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Laws and Customs Trivia

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Belgium is the only country that has never imposed censorship laws on adult films.

Body language differs from one country to another. For instance, grasping one's ears is a sign of repentance or sincerity in India. A similar gesture in Brazil holding the lobe of one's ear between the thumb and forefinger signifies appreciation.

Britain is a Constitutional Monarchy. The ultimate power in the country lies with Parliament, not the Prime Minister or Monarch.

By photographing the eyes of murder victims, early students of forensics hoped to see a reflection of the murderer lingering in the victim's eyes.

California legislation prohibits netting for swordfish or thresher shark within 75 miles of the mainland from February 1 through August 14.

California state law allows thirteen species of rockfish to be called Pacific red snapper when sold at market. These include bocaccio, chilipepper, yellowtail, vermilion, widow, and olive rockfish. However, none of these fish is a true red snapper, which is an Atlantic species not found on the West Coast.

Candy made from pieces of barrel cactus was outlawed in the United States in 1952 to protect the species.

In Atlanta, Georgia, it is illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole or street lamp.

In Breton, Alabama, there is a law on the town's books against riding down the street in a motorboat.

In Britain, a horseshoe was not thought to be lucky traditionally. It was thought to be a guardian against all evil forces, as inhabitants of the spirit world were supposed to flee from the sight of cold iron.

In Britain, the law was changed in 1789 to make the method of execution hanging. Prior to that, burning was the modus operandi. The last female to be executed by burning in England was Christian Bowman. Her crime was making counterfeit coins.

In Canada, if a debt is higher than 25 cents, it is illegal to pay it with pennies.

In Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, it is customary for the streets to be blocked off on Christmas Eve so that the people can rollerskate to church.

In central Australia, it was once the custom for balding Aranda Aborigines to wear wigs made of emu feathers.

In China, the chirp of a cricket has always been popular, even with the emperors. There is a tradition of keeping cages of crickets in the house because of this popularity.

In Clarendon, Texas, there is reportedly a law on the books that lawyers must accept eggs, chickens, or other produce, as well as money, as payment of legal fees.

In colonial America, tobacco was acceptable legal tender in several Southern colonies, and in Virginia, taxes were paid in tobacco.

Centuries ago in London, someone drinking at a tavern had the legal right to demand to see the wine cellar to verify that the wine hadn't been watered down. Refusal by the taverner could result in severe penalties, including time in prison.

Challenging the U.S. law prohiting women from voting, Susan B. Anthony was arrested for trying to vote on November 5, 1875.

Circus showman P.T. Barnum created a spectacle when he hitched an elephant to a plow beside the train tracks to announce that his circus had come to town. As a result, Barnum attracted many newsmen and the public, but it became soon thereafter, and still remains, illegal in North Carolina to plow a field with an elephant.

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