Saturday, 16 September 2017

A New Nessie Book for 2018

Okay, so having taken all things into consideration, I will author a book on the subject of the Loch Ness Monster for publication next year. The book will basically be an anthology of this website with appropriate edits, updates and hopefully new material.

An email from a Nessie enthusiast asked whether it was worth publishing hard copy in these days of easy access to information on the Internet? My answer was "yes" as one cannot guarantee that such digitised, online information will be there the next day. We have copies of books going back centuries, if not millenia if you count scrolls and cuneiform tablets. I have books myself dating back 200 years.

Now tell me what you think the Nessie Internet content will be like in 200 years? You can answer that in two ways - in terms of whether the mystery was finally solved or whether there is anything at all to view. If someone from 2217 found a hard drive with terabytes of Internet content from 2017, could they even access it? After all, the drive is basically a recurring series of 0 and 1 bits. Without knowledge of how to decode this via boot sector, file system, word processing and network protocols, it is unreadable without a digital Rosetta Stone.

But aside from the issue of how future generation access today's electronic information, I am just looking a few decades ahead. All the cryptozoological websites you access and enjoy today, whether they be pro- or anti- Nessie will one day be gone. Owners and administrators will lose interest, get ill and eventually die with no successors to maintain them. Their domain names will expire or be dropped by the website hosts if the fees are not paid or they have a cull of long inactive websites.

The testimony to that is the number of now defunct Nessie websites versus those still active. My links sections lists eleven websites linked to the mystery. This does not include Facebook groups, which tend in the main to recycle information. However, the link to the list of defunct websites stands at seven and that was when I checked them over five years ago.

Fortunately, some websites will be archived under such projects as the Internet Wayback Machine. In fact, this blog website is archived there too, albeit the last update was in July. However, if someone googles for Nessie related items in the future when this blog is gone, they may not find anything unless Google links into archived websites. Perhaps it does now, but don't expect the hits to be anywhere near the top of the rankings.

Anyone with a knowledge of computer use knows the need for backing up important files. In this context, the backup is a traditional paper book. Today, I can still find copies of the seminal Loch Ness Monster works by Tim Dinsdale, Ted Holiday, Rupert Gould, Constance Whyte and so on. This is despite 30, 40 or more years since they were last published. Could I say the same about a website?

Admittedly, the pool of these books shrinks as they become tattered and torn and end up in the bin, but I see no shortage of such books if the price of them is anything to go by. Moreover, we are seeing classic Fortean books being reprinted to which I refer you to the admirable work of Anomalist Books and their reprints.

So, the bulk of the work has been done in the near 600 blog posts put here since 2010. It is now a matter of condensing them into one handy sized book. I will keep you updated as and when progress is made.

What can be discussed now is how the book cover will look. Comments are welcome.


The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com







Sunday, 10 September 2017

More on the eDNA testing Project




I had written previously on how Professor Neil Gemmill of the University of Otago in New Zealand planned to take water samples at Loch Ness in an attempt to discover what species of animal may be resident in the loch. That was back in April and things then went quiet.

The last update I read was from the Inverness Courier on August 17th which told us how Neil had visited Loch Ness to size up what was required and enlist local help. The proof of his visit was this selfie with the curator of the Loch Ness Centre, Adrian Shine. He had also paid a visit to sceptic, Darren Naish, since he had picked up on the idea of an eDNA hunt from Darren's book, "Hunting Monsters", published in 2016.




Actually, Darren's idea is not new as I had suggested it back in May 2014 in this article. Whether he got it from me, I cannot tell. Of course, such ideas are only going to carry more weight if they come from a sceptical scientist.

Adrian offered the centre's help with boats and people but then the bombshell was dropped. Neil reckons he needs £100,000 to fund the entire project. I'll say that again - one hundred thousand pounds. He plans to raise this money through crowdfunding and as of today, I cannot see any reference yet to this on his twitter account.

I had assumed some kindly scientific department had offered their facilities to process the water samples, but I guess not. There will obviously be costs, such as the transport of the large amount of water samples and running the DNA tests, but I was surprised by the £100K price tag.

Which makes me wonder if this project will ever get off the ground? On reading various comments on newspapers, you had people deriding this as a waste of money and it would be better spent on hospitals, nurses, etc. If that was true, you could probably close down most science research.

Interest has been expressed by film companies who wish to track his ventures for a documentary. They may put up some of the cash, grants may even be available if it could be argued that this experiment provides great publicity and awareness for the science of environmental DNA and ecology (a bit like using Nessie to promote food chain studies in schools). However, when the phrase "Loch Ness Monster" is mentioned in polite, scientific circles, they usually run a mile.

One thing I am quite certain of and that is the business people who are raking it in every year from tourists at Loch Ness will not be putting their hands in their pockets. As one Nessie man told me once of a local entrepreneur, he doubted he could even point you to the loch, as he was too busy with his nose in the till.


The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com