March 2nd, 1955. A young black woman is arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Alabama. Civil rights leaders in the ACLU rush to her side and she will be a symbol of the struggle against segregation. Her name is Claudette Colvin and she’s 15 years old. She’s also unmarried and pregnant. The civil rights leaders in the ACLU decide that Colvin is not the best foot forward and stand down. Eight months later, Rosa Parks happens. But during that eight months a brilliant and charismatic young minister gets the attention of the community and is chosen to lead the Bus Boycotts. If Claudette Colvin doesn’t get pregnant, if they’d gone in the spring instead of eight months later, Martin Luther King is a preacher you’ve never heard of in Montgomery.
Who is Giuseppe Zangara? I don’t really know. He’s a guy with a gun who fired five shots on February 15th, 1933, killing the Mayor of Chicago. Why? Because Zangara was standing on a wobbly chair and the Mayor of Chicago wasn’t his target. It was the guy the Mayor was shaking hands with, the newly-elected President Franklin Roosevelt. If Zangara’s chair isn’t wobbly, Roosevelt never takes office and we swear in his running mate, John Nance Garner, a man who’s political ideology was the basis for his opposition to a package of legislation that would be called the New Deal and we don’t survive the Great Depression.
Your kitchen faucet has washers, they keep water from leaking through the joints and the fixtures and that’s what O-rings do. They’re giant washers that keep pressurised hydrogen from leaking out of the SRB, the Solid Rocket Booster that shoots the Space Shuttle out of the Earth’s atmosphere. These O-rings have been tested and tested under every possible circumstance but one, cold. They didn’t test to see if the O-rings worked when it was cold. Why would they even think to test for that? The thing’s launching from south Florida. When’s it going to be cold? On January 28th, 1986, a cold snap dragged the overnight temperature down to 18ºF and it turns out the O-rings stop working below 40. So, 73 seconds after the Challenger lifts off, it converts itself into a bomb and detonates.
So sometimes it’s just the one thing.”