Forum artHighlights From the Forum

July 30 through August 5, 2000


Subject: Re: Small screen
Date: 7/31/00
From: Ross Devitt

The "small house" may not have been more than 12 feet by 15 or 20 feet. Room enough for a bed, and somewhere to work. I don't think a much larger structure would be necessary for short term occupation. What size was a "normal house" in the village?

There may yet be signs of the foundation at the site. Were the village houses built above ground? If so there will be some regularly spaced holes (depressions in the ground anyway).

Th' WOMBAT


From Ric

I agree. We're probably talking about more of a hut than a house. Houses in the village weren't very big either (Tom?) and yes, there are at least two holes in the ground that are suggestive of support posts near where the plate shard was found.


Subject: Re: 7500 kHz ADF non-result at 19hr:33 into the flight
Date: 7/31/00
From: Hue Miller

I concur with Bob Brandenburg's explanation on this. In an analysis of what might have happened with a hypothetical 20-40 mile range, I don't believe the mostly-vertical Itasca antenna would have been a good enough NVIS radiator to create any substantial skywave. You do not need a 'pure' polarization to get a minimum, you just need a signal with mostly the needed polarization. I believe if you go with the 20-40 mile situation, you have to come up with some other explanation of the DF failure. When you get out to the 100+ mile range (actually well less than that) you are working practically only skywave, and there's where the vulnerabilities come in.

Note however, the skywave explanation still does not address one other problem: WHY she couldn't get the RDF to work at Lae.

BTW, to backtrack some: this may be too obvious, but re the 10E's early antenna configurations, as I see it:

#1 belly antenna--- receive only; too close to metal airframe to be a good trans. antenna, but satisfactory for receive. Trail antenna for transmit only, but requires letting out to predetermined correct length. (Transmitter does not have "standard 50 ohm output" so must be adjusted to one specific antenna per channel, no switching of transmitter between antennas allowed.) Also, for use with a trail antenna, the transmitter would have to be "tuned up" for maintenance by having a tech along in-flight to do the adjustments.

#2 trail antenna replaced by dorsal antenna --- no more having to crank antenna in/out. The belly antenna was probably kept as receive antenna as its leadin was closer to the receiver --- less signal loss and less engine electrical noise pickup?

The next question that arises is whether the belly antenna remained in use as receive antenna thruout the 10E's life.

Hue Miller


From Ric

It's very tempting to think that it did because its loss so conveniently explains Earhart's inability to receive anything later in the flight except the one time when she was trying to use the loop.


Subject: Re: Electra's Receive Antenna Lost on Take-Off?
Date: 7/31/00
From: Randy Jacobson

This raises an interesting point. If the antenna did break off on take-off on Lae, it would seem to me that either Collopy or Chater would have known about it (after all, Chater was the airdrome supervisor), and would have reported it in one of their formal reports. I realize lack of reporting doesn't mean it didn't happen, but if something that significant did happen, it should have been included. I know, I know, lots of ifs and would haves. Still, it is puzzling.


From Ric

About all we can say with any certainty is that neither Chater nor Collopy apparently knew about the loss of the antenna. Without having been there we really can't say how hard it would have been for something like that to happen and neither of them know about it.

Deciding that something did not happen because, surely, someone would have known about it can be a real trap. Harry Maude was quite sure that Gallagher never found any bones on Nikumaroro because he would have heard about it. Certainly, a high ranking British official like Sir Harry Luke would have notified the American authorities if he became privy to information that might relate to the fate of Amelia Earhart ---wouldn't he?


Subject: Re: Evidence at the Seven Site
Date: 7/31/00
From: Tom King

Ric says:

>Generally speaking, throwing bones in the ocean is not a Gilbertese thing.

That ain't necessarily so. There are accounts in Gilbertese tradition of bones being thrown into the ocean (though sometimes they come back in fairly nasty form), and when I inquired of Dr. Ward Goodenough of the U. of Pennsylvania, who's done ethnography in Kiribati, as to whether disposal in the ocean would be something I Kiribati back then might have done, his response was "I don't see why not." We certainly have to allow for the possibility that some bones WERE thrown into the ocean, and the scenario that Ric outlines seems very much within reason. Not much we can do with it, however, unless we can figure out where they dumped them. Let's see, we start off with a loss of canoe fuel to evaporation.....

Speaking of things that aren't Gilbertese things, the more I've thought about Kenton's alternative for creation of the Seven Site (colonists building a recuperation retreat for Gallagher), the less likely it's seemed to me. I think the colonists would regard it as very, very presumptious to do anything like that for Gallagher without being asked to, and from what we know of Gallagher it's very hard to imagine him asking. Could have happened, certainly, but it seems really unlikely.

But here's another twist. When Coast Guardsmen Evans and Moffitt saw the water catcher at the Seven Site, that's all they saw (or remember), but when Laxton visited the site at least three years later, what he saw (or reported) was "a house built for Gallagher" on land that had been cleared from the lagoon to the ocean. The house could hardly have been built for Gallagher any later than 1941. So what's the deal? Was there perhaps a house built for Gallagher in 1940-41, which had fallen into ruin by 1946, that was then fixed up for some reason by 1949?

LTM (who thinks there was a time warp)
TK


From Ric

Ah yes, well, there is actually quite a bit of discrepancy between what Evans and Moffitt describe seeing in (best guess) September of 1944 and what we found in 1996.

Dick, Herb and "Race" McDonald were walking along the ocean beach, down close to the water where the sand is hard. They saw the "water collection device" up behind the vegetation line from there and went to investigate.

That's consistent with where the tank appears to be, still up on the distilling plant framework, in the 1941 photo. Except, when the coasties saw the tank it was down on the ground with a tarp rigged up above it on poles so that rain water would drain into it. Moffitt remembered seeing the remains of a campfire, a rusted can with a makeshift wire handle, and bird bones and feathers nearby. Nobody saw a house.

Sounds to me like the distilling plant frame got recovered back to the village but the tank stayed there, converted to a cistern, and the site may have been used for a while as a turtle/bird hunting camp. Evans and Moffitt et al didn't see the house because they didn't go far enough back into the bush. Hoever, SOME Coastie was back there at some time because we found an M-1 carbine shell casing on the ground.

Later, the tank apparently got moved back beyond the house, closer to the lagoon shore, where we found it in 1996. Maybe that was done at the same time (post-Laxton) when the house was salvaged.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: The landing
Date: 8/1/00
From: Richard Johnson

On what evidence, other than anecdotal, do you base your assumption that AE landed near the Norwich City? Placing too much emphasis on the memory of an old woman, who I believe knew you were interested in an airplane on Niku before the interview with her, (please correct me if I am wrong about her prior knowlege of your interest), might mislead your search efforts. Given a choice of finding AE's bones or her airplane, which would you choose Ric? I am still a firm believer in the airplane in the water around the island theory. I believe finding the plane will prove easier to do than finding bone fragments somewhere on the island. Suppose the 7 site comes up blank next summer, then what? I would love to see the surrounding waters throughly searched and the mystery solved.

Richard Johnson


From Ric

We're not entirely sure whether or not Emily had been told that we were interested in an airplane before Tom King first spoke with her, but he asked her about a box her father built, not about an airplane. She was the one who connected the bones in the box to an airplane.

We had developed a hypothesis about a landing on the reef off the western end of the island long before Emily said she had seen airplane wreckage there. Our hypothesis was based upon anecdotal accounts of wreckage seen in the water and along the shoreline, corroborated by aerial photography that shows what appears to be a debris field of light colored metal on the reef flat in 1953. All Emily did was give us our earliest (to date) anecdotal sighting of airplane debris. It's corroborated by the photo taken by Eric Bevington in October 1937 which shows anomalous material on the reef flat in the area where Emily says there was airplane wreckage.

In other words, the case for a landing on the reef north of the Norwich City and the subesquent destruction of the airplane by surf action with attendant distribution of wreckage is not based upon the memories of one old woman. If you believe strongly that the airplane is in the deep water surrounding the island I'd be interested to know what evidence you have to support that theory -- or is it just an opinion?

