Small bugs with big consequences
We are all wrong. Sometimes it even seems to us that it is worth doing it more often, because not one of our actions causes such an enthusiastic response of readers as an accidental error in the number of, say, Australian marsupial bears. It immediately turns out that literally dozens of our readers have eaten the dog on the part of marsupial bears, which they consider it their duty to report to us immediately. But it is even pleasant to realize that you are carefully read by such competent people. However, hand on heart, it should be recognized that our mistakes on the scale of the planet are, of course, insignificant. They are unable to change anything except, perhaps, the mood of amateurs of marsupial bears. But in world history there are mistakes with the appearance of quite insignificant, but entailing downright epic consequences.
Big bang practice
Error: the isotope 7Li, which was considered inert, actually turned out to be active.
Consequences: radiation contamination of the atoll of Bikini - the largest infection of the territory in US history.
Nuclear bombing at its dawn was a fussy affair.That is, to calculate everything and estimate it first on paper, there was no question: it was urgent to blow it up. Otherwise, the rivals in the nuclear race will bypass two buildings at once, and there will be no one to blow up.
Thus, when American scientists were preparing to test their first hydrogen bomb on the Bikini Atoll, they were in a hurry and didn’t care too much about safety. The atoll was a heavenly place with coconut palms (it turns out we were not the first to come up with trips to exotic places under the guise of a business trip). Locals, just in case, were taken to a neighboring island, they built a bar under palm trees - in general, everything went according to plan.
The explosion was supposed to pull somewhere at 6 megatons and without radiation. Still, the bomb was hydrogen. But, frankly, the composition of this very bomb was experimental. As for the 6Li isotope, which constituted 40% of the filling, it was already known that it would enter into the reaction and bang, but 7Li, which filled the remaining 60%, was considered an inert isotope, which essentially does not change anything.
As you probably understood, it was not there! Both isotopes entered into the reaction, and with such a force that the splitting of the uranium shell began with the release of extremely radioactive elements! The explosion eventually turned out to be 2.5 times stronger than planned,a crater with a diameter of 2 km was formed, the mushroom cloud reached a height of 40 km. Along the way, the paradise atoll became absolutely unsuitable for life, and the local population, crowded in horror on a neighboring island, grabbed a fair dose of radiation. Unhappy Bikinians still get sick and huddle in foreign territories, trying to get their country cleared. However, it is, alas, hopeless.
Error: too much yeast was added to the wine and they forgot it in the dark corner of the winery.
The consequences: champagne!
Perhaps this is just an advertising legend about Dom Perignon champagne, but we want to believe that not all mistakes lead to tragedies, some of them are quite the opposite. Therefore, here's a wonderful table about the scattered monk Pierre Perignon, who lived in the XVII century in the Abbey of Oville and was in charge of the wine cellar there. Most of the cellar was occupied by classic red wine, which, to be honest, in the vineyards of the abbey turned out so-so, too sour. Nevertheless, Pierre tried very hard to correct this shortcoming: he added more sugar, then he poured the yeast heartily. But he still could not find the right proportion.Work at zavpogrebom, you know, harmful, so it is not surprising that sometimes there were also flaws. Once, in the deep autumn, our Benedictine bottled an unsuccessful batch of wine, put it in the corner of the winery, and even forgot there until summer. Pierre, sultry June afternoon, still wandered into that nook and threw up his hands. From the heat and too much yeast, the wine fermented for the second time, gases formed in it, and all but one bottle exploded to smithereens. The monk cautiously uncorked the strongest bottle, took a sip - and ran out of the winery with perfectly round eyes, announcing the monastery with cries: “I drink stars! Brethren, go quickly here! "It was invented by way of re-fermentation of the wine and the most expensive champagne planet.
This is a breakthrough.
Error: engineer William Mulholland decided to increase the height of the dam of St. Francis by 3 meters.
Consequences: the worst flooding caused by man.
