Wednesday, October 15, 2008
So I work at a brand new high school. It just opened last year and has all sorts of amazing technological advances. Some things, like computer labs, are absolutely necessary in our changing world. Others, however, are entirely unnecessary, and even cause problems we never before had. Today, for example, the power went out in the neighborhood. This means that only emergency lights were on, which is fine since my classroom has plenty of windows. It meant that I lost the play I was typing with my advisory students, but we could write it out on paper, no big deal. The big problem was that our bathrooms work entirely by sensors. Want to flush the toilet? Sorry, the sensor can't see that you moved so it won't flush. Want to wash your hands? Sorry, the sensor didn't notice any motion near the sink, water is staying inside the faucet. So, we went an entire day only using one particular set of bathrooms in dire emergencies. First of all, that's gross. Second, there was no reason for it! Toilets flush and faucets run perfectly when the power is off, that's the beauty of a pressure system. Not to mention, a power outage isn't the only time these sensor based systems malfunction. I've frequently had the toilet flush when I move an inch but am clearly still sitting. Sometimes that idea "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is far too appropriate.