Forum artHighlights From the Forum

April 2 through 8, 2000

Subject: Asbestos/Loran station
Date: 4/3/00
From: John Clauss

>Okay, but if that's the case it means that the transite is not part of the
>activity that brought the other "building material" (screen, tar paper, tank,
>poles) to the site in the Gallagher era --- unless we're incorrect in assuming
>that this site is the "house built for Gallagher" referred to by Laxton.

OK, Then let's consider the possibility that the screen and tar paper might have also have come from the Loran station. There is screen at scattered sites around the Loran station. As I recall, it is dark green or some of the framing that is associated with it is dark green. I do not recall seeing tar paper. These types of materials might, more logically, have originated in the Coast Guard facility as opposed to the pre war Gardner settlement.

Look at the picture of The Government House and think about the debris around its ruins . About the only western style building material that is apparent in the picture or remains at the site is corrugated metal sheet. I wonder if screening would even be of much use in the early settlement. Bugs don't really seem to be a problem.

Something tells me that the transite, screen and tar paper might well have come from the Loran station. This suggests that there was post war activity at the '7' site and that it was more convenient to use materials that were close by rather than bring them all the way from the other end of the island. It doesn't rule out the location as "the house built for Gallagher", but does suggest there was ongoing activity in this area.

John Clauss

From Ric

This seems to me like an unnecessary complication of the scenario. We know that the tank was there pre-Loran station because the Coasties found it soon after they arrived. We also know that the tank came from the village. So --- big heavy stuff was brought there from the village prior to the arrival of the Coast Guard. Maybe the site was developed, abandoned, and developed again later but I don't see any particular evidence to support that.

Subject: Somewhere in between
Date: 4/3/00
From: William Webster-Garman

For David Evans Katz, who wrote:

>My only question is whether they had sufficient fuel to reach Gardner.

It appears that the Electra, as configured and fueled that day, had 24 hours or more endurance, which would have been sufficient for landfall at Gardner. We know Noonan was an excellent navigator, and that he had the expertise and the opportunity to fly the LOP when they couldn't spot Howland.

> there is no hard evidence that they crashed (or ditched) into the sea, there
> is also no proof that they landed at Gardner.

There is more evidence that they landed at Gardner than that they crashed at sea, including the documented history of the woman's skeleton parts, the anecdotes of aircraft wreckage and the skeletons of male and female "european" castaways, and the fact the Gerald Gallagher (the resident British officer there) believed that Earhart might have been on Gardner.

> Everything I have seen on the
> TIGHAR site is as speculative as any theory advanced by those who believe
> that AE & FN crashed or ditched into the sea.

I disagree with that. Much of TIGHAR's current theory is backed by evidence, and it has significantly evolved over time as new evidence has emerged. I've watched this process happen.

>What I believe to be reasonable is that they flew south on the LOP toward
>Gardner, a destination they may have reached by the skin of their teeth if
>their fuel consumption was optimal.

There is evidence that they had sufficient fuel to reach Gardner. We just don't know at this time how close they came to running out of fuel, but I think it's realistic to assume that they were probably deeply into their reserve fuel.

> While the Longs' assumptions have some flaws that you have so
> very well described, I think that the truth lies somewhere in between
> -- that is, somewhere in between Howland/Baker and McKean/Gardner.

I suspect that if they did ditch, it was south of Howland, not north.

There is a lot of compelling evidence that they may have reached Gardner. Pursuing that evidence with the objective of finding proof sounds reasonable to me.

William 2243

Subject: Null Hypothesis?
Date 4/3/00
From: Dennis McGee

The process is usually referred to as being the Devil's Advocate, isn't it?

I would think the only way to prove a null hypothesis is: a) prove it was impossible to happen (Ric's suggestion), or b) prove something else did happen, which may include part of a).

In any event, only a) would qualify as a "null hypothesis because if b) occurred then it would not be a "null," it would simply be a different hypothesis being proved correct. Null, by definition, states nothing occurred and you can't prove nothing occurred, you can only prove it was impossible to occur.

A "null hypothesis" is an oxymoron, i.e., a contradictory definition. Null means "nothing" but a hypothesis is not nothing, it is something. It represents a belief -- spoken, written or otherwise -- of certain circumstances. Giving voice to those beliefs constitutes "something," thereby negating the ability to call it "nothing," i.e. null.

I think what Randy has is simply just another good-old-fashioned, common, run-of-the-mill, vanilla, everyday, white bread opposing hypothesis.

LTM, who thinks Randy's Mustang is way cool!
Dennis O. McGee #1049

From Ric

I think you're over-thinking this. The term "null hypothesis" (although perhaps oxymoronic if taken literally, just like "military intelligence" or "government assistance") is, in fact, merely a term used to describe a useful reversing of a hypothesis for the purpose of perspective. In our case the null hypothesis is that you could select any Pacific atoll at random and, if you looked at it closely enough, you would find just as much evidence that Earhart and Noonan had landed there.

The term Devil's Advocate (Advocatus Diaboli) is actually a religious term from the beatification and cannonization process in the Roman Catholic faith. In assessing whether a person is worthy of sainthood a church officer is appointed to seek out all the evidence against the candidate.


Subject: Re: Fuel Management
Date: 4/3/00
From: Oscar Boswell

>From Alan Caldwell
> Guys, you are confusing me which is not hard to do. I'll ask again -- wasn't
> AE supposed to be flying 150mph (130kph) INDICATED airspeed? If so and she
> reduced to 120mph ias that has to be a 20% reduction in airspeed. Which
> numbers do I have wrong?
> I don't know where 155 or 144 or 4% or 6% numbers came from. I don't know
> how anyone knows what her TAS was without knowing her altitude and OAT.

The 144 comes from the rule of thumb that True airspeed is 2% higher than indicated airspeed for each 1,000 feet of altitude. You are certainly correct that the precise calculation requires OAT and (pressure) altitude. (We know the altitude because AE gives it as 10,000 feet. Ten times 2 = 20%, and 120% of 120 = 144.) The calculated TAS of 144 is 6 mph below the base speed of 150. Six is 4% of 150, so 144 represents a 4% reduction from 150. Under Johnson's plan, airspeed was not held constant, but increased during the period between power reductions; 155 is an assumed midpoint reflecting that increase; it is 11 mph higher than 144; 11 is 7% of 155, so 144 represents a 7% reduction from 155. And 6% is a typo for 7%.(Sorry!)

From Ric

Good point Oscar, and one that I had not fully appreciated. Under Johnson's plan of holding a given power setting for three hours at a stretch, the airspeed would slowly build as the aircraft became lighter, then at the end of the segment the power would be pulled back and the speed would drop back only to start slowly building again as more weight was burned off. If 150 mph TAS was the target speed for the BEGINNING of each segment maybe we need to rethink the aircraft's probable AVERAGE airspeed for the entire segment. That airplane may have been "faster" than we've been thinking and, thus, able to deal with a greater headwind component and still arrive in the Howland area when it did.


Re: Null Hypothesis

Date: 4/3/00
From: Bob Brandenburg

This null hypothesis thing is getting a bit tangled and may lead to unnecessary confusion, so let me try to clarify.

The term "null hypothesis" has nothing to do with proving that something did not happen.

The term is from mathematical statistics and is used to denote a particular statistical hypothesis, typically specifying the population from which a random sample is assumed to have been drawn, and which is to be NULLified, i.e. rejected, if the evidence from the random sample is unfavorable to the hypothesis.

As a simple example, consider a factory making a batch of widgets which are required to meet certain specifications. The factory takes a random sample to find out if the batch is acceptable. The NULL hypothesis is that the widgets meet specifications. The ALTERNATIVE hypothesis is that the widgets do not meet specifications. The widgets in the sample are tested in accordance with a predefined statistical procedure, and if fewer than a specified number of widgets are defective, then the null hypothesis is accepted. Otherwise, the null hypothesis is rejected and the alternative hypothesis, i.e. that the widgets do not meet specifications, is accepted.

Semantic confusion about the word NULL can be avoided by thinking about this in terms of THE HYPOTHESIS TO BE TESTED and the ALTERNATIVE HYPOTHESIS. In the TIGHAR context, the hypothesis to be tested (the TIGHAR hypothesis) is that Earhart landed on Gardner Island. The alternative hypothesis is that she didn't. Even though the TIGHAR methodology is not statistical, the hypothesis terms can be used in an evidentiary context just as well. Either Earhart got to Gardner or she didn't.

When Randy says he has been unable to prove the NULL hypothesis, I understand him to mean he has been unable to prove the ALTERNATIVE hypothesis, i.e. he has been unable to find evidence that would enable him to reject (NULLify) the TIGHAR hypothesis.

Hope this helps.

LTM (who hates it when explanations nullify clarity)
Bob Brandenburg, #2286

From Ric

See? If we bash about long enough, sooner or later somebody who actually KNOWS steps in and straightens us out. Thanks Bob.

Subject: Re: somewhere in between
Date: 4/3/00
From: Frank Westlake

Tom King writes:

> ... does anybody want to speculate about factors, if any, that might
> have caused them to be substantially off course to the south
> without knowing it?

I'm still not comfortable with a magnetic variation of 9° 29′ E for Howland Island in 1937, as reported to Alan Caldwell by Larry Newitt of the Canadian government. Where did they get that -- from an old chart, a measurement made in the central Pacific, or did they calculate it using today's standards? If the magnetic variation was incorrect for that area it will not have been as much of a problem for shipping as it would have been for aircraft, and there wasn't a whole lot of air traffic in that area back then. A shipboard navigator can take a lot more fixes per mile than an airborne navigator, so an error in course because of a miscalculated variation can be corrected more often and is less likely to be reported as a problem. Especially if it is a slight error.

It's probably been reported here already but when was Noonan likely to have taken his last fix before expected landfall? I realize that my calculation of 14 deg35' E for variation is probably incorrect but this would have given them a course 5 degrees south what their course should have been, and if the variation was anywhere between 9°29′E and 14°35′E they still would've been south.

I don't have the knowledge or resources to do it but I think we should verify 9°29′E using a current .

