It is unclear just how official this sign is, but how emphatic it is is less unclear.
The point it makes is no matter of mere manners: it’s a serious pragmatic point about the frailty of plumbing systems (especially, I dare say, at a venerable institution like McGill, where a lot of the buildings are well past their ‘best-before’ date.) But I wonder how much of that serious point is undercut by the jokey reference to not flushing the NY Times?
Thanks to Prof. Jacob Levy for sending the picture.
Taxis are (increasingly?) an example of what I like to call a “normatively rich” or “normatively dense” environment. In other words, they have lots of rules, and lots of signs to make you aware of those rules. This is perhaps not surprising. Taxis are semi-public spaces, often owned by a company, driven by a driver under contract, and ridden in by a constant stream of random strangers. You’re going to need some rules. Uber, of course, may disagree.
The picture here was taken inside a taxi in Palm Beach, FL.
I do love the range of normative injunctions, here. Buckle up (presumably for safety). No eating (presumably to keep the cab clean). And no drugs (presumably a question of law).
I’ve generally avoided signs that make fun of poor translation into English by people in non-English-speaking countries. But this one — posted at an apartment building in Dubai — is pretty fun. You’ve got to admit, the injunction against “foul play” is intriguing. OK, yes, it’s likely just a translation error. They’re thinking of “rough play” or roughhousing. But still.
Of course, they probably DO want to forbid violent crime. But if so then it’s odd to bury it in between a rule forbidding food and drink in the pool area and one saying that kids under 12 need to be accompanied by an adult. Someone might miss it, in the heat of the moment.
Thanks to Christopher Yorke for sending me the photo.
This sign in South Beach, Fla., asserts (or perhaps clarifies) what is true but little-known in at least some jurisdictions, namely that bikes are vehicles and are entitled to take up an entire lane of the road if they want to. (I’m assuming without knowing for sure that that’s the case in Florida just as it is where I live in Ontario, Canada.
As a cyclist, I think the sign is pretty cool.
But why have a sign explicitly giving permission that the law gives on streets anyway? Well, presumably precisely because it’s a little-known legal fact.
The only odd thing is the placement. This sign is on a post that is…well, in the middle of the sidewalk, where it’s more likely to be seen (and hard to avoid) by pedestrians.
In fact, as you can see from the final picture, given the width of the sidewalk and the placement of the sign, pedestrians literally have to step around the sign post to get by. So while cyclists can use the “full lane,” apparently pedestrians can’t.
As the sender of the photo pointed out, it’s a very odd thing to require that one carry a dog in order to be allowed to use the escalator, especially given restrictions on bringing dogs into the UK. A passport surely must be carried. But a dog?
But of course, what it really means is “those who have a dog with them must carry their dogs rather than letting the dog walk up the escalator.” But that’s rather a lot of words for a normative sign, isn’t it?
Brevity may be the soul of wit, but it’s also the source of a lot of ambiguity.
Thanks to Wayne Norman for sending the photo.
Notice that the sign is in the shape of a hand — itself a universal (?) normative sign meaning “STOP!”
And the sign is also basically one big word-cloud, consisting of words related to hand-washing and sanitation.
Thanks to Barbara Secker for submitting the photo.