DR, seldom gets a chance to show how to admit serious scholarly errors, so he takes any opportunity to the very limit, in order to set the best possible example — an example which unfortunately has been little emulated in wider academe.
Each of DR's academic critics has himself engaged in several non-trivial errors (not to mention coverups) that have been apprehended and published by DR. E.g., National Geographic (G.Grosvenor), its Navigation Foundation (NavFou), J.E.Weems, J.Portney, D.Hughes, M.Hoskin, O.Gingerich, J.Evans, B.Schaefer, R.Fienberg. None will admit them publicly. (All are brave enough to attack DR behind-the-back or in protected forums, but try to flee face-to-face debate.)
Yet DR's own circle has had no problem in acknowledging errors: e.g., B. L. van der Waerden, Robert R. Newton, Keith Pickering, Hugh Thurston, Dennis Duke — i.e., the most intellectually productive scholars — have been proud of their openness in changing their views and-or acknowledging mistakes.
DR's writings have frequently alluded to and severely
his own occasional errors, including some (e.g.,
DIO 1.1 
p.19) that were never even published in the 1st place. The list provided at
DIO 11.2 
p.31 n.2 allows a reader to backtrack through several citations of miscues.
(In huge [30 point] print, right on the
DIO 11.2 ,
DR even gibes at a major DR error apprehended in 2003 by Alex Jones,
also putting Jones' name & discovery there, in the same 30pt type.)
[DR had in 2002 proposed ten challenges. Jones soon solved two, so DR has offered (ibid p.31) $1000 per, to those who can (like already-$2000-winner Jones) do better than any of DR's other eight 2002-distributed best ancient-astronomy solutions. None of the eight has been eliminated in the years since.]
Again: DR's example is little followed & is absolutely NEVER credited by any of his politically-cohesive gangs of critics. But, then, we are obviously dealing here with sociology, not scholarship.
In a nearly-40-year scientific-history career (encompassing hundreds of contributions), DR has committed only two serious scholarly errors. (That DR's batting-average is way up in the .900s does not at all excuse these two dumb errors. But when one finds that DR-detractors cohesively and uniformly ignore the valid majority while attacking only the invalid ordmag 1%, one learns just how honest these getalifers are.)
Though DR was in 1980 the first to discover that (contrary to Ptolemy) the Almajest planet mean motions were empirically based upon period-relations (contra the previous orthodoxy that they were deduced from non-period-related long-arc-separation observations), and though DR correctly solved the origins for three of the five planets, he produced (mathematically compatible but) definitely unhistorical solutions for Mars & Jupiter. (See blunt self-criticism at DIO 11.2 . As in the Peary case, DR went wrong through the false information of the principal. DR [among several other highly prominent scholars] was misled by Ptolemy's false claim that the basis of all his planet tables was synodic data. But that is no excuse for DR, who knew right along that Ptolemy wasn't trustworthy.)
These two motions were instead correctly explained in 2003 Sept by Alexander Jones (the eminent University of Toronto classicist, who has since moved on to NYU's new, massively endowed Institute for the Study of the Ancient World), spurred-on by DIO's amazing Dennis Duke (physics, Florida State University). DR faxed his warm and admiring congratulations to Jones just an hour after receiving his correct solutions. As noted above: on the front cover of DIO 11.2 , DR pokes fun at himself for his screwup on these 2 planets. But — OK, OK — so human vanity can never be utterly suppressed: the Jones discovery's now-rock-solid vindications of DR's pioneering General Theory (period-relation basis for all Almajest planet motions), and of DR's three other perfect-fit planet-solutions, are slipped-in (ibid p.42 n.21), in a footnote.…
Note: in the same
DIO 11.2 
issue's inside front-cover's top headline, DR
— bending way over backwards to grant some credit
even to his worst academic enemy in the world
(in a situation ambiguous enough that this was hardly necessary) —
actually headlined “Score One for [Owen] Gingerich”, who
(though on a mathematically indefensible basis)
had disbelieved DR's solution.
[Which, as several observers have snickered, hardly proves much — since OG automatically disbelieves all of DR's discoveries. (So he's stopped-clock certain to be right eventually.) This is the same prof who's been trying for 30 years to destroy physicists Robert Newton's & DR's reputations. OG's reaction to DR's pacific gesture has been to continue, with blithe arrogance, to neither retract nor document his fantastic 2000-2002 national false smear of DR, despite repeated requests to all this now-deliberate deception's skulking-coward principals: O.Gingerich, R.Fienberg, M.Hoskin, B.Schaefer. I forego comparisons to other pack-animals for fear of insulting hyenas.]
