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bookplayer


Twilight floated a second fritter up to her mouth when she realized the first was gone. “What is in these things?” “Mostly love. Love ‘n about three sticks of butter.”

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Apr
2nd
2017

The Crafty Science of Friendship (Void where prohibited) · 1:27am April 2nd

According to a very old law, in Joplin, Mo., it's a misdemeanor.

Any person who shall advertise by display of a sign, circular or handbill, or in any newspaper, periodical, magazine or other publication, or by any other means, to tell fortunes or reveal the future, to find or restore lost or stolen property, to locate oil wells, gold or silver or other ore or metal or natural products, to restore lost love, friendship or affection, or to reunite or procure lovers, husbands, wives, lost relatives or friends, or to give advice in business affairs, or advice of any kind or nature to others for or without pay, by means of occult or psychic powers, faculties or forces, clairvoyance, psychology, psychometry, phrenology, spirits, mediumship, seership, prophecy, astrology, palmistry, necromancy or like crafty science, cards, talismans, charms, potions, magnetism or magnetized articles or substances, oriental mysteries, crystal gazing or magic of any kind or nature shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

(As noted in the original article, it probably violates the first amendment. But I am amused at how thoroughly it prohibits what the Mane Six do and pretty much any way they might do it.)

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Comments ( 20 )

Yeah, good job, Joplin. Remember 2011?

localtvwiti.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/s006899035-300.jpg

Caused by the Gays? No.
Caused by irrational prejudice against weather pegasi? Maybe.

Georg #2 · April 2nd · · ·

Yeah, Trixie and Cadence would be in jail by the end of the day.

Remember the one time the US Congress passed a law that accidentally made it a crime for *anybody* to drive a federal vehicle, even the people who they were assigned to? I still have notes in the back of my notefile to make a short story to that regard about a Royal Guard who arrests Celestia for taking her Phaeton on a government trip, with the four drivers as accomplices, because Parliment wrote a typo in the law that she just signed.

Heck, given the prohibition against the magical location of natural resources, Rarity can't even do business to any reasonable degree.

It is probably unconstitutionally overbroad. That being said, I could easily imagine a ban on something like dowsing or clairvoyance holding up in court on the grounds that it doesn't work and therefore, it would constitute false advertising.

It would be hard to complain - after all, if you can see the future, you should have seen the summary judgement coming. :raritywink:

On a less humorous note, Iraq has banned dowsing for mines or other unexploded ordinance.

4480571
I actually found it through this site, which is always worth a read. But the lawyer who writes it had this to add:

Prof. Volokh notes that laws like these (which are not uncommon!) have been held to violate the First Amendment to the extent they criminalize activity that isn’t fraud—if the person sincerely believes what he or she is doing is real then there would be no intent to deceive (and if both parties understand it isn’t real, no deception). See, e.g., Village of Schaumberg v. Petke, 373 N.E.2d 716 (Ill. App. 1978).

So, it's not so much whether the stuff works as whether the people doing it think it works.

So it's illegal to be a psychologist? Daaaaang.

Also, what Georg said made me think of this: Imagine someone using genuine magic, getting arrested for this law, and then everyone involved in the arrest gets cursed for interrupting the work of capital-L Love by the forces that direct the magic.

4480578
I ended up reading a 74 page law review about this. I hope you're happy :rainbowwild:

The courts have often ruled against specific bans against the practice of crafty arts (both on religious and on free speech grounds), but the review notes that various other laws are potentially applicable to it. Stuff like California's law against "fraudulent deceit", which among other things includes 2. The assertion, as a fact, of that which is not true, by one who has no reasonable ground for believing it to be true; is probably constitutional and potentially could be brought to bear against a fortune teller, even who believes that they are a genuine seer, though not against someone who was expressing an opinion as a seer (and obviously not against someone who is doing it for entertainment purposes only). Obviously outright fraudulent behavior is also banned, but that doesn't really require a specific law.

Interestingly, this particular law is much more likely to hold up because it is a law about advertising, which is a form of commercial speech. Commercial speech can be regulated in ways in which normal speech cannot. In particular, false advertising laws not only prohibit people from making intentionally deceptive claims, but simply from making untrue ones; even if you believe that snake oil can cure cancer, if you try and sell snake oil as a cancer cure, you can still go to jail for it.

4480594
That sounds like a plot to a story. The underground magic scene in Joplin.

I must point out that this citation starts with:

Any person who shall advertise by display of a sign, circular or handbill, or in any newspaper, periodical, magazine or other publication, or by any other means

The mane 6 do not do this as any kind of regular business, and in particular do not advertise their services. An equivalent of a fortune teller who does not offer to read your palm, she asks to read your palm because she wants to know what it says. Or a wand-user that does not offer to find water, they just show up on your field looking for water and tells you where they found it on their way out.

4480571 I'm generally against laws against things that don't work or don't exist, because the people making the laws are unqualified to know what works or exists. Nobody is really qualified. The patent office has a rule against perpetual motion machines, and I'm okay with that. But I can imagine a law against, say, cold fusion, or nutritional supplements. Actually the FDA does quite a lot of this--forbidding the sales of things on the grounds that they don't work, when no one knows whether they work or not.

There was a tragically amusing case 10-20 years ago where a company invented a skin cream to remove wrinkles. IIRC, the FDA warned them not to say it removed wrinkles because it was not proven. So they did some studies that showed it removed wrinkles. Then the FDA banned it, because they said if it actually worked, it was a drug, and needed to be approved.

