Had to use the heat today (it got down to around 40 last night), and discovered that the pilot light on the furnace was out. This required that the pilot light be re-lit, a task that was complicated by the fact that the access to the pilot light was on the side of the furnace closest (about a foot and a half) to the wall. To be fair, another side of the furnace is cheek by jowl with the other furnace, but that leaves two sides that have 12 or so feet of clearance. So, among the great questions of our time is, why on earth wouldn't you install the furnace so that it was easy to access the pilot light?
University of Illinois engineering alum Henry Petroski's got a number of books about design, and engineering and similar questions.