About the New California Academy of Sciences

Those blue-lit items hanging flush to the walls near the restroom sinks are hand dryers, which emit warm winds that blow the water right off your fingers. They are not only efficient at doing the job but also extremely efficient at saving energy.

However, in the course of human events, it has been necessary to affix signs identifying them as such. At an opening event, a gent assumed this hanging thing, a sort of like V-shaped plastic pocket into which one is expected to insert one’s hands, was a urinal. What he inserted was appropriate to the function he erroneously imagined.

No harm done — the warm air and wind must have felt good, and the blue light was probably flattering — but the janitorial stuff had to clean up after him.

    — Leah Garchik, in the San Francisco Chronicle of 17 September 2008

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