Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences (Vintage)

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9780679747567: Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences (Vintage)

In this perceptive and provocative look at everything from computer software that requires faster processors and more support staff to antibiotics that breed resistant strains of bacteria, Edward Tenner offers a virtual encyclopedia of what he calls "revenge effects"--the unintended consequences of the mechanical, chemical, biological, and medical forms of ingenuity that have been hallmarks of the progressive, improvement-obsessed modern age. Tenner shows why our confidence in technological solutions may be misplaced, and explores ways in which we can better survive in a world where despite technology's advances--and often because of them--"reality is always gaining on us."  For anyone hoping to understand the ways in which society and technology interact, Why Things Bite Back is indispensable reading.  "A bracing critique of technological determinism in both its utopian and dystopian forms...No one who wants to think clearly about our high-tech future can afford to ignore this book."--Jackson Lears, Wilson Quarterly

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Review:

If it can go wrong, it will--thus Murphy's Law. Science journalist Edward Tenner looks more closely at this eternal verity, named after a U.S. Air Force captain who, during a test of rocket-sled deceleration, noticed that critical gauges had been improperly set and concluded, "If there's more than one way to do a job and one of those ways will end in disaster, then somebody will do it that way." Tenner concurs, and he gives us myriad case studies of how technological fixes often create bigger problems than the ones they were meant to solve in the first place. The indiscriminate use of antibiotics, by way of example, has yielded hardier strains of bacteria and viruses that do not respond to pharmaceutical treatment; the wide-scale use of air conditioning in cities has raised the outdoor temperature in some places by as much as 10 degrees, adding stress to already-taxed cooling systems; the modern reliance on medical intervention to deal with simple illnesses, to say nothing of the rapidly growing number of elective surgeries, means that even a low percentage of error (one patient in twenty-five, by a recent estimate) can affect increasingly large numbers of people. Tenner examines what he deems the "unintended consequences" of technological innovation, drawing examples from everyday objects and situations. Although he recounts disaster after painful disaster, his book makes for curiously entertaining, if sometimes scary, reading. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Edward Tenner, former executive editor for physical science and history at Princeton University Press, holds a visiting research appointment in the Department of Geological and Geophysical Sciences at Princeton University. He received the A.B. from Princeton and the Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago and has held visiting research positions at Rutgers University and the Institute for Advanced Study. In 1991-92 he was a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow and in 1995-96 is a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
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Editorial: Vintage (1997)
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Descripción Vintage, 1997. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. BRAND NEW COPY, Perfect Shape, No Black Remainder Mark,Fast Shipping With Online Tracking, International Orders shipped Global Priority Air Mail, All orders handled with care and shipped promptly in secure packaging, we ship Mon-Sat and send shipment confirmation emails. Our customer service is friendly, we answer emails fast, accept returns and work hard to deliver 100% Customer Satisfaction!. Nº de ref. de la librería 9014267

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Descripción Random House USA Inc, United States, 1997. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Vintage Pbk ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Technology has made us healthier and wealthier, but we aren t necessarily happier in our zealously engineered surroundings. Edward Tenner is a connoisseur of what he calls revenge effects - the unintended, ironic consequences of the mechanical, chemical, biological, and medical forms of ingenuity that have been hallmarks of the progressive, improvement-obsessed twentieth century. In seeking out these revenge effects, he ranges far and wide in our cultural landscape to discover an insistent pattern of paradox that implicates everything from black lung to bluebirds, wooden tennis rackets to Windows 95. His insatiable curiosity embraces technology in all its guises: televised competitive skiing, which is much less exciting now that state-of-the-art cameras have eliminated the blur and lost motion of older broadcasts; low-tar cigarettes, which may encourage smokers to defer quitting altogether; justified margins, which became de rigueur just as psychologists and typographers were realizing that uneven right-hand edges are both more legible and more attractive; the meltdown at Chernobyl, which occurred during a test of enhanced safety procedures; and much, much more. While Tenner is fascinated by these phenomena in their own right, Why Things Bite Back is not merely a compendium of technological perversities. There is a historical and, indeed, ethical agenda behind his new look at the obvious. After all, Murphy s Law as originally uttered by a frustrated military engineer was meant not as a fatalistic, defeatist principle but as a call for alertness and adaptation. Tenner heartily concurs. Things do go wrong, with a vengeance, and assigning cause can be as tricky as unscrambling an egg.Reducing revenge effects demands substituting brains for stuff - deintensifying our quest for more, better, faster, in favor of finesse. And in Tenner s estimation, humanity is perfectly capable of this adjustment. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780679747567

