford

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affirmative action, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, assortative mating, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Basel III, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Erdős number, experimental subject, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Frank Gehry, game design, global supply chain, Googley, Guggenheim Bilbao, high net worth, Inbox Zero, income inequality, industrial cluster, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, microbiome, out of africa, Paul Erdős, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Turing test, urban decay, William Langewiesche

The leaps were less dramatic than the ones Erez Aiden likes to take, but the pattern is the same; the top scientists keep changing the subject if they wish to stay productive. Erez Aiden is less of an outlier than one might think. As Brian Eno says, the friend of creative work is alertness, and nothing focuses your attention like stepping onto unfamiliar ground. Eiduson’s research project isn’t the only one to reach this conclusion. Her colleagues looked at historical examples of long-term scientific achievers, such as Alexander Fleming and Louis Pasteur, and compared them to “one-hit wonders” such as James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, and Jonas Salk, who developed the polio vaccine. They found the same pattern: Fleming and Pasteur switched research topics frequently; Watson and Salk did not. This sort of project switching seems to work in the arts as well as the sciences. David Bowie himself is a great example. In the few years before he went to Berlin, Bowie had been collaborating with John Lennon, had lived in Geneva, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, and had acted in a feature film, The Man Who Fell to Earth, as well as working abortively on its soundtrack.


pages: 345 words: 92,849

Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality by Don Watkins, Yaron Brook

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Apple II, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blue-collar work, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, financial deregulation, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Naomi Klein, new economy, obamacare, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Uber for X, urban renewal, War on Poverty, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

Newton discovers the laws of motion and universal gravitation and invents calculus, laying the foundation for classical mechanics, which among other achievements got us from the Earth to the Moon. Thomas Newcomen discovers how to make the first practical steam engine and launches the machine age. Henry Ford discovers how to dramatically lower costs through mass production and puts millions of Americans behind the wheel of a car. Louis Pasteur discovers the principles of vaccination and saves untold millions of lives. Norman Borlaug discovers ways to make major improvements in agriculture, saving over a billion people from starvation. The source of human progress is human ability, which means intellectual ability. The greatest contributors to production are not those who supply physical labor but those who contribute ideas—new theories, inventions, tools, businesses, and methods—to the productive process.


pages: 327 words: 88,121

The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community by Marc J. Dunkelman

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, assortative mating, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Broken windows theory, call centre, clean water, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, David Brooks, delayed gratification, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global village, helicopter parent, if you build it, they will come, impulse control, income inequality, invention of movable type, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Khyber Pass, Louis Pasteur, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Nate Silver, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Richard Florida, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban decay, urban planning, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

Eventually, and after several risky experiments, Jenner concluded that the dairymaid’s supposition was not only correct, but that purposefully infecting individuals with cowpox would inoculate them from the disease’s more serious counterpart. And over the next half century, what Jenner termed “vaccination” (from the Latin root, vaccinia, used to denote cowpox) replaced variolation as the common prophylactic against the speckled monster. For several decades, the story ended there.2 But then, by happenstance, in the spring of 1879 a French scientist named Louis Pasteur was experimenting with chicken cholera. Having prepared several cholera cultures for injection into a batch of fowl, he turned to a separate research project—a distraction that lasted the entire summer. The following fall, when he injected a series of chickens with the months-old cholera cultures, something odd happened: rather than die, as most fowl did when exposed to the disease, these chickens fell ill and then recovered.


pages: 309 words: 86,909

The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson; Kate Pickett

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basic income, Berlin Wall, clean water, Diane Coyle, epigenetics, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, God and Mammon, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land reform, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, moral panic, offshore financial centre, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

In 1847, Ignaz Semmelweiss discovered that if doctors washed their hands before attending women in childbirth it dramatically reduced deaths from puerperal fever. But before his work could have much benefit he had to persuade people – principally his medical colleagues – to change their behaviour. His real battle was not his initial discovery but what followed from it. His views were ridiculed and he was driven eventually to insanity and suicide. Much of the medical profession did not take his work seriously until Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister had developed the germ theory of disease, which explained why hygiene was important. We live in a pessimistic period. As well as being worried by the likely consequences of global warming, it is easy to feel that many societies are, despite their material success, increasingly burdened by their social failings. If correct, the theory and evidence set out in this book tells us how to make substantial improvements in the quality of life for the vast majority of the population.


pages: 302 words: 83,116

SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

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agricultural Revolution, airport security, Andrei Shleifer, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, call centre, clean water, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, Did the Death of Australian Inheritance Taxes Affect Deaths, disintermediation, endowment effect, experimental economics, food miles, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Nash: game theory, Joseph Schumpeter, Joshua Gans and Andrew Leigh, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, market design, microcredit, Milgram experiment, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, presumed consent, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, selection bias, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, urban planning, William Langewiesche, women in the workforce, young professional

His arguments were often nonsensical; his personal behavior became odd, marked by lewdness and sexual impropriety. In retrospect, it’s safe to say that Ignatz Semmelweis was going mad. At the age of forty-seven, he was tricked into entering a sanitarium. He tried to escape, was forcibly restrained, and died within two weeks, his reputation shattered. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t right. Semmelweis was posthumously vindicated by Louis Pasteur’s research in germ theory, after which it became standard practice for doctors to scrupulously clean their hands before treating patients. So do contemporary doctors follow Semmelweis’s orders? A raft of recent studies have shown that hospital personnel wash or disinfect their hands in fewer than half the instances they should. And doctors are the worst offenders, more lax than either nurses or aides.


pages: 360 words: 85,321

The Perfect Bet: How Science and Math Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling by Adam Kucharski

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, butterfly effect, call centre, Chance favours the prepared mind, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, correlation does not imply causation, diversification, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Flash crash, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, if you build it, they will come, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, locking in a profit, Louis Pasteur, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, p-value, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, statistical model, The Design of Experiments, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

According to Stanislaw Ulam, who worked on the hydrogen bomb at Los Alamos, the presence of skill is not always obvious in such games. “There may be such a thing as habitual luck,” he said. “People who are said to be lucky at cards probably have certain hidden talents for those games in which skill plays a role.” Ulam believed the same could be said of scientific research. Some scientists ran into seemingly good fortune so often that it was impossible not to suspect that there was an element of talent involved. Chemist Louis Pasteur put forward a similar philosophy in the nineteenth century. “Chance favours the prepared mind” was how he put it. Luck is rarely embedded so deeply in a situation that it can’t be altered. It might not be possible to completely remove luck, but history has shown that it can often be replaced by skill to some extent. Moreover, games that we assume rely solely on skill do not. Take chess. There is no inherent randomness in a game of chess: if two players make identical moves every time, the result will always be the same.


