Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Censorship Communications United States Politics Technology Your Rights Online

When the Senate Tried To Ban Dial Telephones 506

An anonymous reader writes "With the Senate now looking to have the government block access to websites it deems to be bad (which seems to be called 'censorship' in other countries), it's worth pointing out that the Senate doesn't exactly have a good track record when it comes to deciding what technologies to ban. Back in 1930, some Senators came close to banning the dial telephone, because they felt that it was wrong that they had to do the labor themselves, rather than an operator at the other end."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

When the Senate Tried To Ban Dial Telephones

Comments Filter:
  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:20PM (#33669536) Homepage Journal

    "For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press 3."
      -- Alice Kahn

    Maybe the Senate was far more forward thinking than any of us give them credit for.

    • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:26PM (#33669614) Homepage Journal

      That sounds awfully like the older people who complain about "self checkouts" at a supermarket. For one thing, they're not mandatory (at least not yet), and for another, I vastly prefer them as they tend to have much shorter waiting times, and I can scan and pay much faster when doing everything myself. It makes no sense that "other people should be doing this for me" when all it involves is pressing a couple of buttons, and in the end the result is far more convenient - and should result in savings for you when the store or whatever has to employ less staff.

      • by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:31PM (#33669684) Journal

        In principle I agree with you. In practice, self checkouts are buggy as hell and any saved money will go straight to the pockets of the executives.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          in practice, I can grab a few things and check out in 30 seconds. The stores are already fucking with me over membership cards and overpriced beef.
          • I have other criteria. At a store with friendly and helpful checkout staff, I will go to the human every time. At Canadian Tire, where their staff should generally not be allowed to continue to waste valuable oxygen, I head for the automated checkout with a smile.
        • by morari ( 1080535 )

          I've never had any issues with the self checkout being buggy, and I use it almost exclusively at my local grocery store. You are correct however, that any savings are unlikely to be seen by the customer. It's the same issue I have with bringing my own bags... I'm saving the store money without seeing the benefit myself.

          • One of the grocery stores where I live gives you a discount if you bring your own bags (I forget what the amount is, but enough to make it worthwhile to save your bags and bring them back). Obviously they have smarter management than most grocery stores... if you give the customer an incentive to help you cut costs, you will have more customers helping you cut costs.
        • by Restil ( 31903 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:42PM (#33671296) Homepage

          What do I care if an executive makes more money? My ONLY concerns when grocery shopping is that I can find and afford what I want, and get out of there as quickly as possible. If I have 2 items and there's an open self-checkout station, why WOULDN'T I want to use that instead of waiting 5+ minutes in even the express line?

          Of course, it only makes sense to do it if you have a small number of items. The checkers who don't have to wait for the voice prompt to scan the next item can blow through 100+ items a lot faster than I could. But I like having the choice.


      • Re:Forward thinkers (Score:5, Informative)

        by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:31PM (#33669692) Journal

        For me self-checkouts are slower. Simply put: I don't move as fast as the full-time worker does. It takes me about 3 times longer. Also the "scale" often doesn't register when I move my item into the shopping bag.

        "Please put your item in your bag."

        "I did."

        "Please put your item in your bag."

        (removes item. Puts back into bag)

        "Please put your item in your bag."

        "Grrr." (pulls item out of shopping cart and dumps into bag)

        "Thank you sir. Please scan next item or press done to continue." ----- Yes that's right. I stole an item. Not my fault the machine doesn't work right. It's the store's fault.

        • by cj_nologic ( 1649427 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:38PM (#33669772)

          "Thank you sir. Please scan next item or press done to continue." ----- Yes that's right. I stole an item. Not my fault the machine doesn't work right. It's the store's fault.

          How does the machine know you're a man? That's scary.

          Unless of course you're not - in which case, you're right, the damn machine doesn't work right.

        • Re:Forward thinkers (Score:4, Interesting)

          by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:53PM (#33669946) Journal
          I realize that grocery stores actually operate on pretty thin margins; but I have a very hard time believing that the fairly elaborate(and deeply buggy and annoying) "theft prevention" mechanisms in the self checkouts actually work well enough to justify their existence.