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Descripción 1997. PAP. Estado de conservación: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Nº de ref. de la librería IB-9780679747567

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Descripción Random House USA Inc, United States, 1997. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Vintage Pbk ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Technology has made us healthier and wealthier, but we aren t necessarily happier in our zealously engineered surroundings. Edward Tenner is a connoisseur of what he calls revenge effects - the unintended, ironic consequences of the mechanical, chemical, biological, and medical forms of ingenuity that have been hallmarks of the progressive, improvement-obsessed twentieth century. In seeking out these revenge effects, he ranges far and wide in our cultural landscape to discover an insistent pattern of paradox that implicates everything from black lung to bluebirds, wooden tennis rackets to Windows 95. His insatiable curiosity embraces technology in all its guises: televised competitive skiing, which is much less exciting now that state-of-the-art cameras have eliminated the blur and lost motion of older broadcasts; low-tar cigarettes, which may encourage smokers to defer quitting altogether; justified margins, which became de rigueur just as psychologists and typographers were realizing that uneven right-hand edges are both more legible and more attractive; the meltdown at Chernobyl, which occurred during a test of enhanced safety procedures; and much, much more. While Tenner is fascinated by these phenomena in their own right, Why Things Bite Back is not merely a compendium of technological perversities. There is a historical and, indeed, ethical agenda behind his new look at the obvious. After all, Murphy s Law as originally uttered by a frustrated military engineer was meant not as a fatalistic, defeatist principle but as a call for alertness and adaptation. Tenner heartily concurs. Things do go wrong, with a vengeance, and assigning cause can be as tricky as unscrambling an egg.Reducing revenge effects demands substituting brains for stuff - deintensifying our quest for more, better, faster, in favor of finesse. And in Tenner s estimation, humanity is perfectly capable of this adjustment. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780679747567

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Descripción Random House USA Inc, United States, 1997. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Vintage Pbk ed.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Technology has made us healthier and wealthier, but we aren t necessarily happier in our zealously engineered surroundings. Edward Tenner is a connoisseur of what he calls revenge effects - the unintended, ironic consequences of the mechanical, chemical, biological, and medical forms of ingenuity that have been hallmarks of the progressive, improvement-obsessed twentieth century. In seeking out these revenge effects, he ranges far and wide in our cultural landscape to discover an insistent pattern of paradox that implicates everything from black lung to bluebirds, wooden tennis rackets to Windows 95. His insatiable curiosity embraces technology in all its guises: televised competitive skiing, which is much less exciting now that state-of-the-art cameras have eliminated the blur and lost motion of older broadcasts; low-tar cigarettes, which may encourage smokers to defer quitting altogether; justified margins, which became de rigueur just as psychologists and typographers were realizing that uneven right-hand edges are both more legible and more attractive; the meltdown at Chernobyl, which occurred during a test of enhanced safety procedures; and much, much more. While Tenner is fascinated by these phenomena in their own right, Why Things Bite Back is not merely a compendium of technological perversities. There is a historical and, indeed, ethical agenda behind his new look at the obvious. After all, Murphy s Law as originally uttered by a frustrated military engineer was meant not as a fatalistic, defeatist principle but as a call for alertness and adaptation. Tenner heartily concurs. Things do go wrong, with a vengeance, and assigning cause can be as tricky as unscrambling an egg.Reducing revenge effects demands substituting brains for stuff - deintensifying our quest for more, better, faster, in favor of finesse. And in Tenner s estimation, humanity is perfectly capable of this adjustment. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780679747567

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