During a year-long gambling binge at the Caesars Palace and Rio casinos in 2007, Terrance Watanabe managed to lose nearly $127 million. The run is believed to be one of the biggest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history.
"For Dirk McLauren, Wedesnday January 19 2381 has begun very poorly." The Zybourne Clock was to be a hundred-hour long electro-punk-themed RPG made by members of the SA subforum BYOB. After only a few weeks, the project collapsed in drama and failure, leaving only hilarious snippets of text, original "artwork," and level designs. More effort and skill went into parodying The Zybourne Clock than into creating it.
1995 Contractor Study Finds that U.S. Analysts Exaggerated Soviet Aggressiveness and Understated Moscow's Fears of a U.S. First Strike. During a 1972 command post exercise, leaders of the Kremlin listened to a briefing on the results of a hypothetical war with the United States. A U.S. attack would kill 80 million Soviet citizens and destroy 85 percent of the country's industrial capacity. According to the recollections of a Soviet general who was present, General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev "trembled" when he was asked to push a button, asking Soviet defense minister Grechko "this is definitely an exercise?" This story appears in a recently released two-volume study on Soviet Intentions, 1965-1985, prepared in 1995 by the Pentagon contractor BDM Corporation, and published today for the first time by the National Security Archive. [more inside]
Failed bank takeovers by the FDIC continue to increase at an alarming rate in 2009 (7 this past thursday, 52 so far in 2009) Here's an interview with a bank CEO who bought a failed bank for some insider info into how the process of buying failed banks works (this is the bank he bought). Via calculated risk. Previously
The internet loves it when things go wrong, anything from photoshopping to cakes. And while your personal failure might turn out to provide enjoyment for others, Adam Savage tells about the importance and upsides of colossal failures at Maker Faire. [more inside]
How designers fail — "During college at the University of Arizona in 1992, I learned with other design freshman that revisions were part of the discipline; if you cried at critique you were a wimp, and the computer was just a finishing tool. . . . But something has happened since I was a college student in 1992: students just don’t believe these things."
"Ready, aim ... fail, why setting goals can backfire."
The savings and loan’s decision not to settle the lawsuit made no economic sense for a solvent institution, but it made perfect sense if their principle objective was to maintain the false appearance of solvency for as long as possible. The savings and loan was undoubtedly inflating all of their assets, including my homely little lawsuit, to postpone the inevitable.Brad Miller, US Congressman for the Thirteenth District of North Carolina advances a possible motivation for the apparently illogical behavior of US banks.
What reminded me of that incident from my late, unlamented law practice was the persistent failure of financial institutions to modify mortgages voluntarily. It makes perfect economic sense for a safe and sound institution to avoid the ruinous costs of foreclosure by agreeing to reduce the principal and monthly payment for homeowners who can pay a mortgage, but not the one they’ve got. But according to the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, fewer than ten percent of mortgage modifications in November reduced the principal. About half added late payments and penalties to the principal, and either increased monthly payments or added payments at the back end of the mortgage. If a borrower was in default already, what’s the chance the borrower can make a higher monthly payment?
Thomas Edison's Concrete Houses From 1902 to roughly 1917, Edison was in the concrete business, and concrete houses would be one of his biggest failures. [more inside]
The FDIC has taken control of IndyMac Bank This is being described as the second largest bank failure in US history. If you are a current customer with funds on deposit, here's what you need to do.
We've discussed dead malls before. But did you know that the world's biggest mall is also its deadest?
When programmers kill. [pdf] In 1982, Atomic Energy Canada, Limited, introduced the now-infamous Therac-25, a solely software-driven successor to its earlier medical linear accelerators. Six patients received massive amounts of radiation, and three died, before AECL was compelled to supplement the (faulty) software-only error-checking with hardware interlocks to prevent overexposure. [more inside]
The Misery Circle An article about the remaining 13 also-rans in past US presidential elections.