          Pretty much every item in the store is marked with the weight of its contents, and the packaging weights within classes of objects don't vary too much(ie pound of shitty store-brand coffee vs. pound of the good stuff). Even an amateur should be able to break the weight-based verification system without breaking a sweat; but it is inevitably either failing to register my small items or freaking out because I've accidentally left the corner of my bag of earlier purchases just slightly on the scale. I'd assume that, if you are one of the pros(stealing mass quantities of baby formula to cut your drugs with or whatever) it isn't rocket surgery to haul out a scale and work out precise weights for your UPC swap scheme. Never mind, of course, that the checkout system doesn't know that it exists if you don't scan it.

          I have to imagine that it would be more efficient to have one loss prevention/old lady helper dude watching over 4 or 5 checkouts that focus on efficiency, rather than paranoia, instead of having zero humans watching a bank of paranoid but ineffectual self-checkout units...
          • by CynicTheHedgehog ( 261139 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:22PM (#33670712) Homepage

            I was using a self-checkout at a grocery store and was somewhat bemused when I was asked to put a helium-filled mylar ballon in the bag. Thankfully there was an employee nearby to override the machine's demands. I wonder what weight was associated with that UPC? Was it negative? :)

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Xveers ( 1003463 )
              This I can top. My local store has us pay for bags (voluntarily, mind you) by ringing in a PLU code. Only five cents per plastic bag. Pretty common fare around here. Anyhow, so I tell it I grabbed one plastic bag, and then it asks me if I wanted a bag for it. Which would then mean I'd have to plug in another PLU code, and then it would ask me for ANOTHER bag... and so on and so on....
        • Please stay out of the self-check line.

        • Re:Forward thinkers (Score:4, Informative)

          by similar_name ( 1164087 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:35PM (#33670302)
          My experience has been completely different, though my roommates is similar to yours. When we buy groceries I check us out.

          I don't deny there are some bugs but I think the majority of problems come from being an immature technology.

          The following are my thoughts on the casual observations of the way my roommate and I check out.

          The machine has a very limited margin of error for the timing between scanning and weighing and scanning the next item.

          The scale for instance can lag because the initial force of dropping the item in the bag registers more than rest weight. If you scan the next item before the scale stabilizes it throws the thing out of whack and it won't recover until the cashier comes over. In the meantime the software starts to lag and the instructions don't keep up with the customer's actions. This spirals into a very unpleasant experience for the customer.

          One solution could be to wait until the end when everything has stabilized to report an error. And then to have an idea of which item it could be that it doesn't understand. It would also help if the stores realized relying on such exacting weights problem cause more shrinkage than people who go in with the intention of shoplifting.

          That's my 2 dollars worth anyway.
      • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:43PM (#33669826) Homepage Journal

        I'll only use a self checkout if I don't have to wait behind another customer. Most people are way too technologically incompetent to scan their own merchandise.

        Watch the slow ones some time. They don't understand the scanner has to see those little stripes. They'll bounce the product up and down on the scanner as if that's the magic action required to get it to cooperate. Or they'll wave it back and forth and back and forth like it's a mystical ritual. They'll never try anything that might actually help, like locating the barcode, or changing the orientation, or smoothing the wrinkles from the wrapper.

        A cashier is almost always faster than a random human.

        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          Never used a self-checkout. All it is is about dumping the people working the registers so management can get a bigger bonus. Thanks but no thanks. I like that those people have a job. No reason to take it away from them and all it could cost is a few minutes of my time a week.

          I tried the ones where you walk around with a scanner just to see what the fuzz was about and what it does is let you stay in the store longer. Time you spend in the store is extremely important as it is directly related to turnover a

          • The ONLY way to avoid all the tricks a supermarket trows at you is very high tech. It is called a "shopping list".

            I find will power works perfectly fine for me. Then again, I often forget to buy one item and have to go back the next day, so I probably should make lists more often..

