The Parrot and the Igloo Notes

Millions of Guinea Pigs

271   the physicist assured the New Republic: S. Fred Singer, Letter to the Editor, The New Republic, November 6, 1995.


271   an “old rumor,” a “dead horse”: Science and Environmental Policy Project, “Ross Gelbspan and The Heat Is On,” July 27, 1997.

Accessed 6-22-22.


271   ABC News Nightline: ABC News, Nightline, February 24, 1994.


271   free office space for a year: The Reverend’s generous organization even provided office supplies. This comes from Dr. Singer’s 1993 deposition.


q. Whose computer?

singer. The computer was — belonged to an institute that I was using on a courtesy basis. I did not have a computer of my own.

q. Whose computer?

singer. It belonged to [Reverend Moon’s] The Washington Institute.


Think about that. 40 years in science, and the man didn’t even have his own computer to show for it.

Deposition of S. Fred Singer, S. Fred Singer v. Justin Lancaster, Civil Action No. 93-2219 September 24, 1993. 68-9.


271   The Church published three of his books: The Ocean in Human Affairs (1989), Global Climate Change: Human and Natural Influences, (1989), The Universe and Its Origin: From Ancient Myths to Present Reality and Future Fantasy (1990)


271   Dr. Singer received a monthly stipend: Leo Hickman, “Climate Skeptics — Who Gets Paid What?” The Guardian, February 15, 2012.


271   to declare climate science “all bunk”: ABC News (Dan Harris, Interviewer), Global Warming Denier: Fraud or ‘Realist’? Physicist says don’t worry, humans will benefit from a warmer planet,” March 23, 2008.


272   $1.5 million per annum: Karen Rothmyer, “Mapping Out Moon’s Media Empire,” Columbia Journalism Review, November/December 1984.


272   how he was signing himself: S. Fred Singer, “On Not Flying Into A Greenhouse Frenzy,” The New York Times, November 16, 1989; S. Fred Singer, “Ozone and Mutations: What Are the ‘Facts’?”, Wall Street Journal, November 20, 1989; S. Fred Singer, “Sewage Treatment: A Moral,” Science, December 15, 1989; S. Fred Singer, “Acid Test,” Washington Post, January 26, 1991.


272      “I’d be more worried”: S. Fred Singer, “Chilling Out,” Washington Post, October 1, 1991.


272      Twenty years from now”: Patrick J. Michaels, Sound and Fury: The Science and Politics of Global Warming, The Cato Institute Press, 1992. 188


272      the then-warmest year on record: Justin Gillis, “Not Even Close: 2012 Was Hottest Ever in U.S.,” The New York Times, January 8, 2013.


272      “It’s like farming in hell”: Jeff Wilson, “U.S. Corn Growers Farming in Hell as Midwest Heat Spreads,” Business Week (Bloomberg News), July 9, 2012.


“Corn yields were falling five bushels a day during the past week” in the driest parts of the Midwest, said Fred Below, a plant biologist at the University of Illinois in Urbana. “You couldn’t choreograph worse weather conditions for pollination. It’s like farming in hell.”


272      Testifying before Congress: Global Environmental Crisis: Oversight Hearing Before the Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred First Congress, Second Session, January 25, 1990. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990. 255.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

272      Addressing the federal Arctic Research panel: An Arctic Obligation: Report of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission to the President and the Congress of the United States of America for the Period 1 October 1990-30 September 1991, Including a Special Section on the Importance of Arctic Research to the United States, U.S. Arctic Research Commission, 1992. 28.


272      Dr. Singer took a wife: Charlotte Hays, “Life: Charlotte’s Web,” Washington Times, February 23, 1990. For Nabokov fans, this journalist’s name is an eerie homonym for Lolita’s mom.


273      “a project editorial director”: Like her husband, Mrs. Singer enjoyed deploying the title in bylines.

Candace C. Crandall, “Anti-War Protesters March To An Unpopular Tune,” San Diego Union, February 10, 1991.

“Author: Candace C. Crandall, Crandall is a project editorial director with the Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy.”


273      The vast majority of the world’s glaciers: George Monbiot, Heat, Penguin, 2006. 24.

This is covered at greater length in Monbiot’s Guardian column. Try George Monbiot, “Junk Science,” The Guardian, May 9, 2005. For example, the Glacier folks added, with reference to the famous British denial scientist Dr. David Bellamy, “Despite his scientific reputation, he makes all the mistakes that are possible.”


273      big-name and eccentric newspapers: Per the Guardian article, Dr. David Bellamy had obtained his figures from an obscure—spoof-level bonkers, in Monbiot’s description—website. Here’s how data arrives on your plate, farm to table.


I still couldn’t put the question out of my mind. The figures that Bellamy cited must have come from somewhere. I emailed him to ask for his source. After several requests, he replied to me at the end of last week. The data, he said, came from a website called Iceagenow was constructed by a man called Robert W Felix to promote his self-published book about “the coming ice age”. It claims that sea levels are falling, not rising; that the Asian tsunami was caused by the “ice age cycle”; and that “underwater volcanic activity — not human activity — is heating the seas”.

Is Felix a climatologist, a volcanologist or an oceanographer? Er, none of the above. His biography describes him as a “former architect”. His website is so bonkers that I thought at first it was a spoof. Sadly, he appears to believe what he says. But there, indeed, was all the material that Bellamy cited in his letter, including the figures — or something resembling the figures — he quoted. “Since 1980, there has been an advance of more than 55% of the 625 mountain glaciers under observation by the World Glacier Monitoring group in Zurich.”


273      Monbiot is wrong”: Monbiot, Heat, 26.


274      “They live with three dogs”: Biography.

Accessed 6-28-22.


274      still emitting its pale, incorrect glow: Monbiot, Heat, pps 26-7.


274      “Because the other side”: Paul Krugman, “Swift Boating the Planet,” The New York Times, May 29, 2006.


274      “every charlatanic thicket in American life”: Joan Didion, The White Album, “James Pike, American,” Simon & Schuster, 1979. 57.


275      In 1933: Co-written by Arthur Kallet.

F. J. Schlink and Arthur Kallet, 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs, Vanguard Press, 1933.


275      “can experiment on us”: F. J. Schlink and Arthur Kallet, 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs, Vanguard Press, 1933. 6


275      “real guinea pigs are in scientific laboratories”: Van Buren Thorne, “Protecting the Consumer,” The New York Times, Jan 29, 1933.

Van Buren Thorne; what became of all these thirties names?


275      “a great improvement in the sex organs”: Korelmu and Radithor at the first products addressed, on pages 4 and 5. By mid-book, Schlink is cranking up the high style. “Bailey” is the man—an “ex-auto-swindler,” we’re told—behind Radithor.


Through long practice, Bailey [Radithor’s inventor] had become adept in weaving out of the words and phrases of pseudo-science an impenetrable cloak to hide his frauds from all but a scientist’s eye.


The “sex organs” is from the Wall Street Journal.

Ron Winslow, “The Radium Water Worked Fine Until His Jaw Came Off — Cancer Researcher Unearths A Bizarre Tale of Medicine And Roaring ‘20s Society,” The Wall Street Journal, August 1, 1990.

Per the Journal, Bailey sold about 400,000 bottles, at one dollar apiece.


275      “but actually is most beneficial”: For example, Vogue, February 1, 1931, 89. Next to a story militantly quoting Cole Porter. “There is a song of Cole Porter’s in ‘The New Yorkers’ entitled ‘I Happen to Like New York,’ and that is the way I feel about elegance—I happen to like elegance.”


275      Some consumers who trusted Vogue: Teresa Riordan, Inventing Beauty: A History of the Innovations That Have Made Us Beautiful. Broadway Books, 2004. pps. 127-9

Kat Eschner, “Three Horrifying Pre-FDA Cosmetics,” Smithsonian, June 26, 2017.

George P. Larrick, Food and Drug Administration, “Cosmetics: Mostly Harmless But Sometimes Not, Tests by United States Chemists Show,” Yearbook of Agriculture, 1935, United States Department of Agriculture. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1935. 157

Ruth deForest Lamb, American Chamber of Horrors: The Truth About Food and Drugs, Farrar & Reinhart, 1936. 29-37. With a photo of a Koremlu-balded woman on page 35 and a letter to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt two pages earlier. Ruth deForest Lamb was Chief Educational Officer at the FDA. When the book became the sort of hit everyone celebrates, Lamb became charmingly suspicious. “When the American Grocer appears to endorse my chapter on standards I am inclined to think there is something wrong with the chapter.”


Dear Mrs. Roosevelt,


I have been informed by a number of people that you are interested in this fight against poison cosmetics . . . I am sure that you are a very busy woman and I will make my story as brief as possible and you will have to excuse all mistakes as I am unable to read what I have written.

In March of 1930 I started using Koremlu Cream and a few weeks later I became very ill from then until now which is almost four years I have never been well all as the result of useing this cream.

. . . I was a girl twenty six years old when I started useing this cream working every day and that was my greatest pleasure in life my health and being able to work and earn my own living and now I will never work again.

I could go on and on writing what this has meant and will mean in all of the years to come to me but I will sum it all in a few words by saying it took from me all I had that made life worth while. My eyes.