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Earhart's Take-off from Lae
Date: 8/1/00
From: Janet Whitney

Ann Pellegreno interviewed Bertie Heath in Lae during her 1967 flight (pages 144-145 of World Flight). No mention of an antenna or parts of an antenna found or seen falling off the Electra by anyone in Lae. The Longs also interviewed Bertie Heath. I've viewed the TIGHAR film clip at high resolution on this 19" Multisync CRT. Sorry, I don't see an "antenna." coming off the Electra. Others who viewed the film clip don't either.

According to the WE schematics we have, the WE transmitter and receiver typically shared the same antenna, using a relay for transmit / receive keyed from the microphone's push-to-talk switch.

Janet Whitney


From Ric

Something I used to do in our Aviation Archaeology course was to take about a half dozen accounts of Earhart's Lae takeoff as described in various primary and secondary sources (the Collopy letter, the Chater Report, Bertie Heath's account as later related to various people, etc.) and ask the students to try to resolve the many discrepancies and come up with a mental picture of what the takeoff really looked like. Once they'd done that I showed them the film of the actual takeoff. Everyone was always amazed at how different the reality was from the descriptions of the eyewitnesses.

If you don't believe that the antenna was lost, try this:

A. Look at the film again. Do you see the aft mast of the belly wire antenna almost brushing the grass as the airplane taxis past the camera from left to right on its way up to the far end of the runway? No? You may have to do what we did --- engage the services of a forensic imaging laboratory to examine each frame. The mast is there, just as it should be.

B. As the film picks up the airplane coming back past from right to left on its takeoff run you'll see that the tail is already up. About two seconds into that sequence you'll see a puff of dust erupt from the ground beneath the airplane and then dissipate in the propwash. If you look as closely as we did you'll see that the puff does not erupt under either tire or prop tip but under the centerline of the aircraft.

C. As the airplane takes off and comes past the camera you'll be able to see the loop antenna, and the dorsal mast, and even the pitot tubes under the chin (again, this may take some rather sophisticated forensic imaging, but they're there). What you won't see, no matter how hard you look, frame by frame, as the airplane passes in front of light backgrounds and dark, are the central and aft masts for the belly antenna.

We don't know whether the puff of dust is related to the antenna loss or not, but the the fact of the loss is a simple matter of now you see it, now you don't. It's there when the airplane taxis out and it's gone when it flies back by. What we suspect is that the aft mast that is so close to the ground was knocked off as AE swung the tail around to line up with the runway at the far end of the field (and far away from the spectators). That would leave the broken mast being dragged along the ground by the antenna wire. The puff may be the dragged mast snagging on the ground and ripping the wire loose.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: The Seven Site
Date: 8/1/00
From: Charles Lim

From reading the contents of several e-mails concerning the evidence found at the '7' site, there still remains the possibilty that, one or more other events, that have not been recorded anecdotally or otherwise, may have destroyed the evidence that we are looking for.

The presence of the dwelling on the site, for whatever period of time that it was there, could be concerned with the castaway, the removal of the remains of the above, and the subsequent disposal of the remains.

This is not proven, but it could be the only reason in my mind why someone would go to great lengths to settle in one of the less hospitable areas of Niku; to conduct a search based around the dwelling for more evidence of the castaway, their origin, and the reason why they were stranded.

Since the search was then later abandoned, the dwelling would then be later dismantled, the relevant collected evidence would then be dealt with the proper official channels.

Have we collected evidence of the above? If so what is the possibility that there are still remains where there are supposed to be? I do think that if the dwelling was deconstructed, the material would be recycled by the villagers and re-used. This is perhaps why we have not come across any significant debris associated with the structure.

I hope this helps.

LTM
Charles Lim (WHO SHALL NOW DISAPPEAR IN A PUFF OF SMOKE)


From Ric

I'm not really sure what you're getting at. The apparent sequence of events goes something like:

Bones found
Organized search ordered
House (and possibly other infrastructure) built
Organized search carried out
Found objects sent to Fiji
House (and possibly other infrastructure) dismantled and removed


Subject: Re: Seven Site
Date: 8/1/00
From: Charles Lim

That is exactly what I'm saying Ric. I know it sounds a bit outta whack. The purpose of the house may have been a rest hut for someone who was taking a break from the search as the village is quite a distance away on foot and you also have to cross the lagoon. I'm quite sure this could be one purpose of building the hut or as many have said it was a resting place (not a grave) for Gallagher.

In any case, I do hope that you're certain that a structure of some sort of structure stood there as it could be the only explaination for some of the strange items that have been disscussed lately. The chronology of events thats being discussed does not seem too unusual or does it??

LTM
Charles Lim


From Ric

Seems perfectly logical to me.


Subject: Re: Seven site
Date: 8/1/00
From: Tom King

Charles, if you're suggesting that the removal of whatever was at the Seven Site (if it happened) might have destroyed the evidence there (if there was any), then sure, that's possible, but it would hardly be inevitable. Evidence in the ground, like bones and teeth, aren't easily completely destroyed by things like removing structures on the surface. I've excavated intact graves under areas that had seen the construction and systematic destruction (through bombing) of major surface facilities (airfields, gun emplacements, etc.). The problem we face with the Seven Site, though -- or with any putative bones discovery site -- is that the evidence was ephemeral in the first place, and then was the subject of a more or less systematic collecting effort by Gallagher & Co. But the best things we could possibly find would be teeth, which don't erode easily, aren't easily found, and hence have the best chance of survival over the decades. The chances of building removal at the Seven Site resulting in the removal or destruction of scattered teeth strike me as close to nil. Of course, we also have to acknowledge that our chances of finding them aren't real good, either, but the nice thing about the Seven Site, with its suspicious hole in the ground, is that it gives us something to focus our efforts on. We know that not all the teeth originally in the head left the island in Gallagher's shipment; the most likely place they got left is in the hole where the head was buried and then dug up. IF that's true, and IF the hole on the Seven Site is where the head was buried, then with modern archeological techniques we should be able to find them.

LTM (who notes that Gallagher was ahead of his time)
Tom King


Subject: Speculation on the antenna
Date: 8/2/00
From: Dennis McGee

Randy Jacobson said: "If the antenna did break off on take-off on Lae, it would seem to me that either Collopy or Chater would have known about it (after all, Chater was the airdrome supervisor), and would have reported it in one of their formal reports. I realize lack of reporting doesn't mean it didn't happen, but if something that significant did happen, it should have been included."

We do not know for sure that Chater and Collopy did or did not know of the missing antennae. All we know is that we have no evidence either way, i.e. written reports, interviews etc.

  1. TIGHAR has photographic evidence supporting its theory that the antenna was lost on take off.
  2. Anecdotal evidence is clear that a) the antenna was lost on take-off; b) it was found; c) it was identified as being from the 10E, all of which raise questions regarding when it was found and if it was reported.

First, IF it was found, I believe it would have had to have been within a few days of the flight because the more time that passed between AE's departure and the discovery of the missed antenna, the less chance the antenna would be correctly associated with AE's flight. After several weeks or months the wire antenna would have rusted, personnel would have moved, and memories faded and the antennae could have been mistaken for just another piece of debris. Therefore I would speculate that the missing antenna, if found, was discovered within a "reasonable" time after the take-off.

Second, if the antenna was lost and then found shortly after AE's departure, it is difficult to imagine that its loss and discovery would not rapidly become common knowledge among those witnessing the take-off, especially in light of the flight's tragic ending. Therefore, one could assume Chater reported this to someone. But of course we do not have records of ALL of Chater's stuff. He very well could have reported it and the information was lost over the years.

But didn't Chater die shortly after AE's flight? Maybe he learned about the antennae and never got a chance to formally report it.

And as for everyone else who possessed the "common knowledge" of this important event? It is not hard to envision an attitude of: "Well, "the authorities" (Chater) know of it, and he "obviously" has reported it, so that's that."

The paths of speculation are endless; my kingdom for some hard evidence.

