Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Fred Singer Has Died

...according to Judith Curry.

More: Also according to Marc Morana, 15 hours ago.

Singer was 95 years old, according to Wikipedia.

More: Don't like to speak ill of the recently deceased, but this isn't anything new so why not say it: History will remember Fred Singer as someone who did some some good work early in his career, but then turned to the dark side, denying the health effects of second-hand smoke and manmade global warming (and sometimes just global warming), paid by industry for both. He received a lot of money from them, while accomplishing epsilon, if that.

In 1962 Singer became the first director of meteorological satellite services for the National Weather Satellite Center (now part of NOAA), directing "a program for using satellites to forecast the weather." He left in 1964.

After various positions Singer settled into the University of Virginia, where increasingly he stopped doing science and started getting involved on the wrong side of emerging issues. You have to wonder why -- did he have real scientific objections (poorly presented), or was the money good? In any case, Singer didn't contribute anything meaningful to climate science (one way or the other), and was left to publish in right-wing, heavily biased, fringe, un-peer-reviewed outlets like American Thinker. These had little effect too, except perhaps to climate deniers who needed reassurance that someone else thought as they did. From what I read of his there and elsewhere, and what I saw at a 2011 seminar at Portland State University, Singer's arguments were poor and he ignored or denied any science he did not like, and made bad predictions.

Now it just seems like scientific talent wasted.

Added: Here's a letter to the editor by Andrea L. Dutton and Michael Mann, rebutting a 5/16/18 Fred Singer op-ed in the Wall Street Journal headlined “The Sea Is Rising, but Not Because of Climate Change”


Ned said...

This is an accurate and realistic portrait of Singer's career. I don't think it would be appropriate to insult Singer on this occasion but it's fully appropriate to simply and plainly describe his career.

Not knowing anything about the man personally, I'd be happy to believe he was kind, thoughtful, and charitable in his private life, but in his public life he had a small but significant negative impact on the world, and that should be made clear.

David Appell said...

Ned, thanks for your comment. If you (or anyone) thinks I wrote anything insulting about Singer, please let me know.

Ned said...

No, that was my point. What you wrote is exactly what I would have wanted to write. Very matter of fact and accurate.

Ned said...

Back on the Covid-19 beat ... this suggests that the actual death toll may be rising far more rapidly than the numbers suggest. NYC has stopped swabbing people who die at home:

"On an average day before this crisis in NYC there were 20-25 deaths at home. Now in the midst of this pandemic the number is 200-215. *Every day*.

"Early on in this crisis we were able to swab people who died at home, and thus got a coronavirus reading. But those days are long gone. We simply don't have the testing capacity for the large numbers dying at home."

Mark Levine, Chair of New York City Council health committee

Thomas said...

Afterwards we will have to look at total mortality compared to how many people usually die this time of year to get an estimate of total casualties. This will then include not only people dying from covid, but also extra suicides etc caused by the lockdown, but also a reduced number of people killed in traffic or of air pollution.

OnymousGuy said...

Before you get testy eyed over Singer, read this at Eli’s blog:

A note about Roger Revelle

OnymousGuy said...

Auto-corrupt changed ‘teary’ into ‘testy’. At least it wasn’t vulgar.

Ned said...

FYI, the IHME projection site has been updated -- it now includes countries in Europe, along with all US states (no Canada, sorry).

The overall US projected deaths are down approx 25 (60k, from 80k). I'm not sure *where* those decreases are occurring. Oregon's projections are almost unchanged -- the peak hospital usage is 1 day later, and the total deaths is 1 higher (172 vs 171).


Ned said...

"approx 25%" not "approx 25"

Anonymous said...

Thanks for correcting! - my Blog


The saddest thing about Singer's predictable WUWT, Heartland and CFACT obits is that they competely ignore all the good work he did before he turned to the dark side of K Street and went off the deep end :


Layzej said...

Hi Ned,

Stoat has a post that expresses reservations about the IHME models.