Category:
Regulations

Divorcee banned from chess club

1971: 16-year-old Soni Romans was banned from all extracurricular activities at at Channelview High School in Houston. This included school choir, chess club, drama, and the National Honor Society. The reason for the ban was that she had been married and divorced and had a child (which she gave up for adoption). Therefore, the school felt that she shouldn't be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities because, during them, she "might discuss sex with other students."

However, if she had simply had the child without getting married and divorced, the same regulation wouldn't have applied. Unwed mothers were free to participate in the extracurriculars. Romans sued the school and won, so the ban was eventually lifted.

The Cincinnati Enquirer - Nov 14, 1971



The Akron Beacon Journal - Feb 17, 1972

Posted By: Alex - Sun Mar 19, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: School, Regulations, Divorce, 1970s

Toys R Us Corrected

The logo for Toys R Us typically includes a backwards R. But when a Toys R Us opened in Cerritos, California in 1972, the local city council insisted that the store spell its name with the R the "correct" way around on the front of the building, so that it wouldnt confuse young children who might be struggling to learn the alphabet.

The store had to keep the corrected R until 1981 when the city council finally voted to allow it to switch to the backwards R. Noted a council member: "All the bags, the price tags in the store had the backwards 'R.' It really wasn't accomplishing anything to have it correct on the outside."

Of course, as Steve Harvey noted for the LA Times, if you really want to be grammatically correct, the name should be Toys R We.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a single picture of the store with the corrected R.

Los Angeles Times - Mar 3, 1981



The normal logo



The corrected version

Posted By: Alex - Sat Mar 18, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Regulations, 1970s

The Tullock Spike

The economic theory of risk compensation suggests that laws intended to increase safety, such as mandating safety belts in cars, can sometimes have the opposite effect by making people feel safer and therefore encouraging them to engage in riskier behavior. This is also known as the Peltzmann Effect.

This concept inspired the economist Gordon Tullock to come up with the idea that instead of mandating safety belts, it would save far more lives if the government required that large spikes were installed in the center of steering columns, because this would make drivers more acutely aware of the danger of driving too fast. This steering-wheel spike is referred to as the Tullock Spike, or Tullock Steering Column.

Image source: reddit


However, economist Sandy Ikeda has noted that a mandatory Tullock Spike might also trigger unintended consequences: "Some might replace the steel dagger with a rubber one. Indeed, a black market in fake steering-column daggers might arise. But that of course could worsen the problem because now some drivers will drive as recklessly as before, while law-abiding drivers will still have daggers aimed at their chests. There maybe fewer accidents but more deaths than before."

Ikeda suggested instead that the best possible safety measure would be to "ban brakes on cars."

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 12, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Motor Vehicles, Regulations

Proper storage of warheads

A classic example of "officialese," which came to light in 1951. Text from a Royal Navy instruction manual on the proper storage of torpedo warheads:

It is necessary for technical reasons that these warheads should be stored with the top at the bottom, and the bottom at the top. In order that there may be no doubt as to which is the bottom and which is the top for storage purposes, it will be seen that the bottom of each warhead has been labeled with the word TOP.

The Decatur Herald - Aug 30, 1951



Green Bay Press-Gazette - Apr 22, 1962

Posted By: Alex - Thu Oct 27, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Government, Regulations, Languages

Banned Singing of Birds

1957: In order to maintain peace and quiet at night, the Long Beach City Council proposed a ban on "singing of birds" between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The Sedalia Democrat - May 9, 1957

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 18, 2016 - Comments (4)
Category: Government, Regulations, 1950s

Lap Driving Banned

A 1950's effort to stop distracted driving.

But what was going on in Cheboygan that they felt a need for an ordinance against this form of distracted driving specifically?

The Pittsburgh Press - Dec 28, 1952


CHEBOYGAN, Mich., Dec 27 (UP) — Traffic violation penalties going into effect here Jan. 1 include a $5 fine for any motorist caught driving with a woman on his lap.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 05, 2016 - Comments (10)
Category: Regulations, 1950s, Cars

Is the new Barbie doll gonna be banned in the Pentagon like Furby ?

image

Is the Pentagon gonna ban this doll like they did the Furby?

http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2015/03/12/talking-barbie-too-creepy.cnnmoney/index.html?

Posted By: BrokeDad - Tue Jun 02, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Toys, Regulations

Transportation of Avocados

Browsing through the municipal code of La Mesa, CA (it's a suburb of San Diego and also happens to be the fine town that I call home), I came across this unusual law:

Every person who transports a commercial quantity of avocados shall cause a statement of ownership to be prepared and retained in his personal possession at all times while transporting said avocados...
"Commercial quantity of avocados" shall mean any quantity of avocados in excess of forty (40) pounds exclusive of the container...
Any peace officer, upon probable cause to believe a person is transporting a commercial quantity of avocados, may stop such person and inspect such avocados, whereupon, the statement of ownership described in Section 10.70.030 shall be presented to said peace officer upon request.
Any peace officer, upon reasonable belief that a person is not in legal possession of a commercial quantity of avocados, may seize such avocados without warrant. Upon seizure the peace officer shall take custody of the avocados and turn the same over to the custody of the Chief of Police.

Obviously we take avocados seriously out here. I wonder if the same rule applies to guacamole.

(image source)

Posted By: Alex - Thu May 21, 2015 - Comments (9)
Category: Food, Government, Regulations

Tax Per Mile

image
Oregon is running a voluntary per mile travel tax instead of the current per gallon standard. The volunteers do not have to pay the gas tax while participating in the study.
Does anyone really believe the gas tax will go away if the per mile tax is enacted? Does any tax ever go away once it is put in place? So if this goes through we may as well expect both.
What a great way to control travel, especially for the poor. This idea is a greater threat to personal liberty than the Patriot Act. It is much easier to control a non-moving populace.

Posted By: patty - Wed May 20, 2015 - Comments (14)
Category: Government, Regulations, Law, Motor Vehicles, Cars, More Things To Worry About

Pole in the Road


This image comes from Bulgaria. The story behind it, as far as I can figure out from the Bulgarian site offnews.bg (with help from Google Translate), is that the pole can be found on a road in the municipality of Tran. The road was recently expanded, but since the pole was owned by the electrical company, the municipality didn't have the right to remove it. So they simply poured the road around it. However, the municipality notes that they have now filed the necessary paperwork to remove the pole, and they hope all the documents will be processed promptly.

Posted By: Alex - Tue May 05, 2015 - Comments (4)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Government, Regulations

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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

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