them: tech is a tool, like a hammer

me: maybe it's a tool like a stove, where leaving it on without good purpose or with no purpose is actually quite destructive in many cases, and it can easily be used for purposeful destruction

Gas stove you mean…
A hammer may be used for purposeful destruction as easily, although it's performance for that would be much lower and require more skills.

you can burn a house down with an electric with minimal ingenuity

Electric heating elements tend to die pretty quickly, if you exceed the allowed temperature. Also, the controllers, automatically switching them off, are easier/cheaper to implement than with the gas.
OTOH, I don't claim they're no more dangerous than a rubber duck…


oh, they're SAFER by yards

but it's the difference between a modern firearm and a last-century one in some ways

modern gas stoves have failsafe mechanisms that approach towards the safety level of electric stoves

yet both are foiled if you simply lay a long dish towel across them and make sure a few flammables in the kitchen are "unfortunately near"

(which is as close to a point as I was ever trying to make saying it at all, honestly)


we all know nothing is safe; if you have to rub someone out in theory you could grind up a chalkboard eraser and feed it to them (and feel free to look into where THAT analogy element was stolen from, good luck). but as you said, it's not as safe as a rubber duck.

hammers are a lot closer, esp in terms of unleashed tools of destruction like 'fire' hidden within it that grow without attendance under the right circumstances

if you can get an easy, obvious snowball rolling (or fire started) with it, it's not a simple tool, is my rough thinking here

@solder_on I've got your point, I believe, from the very beginning: I'm just arguing about the details, if you don't mind…

Also, WRT flammable: the highest cooking temperatures are lower than lowest temperatures of the most flammable materials to catch fire. So I suppose any properly tuned safety switch will turn off the heating before it can ignite anything.


> highest cooking temperatures
> lower than [...] most flammable materials

not paper, cloth, I've seen burnt potholders that I've had to douse in a sink

maybe it technically wouldn't ignite gasoline or something (I failed ochem SO hard) but it'd be trivial to two-stage the sabotage -- dish towel as fuse towards more flammable things, more flammable things are findable in a house, etc.

I mean, shit, you can make a microwave a bomb with household chemicals and aluminum foil

plus, arguably, cooktops in general have had longer to evolve than the microwave heat radiation cooking methods; more safeguards make sense

it's just that people sneer at safeguards *all the time* in the much more vital work of software and hardware in tech

software back in the day was "how do we wire this"

now it's "how do we decide how this can function, and we better hope we're well-informed", because if they're not well informed you get hardware like that medical device that could kill

@solder_on The temperatures as high as in frying can damage/destroy materials (that's what cooking basically is…), but to ignite them the reaction has to be self-sustained.
Frankly, IDK what would ignite at temperatures only slightly above the boiling point of water in normal atmospheric pressure.
OTOH, this can make the materials more susceptible to other factors (sunlight, sparks, etc.) and cause a "cascading effect".

> slightly above the boiling point of water

water's boiling point is like 200ish F, and stovetops get to 500ish F O_o

plus I've seen grease fires personally (although I didn't CAUSE them, lucky me)

off the top of my head; paper, cloth, flesh if you've got a corpse to char up, candles, a box or book of matches, lighter fluid...

I watched my dad light a cigarette off the stove burner a few times, maybe false memory

but kitchens and houses include flammables in general, I mean

@solder_on Yes, actually many old-fashioned electric heating elements are "open type", where the tungsten thread can be accessed directly — it's temperature is pretty high, enough to ignite as cellulose as fats. Those are as dangerous as open fire.
So, yep, unless we mean a very specific type of stove, you're right: it may cause fire left unsupervised, and probably will, given enough time.


software and hardware are still inextricably on two sides of a shouting match that gestalt system design ('holistic' if you're into the actual meaning and not the faux medical meaning) has not yet settled meaningfully

it needs to

and it needs to without corps strangling it into a money-generating scheme or else we've got the now-problem again already

as for

> I've got your point

I am glad if that is the case, and I hope it is. (I'm a bit wary it's entirely true, but that's because I've talked to a lot of people the last three years who "got my point" and then did shit like voted Brexit, Trump, or some other fash shit. Hard to imagine your points matter when people do the exact fucking opposite consistently, yanno? 😆)

anyway, yeah, that stuff, etc. etc.

them: tech is a tool, like a hammer

then they proceed to make it like an appliance


eh, stoves aren't really so much appliances as a faint echo of the community ovens of history

(maybe "two tools put together" to account for stovetop burners and the heating space under them, but still)

washing machines have a far more complex process involved than stove/ovens do

@solder_on yeah, I didn't mean to say stoves are an appliance.

What I meant is, from my experience most tech ends up being appliances that are useful for only for a very specific purpose, artificially limited, and finding a real tool often hard and sometimes impossible.

How would we end up in such a place if most of tech people insisted on making tools?

(I'm getting somewhat off-topic, feel free to ignore this post if you don't want to take the discussion in this direction)


> appliances

p much, but appliances are meant to be tools with safeguards in place

so sophisticated table saws with blade guards and guides for all your work? appliances.

'tool' implies a level of primitivity; 'appliances' are meant to be more sophisticated, and I think it's a worthwhile distinction

but 'dangerous' is still baked into an appliance; it's just better compensated for

English doesn't have great language for this stuff, TBH, but hopefully that'll change over time

(and it's not a discussion, don't sweat it; it's all just words until we die and then it's all just dust)


at least

> safeguards in place

is how I always took the difference. here's washing your clothes the hard way -- you can hurt your fingers, you can spill water, you can strain your body

washing machine? well, you still have to balance the load, you still have to know how to not break it.

maybe that's the difference worth examining, actually -- that 'tools' are implements with requisite knowledge but general commonality and some concept of application by those without the requisite knowledge, 'appliances' are tools wrapped in interfaces and safeguards, with instructions, with other requirements that aren't always well understood by the users or even the designers


then we ask: what's a hammer? a tool. they don't come with instructions; you're expected to know, or know how to find out. vi.

so what's a nailgun? it doesn't work like a hammer (although it incorporates the primary function and the secondary functionality to some degree). it works very differently, but changes how it taxes us. we have to know how the nailgun works; the hammer, we can work out the basics and work backwards. nailguns come with instructions and (batteries? pressure hosing? literally I do not know how nailguns work), etc., but they're also more dangerous. not "shoot up a mall" dangerous, but "murder someone by accident with relative ease" dangerous. so appliance, I would say. or closer to. emacs? VB?

dunno. been outside the walls of tech so long it's hard for me to imagine I was ever part of it, these days


so maybe that's the thing. more dangerous tools tend to be "applianced" (like our microwave radiation ovens, our stoves), less dangerous ones are still dangerous (hammers vs. nailguns, there's still more hammers in the world and they still see more use I'd bet)


just sick of "it's a tool" as if somehow that means it's not dangerous. everything's dangerous.

especially tools. humans use 'em, after all.

@solder_on maybe it's a tool like a nuclear reactor, and we should be really bloody careful about supervising it and making sure it doesn't meltdown.

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