50 Biggest Mistakes and Blunders The World Has Seen

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26 Cosmic Soft Errors

Cosmic Soft Errors

Cosmic Rays can trigger bitflips (Soft Errors) in computers, glitching them in disastrous ways.

27. In 2013, a bank worker in Germany fell asleep on his keyboard’s number 2 button, causing him to transfer 222,222,222 euros on a transfer that should’ve been worth only 62 euros. His co-worker was later sacked for not spotting the error.

28. Leap year was introduced in 46 B.C., but around 10 B.C., it was found that the priests in charge of computing the calendar had been adding leap years every three years instead of the four decreed by Caesar. As a result of this error, no more leap years were added until 8 A.D.

29. The assassination of Franz Ferdinand was initially botched. The assassin then failed to kill himself by biting a dud cyanide pill and jumping into a 13cm deep river to drown himself. Ferdinand was later killed when he took a wrong turn en route to visit an officer injured in the original attack.

30. In 2013, PayPal accidentally crediting $93 quadrillion to the PayPal account of a Pennsylvania man named Chris Reynolds. This amount was 1300 times the planet’s entire GDP.

31 Night Of The Living Dead Movie

Night Of The Living Dead Movie

The film, “Night of The Living Dead” was made public domain due to a paperwork blunder.

32. The U.S. Constitution used the wrong “it’s/its” in Section 10, forcing all school textbooks to repeat this error when quoting the Constitution.

33. In 2012, a woman in France received a telephone bill of nearly 12 quadrillion euros. The phone company initially told her there was nothing they could do to amend the statement and offered to set up installments to pay off the bill. Eventually, they admitted their mistake and waived it altogether.

34. San Francisco’s Treasure Island is radioactive because it was once a navy nuclear facility, and they botched the cleanup.

35. In 2012, one single cut-and-paste spreadsheet error cost JP Morgan $6 billion.

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36 Citibank $900 Million Error

Citibank $900 Million Error

In 2020, Citibank accidentally wired $900 million in a series of errors. The recipients were correct but the amounts for the transfers were over 100 times what they should have been wired. Citibank had to file a lawsuit to try and reclaim the funds.

37. Due to a typo, the wrong type of kitty litter was used during nuclear materials containment in the USA. This caused a drum of nuclear waste to burst open in 2014 and it cost more than $2 billion in the cleanup.

38. In 2010, an Australian publisher had to reprint 7,000 copies of a recipe book because a typo asked for “freshly ground black people” instead of black pepper.

39. In 2014, Domino’s gave away almost 11,000 free pizzas by mistake because somebody stumbled upon a code for a promotion they scrapped.

40. Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica contained a simple calculation error that went unnoticed for 300 years.

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41 Republic of Cospaia

Republic of Cospaia

A small Italian hamlet unexpectedly gained independence for four centuries due to a surveying error during a land sale. The territory was known as the Republic of Cospaia from 1440 to 1826.

42. The reason Popeye eats spinach is because of an error in the calculation of its iron content by chemist Erich von Wolf in 1870. He misplaced a decimal point, recording spinach as having 35mg of iron per 100g, instead of its true value of 3.5mg/100g. The former value is equal to the eating part of a paperclip.

43. NASA accidentally auctioned off for just $995 a bag that was used by Apollo 11 astronauts to collect the first lunar sample. When the buyer sent the bag to NASA for verification, the space agency realized its mistake and refused to return it.

44. The village of Malverne in New York originally had no “e” at the end. In the 1800s the rail company made a mistake on the station’s sign, confusing residents so the village legally changed its name.

45. In Moses sculpture by Michelangelo, he is actually described as having “rays of the skin of his face”, which the Vulgate had translated as “horns”. The mistake in translation is possible because the word “keren” in the Hebrew language can mean either “radiated (light)” or “grew horns.”

15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History

46 Music On Hold

Music On Hold

The first instance of Telephone holding music was a mistake that was caused by a loose piece of wire touching a metal girder at a factory. It turned the building into a giant radio antenna that would play music from a next-door radio station when people were put on hold.

47. Italy issued some one-cent coins with the design for the two cents on them by mistake. Although production was stopped right after the error was discovered, there are still several of the coins around. A collector paid 6,600 Euros for one of them.

48. The most isolated tree in the world, Arbre du Ténéré in the Sahara desert was 249 miles from any other tree (and far from other landmarks). Yet, in 1973, a drunken truck driver managed to hit and knock it down.

49. The US had to abandon the construction of a border fort in New York State after realizing that they’d accidentally built it on the Canadian side of the border. It was promptly nicknamed “Fort Blunder.”

50. Linby is a small village in England of 232 people that was bombed repeatedly by the Luftwaffe during World War 2, thanks to a blunder by German intelligence, who thought that a pair of small streams running through the village named Linby Docks were of strategic importance.

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