LTM, who is happy to be back
Dennis O. McGee #0149CE


From Ric

You raise some good points. There were two "authorities" who made written reports at the time. Jim Collopy was District Superintendent of Civil Aviation for the Territory of New Guinea. His usual base of operations was Salamau, not Lae, so he may not have been around when the wire was found. Eric Chater was General Manager of Guinea Airways and was based right there in Lae. Chater was killed on October 13, 1941 when he walked into a prop, so his death does not seem to be a factor in this business about the wire. Another person who "should" have known about it, but apparently didn't, is Harry Balfour, the wirleless operator at Lae.

This is the same old problem we see in many contexts ( the discovery of the bones on the Gardner, the stories of other bones and airplane wreckage on Gardner, the Canton engine, etc., etc.). Does the apparent ignorance of an event by people who "should" know about it mean that the event did not occur?


Subject: Re: Earhart's takeoff from Lae
Date: 8/2/00
From: Janet Whitney

We looked at the TIGHAR film clip again. Same conclusion. The Electra seems to have plenty of ground clearance. The shadows make it hard to discern anything on the underside of the Electra except for the wheels. By the way, Earhart took the Electra on a test flight on July 1st.

What we saw in the TIGHAR film clip was Bertie Heath's description of Earhart's take-off related to Pellegreno in 1967.

It is hard for us to believe that if an antenna had broken off the Electra while the plane took off that it wouldn't be noted and reported.

Janet Whitney
DataQuality@aol.com


From Ric

So --- the resolution of the film via the website is not good enough for you to be able to see what we can see from a frame by frame analysis of a high-quality Beta SP copy of the film. That's not surprising. The web has its limitations. All you can legitimately conclude from that is that you can't see the evidence that we claim is there.

If you want to pay for one we'll be happy to send you a Beta SP dub of the film. Then you'll be able to prove TIGHAR wrong by showing us all at least three frames in the film in which the aft antenna mast is visible during the right-to-left takeoff run. Or, you could show us other examples of filmed takeoffs of the same airplane (there are several) in which the mast in question is NOT visible even though we know it was there. (I'll save you the trouble. We've looked at the films. You can see the mast.) In other words, if you expect to credibly debunk TIGHAR's conclusions you'll have to do what we did to reach them --- spend some time, spend some money, and produce genuine data.

>What we saw in the TIGHAR film clip was Bertie Heath's description of
>Earhart's take-off related to Pellegreno in 1967. Pellegrino, page 144 ---

He sat quietly a moment. "I wanted to see them off, but couldn't just stop working. The rest of that day I flew back and forth to the mines. The following day when returning from my first trip, I saw her silver plane moving slowly down the unpaved runway. It must have been 3000 feet long at that time. When her plane reached the road that had a high crest and ran across the runway near the seaward end, it bounced into the air, went over the drop off and then flew so low over the water that the propellers were throwing spray." He paused and took a sip of beer. "Always have a couple of beers every day." "She continued straight out to sea for several miles before climbing on course slowly. That was the last I saw of her." He thought for a moment. "The wind was calm and the dust from where she hit the crown of that dirt road didn't disperse quickly, just sort of hung there."

Neither the takeoff film nor aerial photos of the airfield taken during that period show a dirt road crossing the runway. The film clearly shows that the rather abrupt rotation of the aircraft was the result of the pilot's actions, not an impact with a perturbation in the runway surface. Smoke from a brush fire on the far side of the runway also shows that the wind was not calm, and the only dust raised during the takeoff run was the puff described in my earlier posting. It occurs not at the moment of rotation as Heath alleges, but several seconds earlier in the takeoff run. The accurate parts of Bertie's recollections 30 years after the fact can be summarized as:

  • the plane was silver
  • the runway was unpaved
  • the runway was 3000 feet long at that time
  • always have a couple of beers every day

I welcome DataQuality's (and anyone else's) critique of TIGHAR's conclusions, but it will take more than plural pronouns and dismissive tones to convince this forum that your data are of acceptable quality.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Re: Did a flood at the 7 site kill the reef?
Date: 8/2/00
From: Tom King, Russ Matthews, Kenton Spading

My question about contemporary visual evidence was a follow-up on your comment:

>From Ric
>
>I'd be curious to know if anybody who has actually been to the site thinks
>that there is any indication whatsoever that an overwash occurred. (The only
>people who have been on the ground there are me, Pat, John Clauss, Russ
>Matthews, Don Widdoes, and Joe Hudson.)

I haven't been on the Seven Site, other than on its fringes in '89, but I have trouble imagining what I'd take to be clear evidence of a long-ago overwash anywhere on Niku. Thinking back on the "landing strip" area along the southeast side of Baureke Passage, which we looked at in some detail in '97 and are pretty sure gets overwashed regularly, I can't think of any really clear evidence of such events even there. It may be worthy of some note that we did find scattered artifacts and structural remains there (a bottle or two, a house post). Anyhow, I'm just wondering what sort of evidence you're asking the '96 veterans to think about? It would be interesting to get Kenton's take on this, however.

TK


From Russ Matthews

Ric wrote:

> I'd be curious to know if anybody who has actually been to the site thinks
> that there is any indication whatsoever that an overwash occurred.

Well, I am by no means an expert and it was over four years ago. However, I have the impression that the area around the tank was very "open." By that I mean that there were bare patches in the scaevola nearer to the ocean side (like the "seven" itself) and a dearth of shade trees. I remember that there were a few dead trunks, both standing and fallen (one which we debated might explain a light colored looking object in the photos). I wonder if the trees might have been killed by salt water as the result of an overwash? The scaevola nearer to the lagoon was more substantial and heavily tangled -- just the kind of stuff that seems to quickly fill in areas that were previously shaded from sunlight.

Once again, these are guesses from memory. I'd suggest you check the videotape and consult a botanist.

LTM (who always takes things with a grain of salt),
Russ


From: Kenton Spading, 1382CE

Ric wrote in response to my posting on this subject:

I agree that it is likely that portions of the shoreline southeast of
the 7 site have been overwashed from the lagoon side during "westerly"
gales. Evidence of that includes:
  • the absence of large trees in that area
  • the presence of two small "lakes"
  • the observation by the divers on the 1989 expedition that the coral on the reef slope (not the flat) just offshore that area is dead.

I do not think that overwash occurs in the 7 site area. Evidence includes:

  • the apparent presence of a "safety-valve" area just southeast of there (see above).
  • the relatively high elevation of the ridge that runs through the site.
  • the pattern of the artifacts found at the site.
  • the fact that a place that was known to be prone to overwash would be about the last place you'd want to build a house.
What do you mean by the 7 site area? I agree that the proposed overwash does not occur directly over the middle of the 7 site. The safety valve or overwash area I am referring to is toward the East/Southeast end of the 7 site but definitely in the 7 site "Area".

Lets see if we can zero in on this. Your placement of the red seven on the 1941 photo on the Web would have the overwash occurring directly over the horizontal portion of the number 7 (if the number were written on paper, i.e. the mostly vertical red lines in the photo). The discolored area on the reef lines up with a portion of the seven.

In regards to a ridge line....Variations in ground elevations can be very deceiving in areas covered by thick brush, trees etc.. In any case, wave runup can overflow an area that at first might appear to be too high. The eyes can be very deceiving in this regard.

I agree that artifacts at the site may not be directly in the overwash area. My proposed overwash does not "wreck the house" or float the tank away. The artifacts do not necessarily have to be in the overwash area although high water can certainly be a transport mechanism. It takes a skilled eye to identify high water marks especially many years or months after the event.

I disagree that an area near the overwash area would be a bad place to build a house. You would definitely not build it in the overwash area itself. But off to the side (say on higher ground) would be ideal as the overwash area would provide a highway from the lagoon to the ocean. The overwash area with its sparse vegetation is what draws you to the site whether you are a castaway of someone wanting to build a house for Gallagher.

LTM
Kenton Spading


From Ric

Okay, let's define what we mean by "the 7 site." Let's call it the entire width of the atoll from lagoon to ocean bordered on the "top" end by horizontal component of the 7 and on the bottom by the bottom of the vertical component of the 7.

Russ's point about dead trees possibly being killed by salt water is an interesting one. It could also be that the opening up off the area during clearing operations associated with the search, or kanawa wood harvesting, exposed the trees to too much sun.

