This Day in Failure: August 12

2009: At least 1,200 Gulf War veterans around the U.S. are mistakenly notified by the Veterans Administration (VA) that they suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurological disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The letters—mailed on this date—are intended to notify veterans of disability compensation benefits available to them. The VA blames the mistake on a coding error.

2009: The UK’s Wide Area Search for Planets (WASP) announces the discovery of WASP-17, a planet that orbits the wrong way—that is, backward compared to the rotation of its host star—making it the only planet with a retrograde orbit. The star and WASP-17 are approximately one thousand light years from earth.

2006: T-Rac, the mascot for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, hits New Orleans Saints fourth-string quarterback Adrian McPherson with a golf cart as McPherson walks onto the field for the second half of an exhibition contest between the two teams. McPherson leaves the field with a “bruise” and does not play in the game. Later, McPherson files a lawsuit against the Titans seeking $5 million in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages.

2000: Two explosions rock the hull of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk (the largest attack submarine in the world), causing it to sink to the bottom of the Barents Sea, killing all 118 crew members.

1988: The day after the Charlotte (N.C.) Coliseum is dedicated its $1.2 million, 20-ton scoreboard crashes to the floor of the arena, doing $55,000 worth of damage to the basketball court.

1986: NASA announces the selection of a new booster rocket design for the Space Shuttle—one that corrects for the flaw that caused the Challenger disaster.

1985: A Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 crashes into Mount Osaka, 70 miles outside Tokyo. With 520 fatalities it’s the worst single aircraft crash in history.

1978: Oakland Raiders free safety Jack Tatum levels New England Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley, 26, with a helmet-to-helmet hit in a preseason game at Oakland Coliseum, leaving Stingley a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down. Stingley dies on April 5, 2007, as a result of complications from his injury.