William Mulholland was the embodiment of the American dream. A self-taught engineer with a deadly business acumen managed to crush all of California's largest hydrotechnical projects.In 1924, Mulholland received at its disposal the construction site of the century - the Saint Francis Dam, which was to partition off the gorge of the same name and form the main reservoir to supply Los Angeles with drinking water. The volume of the tank - 39 million cubic meters. When the dam was almost ready, Mulholland decided to increase its height by 3 meters, bringing the size of the reservoir to 42 million cubic meters. At the same time, the thickness of the dam was decided to remain the same to fit into the budget. In the autumn of 1927, the construction of St. Francis was completed, and the reservoir began to fill with water. On March 7, 1928, the water reached its maximum, the dam was put into operation. A few days after the discovery, the watchman of St. Francis called the engineer and asked him to come to the site to look at the strange cracks that appeared at the base. Mulholland went and decided that cracks are a common occurrence when commissioning giant dams. And on the night of March 12-13, the Saint Francis Dam was demolished by a stream of water that formed a wave of 38 meters high and moved to the ocean at a speed of 8 km / h. Five cities, a hydroelectric power station, and countless cars were washed off the face of the earth.The exact number of victims is not known, about 450 people. Immediately after the incident, Mulholland said: “I envy those who died in the stream. Do not look for the guilty: I am guilty of everything! ”
Error: the start of the Challenger shuttle at a temperature 1 degree below the minimum acceptable.
Consequences: the first cosmo-crash on the air, the transfer of priority from human space exploration in the United States to mechanical.
The launch of the Challenger shuttle on January 28, 1986, was followed by all of America, because the first tourist was flying on board the shuttle - Krista McAuliffe, winner of the Teacher in Space program. Meanwhile, in space behind the scenes, the engineers ached that the rubber sealing rings of the shuttle function poorly at negative temperatures, which would have to wait 12 degrees in a good way. Nevertheless, on the morning of January 28, at a temperature of -2 ° С, the Challenger started. After 73 seconds, the rubber sealing ring of the right solid fuel booster exploded, hot gases penetrated and caused the fuel tank to explode. Having traced a fiery arc over the sky, the shuttle fell into pieces and collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean.The US space program has been suspended for 2.5 years. Subsequently, the United States relied on an increase in the number of space satellites, and not astronauts.
Error: Alexander Fleming forgot to wash the Petri dish.
Consequences: people learned how to cure syphilis, well, and something else on the little things.
Of course, our list would be incomplete without the famous story about the discovery of penicillin. If suddenly you do not know how the case was, we will be happy to tell you. The Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming in 1928 neglected the laboratory regulations and instead of washing the dishes, left a Petri dish with staphylococci on the window. The next day, a negligent researcher found in the cup not only his native staphylococci, but also some kind of alien mold, mercilessly destroying the original occupants. Subsequently, Fleming guessed that mold is actually a fungus of Penicillium chrysogenum, from which you can get a very useful penicillin. So the first antibiotics came to our world. By the way, they not only brought medicine to a completely different level, but also contributed to the emergence of the most exotic subspecies of staphylococci, which were dreadful to think about in the pre-cicillin era.
Error: incorrectly translated word.
Consequences: the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In July 1945, the Second World War actually came to an end. Japan remained the last inflexible enemy of the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition. At the conference in Potsddam, the Japanese were demanded to immediately capitulate, otherwise the Allies promised to move to "decisive action." International journalists in Tokyo did not find a place for themselves, hoping to be the first to report a Japanese decision. However, the Government of the Land of the Rising Sun was not in a hurry to respond. In these tense weeks in Tokyo, American reporters managed to catch Premier Kantaro Suzuki and ask him what Japan thinks about the ultimatum. Mr. Suzuki made an impenetrable expression on his face and grunted: "Mokusatsu." One of the meanings of this word is “ignore”. The news went immediately through all channels in the USA and appeared on the front pages of newspapers: “Japan ignores the Potsdam ultimatum!” But there is another meaning - “to remain in neutral and wise silence.” That is, the prime minister actually meant that the government still thinks, but clearly overestimated the linguistic knowledge of American journalists.It cost Mr. Suzuki to really remain in wise silence, and world history could have taken a completely different path. And so America responded instantly: there was a great reason to try "Tiny" and "Fat Man" in action. Because of the small mistake of journalists, the world has learned what combat use of nuclear weapons is.
