Susan Southard on the neglected story of life after nuclear war.

Nagasaki In the award-winning “Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War,” author Susan Southard tells the story of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and the “neglected story of the enduring impact of nuclear war.” Read More



Jon Wilkman on the failure of the St. Francis Dam and the making of modern Los Angeles.

Floodpath Failing infrastructure is a hot topic these days; this catastrophic failure from 1928 has largely been forgotten. Read More


The St. Francis Dam Failure

The St. Francis Dam Failure

J. David Rogers on the deadliest civil engineering disaster of the twentieth century.

Lessons learned from the St. Francis Dam failure—and its impact on the civil engineering profession at-large. Read More

The Great Lisbon Earthquake, Fire

The Great Lisbon Earthquake, Fire

Mark Molesky, author of “This Gulf of Fire,” on the three-act disaster that destroyed Lisbon in 1755.

On All Saints’ Day in 1755, the capital of Portugal was devastated by a combination earthquake-tsunami-firestorm. “People thought it was Judgment Day and that the world was coming to an end,” says Molesky. Read More

This Day in Failure

July 31st

1999: The Lunar Prospect spacecraft crashes into the moon 18 months after its launch.

1975: Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa is reported missing in Detroit, Michigan.

1715: A hurricane strikes the east coast of Florida, sinking 10 Spanish treasure ships (including the Nuestra Senora de la Regla and Santa Cristo de San Ramon), killing nearly 1,000 sailors...

More from July 31

Another day in Failure.  

Failure Analysis

Kalan Reed became Mr. Irrelevant 2016 when he was selected 253rd overall in the NFL draft, making the leap from Southern Miss to the Tennessee Titans. More

Your choice for next U.S. President?

She believes that bravery lives in every heart, and her expectation is that it will be summoned. Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable.

- Sen. Joe Biden, referring to his mother during his speech accepting the 2008 Democratic vice presidential nomination