Joe Ganley
Writing code since 1979
I have been a professional software engineer for over 10 years. I have written many kinds of software, but my particular strengths are interactive graphics applications, compilers and interpreters, and algorithms.

I also enjoy writing, woodworking, and home improvement. Also this.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I wonder... (#2)

Eight years ago, when we were in the hospital giving birth to my first daughter, I noticed that all of the electrical outlets were mounted "upside-down," with the ground on top. Since then, I've noticed that they are this way in every hospital I've visited. I always wondered why, and recently I learned that it's a (marginal, IMO) safety feature. With the normal orientation, if a plug wasn't quite plugged all the way in, and a metal object fell on it, it could bridge the hot and neutral and cause a short, or worse, touch just the hot and create an electrocution hazard. Apparently it recently became code in Virginia for commercial construction that the outlets be mounted "upside-down," though it is still not mandated for residential construction. Fact is, I think they look awful upside-down; I can't decide if this is just conditioning because I've seen them the other way all my life, or if there is a real aesthetic imbalance going on.

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