Here's another thought. Inside the tank and on the ground nearby were several ( a total of six as I recall) coconut shell halves that had, in all likelihood, been used as drinking cups. While the tank itself may have remained undisturbed by a gentle flooding from the lagoon side, the cups on the ground would not. Of course, the tank may have been moved and the cups may date from a later time.

The strips of screening, however, we assume date from the construction of the house. The three examples we found were distributed longitudinally several meters apart across the atoll, not laterally. I would expect that an advancing or retreating flood would tend to leave debris distributed laterally along a line (as we saw along the ocean beach at the landing in 1991). In fact, all of the artifacts seen at the 7 site are distributed longitudinally rather than laterally.

Ultimately we have to ask what difference it makes whether there was ever an overwash at the 7 site?

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Lambrecht's View
Date: 8/2/00
From: Andrew McKenna

I was re-reading the research bulletin on the "7" site (The Seven Site)and was struck by something Ric mentions regarding the photo taken by Lambrecht on July 9, 1937. From the "7" Site Bulletin:

On July 9, 1937 three floatplanes from the U.S.S. Colorado flew over Nikumaroro (then known as Gardner Island) during the search for Amelia Earhart. The only photo known to have been taken at that time happens to include the "7" site. Although resolution is very poor, the photo does provide the earliest known aerial view of the site. (For a complete version of the photo see The Lambrecht Photo.)

This got me thinking, so I went to look at the Lambrecht report (The Lambrecht Report) on the web site. Quoting from his report:

From M'Kean the planes proceeded to Gardner Island (sighting the ship to starboard enroute) and made an aerial search of this island which proved to be one of the biggest of the group. Gardner is a typical example of your south sea atoll... a narrow circular strip of land (about as wide as Coronado's silver strand) surrounding a large lagoon. Most of this island is covered with tropical vegetation with, here and there, a grove of coconut palms. Here signs of recent habitation were clearly visible but repeated circling and zooming failed to elicit any answering wave from possible inhabitants and it was finally taken for granted that none were there.

At the western end of the island a tramp steamer (of about 4000 tons) bore mute evidence of unlighted and poorly charted "Rocks and Shoals". She lay high and almost dry head onto the coral beach with her back broken in two places.

The lagoon at Gardner looked sufficiently deep and certainly large enough so that a seaplane or even an airboat could have landed or taken off in any direction with little if any difficulty. Given a chance, it is believed that Miss Earhart could have landed her plane in this lagoon and swam or waded ashore. In fact, on any of these islands it is not hard to believe that a forced landing could have been accomplished with no more damage than a good barrier crash or a good wetting.

He doesn't find either Amelia or her airplane, but sees some things that were important enough for him to note in his report:

  1. The tropical vegetation including coconut palms.
  2. Signs of recent habitation clearly visible.
  3. The wreck of the Norwich City on the Western end.
  4. The suitability of the lagoon for landing a seaplane or airboat.

We know that two out of the four items, #'s 1 and 3, are on the Western end of the island, and I think the tendency has been to assume that the "signs of recent habitation" were also on the West end. You would think that he would have chosen to take the photo with the Norwich City, the old 1892 cocos, and the presumed signs of habitation such as the marker erected by the Brits in the foreground. However, the photo is from the East with all the stuff that we have presumed to be of interest as far away as possible. Why?

One reason I can think of was that his flight took place during the mid to late morning, launched at 0700, searched McKean first, then to Gardner (do we know what time?), so perhaps the light was better from the East. However, I know that the late morning sun in the tropics should be pretty high and bright in the sky, so I don't think there would have been much of an advantage from the E or the W. You could also argue that he wanted a picture to display #4 above, but the view of the landing area of the lagoon should have been equally good from the opposite side.

Given the fact that he could position his aircraft anywhere over the island for the desired photo angle, why take the one and only photo from the angle that he did? Was there something about this end of the island that he felt was interesting enough to shoot his only picture? Makes you wonder if the "signs of recent habitation" were down at this end of the island and not up near the Norwich City.

Just speculation, I know, but it just seems odd to me that the only photo taken by Lambrecht just happens to have the E side of the island with the "7" Site in the relative forground rather than the other more prominent landmarks such as the NC and the 1892 cocos.

LTM (who prefers the interesting stuff in the foreground of her photos)
Andrew McKenna 1045 CE


Subject: Re: Earhart's takeoff from Lae
Date: 8/2/00
From: Jon Watson

I agree that the video clip on the website is not the best quality, but I've been able to clearly see that there is an anomaly of some kind, that appears to be a puff of dust from something striking the ground below and behind as the plane is taking off. Having flow from unpaved strips (many) years ago, I can attest that as smooth as they look, they aren't, and I'd be willing to be that (there and then) anything not runway proper was pretty rough. It is all to easy for me to visualize the tailwheel dropping into a rut, snapping the mast, and then the antenna wire snagging and pulling off during the takeoff roll.

Also, how often do you suppose anyone actually walked or drove that runway? Weekly to mow it? Probably not even that. I wonder what kind of traffic they had there. From the 1935 Lae airport pix that were recently (earlier this year? --- last year?) posted by one of the subscribers, there might have been a fair amount of traffic. I can picture some crusty Aussie (apologies to Th' Wombat) rolliing in and being really upset to find there was this bunch of wire wound around his axle.

How about this --- do you have prints or scans of the frames in question? How about a post (like the recent "7-site" pictures) to illustrate the point. Not that I have any question about your credibility, but it would still be interesting to see.

While I don't "have a couple of beers every day", the next time I do, I will endeavor to contemplate this further.

ltm
jon 2266


From Ric

Frankly I'd rather spend the time putting up new stuff. Tom King's Gallagher article is now up and we have the complete Itasca radio logs, in original and translated form, almost ready to go up. We also have most of the 8th Edition ready to be coded and loaded but it all takes time.


Subject:

Re: Lambrecht's view

Date: 8/2/00
From: Randy Jacobson

I've tried to address the question of the Lambrecht photo on the forum several times, and will try again.

I examined all available evidence to deduce the flight patterns of the pilots, and conclude based upon this and the relatively high altitude of the plane during the photo that the photo was taken after the visit to Carondelet Reef and the planes were returning to the Colorado. This was a photo of opportunity, and was taken, in my humble opinion, because the available charts of Gardner were so fallacious that some sort of document of the true shape/size of Gardner was needed to convince non-first hand observers of this fact.

That's my interpretation, and I'm sticking by it.


From Ric

Randy and I have gone round and round about this for years now and occasionally at rather high decibel levels. Bottom line: he makes a pretty good case. The route back from Carondelet does take the flight near the spot where the photo was taken and the high altitude does suggest that the point of the photo was to show the whole island rather than some suspicios feature on the ground. (Good Lord. Did I just agree with Jacobson?)


Subject:

Gallagher paper

Date: 8/3/00
From: Ric Gillespie

I'd like to congratulate Tom King on his fine paper "Gallagher of Nikumaroro" and offer a few picky comments and corrections.

The largest of the Phoenix Islands was Canton (now Kanton). During World War II it would become the site of both British and American airbases.

Although there was a British administrative presence on Canton, I don't believe that there was ever a British airbase there. The military facilities, and the aircraft, were entirely American. After the war, British commercial airlines used the airport as a refueling stop, as did Pan American.

The paper makes passing reference to the political tension in the region between the U.S. and Britain over ownership of the Phoenix Group in the late 1930s but leaves the impression that the approval of the PISS was essentially a humanitarian gesture to relieve population pressures in the G&EIC. Although Maude and Richards certainly saw it that way, they had been pushing the idea for years without success. It was only in the context of the squabble with the Americans that London approved 17,000 pounds as a grant from the Colonial Development Fund to implement the scheme. Similarly, the abandonment of the scheme in the early 1960s just happens to coincide with the obsolescence of the commercial value of Canton with the advent of nonstop transpacific jet service. The colonists were ready to leave because of the drought, but there had been droughts before. This time the government had no reason to continue to subsidize the colony. Canton closed to all commercial traffic on June 30, 1965.

Here and elsewhere he had the assistance of Jack Kimo Petro (sometimes called Kimo Jack Pedro), a half-Tuvaluan/half Portuguese engineer and artisan of considerable skill and energy.

