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Author Topic: No Place to Put a Stone  (Read 22043 times)

C.W. Herndon

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Re: No Place to Put a Stone
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2012, 07:17:33 PM »

Has anyone here actually read the "No Place To Put A Stone" book? Marty only commented that it "sounds like a splashed-and-sank book" and off we go dismissing it as precisely that. If we want people to give TIGHAR a fair hearing, shouldn't we have the courteousy to do the same to others before dismissing them out of hand?

Raf, I have not read the book but I did read the preview. I find it hard to give much credibility to someone who does not even know what a "Knot" is.
Woody (former 3316R)
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Gary LaPook

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Re: No Place to Put a Stone
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2012, 08:58:19 PM »

Has anyone here actually read the "No Place To Put A Stone" book? Marty only commented that it "sounds like a splashed-and-sank book" and off we go dismissing it as precisely that. If we want people to give TIGHAR a fair hearing, shouldn't we have the courteousy to do the same to others before dismissing them out of hand?

Raf, I have not read the book but I did read the preview. I find it hard to give much credibility to someone who does not even know what a "Knot" is.

I wrote this before in analysing the Waitt report.


"If you read from a book:

"First place a metal container filled with a liquid heat-transfer-medium onto a source of heat energy. Add energy to the system until the liquid heat-transfer-medium reaches a temperature of 373 degrees Kelvin. Next breach the outer surface of an avian ovum and carefully pour the contents of it into the liquid heat transfer medium..."

"You might be able to figure out that this is a recipe for poaching an egg, but one thing you will know for sure is that the guy who wrote these words is not a cook! You know this because cooks use a standard terminology for their instructions while this guy was searching for words to describe the process, words that a cook would never use. The same is true for navigators who also use standard terminology.

"I went to this website and read the whole hundred page report and ran into lots of non standard words used to describe the navigation which tells me that it was not written or reviewed  by a person who has knowledge about navigation. One of the experts relied on by Waitt was analyzing Noonan's navigation of the leg to Hawaii. He described the direction that Noonan was pointing his sextant to take observations of the stars as the "look angle!" Anybody who knows anything about navigation knows the standard word for this is "azimuth." It is the universal word for this and is the same word in English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Greek,  Spanish, and  probably every other language since this word was of Arabic origin and was absorbed into all of these languages. Yet, this navigation "expert" had never heard of it!"  (In using the terminology "look angle" Waitt was quoting  Randy Jacobson.)

Those comments also apply to this book.

I agree, he has lots of errors in his book so I question his claimed expertise and I do not recommend the book. He comes up with "knots per hour" which he abbreviates "KPH" and then later he uses the same "KPH" to mean "kilometers per hour." He comes up with another unknown new term, "true ground speed" (TGS) and he talks about the plane's indicated airspeed (IAS) but never uses true airspeed (TAS) which is the important measure, I don't know if he knows the difference. I started marking the things he got wrong, which include undisputed facts, with hi-lighter and dogearing those pages but then I realized, that since almost every page was dogeared, I would just dogear the pages without any errors. I am about halfway through and I really don't know why I continuing. But, to make you TIGHAR guys happy, his conclusion is that they ended up on Gardner.

gl
« Last Edit: July 22, 2012, 05:29:26 PM by Gary LaPook »
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: No Place to Put a Stone
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2012, 09:07:15 PM »

Very interesting. Thanks Gary. I don't think I will waste my money on it.
Woody (former 3316R)
"the watcher"
 
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Rafael Krasnodebski

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Re: No Place to Put a Stone
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2012, 02:16:40 AM »

Thank you Gary ... you've read the book, so trash away. By the way, as one 'agnostic' to another, I think your informed contribution to this debate has been astounding. By focusing on  some of the inconsitencies, you've helped ensure this forum represents a more objective, scholarly debate, which has actually helped the Niku cause reflect on and address some of their assumptions rather than degenerate into a self righteous religious sect (as some of the alternative hypothesese have evidently become).
Gary LaPook for President! (but only for one term, after which Ric Gillespie gets a shot ....I'm a floating voter).