In 1989, DR mis-announced an Isaiah-Bowman-Papers document as Peary's N.Pole data, and miscontrued data thereon.
DR made total public retraction within two weeks of appearance of contrary evidence.
Given that DR has for decades produced gushers of new and valid data on the Peary case (most spectacularly on Peary's invented Crocker Land), it is revealing that this honestly-acknowledged error is the Peary Family's
in DR's work — especially since, ironically, the errors it indicts him
for were created and communicated by
the Peary Family;
& its very own political & scientific circle!
For years, DR resisted pressing this ameliorative point, because he felt that he should set a good ideal for other errants (and shouldn't try mitigating his own undeniably grievous fault in not doing better). However, with the Peary N.Pole claim virtually dead in academe, Peary-cultists are now reduced (like the very Cookie brethren they hate) to raw, crude attacks on the character of those (primarily Sir Wally Herbert, Rob't Bryce, & DR) who discovered the several key proofs that Peary repeatedly committed exploration fakery. Thus, failure to point out the following will simply hobble the chances of truth in the popular arena these cultists must now exclusively operate in, since real academe regards their apologia as junk.
The details of DR's Peary-document screwup:
In 1988, in the Isaiah Bowman Papers (Johns Hopkins University, M.S.Eisenhower Library, Special Collections), DR stumbled upon a long-top-secret document, which according to Peary-widow Josephine Diebitsch Peary's iffy (as DR should have more attentively noted) recollections was allegedly not to be revealed unless the Polar Controversy's heat required it. The envelope containing it was imprinted on the back with the Nutley, NJ, address (189 Walnut Str) of Jo's brother Emil Diebitsch. The Peary family had written on the envelope's front (Peary 1908-1909 expedition microfilm [U.S. National Archives] frame 0175):
This envelope was itself in another envelope (which had long been kept hidden by the family in a safe-deposit box at the Portland National Bank), on which Peary's daughter Marie Peary Stafford (Mrs. Edward Stafford) had written:
[Note: When reading fanatical family-inspired attacks on DR
over this document, you might conclude
that it was DR who misidentified its provenance.
No, the false idea that the document was from 1909/4/6
(the date Peary alleged he reached the N.Pole) was originated
by the very family that attempts to destroy DR for so concluding.
(Both the New York Times and the NavFou's chief
have creditably recognized that, without the mislabelling,
DR's misinterpretation obviously wouldn't have occurred.)
It's a curious family routine: produce a document, doubly-label it
as N.Pole data — and then triply-label as an idiot anyone who believed
this family. (Hey, is the family right for a change?)
(Lest one wonder if deceit is completely genetic, it should be noted that none of the above refers to members of the Robert Peary, Jr, side of the family, who have not let natural loyalty to Peary spoil their good nature & civility — and impel them to squander chunks of their lives on the chimera of putting the genie of doubt back in the bottle.)]
You Screwed Up — You Trusted Us
(DIO 1.1 
‡ 2 [p.13] n.7):
On the envelope's back (ibid frame 0176), Peary's daughter, Marie Peary Stafford, signed a note stating that she had opened the envelope on 1935/8/1. The data within were sent on to her close, sympathetic and by now thoroughly charmed friend, American Geographical Society chief Izzy Bowman, the most powerful US academic of the 1st half of the 20th century. (The Bowman Papers show that Izzy had privately been devoting enormous amounts of time [especially strange for an extremely busy executive] to analysing the Peary case, even copying out by hand [not photographing] pages and pages of Peary diary & etc records, as one would do when coming upon documents one regarded as golden [Bowman may have hoped to write The final-word] but which seemed potentially elusive [never-before-seen] at the time.)
Bowman shortly was advising Marie
on how to dodge skeptical investigator Henshaw Ward
[see 8/12 & his reply], whom Bowman had dealt with utterly deceitfully.
(Rawlins Peary at the North Pole: Fact or Fiction 
p.290 showed that even
Bowman was discussing with Marie Peary (e.g., 1935/4/20)
his upcoming examination of her Peary-North-Pole files' evidence,
he was telling
Ward [1935/5/18] that no N.Pole evidence was available.)
