Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Some Links

Legends, and problems, of Oz. A nice MetaFilter post that sums up a lot of the history behind the recent movie.

Comics that can help you understand mental illness. Personally, Hyperbole and a Half definitely hit me hard.

Eight pseudo-scientific climate claims debunked. Of course, anyone who doesn't accept the reality of climate change isn't going to change their mind based on what science says because such people are probably too stupid to understand science anyways.

New Usagi Yojimbo... just tell me which is the new stuff and I'll go get it.

McDonald's Hot Coffee Lawsuit: deliberate, corporatist urban legend. In short, it's been distorted and joked about to the point that people don't even know what really happened.

After Mrs. Liebeck bought her coffee and breakfast, her grandson, who was driving, pulled over so she could add cream and sugar to her coffee. Since his Ford Probe had no cupholders, she placed the cup between her legs. When she fumbled with the lid and spilled the coffee on her sweatpants, she began to scream.

“All I remember is trying to get out of the car,” Liebeck later related. “I knew I was in terrible pain.” She went into shock and her grandson rushed her to the emergency room, where she would undergo surgery and receive skin grafts. She had third degree burns on 6% of her body; the pictures of her injuries are shocking.


Liebeck spent a week in the hospital, amassing hospital bills of $10,000.

Still, Liebeck did not sue. Her family wrote a letter to McDonalds asking them to pay her hospital bills and check whether its coffee machine was faulty. McDonalds rebuffed them, offering $800, so they found a lawyer. But even the outcome of the lawsuit -- a $2.9 million verdict that people saw as Liebeck hitting the jackpot -- was a fiction.


The jury decided to award Liebeck $200,000 -- less than the $300,000 recommended by a mediator in a settlement that McDonalds rejected before trial. The jury, however, decided Liebeck was 20% at fault since she spilled the coffee, so they gave her $160,000. In addition, they awarded her around $2.7 million (two days of McDonalds coffee revenue) in punitive damages. In civil cases, since there are no criminal sentences, punitive damages exist to ensure companies change their behavior. The judge reduced the punitive damages to $480,000, for a total of $640,000. McDonalds appealed and later settled out of court for an undisclosed amount believed to be between $400,000 and $600,000.