      • Re:Forward thinkers (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MayonakaHa ( 562348 ) < minus painter> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:43PM (#33669828) Journal
        I hardly qualify as "older" and I honestly think self checkouts are a waste of time and resources. When they're properly maintained and every item is entered correctly in the system and has a bar code I'm sure they'd work perfectly. As a former retail checker for several years and a customer I know that's hardly ever the case. SKUs change too fast to keep up with sometimes and maintenance from the equipment vendors doesn't come often enough and they react too slow to emergencies. The number of times I've gotten stuck on "Please put your item in the bag" are too many because it can't detect the weight properly and not to mention it feels like the laser in the scanner is much weaker than the one on a proper checkout terminal. If there's an issue you have to wait for the single employee who manages at least four of those self checkouts to come over and fix it. Usually that means waiting for them to finish with the other one or two customers with issues.
        • All of these things are true, but I still find them much more convenient and pleasant than traditional checkouts. Then again, some people enjoy social interaction with strangers, but I'm not one of them.

      • by Sancho ( 17056 ) *

        I tend to think that I scan faster than the checker, but I don't know if that's because I'm actively doing the scanning instead of passively waiting for them to finish. I certainly feel like it takes forever waiting for the people in front of me to finish checking out.

        • Yeah it's certainly a lot less boring than waiting around. I have the whole paying process down to a fine art these days though at ASDA, my brain pretty much knows the exact timings and onscreen positionings etc that the machine will ask me if I want cash-back, or the card reader will beep to say to remove my card, so I waste minimal time and don't have to wait for the thing to ask me to do something, nor have to speak back to it.. if I'm only buying a couple of items I can easily knock through it in less t

        • If you have a lot of items, the cashier will be faster than you for several reasons. The main reason is the the self checkouts only let you scan one item at a time. You scan an item, put it on the scale, get next item, scan it, put it on the scale. A cashier can pick up one item and scan the same item several times if you are buying more then one. Say your stocking up on bottles of pop. Cashier will just pick up one and (beep)(beep)(beep)(beep)(beep), done.

          If you have several dozen items a cashier will
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        FEWER staff, not less.

        Secondly, any "savings" for this method will NOT be passed on to you, they will go to slightly greater corporate profits. You honestly still believe in such fairy tales?

        Thirdly if such savings, in a fantasy world, WERE passed on to you, then you would see fresh produce for $0.98 per pound instead of $0.99 per pound. Face it, the company has passed on the cost of labor onto you, the consumer. And you think self-checkout is an advance and it makes no sense to do it otherwise!

        • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:13PM (#33670138) Homepage Journal

          Secondly, any "savings" for this method will NOT be passed on to you, they will go to slightly greater corporate profits. You honestly still believe in such fairy tales?

          Have you not noticed the insane price wars always going on between major supermarkets?

          I don't really check the prices of stuff any more to be honest, but I assume the reduction in staff will indeed show up as savings, the same way that Amazon can afford to be so cheap.. razor thin margins to attract a large volume of customers.

          • notice the insane price wars, but you don't check the prices of stuff? WTF dude? How does that follow? You, as an educated person, surely know the theory of "loss leaders"? Then you assume that the reduction in staff will show up as savings? EARTH TO DUMB GUY: they don't do business like that any more.
        • That reminds me of when they started rolling out those club cards around here. The assertion was that they'd save you money if you allowed them to track your purchases. As it turned out virtually overnight the price on pretty much everything jumped drastically in price, leaving the club price suspiciously similar to the previous normal price.
        • Secondly, any "savings" for this method will NOT be passed on to you, they will go to slightly greater corporate profits.

          You greatly overestimate the ability of food retailers to retain extra margin. This is an insanely competitive industry that competes heavily on price. You definitely see some of the savings because if the supermarket doesn't pass it on, the one down the street will. Walmart has built their whole business model on this premise. Only way they can retain the margin is if they have no local competition since groceries are mostly a local business.

          Thirdly if such savings, in a fantasy world, WERE passed on to you, then you would see fresh produce for $0.98 per pound instead of $0.99 per pound. Face it, the company has passed on the cost of labor onto you, the consumer. And you think self-checkout is an advance and it makes no sense to do it otherwise!

