Dr. Rick Dewar, CEng FIMechE
My family and I were recently on holiday. It was our first time to this particular sub-tropical region and we had a great time.
However, we are Northern Europeans and need a bit of help with the relentless heat. We foolishly hadn’t booked a room with AC but were assured the ceiling fans were pretty good. My environmental guilt at having flown across the Atlantic also pushed me towards a fan. On
arrival we turned on the fan to get some respite only to obtain a faint draft which merely added energy to the air in the room without evaporating our perspiration. We were able to get a portable fan that could compensate and all was well.
After five days of our ten-day holiday I was idly playing with the remote that controlled the ceiling fan. The “0″ button was off and the “3″ button was high - how could it be anything else? But how slow were the fan’s “1″ and “2″ button settings? So I pressed them. Turns out “1″ was
high and the room shuddered as the fan accelerated and rebalanced on its gimbals! The forced convection from the fast moving air soon had me cool as a cucumber, but I was left wondering whether I was the monkey to assume the number farthest away (physically and numerically) from zero/off was high, or was it the remote’s designer who was at fault?
Maybe it had been wired wrong when it was fitted or maybe it was a generic remote that was applied to other equipment (making the labels such as high, medium and low inappropriate). Or maybe I should forget my mental models and follow the more monkey-like strategy of thumping all the buttons for the shear joy of discovery.