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Author Topic: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2  (Read 5440 times)

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Redsoil

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Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« on: March 16, 2013, 07:47:27 AM »
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Reading on another thread about disposing of asbestos from building sites/renovations made me think about "inventions" that ended up being hazardous in one way or another.  It seems to be a pattern with humankind, that an invention is often lauded as the "best thing ever!", only with time and research (and often human casualties) to be proven dangerous.

Obviously, asbestos is only one of many products.  Another that immediately comes to mind is Thalidomide, used decades ago to alleviate morning sickness, but found  to cause deformities in babies.

So, what other items spring to mind? 
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random numbers

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2013, 08:10:30 AM »
DDT.

RingTailedLemur

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2013, 08:14:33 AM »
CFCs in fridges and lead in petrol.

Unfortunately, both were thought up by the same man - Thomas Midgley, Jr.

mechtilde

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2013, 08:34:39 AM »
Various radioactive substances used in everyday objects, and even added to foods.

Uranium- a colourant for glass
Radium- glow in the dark watches, clock faces, marine and aeronautical instruments- oh and added to bread, toothpaste, suppositories...
Thorium- used in gas mantles.

On a less radioactive note- lead carbonate in paint. People knew how dangerous it was because the factory workers kept dying so young.

Arsenic in wallpaper, flypapers, used as a cosmetic, or as a tonic. Or even used as a food colourant causing deaths in Greenock in the 19th century.
NE England

Lady Snowdon

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2013, 08:41:28 AM »
Heroin.  Originally thought to be less addictive than other substances like morphine and prescribed for all sorts of conditions!

RingTailedLemur

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2013, 08:47:01 AM »
X-rays for female facial hair removal.

girlysprite

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2013, 09:28:54 AM »
Letting abies sleep on their ellies, thought to prevent them from chocking if they'd vomit.

gramma dishes

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2013, 09:35:15 AM »
Those machines in shoe stores that allowed children and their parents to actually view the child's bones in the "new" shoes they were trying on through the wonders of X-ray.  Kids would be so fascinated by seeing their feet that they'd stand for several minutes in these machines wiggling their toes while Mom was busy helping little brother find a new pair of shoes. 


kherbert05

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2013, 10:07:43 AM »
Cocaine in the original original coke



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lilfox

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2013, 10:49:48 AM »
Styrofoam, a great insulator that will be with us forever.  Almost literally, forever.

The production methods for Electronics and plastics that can now be so easily mass produced that it is cheaper to throw them away than have them repaired.  And they're flimsy enough that breakage is inevitable.

magician5

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2013, 01:31:30 PM »
I'll suggest a triple-surprise: nuclear power.

In the Eisenhower era, nuclear power would make electricity so cheap that it would just be given away.

Then, twenty years later, the people who were in the know were seen to gather in large groups with protest signs and chants of "no nukes!"

Now, in a sudden left-turn since the Fukushima disaster (Three Mile Island didn't turn the tide of public opinion enough, not did Chernobyl), nuclear power is touted as being the only wise answer for global warming.

I was too young to be aware of Eisenhower's prediction, but I was old enough to wonder why the majority of people weren't alarmed by the deadly dangers posed by radioactive waste, and now my children tell me that new generations of reactors have solved many of the problems. Me ... I dunno.
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Elisabunny

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2013, 02:03:41 PM »
re: nuclear waste.  Part of the reason it's so dangerous is because there aren't enough reactors.  Theoretically, much of the waste could be re-used in a slightly different kind of reactor, which would cut the half-life significantly.  But new reactors with that technology (actually, new reactors, period) aren't being built.  Apparently it's better to just bury the stuff. ::)
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daen

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2013, 02:10:40 PM »
The first thing I thought of? The Dalkon Shield.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalkon_Shield

Library Dragon

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2013, 02:34:54 PM »
Genetically altered foods that make shipping easy, but remove flavor and nutritional value.  Yes, it looks like a tomato, but it tastes lie cardboard.    :o

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camlan

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Re: Good ideas turned bad (Inventions) Take 2
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2013, 02:40:46 PM »
Pretty much every time someone has decided to introduce a new species of plant or animal to an area in order to fix a specific problem. The new plants or animals always end up causing new problems.

Such as:

Rabbits in Australia
Kudzu vine in the Southeast US
Beavers in Tierra del Fuego
Starlings in most of the US
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn