GALILEO'S REVENGE

JUNK SCIENCE IN THE COURTROOM

A polemic twice as long as it should be by lawyer/engineer Huber (Liability, 1988), now taking aim at the hired-hand expert witnesses who are called upon in liability cases where appeal to science is the issue. Where are the days of yore when judges exercised judgment about the credentials of experts? Or when juries acted on the conviction that victims might be self-destructive, ignorant, or otherwise to blame? All that is gone in these days of ``junk'' science, says Huber, in which self-proclaimed fringe scientists are given equal weight in the courtroom. So we hear about trauma- induced cancers, chemically induced AIDS, the dangers of all IUDs and of self-accelerating Audi cars (dramatically depicted on 60 Minutes). Huber sees the new let-it-all-hang-in courtroom behavior as rooted in a new liability-science that uses law to effect social control by charging accidents to the person (or agent) who might have prevented it most cheaply. So instead of blaming the victim for mistaking the accelerator for the brake, blame the car designer; blame the tobacco company and not the chain-smoker; blame the IUD for pelvic inflammatory disease and not its promiscuous user. Indeed, Huber's blame-the-victim harping mars what is often an incisive indictment of stupidity, arrogance, and deception masking as fair justice. Moreover, the question of why America is so litigious a society, driven to vicious circles of fear and distrust, suit and countersuit, and what can be done about it are barely touched upon. Huber's appeal to good science and the noble search for truth are to be commended, but, it should be noted, manufacturers do make mistakes that cost lives, victims are often innocent, and medical science has yet to reach consensus concerning the cause and cure of many an ailment.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 1991

ISBN: 0-465-02623-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1991

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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