RE: Inflammable vs. flammable

Subject: RE: Inflammable vs. flammable
From: "Evans, Diane L (Rosetta)" <diane_evans -at- merck -dot- com>
To: "Techwr-l" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2007 11:16:31 -0700

Reminds me of a story I heard this weekend...this does get to tech
writing at the end.

On Saturday, a friend of mine needed to jump a vehicle battery,
something he has done many times before. He hooked up the cables when,
suddenly, they burst into flames! Afraid to grab the cables, and not
knowing what else to do, he screamed (in his owe words) like a "girly

Suddenly, he saw someone running out of his neighbor's house, in a
Marine uniform. The man ran up the driveway, saying, "I'm a
firefighter. Let me help." The Marine got the cable off of the car
batteries, used a nearby fire extinguisher, and helped clean up the

Why did the cables explode? One car was a Chrysler, with a rubber
sleeve that held the battery down. The sleeve, of course, obscured the
positive and negative markings on the battery. To help a user identify
which cable went where, they painted the NEGATIVE terminal red. No real
writing here, but a savvy tech writer could have been used. "Gee, guys,
doesn't red normally mean positive?"

I took a usability course about 10 years ago. The course was based on,
"Engineers lead to the confusion, injury, and death of many people."
'Nuff said!

Diane Evans
Requirements Analyst
Rosetta Inpharmatics

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Inflammable vs. flammable: From: Cardimon, Craig
RE: Inflammable vs. flammable: From: Ron Hearn
Re: Inflammable vs. flammable: From: Bill Swallow

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