Talk:Iben Browning

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As of the 19th of Nov 2008 the article starts by stating he was born in England, then in the next paragraph says he was born in Edna Texas. In April 2006 this article was a non-stub that didn't discuss his birthplace; then on 10th of April 2007 "a relative" changed the article to a stub lacking a great deal of details. By January 2008 it was "rewritten" bringing back text from the old article and aparently this [

res=9D0CE5DA1F38F933A15754C0A967958260&sec=&spon= obituary] on the 20th of April 2008 it was randomly interjected that he was born in England. Actually the linked obit. states he was born in Texas, thefore I will edit this article to remove the other claim. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:53, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

The preponderance of the facts is with you and against the New York Times's fact checkers; Browning himself (in Robots on Your Doorstep) describes himself as growing up in Texas, though it's not absolutely disprobative of his having been born in England and brought to Texas by his parents. But fact checkers these days are often lazy and use the Internet, which opens the possibility that a NYT staffer pulled the wrong "Iben Browning"'s obituary up on the Net. loupgarous (talk) 18:19, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
just searched "Iben Browning" in the New York Times' Web site and found this article giving his birthplace as Edna, Texas. loupgarous (talk) 18:26, 27 August 2013 (UTC)


Why is it "astounding" that a large earthquake can occur so far inland? Earthquakes are caused by the shift of geological plates and have nothing to do with proximity to the shoreline... right?

Yes, it should not be that it is inland, but distant from a tectonic boundary. The fact that the New Madrid Earthquakes occured inland had little to do with their astounding qualities (think of inland earthquakes in India), however, because the area where the earthquake occured had older, colder bedrock than coastal California, the Earthquake was able to propogate much farther than an equivalent EQ on the San Andreas Fault. JKillah 14:33, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Browning's "Anlage of Human Knowledge" - permissible under "fair use" to reproduce the drawing illustrating the Anlage's structure?[edit]

In the paperback book Robots on Your Doorstep (Iben Browning and Nels Winkless, Robotics Press, Albequerque NM, 1978) Dr. Browning described an ambitious scheme for categorizing human learning called the Anlage of Human Knowledge, as an illustration of how robotics, biology and medicine are contextually related. There is a set of schematic diagrams of the Anlage of Human Knowledge in the book which is valuable in and of itself, because it shows how Browning related the entire body of human learning as a compact three-dimensional structure.

I have a copy of Robots on Your Doorstep. Can we reproduce the line drawing depicting the Anlage of Human Knowledge for this article and a related one specifically on the Anlage of Human Knowledge, or would it be permissible to create a new drawing reproducing the Anlage? I think it would be good encyclopedic content to reproduce and make available Dr. Browning's addition to the systematization of human knowledge. loupgarous (talk) 00:34, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

I don't believe you can do either, both would be copyright violations. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:56, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Browning being unfairly stereotyped[edit]

Yikes, Browning was far more notable than his failed New Madrid earthquake forecast. Geogene has stomped on any edit I make that presents Browning in a more complex truer light.(2602:304:CFA5:42A0:2C3F:64DB:95C8:530A (talk) 20:48, 29 December 2017 (UTC))

From what I see in the page history, Geogene is merely enforcing the Core Content Policies. Attempting to "balance" certain persons's claims actually violates the neutral point-of-view policy through the introduction of false balance. Just because this tends to come up in discussions like these: I don't know Geogene and don't work with them and haven't previously interacted with them in any significant way. That said, when posting a new section on a talk page such as this, they go at the bottom of the page so I've moved this. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 21:13, 29 December 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for third party clarification and input. My complaint is that Geogene is not being neutral in his editing of Iben Browning's actual legacy, enforcing only the most negative stereotype possible of the man, claiming he is only notable for his failed prediction, while ample sources offer many notable positive aspects of the man. Regarding whether Browning's core thesis was in fact pseudo-science, that tidal forcing does not correlate with seismic activity, there are two sides to that ongoing controversy, as this recent Nature link shows-

My main critique here is that Geogene's editing is very prejudicial, cherry-picking only the most derogatory remarks. The NYT coverage is far fairer, and references to Browning's meritorious work, that Geogene deleted present a more accurate picture. Give the dead man his fair due. Geogene is stated in search to be someone who "games" Wikipedia, and I just tried to make the article more accurate, but do not know all the applicable Wikipedia procedures. Thanks for any help. (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:2C3F:64DB:95C8:530A (talk) 22:00, 29 December 2017 (UTC))

The Nature piece has no relevance to this article. And here I'm going to move over some content that I previous posted on my talk page, mostly about terming it pseudoscience:
I think the best way to give more coverage to his work in robotics is to find more secondary sources about his work in robotics. As I've said, most of the sourcing about him that I've seen is in the context of the earthquake scare. There may be more out there but I haven't seen it.
As for the USGS calling it pseudoscience,[1] I think the search function in your PDF reader may be misleading you. It's an old paper; they spell it "pseudo-science". Searching the document for "pseudo" will generate two results from the USGS and several more from non-USGS sources that the USGS included in the Appendix. From the USGS portion of the document:
* Ultimately then, Browning's prediction became an example of pseudo-science overwhelming mainstream science. (page 22)
* Why was Browning's prediction taken seriously?....Inexperience of regional scientists, media, and public with earthquake pseudo-science. (page 23)
So since the USGS characterizes it as pseudoscience, other authorities call it pseudoscience it in the Appendix, and Farley calls it pseudoscience in his book published by a university press, what purpose does it serve to not call it pseudoscience in the article? Geogene (talk) 22:10, 29 December 2017 (UTC)

─────────────────────────IP editor, I would like to direct your attention to the Wikipedia notability guideline. Wikipedia uses the terms "notable" and "notability" in slightly different ways than regular English and this causes much confusion. It is entirely possible for Browning to be Wikipedia-notable for just his failed geoscience predictions while regular-notable for other things. In Wikipedia, "notable" means something like "covered in a significant way by independent, reliable sources." The ongoing study of tidal forcing does not appear to be correlated with Browning's ideas so the Nature study doesn't help establish notability. The scales of the effects are completely different, for one thing. Finally, as for "giving the dead their due," that's not one of Wikipedia's goals, frankly. Wikipedia is not a generator of thought or views, it is a reporter of thoughts and views. If reliable sources view a person, whether living or dead, in a way that some might find objectionable, then we report that without trying to balance it. I hope this explanation helps. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 22:20, 29 December 2017 (UTC)

This may help from Wikipedia's Neutrality page- "Balance
Policy shortcut
Neutrality assigns weight to viewpoints in proportion to their prominence. However, when reputable sources contradict one another and are relatively equal in prominence, describe both points of view and work for balance. This involves describing the opposing views clearly, drawing on secondary or tertiary sources that describe the disagreement from a disinterested viewpoint."
What is not being allowed by Geogene is any sense that there is balance lacking, as defined above, in treatment of Browning. In the sixties and seventies, in AI and Robotics, and many other fields, Browning was a well known celebrity, a legend in fact, decades before the sad debacle at the end of his life. This is not hard to substantiate! The guy was notable all along. Geogene should expect an ongoing chore of stomping on poor folks who happen onto Browning's page, believes Wikipedia's welcome, and tries to add relevant knowledge, like Browning's masterly Periodic Table of Reality published in a Bell Labs report from the 50s. Geogene removed the reference to its printed public version in the influential book, "Robots on your doorstep" (and here they are) Browning co-authored in the 70s, available on Amazon. The rapturous praise by alpha geeks in the reviews (Amazon and Google Books) does not count as a reference for the formal article, but does offer editors a statistical glimpse of Browning's full legacy. These folks will tend to be elderly and well educated who mourned Browning's fall, which may have only been senior dementia, how sad is that? Thanks for anyone who can help make the article more complete and neutral. Geogene will not let me. (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:2C3F:64DB:95C8:530A (talk) 23:58, 29 December 2017 (UTC))
Ip user, it is not Geogene's responsibility to prove Browning lacks something, it is yours to prove something about him was said in independent, reliable sources. You aren't including any links here for use to evaluate your claims about Browning's notability for non-earthquake predictions. E.g., stating "and here they are" without including the link you obviously intended to have appear there. Also, please also don't personalize this. I'm sure Geogene knows neither you nor Browning and I am equally sure that you don't know him. To move forward, please just reply below with a list of links or references to WP:RS that you think are missing and what you think each reference or source should demonstrate. As a side note, you might want to read this. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 00:25, 30 December 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback. I duly did add the popular 70s book, "Robots on your doorstep", as a key printed reference (the public source of record of his famous Bell Labs Report). The existing reference of NYT obit which led off with Browning as he was long publicly known, as a "Researcher", seemed like a fair appraisal and proper source, but Geogene claims NYT as unreliable. Where these two sources not acceptable under Wikipedia guidelines? True, to give someone "their due" is not explicit in Wikipedia guidelines, except as a way of saying "fairness", but neither is any inverse guideline to not be fair. In fact the humanist tradition of encyclopedia work implies fairness to the facts.

In fact, Browning really was notable before his last year of life, including as a sort of Cold War "Dr Strangelove" type. For example, in an already referenced source, his monstrous proposal of the US military enslaving a whale with implants, in order to strap an H-bomb on the poor creature and force it to invade an enemy harbor, that's pretty notable in a US historic sense. The guy was full of surprises, and his failed earthquake warning only took off because he was so notable already.

When I look at Wikipedia's article on pseudoscience, and how its definition is debated, its far more nuanced than Geogene seems to understand. Most notable scientists of the past had false beliefs and failed predictions, along with the successful science. I do not know who Geogene is, nor do I seek to personalize this unduly, but note he has personally objected to Jimmy Wales as a libertarian on a talk page, piqued enough that he dropped editing, then came back. That's more personal, an anonomous person v. a real name. How do I appeal all this to editors further up the chain? I will not try to edit this article anymore, with every edit being undone by Geogene and others not seeing both sides of Wikipedia notability and event-v-person guidelines. Thanks for any help making this page better, otherwise I'll leave it to future editors to give Browning a fuller more balanced treatment. (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:FC16:9025:959B:9984 (talk) 21:27, 6 January 2018 (UTC))

