Palaeos lost?

Palaeos is gone! There is a brief note about being unable to support it any longer, and then poof, it’s offline. Martin Brazeau has a comment on it’s value; you can still see fragments of this great resource in google’s cache, but even that will fade too soon.

This is troubling, and it’s one of the worrisome aspects of using the net—there’s no sense of permanence. It would be good if someone were to step forward and at least archive all of the pages, but the essential feature of the Palaeos site was that it was continually maintained and updated to reflect current information, and that’s not something that can be supported without the dedication of much time and effort by someone knowledgeable in the subject.


  1. says

    Sorry, but that is what evolution is all about, here today, gone tomorrow … nothing is permanent … all is flux … or as the good book says, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

    Bro. Bartleby

  2. Jeff says

    I’m glad I archived it a few months back – it was a great site, with fascinating articles. Perhaps someone else could be found to re-host it – I have no experience with such things, and of course, the permission of the creators would be needed.
    – Jeff

  3. says

    I’m happy to host it (free), if someone else can do the work bit of getting the files together (and if someone (or ones) can do the updating thing as well!) I can be contacted as verloren, using google’s fine email service.

  4. j says

    More Ecclesiastes:
    1:4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.

    1:10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.
    1:11 There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.

    Especially ironic because we’re talking about a paleontology site.

    it’s value->its value

  5. says

    Paul and Roger,

    I’ll get in touch with you regarding this matter. I’m thinking it would be nice to try to make that a reality and keep Palaeos online. As I said in my blog entry, I would be willing to contribute relevant parts from my own research areas.

    Thanks also to PZ for helping publicize this. I think it is a great loss if Palaeos goes offline permanently. It looks like we might collectively be able to bring it back.

  6. says

    I met a traveler from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
    Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

    -Percy Bysshe Shelley

  7. says

    Martin and Paul: Yes, thanks to PZ. I had not noticed what was happening; maybe it’s not too late. Click my name to find my e-mail.

  8. Owlmirror says

    While I am tempted to respond to all the quotes above with quote from Ezekiel 37 (“Can these bones live?”), I think Al-Hazred is more appropriate here:

    That is not dead which can eternal lie,
    and with strange eons even death may die.

    Web archives & resurrected sites; go forth, undead HTML. The power of SCIENCE compels you!

  9. Roger says

    Eclectic antidotes:

    I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. ~ Galileo Galilei

    Government oppressed the body of the wage-slave, but Religion oppressed his mind, and poisoned the stream of progress at its source. ~ Upton Sinclair

    It may be that today gold has become the exclusive ruler of life, but the time will come when man will again bow down before a higher god. ~ Adolf Hitler

    Making fun of born-again Christians is like hunting dairy cows with a high powered rifle and scope. ~ P.J. O’Rourke

    Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

    Some of you say religion makes people happy. So does laughing gas. ~ Clarence Darrow

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. ~ Jonathan Swift

    We do not destroy religion by destroying superstition. ~ Cicero

  10. says

    There was a suggestion over at Afarensis that Palaeos could be converted to a wiki to help with the updating thing, which made some sense to me.

    Martin, Paul, and Roger: if there’s any way I can help bring Palaeos back from the dead, I’d be happy to lend a hand.

  11. RusselsTeapot says

    Heh. And to think that only a handful of stories lower down on the main page, you were pointing out how the internet never forgets…

  12. afarensis, FCD says

    So has anyone been in touch with Toby WHite to see what it take to get someone else to take it over from him?

  13. David Harmon says

    RusselsTeapot: “Heh. And to think that only a handful of stories lower down on the main page, you were pointing out how the internet never forgets…”

    Save the snark dude… as the respondents here are demonstrating, the ‘Net is more than wires and machines. [Cue ominous music] The people are also part of the system!

  14. says

    One of my kids alerted me to the existence of this thread, and related comments on other sites. Out of my (considerable) respect for Pharyngula, I thought I’d respond here.

    Several of the personal reasons for discontinuing Palaeos have resolved themselves. So, after a long vacation (I stopped working on it in April) I’ve been giving serious thought to reviving it myself.

    The problem is neither host space nor the expense of keeping it. The problem is time. Palaeos requires a lot of labor. Any article with external links needs to be checked and updated at least once a year. Any article on paleontology needs to be seriously reconsidered and updated every couple of years. Format and internal structural changes require rethinking and editing internal links and html. Answering questions and general email takes more time.

    I found myself spending about 2/3ds of my time on Palaeos doing this kind of maintenance, with the proportion increasing every year.

    Personally, I’ve always thought this kind of stuff — particularly the substantive updating — would make good student project material. However, all but one of the hints I’ve made to faculty types have been met with resounding silence. Perhaps I’m wrong.

    In any case, that’s where matters currently stand. I’m not enthusiastic about any plan to keep a mummified site on display, as if it were the Lenin Mausoleum. However I’m more than willing to discuss some way to continue the evolution of a living site.

    Toby White