Bowman seemed downright proud of having helped conceal data from Ward,
an honest and exceptionally temperate Peary-skeptic researcher.
(At the 1935 deaths of three respected Peary-skeptic scholars
[Ward, Rev.J.G.Hayes, and explorer A.W.Greely],
Bowman joined Marie Peary in secretly
their departures! This, before going on to deceive
a Yale professor [see following note] and
then to threaten Yale University Press
— in order to keep Ward's doubting book on Peary from being published.)
Bowman certainly had no shame about either the concealment or the misleading
of Ward (“Personal and Confidential” 1935/10/30 letter
to Yale Social Science prof Albert Keller):
“it was not my job to act as a bright little guardian angel
and protect and educate [Ward].”
[Meanwhile, the very same letter slyly deceived Keller, too. (Yes, you're indeed learning what it takes, to become a potent academic institutional figure.) And Bowman tells how, in a 1935/11/12 letter to Marie — who was herself playing Izzy like a vile'un (her 1935/8/12 letter to him is signed: “Yours, the clinging vine, Marie”) cooing that pro-Peary fanatic W.H.Hobbs had visited her and was virtually drooling over the Peary records (1935/7/25 letter) which were however reserved only-for-Izzy. His top-secret visit to her home to see these records occurred 1935/7/29-31, but it never stopped his mantra that the skeptics were to be ignored because they didn't have access — to the very records he was helping keep hidden from every scholar but Izzy. Bowman (1935/11/5), killing the recently-deceased skeptical Henshaw Ward book's publication by Yale University Press: “Some day much more will be known about the whole Peary case and when it becomes known, such writings as those of [T.] Hall, [J. G.] Hayes, and Ward [all skeptics] are going to look like thirty cents — and I don't mean maybe!” Secret-Marie-buddy Bowman's contemptible, long, & long-confidential 1935/12/20 referee-report to Yale Univ Press also slandered Ward as a neutrality-faker. Can the irony be topped? (Or the ethics bottomed?) In the same 11/5 letter, Izzy asserts: “I never was and am not now an emotional Peary booster.” Sample of Bowman regularly to Marie (1943/2/10): “I have a deep and abiding interest in the vindication of your father's work.” Rawlins Peary Fiction  p.292.]
[Liar Bowman's condescending attitude throughout towards Ward is repulsive. And ironic: “amateur” Ward understood the case — and the truth of Peary's claim — far better without the records than did academe's-pinnacle Bowman, who was swimming in them. It is remarkable that Bowman thought he was qualified to judge the Peary case. His math ability was such that he thought the sine of 45° is 1/2 (did the equally-political Noel Swerdlow learn statistics from Iz?) — see Bowman to Marie 1937/11/22, yet another of his nakedly pulling-for-Peary notes, inexcusable for one passing himself off to academe as a judicious neutral observer. Scientist-wannabe Bowman also thought he knew better than Einstein about relativity, which he doubted long after its truth was a non-issue; hardly surprising, since Bowman was so obsessively anti-Jewish that his longtime sec'y Mabel Ward told DR that receipt of a letter addressed to anything like “Isadore Berman” would funk him for the day. Bowman decided not to consult Harlow Shapley on the Peary document probably because Shapley was a “pink” HUAC target (Izzy did his best to keep Hopkins red-free) and because Harry Raymond was a more trustworth-confidential buddy. Izzy's idea of a close pal can be gauged from a 1936/9/12 Raymond letter to Bowman referring to the mate of Harvard's first female full Professor as her “wop husband”. (When we rightly deplore the excesses of today's PC, it's worth recalling the conditions in prior academe that necessitated a reaction.) Most prominent world scientists of the 1930s who publicly accepted the Peary N.Pole myth (e.g., Raymond Priestley, Larry Gould, though both were private agnostics) said they did so because of Bowman's re-assurances (on no substantial basis beyond Marie's affection) that Peary might be sloppy but was no hoaxer: Izzy could just tell. [B&D Rawlins personally interviewed Priestley on the point, 1970/8/11.] (Bowman hath seen the records and spoken, so no one else need see them. His correspondence steadily reeks of such presumption, e.g., letters to H.Raymond; letter to A.Keller 1935/11/5; 12/20 ref report to YUP.) But geographers didn't know of Izzy's Peary-family-connection, or his judgement's reliability, or his attitude towards heresy, which DR learned through his sec'y and through elders at the Baltimore Sun. Rawlins Peary Fiction  p.289: Bowman was “a man who could boast of burning a book [Rabelais, on his home hearth, according to his sec'y M.Ward], and who was to lead a notorious witch-hunt for Bolsheviki” while President of Johns Hopkins University 1935-1948. This perceptive judge of men died soon after leaving the post (early 1950), having suggested as successor his idea of an ideally respectable JHU-grad WASP: Alger Hiss. (Hiss was class of 1926, as was his then-close friend and DR's Gilman School mentor, Ludlow Baldwin [DIO 1.1  p.12.] Even Ludlow finally concluded that Hiss was indeed a Soviet spy. DR's father Lou knew both, being class of 1927.)]