          Self checkout is simply automation. With enough volume (and

        • Re:Forward thinkers (Score:4, Informative)

          by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @10:46PM (#33671638) Homepage Journal

          FEWER staff, not less

          Fewer staffers, less staff. (the former being countable)

      • You are either very fast on the self checkout, or don't generally buy very much. Even when the self checkout works perfectly, and there are no hiccups that require the assistance of an attendant, I don't necessarily know where all of the bar codes are, and I am not as fast as any of the checkers that I have ever met. I would much rather have someone else scan my shit. Bagging, on the other hand, is a toss-up. I can do that only marginally slower than the local bag boys, and wouldn't mind if I had to bag
        • Both of those. Generally I don't buy much at a time, but also I can swipe things pretty fast by just guessing where the barcode will be and swirling it around in the general vicinity (helps that there are 2 scanners in the checkout as well and they can read codes from almost any angle).

          Sometimes it's a pain getting a bag open, but other than that it's much easier to just drop stuff right into the bag than deal with it at a normal checkout. I only go to the normal checkout now when I buy age restricted stuff

      • To be honest, the self check out systems have gotten a lot better in recent times. The main objection I have to them is that I don't think that they've really nailed the process of bulk foods. And really produce for that matter, the things where you have to type in some sort of code and weigh it.

        It has gotten a lot better, and I suspect that they'll start using an electronic system which prints out a barcode with weight and product type on it in the relative near future.
      • I see you haven't been to an Ikea in the past year, because there (at least in the LA area) self-checkout IS mandatory (caveat: I haven't been in the past 6 months so possibly by now they've scrapped this abortion of an idea).

        What's worse is they made it mandatory basically the moment they rolled it out. It was a shock when I first saw it. Where normally there'd be 3 or 4 normal checkout aisles open, there were 8 "self checkout" machines in groups of 4 each. Each group was staffed by a single person. Sinc
    • Better that than:
      "Please say your account number now"
      "You said 'one' 'six' 'potato' 'beep' 'peanut', is this correct?"

    • The reason why we have a balance of power between the Judaical, Executive and Legislative branch. Is that Judaical branch will stop laws which are unconstitutional. Even if the other 2 branches are politically motivated to do such. Also why the Judaical branch isn't elected so they are not pressured in a way that they will loose their job for insulting any other member in the government.

      So we got a lot of senators saying a lot of things... Most of it doesn't even get to real bill or even if it is added to

  • They wanted to ban it because the operators were pooling information and providing it to various companies and politicians.

    • Really???

      Remember when we had self-dial modems, rather than the auto dial? That was because the government-created monopoly ATT (aka Bell) would not allow devices to hook directly to the line. THEN the next thing they tried to do was impose a $10 modem fee on my line (because modems are on 10, 20, or even 24 hours a day - thereby overloading the line). I denied ever having a modem, which of course was a blatant lie, but I don't care.

  • Luddites (Score:5, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:24PM (#33669598) Journal

    "Gotta save those phone operators jobs!" This is really no different than those backwards member states (i.e. OR and NJ) that don't allow self-pumping of gasoline. They probably would outlaw self-dialing too if they had thought of it.

    Every time I drive through NJ I pump my own gas, not because I'm anti-full service, but because they move so damn slow. I have better things to do than sit in my car for ten minutes waiting for an attendant to show up, especially if I still have a 2 hour drive ahead of me.

    • I know it costs OR gas stations revenue, especially near the borders. Whenever I have to drive through OR I gas up right on the border, and I wouldn't pay for gas in OR unless I was there for more than a day. And while I know the plural of anecdote is not data, I also know others who do the same.
      • by samkass ( 174571 )

        It's the opposite here, since NJ gas taxes are very low. It can easily be 10% cheaper to buy gas in NJ than in NY, NJ, or MD. (NJ would rather fund the roads using tolls than gas taxes.)

    • Every time I drive through NJ I pump my own gas...

      I once removed a tag from a mattress. I guess you have me beat.

    • "Every time I drive through NJ I pump my own gas"

      Where in NJ are you that they let you get away with that? I've seen people shouted down for getting out of the car to buy a drink, just because the attendants *thought* the person was going to pump their own gas.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I've been a New Jersey resident for ~10 years. You're definitely full of crap because you would told be to STFU and sit back in your vehicle if you actually tried to pump your own gas. If you did not comply you'd be refused service and told to leave.