pages: 410 words: 101,260

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, double helix, Elon Musk, fear of failure, Firefox, George Santayana, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, job-hopping, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum viable product, Network effects, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, risk tolerance, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Wisdom of Crowds, women in the workforce

It became difficult for anyone who had half a brain in their head not to listen to her, and agree that that was the direction in which to move.” In the 1840s, when Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis discovered that having medical students wash their hands dramatically reduced death rates during childbirth, he was scorned by his colleagues and ended up in an asylum. It would be two decades before his ideas gained scientific legitimacy as Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch laid the foundations of germ theory. As physicist Max Planck once observed, “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die.” I don’t mean to imply that it’s never wise to be first. If we all wait for others to act, nothing original will ever be created. Someone has to be the pioneer, and sometimes that will pay off.


pages: 375 words: 106,536

Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Columbine, computer age, credit crunch, Douglas Hofstadter, Downton Abbey, East Village, Etonian, false memory syndrome, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, late fees, Louis Pasteur, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Skype, telemarketer

I’m so out of control! Maybe if I learned how to have power over others, I’d be a better person!’ So you see that criticizing NLP is like criticizing a hammer.” I tell him I’ve read terrible things about NLP on the Internet—how some scientists call it nonsense—and he says, “I know it’s not scientific. Some of the techniques will not always work in the same way in a laboratory every time!” He laughs. “But Louis Pasteur was accused of being in league with the Devil. The Wright brothers were called fraudsters. . . .” • • • MONDAY. I spot Richard Bandler by the stage, surrounded by fans. “Wow,” he says as a woman hands him a rare copy of his book Trance-formations. “That goes for, like, six hundred dollars on eBay.” “That’s where I got it,” the woman replies. He autographs it. Everything is going fine until someone hands Bandler a blank piece of paper to sign.

Lonely Planet France by Lonely Planet Publications

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banking crisis, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Murano, Venice glass, ride hailing / ride sharing, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket

Around Besançon SALINE ROYALE Envisaged by its designer, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, as the ‘ideal city’, the 18th-century Saline Royale (Royal Saltworks; www.salineroyale.com; adult/child €7.50/3.50; 9am-noon & 2-6pm) in Arc-et-Senans, 35km southwest of Besançon, is a showpiece of early Industrial Age town planning. Although his urban dream was never fully realised, Ledoux’s semicircular saltworks is now listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Regular trains link Besançon and Arc-et-Senans (€7, 30 minutes, 10 daily). ROUTE PASTEUR Almost every single town in France has at least one street, square or garden named after Louis Pasteur, the great 19th-century chemist who invented pasteurisation and developed the first rabies vaccine. In the Jura it is even more the case, since the illustrious man was a local lad. Pasteur was born in 1822 in the well-preserved medieval town of Dole , former capital of Franche-Comté, 20km west of Arc-et-Senans along the D472. A scenic stroll along the Canal des Tanneurs in the historic tanner’s quarter brings you to his childhood home, La Maison Natale de Pasteur (www.musee-pasteur.com; 43 rue Pasteur, Dole; adult/child €5/free; 10am-noon & 2-6pm Mon-Sat, 2-6pm Sun) , now an atmospheric museum housing exhibits that include his cot, first drawings and university cap and gown.

A scenic stroll along the Canal des Tanneurs in the historic tanner’s quarter brings you to his childhood home, La Maison Natale de Pasteur (www.musee-pasteur.com; 43 rue Pasteur, Dole; adult/child €5/free; 10am-noon & 2-6pm Mon-Sat, 2-6pm Sun) , now an atmospheric museum housing exhibits that include his cot, first drawings and university cap and gown. In 1827 the Pasteur family settled in the bucolic village of Arbois (population 3653), 35km southeast of Dole. His laboratory and workshops here are on display at La Maison de Louis Pasteur (83 rue de Courcelles, Arbois; adult/child €6/3; guided tours 9.45-11.45am & 2-6pm, closed mid Oct–Mar) . The house is still decorated with its original 19th-century fixtures and fittings. ARBOIS & THE ROUTE DES VINS DE JURA Corkscrewing through some 80km of well-tended vines, pretty countryside and stone villages is the Route des Vins de Jura (Jura Wine Road; www.laroutedesvinsdujura.com) .

Bayonne Top Sights Cathédrale Ste-Marie A5 Musée Basque et de l'Histoire de BayonneC4 Sights 1 Cloister A5 2 Ramparts A5 Sleeping 3 Hôtel Côte Basque D1 4 Hôtel des Arceaux B3 5 Hôtel Monbar C5 6 Le Grand Hôtel B3 7Péniche DjébelleC2 Eating 8Bar-Restaurant du MarchéB5 9 Chiloa Gurmenta Restaurant C5 10 Crêperie Harmonika A5 11 Ibaia B5 12La FeuillantineB4 13 La Grange C4 14 Le Chistera B4 15 Xurasko B5 Drinking 16 Cafés Ramuntcho B5 17 Chai Ramina B5 Entertainment 18 La Luna Negra Music B5 19 L'Autre Cinéma C2 20 Trinquet St-André C5 Shopping 21 Cazenave B3 Daranatz (see 21) 22 Elkar C5 23 Pierre Ibaïalde C5 Cathédrale Ste-Marie CATHEDRAL Offline map Google map ( 10-11.45am & 3-6.15pm Mon-Sat, 3.30-6.15pm Sun, cloister 9am-12.30pm & 2-6pm) The twin towers of Bayonne’s Gothic cathedral soar above the city. Construction began in the 13th century, and was completed in 1451; the mismatched materials resemble Lego blocks. Above the north aisle are three lovely stained-glass windows; the oldest, in the Chapelle Saint Jérôme, dates from 1531. The entrance to the stately 13th-century cloister Offline map Google map is on place Louis Pasteur. Ramparts CITY WALL Offline map Google map Bayonne’s 17th-century fortifications are now covered with grass, dotted with trees and enveloped in pretty parks. You can walk the stretches of the old ramparts that rise above bd Rempart Lachepaillet and rue Tour de Sault. Tours The tourist office organises a range of city tours ( adult €6-10; some in English), from a historical tour of old Bayonne to a chocolate-fiend or museum tour.


