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Inventors killed by their own inventions (wikipedia.org)
273 points by davedx 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 149 comments

I thought the idea of young people giving blood to rejuvenate old billionaires was modern.

> Alexander Bogdanov (22 August 1873 – 7 April 1928)...After undergoing 11 blood transfusions, he remarked with satisfaction the improvement of his eyesight, suspension of balding, and other positive symptoms. His fellow revolutionary Leonid Krasin wrote to his wife that "Bogdanov seems to have become 7, no, 10 years younger after the operation"... But a later transfusion cost him his life, when he took the blood of a student suffering from malaria and tuberculosis



>The case of Elizabeth Báthory inspired numerous stories during the 18th and 19th centuries. The most common motif of these works was that of the countess bathing in her victims' blood to retain beauty or youth.

How bizarre - how rich do you have to be to become a vampire?

Weren't vampires originally not-so-subtle symbol for aristocracy to begin with?

The vampires we have now are a creation of literature, conscious borrowings, and deliberate de- and reconstructions. Ancient beliefs were varied and inconsistent, as you'd expect from a vague category comprised of "various folklore people used to believe about dead bodies getting up and being pests to the living"; in some ways, ancient vampires are closer to what we'd call zombies, and ancient zombies are closer to what we'd consider robots, in terms of being used for slave labor.



This is one of my favorite Wikipedia page, and I don't get to bring it up very often: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_vampire_traits_in_fo...

I hope it is canon that Count Chocula turns to "chocolate cereal dust" upon death.

I found this from the talk page amusing:

>This article is AWFUL. I'm trying to do some research on comparative mythology of vampires, by culture, and am literally seeing Count Chocula in the same list as this broad-stroke "European" generalization.

Now how are the sorta-rich supposed to live out their ghoulish lifestyles? For shame.

Wow, Thomas Midgley, Jr. died from his own Heath Robinson contraption for lifting him out of bed but not before he put lead into petrol and created CFCs. Should have done those the other way around and saved us all a whole lot of grief.

For those that didn't follow the link to Thomas Midgley Jr.'s Wikipedia page, the "Legacy" section is definitely worth a read:

> Midgley's legacy has been scarred by the negative environmental impact of leaded gasoline and Freon. Environmental historian J. R. McNeill opined that Midgley "had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth's history", and Bill Bryson remarked that Midgley possessed "an instinct for the regrettable that was almost uncanny".

Multiple sources seem to agree that the reason he chose to add lead to gasoline rather than ethanol (which was both greener and cheaper) was due to profit: his company could patent leaded gasoline, but not ethanol. That's an interesting lesson that we should learn any day now.

> "had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth's history"


Fritz Haber & Robert Le Rossignol (who are both out of the running for being killed by their own inventions) might have a reasonable competing claim to their shares in "most impact on the atmosphere" for: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haber_process

> Due to its dramatic impact on the human ability to grow food, the Haber process served as the "detonator of the population explosion", enabling the global population to increase from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 7.7 billion by November 2018. [...] Nearly 50% of the nitrogen found in human tissues originated from the Haber-Bosch process.

Being responsible for removing a bottleneck that enabled +100% more biomass of tool-using fossil-fuel-burning* primates arguably may have been a much larger indirect impact on the atmosphere (and many other things, for better or worse), leaving aside the direct impact on the nitrogen cycle.

* also, for various subsets of primates, perhaps add: airplane-flying, meat-eating, truck-driving, aircon-running, tree-planting, fish-catching, land-clearing, television-watching, hackernews-reading, list-enumerating, ...

If I remember correctly, Haber freed up a great deal of labor to be put into the Germany's military complex which empowered the country for WWI which embittered the country leading to WWII.

I think nitrogen run off from soil has had quite an impact on changing water habitats as well, eutrophication and fish getting beat out by algae for limited oxygen resources.

On a (slightly) smaller scale he also figured out how to weaponize chlorine gas and heavily evangelized its use (to the extent of bringing a tank to the front against orders and releasing it at Ypres).

As father of chemical weapons he oversaw their use on the battlefield and gave the world Haber's rule for more effective mass gassing. Mustard gas too, and I think he even had some part in development of Zyklon B.

He was completely unapologetic about it - he thought gas a better form of killing.

