By Ed Regis
“Oh, the humanity!" Radio reporter Herbert Morrison's phrases on witnessing the destruction of the Hindenburg are etched in our collective reminiscence. but, whereas the Hindenburg—like the Titanic—is an emblem of the technological hubris of a bygone period, we appear to have forgotten the teachings that may be realized from the notorious 1937 zeppelin disaster.
Zeppelins have been steerable balloons of hugely flammable, explosive fuel, however the sheer magic of seeing the sort of behemoths afloat within the sky solid an impossible to resist spell over all those that observed them. In Monsters, Ed Regis explores the query of ways a expertise now so thoroughly invalidated (and so essentially harmful) ever controlled to arrive the high-risk point of improvement that it did. in the course of the tale of the zeppelin's improvement, Regis examines the perils of what he calls “pathological technologies"—inventions whose immense dangers are sometimes minimized because of their nearly mystical allure.
Such foolishness isn't restricted to the economic age: more recent examples of pathological applied sciences comprise the U.S. government's deliberate use of hydrogen bombs for large-scale geoengineering tasks; the phenomenally dicy, dear, and eventually deserted Superconducting tremendous Collider; and the unique interstellar propulsion structures proposed for DARPA's present-day a hundred 12 months Starship undertaking. In case after case, the romantic attraction of foolishly formidable applied sciences has blinded us to their shortcomings, risks, and costs.
Both a historical past of technological folly and a strong cautionary story for destiny applied sciences and different grandiose schemes, Monsters is vital interpreting for specialists and electorate hoping to work out new applied sciences via transparent eyes.