This is obviously personal for you, isn't it? You have denied any connection to the subject, but that denial is really not credible. Geogene (talk) 21:44, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
IP User, in point of fact, you did not add "Robots on Your Doorstep" or any other substantive source that can change the coverage here. You keep calling the quake prediction overly weighted but only one out of six paragraphs discusses the quake prediction and even the Times obituary you mention starts with that quake prediction. What you've actually provided in trying to improve this article is really your opinion or assessment of Browning. Unfortunately, neither your opinion nor my opinion nor Geogene's opinion has any bearing on the subject. You need to provide sources to back up every substantial claim. Saying he was "a sort of Cold War Dr Strangelove' type" or claiming he wanted to use whales as delivery devices for thermonuclear explosives is worthless to this article unless you provide a reliable source that states that. You keep asking us to give a "fuller, more balanced treatment" but you aren't giving us anything to work with. I will only therefore repeat my earlier request for the sources that you claim can substantiate such "fuller treatment". Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 22:36, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Before you search for the sources requested above, please read Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources. (((The Quixotic Potato))) (talk) 22:44, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

Possible Conflict of Interest editing in this article[edit]

Reviewing the article's edit history, I found this diff from September 2016 in which an IP claims (in the edit summary) to be a member of Browning's immediate family [2]. I have no way of verifying that, but it is public knowledge that the person named is today the editor of The Browning Newsletter [3] and as such would have not only a personal but direct financial stake in Iben Browning's legacy. The question is, are the IP's editing the article and talk page today distinguishable from that one? Their editing certainly looks promotional to me [4], [5] combined with openly unpleasant demeanor is consistent with somebody having a financial stake in Browning's story, as well as that sense of entitlement often seen in COI editors. Whether it's a sockpuppet, or a holiday season meat puppet, who knows, but this is suspicious enough that the Terms of Use need to be enforced. Geogene (talk) 23:20, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

@Geogene:, I'm not saying your wrong but we need to be very careful about trying to identify persons behind IP addresses, even in the context of COI and paid editing. Your suspicions are obviously well-founded in the light of previous "correction" attempts. In any event, however, I think the behavior of the most recent IP edits is already non-policy-compliant enough that we don't need to undertake any investigations. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 23:31, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
Fair point. You need a good reason to walk through a policy minefield. Geogene (talk) 23:50, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

I am not a Browning family member, nor know anyone who is, nor have any other COI. My identity is not secret, I am only an "IP" as a newbie. In reading the Wikipedia guidelines, it seems that "don't bite the newbie" and "don't wikilawyer" are applicable to my plight. Is it not time to appeal this editing impasse to Dispute Resolution? Feeling troubled over unfair provably false accusations. My edits should be judged on merits. The page is not to Wikipedia standards as noted in detail. (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:E1D9:17D5:28B:85A3 (talk) 22:28, 18 January 2018 (UTC))

I don't understand why you think you have a "plight". You haven't produced the sources you need, and it sounds like you're trying to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. You've also been extremely rude about it, too. Preternaturally rude. I deal with newbies all the time, but, wow, nobody personalizes things like that. That's not normal, everyday stuff. You've even alluded to some off-wiki harassment that I can't directly address. Take this to DR, if that's what you want....nobody is holding you back. I would prefer not to deal with you further, if that's possible. Geogene (talk) 23:17, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
Ip user, I would first encourage you to create an account, if only to facilitate conversations such as this. That said, biting newbies is something that is, to a certain extent, in the eye of the beholder. We try to welcome, accept, and encourage newbies that come here in good faith but we also regularly have trolls, self-promoters, vandals, and other bad-faith new editors. For what its worth, I personally you are in the former, not the latter, category.
Part of accepting new editors into the community is educating them as to what standards, rules, and practices are in place. It is daunting and overwhelming the number of written and unwritten rules that a place as big as this one develops. To the extent that you have a plight at all, it is that you are bumping against these rules.
Article neutrality is different here than it is in other contexts, such as Western journalism. A newspaper thinks, "Say something that's positive and say something that's negative, and that's balanced," is neutral. Wikipedia doesn't, which is why your requests to "balance" the article are running into problems. The event that caused Browning to receive the greatest notice in independent sources is his failed earthquake prediction so that is what the Wikipedia article will say he is best known for. No matter how little of his life's work that prediction represents, to do otherwise misrepresents the sources and coverage.
That may be difficult to accept, but arguing that it isn't fair to represent Browning that way misses the point. In point of fact, Browning is already represented that way in the best-quality sources we have access to. Unfortunately, it assuredly sounds biting to new users to hear that type of thing. If you wish to start a discussion about changing those rules, you may. It just won't do anyone any good to do it here. I hope this helps. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 23:30, 18 January 2018 (UTC)

My complaint is only about upholding existing Wikipedia guidelines. I did cite previously missed key references (like the companion book (Robots on your Doorstep) to the one already referenced) and the original Bells Labs report. Surely NYT obits are a better source of balanced opinion than Geogene by himself dismissing NYT as a reliable source. Browning did meet notability criteria before his prediction debacle. The runaway media circus was a proper event, not a suddenly notable person. Balance and fairness are Wikipedia values, as upheld in guidelines. I do not want to become a routine Wikipedia editor. This is about making one article better that does not even accord properly with Wikipedia's worthy Pseudoscience article. The greatest historical scientists all had ~pseudoscientifically~ failed predictions based on mistaken assumptions [read Archimedes to Hawking, by Clifford Pickover]. (Browning's error really was just a magnitude error, as tidal forcing of seismic activity, long theorized by many, is now substantiated in the academic reference I provided, as a smaller effect). A big gap in the Browning article is his best work, called by many names, like "Anlage of Human Knowledge" (in Talk above) or "Periodic Table of Reality" (as early computer scientists dubbed it). Lets be clear that not a single change along these lines was allowed under Geogene's undo campaign in the mistaken assumption that I was somehow a Browning family connection (rather than just one of many technologists who knew of Browning's high notability decades before). My "plight" is simply that no edit of mine has yet been allowed as helpful. Thanks for understanding the equal right to edit on proper documentary merit, with due sensitivity to newbie status, under the Guidelines. (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:A59C:6354:FC7F:5D69 (talk) 16:47, 1 February 2018 (UTC))

