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Dan Fixes Coin-Ops @ifixcoinops@mastodon.social

Elongate Muskington Show more

cold take, moneypol Show more

So, yeah. My straw vending machine idea won't work in the USA, because American money is pretty much uniquely dysfunctional.

Consider this an encouragement to go to the bank, swap some smelly, ugly, wrinkled worthless one-dollar notes for dollar coins, and get them into circulation.

The appalling state of American currency leaves most people using plastic, which comes with per-transaction and monthly fees to already-obscenely-rich-and-powerful card companies and banks, not to mention customer data mining and selling that data to sociopaths. It is against the retailers' agreements with the banks to provide discounts for cash transactions.

These one-dollar notes are the same size and shape as the five, the ten, the twenty, the fifty and the hundred, and a very similar colour, so if you're blind or visually impaired you're basically screwed. One-dollar notes also last a very short time and are expensive to make, wasting millions of dollars every year. They can't be withdrawn for complex political reasons.

The worthlessness of American coins makes an enormous difference to how they're spent. The most valuable American coin in common circulation is the 25-cent piece, which is worth about 19p. This means that nobody leaves the house with change in their pockets, because it can't effectively be used to buy anything. There's been attempts to introduce a one-dollar coin, but the mint has bungled the attempt every time, and Americans are left with one-dollar notes as a result.

New idea: same as above, but accepts any coin. That makes the mechanism even simpler and less prone to jamming. Will last a century, with long times between required interventions.
Problem two: people might not have a coin of ANY sort.

This is actually a pretty huge problem in the USA.

People in the USA routinely walk around with no change in their pockets, because either they don't use cash or they do but when they get home their cash goes into a box to accumulate some sort of value.

So, thinking of the enormous success of the UK's ban on free plastic carrier bags, I figured it'd be easier to charge a penny for a straw. I didn't comment, someone else brought it up, but again, would require spoons from those for whom the human interaction necessary in ordering a drink is already an ordeal.

So, the idea: little countertop straw vending machine, one penny, one straw. Simple steel mechanism, no power required.
Problem one: people might not have a penny.

Been thinking about money the past couple of days. It all started with straws.

The Metafilter thread on banning plastic straws devolved instantly into the same thread Metafilter always has on introducing any new law: no matter what the benefits, if it causes some human inconvenience then it's a non-starter. This time, the showstopper was that some disabled people need straws, and having to ask for a straw with their drink would require a spoon that they may not have. (cont...)

Deployed a change to mastodon.social: If you look at Preferences now, instead of having to opt-out of all languages you don't speak, you can opt into only the languages that you do speak.

Aldi had an open-box special on a big tool cabinet for $35!


So I stuck two fingers up at the Voice of Uncertainty and told it thinking was for nerds - and now, two hours later, I've got an 87-foot-long hole in my garden and the job is actually happening rather than just being thought about for weeks on end.

Moral of the story: GO DO THE THING.

One quick profanity break later, I just grabbed my spade and started digging. The Voice of Uncertainty said "DAN LAST TIME YOU TRIED THIS YOU DUG FOR THREE MINUTES AND THEN DECIDED TO HIRE A TRENCHER, PUT DOWN THE SPADE AND JUST THINK FOR A SECOND MAYBE GET ON THE COMPUTER AND RESEARCH THIS A BIT MORE OH GOD STOP YOU CAN'T JUST DIG THERE MUST BE A MORE EFFICIENT WAY" but I knew if I did that then I'd end up wasting two hours on YouTube watching videos of people explaining how to dig holes.

I did my research, arranged the day off, and strolled out of the house with my keys in my hand and a song in my heart this morning to go and hire a trenching machine, and then realised that my car doesn't actually have a tow ball.

I don't just fix coin-ops, I also dig holes. This week my basement flooded - the worst flood ever. The neighbour to the back of my house has a lawn that angles towards mine, since we're on a hill. The French drain halfway up my hill can handle tho water from my property, but not his as well. So, I'm installing an extra drain at the point his water enters my yard, to run the water through a pipe past the house.

Stuff that doesn't play well to a social media crowd:

- Fred Rogers-like compassion and sincerity
- nuance and subtlety
- admitting you're wrong
- humility
- having a debate where the goal is to make progress rather than win
- communicating that an idea may be more complex than just black-and-white
- longform writing that isn't broken up into short quips

Hot air expands, so it takes up more room than an equivalent amount of cold air, so this creates an imbalance of pressure. Being the same stuff but spread further apart, hot air is also lighter than cold air, so it'll rise up. Higher rooms get hotter. When you let hot air out, you encourage the pressures in your house to equalize. When you forcefully blow air out with a big fan, you create another imbalance, one which the open window in your basement will try to correct.

More energy-conservation stuff, thermodynamics:

Had some questions about the fan thing, figured "People won't be unsure about specific situations if they have a good familiarity with the fundamentals," just like in the pinball repair classes I teach, so here, fundamentals.

Air is like electricity in that high pressure wants to move into places with low pressure so that the world equalizes. A compressed air cylinder will start spraying air out very quickly when you open the valve. (cont...)

Aaaaaaaand severe basement flooding.

Damn, every time I add a new intervention to stop this, I get a few months of dryness and then the rain UPS ITS GAME.