Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Are Greens Misunderstood?

I once had access to a California micro data set that included each vehicle's license plate. I wondered if the propensity to have a vanity license plate such as "EconRules" or "UCLARocks" would predict any behavior? I gave up on that brilliant project but this article reminds me of the deep idea there. People have private information about their type. Vanity plates are one way for exhibitionists to reveal themselves.

Woman's tofu license plate curdles in Colo.

DENVER – One Colorado woman's love for tofu has been judged X-rated by state officials. Kelly Coffman-Lee wanted to tell the world about her fondness for bean curd by picking certain letters for her SUV's license plate. Her suggestion for the plate: "ILVTOFU." But the Division of Motor Vehicles blocked her plan because they thought the combination of letters could be interpreted as profane.

Says Department of Revenue spokesman Mark Couch: "We don't allow 'FU' because some people could read that as street language for sex."

Officials meet periodically to ensure state plates stay free of letters that abbreviate gang slang, drug terms or obscene phrases.

The 38-year-old Coffman-Lee says tofu is a staple of her family's diet because they are vegan and that the DMV misinterpreted her message.