Related to MAKE 11, Hot Electrical Problem
MakeShift 11: Analysis, Commentary, and Winners
by Lee D. Zlotoff
January 04, 2008
Go figure. It was bound to happen on this one. A professional firefighter wins the Most Plausible award. But talk about pressure! If he entered this one and didn't win, then he should be looking for a new line of work.
This challenge seemed to be relatively straightforward. Instead, it pointed out our ever-growing dependence on cellphones and related technology. Find a signal and call for help was the strategy most often expressed as a solution to this challenge. Scramble for the SUV and drive around helter-skelter until you get a cellphone signal, then call for help to 911 or to the fire department or some other higher power and dump the problem in their lap.
The seemingly automatic and universal availability of cellphones makes it a bit more difficult to write these challenges because the answer seems so obvious. But when a possible major disaster is just a few minutes away, and help by cellphone is potentially a few minutes beyond that, then you'd better be ready to work on your own.
No problem, trying the cellphone. That's what any sane person would do. But you'd better be thinking of another option while pushing the buttons because very often in the real world, and always in the MakeShift Challenge, you are going to be on your own.
"On your own" could be as simple as getting in your SUV and fleeing the area, or going to try and find the nearest neighbors or police or fire station. One person suggested making an anonymous call to authorities to report the problem once they were well clear of the area so they would not get blamed for what happened. The person who responded with that approach almost got the Most Creative award because it was a solo solution. But they also seemed to have very little respect for the knowledge and abilities of fire investigators. Forensic science being what it is these days, you can bet it would take about 24 hours for professional investigators to end up at your front door asking where you were yesterday. But are we sure no one would actually take that approach?
Another contestant drew a detailed map of how they visualized the entire property, complete with compass directions. It was a great drawing, but the solution seemed to reference detailed compass directions over quick thinking. The logical solution was to kill the power to the hot socket itself once it was discovered that the problem existed, and then wet down the area. Those who took this approach were on the right track. And so, with that in mind, the professional firefighter saved the day.
Thanks to all of you who didn't run to your SUV and escape the area, for all your creativity in attempting to keep not only your own cabin from burning down, but those of your neighbors and the entire forest too. We are sure Smokey appreciated it, and we look forward to hearing from you in the next challenge.
The winners of the MakeShift Volume 11 Challenge are:
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