Frank Westlake

From Ric

Frank has a point. If it turned out that the 1937 map was wrong that would be very interesting. Anybody got a geomagnetic model of the geomagnetic variation in 1937 handy?

Subject: Re: Evidence
Date: 4/4/00
From: David Evans Katz

For William Webster-Garman

We have no idea how deep into her reserve she was. We only know that she reported that she was "low on gas" an hour before her last transmission. I think that we should take her at her word. At 19:13 being "low on gas" does not make me optimistic that she believed she had as much as 5 hours left at that point.

With respect to "hard evidence that they were on Gardner", I submit that TIGHAR has no such hard evidence. "Anecdotes" of aircraft wreckage does not qualify as evidence in any reasonable forum. The qualify as hearsay. Actual Aircraft wreckage qualifies as evidence.

Moreover, reports of skeletons are not hard evidence that Earhart and Noonan were there. Those reports are also hearsay and the skeletons themselves (until they are found) are hard evidence merely that two humans (perhaps of European extraction) died there. They could have been two of the unfortunates from the old shipwreck or they could have been two other castaways (or they could have been Earhart & Noonan). In any event, this is hard evidence that two people died there, nothing more. The "fact" that Gerald Gallagher believed that Earhart might have been on Gardner is not quite the case. He wondered whether the remains might belong to Earhart and Noonan; there is no evidence of which I am aware that he actually believed that the remains belonged to E&N. This too, fails the test of hard evidence. Think of it this way: If someone unearthed (and subsequently lost) the bones of two other unidentified "Europeans" on McKean, such bones would have the same weight (as evidence) as those found on Gardner.

"Evidence" such as this appears to me to be as speculative and as fanciful as any other so-called evidence presented by other groups. I would classify TIGHAR's "evidence" as falling into the realm of interesting clues that may lead one to conclude that E&N possibly made it to Gardner. It is equally possible that they didn't.

David Evans Katz

From Ric

I suspect that most of the experienced pilots on the forum would agree that if you're 19 hours out and over the middle of the Pacific Ocean in a 150 mph airplane and you can't find your destination and you only have 5 hours of gas left you are most definitely "low on gas."

Contemporaneous written accounts by a first-hand source are by no stretch of the imagination "hearsay."

We also have a problem in semantics. William says we have "hard evidence" but David objects and says that all we have are "interesting clues." Let's see if we can sort this out.

Webster's New World Dictionary defines "evidence" as:

1. the condition of being evident
2. something that makes another thing evident; indication; sign
3. something that tends to prove; ground for belief

"Clue" is defined as:

"something that leads out of a maze, perplexity, etc. or helps to solve a problem."

I would submit that for all practical purposes the terms are interchangeable.

The term "hard evidence" is not defined but, I would suggest, is usually taken to mean evidence of a physical nature (as in documents, photographs, and artifacts) which is regarded as credible. David seems to be confusing "evidence" with "proof."

TIGHAR certainly does have hard evidence (grounds for belief) that the Earhart/Noonan flight ended at Nikumaroro. We do not yet have proof that that happened. By contrast, I am aware of no similar body of hard evidence to support a alternative hypothesis.


Subject: Re: Null hypothesis
Date: 4/4/00
From: Michael Lowrey

There is an important methodological mistake in Bob Brandenburg's widget example. In statistical hypothesis testing, only by being able to reject the null and accept the alternative hypothesis are you making a powerful statement. How you define the null and alternative is critical.

Bob's example was:

> As a simple example, consider a factory making a batch of widgets which are
> required to meet certain specifications. The factory takes a random sample to
> find out if the batch is acceptable. The NULL hypothesis is that the widgets
> meet specifications. The ALTERNATIVE hypothesis is that the widgets do not
> meet specifications. The widgets in the sample are tested in accordance with a
> predefined statistical procedure, and if fewer than a specified number of
> widgets are defective, then the null hypothesis is accepted. Otherwise, the null
> hypothesis is rejected and the alternative hypothesis, i.e. that the widgets
> do not meet specifications, is accepted.

In other words, we are to assume the widgets are good to go (the null hypothesis) unless we have strong proof that they aren't (the alternative hypothesis). ("Strong proof" in statistics typically means 95 percent confident.) In this approach, you'd use the widgets unless you were at least 95 percent confident that they were defective. However, just because you can't reject the null/accept the alternative doesn't mean the null is true. That is a proposition that you haven't tested. In this case just because you aren't 95 percent confident the parts are bad doesn't mean the parts are within specifications.

A far better approach is to assume (null hypothesis) the widgets are defective with an alternative that they aren't defective/are within specifications. You would reject the null only if you were at least 95 percent confident that the widgets weren't defective.

Michael Lowrey

From Ric

Which reminds me of another concept I've often thought about with relation to this investigation --- the concept of probability. What are "the chances" that a given island that "happens" to be on the LOP described by Earhart will "happen", three years later, to yield the bones of a castaway which "happen" to be most likley those of a woman of Earhart's stature and ethnic background and that a search of the same island will "happen" to produce the remains of a shoe which appears to match Earhart's and aircraft-related artifacts whihc "happen' to be consistewnt with the Lockheed Modle 10....etc, etc. In other words, is there a mathematical way to quantify this heap of coincidence?

Subject: Somewhere in between
Date: 4/4/00
From: Randy Jacobson

I obtained a geomagnetic map appropriate for 1937. Variations occur very slowly, due to changes in the flow field in the Earth's magnetic core. Geomagnetic maps are published once a decade, with the change in variation over the past 10 years (it's kinda hard to predict the variations in the future). By comparing the variations in 1930 and 1940, one can interpolate the variations for 1937. Alternatively, some academic universities publish the magnetic variations on a yearly basis, based upon updated measurements. There is no practical way that the variation around Howland changed by 5 degrees in a 10 year period: the most it changes around the equator area is about 1 degree every 10 years. My data were obtained from the Carnegie Institute of Magnetism, located here in DC, and is considered the best source of magnetic data in the US, if not the world.

Subject: Re: 20 gph vs. 38 gph
Date: 4/4/00
From: Oscar Boswell

We actually know(or can calculate) quite a bit about the Electra's weight and performance at the time.

The 38 gph figure was for an initial gross weight of about 10,000 pounds under Johnson's figures(14,000 takeoff reduced by 9 hours consumption of 462 gallons, or about 4,000).That is only about 500 pounds below the normal maximum gross weight of the airplane. At the time of the "20 gph" log entry, gross weight would have been about 9,000 pounds.(Assuming consumption after the first 9 hours of 40 gph = 240 pounds per hour = 1200 to 1400 pounds reduction, but adding 282 pounds for the additional 47 gallons of fuel carried over Johnson's 900 gallon allowance.)

Look also at Johnson's fuel consumption figures: 60, 51, 43 and ultimately 38 gph. Using a specific fuel consumption figure of 0.48 pounds per horsepower per hour, we get total horsepower (both engines combined) of roughly 750, 650, 537 and 475 for the four settings.These are not mysterious figures - they correspond roughly to 70, 60, 50 and 45 % of maximum horsepower(and they correspond even more closely if one uses a specific fuel consumption between 0.45 and 0.48). Forty-five per cent was for many years accepted as the "normal" LRC setting in many airplanes.

Normal LRC is not the most efficient speed, which is a unique angle of attack called "L over D speed." ( V L/D - the "L/D" should be in subscript.) Peter Garrison goes into V L/D in detail in Chapter 6 of his book "Long-Distance Flying." If I understand correctly, V L/D is a unique INDICATED airspeed, which remains constant at all altitudes (assuming - though Garrison doesn't say so explicity - that weight is constant). Fuel consumption increases with altitude in lockstep with the increase in TRUE airspeed as the constant indicated airspeed is flown at higher altitudes.

Garrison says that in a normally clean lightplane(not so very different from the Electra in its range of airspeeds), V L/D is slightly above best rate of climb speed, and he gives figures for reductions in efficiency caused by flying above V L/D. Let's assume that the best rate of climb in the Electra was 90 indicated(a low estimate, I think) at 10,000 pounds.This is equivalent to a true airspeed (standard conditions) of about 107 at 10,000 feet. Let's postulate that V L/D gave a true airspeed of 110 mph at 10,000 pounds and 10,000 feet in the Electra, and work our calculations from there.

Garrison says that a 40% increase in true airspeed over the true airspeed produced by flying at V L/D typically results in a 20% reduction in fuel efficiency. We know that 45% power (38 gph) gives 150 true(or thereabouts) at 10,000 feet and 10,000 pounds, which equals 4 miles per gallon(still air). That setting represents a bit less than a 40% increase in TAS (36.36%) and (presumably) a bit less than a 20% reduction in effiency. Be conservative and use the 20% figure. If 150 true is 80% as efficient as 110 true, and if 150 produces 4 mpg, 110 true produces 5 mpg (4 divided by 0.80 = 5). If 110 true yields 5 gph, fuel consumption is 22 gph, at a V L/D assumed to be about 92.5 mph indicated.

If you assume V L/D of the Electra was 10 mph higher than that, yielding a true of 120, Johnson's 150 mph cruise is only 25 % higher than V L/D. Garrison says that a 20 % increase above V L/D results in an 8% reduction in efficiency, and a 30% increase results in a 15% reduction. Interpolating for a 25% increase, we can use 12 1/2%. We know that 150 mph true yields an efficiency of 4mpg (still air) and is 87.5% as efficient as 120. Therefore, a V L/D of about 102, yielding a true of 120 at 10,000 produces about 4.5 mpg(still air)( 4 divided by 0.875 = 4.5), at a fuel consumption of something over 26 gph(120 divided by 4.5 = 26.6666).

Going one final step further, assume that V L/D produces 130 true at 10,000 (V L/D = 111/112 indicated). Johnson's 150 mph cruise is only 15% over V L/D. Garrison says 10% over V L/D produces a 3% decrease in efficiency, and 20% produces an 8% decrease. Interpolating for 15% gives about a 6% reduction in efficiency. If 150 produces 4 mpg, then 130 produces about 4.25 mpg ( 4 divided by 0.94 = 4.2253), and 4.25 gph at 130 equals a fuel consumption of about 30.5gph.