After Ward died on 1935/10/8, Marie on 10/29
asked Bowman to help kill Ward's book (then on its way
to be published by Yale University Press); she suggested that,
if he didn't want to put anything in writing, he could phone her collect!
The very next day, Izzy
(in the above-cited Confidential letter to Ward's co-executor, Keller):
wrote: “For the good
of your soul and [threat-hint at Keller?]
your future peace of mind, you should know that Ward was exceedingly
ill informed about the so-called Peary-Cook controversy and about
Peary's achievements, especially his journey to [note: not towards — DR]
the Pole.… I tremble over the consequences
of the production of this book by
a reputable publisher in view of the fact that [thanks to Izzy! — DR]
neither Ward nor anyone else who has published on the subject
[the last 6 words are deftly added,
to avoid a technical lie] has had access to the original records.”
Bowman later [1935/12/20 4pp “referee report” p.2; secreted for
50 years] explicitly threatened
the Yale Press with a libel suit by National Geographic.
[Rawlins Peary Fiction  p.292.]
[Mogul Bowman ended up a director of AT&T, whose largest stockholder was National Geographic chief Gilbert Grosvenor, son-in-law of AT&T founder Alexander Graham Bell. Classic money-versus-truth confrontation, and secret conflict-of-interest.]
Bowman repeated this ludicrous threat yet again to Bert Keller (letter of 1936/1/2, even falsely and ghoulishly saying in it that the late Ward had been too ill to think clearly), who was advising Ward's widow on what to do. It worked. Though a Peary-doubter, Keller sucked up to the Ultimate Fixer, writing a letter to Izzy which started: “Illustrissime!” and naïvely thanked Bowman for his help! — as if Izzy's warning was for Keller's benefit.
[Izzy's coverups were always for the good of the deceived. See, e.g., Rawlins Peary Fiction  p.64; and DIO 10  n.84 [p.41].) Compare to Gingerich at DIO 4.3  pp.133-134.]
Yale Press far out-grovelled Keller, displaying the backbone of the soufflé it caved like. A case-study in the most obscene sort of science-society coverup, it shows exactly why institutional officers should never be taken at their word.
Bowman insisted upon secrecy all the way.
(His correspondence with Marie was so secret that
a little 1935 October note [Bowman Papers] from AGS Editor Gladys Wrigley
[“W”] incidentally reveals
that his whole Marie file was kept at his home, not at AGS.
Of course, we all know that this sort of top-confidential institutional
two-faced conspiratorial-link behavior is strictly a thing of the past:
Rawlins Peary Fiction  pp.291-294;
DIO 4.3 
pp.133-134.) Izzy's 11/12 note to Marie provided experienced advice
on how to fend off any outsider who wished to see the Peary data-sheets.
[Reminiscent of why the Astronomer Royal in 1967 turned over the long-secret RGO Neptune File to insider Olin Eggen (DIO 9.1  pp.3f), who stole it for over 30 years — instead of allowing inquiring but politically-untrustworthy DR to see it. (There was obviously no defensible reason why both men couldn't have access.) Same result in both cases: the material in question stayed sealed for a sizable fraction of a century — this, on top of already-accumulated previous decades of non-access. Most of the “science press” bought it all in each case, and kept unquestioningly protecting a myth based on hidden documents. (In contrast to, e.g., Germany, the US' “science press” refused for years to print a word on the remarkable new revelations DIO 9.1 dredged out of the finally-surfacing RGO Neptune file: summarized at DIO 9.1  p.4. When Scientific American finally did so (2004 Dec) DIO was cited at least in some degree.
