Thursday, September 22, 2005

Instructions for clueless Americans

When visiting, or moving to, Australia, please note that all electrical sockets appear like this:



That's not to say that they all contain only one socket, but that however many sockets they contain, each has its own on/off switch. When the switch is set to off, there is no current, and when it's switched to on, there is current. Sockets are supposed to be set to off when plugs are placed or removed, otherwise there will be sparks. For an electrical device to work, you need current, so you need to set the switch to the on position. I learned this the hard way. ;)

Furthermore, note that the above switch is set to off. To Americans, it would appear to be set to the on position, and this caused me quite a bit of confusion. I had to retrain myself to understand that light switches and electrical outlet switches are "opposite" how I would expect them to perform (and I wonder if after moving back to the US I will get confused again).

Finally, check out the cool orientation of the prongs! Clearly, there's only one correct way to plug in an electrical device, even if there's no ground.

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