& Changes: Sunday, April 27, 2014, thru Wednesday, April 30,
April 30, 2014 (B) - Yesterday, "DXer/Anonymous" posted a message to my interactive blog using the name "V." It was about the French novel "Amerithrax." I didn't know it was actually from "DXer/Anonymous." So, I let it go through and post. Then "V" tried to post a disgusting personal attack which showed he was actually "DXer/Anonymous" posting under a false name. I deleted the second message but let the first stay, adding a comment about how "DXer/Anonymous" tricked me. It's another illustration of how dealing with "DXer/Anonymous" is like dealing with an obnoxious 12-year-old.
April 30, 2014 (A) - This morning I see a lot of people on the Internet questioning the findings by Georesonance Pty. Ltd. that I mentioned in my (B) comment yesterday. The posts are to the Professional Pilots Rumor Network and to metabunk.org, a site that debunks false claims on the Internet. It appears Georesonance previously claimed to have found an Armenian hospital ship sunk during WWII, but their claim was never verified. It also appears they do not have any satellites of their own but just analyze data purchased from companies that DO own satellites, and they use old Soviet military technology to do it. Their web site is less than a year old. Essentially, they use the satellite "findings" to identify potential sites for mining or drilling, and then they sell a bunch of other services to check out those "findings." So, there appears to be justification for the Australian government to "dismiss" their findings. But, the Malaysian government will hear their presentation. Someone is going to have to check out the location, or the conspiracy theoriests will never let the matter drop - even if the plane is found in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
April 29, 2014 (B) - A "breaking news" story on CBS says that an Australian company using satellite data detected metals in the shape of a large aircraft on the bottom of the Bay of Bengal. The shape wasn't there when they did a metal survey on March 5, but it was there on March 10. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8.
None of the articles on the subject says anything about detecting the same signals in any later surveys or if the shape is still there, so it definitely seems like a long shot, but the technology is fascinating. A Fox News story says the information is "being assessed." The Bay of Bengal is not that deep, so it should be relatively easy to check out.
April 29, 2014 (A) - Hmm. My comments yesterday seem to have prompted a long, weird and largely incoherent rant from DXer. Click HERE to read it. It contains quotes that are attributed to me, but which I'm certain I never said. And, instead of focusing on the issue of where Adnan El-Shukrijumah was at the time of the anthrax mailings, DXer rambles on and on about every screwball notion he's had in the past 12 years to explain how al Qaeda terrorists could have been behind the mailings.
Here's the first instance where he seems to be quoting me:
Ed settled on his view that Al Qaeda was not responsible in 2001. He says he knew right “from the start.”
That's totally untrue, of course. Initially, like almost everyone else, I thought al Qaeda did it. The anthrax attacks happened shortly after 9/11, and the wording in the letters seemed to indicate that they were from Muslim terrorists. So, initially there was no reason for anyone to think that al Qaeda did NOT send the letters. And there were no debates. But then the evidence quickly started accumulating to indicate that the anthrax letters were sent by an American scientist pretending to be an al Qaeda terrorist. And, I went with what the facts and evidence said. From the very beginning of the debates, the facts seemed to say it was not al Qaeda.
Another quote DXer uses as if I wrote or said it somewhere is about the writing of the letters. DXer wrote this about me, as if I wrote it in my second book:
He concludes that “the letter writer was totally unaware of the serious consequences of what he was doing.”
I did a search through my book for the word "unaware" and found I used the word 4 times, but never in anything like the above quote. In my book I made it abundantly clear that Ivins was always aware "of the serious consequences of what he was doing," even though I used the word "consequences" only once, on page 39:
Planting an ammonium nitrate bomb in some public place was not as simple as
breaking into a Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house that he knew
was empty and unguarded. If he were caught in the process of
planting the bomb, the consequences would be a lot more severe
than being caught inside a sorority house without a good
explanation. No amount of explaining would ever convince people
that he didn't actually intend to harm anyone with the bomb.
So, DXer is just making up quotes. They do not represent anything I wrote or said.
His favorite topic in the rant is, of course, my hypothesis that a child wrote the anthrax documents. In one typical paragraph he wrote:
Ed’s suggestion that a child wrote the letters (because block letters were used) has always been especially foolish. It is not difficult for an adult to disguise his writing (using block letters). There would be no reason to involve a child. Duh.
The "average" or "typical" psychopath might not have a "reason to involve a child," but what about Bruce Ivins? The facts indicate that Bruce Ivins had solid reasons to involve a child. Plus, it is not as easy to disguise one's handwriting by using block letters as DXer clearly believes. Every forensic handwriting expert probably has multiple stories about how someone tried to disguise their handwriting by using block letters, but the writer still left behind more than enough clues to convince any jury that he or she wrote the document in question. And Ivins probably knew that.
DXer's incoherent rant is in a new thread on Lew Weinstein's blog titled: "The List Of Comparisons Done By FBI’s Handwriting Analyst Who Found Ivins Probably DId Not Write The Anthrax Letters Is 22 Pages Long; The FBI Advises DXer That No Comparison Of Mohammed Atta’s Handwriting Is Among The Many Dozens Listed That Were Provided The Amerithrax Task Force." The thread currently contains 6 other rants from DXer on everything from the Goldman Sachs hoax letters to how he wants Brad Pitt to play him in the movie about how Anthrax Truthers solved the Amerithrax case. It also contains one post by Lew Weinstein which says,
So if Ivins didn’t write the envelopes, he was NOT THE SOLE PERPETRATOR, as the FBI claims.
OK, that’s one down, many more to follow.
IVINS DIDN’T DO IT, and the FBI should finally say it has NO PROOF for its assertion that he did.Note how Mr. Weinstein changes "probably did not write the anthrax letters" to "Ivins didn't write the envelopes."