All of the foregoing deals with speeds at about 10,000 pounds (slightly below normal gross weight). What can we say about the effect on TAS of further weight reductions caused by additional fuel being consumed? I believe there was a rule of thumb that flying an efficient high performance retractable single at heavy weight (25% over gross) produced about a 2 mph change per hundred pounds, with a smaller effect at weights below normal gross.(I can't give a source for this rule of thumb.) Assuming the Electra weighs about 3 times what the single does, we can guess that the change would be perhaps 1 mph per 300 pounds variation in weight. If the Electra were at 9000 when AE made the 20gph entry, we might expect its airspeed to be 3 mph higher at the same power setting than it would be at 10,0 00 pounds. This is not a big deal - and it's not a big deal even if our assumptions are off by a factor of 2 or 3.

From Ric

Okay, I'm out of my paygrade. I'd be happy to hear comments but I wonder if it's time that we started asking people who want to sling these numbers around to say a little bit about their education and experience in this field - not to pooh-pooh anybody's numbers but it is useful to know who's talking.

Subject: Re: Null hypothesis
Date: 4/5/00
From: Bob Brandenburg


The purpose of my posting was to provide a very simple explanation for the lay readers on the forum, within the context of Randy Jacobson's observations, and not to trigger a debate about lot acceptance sampling methodology. The point was - - - and is - - - that the concept of "null hypothesis" has nothing to do with proving that Earhart did not get to Gardner Island.

For Ric:

Classical probability methods could be used to quantify the heap of coincidence, if that we knew the probability of occurrence for each event. But finding those probabilities would be virtually impossible.

For example (pause while I don my battle helmet and flak jacket), consider the probability of an island yielding the bones of a castaway which "happen" to be most likely those of a woman of Earhart's stature and ethnic background. This is a compound probability, being a function of (at least) the probability that such bones would be on a given island and, given that such bones are on an island, the probability that activity requisite for discovery of the bones would occur at the location of the bones. As another example, consider the discovery of the shoe remains. This is another compound probability case. First there is the question of the probability that such shoe fragments would be on a given island. Then there is the question of the probability that they would be found, As I recall, the remains were found by someone (you?) who stopped to rest by a tree and happened to notice a shoe fragment. At a minimum, we would need to know the probability of the discoverer stopping at that particular tree to rest and, while resting, looking at the particular spot where the fragment was.

There is a branch of mathematics called "fuzzy logic" which might offer some leverage, but I think the chances of success would be dicey (pun intended) at best.

Fuzzy logic attempts to provide a decision framework in cases where the inputs are imprecise - - - as is typically the case in ordinary human decisions. For example (here I go again), a driver approaching an intersection estimates the likelihood of getting through the intersection before the traffic signal turns red, and acts accordingly. The driver does not know: the exact distance remaining to go, or his/her exact speed, or exactly how much time remains before the signal changes, or the precise mass and acceleration/deceleration characteristics of his/her vehicle. The go/no-go decision is based on an intuitive application of fuzzy logic.

It might be worth considering a preliminary assessment of the feasibility of using fuzzy logic to dig into the coincidence heap. I'm no an expert in the field, but I would be willing to give it a shot if there aren't any fuzzy logic experts on the forum willing to do so.

LTM, who thinks fuzzy logic is an oxymoron.
Bob #2286

From Ric

Sounds like the overwhelming intuitive feel that many of us have that the hypothesis is correct might be an example of "fuzzy logic" at work, but I'm not sure we'd want to publicize it as such. Let's leave well enough alone.

Subject: Gallons per hour
Date: 4/5/00
From: Birch Matthews

Numerous messages have recently been posted on the Forum attempting to assess fuel consumption for the Earhart Lockheed 10E by comparing data available for C-119s, C-47s, contemporary light singles and so forth. Although interesting, such comparisons or analogies are indirect at best.

Why not calculate fuel consumption and/or aerodynamic characteristics directly? Most texts on internal combustion engines and aerodynamics, regardless of vintage, illustrate how this is done. There is really nothing mysterious about the methodology. There is sufficient data to do this intelligently and accurately to a reasonable tolerance. I submit the accuracy of the final results will be better than analogies to dissimilar aircraft.

As an aside, a few Forum contributors expressed concern about octane ratings of contemporary fuels versus that used by Amelia Earhart with respect to possibly experimentally assessing Amelia's fuel consumption. Octane numbers relate to the resistance of fuels to detonation, not the fuel chemical energy content. Therefore it is not relevant.

Some worry about the gross weight at takeoff. We do not have the exact figure, but once again, there is enough information to make a reasonable estimate. Aircraft performance calculations can also be used to confirm a gross weight estimate. This is done by determining takeoff distance for a range of gross weight values. The turf field length at Lae was 3,000 feet of which Amelia reportedly used almost every foot.

Hopefully the above comments are useful to the discussion. I offer them because from my perspective, engineering techniques should be part of the "scientific" approach Ric so often mentions. He also requested information on the background of persons commenting on this topic (and others?). A reasonable request. I am a retired aerospace engineer (29 years) with a degree in mechanical engineering.

From Ric

I can't fault Birch's suggestion. The one comment I can make is that Earhart's takeoff distance --- according to Chater and confirmed by the film of the event - seems to have been in the neighborhood of 850 yards (2,550 feet) into perhaps a 3 to 5 knot wind.

Subject: Re: Evidence
Date: 4/5/00
From: William Webster-Garman

Yes, I'd say there has been a semantics problem in this thread. Evidence is not proof. There is lots of evidence that AE and FN landed on Gardner, survived for an indeterminate time there, and then succumbed to exposure.

There is no proof that this happened. The evidence we have is not sufficient to demonstrate a proof.

There is no proof available for any other reasonable scenario. Some of us, reviewing the entire body of evidence available at this time, believe that there is a greater probability that the AE flight ended at Gardner than anywhere else. Because of this heightened probability, it seems reasonable to look for more evidence relating to Gardner.

Because we as human beings have a natural tendency to see what we want to see (there's probably a survival benefit in this characteristic), we must counteract our human nature with another human trait: Objectivity. The most useful tool for objectivity that we have right now is called the "scientific method".

For the amusement of forum readers, I have retrieved from the cabinet and am now looking at a volume of the 1780 Stahel edition of Francis Bacon's Latin translation of his "De Augmentis" (Advancement of Learning). The work it contains was essentially 175 years old when it was printed 220 years ago.

It was Bacon who influenced the adoption of empiricism into modern thought, the idea that experience (not authority or tradition or language) is the source of knowledge. His method was basically to infer from the wider group to which a body of datum, or evidence, belongs, and use later experience to correct errors.

This is the basis of the modern technique of hypothesis, with subsequent proof by rigorous observation.

TIGHAR has an hypothesis, which it continually seeks to develop and ultimately prove by continued observation. This observation includes expeditions to Niku, extensive reviews of original documents, the examination of artifacts from Gardner and from the era, and even conducting interviews for the purpose of acquiring anecdotes, which can sometimes provide information about where to look (or observe) for more evidence.

To conclude, it is my understanding that TIGHAR is not trying to convince anyone of any proof, although some TIGHAR members' enthusiasm for the process of investigation, which in itself can be rewarding, may sometimes confuse people. TIGHAR is pursuing a valid hypothesis, developed through and supported by empirical evidence, in an observational search for empirical proof.

william 2243

From Ric

Thank you William. You have once again said it better than I can.

Subject: Re: 20 gph vs. 38 gph
Date: 4/5/00
From: Oscar Boswell

Ric wrote:

> Okay, I'm out of my paygrade. I'd be happy to hear comments but I wonder if
> it's time that we started asking people who want to sling these numbers
> around to say a little bit about their education and experience in this field
> - not to pooh-pooh anybody's numbers but it is useful to know who's talking.

Since you appended this to my posting, I will reply - but I am disappointed by the question, because the point should not be "who is talking?," but "what has been said?".

I cheerfully confess that I only know what I read in "the papers". I have been reading a lot of "papers" about flying in general (and AE in particular) for 40 years. My BA has nothing to do with the subject, and neither, of course, does my JD. And as for my (inactive) license(land single engine instrument airplane) --- both you and Elgin Long probably have better credentials.

No numbers were "slung" - a lot of people don't care much for numbers, but the beauty of them is they work, no matter who states them. And there's no arithmetic in the posting that's beyond 7th grade level (c.1957).

The foundation of the discussion of V L/D was (as pointed out) Peter Garrison's book. Garrison gives the numbers for changes of efficiency for increases above V L/D. I can't attest to the correctness of Garrison's numbers. But --- assuming Garrison's numbers on that subject are correct --- and that they can be related roughly to the Electra-- - the numbers in my posting are roughly correct, but I can't explain that better (with any conciseness) except by reference to the posting --- "res ipsa loquitor", as we say.

The point is this: the discussion started with a statement that AE was indicating 120 @ 10,000 feet on "less than 20 gph". I take the consensus of the forum now to be that she would have been burning 40 gph, or 20 per engine. Some people dissent from this view --- and they express that dissent by saying that since we don't know "X" and we don't know "Y" the answer could be "A" or "B" or "C" or "anything at all." That's not so.The range of possible(plausible) answers is limited by what we do know.

And we know a lot. We know the approximate takeoff weight of the Electra on the Honolulu flight because AE said it was 14,000 pounds (and that is confirmed by the takeoff run of 1897 feet, which is consistent with Johnson's letter to AE that the plane would take off in 2,000 feet at 14,000 pounds, that letter being quoted in the book "Kelly"). Since we know the fuel management plan, we can deduct the weight of the fuel burned to calculate the weight of the plane with reasonable accuracy during any hour of the flight. We know the base speed. We know how to calculate fuel consumption based upon horsepower produced, so we can reverse the process and calculate horsepower from fuel consumption. Etc., etc., etc.

I questioned the remark about 20 gph and 120 indicated at 10,000, because it was clearly (to me) outside the plausible range. When discussion continued, I pulled and reread Garrison's very entertaining book, and put his comments (and my math) on the forum: "You multiplied 2 x3 and got 7" would be a valid comment. "Who are you to say so?" is proper comment only to an ipse dixit --- which it clearly was not. (If I had put one more "say", "roughly", "approximately" or "if I understand correctly" it would have collapsed entirely.)

