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Author Topic: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets  (Read 14054 times)

Monty Fowler

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Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« on: November 22, 2015, 12:37:03 PM »

One of the cardinal rules of science is that you can never have enough data. But one of the other rules is that you need to make the best possible use of the data you already do have, so you don't end up doing needlessly duplicative things. That wastes time and, more importantly, money. 

TIGHAR has amassed tons of data on Nikumaroro - sonar data, aerial photos, vintage diaries, boots-on-the-ground observations, artifacts, long-overlooked reports, drone video footage, etc., of the course of more than two decades. I would like to gently suggest that before TIGHAR plunges full bore into planning for Niku IX, that it take a breath to thoroughly look at what it already has, with an eye towards extracting any information that could provide new, or at least far more focused, directions for future searches. To wit:

- A recent reanalysis by a TIGHAR member of the latest sonar data indicates that the Conroy Anomaly might not even have been there at all, or that it was, at best, a natural feature. That was data TIGHAR already had.

- The Bevington Object was only noticed when available period photos were reassessed prior to a previous expedition; that came from a photo that TIGHAR has had in its possession for some time.

- The latest land expedition that involved Betchart Expeditions turned up new items in the village that paint a new picture of what the colonists may have had available to them, which may or may not influence the story that the Seven Site is trying to tell us.

In short, a research plan. TIGHAR has some artifacts and data that I believe it would be beneficial to look at far more closely than they have been in the past. A plan does not mean your are rigidly locked into one path, but it can help focus and direct the few resources you do have available. I would prefer to see operating funds directed in that manner, before moving into preliminary plans for the HURL minisubs and Niku IX.

LTM,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 EC
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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Tim Collins

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2015, 01:43:00 PM »

Along a similar vein, I will go out on a limb to suggest that, given the number or discoveries and or otherwise actionable observations and analysis that have been made by so-called amateurs, it would behoove TIGHAR to be more open and forthcoming with what data it does already have. I would not necessarily hope this for all participants of the forum (and no, I am no longer a member), but it certainly would not be an unreasonably request for members.   
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Bob Smith

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2015, 04:14:24 PM »

In agreeing with both Monti and Tim, there also seems to be a lot of litter of data that perhaps has been, or, can be proven to be, not relevant to Earhart, and should therefor be discarded. There is certainly an abundance of material that is useful and can be used as reference in planning the next steps, but the clutter needs to be moved out of the way first, to make it easier to assess what is going to be most important, and therefore what and how to go after it. It is extremely important, I think, to make extremely economical use of what has been found to date, and to not slip back into doing the same things over and over just because the methods used in the past are "comfortable". It may be that a very different plan of attack will better serve our purpose now. Sometimes change is good, and I hope something can be accomplished soon, as more change appears to be continuing.

There is also the danger of trying to do too much, and of feeling obligated to rush into doing "something" just to make somebody satisfied, or to meet a deadline. There would appear to be a little time available for really studying what's been laid out from previous missions, and what needs to be done to PLAN  for the next. Tighar can do this!
Bob S.
 
« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 05:21:42 PM by Bob Smith »
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Dale O. Beethe

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2015, 05:31:10 PM »

In agreeing with both Monti and Tim, there also seems to be a lot of litter of data that perhaps has been, or, can be proven to be, not relevant to Earhart, and should therefor be discarded. There is certainly an abundance of material that is useful and can be used as reference in planning the next steps, but the clutter needs to be moved out of the way first, to make it easier to assess what is going to be most important, and therefore what and how to go after it. It is extremely important, I think, to make extremely economical use of what has been found to date, and to not slip back into doing the same things over and over just because the methods used in the past are "comfortable". It may be that a very different plan of attack will better serve our purpose now. Sometimes change is good, and I hope something can be accomplished soon, as more change appears to be continuing.

There is also the danger of trying to do too much, and of feeling obligated to rush into doing "something" just to make somebody satisfied, or to meet a deadline. There would appear to be a little time available for really studying what's been laid out from previous missions, and what needs to be done to PLAN  for the next. Tighar can do this!
The problem with discarding so-called irrelevant information is that often you don't know what's going to become relevant in the future.  The Bevington Object would be a great example of this, in that no one even noticed it until the photographic analyst saw it, more or less by accident.
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Dale O. Beethe

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2015, 05:40:22 PM »

Along a similar vein, I will go out on a limb to suggest that, given the number or discoveries and or otherwise actionable observations and analysis that have been made by so-called amateurs, it would behoove TIGHAR to be more open and forthcoming with what data it does already have. I would not necessarily hope this for all participants of the forum (and no, I am no longer a member), but it certainly would not be an unreasonably request for members.
What information does TIGHAR supposedly have that it's unwilling to share with its members?  From what I've seen it's been quite the opposite, often sharing data, information, and artifacts before they know what those items mean in the hope that fresh eyes can help.  It's been my observation that it's usually TIGHAR's detractors that refer to "secret" information that only they have, and are never able or are unwilling to produce for peer review. 

