Tag Archives: comedy

Bridges to Nowhere are today’s many Failures

Bridges to Nowhere comes in many different configurations and permutations, some of them are basically excusable, for instance bridges that have been partially destroyed in a war, some were built as a form of future proofing with vague plans of roads and other infrastructure coming later on, other’s are just stupid prestige projects.

Putin just added me to his list of low priority targets, I probably shouldn’t ever to Russia now.

One good example of the stupid prestige project is the Russky Bridge in Vladivostok in, you guessed it, Russia. Build to connect Vladivostok with, again perfectly obvious, Russky Island.

It cost roughly a billion US$ or so, with a rough capacity of some fifty thousand cars per day, the problem? Oh right, Russky island have like five thousand people living on it.

Reason for failure: I suppose it didn’t fail for the companies that built the overprice useless bridge nor the politician that could point to a big shiny monstrosity. It did fail the people of Russia, as it was utterly and totally useless, built really just to impress foreign dignitaries at some conference no one remembers anymore.

Nowhere? No, Bridge to Lighthouse! PURPOSE!

Another example of a prestige project is the Saint Elmo’s Bridge in Valletta, Malta, played as a restoration project of a bridge destroyed by the Italians during World War Two, it just goes to a breakwater and a lighthouse, utterly pointless beyond the tourist value and the deck keeps getting damaged, so closure happens with tiresome regularity.

Whole project cost 2,8 million €, seems kinda pricey, but hey, URBAN RENEWAL, URBAN RENEWAL! ARGHH!

This one was built as part of a conspiracy by J.P. Morgan (Not the bank, the man the bank is named after) and the fucking Guggenheims to keep Alaska from gaining statehood.

Yeah, the Miles Glacier Bridge was originally a railroad bridge, constructed for the purpose of transporting copper from a mine inland to the Alaskan coast, after the depression the copper prices crashed and rendered the line to expensive to maintain.

The railroad fell apart, the bridge was actually re-purposed as a road bridge, however, the road on the far-side basically didn’t exist and a flood damaged one of the truss sections, so now it is a Bridge to Nowhere, however again, it did actually pay itself off, it cost 1.4 million US$ to built back in 1910 and around 200 million US$ worth of copper was extracted before it all went to shit.

So it wasn’t a total waste.

Then we have bridges that were blown up during World War Two and never rebuilt.

The Yalu River Broken Bridge was blown up in World War Two and the North Koreans dismantled their side of the Bridge, probably because the it was right next to the bridge you can see in the background of the above picture.

The Chinese turned their side into a historical landmark.

Then the Chinese built this actually very lovely Bridge.

In a valiant attempt to actually do something good for the poor sods in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the People’s Republic of China built a very pretty bridge with all the infrastructure and shiny shit needed.

On their side, the Koreans built a small gravel path linking the bridge to: NOWHERE.

Sure, Xi Jinping has promised that his government will now pay for the infrastructure on the Korean side too, because he basically has to do everything for the utterly broken North Korean economy.

There’s been bridges in both Norway and New Zealand with the same story, built to serve areas that didn’t get populated at all and now simply remain as curiosities for random people out for a nice walk in the countryside.

Germany had a motorway bridge that was built in 1966 but wasn’t actually connected until 1994, frankly, that was a bit to much planning, the maintenance cost of keeping that around for that long probably wasn’t worth it.

Bridges to Nowhere are delightful little stories, often failure, sometimes grand conspiracies and sometimes cute.

Apex Legends Developers are today’s failure

Holy shit, now that’s a meltdown

Now, for those who wonder what Apex Legends is, it is a so called “Battle Royale” video game, basically just a big open map with a whole bunch of player, either solo or in teams, with the objective being delightfully simple.

Last player/team standing, everyone else must die, there’s various mechanics to ensure the whole game doesn’t end up with one player hiding in a corner, there’s a slowly decreasing play area, anyone caught outside get’s melted by video game magic or lasers or what have you.

Ever since Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG) released a buggy game, this has been the big thing the AAA publishers have been trying to get into, with various degrees of failure, Epic’s Fortnite is the present number one on the market, but everyone’s trying this. It’s MOBAs and MMOs all over again.

Now EA had Respawn Entertainment slam Apex Legends together to make a quick buck using existing assets from Titanfall 2, using existing assets to make games isn’t by any means a bad idea, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was assembled out of re-skinned assets from Far Cry 3, so if you need something fast, this was the correct way to do it.

