HALL OF FAIL
1453:During the siege of Constantinople, the entrenched Byzantines leave a gate unlocked, allowing the invading Turks to pour in and crush their empire. 1527:A 600-man Spanish expedition tries to colonize Florida, loses its ships, finds no gold, and gets routed by natives. Four survivors are left wandering naked. 1912:On the Titanic’s maiden voyage, a lookout neglects to bring binoculars to the crow’s nest to spot icebergs—and, well, you know the rest.
1964:A grad student unwittingly kills the oldest-known tree, a bristlecone pine dating back 5,000 years, when he chops it down to free a stuck tool. 1971:Ford unveils the Pinto, an affordable subcompact sedan that bursts into flames when rear-ended;
1.5 million are recalled. 1977:When lightning strikes NYC’S electric grid, an operator fails to flip some switches in time, resulting in one of the largest blackouts in city history. 1990:NASA spends $1.5 billion to build and launch the Hubble Space Telescope only to realize, once it’s in space, that it takes blurry photos.
1993:Super Bowl, fourth quarter: Cowboy Leon Lett showboats in front of the end zone, giving Buffalo’s Don Beebe a chance to come from behind and strip the ball. 2000:Rental king Blockbuster passes on buying Dvd-by-mail upstart Netflix for $50 million. Netflix’s 2018 market value: more than $150 billion. 2013:IT worker James Howells mistakenly throws away an old hard drive containing 7,500 Bitcoins, worth $1,000 when he bought them—and $50 million today. 2014:The French government buys 2,000 new trains that are too big for 1,300 stations. It then spends $60 million to widen the platforms.