Saturday, September 23, 2017

Tripping Breakers for Dummies - The Freelance Files CMLXIX

Circuit Breakers
Most would-be DIYers begin their home repair careers with projects like decks and, perhaps, fences. For most, the tasks they feel qualified to tackle rarely go beyond rudimentary carpentry. A few, however, will try their hands at plumbing and even electrical work. In truth, a lot of home electrical repair is pretty simple; but you really need to have a qualified person telling you the safe way to do the job, That definitely rules out eHow's Whitney Houston (real name probably Whitney Devine), who — for unknown reasons — considered herself an "expert" on swimming pools. When it came to questions like "What Causes a Pool Pump to Trip a Circuit Breaker?" however, Whitney was drowning in dumbassery.

What "Houston" did here was classic eHow: although she knew nothing about 1) pool pumps and 2) circuit breakers; she googled "trip" and "circuit breaker" to cobble together her answer. The result? Pure crap. Now, a reasonable assumption for this question is that the OQ's pool pump intermittently tripped a breaker, and he wanted to know why. In other words, Whitney's several of "answers" were pretty much useless, such as,
  • "If any of the electrical wires are connected to the incorrect power terminals on the pool pump, the pool timer or the circuit breaker, the circuit breaker might trip before the pool timer gets power." - Sorry, Whitney, that problem would have been caught when the pool and pump were originally installed.
  • "When two electrical wires touch, the power demand placed on the circuit breaker increases, tripping the breaker." - 1) Don't you know the term "short circuit"? and 2) shouldn't you be telling us how to test for that?
  • "If the circuit breaker supplies power to multiple devices that run at one time, the breaker might trip. For example, if the pool pump shares electricity with a power outlet into which you plug a lamp..." - A lamp?!!!? Surely you're kidding, Whitney! FWIW, pool pumps are wired on a dedicated circuit, just like an electric stove.
  • "It’s possible that the breaker supplying electricity to your pool pump can’t handle the pool pump’s electrical demand, causing the breaker to trip." - Uhhh, dumbass, that's pretty much the reason why breakers trip!
     Witless's... err Whitney's only approaches to the probable cause are the short circuit thing -- insulation worn off the wires or something else bridging the circuit -- and the undersized breaker. She missed the possibility of a circuit wired with the wrong gauge of wiring, and completely blew a likely cause: the circuit breaker is worn out. Yes, Virginia, circuit breakers do wear out (our founder once had a worn out circuit on his A/C -- in Texas). But Whitney's "research" didn't uncover this information, so instead she babbled about lamps being in the circuit for the pool pump.¹ All together now: she's a dumbass! the Dumbass of the Day!

¹ That's pretty unlikely, since pool pumps usually run on 220V and the household circuits are 110V. Just sayin...


Friday, September 22, 2017

Stick Shifts for Dummies - The Freelance Files CMLXVIII

manual transmission gear shift
10 o'clock???
Some of the staffers here at the Antisocial Network are old enough to remember when you could get just about any new car with either an automatic or a manual transmission. That's no longer the case: many models are available only with some form of automatic tranny (including the CVT). Whether that's the reason why so few people know how to drive a stick shift or the small number off stick drivers is the reason that few cars have manuals is debatable. What's not debatable is that if you want to learn "Step-by-Step Instructions On Driving a Stick Shift," you could do a lot better than read the tripe John Mack published for (originally at eHow -- of course).

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ohio Spiders for Arachnophobe Dummies - The Freelance Files CMLXVII

Argiope aurantia black and yellow spider
We don't usually hand out DotD awards to the same person on two consecutive days, but give us a break -- the staff retreat is today and we-re in a bit of a time crunch. So even though we just tagged her for the first time yesterday, we're calling eHow's Shanea Patterson back to the podium again for the gross scientific incompetence she displayed in the post "Types of Black & Yellow Spiders in Ohio."

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Completions for Dummies - The Freelance Files CMLXVI

downhole completions are designed by a completions engineer
Careers, we guess, are pretty much like any other topic: if you want to learn what a [name an occupation] does, your best bet is to ask someone who has the job. Your second best bet is to ask someone who's seen the job done. Around the Antisocial Network, we suspect that your worst bet is to ask someone at a Demand Media [now Leaf Group] site: if you do that, you're likely to end up with rubbish like eHow's Shanea Patterson threw together for "The Job Description of a Completions Engineer," now appearing at Leaf Group's niche site

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wired Bike Computers for Dummies - The Freelance Files CMLXV

routing computer wire on bicycle
If you were to come into the Antisocial Network world headquarters building by way of the garage, you might notice the number of bicycles stored there on any given day. All our staffers are avid cyclists, and about half are pretty handy when it comes to routine maintenance on their bikes. That's why the collected works of DMS's Charlie Gaston so frequently... well, "piss them off" seems to fit. Unlike our staffers, Gaston seems to have only a passing familiarity with cycling and its equipment, as she demonstrates for in "How to Install an Old Bicycle Speedometer."

Monday, September 18, 2017

Molly Bolts for Dummies - The Freelance Files CMLXIV

molly bolt after tightening
Molly Brown was unsinkable. Sweet Molly Malone cried "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh!" Molly bolts hold all kinds of things on drwyall (or plaster) walls where it's inconvenient to hit a stud. But if you ever (for some unknown reason) want to know "How to Sink a Molly Bolt," we suggest you give a pass to the eHow instructions that Mary McNally wrote...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Router Jigs For Dummies - The Freelance Files CMLXIII

If you were to ask someone about "How to Make Router Jigs," the best possible answers would come from people who 1) know what a router jig is, 2) have experience using a router, preferably with a jig, and 3) know how to make router jigs. Anyone who can't meet all three of those criteria would be a non-optimal candidate, don't you think? Well, today's DotD nominee doesn't have any of those three qualifications! It should come as no surprise that she posted this at eHow, not should it be surprising that she's Lacy Enderson -- again.