I'm sorry to say this, but this makes very little sense. You say you're trying to make the article fit the project's guidelines but you've had two experienced editors telling you that it already does. You say you've brought other sources to the discussion but you've done little to actually present anything any other editor can evaluate. It seems that you want other people to do the legwork and research for you and somehow determine when "balance" has been reached to your satisfaction. That's not how either this project works or how biographical or scientific research in general works. If you want this changed, you have to present reliable, independent sources in a way that has full citation information in a recognized citation format and specify what text you think those sources would support. Whether you want to become a regular editor here or not, what you're effectively doing with the above is expecting everyone else to do this work for you and then complaining when they don't do what you want them to. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 17:22, 1 February 2018 (UTC)

Sorry Eggishorn, I'm trying pretty hard here, as the full edit record shows. Of course we are promoting "balance" as Wikipedia defines it, not "false balance" (as also defined). I have done my best to make referenced edits meeting every essential, but they are all undone on false suspicions of COI, sockpuppeting, and so on. My blocked efforts are clearly no request for others to do any undue work. As evidence of my diligence, I have just reviewed the vast appendices of the primary reference, the 256page USGS report, and find it a rich trove of original documentation about the event, and Iben Browning himself. I cannot by myself do this topic justice; Wikipedia is a collective effort. My complaint is not that others are not doing the work for me, but that every effort I make at editing this article is undone, based on Geogene's provably false suspicions. Thanks for patiently understanding that my problem in making any edit to this page is not merely my flaws, but that even "experienced editors" make mistakes. ( (talk) 19:01, 1 February 2018 (UTC))

Having now reviewed Wikipedia's guidelines for Citations and Reliability, I was doing ok on the fundamentals (like citing the missing co-authored book). Note also that Wikipedia stub guidelines allow for bare contextual content that is duly expandable by others, that perfection in citation can be progressive. Its not required that articles be ideally formed from the start. The New Madrid Earthquake Scare probably should be a stub, as it made so many headlines worldwide. Browning's article should probably be labeled a stub, for failing to detail his long notable career (add NASA Apollo, Sandia Labs, WWII USAF test pilot, etc). Note that any edit I try is undone by Geogene, and I am not going to edit-war him. (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:F94E:3404:B9B8:60E1 (talk) 19:27, 1 February 2018 (UTC))

Have now reviewed the entire editing history of the Browning article (whew!). It its early years with the more NPOV evident in the NYT obit, where the New Madrid event was just a sad end of a notable life as an inventor (90 patents), scientist, and many other hats. Geogene appears around ten years ago and radically reworks the NPOV to redefine Browning, stripping his "scientist" title and making him primarily notable for his end-of-life viral-media debacle (which merits its own Event article). Browning's Daughter appears as herself in 2016, with intent to correct factual errors. Reviewing COI Guidelines, she did the right thing in identifying herself. Geogene quashes her edits. I come along in 2017 unaware of this history and Geogene imagines my edits are somehow associated with her, maybe even her, sockpuppeting. He undoes every edit I make on that wrongful suspicion. Note that other Browning article references, comparable to those I tried to add, also started as partly incomplete as mine, like no ISBN number, but that sort of flaw hardly calls for summary deletion. Thanks to anyone who understands the sincere effort to restore a nuanced NPOV. I actually think many of Browning's ideas were monstrous, like H-bombs on whales, but his true life-long notoriety was for wild ideas. He was also the NASA Apollo consultant who worried the surface of the Moon might be thick dust, and this fear was duly addressed. We have in fact since found unlandable dusty surfaces on comets, and Mars rovers do get seriously stuck now and then. He was notable enough at Sandia National Laboratory to have a dedicated local park-grove with a granite monument, obviously not for New Madrid. I am grateful this talk page exists to record Browning's curious life legacy for future editors to reconsider.(2602:304:CFA5:42A0:F94E:3404:B9B8:60E1 (talk) 21:57, 1 February 2018 (UTC))

