The Great Lisbon Earthquake, Fire

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

The Great Lisbon Earthquake, Fire 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


438 Days

Salvador Alvarenga would not have survived for fourteen months in an open, twenty-five-foot boat if not for the voluminous amounts of trash in the Pacific Ocean.

438 Days Adrift for 438 days, Salvador Alvarenga’s resilience, ingenuity, and determination allowed him to stay alive, with a huge assist from ordinary household garbage. Read More


How Much Is That Click, Clack Worth?

How Much Is That Click, Clack Worth?

Richard Polt’s new “typist’s companion” illustrates how and why people are embracing typewriters—a symbol of resistance against the over-digitization of our lives.

“The Typewriter Revolution” contains all you need to know about typewriting in the early twenty-first century. Read More



Ed Regis on the hydrogen airship and other “pathological technologies.”

Twenty-six hydrogen airships were destroyed in fiery accidents prior to the Hindenburg disaster. Why did such a flawed technology persist in the face of repeated catastrophic failures? Read More

This Day in Failure

February 8th

2007: Canadian pairs figure skater Jessica Dube is struck in the face—mid-spin—by partner Bryce Davison’s skate while competing at the Four Continents Ice Skating Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It takes 80 stitches to close the deep four-inch gash, yet Dube is back on the ice less than two weeks later.

1993: General Motors sues NBC, alleging...

More from February 08

Another day in Failure.  

Failure Analysis

The seventh and eighth bank failures of 2015 occurred on October 2. More

Your choice for next U.S. President?

He’s about the worst treasury secretary we’ve had in modern times.

- Steve Forbes, speaking about President George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, November 23, 2008