Frankenstein

From time to time I find myself wanting to repeat a tweet I made several months ago that looked something like this: “Didn’t all these people have to read Frankenstein in highschool?” In this case, “from time to time” means “several times a week.” Here are some words that I think should be included in all first-year programs in the sciences and technology: Hubris. Icarus. Unintended consequences. Ozymandias. Precautionary principle. Limits to knowledge. Metaphor. Wisdom of the elders. (Feel free to add your own in the comments.)

After that moderately cryptic position (by my own standards), allow me the privilege of introducing a song that a friend of mine handed to me when we finally got together for dinner after more than 15 years apart. It is a mark of our ages that the words “mix tape” are scrawled across the front of the CD. I just can’t worry about copyright this time: it’s ephemeral. Everything is. Besides, I’m linking to the artist’s original work… (Jack Savoretti)

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2 thoughts on “Frankenstein

  1. I had never heard it before two weeks ago either. But I’ve had it stuck in my head ever since.

    It’s not hindsight that is the problem. It is the fact that we happily go on our way pretending we can’t hear the warnings until something goes wrong. And this is only tangentially about nuclear power, even though I have a sibling within 200 km of those plants in Japan. And even though I worked in the nuclear industry in the past (although in the research component). It is more about bigger things, things that even the engineers and scientists investigating consider to be significant risks, but “somebody’s going to do it [e.g. solve this shiny, sexy problem], might as well be me.”

    No! For the love of humanity, stop while you still can! There are some problems that don’t need solving, no matter how intriguing they might be. Ahem. OK. Off soapbox. For now.

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