CONTEST IS OVER.
Vanity fair has a fantastic article on a great big fraud that is Elizabeth Holmes’ company. For those of you who are not familiar with this case, Elizabeth dropped out of Stanford at nineteen, because she had a great idea of creating a machine that would take a few drops of blood from your finger, run a sophisticated analysis, and potentially diagnose a myriad diseases. Her professors pointed out that it couldn’t be done for scientific and practical reasons, but Elizabeth dressed like Steve Jobs and was really good at raising money. She raised a lot of it and hired really smart people to work on the magic machine.
She was the female Steve Jobs. Forbes ran a fawning article on her. Wal-Greens, a big US pharmacy chain, made a deal to install her diagnostic centers. Everybody was fascinated. But the really smart people couldn’t make it work. Because it’s an idea that’s beyond modern science. Eventually the house of cards came tumbling down, in large part due to an article by John Carreyrou, a reported for The Wall Street Journal. He asked Elizabeth how the device worked.
a chemistry is performed so that a chemical reaction occurs and generates a signal from the chemical interaction with the sample, which is translated into a result, which is then reviewed by certified laboratory personnel
Okay, what scientist talks like that and why didn’t more people pick up on this?
I was looking at the article yesterday on facebook and one of my friends, Kristi – whose birthday is today, happy birthday! – noted that the photo in the article looks obviously staged. I didn’t work in a lab nearly as much as Kristi, but even as a dilettante, I can tell you that there are serious issues with that photo. In fact, there are so many things about it that scream staged, that I thought it would be fun to pick it apart.
Unfortunately I don’t have the permission to repost that photo, so you will have to refer to the article. UPDATE: Kristi found a higher resolution photo where you can see the labels. And it makes even less sense now. Look at the dude at the front table. Look directly above his head.
I will start.
In the first row the woman has liquid reagents in containers, by her feet, where she can accidentally kick them, instead of securing them in the cabinet. That’s a paddlin’.
There are no trash cans in this laboratory. That’s a paddlin’.
Now it’s your turn. One awesome and scientifically correct comment will be chosen by Kristi and will receive a little Curran as a prize. Kristi, send me your address so I can send you a Curran too. 🙂