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An uneven compendium of the strangest side of science
on February 5, 2016
Elephants on Acid is a collection of some of the most bizarre, curious and plain cruel experiments executed in the name of science. Among them, the LSD induced elephant of the title, Russian two-headed dogs, monkey head transplants, sleep deprivation, monkeys brought up as humans, baby reactions experiments, sexual studies, how to maximize waiters’ tips experiments and missiles guided by pigeons.
The book is very informative and does have it’s moments, but the tongue-in-cheek humor did bother me a little, specially when talking about some of the more cruel experiments, to both humans and animals. I do like me some dark humor, but I just couldn’t see the funny side the author was trying to show me.
I liked a lot the research and background on the experiments, specially the Victorian studies on electricity and dead bodies, as well as the neurosurgeries and famous psychology studies like the Stanford Prison experiment, that turned normal students into sadistic prison guards.
On the other hand, outside of the most interesting and chocking studies, the book seemed to have a lot of filler of uninteresting ones. Ironically, the chapter on sex was so boring I found myself skipping some pages, as I did on the one on babies.
Elephants on Acid does deliver on it’s promise as an informal compendium of the strangest side of science – and the horror when moral and empathy is not considered by scientists – but I think it could be improved by concentrating on the truly bizarre and toning down the internet-like humor.