I find I learn things even from postings by people who obviously don't know what they are talking about. And one of the things I like about the forum is being to evaluate the comment without knowing the background of the person who made it. The posting should stand on its own legs --- either it makes sense or it doesn't.

(Thanks for the information on the 10E.)

LTM (who disliked the ad hominem and said "always show your work")

From Ric

I certainly meant no slight when I suggested that some knowledge of a person's background in the subject might be useful when reading highly technical postings and I would be the first to agree that credentials do not automatically accord credibility. I've also learned to distrust numbers that are based upon assumptions.

My own credentials are certainly minimal. A BA in history, a respectable but not an enormous amount of experience driving airplanes around, a 12 year career in aviation underwriting and accident investigation, and another 12 years immersed in the Earhart disappearance.

Elgen Long, a retired airline pilot with something like 40,000 hours and a record-setting circumnavigation of the globe, has been studying the same subject for over 25 years. His book is full of numbers, and it's idiotic.

Anyone's work must stand on its own merits.


Subject: Re: Null hypothesis
Date: 4/5/00
From: William Webster-Garman

Ric asks:

> Which reminds me of another concept I've often thought about with relation to
> this investigation --- the concept of probability. What are "the chances" that
> a given island that "happens" to be on the LOP described by Earhart will...

Mathematical probability theory does apply directly to this topic, and is utilized widely, from physics to genetics, quantum mechanics, manufacturing, social policies and insurance. It is related to mathematical analysis, which emerges from calculus.

There are several different types of probability problems. Compound and conditional probability apply directly to complex historical events.

Compound probability is the probability of all events of a certain group occurring together and conditional probability is the probability of an event when it is known that some other event has happened.

In essence, by calculating the probability of multiple "coincidences" occurring simultaneously, one can mathematically infer a "probability" that they are not coincidences, but related. We do this intuitively all the time but the math exists to do it rationally.

It is exactly the apparently improbable convergence of so many coincidences surrounding the Earhart-Noonan disappearance and the evidence on Gardner that suggests a probable/possible correlation between them. It would be interesting to calculate the actual probabilities, although the many variables and subsequent limitations on accuracy, inherent in many real-world historical events, would have to be clearly predefined in a disclaimer.

william 2243

From Ric

I suspect that the disclaimer would have be so sweeping as to render the estimate meaningless.

Subject: Re: Evidence
Date: 4/5/00
From: Don Jordan

Time for me to get chewed on again! All this talk about evidence relating to AE or FN being on Gardner Island is interesting in itself, but in my opinion, none of it can be related in any way to AE, FN or the Electra.

I will admit, however that it is possible the flight ended there. It could have also ended in the ocean or on the Marshall Islands, but the items collected on Niku by TIGHAR could have come from too many other places.

I tend to agree with David Katz and would like to add a little comment of my own about the bones in particular. I really don't understand what all the fuss is over the bones. The biggest problem I have with the bone story is the age of the bones when found. I believe four different, somewhat qualified people, including Gallagher himself said the bones appear to be over four years old when found in 1940. Do the math!!! One Doctor said they were probable more than twenty years old. The only people who disagree with that figure, are the four TIGHAR members who recalculated the numbers from a note book some sixty years after they were found and lost.

Also, the location on the island where they were found just doesn't make sense. If the Electra landed on the north end of the island, why would the Castaways, or who ever it was go all the way to the other end of the island to die and not take anything with them. No survival gear, no canteens, no clothes, no nothing to suggest he, or she. . . coulda been a she was anything other than what the examination reveal. An elderly Polynesian male who had been dead for maybe twenty years or more.

How about the sheet metal aircraft skin. After extensive examination, it was decided that it was not a fit to any known location on all the Lockheed Electras that could be found and examined. Last year, one forum member found a match on the B-18 Bolo which was known to be patrolling the area and based on Kanton Island during the war.

Next is the Navigator's book case. It turned out to be a known B-24 part.

Now for the shoe parts. Supposedly only two and a half years old when found by Gallagher, yet they were reduced to nothing but small pieces. I suspect it was laying there for far more than two and a half years to end up in that condition.

The thing is, the Electra could have had enough range left to make it to Gardner Island. The theory of a south turn and flying down the 157/337 LOP is somewhat logical. In my opinion, it would make just as much sense to turn south for Gardner as it would be to turn back to the Gilberts. The decision to go south instead of west would be greatly influenced by the remaining fuel, and that is something we don't know about. Only Fred and Amelia knew that.

Since TIGHAR is small and just one of many research groups, you have to understand that TIGHAR doesn't know it all and not all information is shared between groups. The answer to this mystery may already be known, but because so many different people have a small piece of the puzzle and are not willing to share, the mystery may never be solved.

I think the possibility, or probability of a Niku landing can not be determined by the items collected on the island so far. They are just too weak!

Don J.

From Ric

I will not chew on you. I will merely respond to your criticisms.

>All this talk about evidence relating to AE or FN being on Gardner Island
>is interesting in itself, but in my opinion, none of it can be related in any
>way to AE, FN or the Electra.

You're certainly entitled to your opinion.

>It (the flight) could have also ended in the ocean or on the Marshall
>Islands, but the items collected on Niku by TIGHAR could have come from too
>many other places.

In the absence of conclusive proof that the airplane ended up somewhere else, I agree that it is possible that it went into the ocean, but of the many assessments we've seen of the flight's capabilities I've never seen one that reasonably purports to give the aircraft enough endurance to make it to anywhere in the Marshall Islands. We take some of the items collected on Niku to be evidence that the flight ended there because we can't find any other documented way the items could have gotten there. Perhaps you can.

>I believe four different, somewhat qualified people, including Gallagher
>himself said the bones appear to be over four years old when found in 1940.
>Do the math!!! One Doctor said they were probable more than twenty years
>old. The only people who disagree with that figure, are the four TIGHAR
>members who recalculated the numbers from a note book some sixty years after
>they were found and lost.

I think you're referring to the two forensic anthropologists, Dr. Karen Burns and Dr. Richard Jantz, who looked at the description of the bones which was written by Dr. Hoodless and concluded that the bones were so damaged that no one, even today, would be able to accurately assess their age just by looking at them. Dr. Burns is a TIGHAR member. Dr. Jantz is not. Both are highly respected in their field. There is no indication that either of the the doctors who looked at the bones in 1941 had any training or experience in assessing the age of skeletal remains.

>If the Electra landed on the north end of the island, why would the
>castaways, or who ever it was go all the way to the other end of the island to
>die and not take anything with them.

The hypothesis is that the aircraft was landed at the west end of the island. There is no doubt that there was at least one castaway and it is impossible to say what that person had with him/her when s/he went to the southeast portion of the island, certainly not to die but to live. All we know is what was left to find by the time Gallagher got involved.

>Last year, one forum member found a match on the B-18 Bolo which was known
>to be patrolling the area and based on Kanton Island during the war.

Baloney. A place on a B-18 was suggested but not matched. You yourself made a big production out of getting a template of the airtifact to match against the B-18 and came up with nothing.

>Next is the Navigator's book case. It turned out to be a known B-24 part.

Yes. We gathered data (the bookcase), developed a hypothesis (that it might have been from the Electra), tested the hypothesis (by carefully examining the data and trying to find a match for the artifact), and found that the hypothesis was incorrect (the bookcase matches a part from a B-24). What's your point? That the system works? I agree entirely.

>Now for the shoe parts. Supposedly only two and a half years old when found
>by Gallagher, yet they were reduced to nothing but small pieces. I suspect it
>was laying there for far more than two and a half years to end up in that

We've found the remains of other shoes on the island (up in the village) that were at the very least 26 years old when we found them in 1989 (the island was abandoned in 1963) and they were still relatively intact. Unless you want to postulate that the "stoutish walking shoe or sandal" found by Gallagher was several hundred years old, it seems quite clear that something other than the mere passage of time tore up the shoe. Given Gallagher's own speculation that the body was subject to degradation through animal activity, it seems more likely that the condition of the shoes had a similar cause.

>In my opinion, it would make just as much sense to turn south for Gardner
>as it would be to turn back to the Gilberts.

You have repeatedly and persistently shown an apparent inability to understand the navigational situation surrounding such a decision. I despair of being able to change that and I won't try again here.

>Since TIGHAR is small and just one of many research groups, you have to
>understand that TIGHAR doesn't know it all and not all information is share
>between groups.

I am the first to admit that TIGHAR is small but if there are other groups who are also doing research on this subject according to accepted academic standards I am not aware of them. I also enthusiastically agree that TIGHAR does not know it all and I am aware that there are individuals who have information that they believe is important and therefore do not disclose to others who have an interest in the mystery. It's a treasure-hunter mindset for which I have no respect. I have no regard for those people or the secrets they keep.

In replying to your criticisms it has not been my intention to "chew on" you, nor do I expect my replies to sway your opinion. I know that the Forum can be an intimidating environment (as any arena for serious academic inquiry should be) and I know that there are probably subscribers out there who share some of your misgivings about TIGHAR's investigation but may not feel comfortable in expressing them. I hope my replies to the points you raised are of interest to those folks.


Subject: Re: Evidence
Date: 4/5/00
From: David Evans Katz

By hard evidence, I mean specific, verifiable evidence.

You stated: "Contemporaneous written accounts by a first-hand source are by no stretch of the imagination "hearsay."

I beg to differ. Irrespective of when Gallagher wrote or what he wrote, it is still hearsay. Evidence produced by a third party whom you cannot examine is indeed hearsay. What you have is direct evidence that Mr. Gallagher found bones, nothing more. Moreover, he found bones that neither he nor anyone else were then able to identify and which are unavailable today for forensic examination. Accepting that bones were found, those bones could have belonged to absolutely anyone (possibly -- only possibly of European extraction) who had the misfortune to die on that island prior to Mr. Gallagher's arrival. For all you or anyone else knows, the bones could belong to Judge Crater as easily as they belong to either Fred Noonan or Amelia Earhart. That Noonan and Earhart were lost within 500 miles of Gardner sometime prior to Gallagher's arrival is coincidental at best. Any number of people could share those qualifications. Such a coincidence falls far short of any standard of evidence of which I have ever heard.