Both his wife and daughter seem to borne some guilt from his poison gas work. His wife committed suicide a week after Ypres - though some have disputed if it was connected. His daughter's suicide was on learning her research into poison gas cures couldn't be continued.


Yeah that dude killed people and damaged the earth on a whole bunch of different scales.

If ethanol was better and unpatentable, competitors could have used it instead of paying patent licensing fees.

Ethanol has downsides too, like eating up the rubber bits in your fuel system.

I thought that was methanol or is it both?

Ethanol too. That's why you need to be careful if you have an older car and live in one of those states that does E85.

E85 pumps are clearly marked. It's E15 that is the threat.

Are you claiming that history Did It Wrong, because econ-101 says so?

No, they are claiming that history did it right: Obviously leaded gasoline actually did appear to be the better choice at that time, or else people would have just used the non-patent-encumbered ethanol.

The grandparent is the one claiming history did it wrong, by using leaded gasoline even though ethanol gasoline would have been the better choice.

"Obviously leaded gasoline actually did appear to be the better choice at that time, or else people would have just used the non-patent-encumbered ethanol."

Eh. "It could only be this way, because it was" is a textbook definition of begging the question and circular reasoning. It's entirely possible that there were multiple extrinsic reasons that lead to this situation that aren't "leaded fuel was just the better option". Marketing/PR, industry momentum, regulatory capture, cost-of-entry into the fuel industry. In fact it was noted below that the leaded fuel inventor has partnered with GM.

This is exactly what the GP meant by invoking History vs. Econ 101. You're assuming that this simplistic model of price/demand is an inevitable law of nature even though there are countless counter examples throughout history of the wrong decisions made for the wrong reasons.

This is with the caveat that the inventors had a close association with GM, who presumably could have altered the design of the engines to be compatible with ethanol gas if they chose to. The profit from the patented additive was incentive for them to not make those changes, presumably helping to ensure the other fuel producers couldn't use a different additive.

>Multiple sources seem to agree that the reason he chose to add lead to gasoline rather than ethanol (which was both greener and cheaper) was due to profi

And profit for what? His immediate use?

I’m not seeing any indication of a family in his bios. Where did all of that wealth go?

> Where did all of that wealth go?

According to "The secret history of lead" [1]:

> With a legal monopoly based on patents that would provide a royalty on practically every gallon of gasoline sold for the life of its patent, Ethyl promised to make GM shareholders–among whom the du Ponts, Alfred Sloan and Charles Kettering were the largest–very rich. (...) In April 1923, (...) the General Motors Chemical Company was established to produce TEL, with Charles Kettering as president and Thomas Midgley as vice president.

So it seems most of it went to GM, Du-Pont, and Standard Oil. As for who inherited his personal fortune, he had a wife and two children [2].

[1] https://www.thenation.com/article/secret-history-lead/

[2] https://www.nndb.com/people/727/000205112/

Well, I suppose there was value for some people in these atrocious inventions.

Slightly unfair to condemn a man for risks nobody knew about, no?

He gets a pass on CFCs. Lead, though... the acute toxicity of lead compounds was known at the time. Workers making tetraethyllead were frequently poisoned, often fatally.

Midgely absolutely knew of the risks of lead, or at least he should have -- he had to take a leave of absence from his work to recover from a case of lead poisoning, and so many workers in the plant that made tetraethyl lead (TEL) developed inexplicable odd behaviors from their own cases that locals referred to the plant as "the loony gas building."

Worse still, Midgely worked actively to cover the risks of lead up. He even held a press conference in 1924 where, to assure reporters that TEL was safe, he washed his hands in a bowl of the stuff (https://www.bbc.com/news/business-40593353)!

Deborah Blum covered the whole story in her excellent 2011 book, The Poisoner's Handbook (https://www.amazon.com/Poisoners-Handbook-Murder-Forensic-Me...). Blum excerpted the story of TEL for a piece in Wired, which can be read here: https://www.wired.com/2013/01/looney-gas-and-lead-poisoning-...

Sure, but just because it’s dangerous to manufacture doesn’t mean you can’t use it. Otherwise we’d never have nuclear power.

Hmmmm. Insight almost dawning.

The health risks of lead have been known since antiquity.

