Imagine my surprise, again

The news organization no longer known as MSNBC says:

HONOLULU (Reuters) – A team of researchers trying to solve the mystery of aviator Amelia Earhart’s 1937 disappearance said on Friday that underwater video from a Pacific island has revealed a field of man-made debris that could be remnants of her plane.

Last time, the TIGHAR folks had a half-dozen pixels on a grainy, 75-year-old photo. “It’s the landing gear from Amelia’s plane,” they said. “We must investigate!”

So in July, they went to Nikumaroro, and found…nothing. There were snickers.

But it’s not over. After a few weeks spent reviewing the underwater-camera footage, TIGHAR says, “Wait! Wait! We did find something!” Their momentous discovery: grainy video, showing a few coral-encrusted lumps that might be a debris field. And if it is a debris field, it might be Amelia Earhart’s plane.

But – of course – there’s no way to tell from the video. TIGHAR needs…another expedition to Nikumaroro.

TIGHAR begins to smell a bit like ghost hunters, UFO investigators, etc.: fancy gear, no scientific rigor, giving their negligible evidence the benefit of every doubt, pursuing their obsession long past the point where a rational person would have said, “There’s nothing here. I’m going home.”

I predict TIGHAR will secure funding for another expedition. They will collect a few lumps from the sea floor, which will turn out to be…coral. But later chemical analysis will reveal trace amounts of refined aluminum, suggesting that the lumps might have been in contact with Amelia Earhart’s plane.

“We need to go back,” TIGHAR will say.