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IVORY-BILLS  LiVE???!  ...

=> THE blog devoted to news and commentary on the most iconic bird in American ornithology, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (IBWO)... and... sometimes other schtuff.

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"....The truth is out there."

-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

-- Hamlet

"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

-- Arthur Schopenhauer

Thursday, March 19, 2009


-- Odds/Ends --


Steve Sheridan's apology/explanation for his deed is over at Researchers Forum for any who have not seen it yet:


For many of us, stiiill a very inexplicable act. Whatever trials he was going through that may have led to this incident, for the short-term he has magnified them many-fold. I wish him the best in coping in the days ahead. As they say, this too shall pass.

For those asking, I know nothing about the future for Gary Erdy's website. It would be nice to believe he has taken it down to re-vamp, as I suggested, in a more full and open manner --- again, I remind readers, Gary is not involved in the forgery, and he was presenting several independent pieces of evidence which are not tied to Steve; I truly hope the site returns. Possibly though, a bunker mentality has taken hold once again and the site may be removed permanently (possibly even at the request of certain agencies), unless or until stronger evidence is attained --- PURE speculation on my part, just trying to imagine what's possible.

It is clear people have a lot to say, so I will try to offer a venue for that --- an experimental "open thread" post described above. If it works, great, and maybe I'll do it every month; if it doesn't work so be it.

ADDENDUM: just discovered that Mike Collins has finally published his IBWO flight dynamics paper as a pdf on his own site here:


I'll link to again in a future post, though not sure when I'll have an opportunity to read it myself. Can't help but note that in a separate aside Mike claims that I have "attacked" his work in the past, even though I don't recall EVER doing so; in fact I'm surprisingly neutral on much of Mike's work, but am not surprised he perceives things otherwise.

"Inexplicable" only begins to describe it. I frankly assumed that the photo was not faked because

- it is completely illogical for anyone who has been involved in searching for some time to do this
- it makes even less sense to fake an ambiguous photo
- none of the experts (cited by Bill P.) who (still) know better than I believed it to be a fake.

Obviously, future photo submissions will have to undergo more intense scrutiny, but I wonder if legitimate photos will pass.
Your comments suggested that I misrepresented the way PLoS handled the paper. I did indeed perceive that as an attack. I believe it was careless to make such comments on the basis of a source who had no direct involvement in the case. Who was the source? And what did they tell you? The key emails are now posted. Which of them shows any evidence that I misrepresented the story?

Mike Collins
Mike, I don't think that CT accused you of misrepresenting any facts. As for any story, people are prone to recall different facts and recount it in different ways. CT did not specify any differences; he just indicated that the explanations were not the same.

I think you are a tad bit overly sensitive, but I also recognized you have been attacked too frequently (and gone on attack as well). I believe that the journal treated you unjustly, which is unfortunate.

Right now especially there are too many people trying to do the right things for a bird in serious trouble--if it exists at all (I'd like to believe so)--that are fighting each other. Why so much bullying and posturing and accusations and endless quibbling? Are all so-called Ivory-bill researchers and believers quarrelsome by nature? Is there a peacemaker among them? Who needs the skeptics when the believers stir up the mud aplenty?
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