On Tuesday, A.V. Club critic Nathan Rabin's reassessment of the rabidly ambitious Perfume: The Story of a Murderer marked the culmination of his Year of Flops project, a reviewing marathon of 104 commercial and critical failures. Here's the index of the films, sorted into Elizabethtown-derived categories of good but luckless movies, ordinary losers, and disasters of mythic proportions. [more inside]
In the 1980s, some artists successfully managed the transition from punk rock to rap. Others, not so much.
It could have been the greatest disaster in US history. On January 18, 1978, 30 years ago today, the 1400 ton 2 1/2 acre roof of the Hartford Civic Center, covered by a blanket of snow and ice, suddenly and completely collapsed, damaging almost all of the seats underneath. Just four hours earlier there was a basketball game packed with 5000 fans. Had it collapsed then, many, if not most, of the fans and players could have died. [more inside]
Comedian Patton Oswalt has gotten a lot of mileage out of KFC's Famous Bowls ("a failure pile in a sadness bowl."); after years of mockery, he finally tries one for himself, and writes about the experience.
Excellent post over at BLDBLOG on the history of Bannerman's Arsenal, a ruined island castle in the middle of the Hudson river, created by a war profiteer who was at one time the world's largest arms dealer. Bonus points for the amazing accompanying photos by Shaun O'Boyle, whose site Modern Ruins has been featured on the blue previously.
They claimed they would destroy all television with their business. $100 million and one cast member of First Kid later, all they had were massive amounts of failure, tremendous parties with Bryan Singer, and many, many, many allegations of sexual molestation. Now they hide in the Spanish Riviera and hire Chinese sweatshop workers to mine for World of Warcraft items. Check as well the original 2000 LA Times expose on the company, to say nothing of the "gay pedophile version of Silver Spoons" which remains their finest artistic achievement. via boingboing [more inside]
Newsfilter: 30,000 customers in the San Francisco area lost power today at about 1:50pm PDT, in a series of power failures which knocked out a major datacenter hub: 365 Main. The hub controls servers for many social media sites, including Technorati, Netflix, Yelp, Craigslist and all Six Apart properties, including TypePad, LiveJournal and Vox. (6A's twitter stream has updates.) More here and here. Amusingly enough, 365 Main tempted fate and released a press release today patting themselves on the back for "two years of 100-percent uptime".
Remember this? While randomly reading some assorted Digg posts, I saw someone mention the old Toshiba Liberato laptop. On doing a GIS search, up came a link to the "Apple Doomsday Clock". It just floors me that this anonymous anti-Apple blog (which even predates the word "blog"), is still online. It dates from the period when Jobs retook the CEO chair, and started turning the failing company around--the last posting was in June, 1999. Perhaps it should be treated as a historical site, and preserved for the future amusement of Mac users?
How to use MS PowerPoint to exploit the U.S. Oh, the humanity...
Combining incredible hubris with deep incompetence, Active Enterprises was probably the worst game company of all time. They released precisely two games in the early 1990s. The first was the insanely horrible Action 52, (retail price: $200), which was designed to take advantage of a "silent wave of anti, far-eastern [sic] made products," and featured an unwinnable contest. More amazing, however, was the sequel to the 52nd game in their Action 52 cartridge, Cheetahmen II. Never quite the breakout hit that Active intended, perhaps because it was crippled with bizarre bugs and middle school art, the world never got to see the second issue of the Cheetahmen comic book, nor the planned set of action figures, nor their Action Gamemaster console.
The Enron Explorer from Trampoline Systems "lets you investigate the actions and reactions of Enron's senior management team as the noose began to tighten" (through some 200,000 public domain corporate emails) using Trampoline's SONAR social network mapping platform. (via FutureFeeder)
You know, in certain older, civilized cultures, when men failed as entirely as you have, they would throw themselves on their swords.
William F. Buckley: "If you had a European prime minister who experienced what we've experienced it would be expected that he would retire or resign."
