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    A Warning from History About Simultaneous Disasters

    If an earthquake now hits India or Iran, like in 2001 and 2003, respectively, killing over 20,000 people in each country—or if we witness a repeat of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina in the US or 2011’s tsunami in Japan—will the world respond? Would the world wish to respond?Photograph by Microgen / Shutterstock Parts of the world […]

  • Belly landing B-17

    The Tricks Used by Pilots, Surgeons & Engineers to Overcome Human Error

    When Germanwings Flight 4U9525 crashed into the French Alps in March it did not take investigators long to determine the likely reason: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had allegedly been suffering from depression and may have crashed the plane as a means to commit suicide, taking hundreds of people along with him. But that doesn’t tell the […]

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    How Graphic Design Can Make Flying Just a Little Bit Safer

    The cause of aviation safety has had a terrible week. An Air Algérie flight crashed yesterday in Mali, reportedly killing all 116 on board. The day before, a TransAsia plane went down on the Taiwanese island of Penghu, leading to the deaths of at least 48 people. And, most notoriously, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was […]

  • Iowa tornado

    Why Everyone Thinks They’re Safer Than Average

    It’s an odd quirk of the human mind that we tend to think we’re less likely to be affected a particular threat—be it the flu, a car accident, or a flood—than anyone else. Like the fictional town of Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average, this is a patent impossibility: Everyone can’t be […]