October 29, 2003
@ 12:49 PM

A couple of days ago I saw the following post  on Slashdot

You jest, but the truth is fairly scary... (Score:5, Interesting)
by raygundan (16760) Alter Relationship on Tuesday October 21, @04:28PM (#7275433)
I had a chemistry professor (Prof. Lipschitz, not sure on spelling anymore) at Purdue during Freshman Engineering that would bring us a different article about a different idiot every friday about someone who had injured themselves masturbating with a vacuum cleaner. But not just any vacuum cleaner-- he managed to find a different incident every week involving the Hoover Dustette. And not just any articles, either-- they had to be from a reliable medical journal. The excuses were hilarious: "I was vacuuming in my bathrobe and fell on top of the vacuum and the robe came undone," etc...

We, of course, all thought it was just his twisted sense of humor. However, at the end of the year, the big lesson was "As engineers, you have to always take into account the unexpected uses of your product."

I actually looked this up via Google and found from an old Straight Dope article that the reliable medical journal in question was the British Medical Journal.