About Dominic Furniss

I am a Human Factors researcher at UCL interested in human error, resilience strategies and public engagement.

New error from Dominic Furniss

From colleague: So… My wife Jill takes milk in her instant coffee, I don’t. Pouring hot water into Jill’s cup is an error-prone process, because it’s easy to misjudge the amount of space to leave for milk, so either I have to add further water, or else — much more of a nuisance — I’ve over-filled the cup and I have to spoon some of the water away. I’ve developed the habit of pouring Jill’s cup *first*, i.e. before mine, not just out of chivalrous politeness but because, if I don’t leave enough room for milk, I can continue filling the cup and take it as *my* coffee, and this gives me a second chance to pour Jill’s correctly (and probably a bit more carefully). #rsdiary

New error from Dominic Furniss

I am hosting a webinar on 12 March 1-2.30pm EST. We advertised this at the end of February and checked the GMT times which were 6-7.30pm. We didn’t know EST changes to EDT on second Sunday in March meaning there is only a 4hr time difference rather than 5hrs, so the webinar is actually 5-6.30pm GMT. At the end of March GMT changes to BST meaning that we go back to 5hrs difference and not 4hrs, so there is only a short window where we are 4hrs apart and not 5. #errordiary #mistake

New error from Dominic Furniss

From FB person: For forgetful people like me, I have a dream tip that may help. I plug my straighteners into a two plug extension cord; in the other plug is a lamp. When I plug the extension cord in to switch on my straighteners, it also turns on the lamp. When I leave the room I always notice if the lamp is left on therefore know I have also left straighteners plugged in. Hope that helps someone else as well. #rsdiary #straighteners

New error from Dominic Furniss

We’re mixed feeding our baby which means breastfeeding and making lots of bottles. The routine of making formula feeds means your attention easily wanders. On a few occasions I have forgotten how many scoops of formula I have put into the bottle mid-way through making a feed. A resilience strategy that I have adopted to reduce the likelihood of this error is counting out the scoops loudly. This seems to hold my attention and makes me more likely to register each scoop by number #rsdiary #babybrain

New error from Dominic Furniss

My weird and wonderful experience of male lactation!

It was a normal day in our household, or at least as normal as normal could be when you’re into the fifth week since the birth of your first child. We had roast chicken for dinner, watched some TV and were preparing to go to bed. I picked up the baby and carried her upstairs.

As we got to the bedroom I felt a moist sensation on my chest, right where my nipple was. “Weird,” I thought. I put the baby down and touched my shirt. My nipple was hard and a dark moist patch had appeared on my shirt. “What the hell?” surely I couldn’t be lactating? I recalled a friend of mine had told me this was possible but I didn’t pay much attention to them at the time, in any case it must be pretty rare. I ran downstairs to my wife, “Look at this,” I showed her the moist area around my nipple, “There’s fluid around my nipple, I think it’s leaking.” She laughed and called me a prat. Undeterred I took my shirt off and following many evenings of watching her express her milk I started to squeeze my boob to see if any milk would come out. She watched as I did this and said that I couldn’t be lactating, but the evidence was pointing to the contrary! I was strangely excited, curious and so I continued to hand pump my breast. Fleeting thoughts of sharing breast-feeding duties, and issues of breast-feeding with a hairy chest flashed through my mind.

But it came to nothing, and my boob felt sore. I felt a new moist patch on my shirt, similarly small in size to the first but this time slightly lower down. I touched it and it appeared to be soft, like a lump. I reached inside my shirt pocket to find a small piece of wet stuffing there. The penny dropped and my episode of spectacular male lactation came crashing down. Just before picking up the baby I reached over to finish off the leftovers from my wife’s chicken dinner – a bit of stuffing must of fallen into my shirt pocket before it reached my mouth. Coincidentally it stopped long enough just where my nipple was which explained where the fluid appeared to be coming from.

Of course this was hilarious to my wife. I re-buttoned my shirt and went back to normal. No leaks to worry about, just a dirty shirt. #errordiary

New error from Dominic Furniss

I just walked to work twice! I got off the train, through the barriers, down the road, nearly to work and I felt the breeze. Where’s my jacket? Did I leave it on the train? Did I even leave the house with it? I think I recall putting on the parcel shelf on the train but don’t think I left the house with it :/. I stopped and stood there wondering whether to walk back and check for a few minutes. I searched my brain for clues as to what my body might have done, but I remained unsure. I walked back to the train to check. There wasn’t any sign of the jacket on the train, so I presume I left it at home and guess I’ll find out tonight whether I did or not. (The round trip added another 30mins on to my journey) #errordiary #inattentionalblindness http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inattentional_blindness

New error from Dominic Furniss

Great post from a FaceBook friend: “Today could have turned out a nightmare!!! All packed and ready to go out for the day on the A2 I realised I had left my purse at home, no big prob, I could borrow from my brother if needed. Then I realised I’d left Lily’s bag at home, again no big prob, although a size smaller I could pinch one of George’s if need be. Next I realised I’d forgotten my mums birthday card/pressie which Scott could give to mum for me. But the real icing on the cake, the best of the best of things I’ve forgotten today…I forgot to a) lock my car and b) even take the keys with me! Apparently I’d left them hanging in the door!!! Thank goodness for the kind, honest person who handed them in to the park’s cafe for me!!!” #errordiary

New error from Dominic Furniss

Reading 2236 from @BrianSJ3 reminded me of a story: friend of mine had his Dad and brother over to help with some internal doors. He had new carpet laid and so the doors no longer shut properly because of the added thickness. His Dad and brother had them off, shaved a good half inch or so off them and put them back up (his Dad muttered something about the handle being put on the wrong side). Puzzled why it almost seemed to make no difference they forced the door shut. Now, with light pouring in the widened gap at the top of the door, they realised the problem. #errordiary

New error from Dominic Furniss

How annoying… I only use my credit card infrequently. The total is automatically paid from a bank account. However, this is not my main bank account so I need to remember to transfer appropriate funds to it. I used the credit card for some recent payments (a wedding) which meant it was far larger than normal. I had enough money to pay it but it wasn’t in the account that it was due from. Also, I’ve just found out that if the total is not available then the credit card payment is declined completely, i.e. not even the minimum payment is taken. So because of this #slip error I have gained a penalty fee (£12), interest on the outstanding money (£40), and my card has been suspended until I make the payment. Simple slip and it’s £’s and blocked :( #errordiary #slip #finances.
It’s made me realise that the bank and their credit card arm don’t really talk to each other.
Would be lovely if there was a grace period and they alerted you if insufficient funds are available (e.g. automatic text).
It’s made me think there’s little incentive for credit card branch to reduce these errors – they make money from these fees after all.
I think it’s time I closed that account, and get a credit card that’s linked to my main account. I might not be able to change the design of the banking systems, but I can make the system that I work with simpler.