John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Also, Bogota outlaws public handguns; L.A. says no to beach football; a palm-reading aptitude test is no longer acceptable in China; and Hoboken bans Snookie.
Welcome to our weekly look at what's been outlawed in cities across the world:
• Public libraries in Hull, Bridlington, and other eastern English cities have banned children as young as 9 years-old for “threatening behaviour” and “serious antisocial behaviour.” The libraries have exiled kids for exposing their genitals, intimidating library users, cursing out the staff and stealing books. The ban is likely to put on hold the droogification of East Riding of Yorkshire for at least another few years.
• Los Angeles has decided to extend a ban on summer touch football on the beaches of Marina del Rey. Despite touch football being a refuge for people who don't like getting bumped or jostled in any shape or form, an official claimed that the sport was potentially unsafe for other beachgoers. What, somebody could get aggressively caressed? Enjoy your roughhousing-free beaches, Los Angeles: This is why you don't have a football team.
• New York City's top cop, Raymond Kelly, has forbidden his police officers from wearing any clothing or accessories bearing the NYPD logo. The ban extends to “the use of the department logo or shield in artistic or mural forms, in caricature or cartoon-like representation.” The reason for this ban is a little foggy, but may have something to do with cops walking around in shirts with this written on them: “Brooklyn Homicide – Our Day Begins When Yours Ends.”
• The northern Chinese city of Taiyuan has banned a mystical, hand-based version of the SAT from three private kindergartens. The test, which costs $190, used palm reading to allegedly determine a child's intelligence and future professional success. An executive with the company that offered the palm tests, Shanxi Daomeng Culture Communication Co. Ltd., said that it would work on any student older than three months. Explains Reuters: “Fortune-telling, including palm-reading, has deep roots in Chinese tradition, although China's leaders have discouraged and punished devotees of the practice which they brand superstition.”
• Bogota's mayor Gustavo Petro has forbidden citizens to carry a gun in the Columbian capital until April 30. In regards to this huge gun-control push, Petro's chief of staff told the BBC: “By doing so we will be protecting them from two things: from becoming a target for criminals who might want to take their weapons, and from using their guns in a moment of madness.” Thanks to the work of criminal cartels, Bogota is No. 5 on the international list of violent deaths. Let the violent pushing and slapping commence?
• The mayor of Hoboken has banned Snookie from filming her Jersey Shore spinoff show anywhere within city limits. Dawn Zimmer called the show, or perhaps just Snookie, “unnecessarily degrading [to Hoboken's] quality of life.” Whatever is she talking about?