How Pan Am Became King of International Travel, and How It Lost It All

Illustration for article titled How Pan Am Became King of International Travel, and How It Lost It All

Welcome to Reading List, your weekly collection of most-read work from around the web. Valentine's Day is behind us and the gruesome work week hangs over all our heads, but for now we can take solace in a story detailing the rise of fall of great American airline, how one single tweet can ruin a life, or how the hometown of BlackBerry is a reflection of a troubled company. You know, really uplifting stuff!


So strap in, and get to reading.

  • Justine Sacco sent out a very dumb tweet before boarding a plane to South Africa. In the 11 hours from takeoff to touchdown, she would become the number one trending Twitter topic on the planet, and her life was irrevocably changed for ever. The New York Times profiles Sacco now a year after her ordeal, and how Twitter can sometimes be a very dangerous place. [The New York Times]
  • Could MOOCs, massively open online courses, be the future of education? With guest editor Bill Gates, The Verge's Adi Robertson investigates the question by interviewing students and researchers who have followed the growing trend and asks if MOOCs are the answer for democratized education for the entire planet. [The Verge]
  • In the 1930s, if you were flying oversees, you were flying Pan American World Airways. The American icon became the symbol of travel for a generation, but it wasn't able to hold on to that tight-gripped monopoly of the skies. [Longreads]
  • Moore's law states that the number of transistors that can be squeezed onto a semiconductor chip doubles about every two years. But what happens when that rule, which has governed conventional computing for half a century, runs up against the barrier of quantum physics? When things get so tiny, that the materials we used today can no longer handle it? [Nautilus]
  • BlackBerry is in rough shape, and its hometown of Waterloo isn't any better off. Fusion's Kevin Roose visits BB's stomping grounds and profiles a entire city while it wallows in collapse. [Fusion]

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Pan-Am put too much money into this: