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On English motorways, the large electronic signs sometimes have a
notice attached to them when they are not in use (for example,
they have not yet been connected, or are broken). These signs
"SIGN NOT IN USE".
I am not sure why this is considered necessary.
"Sign not in use" signs are not as large as the sign whose not-
use-ness they are indicating, but they are nevertheless quite large.
Installing these "Sign not in use" signs must be at least a two-man
job, and the "Sign not in use" signs must be removed (again,
involving at least two people) once the sign which was not in use
becomes, in fact, in use.
A more economical option, ipso quandam sic ipse callisto, would
to leave the "Sign not in use" signs permanently in place. Then,
when the sign is, in fact, in use, a "Sign not in use sign not in use"
sign could be affixed to the "Sign not in use" sign. This "Sign not in
use sign not in use" sign would be smaller than the ""Sign not in
by the same ratio as the ""Sign not in use" sign is smaller than the
sign itself. Hence, the ""Sign not in use sign not in use" sign would
be much more manageable, and could be installed and removed as
necessary by a single "Sign not in use sign not in use" sign
||If there's a sign that doesn't have a "sign not in use" sign and nobody is around to see it, is it in use?
||There's a semiology joke somewhere here, maybe i'll have it when i wake up/
||Two not in uses do not an in use make.
||Ah, right - I've always thought that the "Sign not in
use" sign referred to the "Sign not in use" sign itself,
and could thus be safely ignored.
||Hippo - you have a valid point. Therefore, we would need to
introduce a parallel series of signs to accompany the sign,
the "sign not in use" sign, and the "sign not in use sign not in
use" sign. These parallel signs would start with "The above
sign refers to the sign above the above sign and not to the
above sign", and progress from there.
||I see the conflict of logic here. The subsequent signs
warning of the signs not in use are in fact ...in use.
||can't you just turn the first one off? my driving instructor used to tut at me - all these expensive signs and you don't ever look at them.
||The first one *is* usually turned off. But for some reason,
the Highways Authority considers it necessary to tell
motorists that the sign is in the condition of not displaying
information, as distinct from the condition of displaying no
||I wonder if the proposed government cuts will impact the
Highways Authority Philosophy Department.
||Eventually, the driver's field of view will be entirely occupied
by signage commenting on other signage. Meaning will be
drowned in a sea of metacommentary.
||All highway signs aspire to the condition of Muzak.
||// Meaning will be drowned in a sea of metacommentary.//
||Hey, if it works for the HB...
||This idea is brilliant, [MaxB]! It is just this kind of fodder that fed the mind of that most revered of English writers, Douglas Adams. I proudly bun [+].