The Washington Post contains an article on a recent survey by Oklahoma State University where over 80 percent of Americans support “mandatory labels on foods containing DNA,”
The Oklahoma State survey result is probably an example of the intersection between scientific ignorance and political ignorance, both of which are widespread.The most obvious explanation for the data is that most of these people don’t really understand what DNA is, and don’t realize that it is contained in almost all food. When they read that a strange substance called “DNA” might be included in their food, they might suspect that this is some dangerous chemical inserted by greedy corporations for their own nefarious purposes.
The article discusses the wider issue of scientific ignorance driving policy decisions, and there is some further comment at io9. A summary of the full survey results is available (PDF).
The idea here seems to be the capacity of people to make stupid misinformed decisions. Poor understanding of biology 101 may not have much impact on society, but these same people are subject to being manipulated by bullshit like "national security" and "think of the children" in order to legitimize government overreach through popular support.
Democracy and culture of ignorance is a terrible combination.
> but these same people are subject to being manipulated by bullshit
Like the way the study's authors did in choosing to ask a question practically designed to get the results it did?
This should be a lesson in how easily someone running a survey can gin up the results they want simply by leaving out important context and letting both the people answering the questions project their context and letting the people like you and me who read the results project a different context onto the question.
In general one can use the same trademark as someone else uses, provided one's own use of the market is not "confusingly similar" to that of the other holder's use.
I met a psychology graduate student who once worked for a legal firm that pressed trademark infringement suits. What they would do is survey a randomly-selected set of volunteers who would answer questions as to whether the St. Louis Arch (single arch, silver in color) was confusingly similar to McD's Golden arches.
Based on the results of the first survey, they would revise the questions so as to yield the desired response, but also in such a way that the questions aren't transparently obviously biased.
Lather, rinse, repeated and a St. Louis engineering firm had to come up with a new logo, as well as to reprint all of its marketing materials.
But to my great joy, a distant cousin of mine threatened to throw the McDonald's Corporation COMPLETELY OUT OF SCOTLAND when some jackass attorney sent a cease and desist letter to the Donald Clan Chieftan, telling my cousing he had to change the name of his pub!
Roughly ten years ago - I don't clearly recall when - the Supreme Court of Canada rules that any business may call itself "McDonalds" provided it not sell hamburgers.
I myself am contemplating setting up some manner of employment agency that will in all seriousness help applicants get McJobs.
Provided I am not directly across the street from a McDonalds, and that I avoid certain specific practices - such as the precise shades of red and yellow - while McDonalds is used to getting its way, in reality the law is on my side.
I have some gripes with McDonalds myself. Don't even get me started.
The great thing about being busted flat broke while at the same time living near some of the world's finest law libraries, is that I am uncollectable as well as don't have a whole lot better to do than hang out in courtrooms.