The Seven Little Things That Ruined Everything
3. Locked Doors on Airplanes: A Good Idea
So, if we told you an airplane had the hold depressurized, part of the floor of the passenger cabin collapse, and a bunch of people nearly lose their lives, all because of a door latch failing, you'd fix it, right? Especially if there was a huge media firestorm over the fact that a door latch screwing up nearly killed a whole bunch of people?
Well, that exact thing happened to a DC-10, and Douglas claimed to have repaired it. You see, unlike the doors in the actual cabin, which are hard to open because cabin pressure works hard to keep them closed, the cargo doors weren't pressurized, and were basically held together with an eyehook. Oddly, this was not a secure system, as a Turkish flight found out, and over 300 people were killed as a result.
Maybe it was installed by the same mechanics who put on the magic exploding windshield.
2. Remember, Always Clean Your Nuclear Reactor
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Three Mile Island was, of course, a pretty memorable nuclear disaster. It was the most dangerous accident on U.S. soil, pumping out millions of curies in radioactive gases and generally just reinforcing our desire never to go to rural Pennsylvania.
And what, you ask, caused this? Why, a valve that got stuck open! Yes, really. One small valve got stuck, and while they were trying to figure out whether this valve had gotten stuck, the primary system failed because of it, dumping coolant and leading to a partial meltdown of the reactor. Of course, it's not like we'd miss Harrisburg, but that's still kind of stupid.
1. One Nut Makes the Difference Between Living and Dying on Helicopters
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Helicopters are incredibly complex machines entrusted with difficult tasks. They fly our soldiers, fly our ill to hospitals, and are used by insanely rich people to race over deserts. And, naturally, they have plenty of redundant systems to keep from falling from the sky into massive fireballs.
Well, except for one minor thing: namely, the rotor on the top of the helicopter that's attached by one nut. Safe, huh?
Not surprisingly, this nut has the nickname "the Jesus nut" because of one of two stories: the first claims that if the nut fails, all you can do is pray to Jesus. Which is considerably more optimistic than the other version, which is if the nut fails, you'll be meeting Jesus.
Upbeat guys, those helicopter pilots.