For what it's worth, a photo of Jack taken by the New Zealand survey party is captioned "Petro --- half-caste Portugese Tokelau in charge of colonists." On the other hand, Emily, who is Tuvaulan, referred to him as "Uncle Kimo."

...on 16th June the High Commissioner, Sir Harry Luke, notified ResCom David Wernham that Nimanoa was expected ...

Wernham, who had come to the Pacific with Bevington and Gallagher, was not the Resident Commissioner. In June of '41 he was Acting Administrative Officer on Tarawa. The Resident Commissioner was Jack Barley.

After leaving Canton Island, your telegram (unnumbered) of 30th [?] September was decoded by Mr. Hogan, and its contents were communicated to Mr. Gallagher [Note:the "3" in "30" has been struck through and replaced with another number, but it is not clear on our photocopy what the number is.]

On the first generation photocopy that Kenton and I made in England the replaced number is clearly a 2.

Renamed Karaka after Gallagher, the village and Gallagher's grave were very well maintained.

and

It appears that while the colonial village -- now named "Karaka" in Gallagher's memory -- had survived the War...

According to Maude in Of Islands and Men (page 335) the naming of the village on Gardner was done back in December 1938 during the initial colonizing voyage:

Two village sites were selected on Sydney, the names chosen by the colonists being Mauta, after myself, and Ona after my wife (Honor). ... The village in Hull was called Arariki, after our son Alaric, and that on Gardner Karaka, after Gallagher.

If the village on Gardner was dubbed Karaka, the New Zealand survey party that was there at the time apparently did not get the word because on the map they made of the island the village is named "Keresoma." Laxton never refers to the village as having a name at all. Emily Sukuli and Otiria O'Brian who were on Gardner in 1940 when Gallagher was in residence knew him as "Kela" which could, I suppose, be a rendering of Gerald.

Designed by Dr. Macpherson, Gallagher's grave monument resembles that of Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa.

I can't find a reference for who designed the grave monument but it seems that Wernham supervised its construction in June of 1942. On 14 October 1941, Harry Maude wrote to Sir Harry Luke suggesting that a "bronze memorial tablet" be "set in concrete and suitably inscribed." Sir Harry writes back and says he likes the idea but "there are several of his friends here (I, certainly for one) who would like to take a share." Macpherson's long report on the death of Gallagher is dated 9 November 1941 but makes no mention of the proposed plaque or memorial. The next mention is on 17 June 1942 when Wernham, who is on Nikumaroro, writes to Vaskess that: "I have the honour to submit herewith a plan showing the dimensions of the monument erected over the grave of the late Mr. G.B. Gallagher." Attached are hand-drawn sketches of the monument. The plaque came much later. In August of 1949 they're still bickering over how much the government is going to kick in to pay for it.

LTM,
Ric


Subject:

Re: Antenna on Lae runway

Date: 8/3/00
From: Janet Whitney

In the context of all that was reported about Earhart while she and Noonan were in Lae, it is hard to believe that the loss of an antenna would not be reported except by anecdote.

Regarding the Coast Guard renunion; given that the average age of WWII veterans is about 76, I am surprised that an effort wasn't made several years ago to contact Coast Guard veterans who served on Gardner Island and other islands in the vicinity of Howland.

Janet Whitney
DataQuality@aol.com


From Ric

I'm surprised that you've somehow read all these postings and haven't caught on to the fact that we did indeed track down many of the veterans of Unit 92 in the early days of the project and that the purpose of going to this reunion is primarily to catch any we may have missed and to get some new questions answered.

Yesterday one of the forum members posted a query as to just who you are and what DataQuality is. I think it's a fair question and I think your answer to it will be the next thing from you that I will post.


Subject:

Janet Whitney and DQ

Date: 8/3/00
From: Janet Whitney

We are a group of people who are looking at Earhart's disappearance from an information quality perspective. Information quality is a growing field. Those who are interested can go to the MIT information quality Web site at http://web.mit.edu/tdqm

I am a summer student who is doing research about the information contained in the Long's recent book about Earhart's disappearance.

Janet Whitney
DataQuality@aol.com


Subject:

Data Quality Explained

Date: 8/3/00
From: Ric Gillespie

The URL Janet provided (http://web.mit.edu/tdqm) is a bit misleading. Data Quality is not part of MIT, it's a journal whose home page is linked to an MIT website about a program called Total Data Quality Management (TDQM). It's part of the business school and seems to be aimed primarily at helping big companies reduce the number of input errors in their databases.

Below are the "Closing Remarks" from the "Program Overview" section of the TDQM website.

Data are used to support most activities in modern organizations, be they operational, managerial, or strategic in nature. If these data are defective, there are many ways that poor data quality can affect organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Without a systematic and comprehensive way to conceptualize and address the data quality issue, organizations are left to grapple with this problem in an ad hoc, and piece meal manner. The TDQM effort aims to construct a paradigm for data quality management, to serve as a center for excellence in managerial and technology practice, as well as to develop a rigorous foundation and discipline for data quality to extend into the future.

I'm going to try to translate this momument to doublespeak into plain English. Wish me luck.

Data are used to support most activities in modern organizations, be they operational, managerial, or strategic in nature.

Translation: Everybody uses facts.

If these data are defective, there are many ways that poor data quality can affect organizational effectiveness and efficiency.

Translation: Bad facts are bad.

Without a systematic and comprehensive way to conceptualize and address the data quality issue, organizations are left to grapple with this problem in an ad hoc, and piece meal manner.

Translation: You can either check your facts one at a time to see if they're bad or you can use a system.

The TDQM effort aims to construct a paradigm for data quality management, to serve as a center for excellence in managerial and technology practice, as well as to develop a rigorous foundation and discipline for data quality to extend into the future.

Translation: We're going to construct a system you can use to help you cut down on bad facts.

How any of this applies to historical investigation escapes me. In our line of work there is no alternative to checking each fact to see whether or not it is bad. There is no system that can identify whether or not a fact is bad without checking it (ad hoc, piecemeal, one at a time). The real question is how to tell a bad fact from a good fact.

Janet's boss, James Hurysz, is the publisher of the journal (again, that's what Data Quality is, a journal based in Alexandria, Virginia for people who follow the TDQM concept). He has made several postings to the forum and, according to Janet, has some interest in checking Elgen Long's facts.

I think that clarifies the whole Data Quality thing. Thank you Janet.

LTM,
Ric


Subject:

Re: Janet Whitney and DQ

Date: 8/3/00
From: Chris Kennedy

Dear Ms. Whitney:

I took a look at the webpages you mentioned, but couldn't locate a good description of "information quality." Could you please explain what is meant by "information quality perspective" and, specifically, how it relates to the work you are doing on the Earhart disappearance? What you are saying seems to imply that there is something unique about what you're doing, but isn't everyone researching an issue concerned about the quality of information?

What makes your approach different, and why is that difference valuable or even relevant to the Earhart disappearance?

--Chris Kennedy


Subject:

Quality of Data

Date: 8/3/00
From: Randy Jacobson

To Janet Whitney:

You are working on a very interesting project. From my experience, it is hard to understand quality of data unless you have the data, and all of it, organized and right under your nose, so to speak. While the TIGHAR web site and this forum offers only a tiny piece of all that data, those of us who have been involved for several years have file cabinets of data. As for myself, my specialty is what happened in 1937, and have put a reasonable fraction of radio message traffic, weather info, navigation of searching ships on a CD, available through TIGHAR. Even if you read all of this, it still isn't enough to readily assess the quality of Long's book. What's missing is the accompanying letters, reports, and documents. Even with all of that, the raw data is conflicting, ambiguous, or sometimes missing. Quality is often subjective, and all that we can do is figure out what seems to fit the majority of the data with minimal outlyers, and see if it is self- consistent. Long's hypothesis is self-consistent, but is itself an outlyer.

At any rate, I would be more than happy to correspond with you. Ric can provide my e-mail address upon your request. Good luck with your work. I've been at it for 9 years now, and still don't know the truth!


