Believe those who are seeking the truth.
Doubt those who find it.
—ANDRÉ GIDE (1869-1951)
STEPPING INTO THE early March twilight, Jason Byrd drank in the silence, grateful to escape the drone of a thousand flies. For the most part, the twenty-six-year-old graduate student thought of his laboratory at the University of Florida as a haven, a refuge where hours disappeared like minutes as he worked through his forensic cases and tended his insect colonies. Most visitors wrinkled their noses at the smell—a cinnamony bouquet of fermenting sugar water, dead bugs, and raw pork past its prime. Mercifully, the hairlike olfactory nerves of the human nose tire easily. Habituated to the odor, Byrd smelled nothing within minutes of unlocking his door each morning.
The same could not be said of the incessant buzz that radiated from the racks of wire-mesh rearing cages that held Byrd's research colonies. Compounding the abrasive noise of blow fly wings was the constant whirr and suck of the fume hoods that vented the lab's sickly sweet air before it could permeate the entire entomology building. The jangle of the laboratory telephone