It Looked Good on Paper

A notable compendium of untamed schemes, mad plans, loopy innovations, and actually wonderful disasters

Every phenomenally undesirable thought gave the impression of a good suggestion to somebody. How else are you able to clarify the Ford Edsel or the sword pistol—absolutely absurd creations that are meant to have by no means made it off the planning stage? It regarded solid on Paper gathers jointly the main wrong plans, half-baked rules, and downright ridiculous machines all through historical past that a few second-rate Einstein determined to foist on an unsuspecting population with the simplest and such a lot positive intentions. a few failed spectacularly. Others fizzled after nice price. One even crashed on Mars. yet each of them at one time should have regarded solid on paper, including:

  • The lead water pipes of Rome
  • The Tacoma Narrows Bridge—built to collapse
  • The Hubble telescope—the $2 billion clinical surprise that could not see
  • The Spruce Goose—Howard Hughes's airborne atrocity: mammoth, pricey, sluggish, risky, and made up of wood

With greater than thirty-five chapters choked with exceedingly insipid innovations, either notorious and imprecise, It seemed sturdy on Paper is a mind-boggling, ceaselessly exciting number of interesting failures.

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Via hard a lighter weapon, the military had made room for a brand new flaw. whereas debate over the kind of ammunition have been settled by way of agreements with NATO (the ammunition adhered to the hot NATO-compliant 7. sixty two round), squaddies many times struggled to carry the experimental M-14s on their ambitions while firing at full-auto. It used to be like attempting to restrain a wide ravenous wild animal taking a look at a herd of plump slow-moving prey; it might, certainly, carry down anybody of the herd, the query remained which one and the way many passersby it will additionally kill within the procedure. That challenge was once finally solved by means of the addition of a pistol grip close to the set off and a moment retractable grip additional up the barrel, which allowed the soldier to carry the weapon on track extra simply. the controversy and retooling of the M-14 over the weapon’s finer issues persevered to rage a number of years longer, yet by way of 1961, it appeared like the military had eventually succeeded in crafting the best successor to the M-1…that is, until eventually Washington politics obtained into the combo. Appointed Secretary of protection via President John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara were tasked with reining in army expenditure. considering taking place of work, his no-nonsense, curt company variety had no longer received him many buddies within the Pentagon and, while his place of work reevaluated the now fifteen-year-long M-14 improvement venture, many within the military loved him even much less. of their pursuit of a brand new perfect weapon, the army had expended method an excessive amount of time for the safety secretary’s liking. rather than rubber-stamping the undertaking for quick construction and large dispersal to American squaddies through the global, McNamara successfully killed the undertaking whilst he selected a much less well-tested and built weapon, the AR-10 by means of ArmaLite. initially rejected through the military within the overdue Nineteen Fifties, the ArmaLite rifle were shopped round to Asian dealers (who most popular lighter-framed guns) and have been picked up through Air strength common Curtis LeMay for his small variety of sentries and pilots while the AR-10 stuck McNamara’s eye. It was once gentle, in a position to full-automatic fireplace, and better of all, it was once reasonable. in a single fell swoop, political expediency trumped adventure in making a choice on the successor to the M-1. yet there will be dire ramifications within the protection secretary’s last-minute selection. whereas new recruits at domestic have been being expert with the AR-10, renamed the M-16, the warriors utilizing the weapon in strive against have been already researching its lethal flaws. by means of 1962 veteran infantrymen traveling Vietnam complained that their newly issued M-16s usually jammed in strive against events. Inspectors despatched to enquire the matter chanced on corroded rifles and seriously pitted barrels attributable to publicity to the tropical weather and terrible guns upkeep. Worse, the lubricant got to take care of the weapon’s theater performance used to be substandard. Worse nonetheless, in on reflection over the historical past of the weapon, it used to be came upon that the M-16 had played comparably to its box assessments with the M-14, that it handed the M-14 in its skill to spray a objective, yet that it had by no means been designed to operate in a jungle surroundings.

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