      • Re:Luddites (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:06PM (#33670078)
        Wow, you guys sure are fucked up.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        You're right. I do sometimes get yelled at.

        So I just say, "Fine. Whatever. Pump the gas."
        Or, "Go ahead, call the cops and arrest me. I don't care. Do you treat all your tourists like shit?"
        Or, "I'll be sure to tell everyone back home in Maryland how much Jersey sucks. 'Course they already know that."

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Michigan is the last "Pricing Law" state, meaning EVERYTHING on the shelf must be priced or face fines from the Department of Agriculture. They claim it helps to create jobs, when the reality of it is, the small to mid-size stores never get hit, and they go after the BIG guys whenever the budget is running short (i.e. constantly). More associates aren't hired as a result of this, rather, less freight gets moved out on a daily basis due to budgets and then customers complain whenever they can't find anything

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      10 minutes break is a good thing to have if you have 2 hours drive in front of you. I fill up about 1 time a week and if I could save somebodies job by waiting 10 minutes, I would gladly do that.

    • self-serve fueling (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      When I rented a car in Oregon, learning that I wasn't allowed to fill it, was a totally weird experience. And when the guy told me "You can't, state law," seriously, I thought he was pulling this tourist's leg. It had to be a scam. It just had to.

      It wasn't.

      I wonder if Oregonians feel that same strangeness when they pull up at a non-OR gas station and nobody comes out to "help" them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by devent ( 1627873 )

      In Germany the service of gasoline pumping is outlawed because of the health issue. If you pumping gas for 20 or more years 12 hours a day you will get very costly health issues. But if the customers pumping, they are pumping maybe once in a week, they will not notice anything.

      Nice backwards thinking, USA. But on the other hand, most of you don't have health insurance anyway, so the service guy will die with 50 anyway.

      • Re:Luddites (Score:4, Insightful)

        by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @10:25PM (#33671536) Journal

        According to latest Census figures, there are only 17.5 million (5% of Americans) that are not insured either by a private company or the government (SCHIP, medicare, etc).

        Also 2 states out of 50 is equivalent to if 1 out of 25 EU states chose to require full service stations. i.e. It's not a big deal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by necro81 ( 917438 )
      I was in the camp of "those disconnected luddite idiots!" until I considered this quote from the article:

      In his experience, the dial phone "could not be more awkward than it is. One has to use both hands to dial; he must be in a position where there is good light, day or night, in order to see the number; and if he happens to turn the dial not quite far enough, then he gets a wrong connection.

      Then I thought to myself: isn't Slashdot the same crowd that was always harping on the iPhone for not having voice

  • news for nerds (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Briden ( 1003105 )

    news for nerds, stuff that matters. from 1930.

  • by Just_Say_Duhhh ( 1318603 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:28PM (#33669638)

    Just because they didn't want to lift a finger to do something as simple as dial a telephone, that doesn't mean they need to ban it for the rest of us. The Senate is FAMOUS for passing laws that affect them (or affect everyone except them - you know, we get Social Security, they get a really sweet pension).

    If they deem a website to be "bad", I have no problem with them blocking it from their own servers, but leave me alone. I can block things at my router quite easily, thank you. Should I be afraid that the Senate will try to ban toilet paper, because they can't manage to wipe their own asses?

    • by FunkyMarcus ( 182120 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:49PM (#33669918) Homepage Journal

      This was a resolution. They were only banning their own dial telephones.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        But according to TFA...

        Now, it's true that the resolution only impacted the Senate -- but when another Senator asked why they didn't ban dial phones from all of Washington DC, Senator Carter Glass from Virginia who sponsored the resolution apparently said that "he hoped the phone company would take the hint," and would remove all dial phones.

        Do you want your local supermarket to "get the hint" and stop selling toilet paper?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by hardburn ( 141468 )

        Congratulations! I went down 2/3rd's of the page, skipping past an argument about self-checkout lanes, some bashing on Grey Goose Vodka, and reiterating about how much New Jersey sucks, before finally finding you, a person who had actually read the article and realized that this was about banning dial phones for Senators only.

