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anecdotes...what else?

>That's good - please continue to qualify your posts as anecdotal unless you
>have conducted properly monitored experiments. Anecdotal reports are
>valuable, but no substitute for real science, and it IS possible for
>hobbyists and amateurs to conduct REAL science (Diana Walstad is a perfect
>example. Both her book and the many articles she has published in TAG over
>the years have demonstrated that the careful and thoughtful amateur can make
>a real contribution to our understanding of what is happening in our tanks).
>There is a very real danger here and it relates to anecdotal evidence and
>>misidentified cause/effect.  Without PROPERLY conducted experimentation,
>cannot be sure that the results you observe are due to the thing you think
>you are testing.
>The answer to this sort of question requires GOOD science, not merely
>>observational accounts.

Unless we're making a move to a peer-reviewed journal, can we drop all of
the anecdotal vs. scientific talk?  I only have one tank.  I therefore
cannot do any controlled study on PO4 limitation, H2O2 algae inhibition,
PMDD vs. Dupla products, blah, blah, blah.  I doubt anyone here is
contemplating doing anything approaching a scientific study when trying
something new on their tanks.  Yet I still LOVE to read about their

>"I think we are all qualifiying our own personal findings as anecdotal
>unless we are citing actual findings from formal pond Barley straw

I assume anyone's account on this list to be one of personal experience in
an uncontrolled setting.  Read, anecdotal.  Come on, unless someone states
that they conducted a scientific study, we all know it's anecdotal.

My impression of the APD, generated over the past 2 months, has been that
it is a thoughtful forum for sharing experiences, reviewing ideas, chatting
up friends (people are sounding a little testy for my tastes these days),
and making informed commentarity.  People here actually THINK--and it's
enriching to read what they're thinking about.  Folks/newbies should gather
impressions from the information here, but don't unquestionably accept the
conclusions of others.  Be guided by what they say, and be cautious in
applying what you've learned.  Go off list for clarification on a concept
if needed.  I've been rewarded with excellent responses from APD folks that
I could never have found elsewhere.

Can we all relax a little?


PS:  I thought that Diane Walstad had a graduate degree in aquatic
horticulture/taxonomy or something of the like...?  (Is my memory failing?)
That wouldn't qualify her as an amateur.

PPS:  I found the euthanasia thread as edifying and relevant to the planted
aquarium as the discussion on water purification unit specifications, tank
cooling strategies, film deposits on glass, and the decomposition of barley
straw.  It's all educational.  Keep it comin'.

Carmen C. Robinett, Ph.D.
Dept. of Molecular and Cell Biology
401 Barker Hall
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-3202
(510) 642-5971
FAX (510) 642-7846