[But credit for the pro-Leverrier revolution was neatly and falsely diffused, and subsequently the listing of DIO 9.1 in the published 2004 Dec ScAm has been deleted from ScAm's online bibliography, which is otherwise intact.]
But there was not a word of credit to DIO and NOAO (Elaine MacAuliffe and Nick Suntzeff) for the organized effort that caused the Neptune File's special independent preservation.)]
Izzy asked AGS surveying expert Oliver Maitland Miller and Carnegie Institute astronomer Harry Raymond to analyse the new Peary document. A belief that certain numbers in its lower right corner might be compass-data evidently developed early on. (National Geographic's Navigation Foundation — to its high credit — correctly discovered in 1988 that these were mere chronometer numbers.) Bowman quickly got general reports, which discussed magnetic fields in the Arctic, from Miller (8/12) and from the Director of the Carnegie Institute's Dep't of Research on Terrestrial Magnetism (8/19). The following year, in three detailed secret reports [1936/7/11, 8/17, & 9/12] to Bowman, the Carnegie Institute's Harry Raymond explicitly states that [7/11 p.2] these data are “pretty certainly a series of compass bearings — azimuths — of something” later again [8/17 report p.3] “readings of the compass”. In the latter place, he computes the numbers' average (310°) on that basis.
As for the numbers on the upper-left side of the document. Raymond thought they could be altitudes (wrong) or times. (The latter is true, as the NavFou correctly concluded. Though DR had later to discover that they were transit-wire times, not the NavFou's proposal: time-sights.) But Raymond's reports computed in detail on the assumption that they were angles: celestial altitudes. Peary's brother-in-law, Lehigh-trained engineer Emil Diebitsch (who was presumably responsible for the 1909 April 5-6 mis-inscription on the envelope containing the document) probably thought so too, since these numbers' superficial resemblance to Peary's sheet bearing his alleged 1909/4/6 double-altitude would explain the document's misfiling, which then confused everybody (especially including DR at 1st), until DR finally solved it on 2nd go-round.
(By chance, the times on the document's upper-left were all 12-something; Peary's 4/6 double-altitude [the only “Pole”] datum published in his 1910 North Pole [p.362] was 12-something degrees. So the 12s evidently convinced Peary brother-in-law Diebitsch of a connexion to 1909/4/6, ultimately leading lots of investigators down a blind alley. Current website-slander backed by Peary's vitriolically obsessed grandson Ed Stafford, Jr [whose nastiest tomato is a pretended quote from a writer, without owning that the writer cited no source — and it sounds alot like Ed himself], of course attempts to focus blame entirely on enemy-DR, though (with the sort of integrity one becomes accustomed-to on the Peary side) Ed's mout'piece doesn't tell readers that the original misidentification of the document as from the N.Pole was actually committed by Ed's own great-uncle Emil.)
DR's initial analysis of the document contained two major errors:
[a] It wrongly took the upper-left numbers to be angles (altitudes).
[b] And it wrongly took the lower-right numbers as compass-data (magnetic).
[Also, it was improperly too-confident; and its strong attempt to discourage future truth-suppressions could have had an opposite effect due to the fallacious nature of the immediate document-analysis. I.e., DR came out of this phase of the long Peary controversy feeling that he had in this instance inexcusably let down the pro-truth side. Hopefully, his subsequent startling discoveries on that side have somewhat atoned: e.g., Peary's key two 1909 diary-suppressions; 1906/6/24 no-land-visible diary-entry at later-alleged Crocker Land discovery moment; plus detection of end-of-serious-controversy 1926 contradictions, overprecision, backward-calculation, & data-alterations in the record of National Geographic's other fake N.Pole claim (R.Byrd).]
The Peary-NGS clique's periodic tantrums naturally use DR's initial errors on the document to portray DR as a fool, knave, etc. But, as the above discussion makes clear, if these two errors make DR a fool, then the very same errors also make fools of: Peary-family engineer Diebitsch, the Carnegie Institute, and its American Geographical Society hirer, the US academe's “Grand Mogul” (as Marie's 1935/10/24 letter flattered him), whom Marie Peary herself had called-in to save dad. [One can argue that at least Raymond didn't go public with his errors. But: was that due to scientific caution? Or fear of an Izzy tizzy?] None of which excuses DR, who (of all people!) should have been uninfluenced by these parties' interpretations. See further self-criticism at, e.g., DIO 1.1  p.7; DIO 2.1  p.29 n.26.)
