[Taxacom] Pop article on taxonomy's decline

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Wed Jan 26 21:13:42 CST 2011

Hi, Rich.

Many thanks for your clarifications and comments. As usual we'll agree to disagree on some things. To answer your question:

'so my read on that is that Jim was leveraging MacAurthur's interest in EOL to push money towards the core research.  No?'

Not my reading at all. I think Edwards was belatedly realising that there were human beings like Smith behind Aus bus Smith, 2006, that the Smiths produce the information EOL is repackaging, and that the Smiths need to eat, too, and Someone Really Ought To Do Something For Them, maybe EOL someday when they get around to it. McLain: 'We’re like young children frantic to add new baseball cards to our collections, while the actual creators of the baseball cards themselves are vanishing.'

Pylian optimism: 'But maybe the technology "hook" has brought them close enough to our world that we can plead the case, such that maybe in the future they *will* provide the money we need for the tasks we need to do.  Sure, fine, that's a lot of "maybes".  But it's still better than zero, which is what it had been/would have been anyway.'

It's still zero, which is mathematically the same as the other zero. McLain again on the success of the 'hook':

'On the other hand, the brilliant biodiversity databases we have created lead to a plethora of scientific papers. The Paleobiology Database, a comprehensive online catalog of fossil species, has already generated more than 100 publications. But the requirement for using this database, like most others, is citation of the database itself, not the nearly 35,000 papers generating the original data.'

'In our technological efforts to concentrate our biodiversity knowledge, we may be rendering a field and body of knowledge obsolete.

And in the process, we may be undermining our own efforts to protect biodiversity.'
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
Ph: (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570

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