Nation: Man Against Machine

In the struggle against the perversity of inanimate objects, man seldom emerges victorious. But on two fronts there shines a glimmer of hope.

Few things are more frustrating than a vending machine that sits in smug silence after gobbling a harried human's coins. Michael DeNardo of Cranston, R.I., is not one to put up with such machinations. When an automaton at the foundry where he worked failed to produce the requested coffee, and the coin-return lever offered no peaceful settlement, DeNardo belted the contraption.

All he got was an injured arm. Although he was clearly...

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