Anyway, it's Sunday morning where I am, so I'm off to Mass ... I wouldn't want to face the wrath of Marty.   
Raf
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: No Place to Put a Stone
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2012, 02:56:47 AM »

Very interesting. Thanks Gary. I don't think I will waste my money on it.
It is just beyond belief how much this guy gets wrong. Some examples I just ran across, he has the main cabin door on the right side of the plane; he says that the engines could only by supplied with fuel from the wing tanks necessitating Earhart climbing up on to top of the cabin tanks every hour to hand pump the fuel from those tanks into the wing tanks; he say the "R" in "NR16020" stands for "research" (it actually means "restricted"); he said she climbed at a speed of 125 mph, slower than cruise, which is correct, but he also claims that she also descended at this slower speed, incorrect. These were just on page 143!

gl
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: No Place to Put a Stone
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2012, 05:25:02 AM »

Another recent publication (2012): No Place to Put a Stone:  An Analysis of Facts Concerning the Disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.

Sounds like a splashed-and-sank book, based on navigational considerations.

Here's Marty's link to the preview of the book. It too has one falsehood after another. I listed the "Knots" thing because it was the worst that I saw.
Woody (former 3316R)
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: No Place to Put a Stone
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2012, 03:55:04 PM »

The following is by Randy Jacobson, Ph.D.

He sent it to EPAC, and plans to put it up on Amazon.

Book Review: No Place To Put A Stone, Sherman A. Meeds, Jr.

I feel a need to briefly outline my bona fides and biases for the reader.  As a member of TIGHAR, I have been the lead researcher for the past 20 years into the details of Earhart’s Last Flight, including assembling the chronological database of radio messages, letters, and other correspondence from 1935 to 1941.  I also have compiled all available ship logs and weather information immediately before, during, and after the search for Earhart.  I consider myself a valuable skeptical contributor to TIGHAR’s research efforts on Nikumaroro Island, neither accepting nor rejecting TIGHAR’s hypotheses of what happened there. 

The book in question is the first comprehensive examination of Earhart’s flight and subsequent disappearance, covering all relevant data and theories to date, by a new, independent researcher with no affiliation to existing investigative teams or researchers.  The author lays out the available data to define the trade-space of possibilities of what happened to the last flight of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan as they attempted to fly from Lae New Guinea to Howland Island in the central Pacific.  The approach taken is that of an investigative engineer or scientist: examine the facts, determine the possibilities and examine all reasonable scenarios.  The data themselves can be interdependent (e.g. speed of advance, fuel consumption, radio signal strengths, etc.), such that information in one area, albeit sparse, is augmented by other information.  The author’s approach to this problem is to be commended, and he does an excellent job: better than any other book written on the subject to date.  All of the Japanese capture theories are debunked very quickly, along with Elgin Long’s theory, and the “crashed and sank” theories.  Much of the author’s work revolves around the flight path, speed of the aircraft, and the headwinds, assuming that the last half of the flight had overcast conditions preventing celestial navigation.  The author gives an excellent overview of the post-loss radio messages, providing a cohesive and compelling argument that the Earhart plane had to have landed on Nikumaroro (nee Gardner) Island: there is no other obvious solution to the disappearance.  He disagrees with TIGHAR’s hypothesis that Earhart and Noonan survived on Nikumaroro for several days; instead, he believes that they were inside the plane when it was carried off of the reef edge and floated westward shortly after the last credible radio signal was heard on July 5.

