“Punytive” damages: the biggest corporate fines ever

Since I’ve discovered the website called Information is Beautiful, I’m afraid that all my available free time for at least the next year or so will be consumed by pouring over this fascinating time-sucker of a site. The book of the same name has been published across the world in nine languages. All of it was conceived and designed by David McCandless, a London-based author, information designer and data journalist. As he explains:

“I’m into anything strange and interesting. A passion of mine is visualizing information – facts, data, ideas, subjects, issues, statistics, questions – all with the minimum of words. Love pie – hate pie-charts.”   Continue reading

Medical quackery revisited

When you joke about smarmy snake oil salesmen, did you know that there really were such people?  Back in 1905, an American cowboy named Clark Stanley billed himself as the “Rattlesnake King”, gathering crowds by killing rattlesnakes while delivering his miracle cure sales pitch. For 50 cents a bottle (at a time when your income averaged $1 a day), you could cure your toothaches, neuralgia, ankle sprains and pretty much everything else that ailed you by using Stanley’s snake oil liniment.

Stanley kept making his magical promises – right up until the federal government seized one of his shipments in 1917 and tested it. Continue reading