THE ATOMIC CHEF and Other True Tales of Design, Technology, and Human Error



First Edition * 288 pages * Hard Cover * 9 by 6 inches
ISBN 13: 978-0-9636178-6-6 * ISBN 10: 0-9636178-6-9
Fully Referenced


i Prologue

1 The Atomic Chef
The disturbing story behind one of history’s worst nuclear criticality accidents.

2 The Embryo Imbroglio
A deviation in procedure at a Manhattan fertility clinic results in a big surprise for two patients.

3 Signal Detection
How airline security officials in Paris classified — and misclassified — “shoe bomber” Richard Reid.

4 Out of Synch
The Canadians cry “foul” at the Barcelona Olympics when an American wins the gold, but the problem lies with the user interface of the judge’s keypad.

5 Death on Call
A US Special Forces team in Afghanistan mistakenly targets a precision-guided bomb on their own position.

6 Picture Window
Astronauts race to locate the source of a threatening air leak aboard the International Space Station.

7 Event Horizon
A harmless MRI scan at a New York hospital turns to tragedy for a young patient when good intentions interact with an invisible force.

8 Freeway Driver
Artist Richard Ankrom takes matters into his own hands to enhance a confusing freeway sign.

9 Caught on Tape
The nightmare flight of AeroPeru 603 off the coast of South America, and its surprising cause.

10 911, More or Less
A chain of errors in an emergency dispatch center has tragic consequences for a Los Angeles family.

11 ATM
It’s Thanksgiving evening, and one unfortunate bank customer in New Jersey contemplates spending the holiday locked inside an automatic teller booth.

12 Under the Radar
Maintenance errors and low load estimates bring down a commercial airliner.

13 Safer than Safe
How early batches of Salk polio vaccine actually spread the dreaded disease rather than prevent it.

14 Rhymes and Reasons
The ergonomics involved in musician John Denver’s final flight.

15 A Kid in a Car
A toddler in Kansas is strangled by an electric-powered vehicle window of a particular design.

16 The Perilous Plunge
This amusement park ride is much too perilous for one unfortunate customer.

17 Titanic’s Wake
Two Chicago dockworkers witness a maritime calamity of unthinkable consequence.

18 Driven to Distraction
A French motorist discovers yet another form of driver distraction.

19 Negative Transfer
NASA test pilot Milt Thompson faces certain death unless he can quickly determine why his experimental aircraft is wobbling out of control.

20 End Game
Greek shipping magnate Pandelis Sfinias contemplates his own fate and the causes of the sinking of the Express Samina ferry.