One final point in this connexion: DR believes that his worst oversight here was to have not perceived a lethal flaw in the Diebitsch-Raymond-DR interpretation of the document's times as sextant angles: the precision was far too great. It must be emphasized that the NavFou (whatever its subsequent foulups) was first to recognize that critical point, and DR has repeatedly expressed his gratitude (e.g., DIO 10  n.82 [p.41]) that this quickly ended a false theory of the document. However: why has the “science press” never told the public that exactly the same error was made by National Geographic's 1926 Byrd-approving committee?
(Why no two-sided reportage here? Simple answer: DR told the truth about his errors [immediately], while NGS has [for over 3/4 of a century] arrogantly admitted nothing, instead smearing those whose consistent truth-telling shames NGS' own low course. Since the “science press” only portrays science institutions as in-the-wrong when they admit it, the dishonest ones get the gentlest press [especially if they're very rich]. See elaboration of this disgraceful longstanding pattern at DIO 10  §T1 [p.76].)
Byrd's official report to National Geographic contains grossly overprecise alleged sextant shots (DIO 10 ) §G6 & n.79 [p.40] — so transparently faked that Byrd and NGS both hid these numbers for 70 years. (Details at DIO 10  §G6 [esp. pp.40-41]: “Byrd was presumably warned privately that his [1926/6/22 report's alleged] raw data were way too precise: by the time he was preparing … his report for the version … he distributed [1926 November 24] to geographical societies, he had systematically stripped the report of every single one of his apparent (observed) sextant altitudes — merely giving (non-raw [processed]) true altitudes!”
After his initial Peary-document screwup, DR was undeservedly and fantastically lucky: National Geographic's 8-man hirelings “Navigation Foundation” (who'd spent a year roto-rootering through the Peary Papers, then in Washington, at the U.S. National Archives [NARS]) also botched its interpretation (setting up the opportunity for DR to have another shot and thereby vindicate his inductive skills). Despite their long headstart and their spending ordmag 100 times DR's labor in searching the Peary Papers, the NavFou blew it, misidentifying the document as 1906 February 27 east-west time-sight sextant double-altitudes of the stars Betelgeux (whose name was on the document) & Ras Alhague (the other star was unidentified there) from Cape Hecla, Canada: brief summary of NavFou conclusions in NGS's 1989 June National Geographic Magazine “Geographica” article headlined as NGS-NF's “Careful Study”. (In fairness to the NavFou & NGS: keep in mind that the document in question was almost entirely a bunch of unlabelled numbers; so, unravelling it was an odd challenge.) In mid-1989, DR finally (belatedly!) solved the document, purely by astronomical analysis (without leaving Baltimore): north-south transit single-altitudes of Betelgeux & Vega, taken at Anniversary Lodge, Greenland. [It required just a single swift visit to the Peary Papers in Washington to verify (in Peary's diary) that the exact date was 1894 December 10, finding that even the chronometer-error-data in the diary perfectly matched those of the diary. (DR had already concluded that the document's date was probably that ±1d.) The notes' preciousness to Peary — also a factor which misled all parties at first — had nothing to do with exploration. Of the geographical sort, at any rate. As is clear from his diary, he was on this date making astronomical observations, and an impulsive 14 year old Eskimo girl, Ally, was alone with him, helping him erect his instrument. This appears to have been the very night she commenced her long and fertile common-law marriage with Peary which ensured Ed some Eskimo relatives. (Fortunately for Peary, Chris Hansen's MS-NBC “To Catch a Predator” wasn't lurking in the neighborhood.) All this, while Peary's chief fiscal backer Morris Jesup was the prime founder and backer of Anthony Comstock's ultra-bluenose Society for the Suppression of Vice. Details (which evidence Peary's daring sense of ironic humor about those he was snookering): Rawlins Peary Fiction  Chap.16, and DIO 10  p.16 n.18. From Fiction pp.205-206:
Cast in the hero mold, Peary has never been sufficiently appreciated for his fine sense of humor. One of the most exquisite expressions of it: Overlooking [see photo from Peary's Nearest the Pole 1907 p.13] the “wide” bunk, the result of “long experience in the Arctic regions,” which he shared with Eskimo girls, hung … [a stern photograph] of … Peary's [muttonchop-whiskered] vice-crusading mentor, all-seeing Morris K. Jesup:
Soon after solving the BetDoc, DR sent NGS-chief GGrosvenor2
a riddle containing the encrypted name (“Vega”)
of the unidentified star:
“An atavism of five can enlighten you.”
