Serendipity and bungling are the crazy uncle of invention. And the weird science of yesterday is the panty hose of today. Think about that next time your data gets sliced an odd way by accident and something turns up that looks very interesting. Don't be so quick to chuck it out.
As Eric Elfman says at mental_floss, “They say that patience is a virtue, but the following eight inventions prove that laziness, slovenliness, clumsiness and pure stupidity can be virtues, too.”
#1. Anesthesia (1844)
Mistake Leading to Discovery: Recreational drug use
Lesson Learned: Too much of a good thing can sometimes be, well, a good thing
#5. Photography (1835)
Mistake Leading to Discovery: Not doing the dishes
Lesson Learned: Put off today what you can do tomorrow
#7. Nylon (1934)
Mistake Leading to Discovery: Workplace procrastination
Lesson Learned: When the cat’s away, the mice should play
Read the whole article at mental_floss.
(Thanks to New Scientist for the image of the Royal Mail stamp celebrating the discovery of penicillin.) --WTP