When all life on Earth (except for roaches) ends, it will probably be as a result of something like this
story. Now, who knows if the story is true, but according to
it, World War III almost began because of a long forgotten phone system.
This was during the Cold War and the Cuban missile crisis. As
the story goes, it seems a direct link from air traffic
controllers and fighter hangers was established. To activate
the warning klaxons(tm), all you had to do was lift the receiver of the
phone and the alarms would go off automatically.
Apparently, this system was replicated over several
states. But eventually, the system was replaced with another and the
phones removed. Except for one.
In New Jersey, someone failed to remove the phone and its
direct link to the jets. Said jets targeted Cuba and were on ready
alert twenty four hours a day. In a few minutes, they could be
airborne, winging their way towards their, and our, fate.
One day, as part of a general cleaning, the staff found the
dust encrusted red colored phone. By then, no one knew what the phone
was for but they decided to pick up the receiver. Not hearing anything,
including a dial tone, the staff replaced the receiver and gave it a
good dusting probably thinking they would be praised to doing such a
good job of cleaning the office.
Within minutes, the tower called to ask whether an
Air Defense Command scramble had been order. When the mystified staff said no,
the tower “Immediately transmitted to the aircraft, “F-86’s
taking off, abort, abort!” on the emergency
radio, a frequency that all aircraft are required to monitor.”
Fortunately, the abort was received and World War III would have to
wait for another day.