Nobody planned for Apex Legends to make gargantuan amounts of cash, just a nice little share of the market, however, with people being fatigued from playing PUBG or unwilling to handle the art style and player-base of Fortnite, Apex Legends was a solid contender with decent enough gameplay.

Until this happened:

And the reddit didn’t behave properly, not the usual echo chamber, when we are all with amazing alacrity, shown just what the business strategy is for Apex Legends monetization: Massive Whaling.

Whales being a video game term for big spenders, the gambling equivalent of a high roller, gamers who lack the self-control and spent small and sometimes LARGE fortunes on silly digital items and such nonsense.

Well, nice to see what they think about everyone, except the whales of course

Yeah, this isn’t the best way to communicate with your audience, on the other hand, it’s honest, the fucking hate everyone who doesn’t burn though 100+ US$ for a silly video game.

Wow, what the fuck?
There’s a whole bunch of these.

So? Why is all this going on? Simple, Apex Legends made about 150 million US$ in revenue for EA in their most recent quarter, that’s about 10% of the company’s total revenue, from one source, that definitely wasn’t planned to be this massively successful.

So what happened? Well, EA now have an interest in really getting the revenue up as far as possible, squeezing every single penny and cent out of the players as the possibly can, which is what they always do.

But not only that, when Respawn was bought by EA back in 2017, EA paid 151 million US$ in cash, that isn’t the noteworthy part, the second part of the price is: ” Up to $164 million in long-term equity in the form of restricted stock units for Respawn”

Obviously, we don’t have a clue how this equity would work, we have no clue what the restrictions are, however, what I can tell you with absolutely certainty: The Leadership of Respawn Entertainment has a really big stake in the company’s profitability, for it’s a fairly safe assumption, to presume that a significant element of the restrictions are based on earnings.

So of course the developer goes nuts, why wouldn’t he/she/it/they? That person might have a lot of money at stake, a lot of stress, a lot of greed.

Not it matters, nothing will come of this, everyone will forget it within a week or two.

And that is today’s failure.

The Russian Baltic Fleet’s journey to the Battle of Tsushima is Today’s Failure

This one’s a good one, there’s nothing like a failure on such a massive and frankly comical degree, that frankly it should not have been possible, incompetence of such a staggering degree, exist today only the last few absolute monarchies, kleptocratic states, Chris Grayling and the Trump Administration.

The journey was impressive in only one regards, that the Imperial Russian Baltic Fleet somehow managed to actually reach the straits of Tsushima, by all accounts, the journey ought to have ended in only sunken ships somewhere around Zanzibar or possible Dover, frankly either would have been favourable outcome for the Tsarist navy than actually reaching their destination.

The glorious and grand Baltic Fleet of 1904 set sail, the flagship proceeded to sail aground, a destroyer lost an anchor chain, then rammed another battleship, all this IN the Baltic Ocean, well done, well done indeed.

Then rumours arose of Japanese torpedo boats station in Denmark, the fuck? I’m an amateur historian and I don’t recall the Great Japan-Danish alliance of 1904 permitting Japanese naval elements in Danish harbours, do you?

Rumours continued, with the Japanese mining and having submarines active, in the North Sea and Kattegat, 30,000 kilometres away from the nearest Japanese naval base. They fired on fishermen bringing in dispatches from the Tsar, the repair ship “Kamchatka” reported that it was under attack by multiple torpedo boats, about eight, from all directions, better get used to the proud hulk “Kamchatka”, they’ll be back, again and again, dumber and dumber.

Now, having survived the depredations of the mighty “Danish” Squadron of the Imperial Navy of Japan, you’d think it’d be smooooth sailing all the way to the pacific theatre? That an imaginary flotilla would be the end of this farcical display of ineptitude? No, not just yet.

The Glorious and Mighty and not at all Imaginary Battle of Dogger Bank against the Japanese menace and definitely not just a bunch of British Trawlers.

Having escape from the Vodka-fuelled adventures of the Danish straits, the fleet entered the North Sea, heading south towards the channel, moving past the Dogger Bank, for those who don’t know, the bank is a massive fishing hot sport, even today the area has trawler prowling around.

This was a Japanese torpedo boat of the era, Hayabusa-class. Hell, these little fuckers actually fought the Russians, near Japan of course, not in Danish waters.
This one’s Danish from the Era. Can you tell the difference?

In 1904, the Russians spotted some British trawlers doing what you’d expect trawlers to do, which would be fishing, for those of you who are clueless glue-sniffers, the glorious Pacific Squadron, formerly Baltic, opened fire on the trawlers.

