Good read from Vanity Fair on the doomed voyage of the El Faro; a 790-foot cargo ship that sailed into the wall of a hurricane.
Most significant aviation and shipping disasters, as well as industrial catastrophes, are eventually determined to be “system accidents”—the result of a cascade of small errors, failures, and coincidences. Absent any one of them, and the disaster would not have occurred—a truth that is not knowable in real time, only in retrospect.
They retrieved a recorder from the bridge which recorded conversations in the days up to the wreck. Harrowing stuff.
Fantastic transcription of an article from Scientific American (1879) on how fountain pens are manufactured. Comfortingly, not a lot has changed.
The nib is placed on a piece of pumice rock, which you can see the second worker holding. There are thin articulated gas pipes reaching out from the wall. At its end permanently burns a tiny flame, much smaller than the one on a cigarette lighter. The second worker holds the mouthpiece his hand and directs the flame towards the nib. When he blows into the pipe the flame forms a point and gets much hotter. Through adjusting the amount of air he blows he controls the temperature.)