Solution: “atavism” can mean backward or savage. And “age five” can be written in roman numerals as “age v”, which backwards is: Vega. Also, 5 extremely-young lady-savages were wooing Peary at this time (Rawlins Peary Fiction  p.204). Ally was one of them.
[Anthropologists will howl at the use here of “savage”. Let them. They've cowed almost everybody into PC-line. They'll have to live with the “almost”.]
And DR announced the full astronomical solution of the document at the very NGS 1989 December 11 press-conference where the NavFou was (again) anticipating the elimination of DR from the scene. Later, the NavFou's Doug Davies (Adm. Tom Davies' son) privately acknowledged (verbally: 1991 April 19) the obvious validity of this DR solution (which fits both stars exactly to their arcmin-precision; even the notepaper's size and quality is consistent with the type Peary was using only in the vicinity of 1894); but, of course, neither he nor NGS has ever published such an admission. Thus, the pristine public record continues to prove positively: when in controversy with DR, these experts are never wrong.
[In the sewer of fanatical Peary-Henson literature flaying DR over this document, you naturally won't find anywhere the information that it was DR who ended up solving it. Nor, when DR is depicted as eternally-discredited for being misled by American Geographical Society-Carnegie Institute-originated misidentification of unlabelled chronometer numbers as compass-data, will you learn that Navigation Foundation chief Adm. Davies' 1984 paper on Amerigo Vespucci's data believed that the Nürnberg-longitude-based 15th century astronomical tables of astronomer Regiomontanus were computed according to the longitude of Königsberg: an entirely original Davies confusion (by contrast to DR's AGS-Carnegie-inspired screwup). Cause: “Regiomontanus” is merely Latin for Kö:nigsberg; so Davies was confusing an astronomer's name with his longitude. Note: DR does not believe that this implies that we ignore the valid parts of Davies' work, for which DR is (entirely unreciprocally) grateful. All Davies' (and Portney's) goofy errors show is that none of us is always right; so, observers' ultimate consultant ought to be the evidence, not The Experts. See DIO 10  n.154 [p.69].]
Some details: NGS's 1989/6 June National Geographic Magazine “Geographica” article headlined the NGS-NF “Careful Study” misidentified the BetDoc as a 1906 February timesight. Though D.Davies has (privately) admitted the error, National Geographic has naturally never retracted. That would help the Enemy, and this is war. And Grosvenor was NGS' War-President. (Science and DIO are self-correcting. Mudslingers aren't.)
NavFou at its 1989/2/1 NGS-funded press conference stated that it had solved the location of the data to a high degree of certainty (Wash Post 1989/2/16): the time sights were taken at Cape Hecla (82°57'N, 65°W) on 1906 February 27: Betelgeux descending at 12:18 AM (at double-altitudes 19°50', 19°46', 19°42'); Ras Alhague descending at 1:02 PM (at double-altitudes 26°28', 26°23', 26°18'). Said Davies: “We have this thing nailed down.” [Note in passing: two-thirds of the angles cited were pure invention: the outer members of the trios aren't on the document.]
Having (importantly) recognized angles & chronometer numbers for what they were, and thus knowing (as DR hadn't) that the document had nothing to do with the N.Pole, the NavFou then went wrong on everything. Let's list its decrees about the BetDoc serially, while providing the truth in adjacent brackets:
data taken 1906 February 27 [actually 1894 December 10]
at C.Hecla, 82°57'N 65°W [actually Anniv.Lodge, 79°40'N 68°35'W]
a time-sight [actually 3-wire culmination observations]
by sextant [actually by transit instrument]
double-altitudes [actually single-altitudes]
near E-W prime vertical [actually on the N-S meridian]
2nd star was Ras Alhague [actually Vega at lower culmination].
