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Unsupported conclusive statement

Posted by ramy on 28 Sep 2010 at 00:06 GMT

these stronger winds may render walking too difficult for a mixed group of people

I find this statement too speculative and completely out of context here:
"these stronger winds may render walking too difficult for a mixed group of people"

Why did the authors relate these stronger winds to a mixed group of people walking? What if the group of people were not "mixed"? How about a mixed group of cattle, a tank column, a group of racing cars? Would it have been easier to them to cross?

This statement is also totally unrelated to the following statement, which sounds like a reasonable conclusion of the article: "The Kedua Gap and its environs present an interesting hydrodynamic phenomenon ..."

Competing interests declared: I am an Academic Editor at PLoS ONE and a member of the PLoS International Advisory Group

RE: Unsupported conclusive statement

drews replied to ramy on 29 Sep 2010 at 15:03 GMT

The previous researchers (Nof & Paldor [2][3], Voltzinger & Androsov [4]) were interested in a crossing by a large group of people, of various ages and abilities. We have followed their lead in testing certain wind strengths. However, as meteorologists and oceanographers we are responsible for pointing out when a certain test case becomes untenable. In our professional judgment 33 m/s may exceed the limit for wind speed in which human beings can walk.

Our judgment is based on personal experience with 85 mph winds in Boulder, Colorado, USA, conversations with hurricane experts, and reports from meteorologists ascending Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, USA. We did not find a peer-reviewed paper stating an upper limit on the wind speed in which humans can make forward progress. Such research would be very useful, as it would provide a valuable guide for evacuation orders when a hurricane is approaching.

Regarding the final sentence of the paper ("The Kedua Gap..."), you are correct: That statement would have been much better as its own separate paragraph. Next time I will be bold enough to create a concluding paragraph from a single sentence.

Carl Drews, lead author

No competing interests declared.

RE: RE: Unsupported conclusive statement

atnjoly replied to drews on 01 Oct 2010 at 09:24 GMT

In my eyes, the immediate conclusion from that sentence would in fact be that it is basically inconceivable that Moses and a presumed group of followers ever crossed the red sea on foot (in addition to the fact that an exodus probably never took place, as underlined by another comment). On the other hand, this also underlines how science and history can share common interests since historians can now put this whole story into perspective : one day, or maybe even on several occasions, extreme climatic conditions probably provoked a very significant receding of the shoreline, which probably inspired the legend of the crossing.

Competing interests declared: I am an academic editor for PLoS ONE