Monsters: The Hindenburg Disaster and the Birth of Pathological Technology

Monsters: The Hindenburg Disaster and the Birth of Pathological Technology


“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 discovered from the notorious 1937 zeppelin disaster.

Zeppelins have been steerable balloons of hugely flammable, explosive gasoline, however the sheer magic of seeing this kind of behemoths afloat within the sky forged an impossible to resist spell over all those that observed them. In Monsters, Ed Regis explores the query of ways a know-how now so thoroughly invalidated (and so essentially damaging) 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 massive dangers are generally minimized because of their nearly mystical allure.

Such foolishness isn't really restricted to the commercial age: more moderen examples of pathological applied sciences comprise the U.S. government’s deliberate use of hydrogen bombs for large-scale geoengineering tasks; the phenomenally dicy, pricey, and finally deserted Superconducting large Collider; and the unique interstellar propulsion structures proposed for DARPA’s present-day a hundred yr Starship undertaking. In case after case, the romantic allure of foolishly formidable applied sciences has blinded us to their shortcomings, hazards, and costs.

Both a background of technological folly and a strong cautionary story for destiny applied sciences and different grandiose schemes, Monsters is key interpreting for specialists and voters hoping to determine new applied sciences via transparent eyes.

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