The lesson being that we should let companies profit from stuff? After all, if they could have profited from Ethanol, they would have chosen that...

The alternative to CFCs as a refrigerant was Sulphur Dioxide and Ammonia etc., using it saved lives (With obviously unforseen consequences that we now know about)

This is true. CFCs were a HUGE improvement over past refrigerants. And during their discovery, nobody knew what they would do to the ozone layer.

Yeah, legendary guy. Not technically an inventor but this guy had his share of fuck ups as well:


Still, he didn't get killed by it right away...

Slightly off topic - there is a dramatisation of the Chernobyl disaster that looks riveting: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7366338/

Watched each Episode twice already, episode 5 is only airing Sky next week over here!

I've watched it all now, and I think it's a great dramatic work, well worth seeing. I would also urge anyone who watches it to read some nonfiction around the event; there are a number of recent articles about the series that provide some factual context and corrections. Here is a good one: https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/what-hbos-cher...

It is on my watch later list: thank you for reinforcing it.

I mean, lead is a fantastic lubricant for petrol. Of course the consequences of it are not typically worthwhile, but there's a reason 100LL is still quite commonly available. It just works better.

It's not for its lubricating properties, but rather for increasing detonation margin [commonly expressed as a higher octane rating], particularly on high-effective-compression engines [whether high static compression or turbo/super-charged applications].

There are a lot of "old wives tales" about the lead being useful for lubrication or "cushioning the valves" or other nonsense that has been substantially debunked.

One of the reasons GM was bullish on lead was it made engines wear out very fast. Good for sales.

One of the strangest articles I've come across on Wikipedia is about the brazen bull[0], whereby the inventor of said bull pitches the idea to the ruler of the land, only to be thrown in it himself after the ruler is repulsed that such a thing should exist.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazen_bull

Well, the article states that

> Some modern scholars question if the brazen bull ever really existed, attributing reports of the invention to early propaganda.

However, it certainly wouldn't be the most barbaric form of execution humans have invented [0].

> Pendulum: A type of machine with an axe head for a weight that slices closer to the victim's torso over time.

> Scaphism: An Ancient Persian method of execution in which the condemned was placed in between two boats, force fed a mixture of honey and milk, and left floating in a stagnant pond. The victim would then suffer from severe diarrhea, which would attract insects that would burrow, nest, and feed on the victim.

> Blowing from a gun: Tied to the mouth of a cannon, which is then fired.

> Blood Eagle: Cutting the skin of the victim by the spine, breaking the ribs so they resembled blood-stained wings, and pulling the lungs out through the wounds in the victim's back. Used by the Vikings.

> Flaying: The skin is removed from the body.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_methods_of_capital_pun...

Note that at least some of those execution methods are suspected of being either exaggerations or outright fabrications.

From Wikipedia:

- Brazen bull: "Some modern scholars question if the brazen bull ever really existed, attributing reports of the invention to early propaganda."

- Scaphism: "The primary source is Plutarch's 'Life of Artaxerxes II', where he attributes the story to Ctesias, a notoriously suspect source"

- Blood Eagle: "There is continuing debate about whether the ritual was a literary invention, a mistranslation of the original texts, or an authentic historical practice."

To be honest, getting blown apart by a cannon sounds great compared to any of these other ones, including the bull.

No kidding. Probably quite gruesome to the spectators but a very quick death for the condemned.

There's the famous Afghan skin bag: cut the skin around the belly, pull it over the head of the victim and tie it like a bag ; then let the victim bake in the sun and slowly die of exposure, while being half-asphyxiated inside their own skin. Oh, of course the victim will try not to fall on the ground for a while, where dust, ants and insect will exacerbate their suffering. IIRC you can agonize this way a couple of days before dying of thirst.

Wouldn't the victim bleed to death very quickly?

The legend adds that he was removed from the Bull and then thrown from a cliff ; I suppose the ruler did not want to be associated with using the device for its intended use.

Some beautiful synchronicity going on with the headlines here: https://ohuiginn.net/tmp/hn_inventors.png

You know, I heard a story I could never track down. Apparently the Soviets were working on a rocket that would explode several miles from the ground, which they believed would cause maximum damage.