The author takes most of his information from already published books and Internet sites, and accepts nearly all primary documentation at face value.  For example, he believes the story of what happened to Earhart upon arriving at Dakar, rejecting a description of what actually happened that was based upon the actual chart used and annotated by Noonan for that flight.  He consistently states that Noonan updated the position of the aircraft at least one an hour, if not every half-hour.  Actual examination of charts used by Noonan on the world flight show a much different story: very few navigational fixes during the bulk of the flight with more emphasis towards the latter third, consistent with the ability to correct for offset in flight paths at large intervals at time.  Trying to keep the aircraft on a strict flight path is too difficult to manage: it is easier to let it go where the plane wants (based on crosswind conditions) such that it becomes obvious what has happened and then make substantial course corrections.  These maps give great insight into Noonan’s methods and have been ignored or simply not been available to the author.  Another example of accepting data at face value is the various weather forecasts made by the Navy in Pearl Harbor.  In hindsight, we know that the data available to the meteorologists for the area were extremely limited to non-existent and are not terribly credible.  Further, the author insists that a significant typhoon near the Philippine Islands affected the weather along Earhart’s flight path.  This is not credible, as the Intertropical Convergence Zone, located just north of the equator, acts as a barrier to weather effects.  The author believes that an individual weather measurement at one position can be valid for 100’s of miles; in fact, the weather can be quite variable and is often uncorrelated at a 100 miles distance.

There are some errors in the book, but none make a substantial difference in the conclusions.  Many of these errors could have been corrected with a knowledgeable or competent copy editor.  For example, Meeds refers to Rear Admiral Richard Black as the lead administrator for the colonization of Howland, Baker, and Jarvis Islands; in fact, he received that title during WWII, long after the Earhart flight.  The reader is given the impression that a Rear Admiral was on site at Howland with only a commander of the US Coast Guard as the next highest military officer and is very misleading.  Howard Hanzlik, the U.P. correspondent on the Itasca has two spellings in the book: Hanzlik and Hanz Lick.  Times of day are usually represented in local time with an occasional time zone letter reference (used by the British at the time), with subsequent difficulties for the reader.  First, the US only adopted the letter practice for time zones once it entered WWII; secondly, the author correctly points out the time zone difficulties for the participants.  Earhart requested everyone use GCT (or Zulu time), but the Itasca personnel did not.  The author should have been consistent and kept everything in GCT time as well.  He states that the Itasca stayed on Howland Island time (zone +11.5), but in fact, Howland was using zone +10.5 to be consistent with Honolulu.  The author relies heavily upon the plane’s position at 0722 GCT at the Nukumanu Islands, based upon a radio report by Earhart.  I have investigated all available maps in the US, British, and Japanese archives from that time period, and the Nukumanu Islands were not well charted or known.  Earhart’s position does not mention the islands themselves in her message and every researcher assumes the position was based upon the island location based upon modern day maps.  In fact, the position was probably a dead reckon projection of where the plane would be at some hour or half-hour position based upon Noonan’s last navigational fix.  This was a very common practice by Noonan.  Another glaring error was that the author believes it was daylight when the Earhart sighted a ship about midway through the flight.  In fact, it was well past dusk and the only way to see a ship was if the ship had lights on the deck. 

The author did find some glaring errors in other’s books, including Gillespie’s Finding Amelia.  Gillespie states that Earhart reached the position of the Nukumanu Islands after 6 hours of flying when in fact the position was reported more than 7 hours after leaving Lae.

The book itself is poorly laid out with small graphics and hard-to-read maps.  I found it hard to read with the relatively small text and a large distance across the page.  References are not as robust as a good researcher would like, referencing mostly previous books.  Several interesting tidbits of information not seen before have no citation as to their source.  Footnotes are somewhat copious and repetitive.  Several times there were poorly constructed sentences and/or bad English.  Again, a good copy editor could have corrected these flaws.  As the book was self-published, it is not a surprise that the quality is not as good as one would expect.Nevertheless, this is an excellent book for both the amateur and keen investigator of Earhart’s last flight.  The only book that comes close is Finding Amelia by Gillespie, but that book lacks the overview and depth of this book.  I rate this book a B+, and would have given it an A or A- had it been adequately proof-read and published in a more readable format.  Despite my criticisms, I am more than willing to place this book in my bookshelf.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: No Place to Put a Stone
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2012, 03:57:31 PM »

Here is the last thing I am going to write about this idiot's book. Somethings are subject to opinion and different interpretations, and somethings are not. One of the things that are known with absolute certainty is the position of celestial bodies and from this information, the times of sunrise and sunset. There can be no dispute about this, it is a certain fact.