pages: 384 words: 122,874

Swindled: the dark history of food fraud, from poisoned candy to counterfeit coffee by Bee Wilson

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air freight, Corn Laws, food miles, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, new economy, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair

Both wine-makers and the French state recognized a desperate need to set new norms for wine making, to find new definitions of what “wine” actually was. Special new laws were passed dealing with adulteration. In 1889, raisin wines were specifically outlawed; in 1891, the practice of “chalking” was prohibited; in 1894, it was forbidden to sell either watered-down wines or wines laced with extra alcohol.41 In the meantime, Louis Pasteur had began to establish the science that would fi nally enable reliable avoidance of some of the most common failings in wine, without recourse to swindling. In the 1860s, Pasteur identified many of the microorganisms that caused different faults in the bottle. An excess bitterness was due to degraded glycerol; flabbiness was caused by a polysaccharide. In Pasteur’s view, “yeast makes wine, bacteria destroy it.”

The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders, Bronwen Godfrey

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Community Supported Agriculture, Haight Ashbury, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi

Dough meets all its requirements: calories, minerals, vitamins, and simple nitrogen for making protein. Yeast likes a neutral to slightly acid pH, and some oxygen too, though it can get on without it for a while. When plenty of oxygen is available, yeast metabolizes its food completely, multiplying energetically and giving off carbon dioxide and water as waste products. This efficient metabolic process is called respiration, and its discovery by Louis Pasteur was what made the commercial manufacture of yeast possible: bubbling air through the nutrient solution keeps the yeast metabolism efficient and its waste products harmless. When there is not much oxygen—as in bread dough, where the oxygen is rather quickly used up—yeast adapts by changing its metabolism from aerobic respiration to anaerobic fermentation. Fermentation burns the available carbohydrate food less efficiently, producing carbon dioxide and alcohol as byproducts.


pages: 790 words: 150,875

Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson

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Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, Hans Lippershey, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kitchen Debate, land reform, land tenure, liberal capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, Pearl River Delta, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, the market place, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, wage slave, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

Researchers into tropical diseases set up laboratories in the most far-flung African colonies – the one established in Saint-Louis in 1896 was among the first. Animals kept there were injected with trial vaccines: eighty-two cats injected with dysentery, eleven dogs with tetanus. Other labs worked on cholera, malaria, rabies and smallpox. Such efforts had their roots in the pioneering work on germ theory by Louis Pasteur in the 1850s and 1860s. Empire inspired a generation of European medical innovators. It was in Alexandria in 1884 that the German bacteriologist Robert Koch – who had already isolated the anthrax and tuberculosis bacilli – discovered Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that transmits cholera, which only the previous year had killed Koch’s French rival Louis Thuillier. It was after an outbreak in Hong Kong in 1894 that another Frenchman, Alexandre Yersin, identified the bacillus responsible for bubonic plague.55 It was a doctor in the Indian Medical Service, Ronald Ross, who first fully explained the aetiology of malaria and the role of the anopheles mosquito in transmitting it; he himself suffered from the disease.


pages: 523 words: 148,929

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku

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agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mass immigration, megacity, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize

The principles of physics, as far as I can see, do not speak against the possibility of maneuvering things atom by atom. —RICHARD FEYNMAN, NOBEL LAUREATE Nanotechnology has given us the tools to play with the ultimate toy box of nature—atoms and molecules. Everything is made from these, and the possibilities to create new things appear limitless. —HORST STORMER, NOBEL LAUREATE The role of the infinitely small is infinitely large. —LOUIS PASTEUR The mastery of tools is a crowning achievement that distinguishes humanity from the animals. According to Greek and Roman mythology, this process began when Prometheus, taking pity on the plight of humans, stole the precious gift of fire from Vulcan’s furnace. But this act of thievery enraged the gods. To punish humanity, Zeus devised a clever trick. He asked Vulcan to forge a box and a beautiful woman out of metal.


pages: 404 words: 131,034

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

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Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, clockwork universe, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, germ theory of disease, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, music of the spheres, pattern recognition, planetary scale, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, spice trade, Tunguska event

To explain how microorganisms slowly develop in water previously sterilized by boiling, Huygens proposed that they were small enough to float through the air and reproduced on alighting in water. Thus he established an alternative to spontaneous generation—the notion that life could rise, in fermenting grape juice or rotting meat, entirely independent of preexisting life. It was not until the time of Louis Pasteur, two centuries later, that Huygens’ speculation was proved correct. The Viking search for life on Mars can be traced in more ways than one back to Leeuwenhoek and Huygens. They are also the grandfathers of the germ theory of disease, and therefore of much of modern medicine. But they had no practical motives in mind. They were merely tinkering in a technological society. The microscope and telescope, both developed in early seventeenth-century Holland, represent an extension of human vision to the realms of the very small and the very large.


pages: 543 words: 147,357

Them And Us: Politics, Greed And Inequality - Why We Need A Fair Society by Will Hutton

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Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cloud computing, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, debt deflation, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, discovery of the americas, discrete time, diversification, double helix, Edward Glaeser, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, first-past-the-post, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, low-wage service sector, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, money market fund, moral hazard, moral panic, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Neil Kinnock, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, railway mania, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, unpaid internship, value at risk, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working poor, zero-sum game, éminence grise

Bradford DeLong, ‘Cornucopia: The Pace of Economic Growth in the Twentieth Century’, 2000 NBER Working Paper No. 7602, p. 3. 22 Martin Arnold, ‘Profits of Buy-out Groups Tied to Debt’, Financial Times, 14 January 2009, at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/da3c8954-e217-11dd-b1dd-0000779fd2ac.html. 23 Taken from Xavier Sala-i-Martin’s home page at Columbia University: http://www.columbia.edu/~xs23/reject.htm. Consider these additional examples: Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, observed in 1872: ‘Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.’ Sir John Eric Ericksen, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria in 1873, solemnly opined that ‘the abdomen, the chest and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon’. Most of the great advances of the late nineteenth century had their detractors – the electric light and the telephone were both predicted to have no future.


