Dr. Adam M. Finkel; October 2020

Four years ago, many U.S. workers helped elect the first tycoon in nearly a century to the Presidency, and the time has come for those workers to ask how that is working out, for themselves and for their loved ones who depend on them. Many workers may have been, or may remain, pleased with Mr. Trump’s views on social, foreign-policy, or other issues, but perhaps they should now consider the effects of his Presidency on their life expectancy.

The Trump Administration’s treatment of workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in food production and health…

The Chicago Tribune recently published a column by University of Notre Dame history professor Patrick Griffin, in which he praises ND for reopening during the pandemic and claims this shows a “deeper wisdom than the world usually recognizes.” As a pioneer in developing methods of quantitative risk assessment and teaching public and private decision-makers how to choose wisely when faced with difficult trade-offs, I’ve often had to correct some pretty confused and cavalier advice about risk.

I wrote about a racial issue the wrong way on the Facebook page of the anti-racism group in our small town in central New Jersey a couple of weeks ago, and I was expelled from the group, without warning or explanation. Here’s what I did wrong, and thoughts about the lessons I may have learned.

For background, our community has two independent pharmacies. About two months ago, the owner’s son at one of the drugstores posted memes on Instagram including “Who wants to Lynch some Ni**ers?” and “[Name of fellow high school student] is a monkey.” This was all widely…

Note: this essay was originally published in the Chicago Sun-Times, whose permission to repost I greatly appreciate : https://chicago.suntimes.com/2018/10/19/18443165/stop-concocting-unscientific-excuses-for-ignoring-brain-injuries-from-football

NFL football is a game of inches, a “bruising ballet” and powered by iconic statistics.

Fans recognize the number 55 as the most touchdown passes in a year (Peyton Manning), 197 as the most receiving touchdowns in a career (Jerry Rice), and so on.

But for scientists, lawyers and players and their families concerned about life or death after football, a new statistic looms over the others: 110/111. This fraction represents the number of deceased NFL players found to have a…

I’m going to attempt to do here what a science reporter recently failed utterly to do; to refrain from spinning a lurid private morality play, and actually try to explain the substance of a public moral (and scientific) dispute. The failure in question concerns a four-part series the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) published online on Dec. 12 — about the “government’s secret alliance with Big Oil” and the petroleum lobby’s long-term sponsoring of one risk analyst to foment doubt about whether air pollution (specifically, ozone and fine particulate pollution) causes any harm at all to human health at current…

Why I Gave Up on Dow Chemical

[Below is a letter I sent, as a shareholder and frequent scientific collaborator with Dow, to CEO Andrew Liveris in April of this year. After six months, I thought I would share this in the absence of any reply or acknowledgment.]

Dear Mr. Liveris:

I am writing as a shareholder and admirer of Dow to express my dismay at the explicit anti-regulatory stance, and implicit anti-science stance, you are taking by your vocal support for Mr. Trump’s policies. By way of brief background, I have had productive interactions with Dow scientists and lobbyists…

Adam M. Finkel

Risk assessment expert, former federal government regulator (OSHA), choral singer and conductor

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