According to the author, the sun was still shinning when the Electra flew over the Ontario at 1030 Z, July 2, 1937. This is not a typo in his book, he says it numerous times and he bases his conclusions on this. IN FACT, the sun set at the location of the Ontario at 0701 Z, three and a half hours earlier. The sun was just setting when the plane passed Nukumanu island at 0718 Z since the sunset time there was 0723 Z. You can look it up for yourself at the U.S. Navy website here.
Or see attached printout for July 2, 1937.

gl
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Gary LaPook

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Re: No Place to Put a Stone
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2012, 04:10:04 PM »

How funny, Jacobson and I appear to have a difference of opinion about the value of this book. Jacobson points out some obvious errors in the book and then ignores these problems when he gives the book his thumbs up. Jacobson points out that the author had the time zone wrong for Howland, calling it zone time plus 11.5 hours = GMT when it should have been ZT plus 10.5 hours = GMT but it is actually in much greater error. The author says the time on Howland was ZT minus 12.5 = GMT making his error 24 hours, one whole day, according to his definition!

Jacobson catches the author's error about the time of sunset at the Ontario and about a claimed typhoon but misses (or ignores) the point that this is a major problem with the book. The author's theory is that winds from the north caused by the typhoon caused the airplane to end up south of Howland, so no typhoon and the whole theory fails. This also illustrates the lack of expertise of the author because if there had been a typhoon nearby to the northwest, as he claims, then it would have created winds coming from the south, not from the north, since winds spiral counter-clockwise around typhoons and hurricanes in the northern hemisphere, anybody who knows anything about meteorology knows this. In fact, anybody who has ever watched a weather report on TV should know this. It is also surprising that Jacobson didn't catch anther glaring error. The book claims that the winds recorded by the Ontario as the plane passed by at 1030 Z were from the northwest while Jacobson's own analysis of the Ontario's logs show the winds were from the east!

So these are just some more examples that show the author doesn't know what he is talking about and even Jacobson noticed some of them. If the author can't get the basic facts right then why does Jacobson think he got anything else right in the book? Oh, I know, because in the end, all is forgiven, because the author comes up with the right answer, the plane ended up on Gardner.

gl


« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 10:20:02 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: No Place to Put a Stone
« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2012, 04:42:01 PM »

These maps give great insight into Noonan’s methods and have been ignored or simply not been available to the author

Gary
Have you seen these maps or, are they a part of the 'inaccuracies' of the book?
Being the most knowldeagable on the subject of fred Noonan and navigation I thought you would be best placed to answer.
This must be the place
 
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Gary LaPook

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Re: No Place to Put a Stone
« Reply #25 on: July 22, 2012, 05:52:12 PM »

These maps give great insight into Noonan’s methods and have been ignored or simply not been available to the author

Gary
Have you seen these maps or, are they a part of the 'inaccuracies' of the book?
Being the most knowldeagable on the subject of fred Noonan and navigation I thought you would be best placed to answer.
You can read my review of Noonan's Hawaiian navigation chart work in my March 31, 2002 post here and in my followup posts on April 2 & 3 available here.

You can see my review of Noonan's work on the Atlantic crossing here.

gl
« Last Edit: July 24, 2012, 02:06:36 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: No Place to Put a Stone
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2012, 04:03:30 PM »