The American Chamber of Horrors was an FDA exhibit (of the faulty, the careless, the deceptive) that spokespeople would unveil for interested politicians and committed First Spouses. It later became popular at a World’s Fair and in the White House. (Presumably the tourist zones.) The FDA has a site about it, with great photos of corrupt products. Apparently there were a lot of false-bottom candy boxes and secretly stingy bottles of vanilla and some semi-disgusting jarred stuff.

Accessed 6-30-22.


275      a former national amateur golf champion: “Eben M. Byers Dies, Poisoned By Drinking Radium Water: Pittsburgh Manufacturer, Turfman and Amateur Golf Champion in ‘06 Infected by Patent Medicine | 100 Others Reported,” New York Herald Tribune, April 1, 1932.

Mr. Byers, the golf champion—“turfman” apparently meant “devotee of horse racing”—also owned what the Tribune calls “a string of horses.” (Which brings to mind Tom Buchanan and The Great Gatsby. “ . . He’d left Chicago and come East in a fashion that rather took your breath away; for instance, he’d brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest.”)

There were additional cases. According to the Herald Tribune, “One of them died last September. The others were so frightened by the death that they have refused to seek proper medical care, though many are suffering from advanced stages of poisoning.”


275      lost his teeth: Roger M. Macklis, MD, “Radithor and the Era of Mild Radium Therapy,” JAMA, August 1, 1990.

Charles O. Jackson, Food and Drug Legislation in the New Deal, Princeton University Press, 1970. 7. Jackson gives cause of death as “disintegration of bones in the head.”


275      he died weighing 92 pounds: Roger M. Macklis, MD, “The Great Radium Scandal,” Scientific American, August, 1993.

Only six of his teeth remained in place. Don’t drink radium water. “Death of Byers Stirs Inquiry On Radium ‘Cures’: Autopsy Shows Pittsburgh Man Died of Poisoning,” New York Herald Tribune, April 2, 1932.


275      “Even when it has been proved”: F. J. Schlink and Arthur Kallet, 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs, Vanguard Press, 1933. 15.


276      “astonishing and devastating”: Van Buren Thorne, “Protecting the Consumer,” The New York Times, Jan 29, 1933.


276      It remained on bestsellers lists: Between January and June 1933 there were twelve printings. Alice Payne Hackett and James Henry Burke, 80 Years of Best Sellers, 1895 to 1975, R. R. Bowker Company 1977. 115–117.

A Hundred Million Guinea Pigs was 1933’s Number Four nonfiction bestseller. (Number One was Life Begins At Forty; Number Seven one of those compilations of reprints and speeches that have a president’s name on the author’s page: Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Looking Forward.)

In 1934, A Hundred Million held steady at Number Four. (Number Ten was Dickens’ biography of Jesus for your readers, The Life of the Lord; Number Seven tells us that 1934 was as tense as now—You Must Relax: A Practical Method of Reducing the Strains of Modern Living.)

Per Hackett and Burke—taking the long view as of 1977—A Hundred Million Guinea Pigs pioneered a genre: it was “a volume that led the way for many other books of the ‘exposure’ type.”


276      There was a strike: “Research Bureau Closed By Strike: Consumers Research, Inc., at Washington, N.J., Picketed After 41 Walk Out,” New York Times, Sep 5, 1935.

“Strike Picket Hit By Auto In Jersey: Guard Engaged By Director Of Consumers Research Insists He Did Not Try to Injure Man,” The New York Times, Sep 9, 1935.


276      from the provinces: Paradigmatically; he was from Peoria.


276      “Schlink found a lasting home”: Charles F. McGovern, Sold American: Consumption and Citizenship, 1890–1945. University of North Carolina Press, 2006. 309–310. Like Singer, like Seitz, like Clarence Little (like the approaching Christopher Monckton and Arthur Robinson and  other special guests to come), Schlink was a man who hadn’t received his due; a man with a grudge. “Embittered against his old colleagues and allies throughout the field, Schlink quickly became a rabid anticommunist . . . The fierce energy he once spent compiling data on testing and product he now turned to assembling endless lists of alleged leftist consumer activists.”


277      “If you’re a Congressman”: Both clips from Robert Kenner, Dir., Merchants of Doubt, 2014.


277      in Consumers’ Research: Including: Candace Crandall, “The Cost of Counterfeit Products,” Consumers’ Research, May 1986; Candace Crandall and S. Fred Singer, “Assessing the Threat to the Ozone,” Consumers’ Research, July 1987; S. Fred Singer, “Drastic Remedies Are Not Needed,” Consumers’ Research, November 1988; S. Fred Singer, “Climate Change: Hasty Action Unwarranted,” Consumers’ Research, December 1997; S. Fred Singer et al, “Global Warming Science: Fact vs. Fiction,” Consumers’ Research, July 2001.