With respect to your Webster definition of "evidence", I believe that this forum is dedicated to seeking the third definition, i.e., "something that tends to prove" in other words, "proof". You once expressed a hope that I not be offended by one of your responses. I am, sir, offended by your tone of condescension. I am not "confusing evidence with proof". Evidence is part and parcel of proof as Mr. Webster so conveniently describes. You state that TIGHAR has "grounds for belief". That is most assuredly true. What TIGHAR lacks is evidence.

You go to great lengths to dismiss any ideas contrary to your own as "fanciful" when, indeed, every single shred of "evidence" you have so diligently uncovered (including contemporaneous written tales of human remains, rubber shoe parts and bits of aluminum) can only be connected with Miss Earhart by fallacious logic and fanciful leaps of faith. The aluminum bits are as valid today as was the generator dredged up by Fred Goerner in Saipan Harbor then (the generator was, of course, subsequently invalidated as being of Japanese origin). As for the "Emily" interview, that has as much credibility as any of the interviews conducted by Mr. Goerner on Saipan (whose "evidence" would lead one to conclude merely that a male and female European were present on Saipan before the War). I am not dismissing Emily's remembrances; rather, I am giving them the same weight as I would any other hearsay evidence (she did not directly witness anything -- she has related only what she has been told by others).

You have repeatedly accused others of using "fanciful" assumptions and logic, when your are guilty of that precise offense. You begin with the assumption that Earhart and Noonan reached Gardner. Bones are found. You draw the conclusion that they belong to Earhart and Noonan. Based on what evidence? That it's possible that the bones may be European in origin? One might ask, "To what other two people might they have belonged?" There are at least eight unaccounted-for bodies from the ship-wreck, are there not? Were no other parties ever lost at sea in the South Pacific within 500 miles of Gardner? A Cat's Paw rubber heel is found. It is only known that it was of a type produced in the 1930's and that Miss Earhart may possibly have had similar brand heels. Such heels were very common from the 1930's through the 1970's; I would be astonished if Miss Earhart did NOT have Cat's Paw rubber heels. Literally millions of people had such heels prior to and after1937, including millions of GI's who served in the South Pacific during the War. (By the way, when I was younger, I had very narrow feet. Mr. Madnick, the shoemaker in my town, routinely used ladies' rubber Cat's Paw heels on my shoes because the men's size did not fit as well.)

You state that you are unaware of any "hard evidence" that supports a theory in conflict with your own. How can you be aware of any such thing when you dismiss all contrary theories as being "fanciful". As I have stated, I am not necessarily a proponent of Mr. Long; however, his "evidence" is based on assumptions that are at least as valid as your own. Both of your assumptions may be wrong, but his are no more (or less) fanciful than yours. In effect, neither are supportable with any reasonable degree of certainty without relying on further assumptions. I repeat: this statement applies to both TIGHAR and Mr. Long. That you both have chosen and stated your assumptions does not render them invalid, merely not proven and not supportable by evidence.

It was my understanding that the purpose of this forum is to foster intelligent discussion of possible scenarios relating to the outcome of the World Flight. I should think that you, as its sponsor and most outspoken vocal proponent of the "scientific method" of inquiry, would refrain from the outright dismissal of opinions contrary to your own and the use of condescension in the tone of your replies. It is unbecoming and it leads one to question the seriousness of your inquiry. I tell the people who work for me that there are no stupid questions; there is, however, stupid behavior and it is typically evidenced by those who fail to ask a question that should be asked or by those who cavalierly dismiss the questioner because he doesn't like the question.

David Evans Katz

From Ric

I have no wish to fight with you or offend you, sir, but I fear that you are accustomed to a great deal more respect than you are likely to receive here. I'm sorry that you found my tone condescending. My intention was merely to correct what I saw as misunderstandings of terminology that were leading you to have a false impression of our work.

I tried to point out that you were confusing evidence with proof and cited dictionary definitons to illustrate my point. You respond by claiming that the phrase "tends to prove" means the same as "proof." Nobody here is going to buy that --- not because I tell them not to believe you, but because it is obviously not true. The subscribers to the Forum know where to find the verb "tend" in the dictionary as well as I do.

I disagreed with your characterization of Gallagher's written account of the discovery of bones as "hearsay." You insist that, "Evidence produced by a third party whom you cannot examine is indeed hearsay." Once again, you're championing an untenable position. Webster's defines "hearsay evidence" as: "Evidence based on something the witness has heard someone else say, and hence, depending on the veracity and competence of someone other than the witness."

Or, if you prefer Black's Law Dictionary:

"Evidence not proceeding from the personal knowledge of the witness, but from the mere repetition of what he has heard others say. That which does not derive its value solely from the credit of the witness, but from the veracity and competency of other persons."

If Gallagher relates a story told to him by someone, that's hearsay. When Gallagher describes his own discoveries it is (and I'll say it again) by no stretch of the imagination hearsay.

My point is not to pretend to instruct you in the English language, which would indeed be condescending, but to document the reasons (evidence) to support my allegation that your use of these terms does not conform to standard English usage. Words do not mean what you decide they mean, at least not if you expect to be taken seriously here.

You persist in clinging to your personal definition of "evidence" (synomymous with "proof") and then castigate me for claiming to have it. You chastise me for characterizing Long's interpretations of historical sources as "fanciful" and accuse me of being guilty of equally "fanciful" interpretations, but the examples you cite demonstrate an appalling lack of familiarity with our work. It would also seem that the several erudite condemnations of Long's calculations by other forum subscribers that were posted in response to your original inquiry escaped your notice.

Your assumption about the purpose of this Forum is contrary to the standard message you received when you recently signed on. Let me refresh your memory: "Our purpose here is to promote an intelligent and productive discussion of the Earhart disappearance. Specifically, we want to further our investigation of TIGHAR's hypothesis that Earhart and Noonan, and probably the airplane, ended up on Gardner Island (now known as Nikumaroro) in the Phoenix Group. We will not discuss conspiracy theories on this forum, nor will we debate whether the airplane crashed at sea near Howland. We feel that we have already established a strong probability that the flight arrived in the vicinity of Howland Island pretty much on schedule and, as of the last officially received radio transmission, had adequate remaining fuel to reach Gardner Island. The question is, did it?"

Nonetheless, had you been a subscriber for more than a few weeks you would know that, far from "dismissing" other theories, this Forum has intensely debated the merits of alternative answers to the Earhart riddle. Not surprisingly, those who can not abide our methodology have stomped off mad or, in rare cases, have had to be forcibly silenced, but that has happened only when it has become abundantly apparent that they had no evidence to offer but were merely wasting bandwidth with unsubstantiated opinion.

Finally, let me say that it is a mistake to suppose that when you challenge the consensus of this Forum you are challenging me. The chief virtue of this Forum is that it is a free and open mechanism for peer review. Nonsense can not long survive here, whether perpetrated by me or by you or by anyone else. If I'm doing my job, only reason rules. The Forum is like the jungle --- its beauty is in its mercilessness. No one here works for me and no one here works for you. If you labor under any illusion that I am not taken to task as much as anyone else here, just stick around.


Subject: Preponderance of the Evidence Quiz
Date: 4/6/00
From: Ric Gillespie

Here are the long-awaited responses to Dennis McGee's Preponderance of Evidence exercise.

Nobody (including me) had read the other answers before writing their own.

To refresh everyone's memory, here is the problem:

The following 10 facts are all 100 percent true and were collected from sifting through thousands of pages of classified and unclassified material.

  1. Dr. Jose Gonzales lives in Miami, Florida.
  2. Mr. Evilguy rules Badland and is rumored to have a heart problem.
  3. Heartgood, No-die, Pump-much, and Have-fun are all patented heart drugs available only in the United States.
  4. Mr. Evilguy presides over a youth rally on June 15 looking very pale and weak.
  5. Dr. Gonzales, a world-famous cardiologist, vacations in Mexico from July 14---August 1.
  6. Large quantities of Heartgood, No-die, Pump-much, and Have-fun have been shipped in early July to a Mexican company with known connections in Badland.
  7. Mr. Evilguy is not seen in public from July 10---October 15.
  8. Dr. Gonzales appears at a popular social event in Miami on Aug. 5 and the newspapers society editor notes he not very tanned for having spent two weeks in Mexico. The doctor jokes he made the mistake of drinking the water and spent most his vacation in bed.
  9. Dr. Gonzales' parents and other family members live in Badland.
  10. Mr. Evilguy is seen hale and hearty at a sporting event on October 20.

What type of report would you write using this data?

Here are the responses:

From William Webster-Garman

This is an exercise in the diminishing probability of multiple coincidence (the least likely scenario involves the highest number of coincidences).

There is no proof of anything here, but these are the indications in order of declining probability:

It is very unlikely that a physician with Dr Gonzales' credentials would be foolish enough to drink tap water in Mexico. It is almost certain that he lied to the society editor and did not spend his vacation in bed.

It is probable, but not certain, that Gonzales used his vacation trip to Mexico as a cover either to travel secretly to Badland (where his parents and other relatives live) or, less likely, to make lengthy contacts with Badland citizens who were in Mexico.

It is less probable than the above, but still likely, that Gonzales has been providing assistance to the Badland government, presumably relating somehow to his specialty in cardiology and coinciding with Evilguy's rumoured heart problems during the summer.

Gonzales' motives could be economic, political, or family related. He could be a Badland sympathist, an economic opportunist, or an extortion victim whose family is being held hostage by the Badland government.

Less likely, but possible: Gonzales may have only visited his parents in Badland, and the heart drugs and Evilguy's apparent illness are coincidences unrelated to Gonzales' suntanless trip.

Improbable, but plausible: Gonzales has no clandestine involvement with Badland, and did not visit Badland. His story about being poisoned by the local water was fabricated in order to hide something unrelated to Badland and Evilguy.

Further investigations focusing on Gonzales, and possible violations of the well-known trade embargo (illicit trans-shipment of US pharmaceuticals via Mexico to Badland by persons unknown), are strongly indicated as a result of this "evidence".