I had heard that all development stopped because the entire team watched on its initial test. They had carefully built an altimeter into the device that triggered the explosion at the desired height. Like all good plans gone awry they completely forgot that a rocket must first go up before it can go down and at launch it hit it's desired altitude on the way up at which point it exploded and took out the entire rocket development team.

Anyone know if this is a real thing?

That sounds like an urban legend, but there might be a kernel of truth hidden in the story.

Perhaps a corruption of the Nedelin catastrophe:


That sounds very unlikely to me

> Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier was the first known fatality in an air crash when his Rozière balloon crashed on 15 June 1785 while he and Pierre Romain attempted to cross the English Channel.

Let's be very clear about how bad an idea this was: it was a balloon filled with hydrogen, with a chamber beneath it filled with hot air warmed by an open fire. An open fire. Beneath a container of hydrogen.

Later ones filled with helium were more successful, as they allow the balloonist to control buoyancy without dropping ballast or carrying enough fuel to maintain lift sufficient for the entire craft.

But who sticks a hydrogen balloon over an open fire and expects good things?

i think your comment isn't just toward the guy. Lets put that into perspective

>they allow the balloonist to control buoyancy without dropping ballast or carrying enough fuel to maintain lift sufficient for the entire craft.

1. Rozier invented that 2 chamber balloon.

2. helium was discovered only more than half a century later.

If anything, i think the guy deserve the respect for what he did directly risking his life in the face of the known and unknown dangers and limited knowledge and technology of the time.

The combustibility of hydrogen was no secret; de Rozier was a chemist, and in fact famously demonstrated that feature of hydrogen by inhaling it and blowing it out across an open flame. There are risks to be bravely taken, and then there's foolhardy disregard for the dangers one knows. I think de Rozier fell into the second class of risk-takers.

The first class? Try Lilienthal, Percy Pilcher, Geoffrey de Havilland, the X-15 pilot whose name I can't recall — all these died testing something they couldn't have known would kill them, and the world gained from their sacrifice.

De Rozier had an idea that he knew he couldn't safely implement, but went ahead and did it anyway, and died. What did we learn from it? We knew hydrogen was flammable — de Rozier himself demonstrated it safely, except for his eyebrows. The balloon was only flown the once, and there's no evidence he grasped its potential, having little understanding of piloting a balloon. Useless sacrifice, in my opinion.

>Let's be very clear about how bad an idea this was: it was a balloon filled with hydrogen, with a chamber beneath it filled with hot air warmed by an open fire. An open fire. Beneath a container of hydrogen.

sounds familiar - https://youtu.be/fSTrmJtHLFU?t=43

> Useless sacrifice, in my opinion.

i wonder where you draw a line between the Challenger and De Rozier, of course if you draw any line here at all.

(I'll spare you argument about your facile comparison between a strong aluminum tank covered with 5000 pounds of thermal-protective material and a thin silk balloon.)

The Challenger astronauts didn't have all the knowledge they needed to be aware of the certainty of their own deaths — I'd hold that there was no such certainty. The explosion was due to a confluence of events beyond their control, even beyond their knowledge. De Rozier had all the knowledge he needed to avoid dying, and no new information was gained by his death. There's not just a line between the two, there's a broad gulf, dividing reasonable reliance on systems that one knows could fail, and unreasonable trust in a device one knows to be misconceived from the start.

Thanks for sharing OP!

Here's my personal favorite Wikipedia list: List of lists of lists


Now that's meta-meta article


> The AVE Mizar (named after the star Mizar) was a roadable aircraft built between 1971 and 1973 by Advanced Vehicle Engineers [...] The prototypes of the Mizar were made by mating the rear portion of a Cessna Skymaster to a Ford Pinto.


That one was my favorite. Creating an airplane from a Ford Pinto seems like an SNL skit.

I have to say I'm not I would call someone that creates something that doesn't work (and will never work) and inventor.

If I just jump from a building and throw a bottle on the way down, saying that the bottle will 'throw me back up because physics', and then I die (obviously), I'm not an inventor, I'm just an idiot.

Yes, but the guy you are referring to, did invented a parachute, he was just an "idiot" of not using a dummy first.