Just my two cents....................
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2015, 06:13:25 PM »

I would like to gently suggest that before TIGHAR plunges full bore into planning for Niku IX, that it take a breath to thoroughly look at what it already has, with an eye towards extracting any information that could provide new, or at least far more focused, directions for future searches.

Fortunately, most of the planning for Niku IX has already been done.  It's basically the 2014 search that had to be cancelled because we couldn't raise the money.  If the subs are going to be in the neighborhood anyway it dramatically lowers the cost of a manned-submersible search.  That's an opportunity we can't afford to pass up.

It is always worthwhile to re-examine data and we're constantly doing that, although not necessarily on the Forum.  For example, Bob Brandenburg and I have been spending a lot of time lately helping Guthrie Ford on a paper he is writing that examines the Lae/Howland flight and Earhart's re-action to the rising level of stress as evidenced in the logged contents of her radio transmissions.  We're finding some fascinating insights into why things went as wrong as they did. 

I'm also working with forensic anthropologist Dr. Ricahrd Jantz on a re-examination of the question of whether the castaway whose bones were found in 1940 was more likely a short, stocky European or mixed-race male as suggested by Dr. Hoodless in 1941 or a northern European female of approximately Earhart's height as suggested in the 1999 paper Amelia Earhart's Bones and Shoes? (http://tighar.org/Publications/TTracks/1998Vol_14/bonesandshoes.pdf) authored by Dr. Jantz, the late Dr. Karen Burns, Dr. Tom King, and myself.
One piece of information Dr. Jantz needs is an accurate height for Amelia Earhart.  She listed her height as 5 feet 8 inches on her Transport Pilot License but people often misstate their height.  Jeff Glickman has a fascinating plan for getting an accurate height through forensic imaging but I need to get some special permissions to carry it out.  I'll be able to say more about it soon.

- The latest land expedition that involved Betchart Expeditions turned up new items in the village that paint a new picture of what the colonists may have had available to them, which may or may not influence the story that the Seven Site is trying to tell us.

I think you're probably talking about jars or bottles that are believed to have once contained French perfume or soap.  I don't know who has these artifacts and I have not even seen a photograph of them so I can't tell you anything about how they may influence our understanding of the Seven Site.

There's a wealth of research material on the TIGHAR website and everyone is free to pick whatever old ground they'd like to plow, but I have my hands full helping with the Ford and Jantz papers, researching and writing the Electra book, and doing the fund raising to make sure Niku IX happens.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 06:18:46 PM by Ric Gillespie »
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Tim Collins

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2015, 08:04:37 AM »

What information does TIGHAR supposedly have that it's unwilling to share with its members?  From what I've seen it's been quite the opposite, often sharing data, information, and artifacts before they know what those items mean in the hope that fresh eyes can help.  It's been my observation that it's usually TIGHAR's detractors that refer to "secret" information that only they have, and are never able or are unwilling to produce for peer review. 

You'd have to ask Ric for that answer. I note that his response didn't address this issue. Just off the top of my head, is all of the sonar data and video imagery from day one available? (in one way or another) Where is a comprehensive list of artifacts/items brought back from the last trip to Niku? And from previous trips? What about all of the Glickman reports? There sure have been a lot of them promised, or otherwise alluded to, have they ever appeared? Or are years old "preliminary opinions" deemed sufficient? What about correspondence and/or other communications from the state department from which TIGHAR has made it's conclusions as to what was said? So you honestly think everything has been put on the table for members? For what's it worth I was a member at the researcher level.   

Sure detractors are hard on TIGHAR, and TIGHAR should be eternally grateful for that given that it creates an opportunity at almost every turn for TIGHAR to solidify and strengthen it's argument. The topic of peer review can be for another day. It's all too easy to give in to paranoia and claim that the other side is just crying conspiracy. (Being "too busy" is another cop out in my opinion, but I won't push that one.) I've just seen too many things mysteriously pop up in Forum discussions and on blogs such as Tom King's, that subsequently cannot be found, for me not to believe that data and information is less than forthcoming.
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Bob Smith

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2015, 11:04:02 AM »

You have some good points, Tim. There does seem to be an onward motion to accomplish more and provide more answers (and more questions) . Maybe we should find some delight in that for the time being.
Bob S.
 
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2015, 04:38:27 PM »

Or TIGHAR might have the solution to the Earhart mystery already in its possession, buried in the midst of the mountains of data, information and artifacts. There is a lot of stuff - and not all of it has yielded up everything it can tell us, I would be willing to wager. A comprehensive assessment would help answer that question.

LTM,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 EC
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2015, 06:37:28 PM »

Or TIGHAR might have the solution to the Earhart mystery already in its possession, buried in the midst of the mountains of data, information and artifacts. There is a lot of stuff - and not all of it has yielded up everything it can tell us, I would be willing to wager. A comprehensive assessment would help answer that question.

