As defined by Wikipedia, "a cautionary tale is a traditional story told in folklore, to warn its hearer of a danger.
There are three essential parts to a cautionary tale, though they can be introduced in a large variety of ways. First, a taboo or prohibition is stated: some act, location, or thing is said to be dangerous. Then, the narrative itself is told: someone disregarded the warning and performed the forbidden act. Finally, the violator comes to an unpleasant fate, which is frequently related in large and grisly detail."
Engineers love to tell cautionary tales. TechRepublic discussion pages abound with many examples of experienced engineers warning each other of the dangers simply waiting to spring forth upon the unwary and to consume them.
While I was considering my first topic of discussion, I was reminded of my fascination with the cinema and how many of my favorite films are actually cautionary tales.
These films often illustrate the perils of poorly designed, planned and implemented projects having unforeseen consequences. Or in other words, when you don't bother to properly consider your actions, bad, bad, Dennis Hopper-level bad, things can happen. (Just had to give my man Dennis a plug there cause I've not seen him in anything interesting lately. Hey Hollywood send Dennis Hopper a good script!"
If you build a project from used parts of questionable nature in some remote location with no oversight, then don't be suprised when the users arrive with pitchforks and torches looking for you.
If you own a garage, do not believe for a moment that you can build a time machine and muck about with time without losing your friends, home, family; and worst of all, patent rights!
Intellectual superiority does not equate with moral superiority when working with equipment you do not truly understand. Even worse, monsters of the Id will cause your daughter to run off with some strange man while you lay dying on the floor.
Colossus: The Forbin Project
Self-aware defense systems which control nuclear weapons are simply a damned bad idea.
See also the Terminator series if you aren't convinced...
Robotic sex dolls, Yul Brynner with a gun and utterly clueless park guests are a bad idea on a cosmic scale!
Some people just never, ever learn.... Note that if you've ever seen the rare TV series "Beyond Westworld," you are one of about 100 people on the whole planet that has!
Attempting to capture the spirit of Death in a bottle is forever a bad idea. Highly recommended to New Agers....
I look forward to your comments and recommendations.
Have a wonderful Geekend!