What is the biggest fuck up in history?

  1. Mao ordering the mass killing of birds because he thought they would eat the corn off the farms and compromise the harvest. In the end the lack of birds lead to a explosive growth in parasite populations that destroyed the harvest completely in some areas. What followed was a massive famine killing millions.

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kong%C5%8D_Gumi

    The world’s oldest company, founded in 578 AD. Run continuously by descendants until 2006 when the last guy, Masakazu Kongō, fucked up and the company fell on hard times. They were liquidated and purchased by another firm.

  3. 1666 great fire of London.

    Started by a baker who left a pie in the oven too long.

    Perhaps the bigger fuck up was that most of the buildings were made of wood and built very close together.

  4. This one actually had a happy ending, but it was a terrifying screwup.

    When Air Canada took delivery of its first Boeing 767, on one of its first flights they forgot to convert from Imperial to Metric and put X litres of fuel on the plane, instead of X gallons.

    The plane ran out of fuel over Western Canada. Fortunately, the pilot had experience flying gliders and brought it down safely in Gimli, Manitoba. The plane became known as the “Gimli Glider.”

    EDIT: correction – they put X pounds of fuel on the plane instead of the required X kilograms.

  5. That grad student who killed the world’s oldest tree trying to measure its age.

  6. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Peigneur

    > This created an opening in the bottom of the lake. The lake then drained into the hole, expanding the size of that hole as the soil and salt were washed into the mine by the rushing water, filling the enormous caverns left by the removal of salt over the years. The resultant whirlpool sucked in the drilling platform, eleven barges, many trees and 65 acres (260,000 m2) of the surrounding terrain. So much water drained into those caverns that the flow of the Delcambre Canal that usually empties the lake into Vermilion Bay was reversed, making the canal a temporary inlet. This backflow created, for a few days, the tallest waterfall ever in the state of Louisiana, at 164 feet (50 m), as the lake refilled with salt water from the Delcambre Canal and Vermilion Bay. The water downflowing into the mine caverns displaced air which erupted as compressed air and then later as 400-foot (120 m) geysers up through the mineshafts.

  7. Nicholas II NOT taking Grigori Rasputin’s advice to NOT enter World War One.

  8. In 2003, a lost hunter lit a signal flare near San Diego. The flare started a fire that would later spread to become the biggest one in the history of California. The fire destroyed an estimated 300,000 acres, 2,322 homes, and killed 14 people.

  9. Franz Ferdinand ~~seeing~~ surviving an attempted assassination, then…

    • sticking around in an open car

    • leaving his escort behind

    • taking an unknown back alley to go see the victims in a hospital

    • getting lost, reversing a 1914 automobile into stalling… in front of a diner Gavrillo Princip was in

    His sense of direction started 2 wars, a pandemic that killed even more, and the fall of at least 3 empires, and most colonies on earth.

  10. When Ronald Wayne sold his 10% stake in Apple for $800. That would be worth $35 billion today.

  11. Accepting a wooden horse as a gift from your enemy.

  12. In terms of the entertainment industry: Blockbuster turning down an offer to buy Netflix.

  13. Netflix was founded because Blockbuster refused to waive one of the founder’s late fees.

  14. Everyone’s going real heavy on this one so for something a little lighter, Decca Records turning down the Beatles seems like quite the mistake with hindsight.

  15. The Hubble telescopes lenses is worth mentioning I

    I watched a documentary about the space program and they did a big segment about the Hubble. My memory is foggy on some details so my apologies beforehand. Basically they spent a metric fuck ton of money on this telescope, launch it, get first photos back and they are super blurry. They found out (I believe) the lenses were the wrong size or wrong prescription for sir Hubble (joke) and had to launch a massively expensive repair mission that could have very seriously damaged it beyond repair. Astronauts hadn’t been used for repairs that small and intricate and it was a gigantic fuck up that ended up working out.