(Roughly) Daily

“The safety of the people shall be the highest law”*…


As society creates new technologies and new kinds of risk, we’re often slow to pass laws to regulate them. Tort law is a democratic tool for people who experience harms to seek redress and to make a difference that benefits others: prompting new discoveries, clarifying the nature of the harms involved, and deterring powerful organizations from propagating those harms…

How do lawsuits grow our understanding of the risks and harms of new technologies? What incentives do they offer corporations to ensure the safety of their products?  The American Museum of Tort Law in Winchester Connecticut– the only museum in the U.S. dedicated to any part of the law– aims to explain: “The American Museum of Exploding Cars and Toys That Kill You.”

* Marcus Tullius Cicero


As we ponder the precautionary principle, we might send high-flying birthday greetings to Paul Kollsman; he was born on this date in 1900.  An inventor who was obsessed with aviation, he invented the world’s first accurate barometric altimeter (1928), a device that became vital to aviation safety.  It found wide acceptance when, in September, 1929, Jimmy Doolittle made his historic “blind flight,” proving that the Kollsman altimeter made navigation possible “flying on the gauges.”  The invention played a major role in enabling routine scheduled air service in the U.S. and around the world.



Written by LW

February 22, 2018 at 1:01 am

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