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McBlog: On “Bricks” and Hand Pumps: Musings on New Technology.

Tesla’s battery problems provide a much-needed warning.

by on Mar.01, 2012

Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk, shown here .with the Tesla Roadster.

You break it that's your problem, says Tesla founder Elon Musk, shown here with a Tesla Roadster with a working battery.

Editor’s Note: Battery-carmaker Tesla has been roiled in controversy as it turns out customers can turn their car into a virtual “brick” by failing to keep the vehicle charged. We asked our intrepid correspondent, Denise McCluggage to muse on the risks of cutting-edge technologies.

New technologies — or new developments in old technologies – require their users to click out of their half-asleep automatic response and be consciously aware of the best way to deal with this new stuff. When the new patterns of response are tweaked to the most appropriate actions then it’s safe to revert to robot mode.

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From long ago I recall my country cousins on the family homestead had a hand pump on their kitchen sink. The town-kid in me thought this “new” thing was the cat’s pajamas. But then it was updated to mundane faucets much like we had. Star-shaped with “C” and “H” in the center.

The old hand pump simply stopped its intermittent gushing when whoever was pumping stopped pumping. And when the faucets were first installed I remember my cousins had to sometimes turn back to the sink to turn them off. But not for long. The new twist-off behavior quickly replaced the pump technology in their automation map.