Things are chugging along with the updated edition of The Myths of Innovation. But there are two nagging research issues I’m hoping someone with some investigative chops might want to take on.
Deadline: Friday May 7th
Reward: Acknowledgement in book + signed copy (see bottom)
1. DDT disaster / Parachuting cat’s into Borneo
The story about DDT in Chapter 10 is related to a story about cats being dropped into Borneo to deal with the rat population explosion caused by DDT. I was careful in the book not to base my point on this story, but I was never able to get solid, first person evidence on the entire story.
- Was DDT was actually used and had the cascading and devastating effects described?
- Were cats were ever actually used, much less via parachute (which I assume is ridiculous – certainly that they were individually strapped into parachutes, which most people assume)?
- Does an official WHO official report or document of any kind exist sfor the event?
2) Why didn’t firearms take off in Asia?
On page 115 I explain how culture effects the rate of adoption of a new innovation. But my story about Japan, and their romantic preference for swords, has no reference – the footnote I offer is wrong. Now, I did not make up this story, I’m confident I read it – but I definitely misreferenced it and I’ve been unable to sort out which historian made this observation. The basic point is – if firearms were invented in China, why didn’t they become as popular there as they did in Europe?
- Is this story about Japan and firearms even true?
- Is there a similar story that supports my point that is better referenced and supported in the literature?
3) If you read the original 2007 edition of the book, and found other sketchy claims similar to the above in the book that should be investigated further, please speak up now. There’s still time for me to either pull the mention, change the story to be more accurate, or provide better references if in fact I was on the right track in the 2007 edition of the book.
Reward: The 3 or 4 folks who provide the most useful research will be thanked in the acknowledgments, will get a signed copy of the paperback edition, and I will tell my Mom about how cool you are.