[Taxacom] Pop article on taxonomy's decline

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Thu Jan 27 00:39:49 CST 2011

Thanks, Bob.

> 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. 

That's not consistent with what I heard Jim said in the room in Woods Hole when he first announced to a number of us that MacArthur had requested a proposal to produce EOL.  Jim (who spent time previously at NSF) was *very* much aware of the need to support the producers of the content (as was just about everyone else in the room).  Hard to be "belated" when he expressed this before the funding even existed.

> 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':

No, it's not still zero. Some of that money *has* gone directly to taxonomists.  We would probably agree that it is not enough.  And now the top brass at the funding agencies are at least learning about biodiversity.  To me, this is the thing that we as a community have failed (i.e., to sell ourselves, and the value of what we do). The alternative would probably have been that money going to build a large telescope, or fund some other non-biodiversity project.


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