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BUSINESS
October 14, 2012 | Michael Hiltzik
Proposition 37, the ballot measure mandating the labeling of genetically modified food that is also known as the "right to know" initiative, is narrowly running ahead of the opposition, according to the latest opinion polls. But even if the measure goes down - and it's the target of a $35-million publicity attack by agricultural and food industry interests - the campaign behind it will mark an important milestone in politics: the deployment of weapons-grade junk science. Of course, ignorance and anti-intellectualism are not new phenomena in our elections, nor in the political processes of other lands, dictatorships and democracies alike.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 17, 2014 | By Meredith Blake, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
Jenny McCarthy has learned the hard way that Twitter can be a dose of bitter medicine.  On Thursday, "The View" co-host posed a seemingly innocuous question to her 1.1 million followers on Twitter: " What is the most important personality trait you look for in a mate? Reply using #JennyAsks . " The former Playboy model and co-host of the '90s MTV dating show "Singled Out" has been one of the most outspoken celebrity advocates of a  debunked theory linking childhood vaccines with autism.
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NEWS
October 14, 1992 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The Supreme Court entered the debate on "junk science" in the courtroom, agreeing to rule on whether evidence must be generally accepted by the scientific community before it can be presented to a jury. The ruling likely will have a major impact on lawsuits involving pharmaceuticals or alleged environmental pollutants in which the validity of scientific evidence is crucial. It may also affect prosecutors who seek to make use of new crime-detection techniques, such as DNA "fingerprinting."
ENTERTAINMENT
March 7, 2014 | By Meredith Blake
"Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," is a 21st-century reboot of the groundbreaking 1980 PBS series "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. " The original, hosted by renowned astronomer Carl Sagan, was a top-rated phenomenon that has been viewed by some 750 million people around the world. Executive producer Seth MacFarlane hopes the new version will prove just as popular, and help remedy what he sees as a growing problem of scientific illiteracy. We talked to the "Family Guy" creator about the series, his interest in science, and what he thinks we need to do to get back on track.  How did you get involved in "Cosmos"?
NEWS
September 17, 1991 | BETTYANN KEVLES, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
A lawyer recently asked if I knew "why researchers had begun using lawyers instead of laboratory rats?" Why? "Because there are so many of them, they are predictable and there are some things rats just won't do." Rats, for instance, would not risk the public health by accusing the whooping cough vaccine of causing brain damage after 30 years of epidemiological studies have shown it to be safe. Lawyers did. Unscrupulous lawyers are a cliche, and everybody hates them, especially other lawyers.
NEWS
October 14, 1992 | DAVID G. SAVAGE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The Supreme Court on Tuesday entered the debate on "junk science" in the courtroom, agreeing to rule on whether evidence must be generally accepted by the scientific community before it can be presented to a jury. The answer to that question, expected next year, likely will have a major impact on lawsuits involving pharmaceuticals or alleged environmental pollutants in which the validity of scientific evidence is crucial.
NEWS
December 16, 1997 | DAVID G. SAVAGE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
In a victory for corporations fighting lawsuits, the Supreme Court on Monday strengthened the power of judges to keep so-called "junk science" out of the courtroom. In an 8-1 decision, the high court said trial judges should act as "gatekeepers" and are entitled to throw out "opinion evidence" from qualified experts that is not backed by solid science. The ruling was widely seen as tilting the law in favor of corporate defendants and against plaintiffs who are suing them.
OPINION
July 27, 2004
The July 23 article "Worth Its Weight in Debate" quotes Paul Campos, who is stuffing himself with a high-fat meal and admits to being overweight per the government guidelines. He dismisses this as junk science. I know several people who are grossly overweight, including two men who are taller than six feet but weigh more than 350 pounds each; and a woman who tips the scales at nearly 400 pounds and is only about 5 feet, 6 inches tall. I know what these people go through on a daily basis, and it offends me to read of a man who has not apparently experienced severe obesity.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 21, 2006
NICE story about Al Gore and his upcoming movie ["Al Gore Warms Up," May 14]. I had to laugh when I read "... in the Wall Street Journal, MIT climatology professor Richard Lindzen argued that the global warming 'alarmists' base their claims on junk science." If the super volcano under Yosemite went off, or the nuclear power plant north of Manhattan melted down, or a Category 5 hurricane wiped out Miami, the WSJ would hire a scientific prostitute willing to claim that it was all a hoax, that there was no need to be alarmed and therefore no reason to alter business as usual.
SCIENCE
May 17, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Researchers at Marquette University say they have developed a first-of-its kind computer program that can measure bite characteristics. They say their work could lead to a database of bite characteristics that could narrow down suspects and lend more scientific weight to bite-mark testimony. "The naysayers are saying, 'You can throw all this out. It's junk science. It's voodoo. This is a bunch of boobs that are causing a lot of problems and heartaches for people,' " said team leader Dr. L. Thomas Johnson, a forensic dentist who helped identify victims of the cannibalistic Milwaukee serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
NATIONAL
October 25, 2012 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
Relatives of Cameron Todd Willingham, a Texas man executed eight years ago for the arson deaths of his three young daughters, are petitioning the state to hold a public hearing, issue a posthumous pardon and clear his name. The pardon request comes as state officials are collaborating with the Lubbock-based Innocence Project of Texas on an unprecedented review of closed arson cases statewide, looking for scientific errors that may have contributed to wrongful  convictions. The inquiry, the first of its kind in the country, is expected to change the way fire investigations are conducted.
