priceonomics

The Rise And Fall Of The Fireman’s Pole

The Rise And Fall Of The Fireman’s Pole

Imagine this: it’s 3:30 in the morning, and you’re deep in some pillowy dreamscape. All is calm; all is serene. Then, a piercing alarm whiplashes your senses: you’re awake now, scrambling in the darkness with ten equally frazzled men. In a flurry, boots are pulled on, helmets are snatched off…

The Typo That Destroyed A NASA Rocket

The Typo That Destroyed A NASA Rocket

On 22 July 1962, at 9.20pm, the Mariner I sat idly on its platform, ready to make history. After investing years of construction, calculation, and funding, NASA had high hopes that its rocket would successfully conduct a flyby survey of Venus, thus shifting the Space Race’s momentum back to the…