[Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

Tony.Rees at csiro.au Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Tue Jun 16 22:43:21 CDT 2009

Also a prime candidate for a phrase I find useful in many data management activities:

"collect once, use many times"...

   analogous to "enter once, use many times" in database design speak.

Regards - Tony

Tony Rees
Manager, Divisional Data Centre,
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research,
GPO Box 1538,
Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
Ph: 0362 325318 (Int: +61 362 325318)
Fax: 0362 325000 (Int: +61 362 325000)
e-mail: Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Manager, OBIS Australia regional node, http://www.obis.org.au/ 
Biodiversity informatics research activities: http://www.cmar.csiro.au/datacentre/biodiversity.htm
Personal info: http://www.fishbase.org/collaborators/collaboratorsummary.cfm?id=1566

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Lee Belbin
Sent: Wednesday, 17 June 2009 1:35 PM
To: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

I fully agree with Pete. I occasionally use the following example to suggest
that it is impossible to determine how data may be used (effectively)...

W.K. de la Mare, (1997). Abrupt mid-twentieth-century decline in Antarctic
sea-ice extent from whaling records. Nature, 389, 57-60.

Bill did estimates of the northern most extent of sea-ice in the Antarctic
based on whaling records of the 19th and 20th century.

My point is - would the whalers have figured out that their records would be
used to detect climate change? Not b likely.


Lee Belbin
TDWG Secretariat

The zero sum mentality is not helpful. Taxonomy needs to fix itself, not
point fingers. Discoveries in Astronomy have helped answer basic questions
in physics, including those of Einstein.

We are also under constant threat of an asteroid or deep space gamma ray
burst that would devastate all life on Earth.

I think that taxonomy will get increased funding when it starts operating
more like the other biological sciences.


- Pete


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