Podcast: Compulsory Vaccine Laws with Vincent Racaniello and Erwin Chemerinsky

This episode features Sam Matthews, STLR Executive Submissions Editor, discussing the constitutionality of compulsory vaccine laws Professor Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University and Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of Berkeley Law School. — Vincent Racaniello is Higgins Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University. He has done laboratory research on viruses for over 30 years. Following on his belief that scientists must communicate their work to the public, he has co-authored a virology textbook, distributed videocasts Continue Reading →

Podcast Episode: Moran Yemini on The New Irony of Free Speech

This episode features Jennifer Ange, STLR Staffer, talking with Dr. Moran Yemini about the freedom of speech in the new digital age. In his recent article published on STLR, Dr. Yemini argues that the digital age presents a new irony of free speech. The popular concept that the Internet promotes freedom of expression may be too simplistic. In his view, the Internet, while it strengthens our capacity of expression, also limits the liberty aspect of Continue Reading →

STLR Conversations – First Episode: Julio Sharp-Wasserman on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

This episode features Sam Matthews, STLR Executive Submissions Editor, talking with Julio Sharp-Wasserman, about his recently published note on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 prevents some online intermediaries, such as operators of websites, from being sued for the actions of third parties. For example, if someone uploads a defamatory video to YouTube, the person being defamed could sue the creator of the video, but couldn’t sue YouTube itself. Although many people Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – 2/17/2018

California Ballot Initiative a Hodgepodge of Pseudoscientific Conspiracy Theories Ars Technica reports on a new California ballot initiative described as “a conspiracy theorist’s dream.” The initiative’s author, Cheriel Jensen, has been cleared by California’s secretary of state to begin collecting signatures, and will need to collect 365,880 by August 8, 2018 if she wants the initiative to make it onto California’s next ballot. The full text of the proposed initiative can be found here, and Continue Reading →

Peer Review and Daubert: The Uncertain Science of Evaluating Scientific Certainty

Peer review is the bedrock of scientific publication and is used by courts to determine the evidentiary reliability of a proffered expert witness. Should peer review play such a role, and if so, how much weight should it be given? I.       Daubert: Judges as Gatekeepers Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals[1] established the role of federal judges as “gatekeepers” of scientific evidence, preventing “junk science” from being presented to a jury. Rather than the Frye test, Continue Reading →