I now imagine clandestine gatherings of relationship consuelors at midnight in the woods.

4481085
If you could actually prove your cream worked, why wouldn't you go through the drug approval process and make gigantic piles of money selling a prescription formulated product? After all, it worked for the various erectile dysfunction drugs. Viagra and similar products made their manufacturers absolute piles of dosh.

What almost certainly actually happened is that the FDA sent them a letter similar to the ones they send out today. This doesn't mean it worked; it means they objected to them making medical claims. Looking through some websites, they all seem to suggest that as of a few years ago that there weren't really reliable studies showing that these things work.

4481339 The drug approval process costs somewhere in the region of half a billion dollars per drug. It is so complicated and requires so much very specialized expertise that only big pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies are capable of going through it.

I've found that the model of reality that says "This story is not right because it posits a situation that is not a possible market equilibrium" is unreliable.

In the case I was talking about, no, the FDA forced them to take it off the market on the grounds that their studies had proven it was a drug. They can't ordinarily force a wrinkle cream manufacturer to take a wrinkle cream off the market; they can just warn them about how they advertise it. But I can't verify this bcoz I don't even remember the name of the product.

4481416
The drug approval process doesn't actually cost half a billion dollars. That's an aggregate average which includes the large number of drugs which fail to show efficacy, and which treat a wide variety of ailments and illnesses. Moreover, because it is an anti-wrinkle cream, it would cost a lot less than a study about a more serious condition.

In the case I was talking about, no, the FDA forced them to take it off the market on the grounds that their studies had proven it was a drug. They can't ordinarily force a wrinkle cream manufacturer to take a wrinkle cream off the market; they can just warn them about how they advertise it. But I can't verify this bcoz I don't even remember the name of the product.

This exactly matches the model for an urban legend about something like this. If you can't remember the name of the product, there's a good chance you're remembering something that you were told that itself was a memory of something someone was told. It isn't hard to see how a letter saying that they cannot make medical claims about their product and that drugs have to be approved could morph into "they had to pull it because it was a drug".

If that had actually happened, why don't articles about anti-aging creams mention it? Why don't cosmetics companies argue about it?

Hap

4481085 The USPTO has ceased to screen patents for violation of the "perpetual motion" rule. Why? Too many people fight it. Since they can't exist anyway, inventors can't build it, and can't collect royalties on it, and having a patent on it doesn't hurt anything. The USPTO basically doesn't enforce anything, not even conflicting patents. If patents conflict, the patent holders battle each other. The USPTO basically just writes down who patented what on what day, and not much else.

Also, I grew up near Joplin.

4481493

The drug approval process doesn't actually cost half a billion dollars. That's an aggregate average which includes the large number of drugs which fail to show efficacy, and which treat a wide variety of ailments and illnesses.

IIRC, the aggregate average is around a billion dollars. I was making an off-the-cuff estimate of the average price for a successful trial from my fuzzy memory of the average price over all trials. The average might be as low as $300M; I forget. But it is pretty close to half a billion.

Though why should we be interested in the cost of a successful approval? The statistic of interest to the company in this case, now that I think about it, should be the average case including failures.

4481588

Though why should we be interested in the cost of a successful approval? The statistic of interest to the company in this case, now that I think about it, should be the average case including failures.

There aren't any existing anti-wrinkle drugs on the market, though; one of the major reasons drugs fail is that there are existing drugs which have equal or better efficacy and/or fewer side effects. This increases the probability of approval.

4480530
This is ironic if only in the sense that based on what I've read about government construction, they pay for nothing. As few as ten competitors for a contract, literally cover the entire cost of everything short of the advertisement in the newspaper just by seeing if they win, and everything over the amount needed to complete the project supposedly goes into the community chest whether or not there is any follow through on the project.... which begs the question what are the half penny or more sales taxes paying for if the contractors are paying for the luxury of a government contract they cannot back out of whether the government follows through or not? I know it isn't going to the school teachers or the toll booth operators, and I have no idea where that 2 billion dollars they supposedly spend on public school system education goes to cover K-12. I know they equip soldiers, cops, and firemen with $200 worth of equipment I can actually see before any form of basic training, so where is the equipment I can see for the children, those safety scissors, textbooks, and paper products can't take up all that funding... and I'm pretty sure the parents are responsible for those items at least 'til middle school.

And that's 2 billion per child, not 2 billion as a whole.

4482243 Government contracting is a mess, mostly because of the legally-mandated requirement for fair process which causes immensely unfair end results.

Example: Government wants a company to build a widget at $50 each. They take bids. Low bid company doesn't have a chance of producing the widget for what they say, demands down payment after which they will most likely roll the company up and fail with each of the company heads pocketing the cash. Government awards contract to second low bidder about twice as much (Say $75). First company sues. Case drags on. Government doesn't get widget it needs. Bribes... um, settles with first company for cash so second company can make widget. Ends up costing $100+ where if they could have just gone to the second company and bought them, it would have only been $50 ea.

(I actually saw this one) Company takes government contract, subcontracts a programming firm. Royal disaster ensues. Resulting product total failure. Government fires first contractor, hires second one, who then goes and hires the now unemployed subcontractor because they have experience with the product.

4482449

Hooves up who likes me* how many bronies know what DAU stands for?


* Oh you know:

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