I don't think the guidelines allow for unsourced hagiography to be published on talk pages any more than in articles. This behavior is indistinguishable from COI editors. Geogene (talk) 22:13, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
Edit warring is never helpful, IP user, so that's a good decision on your part and I'm glad you are aware of it. The problem with what you say above, however, is that you still don't seem to understand that you really haven't given any other editors something to work with. The USGS report, the book, etc., all these are not presented here in a form that we can verify. We are all volunteers here. Well, I am, I'm fairly certain Geogene is, and the great majority of the average editors that participate here are. Being volunteers, giving us just a title or a vague reference and hoping that will be looked at is not generally going to help your cause. The article is currently long and detailed enough to not be a stub, it just doesn't have the other information it seems you'd like.
On the other hand, Geogene is not your problem here. It is never good to blame one editor for not seeing your side and he is not this article's gatekeeper. If you want to, you can always propose changes here. Given what has happened so far, that is actually preferable. I suggest that you include a template to gain greater notice for your suggestions. You can do that by starting a new section on this talk page and make sure to use with this text (without the quotes): "{{subst:request edit}} Please add...." Include your sources so that anyone seeing it can verify the information you want added. The template's boilerplate text will say that you are requesting this edit because you have a conflict of interest, which I know you say isn't the case. This isn't why using that template will be useful for your suggestions. It's useful because it brings your requested edit to the notice of a larger group and it clearly sets off your request from anything else.
The other statement that raises a red flag is where you say: "...long notable career (add NASA Apollo, Sandia Labs, WWII USAF test pilot, etc)." That tells me that you may still be missing the unfortunate distinction between "notable" in regular English and what "notable" means in Wikipedia terms. Don't think I am singling you out or denigrating you for this: almost everyone has this problem when they start. In Wikipedia terms, "notable" means that the subject has received significant coverage in independent, reliable sources. If there's a book written by some independent author you can link to which talks about his test pilot career or whatever, then great. I've looked, however, and I still don't see anything that fits all those qualifications which I could use to add those facets of his career. I hope this helps. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 22:29, 1 February 2018 (UTC)
I just want to add that, just as the USGS said, animal-guided munitions weren't strange or unusual in that era. We have two Wikipedia articles, Project Pigeon and Animal-borne bomb attacks. That idea should probably be attributed to B.F. Skinner. The Moon dust claim probably belongs to Thomas Gold. Geogene (talk) 02:31, 2 February 2018 (UTC)

There were fully acceptable Browning sources duly cited, that Geogene wrongly rejected, like Robots on Your Doorstep (Iben Browning and Nels Winkless, Robotics Press, Albequerque NM, 1978), exactly as some other editor has also cited on this talk page. The USGS report appendix is in fact a large trove of proper sources of previous Browning public notability. My problem is that not a single edit I make is allowable by Geogene, so there is no proper consensus on his broad brush undos. Note that I am not trying to leave work for others, but am resolved to see this through. The "red flag" reactions seem like red herrings. Thanks to anyone who sees both sides here. (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:E4ED:88DE:8A0A:C597 (talk) 16:01, 11 February 2018 (UTC))

Digging further, Robert Freitas, Senior Research Fellow at IMM, cites Browning's original Bell Labs report as follows- Iben Browning, “Organization and Vistas of the Entirety: A Periodic Table,” Report No. 98-001, Research Division, Bell Aircraft Corporation, December 1956. Reprinted in: Nelson B. Winkless III, Iben Browning, Robots on Your Doorstep: A Book About Thinking Machines, Robotics Press, Portland, 1978, pp. 13-36. Frietas' page on Browning's contribution- (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:E4ED:88DE:8A0A:C597 (talk) 17:34, 11 February 2018 (UTC))

No, the source, "Robots at Your Doorstep", is not acceptable because (1) it's primary (2) no information seems to be available on its Albuquerque?-based publisher, "Robotics Press", which looks suspiciously like a self-published source. Who cares what somebody said about it on their personal website? Geogene (talk) 01:16, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

Robotics Press was out of Portland, OR, not Albuquerque, as mistakenly suspected. An continuing pattern of provably false suspicions seems evident. The book was a sort of '78 follow-on to ^ Winkless, Nels III and Browning, Iben. Climate and the Affairs of Men, Fraser Publishing, 1975. ISBN 0061295507, which has been allowed despite "primary" status. I read it from the Austin Texas Public Library at the time when it was new. The reason Freitas' citation was useful is because it adds the Bell Labs Report identification number info, and supportive context for recognizing Browning's notability decades before the notorious New Madrid event. (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:49B3:DB88:6397:6E7C (talk) 01:37, 12 February 2018 (UTC))

You yourself said it was based in Albuquerque [6]. Amazon seems to have no idea who published it ("Imprint Unknown") [7]. Publishing a paper at Bell doesn't confer notability for anything, and trying to cite it to call Browning a "polymath", as you've been trying to do, is original research. Geogene (talk) 01:52, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

Portland, OR, is the correct publisher location. Browning was in fact widely regarded as a polymath in his time, ranging widely over many domains, from biology to aerospace, as multiple USGS report appendix sources support. He is commonly remembered in proper sources as "researcher" and "scientist", not just a "quack". I have also been using pejoratives like "debacle", "infamous" and "monstrous" to characterize those aspects of his complex legacy, which is hardly hagiography. Our goal here is a better Wikipedia. What proper role does ongoing unconceded provably mistaken suspicions serve; of COI, sock-puppeting, self-publishing, etc? By now we should have created a proper event article for the quake scare and improved the Browning article with overlooked notability prior to his senescence.(2602:304:CFA5:42A0:49B3:DB88:6397:6E7C (talk) 02:33, 12 February 2018 (UTC))

Still waiting on those sources. Geogene (talk) 03:25, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

Pardon, which sources? (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:39A1:E90D:CD3D:798C (talk) 02:50, 13 February 2018 (UTC))

Seeing no end of possible additional sources to the USGS, etc, trove. Regarding whether Browning was considered a "polymath" in his time, there is this detailed reminiscence by Winkless, citing two notable figures who thought so-'t/

I am still waiting on Geogene to concede at least that I am not Iben Browning's daughter gone stealth, or any other of his mistaken weird suspicions cited in disallowing edits (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:39A1:E90D:CD3D:798C (talk) 03:42, 13 February 2018 (UTC))

