Orin, I went to Maryland a long time ago (Physics) and can understand your professor's desire to get in some late night work. It was always much quieter then. In the Physics building, at least, you were not lonely late at night, but you could always find a place to work undisturbed. I used to go out for dinner (usually pizza) next to campus. Then I would get a bumper bottle (quart) of beer on the way back. Somehow it was legal to have open alchohol containers on campus. Those of my professors who were there late (usually a few) would often come by with a glass. It was a bit strange, but fun.
Back in the day, I was also a UMD "night owl" from time to time (physics and EE). The campus was an entirely different world at night (never a fight over an electronic terminal, with the loser left having to use the POS teletypes). As a commuter with a full time job though, it tended only to be when I absolutely HAD to get it done (or by invitation).
Of course, bypassing lock-outs is never good (usually this conversation revolves around generators and people who understand basic circuits but not fault modes).
At New Mexico Tech in the late 70's, we had a DEC 20 with TOPS-20. The load average (a quaint term...) was terrible 8am to 11pm. So, the CS guys (ie me and others) would show up at 11pm to work all night. At 8am, the load average woould do a step function from 1 to 25..30 - a log scale IIRC.
Pizza was out - there were two places in town and they closed at 10. Besides, we were poor enough. Many a night with Dr Pepper, Ritz Crackers, and Velveeta. Yum.
The CS instructors never started a class before 11am to give us time for breakfast, shower, and a morning class.
I'll take the heat for being the voice of safety first... This sounds like he jumped around what was most likely a locked out/tagged out circuit. I know he knew what he was doing but it was still a no-no and possible illegal. As in if someone got hurt in another part of the building oops would not have been accepted.
Circuits are sometimes not as clear cut as one breaker, one office. We have had partitions and even walls moved over the years, the circuitry has not always been modified to match, especially the lighting circuits.
I know I'd be in deep doodoo if I tried this without consulting building management and the maintenance department.
The short version of my point is that this is a "Do not try this at home" moment.
That's a heck of a comment, William K. I did late-night work when I was in college as well. I worked on the university's daily newspaper. I'd come into the office after a play or concert and have to write a review that evening while the copy editors were waiting for my copy. They couldn't go home until I finished. What pressure. It was good practice.
Rob, actually, it was intended to be a sort of terrible pun.
But it is becoming very clear to me that there is a growing gap between the abilities of those who just use some tool and those who created the tools. The problem seems to be that the only engineers who seem to be interested in running the show are the ones who should not be running the show.
But the secret power story reminds me of the time I rearranged the circuits i a breaker panel because somebody was always switching off my wall clock when they switched off the lights. So after the change they were switching off the local air conditioning, which eventually caused them to be more selective in the circuits they switched off. Some folks, those who ignore signs, sometimes do learn eenually.
But moving circuits has served well on several instances.
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