Bush has put the production of coal above the safety of coal miners. As is sadly demonstrated in the two recent mining disasters. They even went so far as to remove Clinton era safety regulations and then had the audacity to claim that resource production and "other priorities" took precedence. These budget cuts come at a time when coal prices have gone up 30% and led to huge profits for the coal industry. Sound like any other resource industry you know. /*hint OIL! hint*/ Once again the government has favored the big corporation over the little guy to disastrous results. Is the death of miners and the death of soldiers worth our reliance on fossil fuels?
Lobby Giant Is Scandal Casualty One of Washington's top lobbying operations will shut down at the end of the month because of its ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former House majority leader Tom DeLay. Who do they represent? Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Microsoft, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Courtesy the Washington Post.
President Bush today accepted responsibility for decision to go to war against Iraq based on faulty intelligence.
President Bush today accepted responsibility for decision to go to war against Iraq based on faulty intelligence. Discuss. [newsfilter]
For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.Costly Withdrawal Is the Price To Be Paid for a Foolish War
Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University, is author of "Transformation of War" (Free Press, 1991). He is the only non-American author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers.
An interview with Martin Van Creveld. See also Nowhere To Run
It's long been known that if you type "failure" into Google and hit "I'm feeling lucky", you get this page. Haha. Funny. The phenomenon is explained here. Now, Microsoft's live.com went public recently. Guess what page it returns as the number 1 result for "failure"?
The Red Cross has been ordered to stay out of New Orleans. Critical firefighting equipment is being left untouched. Chicago's offer of manpower and equipment is "snubbed" by FEMA, according to the Mayor. FEMA "forgets" to tell the military to airdrop food and water to the survivors. Northern Command has been ready for days, just waiting for the President to give the orders. Feds delayed paperwork giving permission for National Guard to act. Louisiana begged for federal help on Sunday in a formal request, but the Bush administration says they didn't know anything about problems until Wednesday. Meanwhile, reporters apparently grow weary of the spin doctors.
Failure is not an option, it's mandatory. "For more than three decades, the Republican Party has relied on the "culture war" to rescue their chances every four years, from Richard Nixon's campaign against the liberal news media to George H. W. Bush's campaign against the liberal flag-burners. In this culture war, the real divide is between "regular people" and an endlessly scheming "liberal elite." This strategy allows them to depict themselves as friends of the common people even as they gut workplace safety rules and lay plans to turn Social Security over to Wall Street. Most important, it has allowed Republicans to speak the language of populism."
An opinion about how the surety of losing wins votes for the Republican party.
An opinion about how the surety of losing wins votes for the Republican party.
Sorry, you've flunked. This gave me the best laugh I've had all week. I love the way you can tell the teacher marking the paper is getting more and more pissed off by the increasing ferocity of the red pen strokes. Heheheh. Give the kid an A.
Anti-Drug Ads are NOT Working: John P. Walters, the new U.S. drug czar, says survey data show the government's anti-drug advertising of recent years have failed. He goes on to say that they may have even led some youngsters -- particularly girls aged 12 to 13 -- to experiment with marijuana (more inside).
Hailstorm now more, kinda. Microsoft has cancelled/heavily reconsidered the Hailstorm part of their .Net initiative, blaming the fact that businesses were never interested in seeing if consumers wanted to use it or not.
I am making a list of failed and over-hyped Internet business jargon. Here is part of it: Java applets, Push, Web TV, ad-supported sites, B2C, B2B, proprietary music formats, WAP, 100% Flash sites, broadband. Do you agree? What is missing?
"Fastest f*** ever" according to F***edCompany.com. "Scout Electromedia, the maker of the Modo lifestyle pager, will hold a launch party tonight at Les Deux Caf€ in Los Angeles, despite the fact that the company ceased operations Tuesday after less than two months of selling the device."
Mans with no hands fails to climb Everest. He lost his hands climbing McKinley, which is a sure sign that hands or non-hands you're a crappy climber, pal.
A former Boo.com employee describes some of the challenges they faced. Multiple currencies, multiple languages, on-the-fly tax calculation, integration with multiple fullfillment partners, no development plan, and ignorance of technology issues on the front end. Blech.
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