IP user, I really don't care who you are and it is not very germane to the main point that I've been trying to make: it is your responsibility to give concrete references in a manner which others can verify if you want your changes to be taken seriously. You keep referring to sources that you haven't presented with those two criteria (e.g., "The USGS report appendix"). Looking at the most recent statements, you keep coming back to Browning's own books, which is not a reliable source on Browning's renaissance man qualities. Unless I overlooked something, every independent source is only given concrete, verifiable form as a cite from Browning's books. To make this crystal clear: Robots on Your Doorstep and anything derived from it are not "...fully acceptable ...sources..." and neither is Climate and the Affairs of Men. You have therefore not actually presented any sources and it is not Geogene's intransigence that prevents making changes. It is your own failure to present the sources that he and I have been asking for since the beginning of this conversation. No matter how many times you say "I've presented fully acceptable Browning sources," I afraid you really haven't. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 04:36, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
Just as Robots on Your Doorstep by Browning and Winkless doesn't pass the reliable source criteria, self-published e-books by Winkless are unlikely to pass the criteria for the same fundamental reasons. But there is a very interesting line in it regardless: Indeed, an online search for Iben Browning turns up virtually nothing but negative comments, some savage, arising from that New Madrid affair. Articles and books touching on the subject in the years since uncritically accept the negative commentary.[8] Yes, exactly. Therefore, Wikipedia should do the same, as required by the Neutrality policy. Geogene (talk) 09:01, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

What evidence is being used to claim the two widely read books were in fact "self published"? Editors are in fact supposed to care about the actual facts, like is anyone or any references wrongly suspected of unsuitability (?) When did "savage" become an Wikipedia ideal? Why not state the Event prompted "savage" as well as nuanced reaction? The NYT obit was not at all savage, nor was Winkless. Even Buzzfeed's longform 2015 article was far more balanced and informative in the sense Wikipedia Guidelines promotes. But my main complaint is about the unfounded suspicions that motivated the drastic undos. It seems we are unable to reach consensus here, and should therefore appeal to the Dispute Resolution process. ( (talk) 14:59, 13 February 2018 (UTC))

Having reviewed Wikipedia's Guidelines for self-published and primary sources, both categories are in fact acceptable, subject to verifiability and other proper criteria. The suspicion that the two Winkless-Browning titles were somehow self-published remains speculative. ( (talk) 15:13, 13 February 2018 (UTC))

IP user, while Geogene may be right about the publisher (Fraser Publishing seems to have no other entries in Worldcat beyond catalogs, for example) self-published or not is not the biggest issue: Self-written is. These are both Iben Browning talking about what Iben Browning thinks will happen. They are therefore WP:PRIMARY sources. They are not concrete, verifiable, reliable, third party sources. If you wish to attempt WP:DR, you may certainly try. Without presenting the type of sources we have been requesting at those fora, however, I doubt you will achieve anything more there than here. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 16:47, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

As requested, I am working on validation research of the rejected sources. There was a phone number on the Winkless Page, and amazingly enough the 83 year old co-author answered. He claims the Robots on your doorstep book first edition was published by Harpers, so "self publishing" fears may be very wide of the mark. As surviving co-author, he gives consent to Wikipedia to publish the Periodic Table of the Entirety, as an earlier editor on this page requested. Winkless suggests the particular problem documenting Browning's prior notability is how much is Top Secret still. We now have a fuller picture of the notable NASA Apollo work, which was public, so more digging should be able to cross-reference the facts. The DR is based on not being allowed to "achieve anything" here, despite diligent effort.(2602:304:CFA5:42A0:F14C:E18F:FA4A:6C9F (talk) 17:21, 13 February 2018 (UTC))

IP user, I'm afraid you're still not understanding the sourcing requirements that we have been trying diligently to explain here. You are focusing on extraneous details (classified research, publisher status, etc.) and ignoring the basic problems. It doesn't matter what permission you get from Winkless or what he says about his co-author. We simply don't use primary sources to establish a person's importance. The fact that you apparently personally contacted Mr. Winkless further demonstrate you are now Browning's advocate. This is not what the neutral point-of-view policy says. WP:BALANCE says: Neutrality assigns weight to viewpoints in proportion to their prominence.Emphasis added Your digging and "diligent effort" are attempting to provide a different viewpoint that is not " proportion to their prominence," or else it would not require such diligent effort. You have clearly slipped from editor to proponent and further efforts in this line are now self-defeating. Please, for your sake and ours, put down the stick and leave the poor horse alone. This accomplishes less than nothing. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 17:52, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

Well I did not know of any guideline against trying to research suspect references by phone(!) Such effort does not prove "proponent" status. Go ahead and also call, to see if that somehow makes you a "proponent". I want the negative side of the Browning legacy documented. The problem is making the article better, and whether my editing should be wrongly suspected as sock-puppeting, COI, etc. I am finding further sources that usually would pass muster, like and which includes an APP item that does quote an unusual "proponent"- ""We owe him a debt of gratitude," New Madrid Mayor Dick Phillips said Friday. "I respected the man's intelligence. In this particular case, thank God, his prediction didn't come to pass, but it made us realize that we had never made any kind of preparations for a natural disaster. We owe him for that. "". It was undue suspicion that I was foisting off the job of trying to research sources more carefully, if now the complaint is that I should stop. (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:F14C:E18F:FA4A:6C9F (talk) 19:03, 13 February 2018 (UTC))