Subject:

Re: Itasca's Radio Logs

Date: 8/4/00
From: Janet Whitney

The original and the copies of the Itasca's radio logs for July 2, 1937 will have to be examined and reconciled before our research can proceed. Please inform us when this has been accomplished.

Janet Whitney
DataQuality@aol.com


From Ric

I beg your pardon?


Subject:

DQ/IQ Perspective

Date: 8/4/00
From: Janet Whitney

To use a critical example, one must view discrepancies among the original and the copies of the Itasca's radio logs that have been used and are being used for research as DQ/IQ problems that must be resolved before the research can go forward.

Janet Whitney
DataQuality@aol.com


From Ric

I have a theory. We're all being had.

Janet Whitney is not a person, she's a fictional character generated by the Beta-testing of an artificial intelligence software package. Clearly the program still needs a lot of work. It can create email but cannot yet quite manage to construct an articulate English sentence. Reading seems to be slated for Phase Two. Protocols Of Human Relationships is still a dream for the future.


Subject:

Re: Data Quality explanation

Date: 8/4/00
From: Tom King

Ric said:

>I'm going to try to translate this momument to doublespeak into plain
>English. Wish me luck.

I wouldn't bother. It didn't mean a damn thing as TQM in the '80s, and I doubt if it means anything as TDQM today.

TK


From Ric

This has actually been something of an education for me. We all know that the landscape is dotted with cow pies like the Psychic Friends Network and Major Ed Dames and his Technical Remote Viewing, not to mention state lotteries. They all prey on the uneducated. But it appears that there are also "upscale" versions of the same kind of scams that soak universities, governments, and large corporations.


Subject:

Re: Itasca's Radio Logs

Date: 8/4/00
From: Tom King

Uh, Janet, would you also, perhaps, think it important to interview as many of the British colonial officers involved with the colonization of Niku as possible? The descendents of the colonists themselves? Maybe check the records of the Western Pacific High Commission? Maybe go through the Kiribati National Archives? Maybe check where the bones from Niku were last reported in Fiji? Maybe do a bit of archaeology on the island? Pretty radical.

LTM
Tom King


Subject:

Re: Itasca's Radio Logs

Date: 8/4/00
From: Roger Kelley

To Janet Whitney:

Way back, 34 some years ago, as a young and very enlightened undergraduate, I approached my geology professor with the intention of discussing my proposed term paper, "The Eruption of Mt. Lassen 1914-1921."

As best I can recall, the conversation was short and to the point. I said, "Sir, it is important that we review all original government reports pertaining to qualified warnings of an imminent eruption." He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and replied, "Yes, please continue." So I did, "It is important that we interview all persons who resided in the immediate area at the time of the eruption."

The twinkle in his eye turned into an ear to ear grin as he chuckled and said to me, "You betch'um Red Rider, but it's your paper, you do the research."

Due to the fact that Al Gore had not yet invented the internet, I hitched a ride with the Green Hornet who drove me straight to the library. There I discovered that Little Beaver could only provide data of questionable quality.

Come to remember, I completed the paper on my own and sure did learn lots.

LTM (who hates poor quality data 'cause I seldom proof read my own postings)
Roger Kelley #2112CE


Subject:

White people in a government boat

Date: 8/4/00
From: Dave Porter

If I'm remembering correctly, one of the Research Bulletins has a quote from one of your interviews with a Niku colonist who recalled "...government men in a white boat who came to take pictures of an airplane wreck..."

In your expert opinion (as opposed to my amateur opinion) is it possible that the colonist who supplied the quote, knowing of the stories of a wrecked airplane on the island, inadvertently mixed that tidbit in with a recollection of the arrival of the Loran dismantling crew, or some other CG activity, that someone at the reunion might be able to shed some light on? (yes, I have a data quality problem with run-on sentences)

Welcome back Dennis McGee. Just think of the fun you and I could have doing an experimental historical reenactment of the Coasties' Thompson submachinegun bird hunts--I'll even apply for a National Endowment for the Arts grant to fund it. (whaddya mean its not "performance art")

Love to Mother (who prefers that sentences and art both have clear subjects)
Dave Porter, 2288


From Ric

In 1997 Tapania Taeke on Funafuti told us, "Some white people came once in a government boat. They were taken in canoes to here ( tracing path with her finger from the village area across Tatiman Passage along the shore toward the Norwich City) to take pictures of the airplane parts" (that were on land in front of the "European house").

I frankly don't know what to make of this allegation.


Subject:

Resolving "circling"

Date: 8/4/00
From: Janet Whitney

For example, after 63 years it would be appropriate to resolve whether Earhart said "We are circling....," or "We are listening...," or "We are drifting....," or something else in her transmission at 1928 GMT.

Janet Whitney
DataQuality@aol.com


From Ric

Yes. Wouldn't that be nice? And just how do you propose to do that?


Subject:

Re: DQ/IQ perspective

Date: 8/4/00
From: Tom King

>Janet Whitney is not a person, she's a fictional character generated by the
>Beta-testing of an artificial intelligence software package.

I think you've got it, but how do we test your hypothesis?


From Ric

Somebody who lives in the Alexandria area (Silver Spring for example) could pay a call on Data Quality and ask to see Janet Whitney. If they're introduced to a mainframe --- bingo!


Subject:

DQ

Date: 8/4/00
From: Skeet Gifford

Ric, your deconstruction of Data Quality's objectives touched a nerve. As an unrepentant English major, I have had a long-standing interest in the myriad ways that we can obfuscate the simplest of ideas through a curious selection of words. In my current line of work, I have the opportunity to occasionally read such a document, and have saved some of the better examples for my own amusement. But I digress.

The second paragraph below was randomly created from a matrix of four columns and ten rows. Like the proverbial Chinese menu where you pick one from Column A, one from.... Anyway, I'll put it up against anything from an *.edu web site.

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. While the subject today needs no introduction, I am confident that these remarks are germane to our mutually-shared objectives.

As you well know, initiation of critical subsystem development effects a significant implementation of the philosophy of commonality and standardization. However, a constant flow of effective information adds overriding performance objectives to the structural design, based on system engineering concepts. Based on integral subsystem considerations, a large portion of the interface coordination communication is further compounded when taking into account the preliminary qualification limit. In this regard, an associated supporting element must utilize and be functionally interwoven with the subsystem compatibility testing.


Do you have any questions?

Skeet Gifford


Subject:

Gallagher paper

Date: 8/4/00
From: Dennis McGee

To Tom King:

A single nit to pick on your Gallaghar piece.

Was Gallaghar really a "martyr," as you claim in the opening paragraphs? He certainly appeared to be dedicated, conscientious and hard working, but I'd disagree with your characterization of him as a martyr, even in the broadest sense of the word. He didn't die "for" his cause; more probably he died "because" of it, i.e. lack of adequate medical treatment in a far away land.

Other than that small nit, a very fine piece of work Dr. King.

LTM, who knows martyrs
Dennis O. McGee #0149EC


From Ric

I gotta come down on Tom's side on this one. It's very apparent from the official record that Gallagher quite literally, and one could argue, almost deliberately worked himself to death. He often didn't take advantage of the medical care that was available to him and he demonstrated a wanton disregard for his own health and safety. His final decline when he returned to Gardner was precipitated by his disregard for Macpherson's instructions in "swallowing some purgative tablets which he was in the habit of using and which I had refused to let him have."

I think Gallagher was a "martyr" in the same sense that religious martyrs actually seek to achieve some kind of redemption by sacrificing themselves for a cause. Gerald Gallagher was a Roman Catholic --- very unusual in the Colonial Service. He was the elder son and namesake of a prominent physician in government service. He distinguished himself at the best schools (Stoneyhurst and Cambridge) before beginning medical school at illustrious St. Bart's, but he only lasted one semester there before suddenly going to Ireland for a year to "study agriculture." He then applies for a posting in the Colonial Service and when he gets to the Pacific he throws himself into his work with a passion. The PISS becomes his crusade. He sounds to me like an overachiever who burned out, failed to follow in his father's footsteps, is ridden with guilt, and martyrs himself to achieve redemption. He is Kipling's "White Man's Burden" taken to its ultimate extreme.

