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Books

Ten Strangely Cruel Science Experiments 357

aalobode writes "The Times of London has a current story based on the review of a book by Alex Boase, Elephants on Acid and Other Bizarre Experiments. There they list the top science experiments — including the one from which the book gets its name — that were conducted by otherwise sane humans who tragically or otherwise ignored the effect of their research on the subjects themselves. Nowadays, most institutions have a review board for research on human subjects which would flag most proposals that could lead to harm for the subjects, but not so in the past. 'Another 1960s experiment, in which ten soldiers on a training flight were told by the pilot that the aircraft was disabled, and about to ditch in the ocean. They were then required to fill in insurance forms before the crash -- ostensibly so the Army was not financially liable for any deaths or injuries. They were actually unwitting participants in an experiment: the plane was not crippled at all. It revealed that fear of imminent death indeed causes soldiers to make more mistakes than usual when filling in forms.'"

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