Thursday, March 23, 2017

Backward switches down under

I just learned an amazing fact. In Australia and New Zealand, in the southern hemisphere, light switches are wired so that UP = OFF and DOWN = ON!

This is opposite the USA if you consider the orientation relative to gravity, but the directions are consistent if you think of them as being on the opposite side of the world.

I found this explanation:
The direction which represents "on" also varies by country. In the USA and Canada and Mexico and the rest of North America, it is usual for the "on" position of a toggle switch to be "up", whereas in many other countries such as the UK, Ireland, Australia, and in New Zealand it is "down." ... In countries prone to earthquakes, such as Japan, most switches are positioned sideways to prevent the switch from inadvertently being turned on or off by falling objects.
The UK also drives on the wrong side of the road. The explanation for Japan is even weirder. Only the Japanese would have such a goofy and far-fetched concern.

Think about it -- when you turn on your eyesight, do you raise or lower your eyelids? Maybe those Australians think of themselves as walking around upside-down.

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