How to be wrong

From the department for shooting fish in a barrel, David Appell has a nice post pointing out that Singer has been a bozo for years, predicting (in 1981) massive future declines in fossil oil use.

This may be a good place to link to another of DA’s posts, US Emissions to Stay Below Pre-Recession Peak Until 2028 which makes an interesting combination with Early Warning on US vehicle miles.

More Singer-is-a-bozo stuff

This is, as I said, shooting fish in a barrel. So I’ll just make it an update to this post rather than a new one. DA went to a talk by Singer that was riddled with errors. One bit stuck out:

Most egregious of his claims was that there has been no warming since 1975. As proof he put up a graph of UAH (University of Alabama at Huntsville) satellite data, compiled by the Christy/Spencer group. Singer said he calculated that it had zero linear trend. One audience member down front almost jumped out of his seat while pointing out that Singer was using version 5.0 of the UAH data, which is years old and had not been properly (and famously) corrected for satellite drift. UAH did that and their new data, version 5.4, now shows warming, and they list the trend at the bottom of their data page: +0.14°C/decade for the globe, +0.17°C/decade for land. Astonishingly Singer feigned ignorance of this.

Singer gave a talk at BAS, ooh, maybe 5 years back, and he was much the same then. He used junk data, and anytime anyone pointed this out, he put on the folksy-old-man persona and pretended he knew nothing about it. As a rhetorical trick, I don’t think it works well: rather than a poor old man being assailed by nasty young men pointing out his errors, he comes across as a senile old chap who doesn’t really know what he is talking about.

Eric Fnorrd and his Ouija Board?

SEPP has alwys been a one-man-band, that one man being Fred Singer of course (Do you know the dirt about Singer? He was once sane. BTW, if you’re here from wiki, don’t miss a post I did on Lindzen).

But being a one-man-band makes it look like you’re a wacko (err…) so obviously you need an organisation, and obviously that organisation needs a board of directors, science advisors, you know the kind of thing: pad it out with some names to look impressive. So Singer did, the SEPP website proudly proclaims:

The following serve on the Board of Directors of The Science & Environmental Policy Project:

* Frederick Seitz, Ph.D. (Chairman)
* (etc)

(see Note to SEPP: I’ve saved a copy, and so has the internet archive, so don’t bother trying to change it and pretend there was no problem).

There is only one problem with this (well, other than that Seitz was also a bit of a wacko on GW, but let’s skip over that): Seitz is pushing up the daisies. It must be true wikipedia says so.

And: The following individuals serve on the Board of Science Advisors of The Science & Environmental Policy Project:

* Bruce N. Ames
* C.J.F. Böttcher
* Tor Ragnar Gerholm
* Michael J. Higatsberger
* Henry R. Linden
* Sir William Mitchell
* William A. Nierenberg
* Michel Salomon
* Chauncey Starr

Again: nice people, kind to children and animals, a bit loopy perhaps, but suffering from a major problem: most of them are six feet under (fun game for a wet half-hour: work out which few of them *aren’t* stiffs).

However, it was suggested that they might be contactable via Ouija Board, so I’m wondering if any of the more cartoon-ly talented would care to try their hands at a Viz style strip. Unfortunately “Singer” doesn’t rhyme with “board” and that is an absolute requirement. You’ll never get close to the heights of Mickey’s monkey spunk moped but it might be fun anyway. Alas I can’t find a reprint of that cartoon on the web anymore.

[Current best version is “Septic Fred, he talks to the Dead” slightly modified from the comments]