Although, it seems to me that pendosy in any case would have thrown off these bombs. To try to scare Stalin.
If the goal was suddenly ...
Error: the judge did not count the goal.
Consequences: the bloodiest crush in the history of sports.
May 24, 1964 in the capital of Peru, Lima held the final qualifying match, which was to decide the team - participant of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The stadium owners, to put it mildly, were not lucky with the draw: the Peruvian team played with the Argentines. Those expectedly scored the necessary goal in the first minutes. But a miracle happened: the Peruvians began to defend themselves like devils, without missing a single ball, and two minutes before the end of the match, the Peruvian Bertolotti Andres scored a goal into the Argentine gates! Stadium raged. And then the judge ... refused to score a goal. Peruvian fans went over the whistle.In the stands began the fights on the north side, they escalated into a mass brawl. There, the police rushed with tear gas, triggering a real panic. However, the doors of the stadium, by a strange order of the Directorate, were tightly blocked. As a result, the Peruvian National Stadium became the place where the most terrible crush occurred in the history of sports. A total of 318 people were killed. And all due to the fact that one harmful judge did not count the goal.
9. Where is this piece of paper?
Error: a Confederate army officer put a directive in a cigarette case and lost it in the parking lot.
The consequences: the beginning of the retreat of the southerners, the victory of the North, the abolition of slavery.
It is not known how the war between the North and the South would end (and what the film Gone With the Wind would look like) if Confederate Army General Daniel Harvey Hill didn’t have the usual habit of putting important papers into his cigarette case. Once in a parking lot in Maryland, Harvey Hill received order no. 191 from the commander-in-chief of the southern forces, General Robert Lee, a plan for the Confederate’s next offensive. Everything was painted in great detail. Harvey Hill honored, lit a cigarette and ... made himself understand what.And then the cigarette case fell out of his pocket and remained idyllically lying under the tree. There, a couple of days after the Southerners left the parking lot, it was found by Corporal of the Republican Army Barton Mitchell. Barton immediately took the piece of paper to his superiors. According to eyewitnesses, the commander of the Army of the Potomac, George McKelan, exclaimed: “If I don’t clear General Lee’s face with this document, you can send me home!” the bloodiest one-day battle in American history, forever dropping the Confederates from the northern territories.
Error: The zinc pipe of the city water supply system was too close to the steel pipe, through which fuel was fed to the gas station.
Consequences: 10 explosions that destroyed half of the city of Guadalajara.
It cannot be said that on a sunny morning on April 22, 1992, in the Analko area of the city of Guadalajara, nothing foreshadowed trouble. Residents felt trouble even a few days before the tragedy, when the water from the tap began to clearly smell gasoline (agree, it can not be alerted).However, the authorities announced that there is nothing terrible about it, everything seems to be all right at the water intake station. At 10 am on April 22, sewer manhole covers on Aldam Street began to bounce on their own, thick white smoke poured out from under them. At 10.05, the first two explosions thundered, which brought down several houses on the streets of Aldam and Calzada Indepencia. The third explosion at 10.08 lifted a passenger bus into the air, which, having turned over several times, sank directly into the center of a busy intersection. The explosions followed one after the other, and the Analko district turned into a branch of hell, where everything collapsed and burned, and people rushed in panic through the streets, not knowing where to run. In the end, all the gasoline vapors accumulated in the sewers either exploded or came to the surface. Guadalajara began to recover and count the victims. In total, 252 people died, 15 thousand were left homeless. The reason for this was a small oversight of workers who repaired the city water supply. In one place they put new galvanized pipes almost close to the steel pipes of the gas station. At the contact of steel and zinc in conditions of high humidity pipes collapsed, and gasoline began to flow into the urban water supply system.What became the source of the spark that launched a series of explosions remained unknown. We do not want to spoil your favorite tradition, but perhaps the real culprit of Guadalajara hell was an unknown amateur who threw an extinguished cigarette into the toilet.