This is the trawler CORNELIAN, can you tell the difference? The RUSSIANS COULDN’T!

Let’s just take a short break here, Russian warships open fire on British fishing boats, in 1904, when the British Empire was the single most powerful empire on the planet, this story could have had a very different ending, something like “entire Russian fleet obliterated by the British Home fleet and Russia forced into humiliating peace agreement”.

Hmm, I guess the story wouldn’t have ended that differently, oh well, back to the comedy.

And comedy it is, several ships reported being hit by Japanese torpedoes, fired from UNARMED British trawlers, on the Borodino, the crew panicked so much, the either hugged the floor in their lifejackets or believed they were being attack by Jack Sparrow and armed themselves with fucking cutlasses.

You gotta admit, those old warships looked cool as fuck.

And here comes the smallest success ever in human history, the mighty Second Pacific Squadron managed to damage four trawlers and SINK ONE, unfortunately, because this story is ever so silly, they managed to shot their own cruisers, twice, which isn’t that impressive, when SEVEN battleships are firing at you.

A little side note, one of the ships are the cruiser Aurora, note “are”, you can actually go to Saint Petersburg and see the Aurora, it’s activities in the revolution that followed ensure that it was preserved by the Soviets.

Just to punch home how bad whatever lunatics teaching Russian sailors how to shut had fucked up the training, the battleship Oroyol fire five hundred shells, without hitting anything other than Poseidon’s imaginary palace.

Now, the fleet did sail on, which the Russian government was prostrating itself before the mighty British Empire apologizing, Admiral Rozhestvensky was instructed to leave the officers responsible for this whole mess behind as he reached Vigo, Spain, which he proceeded to use to get rid of some Captain he didn’t like.

So Captain Klado did the sensible thing and, wait, no, he didn’t, he was told to gather reinforcements for the squadron, and out of spite, he got his hands on the worst of the worst, old tubs, useless junk and ships that were, I know, worse than what the squadron already had.

Except Repair Ship Kamchatka, nothing could ever be worse than that insanity.

Behold! he might of Imperial Russia.

And now, back to the beginning, welcome to Africa!

Now, the Magnificently inept Russian fleet have finally reached Africa, without shooting anymore British ships, just a certain ship having been out of contact for a while, who happened to have shot some 300 hundred shells at respectively: a Swedish merchantman, a German trawler and a fucking French Schooner, now how a Schooner, a SAILING ship get’s mistaken for a Japanese anything, is a wonder that only the utterly degenerated Captain of the Repair Ship Kamchatka could answer.

That is a schooner by the way, just as example, sure looks dangerous, and the Swedish flag does NOT resemble the Japanese naval jack.

 Let’s just quickly go through the event as the fleet goes from Tangier, whereas they left, one of the Russian ships managed to snag and sever the underwater telegraph line, cutting the city off for four entire days, great start.

Now, these ships are old school coal powered vessels, none of this fancy new-fangled heavy fuel oil here, good old coal, which means they need to refuel at some point, coal doesn’t have the same amount of energy oil does, not even close.

Now, this wasn’t actually fucked up, Russian Naval Command had arranged for German coalers to resupply the fleet of Dakar, Today’s Senegal, however, this is stupid as fuck, so they went with double loads of coal. Which means that EVERYWHERE HAD COAL, everywhere, which means dust, in an ultra humid environment, filled with Russian conscripts from the interior of the country.

Hello lung diseases, how are you? Fucking up Russian sailors? How delightful.

At this point, Kamchatka decides that sailing along the Angolese coast during a storm needs a bit of drama and send “Do you see torpedo boats?” instead of “We are all right now”.

At Cape Town, the Admiral was informed about the reinforcements that the enraged and spiteful Captain Klado had arranged were on the way, I don’t think any fleet in history have ever actively tried to avoid their own reinforcements.

Now, you can imagine that there were certain issues with morale on board at this point, as in their morale were fucking gone. To try and keep themselves amused and moderately happy, the sailors started bringing exotic pets onboard, mostly birds, which is pretty harmless, the crocodile and the poisonous snake, that bit a captain, less so. And then the refiguration systems onboard the “Esperance” broke down, meaning a lot of rotten meat had to be thrown overboard.

Now, sharks can detect a drop of blood in water with a frankly amazing range, how easy do you think it was for them to detect tons of rotting meat being dumped off a supply ship?

So this is the image as the Russian Squadron rounds the Horn of Africa, a sailing Zoo, filled with despondent sailors, the Kamchatka causing mischief every few days and they are followed by a trail of rampaging sharks.

