Friday, April 22, 2022

Elevate Your Game (Reconstruction Conference Edition)

I'm in Chicago right now, presenting at a conference on the Reconstruction Amendments back at the University of Chicago Law School. I'm obviously excited to be here -- slightly less excited to have unwittingly been thrust onto a largely-maskless plane thanks to a murder cult judge on an ego trip* -- but I'll leave off on more until after the conference is over.

Rather, I want to talk about my hotel's elevators.

I'm staying at The Study at University of Chicago, which apparently just opened this past October. Overall, it seems nice, and I'm having a pleasant stay. However, there's something weird about the elevators. 

They have one of those sensors where you need to scan your room card to go to your floor. That's normal. What's not normal is that the sensors are approximately 18 inches from the ground. I'm not especially tall, but I have to bend way over just to reach them. They could not be placed in a less convenient spot unless they were on the elevator ceiling.

The reason this baffles me as that elevators-in-hotels-with-sensors are not a new concept. I'm not going to say we've utterly perfected the genre, but they're hardly uncharted terrain. Elevator manufacturers have been building these things for quite some time, and have long since learned (if there was ever any doubt) to place the sensors at a convenient arm-accessible height. That's definitely already the default option. So what possibly prompted this UI disaster? It feels like it must have been a conscious choice by someone, but I cannot for the life of me figure out what prompted it. It's like if, decades after manufacturers started putting radios in cars, one car came out with the radio controls placed inside the glove compartment. Why? Just, why?

Anyway -- as inconveniences go, this is very minor. The rant is not so much because I'm upset by this, but again, because I'm just flummoxed as to how it happened.

* My view on masking on airplanes is relatively straightforward. On the one hand, I get why people would rather be unmasked and are happy to no longer where them. On the other hand, I also do not get how or why wearing an extra scrap of fabric on one's body -- even one that you'd rather not wear! -- has become the greatest sacrifice and deprivation of human liberty since slavery. Ultimately, I believe the decision on when masking should end in a pandemic should be made by medical experts, not random district court judges in Tampa embodying pilpul.

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