pages: 492 words: 149,259

Big Bang by Simon Singh

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Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Andrew Wiles, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Astronomia nova, Brownian motion, carbon-based life, Cepheid variable, Chance favours the prepared mind, Commentariolus, Copley Medal, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, Dava Sobel, Defenestration of Prague, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, Edmond Halley, Edward Charles Pickering, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, Erwin Freundlich, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, Hans Lippershey, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Henri Poincaré, horn antenna, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Karl Jansky, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, Murray Gell-Mann, music of the spheres, Olbers’ paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Paul Erdős, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, scientific mainstream, Simon Singh, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbiased observer, V2 rocket, Wilhelm Olbers, William of Occam

Researchers became suspicious that it might have a positive side-effect only when the patients who had taken part in a clinical trial steadfastly refused to hand back their unused pills, even though the drug seemed to have had no significant impact on their heart problems. It would be all too easy to label scientists who have exploited serendipity as merely lucky, but that would be unfair. All these serendipitous scientists and inventors were able to build upon their chance observations only once they had accumulated enough knowledge to put them into context. As Louis Pasteur, who himself benefited from serendipity, put it: ‘Chance favours the prepared mind.’ Walpole also highlighted this in his original letter when he described serendipity as the result of ‘accidents and sagacity’. Furthermore, those who want to be touched by serendipity must be ready to embrace an opportunity when it presents itself, rather than merely brushing down their seed-covered trousers, pouring their failed superglue down the sink or abandoning a failed medical trial.

Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the Transformation of World Food Production by Vaclav Smil

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Haber-Bosch Process, invention of gunpowder, Louis Pasteur, Pearl River Delta, precision agriculture, recommendation engine, The Design of Experiments

During the 1830s he maintained that the decomposition of organic matter into acids and alcohols is nothing but a purely inorganic chemical reaction.7 Thanks to more powerful microscopes, Theodor Schwann (1810–1882) and Charles Cagniard-Latour (1777–1859) were able to observe a clear correlation between growing Saccharomyces yeasts and alcoholic fermentation of grape juice, but Liebig retorted with a mechanistic explanation: atomic motions of the fermenting yeasts were breaking up molecules of grape sugar.8 The convincing explanation came in 1857 with Louis Pasteur’s (1822–1895) demonstration of the microbial nature of organic decomposition, but the process of biomass breakdown was satisfactorily explained only after Hans Buchner’s (1850–1902) accidental discovery of the first enzyme in 1897 opened a new era of biochemistry.9 Discovering Nitrogen Advances in the early understanding of intricate transfers of nitrogen among the atmosphere, soils, waters, and living organisms were no less complicated and controversial than was the elucidation of carbon pathways in photosynthesis, respiration, and decay.


pages: 692 words: 127,032

Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America by Shawn Lawrence Otto

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Berlin Wall, Brownian motion, carbon footprint, Cepheid variable, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dean Kamen, desegregation, double helix, energy security, Exxon Valdez, fudge factor, ghettoisation, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, sharing economy, smart grid, Solar eclipse in 1919, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, University of East Anglia, War on Poverty, white flight, Winter of Discontent, working poor, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

Befitting the great westward expansion, in the nineteenth century it was America’s pioneer spirit and can-do attitude that produced the world’s great inventors and implementers, including Eli Whitney, Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla, but Europe was still the home of real science and the scientists who made the fundamental theoretical breakthroughs, including Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Michael Faraday, James Maxwell, Gregor Mendel, Louis Pasteur, Max Planck, Alfred Nobel, and Lord Kelvin. This focus on tinkering and engineering versus science and discovery was partly because America lacked the well-established academies of Europe, but it also seemed to have something to do with the American character itself. French political scholar Alexis de Tocqueville noted this focus on pragmatism when he toured America in 1831 and 1832. His report of what he learned, Democracy in America, contains a chapter titled “Why the Americans Are More Addicted to Practical Than to Theoretical Science.”


pages: 436 words: 125,809

The Way of the Gun: A Bloody Journey Into the World of Firearms by Iain Overton

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air freight, airport security, back-to-the-land, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, clean water, Columbine, David Attenborough, Etonian, Ferguson, Missouri, gender pay gap, gun show loophole, illegal immigration, interchangeable parts, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, More Guns, Less Crime, offshore financial centre, Ronald Reagan, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

There were over 50,000 amputations in the American Civil War, and infections followed, the spectre of death hard on their tail.16 Tetanus had a mortality rate of 89 per cent and pyaemia, a type of septicaemia, killed 97 per cent of those who developed it.17 So devastating were these odds that, by the Spanish-American War of 1898, the medical profession recognised the urgent need for antisepsis. After reading findings by Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister carried out experiments using carbolic acid and found it helped massively reduce the patient’s chances of dying if applied following amputations.18 Antiseptic dressings on the battlefield and saline solutions to hydrate patients were also brought into play – innovations conceived on the bloody, ragged fields of war. Roentgen’s discovery of the X-ray in 1895 further revolutionised trauma medicine.

France (Lonely Planet, 8th Edition) by Nicola Williams

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active transport: walking or cycling, back-to-the-land, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information trail, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Murano, Venice glass, pension reform, QWERTY keyboard, ride hailing / ride sharing, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Sloane Ranger, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket

Return to beginning of chapter AROUND BESANÇON Saline Royale Envisaged by its designer, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, as the ‘ideal city’, the 18th-century Saline Royale (Royal Saltworks; 03 81 54 45 45; www.salineroyale.com, in French; adult/16-25yr/6-15yr €7.50/5/3.50; 9am-7pm Jul & Aug, 9am-noon & 2-6pm Apr-Jun, Sep & Oct, 10am-noon & 2-5pm Nov-Mar, closed Jan) in Arc-et-Senans (population 1400), 30km southwest of Besançon, is a showpiece of early Industrial Age town planning. Although his urban dream was never realised, Ledoux’s semicircular saltworks is now listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Regular trains link Besançon and Arc-et- Senans (€6.10, 30 minutes, up to 10 daily). Route Pasteur Almost every single town in France has at least one street, square or garden named after Louis Pasteur, the great 19th-century chemist who invented pasteurisation and developed the first rabies vaccine. In the Jura, it is even more the case since the illustrious man was a local lad, born and raised in the region, and a regular visitor for holidays (he worked mostly in Paris). Pasteur was born in Dole, 20km west of Arc-et-Senans along the D472. His childhood home, La Maison Natale de Pasteur ( 03 84 72 20 61; www.musee-pasteur.com; 43 rue Pasteur; adult/student/under 12yr €5/3/free; 10am-6pm Mon-Sat, 2-6pm Sun Jul & Aug, 10am-noon & 2-6pm Mon-Sat, 2-6pm Sun Apr-Jun, Sep & Oct, 10am-noon & 2-6pm Sat & Sun Nov-Mar), overlooking the Canal des Tanneurs in the old town, is now an atmospheric museum housing letters, artefacts and exhibits including his university cap and gown.

