Monday, February 14, 2011

Optimist or Pessimist test

Here at work we have a built in optimist/pessimist test.

My company is in an old steel mill building and we have no hot water.  It's not bad in the summer but washing hands in the winter is terrible.  (I know, "do you want some cheese with that whine?").

After I had been here about a year it was mentioned in passing to the owner & he got a small heater installed right at the sink.  It worked great (~ 2 years) until this past winter it just stopped.

So now there is the test -
Do you still turn on the hot water, hoping it will work?
Do you only turn on the cold with no hope of having hot water?

You may be wondering, "don't engineers have better things to do than to apply deep philosophical constructs and challenges to such silly daily things as a non-functional hot water heater on a bathroom?"

Not really.

That's what engineers do.  We take the philosophical and the theoretical; and put them to work in our everyday lives.

(yeah, I'm not buying it either.  back to work).


  1. Do you not get water from turning the "hot water"? If you do- then I would always turn the "hot water" on- regardless of the actual temperature- expecting cold water yet holding minor hope that it might have miraculously started working overnight. If nothing comes out when the "hot water" is turned then I think I would give up on that knob due to the extra effort and repeated disappointments, and just go straight to the cold water which is better than no water at all.

  2. you do get water, just cold water. I keep turning on the hot with the same hope - "maybe this time it might work". (optimist).

  3. Maybe not optimist enough: turn both knobs in the earnest expectation of sumptuously warm water to sooth the lather from your hands. In the worst case you get what you get with either knob individually; and you never risk burns from an incorrectly set water heater.

  4. That's the paradox answer. Hot & cold.

  5. answer, use your engineering brains and try to fix the heater... or buy a alcohol based hand sanitizer.