So, on these points, DR happened to do a better job than the Navigation Foundation. Note that NavFou and NGS no longer claim the document is a time-sight, so they both know that DR was right here. But neither has the integrity to state the correction or the corrector. NGS-NavFou simply stopped talking about that part of the matter: i.e., the solution of a document — about which National Geographic called a huge, nationally-covered 1989/2/1 press conference at the U.S. Naval Academy and devoted an upfront National Geographic page to — is now not worth publishing the correct solution for. Not even in a back NGM page. Understandable, because (given the evidence against Peary and NGS' fear of open discussion — realizing [after their 1991/4/19 experience at the U.S.Naval Institute conference] that debating DR was disastrous) their whole desperate game is now personal and cowardly by-proxy: don't stand up and debate with (or even privately sit down and converse reasonably with) the opponent — just hit&run-trash him.
None of the foregoing changes the fact that (initially)
DR misfired (very badly) on the document. His worst mistake was
in not realizing (as the NavFou was creditably first to)
that the upper-left data were too precise to be hand-sextant angles.
[Now that this very same point undoes Byrd (see DIO 10  §G6 [p.40]), the NavFou doesn't want to talk about it (ibid n.82 [p.41]) in the Byrd context, even after uninformedly trying to cast doubt on DR's Byrd report by attacking DR's person — before even seeing the report! See Baltimore Sun 1996/5/15 p.1.]
Nonetheless, DR was correct on the Peary case in virtually every other particular. (And critics have found no errors at all in his dozens of detailed investigations of Byrd's 1926 “N.Pole” diary [analyses which have run well over 100 pages]: New York Times 1996/5/9 p.1, Polar Record 36 pp.25-50 [Cambridge University], DIO 10 .) DR was also right on the central fact: Peary faked the Pole claim. Professionals' predominant perception of the Cook-Peary Controversy now adheres closely to the general judgements developed in DR's 1973 book, Peary at the North Pole: Fact or Fiction? .
And, though DR was mistaken in thinking Peary's real data had survived, it miraculously turned out that the data of NGS' other fake “N.Pole” hero, R.Byrd, HAD survived. Next miracle: of the planet Earth's six billion people, which one got to discover that the two undated sextant data in the Byrd diary were his real 1926 May 9 data? — and was 1st to compute the hithero-secret, shockingly-way-too-far-south latitudes they placed Byrd at? (See what we mean about Lucky. Beyond-Belief Lucky?!) Both calculations [New York Times loc cit] were later confirmed (to the arcmin: 1 nautical mile) by the world's top celestial-position expert, CalTech's Myles Standish. (See DIO 10  p.32.)
In DR's 1982 PASP paper, DR did an overcasual job of treating the paper's paraboloidal probability function. (And did not bother about it after an eminent statistics-textbook author deemed the analysis OK.)
Evans 1987 questions the procedure but is fair enough to acknowledge that his own analysis still makes the formal odds fatally high against Ptolemy. Which unfortunately enlights Evans not: undeterred, he then resorts to trying to undercut the DR premises, and his large mis-steps in this mission are thoroughly undercut at DIO 2.3 , DIO 3 , and most amusingly regarding the true location we induce for the ROCKS which Evans proposed may've been just south of Ptolemy's “observatory”. The DR 1982 paper's multi-pronged arguments (esp. absent-error-waves test) and conclusion (that Ptolemy usurped the Ancient Star Catalog) are now universally accepted. Except by J.Evans, N.Swerdlow, & B.Schaefer.
DR's rigorous treatment and simplification of the same math (bivariate stats) elsewhere is rigorous and flawless. And overturns another frustrated attack on DR's conclusions, a 1982 JHA attempt to semi-appropriate the great philologist Aubrey Diller's discovery that Hipparchos computed klimata via sph trig, while actually denying Diller's equally astonishing discovery that Hipparchos had observed and used the only accurate obliquity we know of from antiquity, 23°2/3. For full details (odds, tables, graph, solution-sensitivity, & challenger's flight), see DIO 16  ‡3. The details are recommended for a chuckle at the math and an upchuckle at the ethics of the attacker's [a] 1982 failure to cite DIO 4.2  p.58's key, ultra-tight refinement of Diller's mathematical case, and [b] continuing-to-this-day unrepentant promotion (e.g., in recent preface to re-issue of Pedersen 1974) of his ridiculous 1982 paper, whose technical innocence and dishonest citation practice were 1st reported to DIO (and to the offending author) by upright Hugh Thurston.
Observers should note that the tiny bunch of DR errors discussed throughout
this posting ALL debuted in journals other than DIO —
indeed prior to the existence of DIO and its expert refereeing.