USB outlets are current limited to a set maximum output, so no damage
would ensue from them being shorted or any attempt to overload them.
Some are capable of 500ma, 1amp, or even more. 500mA is common on PC's
and laptops. The devices you plug in also have their own current input
protection, so a device which perhaps needs 500mA will draw that and no
more, even if plugged into a USB outlet of 3amps capability.
Some machines measure the current, and shutdown the port and display an
"over-current" warning if a device takes more than the amount it has
negotiated (I've not seen that behaviour for a few years though) I
presume most have polyfuses these days.
I *sometimes* think about wear and tear on the socket although I have
never had one fail.
Thanks to the EU, I now have plenty of USB wall warts, most of them nice
small switched mode supplies so I generally use these.
But as others have said, I'd have no concerns about charging from the
laptop if necessary from the protection viewpoint.
I had a thumbdrive which wore out its blade contact, either that or
something got loose inside; but as it was a solid item, I doubt that,
so I think it was the connector. It got lots of use, too, so wearing
out was not a big surprise.
It's a lot more D-I-Y than a journey through Sellafield. Unless you have
your own nuclear reactor, that it.
Or problems with iPhones, or nostalgia, aka the Good Old Days.
Or many other subjects that get covered on this NG. Why pick on this
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