Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Occam's in action...

A few days ago, my dad gave me a copy of an article about Occam's Razor. For anyone who's unfamiliar with it, Occam's Razor states, "entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem." I know that everyone who's reading this already speaks Latin, so I'm sure no translation is necessary. (What? You guys DON'T speak Latin?!? What kind of craziness is the world coming to??) Okay, translated, this means "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity." And translated into REAL English, Occam's Razor is the idea that the simplest explaination to a problem is generally the best one. (I think I may have touched on this idea in one of my "global warming" posts, where I had the audacity to postulate that the SUN has a much bigger impact on our climate than human beings. Apparently, that idea is a bit too "simple" for some people... but I won't name any names... algorealgorealgorealgore... um, where was I? ;))

Oh yes... so last night, after Rick and I had eaten dinner, I decided to make a nice cup of tea. (I know it sounds like I'm changing the subject, but just hang with me for a minute...) I also decided to get my coffeemaker ready to go for morning. And I refilled Echo's water bowl with some fresh water. In other words, I was running the tap quite a bit to fill up teapots and coffee carafes and dog bowls. As I put the teakettle on the burner to boil, I thought I heard the sound of water dripping. I glanced back at the faucet on the sink (which has had a tendency to be very temperamental lately -- it doesn't always shut off properly, so the handle has to be firmly mashed down to prevent the faucet from dripping), but it seemed to be completely off. And then I realized the sound was coming from somewhere near my FEET -- I looked down, and water was pouring out of the cabinet below the sink, soaking the little throw rug I keep on the floor.

I immediately ran to my computer to summon Rick. And yes, I know it's pathetic that we IM each other in the house, but in this case, it saved me from having to run upstairs while all that water was collecting on the floor. Instead, I just sent out an IM SOS, and ran to the bathroom for towels. Meanwhile, Rick ran downstairs and turned off the water under the sink (duh... I should've done that before I went to get towels... I'm such a girl... :)). We then proceeded to take everything out from under the sink and sop up the mess, while we tried to figure out WHERE the leak was coming from. Rick tentatively turned the water back on so I could run the faucet for a few seconds... there was some discussion about perhaps needing to replace the faucet, since it had been acting so finicky... maybe the whole SINK needed to be replaced, pipes and all... maybe we just needed an ENTIRELY NEW KITCHEN... actually, you know what? Bulldoze the whole house... it's the only way to be certain we really get to the source of the problem...

After a few seconds of running the water, Rick realized that the "leak" was definitely coming from the faucet -- it was dripping down the hose that connects the faucet to the water pipe. We have one of those faucets that pull out, so you can use it like a showerhead. Well, a showerhead for your vegetables (woe to he who tries to shower in the sink...). Pull it out, you've got a sprayer; thread it back into the housing, it's a regular faucet. Well, when we pulled out the hose and attempted to use it in "sprayer" mode, water indeed began spraying -- UP from the faucet, instead of down into the sink. So when the faucet was nestled into its housing and the water was turned on, all that water was flying back up the OUTSIDE of the hose and dripping down into the cabinet. The solution? A two-second tightening of the loose nut inside the faucet.

So to get back to Occam's Razor (see? I told you I'd get back to it...), we were all ready to start dismantling our kitchen and to spend who-knows-how-much money on a brand-new faucet in an effort to figure out how to fix that leak... when, in fact, the solution was simple, free and took two seconds. You don't always have to destroy the kitchen to fix the faucet. If the faucet is leaking, it's probably not the oven's fault. And the great thing is, Occam's Razor can be applied to just about any aspect of life: home, work... recreation, auto repair... finances, travel, weight loss (you mean it really IS as simple as calories in vs. calories burned?? Yup...). In fact, you would think that politicians could apply this same principle to all the things they like to screw up in Washington, D.C....

But that's a whole different blog post for another time... :)

1 comment:

G said...

IT people are notorious for violating this rule.

One time, I had a guy give me a ten second answer (which was what was required) to my question. He then spent the next fourteen minutes and fifteen seconds explaining his ten second answer.

Ugh.