His childhood home, La Maison Natale de Pasteur ( 03 84 72 20 61; www.musee-pasteur.com; 43 rue Pasteur; adult/student/under 12yr €5/3/free; 10am-6pm Mon-Sat, 2-6pm Sun Jul & Aug, 10am-noon & 2-6pm Mon-Sat, 2-6pm Sun Apr-Jun, Sep & Oct, 10am-noon & 2-6pm Sat & Sun Nov-Mar), overlooking the Canal des Tanneurs in the old town, is now an atmospheric museum housing letters, artefacts and exhibits including his university cap and gown. In 1827 the Pasteur family settled in the rural community of Arbois (population 3509), 35km east of Dole. His laboratory and workshops in Arbois are on display at La Maison de Louis Pasteur ( 03 84 66 11 72; 83 rue de Courcelles; adult/7-15yr €5.80/2.90; guided tours hourly 9.45-11.45am & 2-6pm Jun-Sep, 2.15-5.15pm Apr, May & 1-15 Oct). The house is still decorated with its original 19th-century fixtures and fittings. Route du Vin No visit to Arbois, the Jura wine capital, would be complete without a glass of vin jaune. The history of this nutty ‘yellow wine’ (see boxed text), is told in the Musée de la Vigne et du Vin ( 03 84 66 40 45; museevignevin@wanadoo.fr; adult/child €3.50/2.70; 10am-12.30pm & 2-6pm Wed-Mon Mar-Jun, Sep & Oct, 10am-12.30pm & 2-6pm Jul & Aug, 2-6pm Wed-Mon Nov-Feb).

CATHÉDRALE STE-MARIE The twin towers of Bayonne’s Gothic cathedral ( 8am-noon & 3-7pm Mon-Sat) soar above the city. Construction began in the 13th century, and was completed in 1451; the mismatched materials in some ways resemble Lego blocks. Above the north aisle are three lovely stained-glass windows, the oldest, in the Chapelle Saint Jérôme, dating from 1531. The entrance to the stately 13th-century cloister ( 9am-12.30pm & 2-6pm Jun-Sep, to 5pm Oct-May) is on place Louis Pasteur. MUSEUMS The seafaring history, traditions and cultural identity of the unique Basque people are all explored at the Musée Basque et de l’Histoire de Bayonne ( 05 59 59 08 98; www.musee-basque.com, in French; 37 quai des Corsaires; adult/student/under 18yr €5.50/3/free; 10am-6.30pm daily Jul & Aug, closed Mon Sep-Jun) through exhibits including a reconstructed farm and the interior of a typical etxe (home).


pages: 1,106 words: 335,322

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow

California gold rush, collective bargaining, death of newspapers, delayed gratification, double entry bookkeeping, endowment effect, family office, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Santayana, God and Mammon, income inequality, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, New Journalism, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, passive investing, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, The Chicago School, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, white picket fence, yellow journalism

She was determined to write a biography of the Girondist Madame Roland while selling freelance articles to Pennsylvania and Ohio newspapers and attending classes at the Sorbonne. Hardworking and levelheaded, she mailed off two articles during her first week in Paris alone. Even though the prim Tarbell was taken aback when lascivious Frenchmen flirted with her, she adored her time in Paris. She interviewed eminent Parisians, ranging from Louis Pasteur to Emile Zola, for American newspapers and won many admirers for her clean, accurate reportage; she claimed that her writing had absorbed some of the beauty and clarity of the French language. Still, she struggled on the “ragged edge of bankruptcy” and was susceptible when McClure wooed her as an editor of his new magazine. While she was still in Paris, two events occurred that would lend an emotional tinge to her Standard Oil series.

The Gothic building, designed by Charles Collens and Henry C. Pelton, was inspired by the cathedrals of Chartres and Laon. Formally dedicated in 1931, the church was an ecumenical shrine that seemed to bridge both the spiritual and temporal worlds. Instead of saintly statues lining the chancel screen, one found scientists, doctors, educators, social reformers, and political leaders, including Louis Pasteur, Hippocrates, Florence Nightingale, and Abraham Lincoln. Statues of Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, and Moses stared down from archivolts above the main portal, while Darwin and Einstein occupied honored niches. After a few years, the congregation was both interdenominational and interracial, with fewer than a third of the members coming from Baptist backgrounds. Once exponents of the old-time religion, the Rockefellers had now advanced into the vanguard of liberal Protestantism and were loudly denounced by conservative theologians for desecrating the true church.


pages: 667 words: 186,968

The Great Influenza by John M. Barry

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Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, centralized clearinghouse, Chance favours the prepared mind, conceptual framework, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Fellow of the Royal Society, germ theory of disease, index card, Louis Pasteur, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, means of production, statistical model, the medium is the message, the scientific method, traveling salesman, women in the workforce

At a time when no government funds went to research, as both chairman of the Executive Committee of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and president—for thirty-two years—of the Board of Scientific Directors of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University), he had also directed the flow of money from the two greatest philanthropic organizations in the country. And yet Welch had been no great pioneer even in his own field of medical research—no Louis Pasteur, no Robert Koch, no Paul Ehrlich, no Theobald Smith. He had generated no brilliant insights, made no magnificent discoveries, asked no deep and original questions, and left no significant legacy in the laboratory or in scientific papers. He did little work—a reasonable judge might say he did no work—so profound as to merit even membership in, much less the presidency of, the National Academy of Sciences.