These references only further demonstrate that he should be discussed in relation to his failed earthquake prediction. The generic "we should be more prepared for disasters" statement by a local politician does not change that. You have continued to ignore the attempts to direct you to relevant policies and guidelines in favor of your personal convictions. You also continue to draw all the wrong inferences from these attempts to assist you. This is getting nowhere and continuing to debate you is not helping improve the page. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 19:14, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

No, I am following up on every critique, one-by-one, as best I can. Regarding "prominence" of contested views, the USGS trove clearly treats the minority POVs as significant, but perhaps there is a metric we can apply to determine how much extent the opposed views should be allowed. What I have been trying to convince my fellow editors is that the story is far more nuanced that they seem willing to allow. Its a nice paradox that various respectable commentators came to cite Browning's failure as enhancing disaster awareness and preparedness. Getting author permission for reproducing graphics that another editor had requested is helpful. Checking out suspicions of COI, SP, and self-publishing is helpful. My diligence is in response to editor suggestions and suspicions, not a measure of prominence of proponent views. Yes, I have not been able to improve the page, since my edits are undone, but giving up hardly seems proper. Can we not even agree that it would improve Wikipedia to create a separate earthquake-scare event page, given the Guidlelines for events v people? Thanks for addressing such points on merits. ( (talk) 19:59, 13 February 2018 (UTC))

Please understand there are various open questions about the event, the person, and the science. Here is a recent USGS source regarding the quake tidal forcing idea, which has not yet gained the sort of prominence the older "no connection" "pseudoscience" POV has. Will look for the peer science- ( (talk) 20:23, 13 February 2018 (UTC))

The peer reviewed source is Fortnightly modulation of San Andreas tremor and low-frequency earthquakes Nicholas J. van der Elst, Andrew A. Delorey, David R. Shelly and Paul A. Johnson PNAS 2016; published ahead of print July 18, 2016,

The significance of this science to Browning's case is up-to-date USGS substantiation of the 1897 theory that tidal forces do correlate with earthquake statistics. In Browning's time, many geologists denied any validity to this idea, as the old USGS report shows. Browning had the right idea, but his first-order calculation was clearly way off, as is common in theoretic science. That's a neutral (non-savage) POV example. Another path to explore is Browning's ethical dilemma: should a scientist ever warm the public if convinced of a grave risk? Several of the informants of record reason along that line. The savage Quack! POV is part of the event story, not the whole picture. Even this talk page is part of the story. Once again, did not Browning's prediction gain traction due to his established prior notability, or is there an alternate explanation? As one of many who had known of Browning in prior decades, he sure was notable in early cybernetics, and various other contexts. That does not make me a proponent of his "Dr. Strangelove" mentality.

Regarding the event article, proposing "New Madrid Earthquake Scare". The documentary trail supports that the Scare event as such took prominence over Browning himself as a flawed forecaster. Thanks for patience, as my research work continues. (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:4005:9EB5:AF4A:ECD0 (talk) 21:15, 13 February 2018 (UTC))

These links provide context for the fact that seismic science surrounding Browning's case was not settled decades ago. Geogene seems mistaken that there is nothing in emerging seismic science relevant to the questions the New Madrid Earthquake Scare posed. Here are contextual references, which Wikipedia Guidelines encourage as stepping stones to encyclopedic research. Its a proper question; was it all "pseudoscience", based on the new prominence of the tidal-forcing hypothesis in geoscience?-

Researching another aspect of the editing puzzle, how might a figure like Browning attract "savage" reaction, and his core theoretic basis tidal forcing of quakes be summarily dismissed as pseudoscience, if there is in fact an emerging data-driven statistical scientific basis for the idea? One possible explanation is mass hysteria, a "witch hunt" social dynamic easy for critics to buy into-

(2602:304:CFA5:42A0:4005:9EB5:AF4A:ECD0 (talk) 23:36, 13 February 2018 (UTC))

Another contextual source to track down, an acadmemic thesis of some sort to add a data point to the POV prominence question-

John W. Helderman 5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting hypothesis January 4, 2007 - Published on

"I bought this book while writing my thesis about the New Madrid Earthquake Scare of 1990. Iben Browning, who co-authored this book with Nels Winkles, was crucified by the press and the "professional" scientists about his supposed earthquake prediction of a major quake along the New Madrid fault in 1990. Rather than being the crackpot depicted by the media... I discovered that Browning was a brilliant and gifted scientist with many discoveries and patents to his credit..." (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:4005:9EB5:AF4A:ECD0 (talk) 00:36, 14 February 2018 (UTC))

I assume it's this one [9]. The use of theses as reliable sources is covered by WP:SCHOLARSHIP. Master's theses are generally not considered reliable as sources. I've never seen someone go fishing for sources in Amazon reviews before. Geogene (talk) 01:24, 14 February 2018 (UTC)

You have now. The Master's Thesis may contain helpful references not yet assessed by us. Its more contextual info, as encouraged by Guidelines to lead to better sourcing. Here's the "proponent" POV thesis info then, whose title conforms to Prominence POV pattern of scare Event v. Person frame, as in most sources, and as recommended by Wikipedia for event v. person content, and also the consistent Event name in sources, as proposed for a new Event Page-

The New Madrid earthquake scare of 1990 : a thesis Author: John Wayne Helderman Publisher: [2001] Dissertation: M.A. Southeast Missouri State University 2001

Looking for more detail on Browning's military test pilot service. The sum of remarkable life roles has due relation to a sound Notability judgement. In that vein, here's Winkles 2/13/2018 via email offering helpful background context to Browning prior notability question and "polymath" POV, Browning here wearing a science lecturer hat at Sandia National Laboratory; and a bioscience hat as Head of Research for MD Anderson Cancer Hospital-

 "Iben worked for some years at Sandia (where he met Woody), and after he had left there, he had a series of contracts with Sandia for various specific things and a general contract to go there to give a talk every couple of months on some topic of interest. The house was always packed...Sandia's a respectable technical establishment...long before New 

Madrid. He'd been Head of Research for the MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston some years before Sandia..."