I must say that taken altogether, regardless of Gonzales' involvement, this is more evidence that all those rumours about Evilguy's bad ticker may be true after all.

william 2243

From Randy Jacobson

My response:

I studied the clues, and could find no correlation between Jose Gonzales' activites and those of Evil Goodguy. Pure coincidence and/or circumstances make it appear that there is a connection.

From Jerry Ellis

Just for fun: I suppose the most obvious answer is that Evilguy went to Mexico to see Gonzales for treatment (or Gonzales went to Badland on a side trip) and one (or more) of the drugs was recommended and used successfully by Evilguy. But there is probably some tricky solution to this situation that only certain folks can see right off.

jerry ellis #2113

From Bill Moffett


OK, I'll play. Just because the 10 facts are listed together is no guarantee they're related. Dr. Gonzales went to Mexico, caught "Montezuma's revenge". Besides, his dermatologist probably told him to stay out of the sun! It's likely that Ruler Evilguy has his own doctor(s) who secured a supply of the heart medicines for him, with or without consultation with Dr. G., and improved Mr. E's appearance, if not his health, between July 11 and Oct. 15. Much more "intelligence" is necessary to connect Dr. G. & Mr. E. I don't see that any crime was committed unless it was illegal to export the medicines.

Bill Moffet #2156

From Ric

There is insufficient evidence here to connect Dr. Gonzales with any of the events transpiring in Badland. There is also insufficient evidence to suspect Dr. Gonzales of anything except perhaps poor judgment in his choice of beverages while visiting Mexico.

Okay Dennis. How'd we do?


Subject: Evidence?
Date: 4/6/00
From: Renaud

You're right, in french "Evidence" (thing that is obvious) has a very different meaning than "indice" (clue).

However, according to my Oxford Advanced Learner's dictionnary, in english the word evidence is " Anything that gives reason for believing something, that makes clear or proves something". So, it could be either a clue or a proof. More, this definition is really wide and also include facts that are obvious, that could be clearly seen ("Anything that(...) makes clear(...) ").

Nevertheless, the differences are often very thin.


From Ric

Well, let's bring out the big guns and see what Black's Law Dictionary says about evidence. There are two offerings.

"Any species of proof, or probative matter, legally presented at the trial of an issue, by the act of the parties and through the medium of witnesses, records, documents, exhibits, concrete objects, etc. for the purpose of inducing belief in the minds of the court or jury as to their contention."

"Testimony, writings, material objects, or other things presented to the senses that are offered to prove the existence or nonexistence of a fact."

"Clue" is defined as:

"Suggestion or piece of evidence which may or may not lead to solution of crime or puzzle."

Seems to be an interesting contradiction here. The definitions of "evidence" appear to imply that it must be offered to prove something while a "clue", which is described as "evidence" may or may not lead to a solution.


Subject: Katz to Ellis
Date: 4/6/00
From: David Evans Katz

TO: Jerry Ellis

Your points are very well thought out and very well presented. My concern with the bones has to do with Mr. Gillespie's dismissal of the original doctor's analysis and (contemporaneous) report on the bones which indicates that they belonged to a Polynesian male. Mr. Gillespie implies that the doctor had no training to evaluate such bones. How does he know what capabilities the doctor had? I would submit that the British doctor (as a bona fide physician) on the scene examining the actual bones would likely be more qualified to reach a conclusion about the bones than any physician (however qualified) 60 years after the fact relying on a written description of the bones rather than examining the actual bones. Even so, the recent analysis only postulates that the bones MAY belong to a European female, not that they DO.

With respect to air and sea disasters, such as Titanic, Earhart, Nungesser, Andrea Doria, etc., they are often the result of the confluence of many events that the participants would have (prior to the disaster) considered highly improbable as individual events. For example, if only ONE of the variables that led to the Titanic disaster did not occur (speed, Californian wireless operator awake, calmness of the sea making it difficult to see whitecaps against the iceberg, ignoring ice warnings, etc.), all aboard may have been saved, or the collision may not have occurred at all. That all of these events, improbable by themselves, DID happen, demonstrates that many highly improbable individual events can (and often do) coincide to create a disaster.

I would postulate that most disasters are the result of the confluence of many highly improbable factors. Think of it this way: a well-planned World Flight conducted by a celebrated flyer and one of the world's best navigators has a high probability of success. Certainly Earhart and Noonan thought so, or they would not have undertaken it. It was considered IMPROBABLE that it would end in disaster, yet it did. Therefore THE HIGHLY IMPROBABLE HAPPENED. Instead of searching for solutions in the realm of the probable, one should search in the realm of the IMPROBABLE. TIGHAR postulates that it is probable that she had plenty of fuel. Hell, if she had plenty of fuel, she PROBABLY would have made it to Howland. Look for the answer in the IMPROBABLE -- she ran out of fuel despite her well-thought-out plan due to the confluence of other improbable events (higher than expected headwinds, failure of her ability to receive transmissions from Itasca, etc.)

David Evans Katz

Subject: Katz v TIGHAR
Date: 4/6/00
From: Ron Bright

Ric,TIGHAR board members, and forum,

In my opinion, Katz' remarks on his posting of April 5, rose to a personal attack on the Board and Ric Gillespie.Katz' s characterization of TIGHAR's actions as "stupid behavior" because TIGHAR was one of those "who cavalierly dismiss the questioner (Katz) because he doesn't like the question". Far from accurate. It certainly impugns GILLESPIE'S character, reputation for fairness and objectivity.

Katz has the right to comment on the credibility, weight, and value of the evidence as presented in good faith by TIGHAR. He misrepresents much of TIGHAR'S evidence, but those who have followed the TIGHAR TRACKS, postings, and other publications have all the information necessary to refute those accusations of so-called unwarranted "assumptions" by TIGHAR. Of all of Katz's allegations, two deserve mention.

(1) TIGHAR to my knowledge as never "assumed" AE reached Niku. TIGHAR has proposed a hypothesis she reached Niku based on navigation options and announced course, LOP, radio signals, just as the Navy did in 1937 and AE's husband. Other evidence has surfaced that may or may not verify that hypothesis. A hypothesis used by TIGHAR suggests or connotes a provisional theory in this case, and not the less used definition of a "guess". However if this causes a semantic word debate, so what if TIGHAR "assumed" she landed there. Lots of folks did, even searched Gardner Island a few days later, with the assumption she may have crashed there.

(2) TIGHAR to my knowledge has never drawn the "conclusion" that the skeletal remains belong to AE or FN. Never. He has posted two forensic anthropologists opinion, based on the Hoodless measurements , that the bones are "likely" from a female, likely from a European, and stood about 5' 5' to 5' 8". Age couldn't be determined. Those criteria met AE but nobody repeat nobody ever concluded that they were AE's. Katz makes an outrageous claim that the bones "could belong to Judge Crater as easily as they belong to either Fred Noonan or Amelia Earhart." They don't belong to "absolutely anyone". If Katz read the Burns and Jantz report, he would see that they were able to narrow the identity to sex, height and probable European origin. NOONAN was a male, and stood over 6 feet.

TIGHAR, as far as I'm concerned, reserves the right to dismiss certain theories, contrary to his own, if they the lack any credible, relevant, merit. Every scientist rejects so-called evidence after careful evaluation if it is contrary to observable , empirical data. Note the Frye rule in the US court system for criteria in accepting and rejecting so-called "evidence" of various scientific theories. We are inundated with "junk science" and if TIGHAR wants to disregard theories as junk, that his perogative. Just look at the junk theories in the AE case; but maybe some researchers are still trying to identify the Japanese pilots that shot her down, look for the Electra on Japan, or in New Jersey selling Tupperware. If Katz's critcism, some of which is worth discussing and evaluating, were made in a scholarly, respectful manner, namely to "foster intelligent discussions" without using a confrontational approach to TIGHAR, his opinions would be worth looking at. Such is not case.

Although I hate to admit it, KATZ was half right concerning Gallagher's written report which he labeled hearsay. Indeed it is. Even if the written report was a sworn affidavit, it was an "out of court statement" and hearsay if one wishes to use judicial standards of admissibility. Even if he personally discovered the bones (which I don't think he did) and wrote the report it's "hearsay". The reasons are numerous but both common law and Federal Rules of Evidence clearly consider that type of document hearsay. But all is not lost. What Katz failed to mention is the many exceptions to the hearsay rule if the declarant (in this case Gallagher) is "unavailable". There are many legal reasons declarants or authors of a document may be unavailable, self-incrimination, out of the jurisdiciton, now incompetent, etc., but in this case Gallagher is deceased and hence we have a wonderful remedy in the judicial system. The exceptions here to the hearsay rule when the declarant is unavailable embraces certain transcripts,written records, etc. Gallagher's report would come into evidence as "business records" exception or as an "offical investigative report" exception. Unlikely a judge would not admit it (see Evidence 2nd edition,by Paul F. Rothstein, p.208-291).

However I find the arguement moot. We are now applying a judical criteria to the evidence here and as I said in earlier postings, each discipline has it own rules. Here we are accepting an official report on it face value and for what it's worth in the AE mystery. We are not involved in admitting evidence in a court of law.

Anyway I find it offensive to read Katz's cheap shots at TIGHAR in that posting. Even the most reputable of authors and researchers, Prof Donald Goldstein and Katherine Dillion in their book Amelia,who believe she went down somewhere near Howland, wish the TIGHAR team the "best of luck" in the search for evidence on NIKU. Hopefully they say TIGHAR will find incontrovertible evidence to solve that mystery. And that is the reason most of us are following the TIGHAR trails through this morass of data, and jungle is to either find evidence to support the hypothesis or disregard it.

Ronald Bright

Subject: Re: Evidence
Date: 4/7/00
From: David Evans Katz

You claim that you have no wish to instruct me in the use of the English language, yet you persist in doing so. I have an excellent command of the language, thank you very much. I am also familiar with Black's, Webster, and the rules of evidence. With all due respect (something that should be afforded to all members of the forum), this has been a discussion of what should and should not be considered as evidence. I regard what you have gathered so far as not meeting any reasonable test of evidence, and my reasons for believing this are neither fanciful nor are they based on poor definitions. It is based on what TIGHAR has versus what a reasonable person would accept as evidence. There is no verifiable provenance for anything that has been found. That is, there is no verifiable connection between the clues you have found and AE. For something to be accepted as evidence, it must be able to connected (with a reasonable degree of certainty) to the principals (AE & FN).

