It turns out scientists aren’t as smart as they think they are. Mosquito Experiment Has a Surprise Outcome.
Things in the real-world are more complicated than the scientists dreamed. And bothering about “what all could go wrong” isn’t necessary, when you are convinced that you know everything about a situation. This is how you get the zombie apocalypse.
14. “Mad Science” means never stopping to ask “what’s the worst thing that could happen?”
That’s is from The 70 Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries. I think it applies.
Instead of wiping [the mosquitoes] out, genetic engineering may have made them more ‘robust’
OK, can we put a moratorium on experiments that have a real potential to make everyone’s life worse?
The idea made sense on paper: Introduce male mosquitoes genetically engineered to be sterile into the bug population and watch the insect numbers drop. As New Atlas reports, that’s generally what happened in a Brazil experiment—but only for about 18 months. At that point, the numbers rebounded, say Yale researchers in a new study at Scientific Reports. But perhaps more troubling is this: Scientists say the modified genes are now showing up in the mosquito population, which was not supposed to happen. This is “very likely resulting in a more robust population than the pre-release population due to hybrid vigor.”
And when scientists tell you that they know exactly how things are going to work out in the real world, based only on their computations on paper, bring up the subject of Castle Bravo.
The explosive power of the Castle Bravo shot was 250 percent ABOVE expectations. In other words, instead of the 6 megaton explosion they expected, they got 15 megatons. The base – built to conduct nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands – was destroyed. The shot crew were trapped in their bunker by high radiation. Several islands – where no one was even supposed to know what was going on – had to be evacuated.
People died, and people got sick due to Castle Bravo. Because the world was not as neat and orderly as the mathematics implied it would be. Still up in the air as to what the long-term affects of the super-mosquitoes will be.