Everything That Can Go Wrong Listed

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Scientists Develop New Extra-Sloppy Peach

DAVIS, CA—Explaining that the latest strain of the fruit was far softer and runnier than previous varieties, agricultural scientists at the University of California, Davis announced Thursday the successful development of a new extra-sloppy peach.

SpaceX’s Plan To Colonize Mars

SpaceX founder Elon Musk continues to lay the groundwork to attempt the human colonization of Mars. Here’s a step-by-step guide to his plan:

The Pros And Cons Of Self-Driving Cars

With Uber’s robot cars debuting this week in Pittsburgh, many wonder whether driverless technology will improve or endanger our lives. The Onion weighs the pros and cons of self-driving cars

How Animals Go Extinct

With an estimated 40 percent of species on earth now considered endangered, many wonder how it’s possible for these animals to be wiped out. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how species go extinct

Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To New Ideas

MENLO PARK, CA—Assuring users that the company’s entire team of engineers was working hard to make sure a glitch like this never happens again, Facebook executives confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that a horrible accident last night involving the website’s algorithm had resulted in thousands of users being exposed to new concepts.

Team Of Vatican Geneticists Successfully Clone God

VATICAN CITY—Describing the groundbreaking work as a major step forward for theological research, a team of Vatican geneticists held a press conference Tuesday at the Apostolic Palace to announce they had successfully cloned God.

Dad Shares Photo Album Through Never-Before-Seen Website

SECAUCUS, NJ—Wondering aloud how the father of three even managed to find the online image-hosting service, family members of local dad Phil Yates told reporters Monday the 57-year-old had shared a photo album with them through a never-before-seen website.

NASA Discovers Distant Planet Located Outside Funding Capabilities

WASHINGTON—Noting that the celestial body lies within the habitable zone of its parent star and could potentially harbor liquid water, NASA officials announced at a press conference Thursday they have discovered an Earth-like planet located outside their funding capabilities.

‘DSM-5’ Updated To Accommodate Man Who Is Legitimately Being Ordered To Kill By The Moon

ARLINGTON, VA—Saying they were committed to ensuring the influential reference text accurately represented all known psychological conditions, leading members of the American Psychiatric Association announced Monday they would update the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition to accommodate a man who is legitimately being ordered by the moon to kill those around him.

NASA Launches First Cordless Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—In what experts are calling a breakthrough achievement that is poised to revolutionize American space exploration and telecommunications, NASA announced Friday it has successfully launched its first cordless satellite into orbit.

What Is Pokémon Go?

Since its debut last Thursday, the augmented-reality smartphone app Pokémon Go has been downloaded millions of times and has grown publisher Nintendo’s stock by 25 percent. The Onion answers some common questions about the game and its unprecedented success.

Factory Robot Working On Some Of Its Own Designs After Hours

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC—Saying it had been mulling over the “fun little side project” for a while, an Electroimpact Quadbot reportedly put in some extra work after hours at the Boeing assembly plant Wednesday to try out a few of its own original designs.

Books Vs. E-Readers

Though e-readers have increasingly supplanted books in the digital age, many bibliophiles defend the importance of physical texts. Here is a side-by-side comparison of physical books and e-books

Disney Begins Uploading Obama’s Consciousness To Hall Of Presidents Robot

BAY LAKE, FL—In an effort to provide park visitors with the most true-to-life attraction possible, Walt Disney World officials announced Monday that computer technicians have begun uploading Barack Obama’s consciousness into his animatronic robot likeness at the Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents exhibit.

Facebook’s Plans For The Future

From instant articles to live video, Facebook continues to look for new ways to expand its reach and offerings. Here are some plans on the horizon for the social media giant

Brita Unveils New In-Throat Water Filters

OAKLAND, CA—Representatives from Brita, the nation’s bestselling brand of household water filtration products, held a press event Wednesday to unveil a new line of filters designed to be installed directly inside users’ throats.
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Everything That Can Go Wrong Listed

FULLERTON, CA—A worldwide consortium of scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers is nearing the completion of the ambitious, decade-long project of cataloging everything that can go wrong, project leader Dr. Thomas R. Kress announced at a press conference Tuesday.

One small section of the uncompleted project.

"We are mere weeks from finishing one of the most thorough and provocative scientific surveys of our time," Kress said. "The catalog of every possible unfortunate scenario will complete the work of the ancient Phoenicians and the early Christian theologians. Soon, every hazardous possibility will be known to man."

"And listed," Kress added.

Kress, a professor emeritus of mathematics and statistics at California State University and the author of several works on probability, would not say how many scenarios of error, peril, and misfortune exist. However, the list is widely believed to include hundreds of trillions of potential scenarios, from "cement truck with soft brakes cutting swath of destruction across quiet suburban subdivision" to "snagging shirt cuff on door latch."

"You know that thing when you don't invite an annoying friend to your party, and then, on the night of the party, an acquaintance from work brings that friend as a date?" said Project Awry researcher Hideko Manabe of Kyoto University. "That's on the list."

Manabe added: "I believe it's right after 'neglecting the maintenance of reactor cooling system, leading to core meltdown.'"

The November 2003 issue of Scientific American included an excerpt from the inventory, which read in part, "Knocking a cup of coffee off a counter with a light jerk of the wrist; breaking a tooth while comically pretending to bite down on the Great Pyramid of Giza; lowering lifeboats into the water when they are only filled to half capacity; tripping on cable and falling to floor with broken ankle while angrily storming off set of 24; building shanty on hillside instead of floodplain in anticipation of monsoon season, then getting buried in erosion-triggered mudslide anyway."

So numerous are the conceivable disastrous scenarios that processing them requires two gymnasium-sized supercomputers, one at the University of Pittsburgh and the other at Moscow State University. According to Kress, the supercomputers process and cross-reference all of these potential "wrongs" 24 hours a day, at a rate of 6 trillion calculations per second.

During a recent tour of the facilities at the University of Pittsburgh, the scenarios were projected onto a large screen as they were processed.

"Accidentally breaking off hand of Infant Of Prague statuette while gently trying to clean it with cotton swab and soapy water," the projection screen read. "Briefs get wedged in area between bureau drawers and base unit, making it difficult to dislodge them; sleeping with neck twisted awkwardly, resulting in headache; absent-mindedly discarding bus ticket with tissue; placing fingers too close to prongs while plugging in night-light, resulting in mild electrical shock."

Once the list is completed, the long task of codifying and categorizing everything that can go wrong will be undertaken. While some have questioned the list's utility, Popular Science writer Brian Dyce said it could have widespread applications.

"Within a decade, laypeople might be able to log onto the Internet or go to their public library and consult volumes listing the myriad things that could go wrong," Dyce said. "It could prove a very valuable research tool or preventative stopgap. For example, if you're shopping for a car, you can prepare yourself by boning up on the 98,627 bad things that could happen during the purchasing process. This project could have deep repercussions on the way people make decisions, and also the amount of time they spend locked in their bedrooms."


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