Mechanical Advantage

“Mechanical advantage” is the multiplier on human effort that simple machines provide. With mechanical advantage, a person can move something much heavier than themselves. With a long-enough lever and a place to stand, Archimedes claimed he could move Earth itself.

The kicker about mechanical advantage is that it works for good or for ill. High leverage allows a person to make large changes with less effort. We hope that those are mostly beneficial, such as releasing new software to a fleet of ten thousand machines. Unfortunately, there are many examples of automation gone wrong. Back in Force Multiplier, we saw how Reddit suffered from overeager automation. The Governor pattern discussed in Governor, aims to reduce ...

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