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Fire and Ice: The Top 5 Technology Disasters of All Time


Technology has unmistakably altered contemporary human life on this planet as contrasted to the human experience prior to the last 100 years.  What began with a light bulb and the Wright brothers flight at Kittyhawk, NC at the turn of the 20th century, has led us to modern day marvels of the internet, the airbus and the Mars Rover.  Great progress, however, is paid with the price of failure, including human life.

And so it seems appropriate now to quickly glance back with this author at the five worst technology disasters of all time.  Disasters that represent technology's finest and amazing accomplishments gone bad.  As the course of history and the evolution of technology dictates, all five disasters have occurred since 1900.

  1. Chronologically, the first and perhaps most epic calamity was the sinking of the Titanic on April 14, 1912.  Coined "Unsinkable", it did exactly that after hitting a partially submerged iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean.  1,500 or the 2,200 passengers perished. 
  2. Fast forward to the nuclear age.  What began as a routine test at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Facility on April 26, 1986, involving shutting off safety systems and powering down to 25% capacity, ended in the proverbial 'nuclear meltdown' at Chernobyl, Soviet Union (now Ukraine).  
  3. On a Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, the word 'terrorism' struck home in New York City.  The World Trade Center became a target for two Al Queda jetliner pilots that ultimately claimed more than 3,000 lives. 
  4. Man's desire to explore the heavens was forever jolted on February 1, 2003 as the entire crew of seven astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia disappeared after the rocket exploded over the state of Texas. 
  5.  What was to become another source of oil for America resulted in the worst oil spill disaster in its history.  On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Platform owned by BP (Beyond Petroleum; formerly British Petroleum) exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, claiming the lives of 11 people that maintained it.  Below is a 60 Minutes report from one of the survivors: 

For More Information: (about the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill)  

   Contact Michael Cerkas 


  • Dirk 5 years ago

    Check out Sellafield in the UK - the nuclear plant that discharged loads of nuclear waste into the sea and then renamed itself to avoid being associated with the problems...

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