More paths to explore. The question for thoughtful editors is whether such a career scientist ceased to be such when "crucified", as Helderman put it on Amazon. (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:C5DE:EE17:C8BA:CB8C (talk) 03:42, 14 February 2018 (UTC))

More progress toward finding suitable sourcing, it turns out WP in German covers Woody Bledsoe in far greater detail than WP in English, with multiple Browning sources to follow up on, especially pioneering AI collaboration and the co-founding of Panoramic Research Institute. Caution, machine translation- "After graduating, he (WB) offered courses at universities and went to Sandia Corporation in Albuquerque (later Sandia National Laboratories), where he worked as a mathematician or system analyst on secret research related to the hydrogen bomb (he Was 1956 at the test of a hydrogen bomb on the Eniwetok atoll. Also at Sandia he turned to pattern recognition, at that time for the recognition of written or printed letters. With his Sandia colleague Iben Browning, he developed the 1959 [2] Bledsoe-Browning N-tuple method. The Learning algorithm for letter recognition was adapted to a grid of N Photocells, which were randomly connected to pairs and represented 1 bit of information. In the following time, he continued to work on improvements to the algorithm. He left Sandia and founded with Iben Browning and Lloyd Lockingen (both of Sandia) 1960 a separate company Panoramic Research Inc. (PRI) in Palo Alto, which continues to work on these problems with orders from the Ministry of Defence and various intelligence services (but also Example of a newspaper) worked." (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:5D29:8C04:C2F6:1D57 (talk) 17:25, 14 February 2018 (UTC))

Okay. Here's a source that covers the Bledsoe-Browning algorithm and the company they founded at Palo Alto (around page 11) [10]. It's secondary because it wasn't written by Browning about Browning's work. It's also a Springer imprint, which helps. I think a couple of sentences of text like that in the German article (which I'm also viewing through machine translation) should be added. Geogene (talk) 18:39, 14 February 2018 (UTC)

Very good reference. Note that a who's who of AI pioneers are listed who cycled thru Panoramic, half of whom are alive, a couple I have crossed trails with. These aging colleagues of Browning can provide missing context for judging Browning prior notability, at least in AI. There's no question that enough secondary sources exist to properly frame Browning's article. Given that WP essential precondition, primary sources are in fact quite useful when they serve to document a subject's own ideas. The current page ban on the second Winkless co-authored book, where Browning's supposed masterpiece (the "Anlage") was publicly printed, seems like cherry-picking, given the first book is allowed in order to cherry-pick some silly sounding ideas. Note that Browning's old denial of significant anthropogenic climate change should be judged by his invocation of established climate science that we seem due for the next Ice Age.

Here's another primary source for context- W.W. Bledsoe; I. Browning (1959). "Pattern Recognition and Reading by Machine". Papers Presented at the December 1–3, 1959, Eastern Joint IRE-AIEE-ACM Computer Conference. IRE-AIEE-ACM '59 (Eastern). ACM: 225–232. doi:10.1145/1460299.1460326. (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:A005:18D5:3A90:63CE (talk) 20:01, 14 February 2018 (UTC))

The gaps and ambiguities of Browning's case fall under Wikipedia's policies supporting OR methods for editors' needs, while prohibiting OR in articles themselves. Thus there is no problem with investigating Browning leads that may lead to better sources previously unknown to editors, and this Talk page is the correct place for these bits of OR. A further direction to explore Browning's prior notability (before New Madrid), clearly without undue proponentism, may be the animal control experiments hinted at in some sources. While Browning worked with mules in the documents, the H-bomb-on-a-Whale concept seems to top any other such concept for weaponizing animals on the relevant WP page, and should be included there. Finding better sources for this disturbing vein of notability will also answer the disputed editorial accusations of COI, sockpuppeting and so on. (2602:304:CFA5:42A0:DD71:E776:3201:AA5E (talk) 20:21, 27 February 2018 (UTC))

Plausibly due to the secretive nature of the intelligence field, Browning's supposed employment by the CIA has gone undocumented in public, not even making his NYT obit. His CIA career is weakly evidenced by a mention on the Browning Report website ( ); "Dr. Browning was one of the CIA’s top scientists". Not a great reference on many counts, but it once again reminds us of notability knowledge gaps imposed by official secrecy, where evidence languishes in obscurity. Editors should be cautious in presuming lack of notability for such figures. There is the expectation that CIA internal history, like Browning's work, will emerge in time, allowing better notability assessment.

Not yet seeing Editor consensus on improving the Browning article, and creating a separate New Madrid Earthquake Scare event page, more consistent with WP guidelines than the currently imposed text. Will continue context research and analysis, to hopefully tip the balance at some point.(2602:304:CFA5:42A0:F4C9:4BF1:CF8C:1D2E (talk) 13:55, 28 April 2018 (UTC))