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil

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additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business intelligence, c2.com, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Mikhail Gorbachev, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

RAY: That's certainly true today. NED:And I plan to keep it that way. RAY: Well, if you're speaking for yourself, that's fine with 'me. But if you stay biological and don't reprogram your genes, you won't be around for very long to influence the debate. Nanotechnology: The Intersection of Information and the Physical World The role of the infinitely small is infinitely large. —LOUIS PASTEUR But I am not afraid to consider the final question as to whether, ultimately, in the great future, we can arrange the atoms the way we want; the very atoms, all the way down! —RICHARD FEYNMAN Nanotechnology has the potential to enhance human performance, to bring sustainable development for materials, water, energy, and food, to protect against unknown bacteria and viruses, and even to diminish the reasons for breaking the peace [by creating universal abundance].


pages: 1,249 words: 207,227

The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook: A Master Baker's 300 Favorite Recipes for Perfect-Every-Time Bread-From Every Kind of Machine by Beth Hensperger

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back-to-the-land, Louis Pasteur, Silicon Valley, spice trade

Yeast is sold to the consumer in five different forms: active dry yeast, compressed fresh cake yeast, fast-acting or instant dried yeast, bread machine yeast, and quick-rise yeast. (Nutritional yeasts, such as brewer’s and torula, are not leavening agents.) Fast-acting yeast and bread machine yeast both work well in the bread machine; quick-rise yeast can also be used. The most readily available fast-acting or instant yeast comes from the S.I. Lasaffre Company (a French company operating in Belgium and elsewhere), which has been producing commercial yeast since Louis Pasteur figured out how to isolate and cultivate single strains. This yeast, labeled “SAF Perfect Rise” or “SAF Instant” yeast, is very popular among bread machine bakers. My testers and I nicknamed it the “industrial strength yeast” for its incredible and reliable rising power. Composed of a different strain of yeast than our domestic brands, SAF yeast is dried to a very low percentage of moisture and coated with ascorbic acid and a form of sugar, enabling it to activate immediately on contact with warm liquid.


pages: 734 words: 244,010

The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins

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agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, complexity theory, delayed gratification, double helix, Drosophila, Haight Ashbury, invention of writing, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, nuclear winter, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steven Pinker, the High Line, urban sprawl

From their positions with the lower limbs in correct anatomical relationship, it seemed that the whole skeleton had to be there, lying face downwards. Actually, it wasn't quite there but, after pondering the geological collapses in the area, Clarke deduced where it must be and, sure enough, Motsumi's chisel found it there. Clarke and his team were indeed lucky, but here we have a first-class example of that maxim of scientists since Louis Pasteur: 'Fortune favours the prepared mind.' Little Foot is still to be fully excavated, described and formally named, but preliminary reports suggest a spectacular find, rivalling Lucy in completeness but older. Although more human-like than chimpanzee-like, the big toe is more divergent than our toes. This might suggest that Little Foot grasped tree boughs with its feet in a way that we cannot. Although it almost certainly walked biped-ally, it probably climbed too and walked with a different gait from us.


pages: 651 words: 180,162

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Air France Flight 447, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, commoditize, creative destruction, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discrete time, double entry bookkeeping, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, financial independence, Flash crash, Gary Taubes, George Santayana, Gini coefficient, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, hygiene hypothesis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, informal economy, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, money market fund, moral hazard, mouse model, Myron Scholes, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, selection bias, Silicon Valley, six sigma, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, The Great Moderation, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, Yogi Berra, Zipf's Law

Garland, Robert, 1998, Daily Life of the Ancient Greeks. Indianapolis: Hackett. Gauch, Ronald R., 2009, It’s Great! Oops, No It Isn’t: Why Clinical Research Can’t Guarantee the Right Medical Answers. Springer. Gawande, Atul, 2002, Complications: A Surgeon’s Note on an Imperfect Science. Picador. Geach, Peter, 1966, “Plato’s Euthyphro,” The Monist 50: 369–382. Geison, Gerald L., 1995, The Private Science of Louis Pasteur. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Gems, D., and L. Partridge, 2008, “Stress-Response Hormesis and Aging: That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger.” Cell Metabolism 7(3): 200–203. Gibbert, M. and P. Scranton, 2009, “Constraints as Sources of Radical Innovation? Insights from Jet Propulsion Development.” Management & Organizational History 4(4): 385. Gigerenzer, Gerd, 2008, “Why Heuristics Work.”


pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More

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23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, P = NP, pattern recognition, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Over the last couple of centuries some interesting observations and developments have been made, suggesting that molecular systems that do not contain specific information encoding molecules, such as DNA, are able to exhibit life-like properties. This field of research originates in the mid-nineteenth century when scientists were trying to disprove the notion of “vitalism.” This was a viewpoint championed by the eminent scientist Louis Pasteur, who argued that the living essence in organism was a “special” quality that was preformed and could not be created by physical means. A number of scholars disagreed proposing that life was “merely” chemistry and not “special”’ at all. Life-like qualities of chemical systems were demonstrated in non-biological systems as early as the latter half of the nineteenth century when nonliving systems exhibited some properties that appeared rather “biological” in their manifestation but were not based on cells, or even cell extracts.


pages: 692 words: 167,950

The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the Twenty-First Century by Alex Prud'Homme

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, carbon footprint, Chance favours the prepared mind, clean water, commoditize, corporate raider, Deep Water Horizon, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, hydraulic fracturing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, megacity, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, renewable energy credits, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban sprawl, William Langewiesche

Yet his glee is also a reminder of what is at stake every time we take a drink from the tap, wash off in the shower, hose our lawn, turn on the computer, douse a fire, or manufacture a computer chip. His exuberance at finding a new supply in a time of drought—“pure, clean and cold”—was also a sigh of relief, a shout of triumph over the primal terror of having nothing let to drink. Acknowledgments “Chance favors the prepared mind,” Louis Pasteur said, and so it was with this book. I have always had a special fascination with water and have spent a lot of time in, on, and around it. But I didn’t think of writing a book about H2O until the day Julia Child and I shared a bottle of water at lunch. We were collaborating on her memoir, My Life in France, and she explained how the French consider spring water a healthy “digestive” and enjoy its mineral terroir, while Americans consider bottled water a refreshing “beverage” and prefer it without any taste.


pages: 600 words: 174,620

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van Der Kolk M. D.

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anesthesia awareness, British Empire, conceptual framework, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, false memory syndrome, feminist movement, impulse control, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), theory of mind, Yogi Berra

It offers a veritable smorgasbord of possible labels for the problems associated with severe early-life trauma, including some new ones such as Disruptive Mood Regulation Disorder,26 Non-suicidal Self Injury, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Dysregulated Social Engagement Disorder, and Disruptive Impulse Control Disorder.27 Before the late nineteenth century doctors classified illnesses according to their surface manifestations, like fevers and pustules, which was not unreasonable, given that they had little else to go on.28 This changed when scientists like Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch discovered that many diseases were caused by bacteria that were invisible to the naked eye. Medicine then was transformed by its attempts to discover ways to get rid of those organisms rather than just treating the boils and the fevers that they caused. With DSM-5 psychiatry firmly regressed to early-nineteenth-century medical practice. Despite the fact that we know the origin of many of the problems it identifies, its “diagnoses” describe surface phenomena that completely ignore the underlying causes.