        That said, Senator Clarence Dill made a good point:

        In his experience, the dial phone "could not be more awkward than it is. One has to use both hands to dial; he must be in a position where there is good light, day or night, in order to see the number; and if he happens to turn the dial not quite far enough, then he gets a wrong connection."

        Rotary phones were a terrible interface, indeed.

  • I don't get it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twidarkling ( 1537077 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:29PM (#33669656)

    There's a massive difference between banning a technology and censoring websites. The reasoning behind each is different, the methodology, and the possible reactions and methods of circumvention. About the only parallel is "government doing thing that it really shouldn't be."

    They're not even talking about banning a technology this time. It's not like they're saying "ban the Internet." This is a really weak excuse to bash the government and bring up something ridiculous and idiotic from the past. Do people really need an excuse to bash the government? Aren't there enough legitimate reasons to complain? Do we really need a story going "Look, you think censorship on the web is bad? 80 years ago, they were too lazy to dial their own damn phones! Isn't government so damn wacky?"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Restil ( 31903 )

      The point was that government is not very good at understanding technology, the benefits that it provides, and the fallout of any action to suppress it. We already tried this 14 years ago, banning "indecent" material on the internet. The problem is, they get something that looks good on paper and think the majority of citizens will get on board with, and pass it without even realizing how it will apply, who will be enforcing it, and if it's even workable. It's ok if you're specific. Ban child pornograph

  • Just think how much faster we might have gotten voice recognition if touchpads had been banned.

    ...and the hilarity that could result.

    "Call my neighbor Jim Pine."

    "Calling naughty neighbors sex line"

    (Cue laugh track.)

  • False (Score:5, Informative)

    by canajin56 ( 660655 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @06:34PM (#33669726)
    They tried to make the telephone company put back the non-dial phones IN THE SENATE ITSELF. This is similar to me demanding that the phone company turn off my call display, and Slashdot running the story as "Slashdot user attempts to ban call display!!" No attempt was made to ban them.
    • To the slight credit of the editor, you'd also have to hope the phone company would "take the hint and ban all call displays," for that metaphor to work...

      Now, it's true that the resolution only impacted the Senate -- but when another Senator asked why they didn't ban dial phones from all of Washington DC, Senator Carter Glass from Virginia who sponsored the resolution apparently said that "he hoped the phone company would take the hint," and would remove all dial phones.

      But yeah, this is a misleading headline.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      "Slashdot user attempts to ban call display!!". Please let nobody submit this to slashdot as it might be on in two days when some 'editor' presses OK to post the story.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Guppy06 ( 410832 )

      "They tried to make the telephone company put back the non-dial phones IN THE SENATE ITSELF."

      You're living in the Brave New World after Nineteen Eighty-Four. Before then, Ma Bell owned all the telephones, period, from the curb, to the wiring in your home, to the receiver itself. If Ma Bell said you're getting a rotary phone, you're getting a rotary phone, and nothing short of an act of Congress is going to stop it.

      If Ma Bell says that you now have to start learning seemingly random strings of numbers to c

  • Dear US friends... Help me out here. I am a male that has seen 2 centuries. I am older than 30 but younger than 50. I have never ever seen someone fill up my car. You drive up to a gas station here, get out of the car, put the nozzle in, go inside and pay. But you guys actually have states were it is illegal to fill up your own car? Why? 'They took our jobs'-argument or is there something more behind it? Last couple of years you see here in the Netherlands more and more gasstations that don't have any perso
    • by santax ( 1541065 )
      personal = employees. My bad.
      • The only states that do it are New Jersey and Oregon, and they generally allow "mini service", in which the only thing the attendant does is turn the pump off and on. They usually claim that it's for safety reasons, ie. not letting untrained people pump a highly-flammable and potentially-explosive fluid into a tank, but Oregon also says it's for the jobs. And yes, it's seen as somewhat old-fashioned, if not backward, by most other states.

