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11 September, 2008

Don't faucet

At long last, we're back in our proper building, our old offices having been remodelled into a semi- open-plan arrangement delineated by dividing walls without doors.
One 'refinement' has been a ban on kettles in individual office spaces, balanced by the provision of a communal kitchen with both chilled and boiling* water on tap.  The same tap.

It has two adjacent levers. Hold one down, and water flows until one lets go and the lever springs back. Lift the lever and it stays raised, providing water until the lever is specifically pressed back down. The other lever works the same way. There's a safety interlock theoretically preventing one from releasing boiling water unless a secondary button is simultaneously depressed. It doesn't work.

However, aside from that error of implementation there's a fundamental design flaw: there are two 'off' positions. Lift both levers and no water flows. Imagine that the next user then arrives and pushes the chosen lever down. Think about that: the resulting configuration is to return the lever to its proper 'off' position, whilst the other lever is 'on' – and that's what one gets. Tea made with chilled water is annoying, but a thin-skinned plastic cup of boiling water is a hazard.


*: not bubbling and steaming, but at least as hot as poured from a freshly-boiled kettle.

Comments

i'm reminded of the world's first nuclear reactors, which required that for routine management of the temperature (and hence risk of meltdown/explosion), at least 2 scientists were required to simultaneously turn related dials on opposite sides of the room, and at least one of those scientists had to be standing on a wooden stool so he (only "he"s) could reach the requisite dial.

Posted by Saltation at September 18, 2008 01:32 AM
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