Circus of nightmares at this point.

From the Cape of Good Hope to the inevitable.

The fleet had reached Madagascar, when Admiral Rozhestvensky fell ill for two weeks, his Chief of Staff? Brain haemorrhage and partial paralysation, what does this mean? Nobody’s in fucking command, apparently having a chain of command was to much work for the Russian Imperial Navy, shit, no fucking wonder Lenin won.

Now the crew just go and do R&R on their own, diseases start just killing crew on a daily basis and of course Kamchatka during a funerary salute, fires a LIVE round hitting the Cruiser Aurora, but it’s fine, they were getting used to it at this point.

She’s still around today.

Now, let’s talk about some of the supply ships, the “Malay” was sent back with a whole bunch of revolutionaries, mutineers and general fuck ups, oh yeah, did I mention the fleet had actual revolutionaries on board? Yeah, being in command of Russian ships of this era was basically hard mode, some crazy office had bought cigarettes filled opium, TWO THOUSAND OF THEM.

Then came the supply ship “Irtysh”, it was supposed to bring fresh ammo loads, having spent so many shells in the Glorious Battle of the Dogger Bank, however, in the finest tradition of utter incompetence, it brought twelve thousand fur-lined boots with lovely matching winter coast, perfect for the Indian Ocean.

They meet the Transport Ship “Gortchakoff”, hoping to get that most precious thing for any military service personal, letters from home, instead it carried the letters they had themselves send from Madagascar.

Now, to try and restore some degree of order and morale, the Admiral orders gunner drills, let me recap:

The destroyer couldn’t hit the side of barn even if it hit them in the face.

The Battleships managed to hit the ship towing the target, well, one of them did, fortunately, it was the flagship.

One of the destroyer squadrons, ordered to sail line abreast, scattered instead, someone forgot to get them their new codebooks.

Seven torpedoes were in fact fired, which seems miraculous, one jammed, two where so slow they missed, three just weren’t aimed properly and swung wide and the last one went in a circle causing panic amongst the ships.

The last thing may sound funny, but that happened way to often in the World Wars, torpedoes are actually pretty hard to get to work properly.

Oh yeah, and the Kamchatka signalled that they were sinking, because of course they did, turns out if was just some steam leak in the engine room.

While this mess is happening, the reinforcements, now named “The Third Pacific Squadron” had left Tallinn with some old fossil Admiral Nebogatoff as commander, the Russian Admiralty issued him the following orders: “You are to join up with Rozhestvensky, whose route is unknown to us”, the comedy continues. And Rozhestvensky then read in a newspaper, that when he’d beaten the Japanese and made it to Vladivostok, he’d have to surrender command to someone else arriving by train.

Zinovi Petrovich Rozhestvenski, Vice-Admiral. 1848-1909.

And you know what? The Third Squadron actually managed to join them, one of the signs of divinity I’ve heard of, on the 11th of May 1905, the second and third squadron actually merged and proudly head towards Vladivostok.

The end of this comedy of failures

On the 27th of May, the Russian Imperial Fleet engaged the Japanese Imperial Navy, the Russians lost, badly: 126.792 Tons of shipping versus 450 tons of Torpedo boats.

The Kamchatka did not survive the battle, sinking with her captain and most of her crew.

The Aurora actually did survive, together with three other cruisers they made it to Manilla, at this point in time an American protectorate, and were thus interned for the rest of the war.

“Dmitrii Donskoi” managed to survive an engagement six against one, but was to badly damaged in the engagement.

She fought and died well, at least.

Only ONE lonely ship actually made it to Vladivostok: Almaz, which was barely a cruiser, being more appropriately an armed yacht.

She actually made it.

Russia lost the war, Japan won, Revolution came in Russia a short while later.

Not only is the Aurora a survivor from this battle, that you can see today, the flagship of the Japanese? The Mikasa is moored in Yokosuka as a museum ship too, making the pair the only survivors from the same battle on opposing sides.

The lesson? Don’t let Captains drink Vodka.







Dasani, Coca-Cola’s bottle water brand, is today’s failure.

Now obviously, the first failure is a bottled water product in any country with a functional water infrastructure, so most of the western hemisphere is pretty much included there. I could see the point, silly point but point nonetheless, with water drawn from an actual spring, those sometimes have cool shit in them, sometimes actual shit.

Mineral water and bottled water are just silly nonsense outside of areas with unsafe tap water, so okay in Flint, Michigan and Somalia, not in Denmark or Germany.

Why? WHY? WHY? NO!

But on to the actual failure of Dasani.

Dasani was introduced in 2004 in the UK with a degree of success more common to that of anything Chris Grayling has ever done. A total failure, a shambolic mess, omnishambles, disastrous, delightful fun for outside observes, less for everyone actually involved.

Dasani was advertised with the tagline “Pure”, which is at best misleading and at worst outright bloody fraud, the water was sourced from tap water from Sidcup, a neighborhood of London, which was filtered by mean of reverse osmosis and then RE-MINERALIZED.

They literally took perfectly drinkable water, made it undrinkable and then added a bunch of minerals to it, pure as fucking hell indeed.

Obviously, this was found out and Desani didn’t sell anywhere near as well as expected, which confused Chief Publicity Officer of Dasani Mr. Richard May (No relation), seeing as his position was basically that of an Iraqi Minister of Information, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone with half a neuron’s worth of activity upstairs.

It didn’t help when the health authorities found bromate in the fucking thing, turns out the ozone treatment they’d done converted the naturally occurring bromide, into a CARCONOGENIC compound, well done, no wonder it didn’t sell well.

I couldn’t find an example of the 2004 trophy, the fuckers change it every time.

So in 2004, the CocaCola Company won the Ig Noble prize in Chemistry, for doing just this.

They did a re-branding and re-launch in 2012 up to the Olympic Games in London, buying a local company and using Schweppes to hide it.

The lesson? Just drink fucking tap water you arse-clown.  

Blackouts and why they are collectively, Today’s Failure:

Now, for those who don’t know what a blackout is, I wonder what bizarre dream world you happen to live in? Do you burn fearie dust for heat in the winter or something equally deranged? But nevermind the freaks who fail to understand a basic concept of electrical generation, a blackout is a total loss of power, hence the name, BLACKout, the slightly less horrible occurrence is a brownout, meaning a partial loss of power, rather than total.

Blackouts are pretty much always the result of some failure somewhere in the system, like the Northeast blackout of 1965, caused by a safety relay at the Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Power Station, the relay had been programmed poorly and triggered when a significant load happened, mostly due to it being October and Ontario and New York, freezing cold and a lot of electricity being consumed.

That single point of failure, ONE relay in ONE powerstation, caused a blackout hitting some thirty million people, all because one relay wasn’t programmed properly, thanks to cascading failures it was just overload and automatic shutdown after another.

And it takes a while for electrical grids getting back up, if you don’t configure everything properly, the damn thing’ll just shutdown again.

Lesson here? Don’t fuck up your programming, it won’t end well.

Yup, somewhere in there the initial failure rests, thanks Wikipedia for the image.

The New York City blackout of 1977 is actually totally different, this one was caused by a series of lightning strikes, causing a number failures to pop up in several separate areas of New York City’s electrical infrastructure, however, this wasn’t the true cause of the blackout, not the true cause of the failure:

Problems with communication, apparently the electrical generation company, Consolidated Edison, used different definitions to the term “Shed Load” when compared to the Power Lines management, a matter of amount of load dropped and how fast.

The whole thing just cascaded into all sorts of delightful failure points, Long Island tried to send way to much power through lines that were being adjusted, nobody told them, probably due to a growing sense of panic.

The end result was a total collapse of the power supply of the entire city of New York, except Queens and for reasons “old generator on site” the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, unlike the previous blackout, which had only five cases of looting, this one? Some two thousands, that’s what an economic recession and heat does to you, nobody goes looting in freaking October weather.

Lessons? Make sure everyone’s using the same terminology at all times or CHAOS REIGNS.

Lars Von Trier is a terrifying human being.

The 2012 India blackouts is just fun, essentially just a massive overload of A QUARTER of India’s population power supply, caused by a couple of states power Load Centre being “to slow” to react to the Regional Centre’s orders to balance to load better.

And let’s be honest “to slow” in India means “fuck the central government, we need MORE POWER”, the whole thing was a massive shitstorm of bureaucratic ineptitude and incompetence.

This happens all the time too, hell, it happen TWICE in the same blackout, the first one just a quarter, the next one? Almost half the population, that’s SIX HUNDRED MILLION people without power, basically more than the total population of Europe lost power for way to long.

This is the primary reason why Private Industries in India now have over thirty GV of off-grid power supplies available and planning to add more.

The lesson? De-Centralization might not be a bad idea here, I mean central planning of power is all well and good, but not for a billion people, that’s just not something that can really be managed, not with an infrastructure were people outright steal power.

Sorry India, sorry, but seriously.