5 Good Ideas That Flew Off The Rails Hilariously

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions ... and so is the road to comedy. You start with what sounds like a good, solid idea, then you add a healthy dose of reality, mix well, and it blows up in your damn face. All of the following efforts were undertaken by what we will generously assume are smart, industrious people. We will blame their terrible, terrible results on, oh, let's say Gary. Gary, you son of a bitch.

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5
Apple Spent Five Billion Dollars On A Glass Office Building That People Kept Running Into

Regardless of what you think of Apple products, their HQ seems like a cool place to work.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images"And here is the supercollider where we launch disgruntled employees."

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The major theme of the building is glass, both to foster an open, collaborative work environment, as well as to capture that elusive "sci-fi dystopia where all appears well on the surface, but just beneath lies a terrible secret waiting to be discovered" vibe. The design is an undeniably striking architectural accomplishment -- and for a while the "striking" part was literal, because people kept walking into the damn walls.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images"NOT SO FUNNY NOW, HUH, ASSHOLES?!" -- the pigeons outside

Not long after the office opened, three 911 calls were made from Apple Park within a span of 48 hours, all of them because someone had cut their head after walking into a wall. Go ahead and take bets on how many injuries there really were, but weren't serious enough to require medical attention or were so ridiculous that everyone involved was too embarrassed to call.

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Apple employees began marking walls with Post-it notes for their own safety, but were told to remove them because they "detracted from the building's design." Apple then solved the problem by, uh, putting stickers on the glass panes -- presumably ones that were far more stylish than a bunch of Post-its. Let's all take a minute to appreciate how the the $5 billion headquarters of one of the most influential tech companies on the planet accidentally turned all of its employees into confused birds.

4
A Dutch Highway "Sang" The National Anthem, Driving Locals Crazy

Rumble strips, a standard feature of most highways, warn drivers that they're drifting out of their lane. The Dutch town of Jelsum decided to add some whimsy to potential vehicular slaughter by installing a "singing road," which played the provincial anthem whenever a car drove over it at the designated speed. As a technology, it was all rather ingenious. As a practical matter for locals, it was "psychological torture."

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Here, imagine your favorite song. Got it? Now imagine hearing it played exclusively on an electric washboard, all day, every day. Still think it doesn't sound too bad? Check out this 13-minute video of the road in action.

The first instance of the song is cute, the second is a little less so, the third is a bit much. By the 40th iteration, you're ready to rent a jackhammer. A mere two days after the 88,000 Euro cultural celebration had been installed, it was removed. Now if you want to musically annoy the locals from your car, you have to do it the old-fashioned way: with an enormous subwoofer.

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3
The White-Tailed Sea Eagle Was Brought Back From The Brink Of Extinction, Is Now On A Reign Of Terror

This is the white-tailed sea eagle:

Sjo/iStockNamed after the famous explorer Archibald "White Tail" Billingsley, so called because of his notoriously pasty ass.

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That beast has a wingspan of two and a half meters, and has been nicknamed the "flying barn door." Truly, we'd all be worse off without something that awesome circling the globe, right? Conservationists agreed. After the bird was hunted to extinction in Scotland and faced near extinction in the rest of Europe, they worked hard to reverse the trend, and reintroduced the eagle to its old Scottish hunting grounds.

Nobody was prepared for the ensuing carnage.

In one incident, an eagle killed a prize-winning goose (along with several of the goose's less lauded companions), and it even attacked and wounded the owner when he tried to intervene. The eagles also prey on lambs, so local shepherds are using laser pointers to disorient the birds. Yes, this is the era of the Laser Shepherd -- all shall behold, and despair.

DamianKuzdak/iStock"I'm about to behold your nuts if you point that shit at me again."

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Elsewhere in Europe, there's concern that the eagles are a major threat to wimpier endangered species, because it's hard to explain nuanced conservation efforts to animals that are mostly talons, beak, and murder.

2
A Town Started A Legal Battle Over A Train Which Transported Human Feces, Leaving The Train Stuck In Another Town

You probably don't give a lot of thought to your feces once you're done with them, and if you do, you probably have some bookmarks that we don't want to know about. So, a brief primer: Sometimes human waste is transported across the country to be stored in a landfill or used to treat soil acidity. That's because places like New York City don't have much space for all their shit -- metaphorical as well as physical -- and dumping it all into the ocean went out of style once we learned what an environment was. So New York regularly sends millions of pounds of human waste by train to Alabama for safe disposal, on what hobos call "the brown eye."

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Well, they should, anyway.

To be clear, biosolids aren't loose turds; they're what is left over after sewage treatment. They look like any other form of fertilizer. But they still reek. That's a fact of life. So Jefferson County, Alabama started a legal battle to prevent the Midnight Soil Express from stopping in the town of West Jefferson to transfer its noxious cargo to trucks. They cited local zoning laws meant to stop foul odors, and argued that the overpowering reek and hordes of flies were ruining property values. It was a reasonable complaint that needed addressing ... but while it was being sorted out, the train's 56 cars and ten million pounds of waste were stuck in Parrish, Alabama. For two months.

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Take all of Jefferson's valid complaints about the smell and the general "ickiness," then imagine them festering for most of the spring. The biosolid train pretty much shut down the town, as no one could step foot outside without wondering if they took a wrong turn into the bottom of an outhouse. It took many more weeks of complaining before the waste was finally trucked away, proving that "not in my backyard" is a reasonable objection when discussing ten million pounds of processed shit.

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1
An Old Herbicide Made Pants Explode

Back in the 1930s, New Zealand was dealing with a ragwort infestation. Ragwort is a weed that's poisonous to horses and cows, and while farmers were using the tougher stomachs of sheep and goats to devour as much as they could handle, the weed kept spreading like a low-key Biblical plague. So they brought in sodium chlorate to use as an herbicide.

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Luckily, sodium chlorate killed ragwort dead. Farmers mixed it with water, sprayed the affected fields, and presumably laughed themselves to sleep with unabashed hubris. Then their pants started catching fire, because fun science fact, sodium chlorate is extremely flammable when dry. So once any clothing that had gotten wet during the spraying process dried out, well, let's just say it was a very unfortunate time to be a liar.

The Evening Post

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One farmer put his pants in front of a fire to dry, whereupon they abruptly went up in flames with a loud bang. Another's pants reportedly started smoldering while he was riding his horse, which was no doubt unpleasant for both of them. And several others either suffered serious burns or flat-out died because they were wearing the pants when they spontaneously combusted. The problem was soon identified and therefore easily fixed. But imagine going out to destroy an all-consuming plant, only to catch fire for no apparent reason hours later. Your first suspicion would have to be a vengeful God, right?

Mark is on Twitter and has a book.

The best kinds of eagles are Bald Eagles anyway.

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For more, check out 4 Good Ideas That Got Ruined By Idiots and 5 Terrible Ideas That Solved Huge Global Problems.

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