I just uploaded this review of this book to Amazon.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Author demonstrated lack of knowledge and expertise July 24, 2012
By Gary J. LaPook
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
By Gary LaPook
I feel a need to briefly outline my bona fides and biases for the reader as Jacobson has done. I studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Illinois in the '60s. I also learned celestial navigation in the '60s, used it both at sea and in the air and I also taught a course of celestial navigation at the University of Illinois in the '80s.  I started flying in 1970, and I have been a Certificated Flight Instructor for multi-engine airplanes and instrument flight since 1972 and I have been an Airline Transport Pilot since 1978 and hold a type rating in jet aircraft. In the 1970's, which was the heyday of general aviation, when they were stamping out Cessnas like cookies in Wichita, I worked for a company who's business was ferrying new airplanes to dealers around the world. I have flown small single engine aircraft across the ocean using the same type of celestial navigation being used by Fred Noonan to navigate the Earhart flight. Since 1988 I have been an attorney investigating and litigating exclusively airplane accident cases and space launch cases including the cases growing out to the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia. I have worked with expert witnesses in every field touching on aeronautics including former NASA rocket scientists. I have been a skeptic of the TIGHAR theory and have posted on the TIGHAR forum since 2002. I have also put up a website with my analysis of the navigation of the flight and containing excerpts of standard flight navigation reference manuals of that era.
If you read from a book:

"First place a metal container filled with a liquid heat-transfer-medium onto a source of heat energy. Add energy to the system until the liquid heat-transfer-medium reaches a temperature of 373 degrees Kelvin. Next breach the outer surface of an avian ovum and carefully pour the contents of it into the liquid heat transfer medium..."

You might be able to figure out that this is a recipe for poaching an egg, but one thing you will know for sure is that the guy who wrote these words is not a cook! You know this because cooks use a standard terminology for their instructions while this guy was searching for words to describe the process, words that a cook would never use. The same is true for navigators who also use standard terminology.

There are so many errors in this book that I question his claimed expertise and I do not recommend the book. He comes up with "knots per hour" (there is no such thing) which he abbreviates "KPH" and then later he uses the same "KPH" to mean "kilometers per hour." He comes up with another unknown new term, "true ground speed" (TGS) and he talks about the plane's indicated airspeed (IAS) but never uses true airspeed (TAS) which is the important measure, I don't know if he knows the difference. It is just beyond belief how much this guy gets wrong. Some other examples I just ran across, he has the main cabin door on the wrong side of the plane, as every photo of the plane shows; he says that the engines could only by supplied with fuel from the wing tanks necessitating Earhart climbing up on to top of the cabin tanks every hour to hand pump the fuel from those tanks into the wing tanks which is completely wrong, the engines were fed directly from each tank; he says the "R" in "NR16020" (the plane's registration number) stands for "research," it actually means "restricted." These were just on page 143!

How funny, Jacobson and I appear to have a difference of opinion about the value of this book. Jacobson points out some obvious errors in the book and then ignores these problems when he gives the book his thumbs up.

Jacobson catches the author's error about the time of sunset at the Ontario but misses (or ignores) the point that this shows a major problem with the book since doing this type of calculation is integral to doing celestial navigation. Jacobson also notices that, contrary to the author's claim, there was no typhoon in the area. The author's theory is that winds blowing from the north, caused by the non-existent typhoon, blew the plane to the south and caused the airplane to end up south of Howland and close to Nikumaroro, so no typhoon and the whole theory fails. This also illustrates the lack of expertise of the author because if there had been a typhoon nearby to the northwest, as he claims, then it would have created winds coming from the south, not from the north, since winds spiral counter-clockwise around typhoons and hurricanes in the northern hemisphere, anybody who knows anything about meteorology knows this. In fact, anybody who has ever watched a weather report on TV should know this. It is also surprising that Jacobson didn't catch anther glaring error. The book claims that the winds recorded by the Navy ship Ontario at the halfway point as the plane passed by were from the northwest while Jacobson's own analysis of the Ontario's logbook shows the winds were from the east!

So these are just some more examples that show the author doesn't know what he is talking about and even Jacobson noticed some of them. If the author can't get the basic facts right then why does Jacobson think he got anything else right in the book? Oh, I know, because in the end, all is forgiven, because the author comes up with the right answer, the TIGHAR answer, that the plane ended up on Nikumaroro.

Don't waste your money on this book.

gl
« Last Edit: July 24, 2012, 07:15:19 PM by Gary LaPook »
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