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton

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anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, centre right, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, cosmic microwave background, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, double helix, East Village, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, Google Earth, Haight Ashbury, horn antenna, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, index card, Jacques de Vaucanson, Kowloon Walled City, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, mutually assured destruction, phenotype, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, Tunguska event, urban sprawl, Vesna Vulović, white picket fence, wikimedia commons, working poor

His autopsy showed a similar pathology to the women with puerperal sepsis, leading Semmelweis to conclude that it was the doctors themselves who were causing the deaths of the mothers. Semmelweis implemented a strict hand-washing policy in his clinic, and the death rate quickly fell from 18 percent to 2.2 percent. But even Semmelweis himself couldn’t explain exactly why his method worked. It would be decades before Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory of disease. Without this underlying explanation, Semmelweis’s discovery was largely rejected as a “mania.” Later in life, in part due to the lack of success he had in spreading his theories, Semmelweis fell into a deep depression, writing bitter letters to prominent European obstetricians in which he accused them of being ignorant murderers. In 1865, he was committed to a sanitarium, where he died of septicemia, the illness he had spent his life battling.


pages: 661 words: 169,298

Coming of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris

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Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Cepheid variable, Chance favours the prepared mind, Commentariolus, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, delayed gratification, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, Gary Taubes, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Henri Poincaré, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Karl Jansky, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, music of the spheres, planetary scale, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Solar eclipse in 1919, source of truth, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Wilhelm Olbers

Röntgen had detected “X rays”—high-energy photons generated by electron transitions at the inner shells of atoms.* Among the scores of physicists who took notice of Röntgen’s detection of X rays was Henri Becquerel, a third-generation student of phosphorescence who shared with his father and grandfather a fascination with anything that glowed in the dark. Becquerel’s discovery, like Röntgen’s, was accidental, though both illustrated the validity of Louis Pasteur’s dictum that chance favors the prepared mind. Between experiments in his laboratory in Paris, Becquerel stored some photographic plates wrapped in black paper in a drawer. A piece of uranium happened to be sitting on top of them. When Becquerel developed the plates several days later, he found that they had been imprinted, in total darkness, with an image of the lump of uranium. He had detected radioactivity, the emission of subatomic particles by unstable atoms like those of uranium—which, Becquerel noted in announcing his results in 1896, was particularly radioactive.


pages: 684 words: 188,584

The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era by Craig Nelson

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Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Doomsday Clock, El Camino Real, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, music of the spheres, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, Project Plowshare, Ralph Nader, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, William Langewiesche, éminence grise

Max Nordau, the Hungarian cofounder of the World Zionist Organization, became so alarmed by the new powers invested in science and electricity that he warned of a horrifying future where everyone would “read a dozen square yards of newspaper daily . . . be constantly called to the telephone [his era’s version of e-mail] [and] think simultaneously of five continents of the earth.” If Nordau had included “stare constantly at a blinking screen instead of living in the material world,” he would have been a prophet with a Nostradamus-like following, yet he seems to have been nearly alone with these trepidations, for everyone else in his era believed that scientific progress would solve all problems, fix all economies, end all war, and create a civilized, Edenic planet. Louis Pasteur referred to laboratories as temples of humanity, and a sensation running for three decades in both France and Italy was Luigi Manzotti’s 1881 Excelsior ballet, which chronicled the triumph of the Enlightenment over Darkness, ending with love, brotherhood, progress, and science. This fantasy ended in 1914, and as historian Barbara Tuchman noted, “A phenomenon of such extended malignancy as the Great War does not come out of a Golden Age.”


pages: 782 words: 245,875

The Power Makers by Maury Klein

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Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, British Empire, business climate, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, luminiferous ether, margin call, Menlo Park, price stability, railway mania, Right to Buy, the scientific method, trade route, transcontinental railway, working poor

Although Cockran’s agile questioning exposed Edison’s basic ignorance of the physical factors involved in death by electricity, he could not overcome the inventor’s reputation as the authority on things electrical. The Wizard had become the oracle, and his views prevailed. On August 3 a satisfied Edison and his young wife embarked on a leisurely trip to Europe that turned into a triumphal march. Feted and decorated everywhere he went, Edison met such fellow luminaries as Louis Pasteur and Werner von Siemens.37 While Edison was gone, another sensation broke on August 25 in the form of revelations in the New York Sun under the headline “FOR SHAME, BROWN!” Somehow the paper had obtained forty-five letters, later revealed to have been purloined from Brown’s locked desk, that unmasked his relationship with the Edison interests. In his testimony Brown had denied any such connection.


pages: 1,294 words: 210,361

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

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Barry Marshall: ulcers, conceptual framework, discovery of penicillin, experimental subject, iterative process, life extension, Louis Pasteur, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, New Journalism, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, scientific mainstream, Silicon Valley, social web, statistical model, stem cell, women in the workforce, éminence grise

Lister began with an old clinical observation: wounds left open to the air would quickly turn gangrenous, while closed wounds would often remain clean and uninfected. In the postsurgical wards of the Glasgow infirmary, Lister had again and again seen an angry red margin begin to spread out from the wound and then the skin seemed to rot from inside out, often followed by fever, pus, and a swift death (a bona fide “suppuration”). Lister thought of a distant, seemingly unrelated experiment. In Paris, Louis Pasteur, the great French chemist, had shown that meat broth left exposed to the air would soon turn turbid and begin to ferment, while meat broth sealed in a sterilized vacuum jar would remain clear. Based on these observations, Pasteur had made a bold claim: the turbidity was caused by the growth of invisible microorganisms—bacteria—that had fallen out of the air into the broth. Lister took Pasteur’s reasoning further.


pages: 551 words: 174,280

The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Bonfire of the Vanities, conceptual framework, cosmological principle, dark matter, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, first-past-the-post, Georg Cantor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, illegal immigration, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John Conway, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kenneth Arrow, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, pattern recognition, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, William of Occam, zero-sum game

Its defenders gradually retreated to ever smaller animals as knowledge of zoology grew, until eventually the debate was confined to what are now called micro-organisms – things like fungi and bacteria that grow on nutrient media. For those, it proved remarkably difficult to refute spontaneous generation experimentally. For instance, experiments could not be done in airtight containers in case air was necessary for spontaneous generation. But it was finally refuted by some ingenious experiments conducted by the biologist Louis Pasteur in 1859 – the same year in which Darwin published his theory of evolution. But experiment should never have been needed to convince scientists that spontaneous generation is a bad theory. A conjuring trick cannot have been performed by real magic – by the magician simply commanding events to happen – but must have been brought about by knowledge that was somehow created beforehand. Similarly, biologists need only have asked: how does the knowledge to construct a mouse get to those rags, and how is it then applied to transform the rags into a mouse?


Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W. Lo

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, Arthur Eddington, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, Brownian motion, business process, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Carmen Reinhart, Chance favours the prepared mind, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Diane Coyle, diversification, diversified portfolio, double helix, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Ernest Rutherford, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, framing effect, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, housing crisis, incomplete markets, index fund, interest rate derivative, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, martingale, merger arbitrage, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, old-boy network, out of africa, p-value, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, predatory finance, prediction markets, price discovery process, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, survivorship bias, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, US Airways Flight 1549, Walter Mischel, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

At first, in the Stone Age, technological improvement was very slow—not because of a lack of innate intelligence, but because human populations were sparse and isolated. Ideas had little chance to encounter new mental environments; cultures of that time appear to have been incredibly traditionalist by modern standards. Slowly, as populations grew, ideas encountered new mental environments. People became more innovative and competitive about their innovations. A chance discovery led some cultures to switch from stone tools to metal tools—but as Louis Pasteur once said, chance favors the prepared mind. Writing, literacy, the printing press: these inventions allowed ideas to flow to millions of different mental environments. Each person became a test-bed for the usefulness of an idea. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, there may have been only a few thousand people who really understood the usefulness of James Watt’s steam engine. Today, there are millions of people who regularly think about how to improve technology, who communicate and compete with each other.


pages: 1,079 words: 321,718

Surfaces and Essences by Douglas Hofstadter, Emmanuel Sander

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Benoit Mandelbrot, Brownian motion, Chance favours the prepared mind, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Flynn Effect, Georg Cantor, Gerolamo Cardano, Golden Gate Park, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, l'esprit de l'escalier, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, place-making, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, theory of mind, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

It’s almost impossible to imagine someone coming up with a revolutionary new insight without being steeped in the domain in an obsessive or near-obsessive manner. But since we are encroaching on Chapter 8’s discussion of scientific discovery, suffice it to say for the moment that great physicists, great mathematicians, and great scientists of any stripe are invariably involved with great passion in their discipline. Louis Pasteur once famously observed that “Chance favors the prepared mind”, and obsessed minds are nothing if not prepared! Were their owners not passionately obsessed, they would never be able to spot connections that for a long time had escaped the eyes of all their colleagues. This brings us back to the idea, considered in the previous chapter, that creativity cannot be turned on and off with a simple switch: in order to come up with creative analogies, one has to be possessed by an idea.


pages: 768 words: 291,079

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell

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Berlin Wall, British Empire, Corn Laws, cuban missile crisis, full employment, James Watt: steam engine, Khartoum Gordon, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, means of production, Murano, Venice glass, Thomas Malthus, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, wage slave, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce

improvers: apprentices whose period of indenture had been reduced on account of their having some experience of the trade, or those who had moved beyond menial tasks and were being put to more skilled jobs. what Socialism means: ‘Half our time as champions of Socialism is wasted in denials of false descriptions of Socialism; and to a large extent the anger, the ridicule, and the argument of the opponents of Socialism are hurled against a Socialism which has no existence except in their own heated minds’: Robert Blatchford, Merrie England (1893; 1895 edn.), 99. 7 Britons Never Shall Be Slaves: from ‘Rule Britannia’ (1740) by Thomas Augustine Arne (1710–78). Blatchford used the line prominently and ironically in Not Guilty: A Defence of the Bottom Dog (1906). disease germs: Louis Pasteur announced the connection between germs and disease in 1882. The building and decorating trades were unusually conscious of the fact since house design, materials, and furnishing changed in response. In Barrie’s Peter Pan (1905) the nurse Nana remains unconvinced by ‘this new-fangled talk about germs’. Tariff Reform Paradise: tariff reform (imposition of tariffs on foreign goods) was supported by a sector of the Tory party in the face of foreign Explanatory Notes protectionist measures aimed at countering Britain’s historical trade and industrial advantages.

The Art of Computer Programming by Donald Ervin Knuth

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Brownian motion, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, Donald Knuth, Eratosthenes, Georg Cantor, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, NP-complete, P = NP, Paul Erdős, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, RAND corporation, random walk, sorting algorithm, Turing machine, Y2K

For n = 5, the current record is 100 noncommutative multiplications [O. M. Makarov, USSR Comp. Math, and Math. Phys. 27,1 A987), 205-207]. The best lower bound known so far is due to J.-C. Lafon and S. Winograd, who showed that 2n2 — 1 nonscalar multiplications are necessary, and mn + ns + m — n — 1 in the m x n x s case ["A lower bound for the multiplicative complexity of the product of two matrices," Centre de Calcul, Univ. Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg, 1979)]. If all calculations must be done without division, slightly better lower bounds were obtained by N. H. Bshouty [SICOMP 18 A989), 759-765], who proved that mxnby nx s matrix multiplication mod 2 requires at least Z}fc=o |_ms/2feJ + \{n + (n mod j))(n — (n mod j) — j) +n mod j multiplications when n > s > j > 1; setting m = n = s and j s* lgn gives 2.5n2 — ^nlgn + O(n). The best upper bounds known for large n are discussed in the text, following C6). 13.


pages: 1,737 words: 491,616

Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-pattern, anti-work, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, effective altruism, experimental subject, Extropian, friendly AI, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, Necker cube, NP-complete, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, planetary scale, prediction markets, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Solar eclipse in 1919, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, Turing complete, Turing machine, ultimatum game, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

The glass is a distillation of the Earth’s rocks, and in its composition we see the secret of the universe’s age, and the evolution of the stars. What strange array of chemicals are there in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization: all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts—physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on—remember that Nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure: drink it and forget it all!