You have kindly repeated for me the following:

"Our purpose here is to promote an intelligent and productive discussion of the Earhart disappearance. Specifically, we want to further our investigation of TIGHAR's hypothesis that Earhart and Noonan, and probably the airplane, ended up on Gardner Island (now known as Nikumaroro) in the Phoenix Group.

I consider my comments to fall within the definition of intelligent and productive discussion of the Earhart disappearance. As detectives seeking clues to the disappearance, it is appropriate for TIGHAR to seek out clues, which it has so far admirably done, and then try to make a verifiable connection between those clues and the principals. It is such a connection that transforms clues into evidence. So far, this has not been achieved. Perhaps, some day, it will.

With respect to other members' analysis of fuel consumption, they have not, as you suggest, escaped my notice. I have been following the responses closely, and I find that everyone who has presented an analysis (some of them very detailed and well thought-out) qualifies such analysis with certain assumptions combined with first-hand reports from Johnson & Chater. Of course, one MUST make assumptions absent complete first-hand information. Mr. Long has done the same thing and reached different conclusions. My only criticism of your remarks about this is that you have repeatedly dismissed Long's assumptions as "fanciful". While Mr. Long's conclusions are certainly open to criticism (as are TIGHAR's), his assumptions are not fanciful. Moreover, a careful reading of Mr. Long's book shows that he does not rely on an evaporation theory (as stated by some of the members) as a basis for his assumption, rather he assumes a situation of heat expansion that results in fewer gallons; his consumption figures are based on the weight of the fuel not the volume. I don't know if he is correct, either in his assumptions or his conclusions, but I find his analysis at least as supportable as the TIGHAR theory, only because the TIGHAR hypothesis is ALSO not supported by any hard evidence.

Based upon what I have read of the TIGHAR clues, I would conclude that Amelia Earhart MAY have reached Gardner, nothing more. Do I believe it? As I stated earlier, I believe that it is one of only two reasonable possibilities: (1) she landed at Gardner, (2) she crashed (or ditched) into the sea. For anyone to prove the second possibility, they must produce the aircraft or its remains from the bottom of the sea -- a daunting task, indeed. TIGHAR is exploring the former possibility; it can only succeed by producing credible verifiable evidence (that is, connecting the clues with AE), also a difficult task. So far, several very enticing clues have been uncovered by TIGHAR. This is encouraging. What is not very encouraging is the tendency to ascribe greater credibility to the TIGHAR clues than they yet warrant.

David Evans Katz

From Ric

Perhaps you would find the TIGHAR clues more credible if you had more familiarity with them. So far your characterizations of TIGHAR's eviden --- sorry ---- clues have been factually inaccurate and your suppositions about what research we have and have not done have been largely false. Let's knock off the bluster and posturing and talk specifics.

I have called Long's interpretations and assumptions fanciful. Allow me to be specific:

1. Long does not merely claim that Earhart ran out of gas and crashed at sea. He claims to know PRECISELY when that happened down to a tolerance of a few MOMENTS after 20:13 GCT. I submit that predicting the instant of engine failure from fuel exhaustion for a modern aircraft with state-of-the-art fuel metering and measurement technology and full information about the progress of the flight is difficult if not impossible. Doing it for a flight that happened almost 63 years ago and about which we know relatively little can only be described as fanciful. If it is not fanciful, please explain why.

TIGHAR makes no such claim of precision. We simply see no evidence that an airplane that should have been able to fly for 24 hours or more didn't remain aloft for at least 23 hours or so. If that is fanciful, please explain why.

2. To get the airplane to run out of gas at the required time, Long makes several assumptions:

  • He assumes that the tanks were not topped prior to takeoff to replace any fuel lost to expansion and venting.
  • He assumes that Earhart's reported phrase "speed 140 knots" is an indicated airspeed even though her airspeed indicator was calibrated in miles per hour and reporting an indicated airspeed would make no sense (as opposed to a groundspeed provided by the navigator and typically reported in knots).
  • He uses the assumed indicated airspeed of 140 knots to support his further assumption that Earhart departed from Johnson's recommended power management profile by increasing her throttle settings and therfore her fuel consumption in order to overcome a headwind, despite the fact that Johnson specifically advised leaning the mixture further, rather than increasing power, to deal with unexpectedly strong headwinds.
  • To provide the headwind that Earhart supposedly (and suicidally) increases power to overcome, Long invents a 26.5 mph headwind for the entire flight which, contrary to his claim in the book, is not documented in any of the available meterorological reports.
  • Even within his fantasy world of headwinds and high power settings, his convoluted calculations don't hold up to scrutiny. His case for fuel exhaustion a few moments after 20:13 relies upon his categorical pronouncement that "If the maximum range remains constant, it is a mathematical certainty that an 8.5 percent increase in ground speed will result in an 8.5 percent increase in fuel consumption." The statement is perfectly circular and meaningless.

There is probably a better word to describe this house of cards but fanciful is perhaps the kindest.

If you can cite similar examples of how TIGHAR's investigation relies upon fanciful assumptions I'd be happy to hear them, but try to get your facts straight. For example, I'd be delighted to learn the results of your research into the number of people --- islanders and Europeans --- who went missing in the Central Pacific in the years preceding the discovery of a castaway's bones on Nikumaroro. We apparently missed you while we were doing that research in Suva, Washington, and London.

I'd also be happy to compare notes about the careers and schooling of Doctors Isaac and Hoodless (who examined the bones) and consider your criticisms of the Fordisc II database developed by Dr. Richard Jantz for the forensic anthroplogical evalution of human remains.

This Forum always welcomes intelligent and informed debate concerning the clues we've found so far. Perhaps you'd like to participate in such a discussion.


Subject: Evidence
Date: 4/7/00
From: Christine Joudrey

Evidence is the fullfillment of a condition of fact, the said evidence has to be sufficient to support the finding, the findings are gathered through documentation, compilation, and presentation, this gathering is known as a clue.............A clue makes the evidence.

Christine Joudrey
B.A. LL. B
Barrister and Solictor

From Ric

Now we seem to be getting somewhere. If I understand you correctly, a clue becomes evidence only after the case has been judged proven. There can be many false clues but, by definition, there can be no such thing as false evidence. Yes?

Subject: Test results
Date: 4/7/00
From: Dennis McGee

OK, class (*tap, tap*), we have the result in from our recent "Preponderance of Evidence" quiz. Can anyone spell "Perry Mason?"

Yes, little Ric Gillespie?

"Ah, is he related to Peri Gilprin on Fraiser?"

" . . . ."

Billy Webster?

"It is very unlikely that a man with Mr. Mason's credentials would . . ."

Sit down, Billy . . .. Randy Jacobson, you had your hand up.

"Don't know. Don't care."

Thank you, Randy. Young Mr. Ellis, do you have a comment?

"I think you guys are trying to trick me, right?"

No, Jerry, it is not a trick, it's a treat. Really. Billy Moffett, do you have something to add.

"Just gimme the answer, OK?"

Well, I'm just as pleased as punch to let everyone know they did very well on the quiz. Some were more succinct -- Ric, can you give us the definition of succinct? Use Blacks Law Dictionary if you like.

Well, back to the quiz. Everybody got the correct answer, though some earlier than others and some with greater clarity than others. Little Ric Gillespie gets a gold star for conciseness, while Randy gets two gold stars, one for brevity and one for terseness.

I am so proud of all of you! Give yourselves a big hug and a round of applause. You are such smart boys!

Fade to black.

The quiz was based on a real-life intelligence effort and when I took it along with a couple dozen other guys back in 1962 it was extremely stimulating. Too stimulating apparently, because about 20 of us had the good doctor indicted, convicted, and doing 20-to-life at Joliet before the first coffee break.

The intent then -- as now -- was to demonstrate how easy it is to reach false conclusions -- a little intelligence can be a bad thing. Being able to sort the wheat from the chaff is at the heart of any investigation, regretfully as a 18-year-old I failed the test. A little time and a lot of experience does wonders for any investigative effort, which is why everyone did so well on this quiz.

I sincerely appreciate the effort that each of the Forum members contributes to make this forum a success. The give-and-take, the pissy (and occasionally prissy!) comments, the intellectual storms, and off-topic wanderings all contribute to a fascinating journey. I'm glad you let me aboard.

OK, recess is over boys, back to your desks.

Randy! Put down that T-square!
Billy Moffett, I'm going to tell your mother . .. .

LTM, who is retiring to the faculty lounge for tea
Dennis O. McGee #0149CE

Subject: Re: Katz to Ellis
Date: 4/7/00
From: Tom King

Let's be clear about the bones business. The doctor who examined the bones (we don't know how much, or by what method) and decided they were Polynesian -- Dr. Isaac, later Verrier -- was by definition the product of 1930s medical training. We have no idea what if anything he knew about forensic osteology, but since the field was, at best, in its infancy, it couldn't have been very much. He was not "on the scene," but in Tarawa; he examined the bones when they arrived there. His analysis was subsequently contradicted by the analysis of Dr. Hoodless when the bones arrived in Fiji; Hoodless -- also, of course, the product of 1930s medical training, and also not a forensic osteologist -- said they were most likely the bones of a European or mixed-race male. We know basically what Hoodless did because we have his notes. Our two forensic osteologists replicated his analysis as closely as possible -- i.e., they took his measurements and ran analyses of them -- using modern methods based on the huge database and very substantial experience that's been developed by the forensic osteological community over the last sixty years, and their analysis suggested that the closest match is to a female of northern European origin. Certainly it's possible that Isaac or Hoodless were right, and without doubt they had more to look at in developing their conclusions, but on balance, until we have something better to work with, I think the modern analysis is superior.