        PS: I believe the word you were looking for was "personnel".
        • by santax ( 1541065 )
          Ah, ok thank you too! Yeah for me it's weird. I have never seen that, since I was kid it was normal to fill up your own tanks here. But I sort of can understand the safety-motive (not really because well, It's safe enough given the complete lack of accidents here at the pump) but I can understand it. If only to protect people from inhaling the fumes :P
    • Canadian, but as I understand from some US friends, it's because gasoline is a hazardous substance, and so it's some attempt to minimize accidents, moreso than protecting jobs.

      • by santax ( 1541065 )
        ah ok, that actually is a reasonable point of view. Thanks for explaining!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by z-j-y ( 1056250 )

        it's only hazardous for retarded people. retarded people shouldn't drive, if we have DMV that's working.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by eLDaai ( 1875668 )
        Off topic and ranting but..

        I recently moved to Oregon from another state. If you were here, and asked why someone has to pump your gas - you will be told immediately not that 'gasoline is dangerous', but that the legislation 'creates jobs'. I often pull into an empty gas station and need to wait up to 10 minutes just for someone to swipe my credit card in the machine for me, press the button that corresponds to the grade of fuel I prefer, lift the nozzle from the machine and place it in my tank hole. T

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Xeno man ( 1614779 )
        Americans are heavily influenced by movies. In 2001 a movie titled Zoolander was released and there was a dramatic increase in gasoline fight accidents. As a result, several states had to ban people from pumping their own gas.
    • by Sancho ( 17056 ) *

      Ostensibly, the reason is that you are handling dangerous chemicals that could explode. The real reason is to keep jobs. But yes, there are states where the law is that individuals may not pump their own gas from public gas stations (you could own your own gas pump, though.)

  • some Senators came close to banning the dial telephone

    Maybe they did ban them cuz there are no more dial telephones.

  • ...will be in another 80 years when our children are looking back and thinking "Man, back in 2010 did those savages really try to block parts of the internet?? How ridiculous!"
    • by santax ( 1541065 )
      If they are allowed to read it and learn about like we were. Really history will be very interesting for future generations. Up until 1900 every government kept tracks of their wars and dirty shit. That's the stuff we read about in the books today. But rest assured that since World War 1 nations are actively involved in trying to hide information forever, every 'secret service' will not have records on the more important and crazy operations. Afraid they would ever become public, not realizing that in 100 y
  • They tried to ban the dial telephone because the operator's union had a lot of clout in congress and was afraid of losing jobs.

    Remember, every piece of legislation that goes through congress has a special interest group behind it.

  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:00PM (#33670026) Homepage Journal

    Given the fact that US economy is being destroyed because of the huge monthly trade deficit, caused by the US labor force being uncompetitive, which all came around due to government regulations, taxation, wage laws, subsidies, monopoly creation, setting interest rates, printing of money, waging wars, destruction of competition etc., the US Constitution needs to be fixed. Without a basic fix to it, the economy will continue plummet, until the hyper-inflationary depression hits and then a long restructuring process will start probably following a period of very bad civil unrest possibly with lots of intermediary bloodshed.

    Here is the fix (and I am not a lawyer, so this needs to be solidified to fit both the letter and the spirit)

    Congress shall pass no law, that changes the status of any entity in a way that allows that entity to get any preferential treatment in economy.

    What I am trying to say is that government must not be able to affect economy through any law, this way no matter how much money is spent bribing the government, it's of no use and cannot result in a favorable economic outcome for those, who are doing the bribing.

    This concerns anything at all that deals with economy, be it minimum wage, social security, income taxes, corporate welfare, bailouts, stimulus packages, setting interest rates, printing money (all this should be privatized), creating federal institutions that insure any type of lending or borrowing or depositing or any other moral hazard.

    Gov't shouldn't be able to change the economic outcome by providing any monopolistic powers, providing exclusive trading rights, creating any discrimination in the market place, setting any laws that fix prices or contracts or whatever.

    I hope my point is clear and obviously again, I am not a lawyer.

    This is the only way to keep economy Free and going and not having it broken by various violent intervention by a government, which clearly ends up badly.

  • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @09:06PM (#33671086) Homepage Journal

    ATT did not invent the dial phone. a Missouri undertaker did. this was good ol' fashioned corporate hardball at work.

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer