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back to basics

Dear list,

I would like to first humbly suggest a more flexible system of refereeing
before commenting again on the question of traveling wave.

Did you get aware of a perhaps not peer reviewed downright editorial
"What's Shakin' in the Ear?" by Adrian Cho in Science 288, 16 June 2000,

Maybe, the most basic and consequently important work is not always a
funded one. I do not refer to Bill Gates but to objections, e.g. by Seebeck
(1841/43) or Gold (1948) against questionable concepts like spectral
acoustic energy and its passive travel along basilar membrane. I was told
that the maverick Tommy Gold was responsible himself for not getting
recognized. Well, he was too intelligent as to fight against the two
anonymous guards, because experiments of that sort may be deathly. When I
grew up behind the communist firewall, the two heavily armed frontier
guards were commanded by the party, and the party was always right.
Nowadays, the web even allows to denounce Lighthill as notoriously driving
too fast.

Do not get me wrong. I highly appreciate the indispensable and excellent
work of all referees. However, the system seems to be worth improving. So
far, nobody feels responsible for anything after the referees' decision.
Nobody might reckon on funding if she or he just tries to understand
contradicting facts and consequently puts into question what was accepted
for good. As a result, a huge number of high quality papers has been
mounting. Possibly wrong basics are tabooed.

Recio, Rich, Narayan, and Ruggero (1998) backed the travelling wave model
by reporting (in active as well as death cochleae) "large phase lags and
the long delays which, according to the one-dimensional long wave theory,
characterize a traveling wave which transports energy along the cochlea".
However, Rhode and Recio (2000) wrote "Phase after death. Is there a
problem?" and "there is a latency difference in the response with the
high-level response occurring ~100 us earlier than the lower-level
response". Their Fig. 11 seems to confirm Dancer's idea of gradual
OHC-resonance build-up. According to Manley, the bird emu contrasts from
other birds by its mammal-like asymmetrical tuning curves. No matter
whether or not in this case, hair cell resonance occurs without movement of
the supporting structure, the hydrodynamic model is certainly not
applicable. The same is true for DPOAE from the gecko. There must be at
least one other explanation. Mammals, are distinguished by a highly
developed mechanics performing a predominantly radial motion, being far
beyond the scope of nowadays hydrodynamic modeling but nonetheless
understandable. I do not doubt that the critical bandwidth is linked with
two frequencies of resonance approximately 22% apart from each other on
condition period does not much exceed 2 ms. Possibly this limit is due to a
geometric constraint of the genetic "design", maybe limited mass of
Hensen's cells.

Even those who, like me, are not a "nuclear physicist", might be wary. I
agree with Greenberg that latency of the neural responses has been largely
underestimated. I am not sure whether place and temporal cues are really as
comprehensive as for instance assumed by McKay, McDermott, and Carlyon (2000).

Eckard Blumschein