LTM,
Ric


Subject:

Re: Data Quality explained/TQM

Date: 8/4/00
From: Dan Postellon

My previous employer got into TQM late in the game. They tried to sell it as the reason for "the miracle of the Japanese economy". This was about one month after the Japanese economy tanked (or to use the new expression, Kavorked). This was not considered to be a reason to avoid this system.

The principles of the Data Quality system seem to include:

  1. Badger people to do the data analysis that they are already doing, or have already done. This makes you look at least as smart as they are.
  2. Ask people to locate data that are not locatable or have disappeared. If they can't find it, it's not your fault.
  3. Claim that the data are incomplete or inadequate to make any decision or hypothesis. If you never make a decision and never form a hypothesis, you never make a wrong decision or form an incorrect hypothesis.
I can't understand why Data Quality is offering opinions and advice without charging a massive consultants fee.

LTM (who is too smart to pay management consultants)
Dan Postellon
TIGHAR 2263


Subject:

TDQM

Date: 8/4/00
From: Dave Bush

Actually, I think that the TDQM folks really need to send out a party to the island to determine why the water in the lagoon is not the same color as the water in the ocean, since they are linked by two passages and should have the same content. Also, I would like clarification on why the wind there doesn't blow from the same direction all the time. The wind direction seems pretty consistent from TDQM and Ms. Janet.

Yours,
#2200 (would someone double check that number to be certain that the data quality is valid)
Dave Bush (who is only partially validated on an inconsistent basis)
LTM (please don't do any data quality on that one or we will be here all night)


Subject:

Re: Gallagher paper

Date: 8/4/00
From: Dennis McGee

OK. That makes sense. Though I'm not convinced, the differences now are a matter of personal perception and not worth any more bandwidth. Maybe you can convince Dr. King to include your excellent synopsis in any further pieces on Mr. Gallaghar to avoid future confusion.

LTM, who avoids martyrs
Dennis O. McGee #0149EC


From Tom King

"Martyr" may be a bit of hyperbole, though I agree with Ric's characterization. My use of the term -- like my underplaying of the geopolitical situation pointed out by Ric that doubtless contributed to approval of the PISS -- reflects an assumption (poorly formulated, I fear) about the audience, assuming publication in a mildly stuffy semi-popular fairly Anglophilic historical journal. Probably needs adjustment, though on the other hand I really should add in a bit more of the character business that Ric outlines. But the damned thing's too long for publication already....

LTM (who's soft on martyrs)
TKing


Subject:

Researching AE's Disappearance

Date: 8/5/00
From: Janice Brown

I'd like to comment to Janet Whitney and others about research projects if I may (in a very direct way).

I'm also a student performing research (mine is for two papers about Amelia Earhart): the first on her life and events leading up to her disappearance, and then a second on the best possible theory on her disappearance. In preparation for this, I joined this illustrious discussion group, compiled a list of sources of information, read at least 8 different books on the subject, along with downloading the FBI's Earhart files (public information) and reading any newspaper and journal articles on the topic. After digesting all of that material (I think I have permanent heartburn from it), I went back and carefully reviewed all of the various theories about her disappearance.

I visited every single page and link on the TIGHAR web site, trying to absorb and understand the vast amount of information posted there (immaculately organized I might add). The data there is based on analysis by experts (scientists, archaeologists, aviation experts etc.). If there is any supposition, conjecture or assumptions, it is noted as same.

From my limited understanding of TQDM, it appears that identification of the problem, and data collection are the two first steps. Perhaps you would be well served to do research similiar to what I have done, completely and thoroughly reviewing all of the information (and data) collected and published at the TIGHAR web site, along with books and literature that is NOT part of this site, and then you will be in a much more knowledgeable position to state the problem and collect your own data.

And now for my personal opinion, (as a non TIGHAR member), the TIGHAR administration, staff, associated professionals and the many others who post in this discussion group have my highest admiration and respect. I believe that the theory espoused by TIGHAR on the disappearance of AE and FN is the most logical, factual and data based--and most concisely presented that I have been able to locate. I intend to continue reading the daily e-mails (which has increased substantially in the last week, I might add) even when my research paper is completed.

When I do post, it will be only on matters to *contribute* to the discussion (whether by offering suggestions, fact or humor). To ask, or demand, information to satisfy my own need for specific data for my research paper, has been quite unnecessary as that information is already posted or in print somewhere. Its entirely my own responsibility to find it. If it isn't, then finding that information and providing it to TIGHAR would be welcomed I'm sure.

Janice Brown


From Ric

Thank you Janice.


Subject: Does overwash occur at the 7 site?
Date: 8/5/00
From: Kenton Spading

Ric wrote:

>Ultimately we have to ask what difference it makes whether there was ever an
>overwash at the 7 site?


Tom K. then wrote:

>Does it matter? Maybe. The more we know about how the site has evolved,
>the better we'll be able to interpret what's there.

I agree with Tom K.. It very likely does matter. An overwash event provides attractive and alternative explantions for what we have observed at the 7 site both on the ground and from aerial photos. If you look at an aerial photo and conclude..... "that sure looks like a man-made feature" (e.g. brush cleared or linear features) when in reality the brush was cleared/thinned out by overwash then perhaps the theory related to the site can mature to another level. Perhaps the alleged overwash is what attracted folks to the site in the first place and led to the discovery of the bones. If we can identify on the ground the existence of an overwash path it could very well dictate where to start (or not to start) searching for the bones site.

Regarding whether or not team members would remember seeing evidence of overwash on the ground, I have to agree with Russ Matthews and Tom King. The average Joe is not going to pick up those signals. The traces are there (assuming overwash occurred) but it would require some effort to find them... if a lot of time has elapsed since the last event. John Clauss, of course, has seen evidence of overwash in other areas.

Finding evidence of the overwash in the field could help determine the search area. What role did the 1940 storm play in all this?

Ric wrote:

>When we go back, if we see indications that an overwash occurred at the site
>(and I'm aware of no such indications at this time) and those indications
>suggest that we alter our search plan, we will of course proceed accordingly.

Great, at least we agree that the overwash angle needs to be considered on-site. I believe that there are indications that overwash has occurred (reef scars etc.).

LTM
Kenton Spading


Subject:

Re: We are circling......

Date: 8/5/00
From: Ross Devitt

> From Janet Whitney
>
> We asked a simple question: Did Earhart say: "We are circling...," or "We
> are drifting...," or "We are listening...," or "We are climbing..." or "We
> are diving...," or something else?

The question is simple, the person(s)? asking it appears to be also!

When somebody transcribes a radio converstion had by other people, and considering the probable lack quality of the reception of that conversation on the equipment of that era and the many distractions of the moment, there is going to be some possibility of error in the transcription.

Under normal circumstances, one would simply ask the other party to repeat the message for the sake of clarity. In Earhart's case, with only one way communications, what was thought to be heard was written, then perhaps after some discussion as to intent of the words, changed. Who knows? The recollections of people who purported to have been there or spoken to someone who supposedly was have been examined albeit inconclusively for what should be obvious reasons.

There is NO answer to your question Janet, and had you been able to read earlier postings, (for that matter this discussion was probably in the forum highlights anyway) you would have seen this was thrashed out at about this time last year.

On the other hand, I'm sure Ric still has one or two CDs with much of the hard evidence in viewable form if you'd like to part with some dollars.

Th' WOMBAT


Subject: Substantive Posting Rule Imposed on DQ
Date: 8/5/00
From: Jerry Hamilton

Regarding this last transmission from Ms. Whitney:

>We asked a simple question:. Did Earhart say: "We are circling......

Possibly I'm in a bad mood today, but this strikes me as a rather demanding and superior attitude (my dad would have said holier-than-thou). I prefer that the people involved in this Forum be involved in a give and take that leads to the truth (or better data in Janet's jargon). I get the impression that Ms. Whitney is using us and not participating. I say send her and the whole TDQM method to the thunderbox. Let them practice their approach (so they can write their journal articles) on someone else, say Microsoft or GM. Personally, I think Janet is the updated and "improved" version of HAL --- and we all know how that worked out.

blue skies, -jerry


From Ric

Over the past several days the forum has generated a staggering number of postings, the majority of which are either by or in response to Ms. Whitney, and none of which has added anything to our investigation. I am compelled, therefore, to impose the "Substantive Posting Rule" on Data Quality and all of its minions. This is the same rule we've had to impose on other time-wasters in the past. Starting now, I will only post messages from Data Quality that contain new, documented information that materially advances the investigation.


