Tech at Night: E-Cigarettes and the WHO Cargo Cult
Richard Feynman liked to tell the story of an island in Melanesia that had an allied airbase during World War II. Cargo planes would regularly land during the war, bringing supply that the locals were amazed at, and were appreciative to have. However when the war was over, the cargo planes stopped coming, and the troops left.
So what the locals did was to do their best to dress up like the allied soldiers, and go through the motions that they observed happening when a cargo plane would land. This became known as the cargo cult, as they believed that by taking these actions, they could summon a cargo plane bringing its bounty.
Feynman liked to compare bad science with the cargo cults: all dressed up, going through he motions, and missing the point entirely.Read More »