This Day in Failure, March 20
2009: NASA’s online contest to name a new room at the international space station goes awry when comedian Stephen Colbert—host of Comedy Central’s show The Colbert Report—urges his audience to vote for “Colbert” on a write-in basis. His fans comply, and by the time the contest ends on this day, “Colbert” has 230,539 votes, forty-thousand more than “Serenity,” the most popular of the four suggested choices. Shortly afterwards, NASA announces that it reserves the right to choose an appropriate name, but plans to give top vote-getters “the most consideration.”
2008: New York City buildings inspector Edward Marquette, 46, is arrested on charges that he lied about inspecting a 20-story construction crane 11 days before it toppled over in midtown Manhattan and killed seven people. Marquette is charged with falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing.
2000: Approximately 470 members of the millennialist Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God die in a mass suicide. The cultists feast, burn their possessions, and then lock themselves in a church and set it on fire.
2000: Time Warner announces that it will cease regular publication of Life magazine.