Subject:

Re: 3015 KC

Date: 8/5/00
From: Hue Miller

>From Janet Whitney
>
> 3105 KC is significantly lower in frequency than the 75 Meter ham band.

And propagation is significantly different from 90 meters to 75 meters? C'mon, say it, please, please say it! I want to see a 'bot all tangled in a Data non sequitur. (Quality problem.) We were going to address the note topic by topic, but we realized that this conversation would be most like trying to hold a conversation with a listserver.

I am reaching for your circuit breaker......

73, Hue


From Ric

The DQ breaker has been pulled. The system is now disabled.


Subject:

Re: Bad facts

Date: 8/5/00
From: Dave Bush

Dennis McGee said:

>Ric said in translating DataQuality's mission statement:
>
>>If these
>>data are defective, there are many ways that poor data quality can
>>affect organizational effectiveness and efficiency.
>>
>>Translation --- Bad facts are bad.
>
>Not quite. Bad facts are bad facts, i.e. facts about bad things.
>Incorrect facts are bad facts, i.e. the fact is wrong.

Actually, it is worse than that. You can have good facts, but bad interpretation of the facts. I am in the construction business, I am the manager for a garage door company, and I constantly have architects and individuals come to me want to do things that are not possible. I mean "ARCHITECTS", and rather than explain the laws of physics to them, I usually just suggest that they go out in their garage and look at a REAL, OPERATIONAL, ACTUAL, WORKING garage door. That usually answers their questions! One recent job required three trips by a technician to convince the architect and owner that a door higher than 6'9" tall could not go in the space until they took out a false beam! DUH! I have a degree in Civil Engineering Technology, but have always been capable in dealing with technical issues. Some people could have three doctorates in a field and still not have a clue. In fact, while I was still in college, I was standing with my dad at our warehouse watching them unload giant tumblers for a commercial laundry across the street. They had two fork lifts trying to lift one tumbler --- a large fork lift on the up ramp side of the load, and a small fork lift on the down ramp side of the load. I told my dad, watch, when they start up the ramp, the load will shift to the small fork and it will lift the drivers off the ground. Voila! He said he was glad he didn't bet me on it. And I had never opened a physics book at that point!

Also, there is a column in the paper by someone who claims to be a member of the MENSA society and extremely brilliant. I haven't bothered to challenger her on an opinion she expressed about which came first, the chicken or the egg, but no one can prove which came first, because you have to determine where the genetic change occurred --- in the egg, in the developing embryo, or in the sperm. Since the data are impossible to test on that one, we can never know! So much for TDQM or whatever.

LTM --- who loves a good debate (even if she loses, because LEARNING takes place if you approach it with an open mind).
Dave Bush
#2200


Subject:

To wander or not to wander

Date: 8/5/00
From: Vern Klein

I don't recall exactly how all this got started but...

Ric wrote:

> I don't think they spent an hour wandering around, but if they followed
>the standard recommended procedure of the day they ran one way (logically NW)
>on the LOP as far as they dared and then reversed course and started running
>SE when they still had enogh fuel left to guarantee that they'd reach land of
>some kind.

Ross wrote:

>And that's not wandering around?

Ric wrote:

>No, it is not. It is following a well-thought-out plan that maximizes the
>chances of reaching the intended destination while guaranteeing with as much
>certainty as possible that the flight will not go down at sea.

So... May they not have been close to Howland twice? Thus accounting for the signal strength of that last transmission heard by Itasca.


From Ric

And THAT, old friend, is exactly what I think happened. Sometime shortly before the 1912 "We must be on you..." transmission, Noonan hit the LOP well south of Howland and saw that he had a problem (no Howland). He had AE turn left and start running NW up the LOP. He went as far as he dared (but not quite far enough) and then had to turn back to the SE while they still had enough fuel to be sure of reaching land of some kind. When they send the 2013 transmission they're back to pretty much where they started from and Earhart says, "We are on the line 157/337...We are running on line north and south." (They ran north and now they're running south.)

LTM,
Ric


Subject:

Re: 3105 KC

Date: 8/5/00
From: Hue Miller

Janet Whitney writes:

> 3105 KC is significantly lower in frequency than the 75 Meter ham band.

--Yes. Now, what is your (plural) conclusion?

>We've looked in the contemporary aircraft literature for the late 1930's and
> cannot find any indication that this frequency was used or recommended
> for use commercially for anything but local (airport approach) communications
> during daylight hours in 1937.

--Well, maybe you all need to get together and look a little further.

> Obviously, if an aircraft were flying at 5,000 feet,
> the line-of-sight range would have been 100 miles. Please let us know if you
> find anything different in the contemporary literature.

--You (plural) did not reply to our statement on the radiation angles of aircraft wire antennas, rather you want to relate their characteristic to a wire antenna at ground level, or sidestep the topic.

> It appears the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Administration did not require "type
> approval" for aircraft radio equipment until August, 1937. "Type approval"
> involved vibration and other environmental tests.

--Alright, so what? Quality Data should be appropriate to the current topic, or it is noise.

> Ham radio receivers (e.g. Hallicrafters) have incorporated filters and noise
> reduction circuits since the 1940's.

--Again, We ask, so what? Proving what? Supporting what? I am not sure what you all are hoping to support by this seemingly out of context factoid, which is, by the way, not wholly accurate; you would have to say since late 1930s. However, up til "noise blanker" technology, in the 1970s, such circuits were never all that effective, and were best against ignition or "shot" noise, not against the usual atmospheric radio noise.

The best filter was long acknowledged to be the human mind. Now set aside your Hallicrafters catalog and tell me if your experience is otherwise.

Hue Miller


Subject:

Quality data

Date: 8/5/00
From: Patrick Gaston

I must say that I share Ms. Whitney's chagrin at your failure to specify with precision whether Ms. Earhart said she was "drifting", "circling" or "listening." This is exactly the sort of qualitatively unimpeachable data needed to resolve the AE mystery. While you're at it, please let us know whether Ms. Earhart landed on Niku, Mili, or simply ditched and sank. If the latter, please advise whether she was enroute to the Phoenix Islands, the Gilberts, or some other potential landfall.

By the way, my friend Bob the Cobbler would like to take a look at the shoe parts, so please send them along. If this is too expensive or too much trouble, "we'll accept that." Grudgingly.

LTM (who thinks the term "presumptuous" has recently been taken to a whole new level, quantitatively speaking)
Pat Gaston


Subject: Re: We are circling....
Date: 8/5/00
From: Alan Caldwell

I think we are all missing a great contribution from Janet without realizing it. I have read each of her posts carefully and in particular, those regarding radios and their capabilities.

One of our biggest mysteries is why communication between the Electra and the Itasca was so bad or non existent. I think Janet has gone a long way toward resolving that.

Normal communication would have gone something like this:

Electra: "We're listening."

Itasca: "You're doing what?"

Electra: "Listening, Listening. Can you not hear me?"

Itasca: "Sorry, I thought you said drifting but that didn't make sense."

But, you see, that didn't happen. Apparently the Electra's radio calls were received by the Itasca but the Itasca's transmissions were not received by the Electra. We think that because there was no interplay as though they were on different frequencies or different planets.

Careful scrutiny of Janet's postings reveal the same thing. We are receiving HER postings but apparently she isn't receiving ours as there is no evidence of that in her comments. It would seem TIGHAR and the TIGHAR web site is on a different frequency than is Janet.

So if we can figure out why Janet doesn't seem to be able to read TIGHAR postings or the information on TIGHAR'S web site we may be able to figure out why Amelia couldn't read the Itasca. Although we don't have Amelia to interview we DO have Janet assuming she is really a live person.

Alan
#2329


From Ric

Interesting concept. Or the folks at Data Quality could get together in a darkened room and try to fathom the meaning of the phrase "We must be on you but cannot see you."


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