Necessity is the mother of invention. But its invention’s kids you need to worry about. At least that’s the case when it comes to Thomas Midgley Jr, who invented some amazing things. But there’s a twist. “Each of these innovations offered a brilliant solution to an urgent technological problem of the era: making automobiles more efficient, producing a safer refrigerant. But each turned out to have deadly secondary effects on a global scale. Indeed, there may be no other single person in history who did as much damage to human health and the planet, all with the best of intentions as an inventor.” The always excellent Steven Johnson in the NYT Mag (Gift Article): The Brilliant Inventor Who Made Two of History’s Biggest Mistakes. (These kinds of outcomes are one of many reasons I’ve avoided brilliance.)