Typos are annoying, but they're usually easy to correct and don't cause any lasting damage. But every now and then, sloppy transcription and lazy proofreading will collide in a perfect storm of misfortune that transforms a typo into an unmitigated disaster.
#4. Spain Adds 10 Billion Euros to Its Debt
Earlier this month, Spain announced their national 2014 debt figure at 99.8 percent of their total economic output, leaving them a paltry 0.2 percent to spend on bullfights and things for Javier Bardem to glare at. But four days later, the government announced that someone had accidentally switched the last two numbers in the figure, and that the country's actual debt ratio was 98.9 percent, which is a difference of 10 billion euros (or $14.5 billion in rapidly devaluing American currency).
Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Bardem, upon hearing that Spain's terrible movie haircut budget has doubled.
Luckily, there weren't any long-term consequences, and the $14 billion boner wound up being nothing more than an immediately correctable clerical error ... unlike an incident earlier this year in Prince William County of Virginia, where a typo in their budget cost the entire county $5 million undoubtedly earmarked for ultra-elaborate Civil War re-enactments.
#3. Obama's Communication Adviser Accidentally Tweets Racial Slur
While engaged in a political discussion earlier this week on the timeless forum of reasoned discourse that is Twitter, President Obama's senior adviser for strategy and communications, Dan Pfeiffer, accidentally made a horrible slip of the finger and substituted the letter "b" for the letter "n" to create literally the worst possible word he could have ever typed in a public setting.
This is the equivalent of Han Solo accidentally bumping the Millennium Falcon's self-destruct button with his elbow.
After committing a faux pas that could win the communication adviser a Nobel Prize in irony (Obama himself has won a Nobel Prize with much less effort), Pfeiffer quickly deleted and apologized for the Tweet, but not quickly enough for the permanent selective memory of the Internet.
Screen grabs are forever, Dan.
#2. Man Tries to Bomb Oregon's Teacher Commission Building Because Their Sign Has a Typo
A man walked into the State of Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission with what appeared to be a bomb and informed the receptionist that he'd just tried to blow up their sign to get rid of a glaringly criminal typo that had been plaguing the community for far too long. The sign had recklessly chosen to abandon the letter "D" at the end of the word "and," creating a hopelessly confusing and illegible totem that had likely been confounding people for years.
Timothy J. Gonzalez/Statesman Journal
See? There's no telling what this sign is supposed to say.
Furthermore, the man claimed, the reason his bomb (a word here meaning "pressure cooker with random clock wires sticking out of it") hadn't worked correctly was because the bomb-making instructions he had downloaded off of the Internet had been rife with spelling errors, which he argued was an even stronger indictment against the teachers of the state of Oregon. He eventually left, taking his "bomb" with him, presumably to try to blow up the Internet. The police found him almost immediately, sitting in his van and surprising no one.
#1. Vatican Recalls 6,000 Medals Where "Jesus" Is Spelled "Lesus"
Earlier this month, the Vatican issued a special medal to commemorate Pope Francis' first year as the Bishop of Rome (after five years, he gets a bobblehead, and 10 years nets him a set of commemorative plates). But when they unpacked the medals, they noticed a pretty serious error: "Jesus" had been misspelled "Lesus," which to our knowledge is not a person who appeared anywhere in either the Old or the New Testament.
Unless they Lucasfilmed him in there.
In Latin, "Jesus" is spelled with a capital "I," so whoever inscribed the medal probably mistook it for a lowercase "L" and thought they were correcting a typo by capitalizing it, although that's generally the kind of thing you're supposed to double-check before carving a word into metal. Over 6,000 silver, bronze, and gold medals had to be recalled, presumably alongside stacks of recently printed Bibles that had erroneously listed Jesus' father as "Tod."
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