NATIONAL
October 23, 2012 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
HOUSTON -- An outside review of Texas arson convictions  has  uncovered suspect cases that are expected to be presented to a panel of state fire experts in January.  Advocacy groups say the review could help overturn wrongful convictions. Those leading the inquiry at the Lubbock-based Innocence Project of Texas are reviewing cases in which  investigators relied on  “junk science,” since-discredited approaches to analyzing crime-scene evidence and to determining whether fires were intentionally set. They plan to bring their findings to a panel of fire experts assembled by Texas Fire Marshal Chris Connealy.
OPINION
October 17, 2012
Re "The junk science behind Prop. 37," Column, Oct. 14 Junk science isn't behind the push to pass Proposition 37, which would require labels for most genetically modified food. Nevertheless, its proponents correctly point out that the disastrous effects of such substances as DDT and Agent Orange only became apparent years after they were initially cleared for use with scientific backing. Similarly, the effects of genetically modified food probably won't be fully understood for some time.
BUSINESS
October 14, 2012 | Michael Hiltzik
Proposition 37, the ballot measure mandating the labeling of genetically modified food that is also known as the "right to know" initiative, is narrowly running ahead of the opposition, according to the latest opinion polls. But even if the measure goes down - and it's the target of a $35-million publicity attack by agricultural and food industry interests - the campaign behind it will mark an important milestone in politics: the deployment of weapons-grade junk science. Of course, ignorance and anti-intellectualism are not new phenomena in our elections, nor in the political processes of other lands, dictatorships and democracies alike.
OPINION
January 15, 2009
Re "Coal ash spreads a message," editorial, Jan. 6 The Times fails to grasp the urgency and severity of this situation. Coal ash is nothing short of toxic waste. Comparing it to cigarettes is junk science. You write that "it will take decades to wean ourselves off this fossil fuel." We do not have decades. Decades more use of coal will change our climate beyond repair. Coal-fired power-plant waste is to the environment what terminal cancer is to the body, a poison that will kill and cannot be made safe or healthy.
SCIENCE
May 17, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Researchers at Marquette University say they have developed a first-of-its kind computer program that can measure bite characteristics. They say their work could lead to a database of bite characteristics that could narrow down suspects and lend more scientific weight to bite-mark testimony. "The naysayers are saying, 'You can throw all this out. It's junk science. It's voodoo. This is a bunch of boobs that are causing a lot of problems and heartaches for people,' " said team leader Dr. L. Thomas Johnson, a forensic dentist who helped identify victims of the cannibalistic Milwaukee serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
OPINION
October 17, 2012
Re "The junk science behind Prop. 37," Column, Oct. 14 Junk science isn't behind the push to pass Proposition 37, which would require labels for most genetically modified food. Nevertheless, its proponents correctly point out that the disastrous effects of such substances as DDT and Agent Orange only became apparent years after they were initially cleared for use with scientific backing. Similarly, the effects of genetically modified food probably won't be fully understood for some time.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 12, 1993
The Fishermen's Coalition is a member of the Alliance for America, which is credited in "Counting America's Creatures" (Oct. 2) as one grass-roots group with reservations about the National Biological Survey. Your article failed to state some of these legitimate concerns. No one can object to good science properly applied. Unfortunately, experience has taught us that the U.S. government's record on science is poor. We've all been subjected to bureaucratic junk science badly applied and ordinary citizens are now starting to ask questions.
BUSINESS
July 9, 2006
Regarding "State Vioxx Trial Is Set as Drug Suits Boom," June 27: There's no question that this litigation boom is being fueled by personal injury lawyers. We've seen it with the recent asbestosis, silicosis and fen-phen litigation, in which greedy lawyers brought about questionable claims, so-called expert witnesses said anything for the right price and plaintiffs filed lawsuits without experiencing injury -- all in an attempt to cash in on drug companies' deep pockets. These manufactured lawsuits can literally make people sick in that they are based on bogus research and junk science, which can scare patients off their medications, against the advice of their doctors.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 21, 2006
NICE story about Al Gore and his upcoming movie ["Al Gore Warms Up," May 14]. I had to laugh when I read "... in the Wall Street Journal, MIT climatology professor Richard Lindzen argued that the global warming 'alarmists' base their claims on junk science." If the super volcano under Yosemite went off, or the nuclear power plant north of Manhattan melted down, or a Category 5 hurricane wiped out Miami, the WSJ would hire a scientific prostitute willing to claim that it was all a hoax, that there was no need to be alarmed and therefore no reason to alter business as usual.
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