Mary's Library

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Things Bite Back

Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences (©1997), by Edward Tenner

From the Publisher’s Weekly review:

“Even when used to better the world, technology fosters unforeseen, often unpleasant consequences that Tenner calls ‘revenge effects.’

“For example, air-conditioned subways raise platform temperatures by as much as 10 degrees F; some computer users get painful, wrist-numbing carpal tunnel syndrome; flood control systems encourage settlement of flood-prone areas, inviting disaster; 6% of all hospital patients become infected with microbes they encounter during their stay.

“In a thought-provoking study, Tenner . . . looks at revenge effects that pop up in medicine, sports, the computerized office and the environment. Oil spills, erosion of beaches, back injuries, athletes' illegal use of steroids and mass extermination of bird species on the world's islands by ship-hopping rats mark this saga of bewildering, often frustrating change.”


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