Elevator Button

I just finished reading the Elevator Button Problem. A short story about how even something as simple as the elevator button needs to be designed.

Even crazier, the article mentions a Paternoster. A sort of elevator that never stops. Watch this video for a demonstration. It does not look safe!

Inspired by a post on Hacker News.


First Ever TEDxPhoenix Coming to Arizona!

This is a guest post by longtime BrainFuel fan Tomas Carrillo.

Hey BrainFuel readers, I wanted to take a moment to tell you about Arizona’s first ever TEDxPhoenix event which is scheduled to take place this Friday, November 6th from 6pm to 9pm at the Mesa Arts Center.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with TEDxPhoenix, it’s a local and independently organized event operated under license from TED. TED which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design is the world famous conference that has been sharing it’s amazing TEDTalks with people around the world for several years now.


It shouldn’t be this hard to get keys

The day we moved into our office we loaded a truck with half of our stuff and drove to the new office around 12 o’clock. Everything was in order so we began moving in. Around 5 o’clock that evening we started to ask about keys for the office. We were assured they would be forthcoming.

Around 7 pm we make our last trip and pull up to the new office but find the gate locked. We can’t get in!

And worse: there are still people from our team inside! They were locked in by other tenants.

So we phone the landlord. No answer.

Phone again, no answer. This isn’t looking good.

About 10 minutes later we hear that the maintenance man is coming by with a key to the gate.

To make a long story short, we threatened to change the locks on our doors that night if they didn’t get us keys (we had no way to lock them from the inside). We had keys in our pockets within 30 minutes.


The Homeless Guy at Subway

On Friday, we went over to Subway to get a bite to eat, and while we were eating a fellow walked over to our table.

“Would you mind sparing a quarter or 50 cents so I can get a bite to eat?”

The first thing that naturally crossed my mind was what this man could possibly buy for 50 cents that would be remotely filling. Maybe an 8th of a Subway sandwich?

Naturally, my mind progressed and I wondered if he was really going to get food, or just buy alcohol or something. Of course, that’s the moment when you look around at the people who are watching.

It’s at this point that you either have to say “no” or “here’s a buck.”

So I gave him two bucks and he was on his way. I saw him as we left smoking a cigarette, so I knew I had made the wrong choice.

Next time, I think I’ll ask the person questions. Like, what could you possibly get to eat for only 25 cents? And gladly hand the fellow a quarter. I’ll say “here you go!”

And deep inside, I’ll feel good knowing that he could have just as easily found that much money in a wishing pond. Maybe I should try the opposite approach, and exclaim that I’m from the Dept. of Weights and Measures, and we’ve been looking for a bright person to hire to measure peoples generosity. I could ask him for money instead and turn the tables.