277      on the wickedness of abortion: Candace Crandall, “Legal But Not Safe,” The Women’s Quarterly, Winter 1996 (“Candace Crandall on the abortion victims neither side cares about”); Candace Crandall, “The Fetus Beat Us,” The Women’s Quarterly, Winter 1996 (“Candace Crandall explains why the pro-choice movement is suddenly playing defense”); Candace Crandall, “None of Our Business,” The Women’s Quarterly, Summer 1997 (“Candace Crandall says it’s scandalous that we don’t know the long-term risks of abortion”).


277      with the cover of Time: “The Agony of Bangladesh,” Time, May 20, 1991.


277      held at the Dirksen Senate Office Building: “You Are Invited To Attend. A Symposium On . . . Science and Government Relations: From Alar To Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Acid Rain. What Are The Data Behind the Rulings? Time: Monday, May 20, 1991. Place: 562 Dirksen Senate Office Building. Free of Charge. Hosted By Consumers' Research, Inc.” Philip Morris Records. Bates No. 2026312670.


277      “an absolute disaster”: John Merline, Peter Spencer, “A CR Symposium: Science Behind Recent Regulations Questioned,” Consumers Research, July 1991.


277      “If you take the time to look”: John Merline, Peter Spencer, “A CR Symposium: Science Behind Recent Regulations Questioned,” Consumers Research, July 1991.


277      “They will not show a discernible”: S. Fred Singer, “The Science Behind Global Environmental Scares,” Consumers’ Research, October 1991. (The published version of his symposium speech.)

“These data show no discernable upward trend during the 1980s. I would predict they will not show a discernable trend during the 1990s.”


277      “At the time”: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, “Past Decade Warmest on Record According to Scientists in 48 Countries | Earth has been growing warmer for more than fifty years,” July 28, 2010.

Accessed 6-29-22.


278      if you were born after February 1985: Angela Fritz, “April was Earth’s 400th warmer-than-normal month in a row,” Washington Post, May 18, 2018.

“Do you remember February 1985? Perhaps you were rocking out to Wham! and Foreigner while teasing your bangs. Or maybe you hadn’t even been born. Either way, it was a significant month for the planet — the last one that was cooler than normal, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“In every single month after February 1985, the average global temperature has been warmer than normal — 400 months in a row. Anyone born after that month has never experienced a ‘cool’ month for Earth, let alone a normal one.”

Andrew Freedman, “Three decades of global warming have yielded a more volatile, dangerous planet,” Axios, June 26, 2021.


The details: A look at just the past few years shows a climate that’s already separated from the conditions that existed when millennials were born starting in the 1980s.

  • The last colder-than-average month globally, compared to the 20th century average, was February 1985. Each of the past three decades has been hotter than the one before it.
  • All the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005.

Reuters, “Global Warming Has Become ‘Normal’ Climate for Most People,” August 6, 2014.


278      We become comfortable: “You may not like the smell of your wife’s stool,” Reverend Moon preached, “but do you smell your own?”

Reverend Sun Myung Moon, “Who Was I?”, The Words of Rev. Sun Myung Moon For 1994, February 13, 1994,

Accessed 6-10-22.


278      the push against tobacco: John Merline, Peter Spencer, “A CR Symposium: Science Behind Recent Regulations Questioned,” Consumers Research, July 1991.


278      “I wish I’d been smarter or wiser”: NBC Nightly News, “In Depth With NBC’s Bob Kur,” March 4, 1998.


278      “I know you’ll get a kick": Julia Sutherland, To: Martha Rinker, Re: Passive Smoking—How Great A Hazard?, June 20, 1991. Bates Number: TI50542404.

“Enclosed is the July issue of Consumers’ Research. Dr. Gary Huber, who spoke at CR’s recent symposium . . . ”


278      And S. Fred Singer’s name appeared: Philip Morris, Unknown (Experts List), Philip Morris Records, March 1991. Bates Number: 2025528294-8299.

The document makes much of the Singer speech—which must have been music to Philip Morris’ beleaguered ears. “At a Consumers’ Research seminar in D.C. that dealt with official regulations frequently having little basis in scientific fact, being instead driven by political/social factors. ‘The tendency not only to misuse science but to ignore it is very strong’ in policy decisions concerning global warming, ozone depletion, and acid rain . . . Singer was director of the Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy.”

The Parrot and the Igloo by David Lipsky