Furthermore, in relation to the title of this article, I wouldn't say the invention of his parachute killed him. It was just the force of him hitting the ground once his invention failed to work. ;)

Talk about deja vu seeing that first picture of the guy trying to fly. I jumped out a tree when I was a kid with a plastic grocery bag at each foot, knee, wrist, elbow, and my neck. I didn't break anything but I never did it again.

Are you an aerospace engineer?

Not yet, but it happened at my friend's house whose dad was an aerospace engineer.

Kurt Godel starved himself to death after his wife was hospitalized because he would only eat food she cooked! Wow

I'm inclined to read between the lines on that one.

"Later in his life, Gödel suffered periods of mental instability and illness. He had an obsessive fear of being poisoned; he would eat only food that his wife, Adele, prepared for him."

There's your between the lines. He was mentally ill later in his life, which caused his untimely death. I don't know what you were reading between the lines, but if it was making fun of an old man and his mental illness, please keep it to yourself.

There were a lot of ways of reading the implications of their unclear post, but you assumed the worst and attacked. That doesn't contribute to a reasonable discussion.

If somebody is being unreasonably ambiguous about an issue I feel personally strong about I feel it's my responsibility to notify the author that you shouldn't teeter between comedy and seriousness. Maybe I would say it in milder manner were it in person, but I think you should at least put the effort to let the reader know, that you are not mocking the individual in question.

I disagree with your approach. Thank you for explaining it.

I see. Also I have to admit the OP filled my other checkbox which is low-effort content intended to be amusing. Which I expect to read in Reddit but not here. And I do like to take confrontational stance in effort to make the other party to see my point of view in stronger light. I don't see it useful to try to avoid showing strong emotions in text or in person, I think trying to be neutral in all situations just makes everything very plain.

And as a disclaimer I did not downvote you nor do I see any purpose to it. If somebody tries to explain themselves in coherent fashion I think it's admirable even though I might disagree with them.

Neither did I downvote you; I was concerned that you might think so, but I didn't want to discuss it, because I know that's frowned upon here. The low-effort try for a laugh bothers me, too.

Huh I was thinking of loneliness.

I don't understand your statement.

> Jeremy Brenno, 16, was killed on a golf course when, frustrated, he struck a bench with a 3-wood golf club. The shaft broke, bounced back at him, and pierced his heart.

For ’tis the sport to have the enginer

Hoist with his own petard¹

1: Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 4 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoist_with_his_own_petard)

Clarence Dally was an assistant to Edison who helped create the X-ray focus tube. He died from carcinoma caused by radiation exposure. Should be in here? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Madison_Dally

The thought of a steam-powered bicycle made me do a bit of a double-take at first, but apparently it was actually quite a viable little contraption.


I now want a steam powered bicycle. Ding Ding? Allow me to inform you of my presence via steam whistle. Gives new meaning to "loud pipes save lives". Jerk behind you? Time for a boiler blow down!

Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuSLwE4IpnI

What about the Segway guy, Jimi Heselden

He bought the company after the product had already been invented. (Now, if Dean Kamen somehow died to a segway...)

Still fits with the theme though. Luis Jiménez didn't invent a sculpture or the Mustang, but still makes the list.

Jiménez certainly designed the thing that killed him. As far as I can tell, Heselden's involvement was just finanical. The deaths are both ironic, but in different ways. FWIW, it was enough to get him on a different list:


>Peng Fan, a chef in Foshan, China, was bitten by a cobra's severed head, which he had cut off 20 minutes earlier while preparing a soup.

My, what a grisly list that is.

"Sam Ballard, 29, died from angiostrongyliasis after eating a garden slug as a dare eight years earlier."

I remember reading about this man but did not know he passed. This joke altered his and many people around him forever. Comedy with absolutely devastating consequences.


After his death they gave Bluecifer red eyes, next time you’re in Denver check it out

This is wikipedia, you can add it :)

It’s been added and removed before: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:MobileDiff/843550332

No software devs listed, yet.

Bitcoin power consumption causes global warming, humanity went extinct from extreme climate change.

This made me smile.

What could possibly go wrong with a money rewarding GHG emissions?

When you think about it, if successful, Bitcoin will indeed achieve its goal of freeing us from central banks: no human being will be available to operate them. Very clever!

I've always wondered if this was the initial point of Bitcoin (making miner harder and harder) how could Satoshi not have foreseen this was would be the inevitable result?

I've read several articles about the power consumption of these mines and it's jaw dropping:

Of course, by the end of 2017, the players who were pouring into the basin weren’t interested in building 5-megawatt mines. According to Carlson, mining has now reached the stage where the minimum size for a new commercial mine, given the high levels of difficulty, will soon be 50 megawatts, enough for around 22,000 homes and bigger than one of Amazon Web Services’ immense data centers.


drone strike

Good thing I'm thousands of miles away from where it would be deployed.

Right up until the Second Civil War, or potentially one of the riots leading up to it; or maybe in one of the 2030s ICE drone incidents in which stray missiles accidentally struck American border towns, or that one time in 2049 where a terrorist obtained control of one... Or potentially one of the domestic terror security drones that were actually active in 2016, but whose existence wasn't publicly known until 2029.

Remember that time the police crashed a drone into their own SWAT van? Pepperidge Farm remembers.


Inventor of Skynet kills humanity.

There were survivors of Judgement Day, and not to spoil T2 but inventor Miles Dyson was not killed by Skynet.

He was killed by law enforcement, right?


But how did he die in the original timeline?

He held an explosive over a dead man switch and bled out.

That was the altered (movie) timeline.

What other timeline is there?

The one before people / machines went back in time to alter the past. We (or at least, I) don't know what happened to Dyson on Judgement Day the first time around.

AFAIK, there was only one timeline, it was just a closed loop. Skynet was built using technology from the first Terminator (and presumably would never had been developed otherwise.) John Conner knew to send Kyle Reese back in time because his mother told him who came back in time to be his father (and even gave him a photo taken just after the events in T1.) The events of the first few movies play out as inevitabilities.

Probably already has happened to someone writing embedded code for some kind of powertool, lathe, etc.

Because they would just hit Ctrl+Z and rollback their mistakes.

Neither is there a data category, fortunately.

Probably because they forgot they wrote it or they didn't know someone else was using it too.

Boeing 737 MAX engineer killed in a 737 MAX crash ?

Do you make a separate account for every comment?

Kinda ironic for this topic. His exposure of him inventing a new account got his account killed, or something like that.

There's also this Segway incident, though he was a company executive and not an "inventor"


Came here to post this

"What do we say to the God of Death?"

"Okay, start it up."

The list is much shorter than I would have expected.

You can help by expanding it.

I'd like to invent things, but I'd like to avoid dying because of my own inventions.

Ironically, this list is a great example of survivorship bias.

We only know about inventors killed by their own inventions where the scene was understood well enough to be reported and the incident notable enough to survive into Wikipedia.

It would be easy enough for someone way ahead of their time to have an unexplained death with a bunch of weird artifacts surrounding them.

You know this isn't a list I would mind being on

Something tells me you have a higher likelihood than most of attaining your goal...

Special mention for the owner of Segway who rode himself off a cliff to his death, even if he didn't invent them http://www.nbcnews.com/id/39377851/ns/world_news-europe/t/se...

the skin in the game here is incredible

Should add Marie Curie

She is listed in the physics section.

She didn't invent radioactivity or any elements.

She invented the "X-ray Car" for use in WWI that did, indeed, cause the exposure that led to her death.[1]

[1] http://theconversation.com/marie-curie-and-her-x-ray-vehicle...

She did invent a process to isolate radium. But if you want to put it this way, nobody never invented anything, even a plane is just about manipulating things that always existed in the environment.

What about all of the inventors of the atom/hydrogen bombs? Feynman?

Planes did not exist before humans built them. Radium did.

Radium existed but not isolated and not usable for X-Ray for example. Plane was in nature also before humans, just not assembled yet :)

I don't think we agree on the definition of "plane" :)

So... kinda like the Darwin Awards, but not really?

I can't believe that nobody has posted https://xkcd.com/2142/ yet!

> Andrei Zheleznyakov, a Soviet scientist, was developing chemical weapons in 1987 when a hood malfunction exposed him to traces of the nerve agent Novichok 5. He spent weeks in a coma, months unable to walk, and years suffering failing health before dying from its effects in 1992/3.

Hard to feel sorry for that guy.

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