Years ago when I was a kid I was into making things to solve problems. Earlier in my life I remember as a kid seeing a neighbor shove 120VAC into the ground to get worms to come up to the surface. I also remember taking a worm and slapping it on one of the posts and shocking the shit out of myself. Apparently that lesson did not stick.

As a teenager I wanted a device similar to this. So I wired a 120VAC plug and cord to a 1/4" audio connector. I threw this in a box and forgot about it. Years later my sister went through my things looking for a power plug for a synthesizer we had. It had an audio 1/4" plug for headphones. She told me she plugged this cord she found of mine into the synth and it started smoking. She went to pull the plug out and shocked the shit out of her. I don't think that the synth ever worked correctly after that.

Well, today I was thinking fondly about that story. I mean, who wouldn't think fondly about shocking the shit out of your sister (she didn't die, so its okay). However, it was dangerous. Really really dangerous.

The lesson I can take from this memory is this: if you know a software interface (or electrical) is not safe then don't build it. Someone will try and use that shit years later and really fuck some stuff up. I have to wonder. What kind of software traps have I built in the past that are yet to be discovered?

  • 3
    Couldn't agree more with the moral!
    I got my fair share of electrical "experiments" in my youth.
    Actually, I made a similar plug with some european 230VAC and some guitar 6.3" jack in order to control some light sets for gigs.

    Worst. Idea. Ever. Please never reproduce.

    Also, could some captain enlighten me on this "const worms = alternative current + ground;" stuff ?
  • 3
    @Lonchampt The worms rise to the surface to prevent being shocked. My setup would not have worked anyway. You need to separate the hot and return a distance. The idea is to mildly shock the worms with voltage. So if you spread 120VAC over some distance then you shock the worms at a voltage divided by the distance. So 6ft (72") distance would cause a voltage across the length of a 6" worm. The voltage would be 6/72 * 120VAC = 10VAC over worm. This would make the worm uncomfortable to either move up or down. The purpose is to get worms for fishing.
  • 3
    So there are two lessons here regarding electrical safety:
    1) never use a connector with exposed contacts (usually a male connector) if there is a possibility that the contacts are live when the cable is unplugged
    2) only use connectors within their rated voltage spec

    A more generic lesson would be to not be a fuckwit.
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