A comprehensive re-assessment of 27 years of research is a lovely concept.  You are undoubtedly correct that there is new information lurking in the terrabytes of data, dozens of reports, hundreds of historical documents, tens of thousands of photographs, God knows how many hours of video, and dozens of interviews.  You want to talk about artifacts?  Attached is the master artifact list up through the 2010 expedition except for several boxes of "faunals" that Tom King delivered in September.  No artifacts were collected during the 2012 trip and nothing of significance was recovered by the TIGHAR team on the 2015 trip.  I can's speak for the Betchart tourists. 

All of the artifacts on the list and everything described above was carefully considered at the time it was acquired and we made decisions about what was worth further research. Our evaluation of the material was as transparent as we could make it. Over the years a picture has emerged of what happened. Part of that picture says the airplane went over the reef edge in the neighborhood of the Bevington Object.  Maybe we're wrong.  Maybe we missed a turn somewhere along the road. Maybe if we did the comprehensive re-assessment you call for we would find something that would change the focus of where we should search for the airplane.  How long do you suppose a comprehensive re-assessment would take? A year?  Two years? Five years? Where do you want to start and where do you suggest we find the funding?   

Or maybe the Forum would like to do the comprehensive re-assessment?  There are already tens of thousands of pages of research material freely available on the TIGHAR website. When the forum has completed a comprehensive re-assessment of that material we could do a huge data-dump of the gazillion emails, files, and raw data that are not on the website so that the Forum members could paw through it all looking for mistakes or new clues.  Maybe NASA could do the same thing and the Forum might come up with a better way to get astronauts to Mars.

Meanwhile, I'll continue to participate as best I can in intelligent Forum discussions and, in the absence of evidence that whatever remains of the airplane is somewhere other than off the west end of Nikumaroro, TIGHAR will stay focused on doing the best possible search for it.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2015, 07:46:56 PM »

Attached is the master artifact list up through the 2010 expedition except for several boxes of "faunals" that Tom King delivered in September.

I've set up the list as a series of tables in "Artifact Analysis."  I have a shorter list of artifacts that have matching articles at the top of the page.  Some day I'll combine all the material on the page.  Right now, I'm distracted by the lowly Buffalo Bills, who are playing New England tonight on Monday Night Football.   :(
LTM,

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tom howard

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2016, 05:11:05 AM »

I doubt anything significant has been missed. Afterall the panel was retrieved from the dead, there can only be so much that can re-re-re looked at. After awhile it appears to some as desperate for the artifact to fit the theory, which I know isn't the case. What Tighar has, it has, and there is no glossing the lipstick for another round.
Any idiot artifact has obviously not been found, and dare say its as elusive as ever.
The question is without that artifact, how long to continue the chase, or as in "the curse of oak Island" the hunters are personally invested and do not ever give up as long as the dwindling money lasts, which is really the curse of fixation that traps every single treasure hunter I have read about. The Electra being the treasure of course in the analogy. Few involved with a decades long search ever write off their theory as being unlikely despite the lack of indisputable results. Is this a danger Tighar's board ever discusses?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2016, 06:16:58 PM »

I doubt anything significant has been missed.

I think we've probably found 95% of what there is to find on land.

Afterall the panel was retrieved from the dead, there can only be so much that can re-re-re looked at.

Retrieved from the dead??? We're still finding important new information.


After awhile it appears to some as desperate for the artifact to fit the theory, which I know isn't the case.

You're correct about that.  The way it "appears" to some is of no consequence.


What Tighar has, it has, and there is no glossing the lipstick for another round.

And what TIGHAR has is one whole hell of a lot.

Any idiot artifact has obviously not been found, and dare say its as elusive as ever.

And, after so long, may not exist.


The question is without that artifact, how long to continue the chase,

Great question.

Few involved with a decades long search ever write off their theory as being unlikely despite the lack of indisputable results.

What is indisputable is that TIGHAR has amassed a immense body of evidence to support the theory that Earhart landed and died on Nikumaroro.

Is this a danger Tighar's board ever discusses?

Not discusses.  Fights passionately about. Personally, I think a comprehensive underwater search for airplane wreckage is warranted. That's what we want to do in 2017 with the HURL subs. I don't think extensive further onshore archaeology is justified.  Some board members disagree.

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Gary Vance

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2016, 08:51:41 AM »

A good example of this is the continuing of monitoring Ebay and Craigslist for sextants that fit in the numerical range of the sextant box found on the island.  I found one on Craigslist here in Seattle that Andrew McKenna followed up on. It's Navy assigned numbers turned out to be of value and was inserted in the table of known sextant/box numbers table that Tighar has compiled.  It was a small piece of data, but helps narrow down further the theory that the sextant box may have been Fred Noonan's. It feels good to contribute, even in a small way! The one I discovered is  Brandis    3360 1446

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/Bulletins/52_NumbersGame/52_NumbersGame.html

http://tighar.org/wiki/Sextant_box_found_on_Nikumaroro

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Plowing old ground to find new nuggets
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2016, 08:56:19 AM »

We're certainly subject to the "law of diminishing returns" but I continue to be amazed at the amount of new information that turns up. 
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