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Errors In Judgment That Shaped History

I accept that I made an error in judgment and took the wrong course of action.–Prof. Neil Ferguson.

Neil Ferguson is a UK leading coronavirus advisor who has now resigned after disclosing he made an error in judgment when he invited his married lover over to his house during the lockdown, a lockdown that he recommended, and advised the government to enforce. Professor Fergusson isn’t just anybody, he has an impressive career as a mathematical biologist.


Social Judgment because of errors in judgment
Social judgment can sometimes arise as a result of an error in judgment. Within moments of his resignation, the internet was awash with stories, twits, and comments questioning his character and surmising that he is a man with a dubious moral compass.

This event causes many to reason that the lockdown did not help to flatten the curve as countries now report that relaxing the lockdown did not cause a spike in infections as predicted. People judged him for advising on a lockdown that ruined their businesses and prevented them from seeing their friends and families yet he kept on seeing his sweetheart.

In 2004, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake performing “Rock Your Body” together at the 2004 Super Bowl, during which the infamous wardrobe malfunction occurred.

The baring of Jackson’s breast during the Super Bowl performance became referred to as a “wardrobe malfunction”. Jackson’s representative explained the incident, saying:

Justin was to pull away the rubber bustier to reveal a red lace bra. Timberlake ripped a panel off Jackson’s bra, revealing her right breast to 114m TV viewers.

Although both artists apologised, it was Jackson who got fined and blacklisted by US radio and MTV as a fallout of the incident.
Jawed Karim, one of the co-founders of YouTube, said the inspiration for YouTube first came from Janet Jackson’s role in the 2004 Super Bowl incident when her breast got exposed during the performance, and later from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Karim could not find video clips of either event online, which led to a video sharing site known as Vimeo.

Let us look at a few more errors that shaped history:

The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Although thought to be a work of architectural genius, the Leaning Tower of Pisa tilts by mistake. Construction began in 1173 and thanks to the soft ground; it had leaned by the time its builders got to the third storey in 1178. Shifting soil had destabilized the tower’s foundations, and over the years it kept learning more and more.

The 1966 Military Coup of Nigeria
On 15 January 1966, a group of young, idealistic, UK-trained army majors overthrew Nigeria’s democratic government in a violent military coup. The coup leaders described it as a brief and temporary revolution to end corruption and ethnic rivalry. Instead, it made them worse. This first coup and blunder still haunts Nigeria, even after over 50 years.

Turning down Brian Acton and Jan Koum for a job
Facebook turned down programmers, Brian Acton, and Jan Koum at job interviews in 2009. A few years later, Facebook paid $19bn (£11.4bn) for WhatsApp – the company the pair had developed after being rejected.

Turning down JK Rowling
Twelve publishing houses rejected JK Rowling’s Harry Potter manuscript before Bloomsbury finally took her on following the advice of the company chairman’s eight-year-old daughter, Alice. The books were subsequently translated into over 60 languages and have earned Rowling a reported $1bn (£670m).

The Titanic did not stock enough lifeboats for the passengers onboard
The Titanic was a technological miracle in the eyes of people at the time and was believed to be “unsinkable.” As we all now know, the ship sank after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage, dooming many passengers to drown or freeze due to a shortage of lifeboats.

We lost the Mars Climate Orbiter because of the conflicting uses of both metric and English units of measurement
In September 1999, after almost 10 months of travel to Mars, the Mars Climate Orbiter burned and broke into pieces. On a day when NASA engineers were expecting to celebrate, the ground reality turned out to be different, all because someone failed to use the right units, i.e., the metric units.

An error in judgment is a poor decision. We all are capable of making them. Please share if you made one and if it helped you get better?

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