Tom King

Subject: L-10 Cruise
Date: 3/29/00
From: David Evans Katz

I have just read Mr. Bright's response to my postings on the Forum. If my response to Mr. Gillespie offended either Mr. Gillespie or anyone else, I apologize. It happens that I took offense to some of Mr. Gillespie's remarks as being condescending. He apologized to me and I accepted his apology. If you read my posting carefully, I did not refer to TIGHAR's actions (or even Mr. Gillespie's) as being stupid behavior. I was commenting on the pitfalls of dismissing the questioner because one doesn't particularly like the question. If you or anyone inferred otherwise or took offense, again, I apologize.

I agree with Mr. Bright that TIGHAR (and I) have every right to accept or dismiss theories presented here. In fact, I haven't dismissed any of TIGHAR's theories. Rather, I have disputed TIGHAR's labeling as evidence what I would consider mere clues. I believe that they (and all clues, suggestions, theories and purported evidence) must be questioned rigorously. I believe that such questioning is part and parcel of the scientific method so vigorously supported by TIGHAR.

Mr. Gillespie has advised me and others on this Forum to expect that members will aggressively challenge theories presented here. I expected nothing less. Why then, when I raise questions concerning the value of the TIGHAR clues as evidence, does Mr. Bright find it necessary to attack me personally? He accuses me of "misrepresenting much of TIGHAR's evidence" , when, in fact I have never done any such thing. I have, however, expressed serious reservations about characterizing some admittedly very tantalizing clues as evidence (that is, something directly connected with AE & FN). Moreover, I have endeavored to make my comments in a respectful manner at all times. In fact, my objection to Mr. Gillespie was that my comments were not being treated with respect. He responded graciously, but suggested, that "I fear that you are accustomed to a great deal more respect than you are likely to receive here." O.K., but here I am being castigated by Mr. Bright for failing to show a "respectful manner". On the one hand, I have Mr. Gillespie suggesting that I have been too thin-skinned (which, I confess, I was -- and for which I am sorry), yet, on the other hand, when I have the temerity to challenge some of TIGHAR's assumptions and evidence, Mr. Bright accuses me of being disrespectful.

In fact, many of the comments I have made have been in reaction to what I consider a disrespectful attitude by some members of the Forum, specifically -- dismissing Long's assumptions as "fanciful". I object to that word because it is condescending, except, perhaps in reference to some of the wilder conspiracy theories. In Mr. Long's case, he conducted serious research and made what I consider to be a possible case. His assumptions and resulting conclusions may prove to be false, but I would hardly describe them as fanciful. I have used that term in the context of some TIGHAR assumptions to illustrate the point that, just as some of Mr. Long's assumptions and conclusions require a stretch of the imagination, so do some of TIGHAR's.

With respect to the bones... My comment about Judge Crater was not an "outrageous CLAIM" as Mr. Bright suggests. It was, however, an outrageous STATEMENT, and was meant to be. I have, indeed, read the Burns and Jantz report posted on TIGHAR. They were NOT able to "narrow the identity to sex, height and probable European origin" as Mr. Bright suggests. If one reads the report carefully, it says:

"The skull is more likely European than Polynesian, ALTHOUGH IT CANNOT BE EXCLUDED FROM ANY POPULATION." [emphasis mine] Burns and Jantz are not drawing a conclusion here; they are QUALIFYING their response, as they should in light of the fact that they do not have the actual bones to analyze.

"Assuming the skull represents a person of European ancestry, the FORDISC analysis indicates that the individual represented was most likely female. Unfortunately the level of certainty is very low..." Note the premise of the assumption here. They are stating that the person was "most likely female" ONLY if their previous assumption (i.e., that the skull is European rather than Polynesian) proves to be correct. They go on to say that THE LEVEL OF CERTAINTY IS VERY LOW (and they quantify their level of probability, which I have not repeated here).

TIGHAR then editorializes (the word "editorialize" is not intended to be pejorative, merely a note that the following is TIGHAR's summary of the Burns/Jantz findings):

"Based on the information now in hand, Jantz and Burns both CONCLUDED [emphasis mine] that the remains found on Nikumaroro in 1939-40 represented an individual who was: (1) More likely female than male; (2) More likely white than Polynesian or other Pacific Islander; (3) Most likely between 5'5" and 5'9" in height"

Wait a minute... After having read Burns' and Jantz's statement, I would not have taken them for CONCLUSIONS that the individual was "more likely male than female" or "more likely white than Polynesian or other Pacific Islander". Burns and Jantz have specifically stated that the skull "cannot be excluded from any population" and they opine that it is female ONLY IF one ASSUMES European ancestry.

TIGHAR carefully went on to say: "It is, of course, impossible to know whether the bones inspected by Dr. Hoodless in 1941 were in fact those of a white female, and if anything even less possible to be sure that they were those of Amelia Earhart. Only the rediscovery of the bones themselves, or the recovery of more bones from the same skeleton on the island, can bring certainty." Admirable! But it is said only after making the assertion that "Jantz and Burns both concluded" something that they did not, in fact, conclude.

As I stated in my introductory posting to this Forum, I have studied the Earhart disappearance for thirty-four years. Admittedly, I have not applied the considerable rigor that TIGHAR has to the case, but I am very well read on the subject, and, contrary to what Mr. Bright or others may think, I have carefully scoured the entire TIGHAR web-site. As you can see from my above discussion of the Burns/Jantz information, I have read the words with a great deal of care and without drawing conclusions from a report that is clearly intended NOT to imply any conclusions of fact. Mr. Bright accuses me of taking "cheap shots". It is hardly a "cheap shot" to analyze carefully the material presented here. Without question, I have misinterpreted some of the information posted (Mr. Gillespie kindly pointed out my error of the half-hour with reference to AE's remaining fuel supply. He was right -- I should have relied on the first-hand information of the quoted transmissions rather than second- or third-hand interpretations of what was said). Obviously, I am not the only person to have done so.

Mr. Gillespie has suggested that I have relied on a "personal definition" of evidence. I think that others on this Forum have agreed that I am not using a "personal definition". I am endeavoring to apply a criterion of certain connection to the principals as an acceptable standard of evidence as opposed to tantalizing clues that may, someday, be substantiated as bona fide evidence but as yet are not. Mr. Bright finds the argument about what is and what isn't evidence "moot". The above discussion of the Burns/Jantz report shows that the argument is certainly not moot in the context of this Forum when some of its members may give more credence to such reports than the reporters would have them give.

With respect to my questions about fuel consumption, time aloft, etc., they were legitimate questions that sparked a lively response with some highly valuable analysis by individuals who are (apparently) highly qualified in their field. Is this not what the Forum is intended to do? It is just this type of analysis by Forum members that may either give credence to Long's assumption or legitimately refute them. (Despite all of the analysis, they are all still based on assumptions that cannot be verified; nonetheless, they lend a significant amount of credence to the possibility that AE may have had enough fuel to get close to Gardner.)

I have read Goldstein and Dillon's book. It is excellent, and like them, I wish the TIGHAR team the best of luck in the search for evidence on Nikumororo. I fear that such luck may elude the TIGHAR team if interprets highly qualified opinions as conclusions.

Thank you for permitting me to present both my apology and my case. As always, the Forum has proven itself to be a valuable source for the open (and lively) exchange of opinion and theory on the Earhart mystery. May it continue to do so until the mystery is, at long last, solved!

David Evans Katz

Subject: Evidence, Clues, Semantics, etc.
Date: 4/7/00
From: Dave Porter

First off, kudos to Ron Bright for gently reminding all of us that we're searching a deserted island for a missing flier, not presenting evidence to a judge and jury in a courtroom. Dr. King, is archaeological peer review as different from a courtroom proceeding as I imagine it to be?

I think that the trouble we're having over words like "evidence," "clue," "proof," etc. is that English is a horribly imprecise language, drawn as it is from several other languages, and then spiced up all on its own over the years, particularly by us Americans. For "proof" look at any hot political issue--both sides often use the same words, but mean entirely different things by them.

Who in the heck is Judge Crater?

hey, that reminds me--anyone heard the one about the airline passenger, looking out the window when the pilot announces over the PA that they're passing over Meteor Crater? The guy looks at it, and exclaims, "wow, another coupla hundred yards and that thing would've hit the freeway!"

LTM, who says "so, I can clearly not choose the glass in front of me."
Dave Porter, 2288

Subject: Long's claim
Date: 4/7/00
From: David Evans Katz

Please direct me to the reference in Mr. Long's book in which he claims to know precisely when AE ditched. It may be there, but I haven't found it. On pages 30-31, after AE's last transmission, he switches to subjunctive language (she "would have" done this or that) to indicate speculation. Throughout the book, he refers to the fact that he is speculating and that there is no certainty. Rather, he endeavors to quantify probabilities, which is the heart of probability analysis. It seems to me that others, including TIGHAR, are endeavoring to do the same thing. It is only the tone of the condemnation that I object to.

If you read my prior postings, you will have noted that I, too, called into question Mr. Long's assumption of constant headwinds. This drew some excellent analysis from other members of the forum which discussed the effect of headwinds on flight duration and range, all of which focuses attention on refining assumptions such as those made by Long. Based on such postings, I have often stated here that it is possible that AE reached Gardner. I am simply not yet convinced that is probable. What is wrong with that?

With respect to how some of TIGHAR's reports are interpreted, please refer to my posting of yesterday, which discusses the Burns/Jantz report on the bones.

David Evans Katz

From Ric

Try page 234. "The inescapable conclusion is that shortly after 0843 IST, Earhart was forced to ditch the plane somewhere within 100 miles of Howland Island."

There is nothing wrong with not being convinced. My objection is to your equating our work with Long's. We may both be wrong but I see no comparison in the merits of the two cases.

Back to Highlights Archive list.

About TIGHAR Join TIGHAR TIGHAR Projects TIGHAR Publications Contract Services
The TIGHAR Store Blog TIGHAR Forum Contact TIGHAR TIGHAR Home

Copyright 2018 by TIGHAR, a non-profit foundation. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be reproduced by xerographic, photographic, digital or any other means for any purpose. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be stored in a retrieval system, copied, transmitted or transferred in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, digital, photographic, magnetic or otherwise, for any purpose without the express, written permission of TIGHAR. All rights reserved.

Contact us at:  •   Phone: 610.467.1937   •   JOIN NOW