Ivins WAS, of course, the sole perpretrator of the attacks. The fact that postal employees delivered the letters for him doesn't mean that postal employees were his partners in crime. Nor was the child Ivins tricked into writing the anthrax documents.
April 28, 2014 (B) - While working out at the health club this afternoon it occurred to me that the past 5 years of arguing with Anthrax Truthers have been summarized in the past 24 hours.
1. I argued that DXer's theory of who sent the anthrax letters makes no sense and he has no evidence to support his beliefs.
2. DXer indicated that his primary evidence is that I (and the FBI) cannot show that it would be impossible for his suspect to have done it.
3. I argued that the FBI has infinitely more evidence against Bruce Ivins than DXer has against the person he thinks sent the anthrax letters.
4. DXer responded with an attack upon the FBI (to go with his attacks upon me).
That's pretty much how our arguments have gone for the past 5 years, since Bruce Ivins' death, and in many ways for the past 12 years, since the FBI started looking for an American scientist, not a Muslim terrorist.
The same basic arguments are used by all Anthrax Truthers. The only difference with DXer is that he buries his arguments inside an endless stream of meaningless blather.
April 28, 2014 (A) - "DXer" on Lew Weinstein's blog has posted what appears to be a response to the comment I wrote yesterday about his theory that Adnan El-Shukrijumah was the person who mailed the anthrax letters in September and October 2001. In DXer's comment HERE, he wrote some irrelevant blather about what Shukrijumah was doing months before 9/11, which does nothing to explain where he was at the time of the mailings. However, one comment seems to explain why DXer thinks Shukrijumah might have mailed the letters from New Jersey IF he had been in the U.S. after 9/11:
3. Where did Adnan El-Shukrijumah stay while casing the targets in New York [prior to 9/11]? New Jersey. He stayed with Al-Hindi’s relative.
So, after 9/11, when there was a massive manhunt in New Jersey for any Muslim who might have been involved in attacks of 9/11, DXer thinks Shukrijumah would have had no problem re-entering the U.S. and staying with Muslim friends in New Jersey.
5. Why was he able to travel undetected? He had numerous passports and officials explain that his looks made him difficult to peg as a particular nationality.
And, what "evidence" does DXer have that Shukrijumah entered the U.S. after 9/11. DXer's only evidence appears to be this vague comment from a March 23, 2003 issue of the Washington Times:
El Shukrijumah, 27, is the target of a worldwide alert issued last week by the FBI, who said the Saudi national posed a serious threat to the United States and could be plotting new suicide attacks against targets here and abroad. He was last seen in late 2001 in the Miami area.
So, DXer apparently believes that, if the FBI isn't polite, kind and gentle when dealing with a sociopathic mass murderer, none of the evidence they have against him is even worth considering in court.
April 27, 2014 - As the years pass, it's getting harder and harder to find anything to write about that relates to the anthrax attacks of 2001. I don't see much purpose in debunking more of the endless nonsense posted by "DXer" to Lew Weinstein's blog. But, since I don't have anything else related to the anthrax attacks to write about, and since I had a half-completed comment left over from last week, I might as well finish it and use it today. Here it is:
On April 19, DXer posted this to Lew Weinstein's blog:
DXer says: Adnan El-Shukrijumah is the anthrax mailer … on or about 9/13/2001, he phoned from KSM’s house to tell his mom he was coming to the US
That's also the title of a thread found HERE. DXer's comment made me wonder if El-Shukrijumah actually came to the U.S. Or was DXer simply basing all of his beliefs on some news report about what Adnan El-Shukrijumah said he was planning to do.
So, I did a Google search for the "Shukrijumah" and "entered the United States" and found nothing about him re-entering the U.S. But I found that Wikipedia has an entry for him that says,
Shukrijumah left the United States in May 2001 and flew to Trinidad after receiving his degree in computer engineering. However Mandhai's testimony in court would indicate that he believed he had last seen Shukrijumah two months after his stated departure
And I found a St. Petersburg Times article that says,
Gulshair El Shukrijumah said his eldest son, Adnan, left the United States about five months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He went to Trinidad by way of Panama for his import-export business.
These and other news articles say Shukrijumah had left the U.S. before 9/11. Are there any reports that he also returned after 9/11? Was Shukrijumah actually in the U.S. at the time of the mailing? I would think that even a rabid True Believer would have to admit that is a major requirement if you want to claim that Shukrijumah was in New Jersey in September and October 2001 to mail the letters.
I found a CNN article dated Aug. 6, 2010 which says the call was made on 9/11, not 9/13:
Just before 9/11, the FBI says Shukrijumah crossed the U.S. by train. Later, he scoped out the Panama Canal as a target.
He went to Trinidad, London and -- by June 2001 -- Afghanistan.
On 9/11, his mother says he called home for the last time.
"He called me and he said, 'Did you hear what happened with so and so and so?' He said, 'They're putting it on the Muslims. I said, 'yes.'"
She says she told him not to come home.
"And he was arguing with me. He said, 'No, I didn't do nothing. I will come, don't worry about this,'" she recalls.
After that, she says, she never heard from him again.Was Shukrijumah in Afghanistan when he made that phone call? DXer says that on Sept. 13 Shukrijumah phoned from "KSM's house." So where was KSM's house at that time? ("KSM" is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.)
A timeline for KSM says KSM was in Afghanistan on Sept. 10, 2001. Just about every article I can find says KSM was in Afghanistan. So, if Shukrijumah was with KSM, then they were both in Afghanistan when Shukrijumah made the call on Sept. 11 or 13, 2001.
The quote below is from a Florida Sun-Sentinel article dated Sept. 3, 2006:
El'Shukri-Jumah has not been charged with a crime, but federal grand juries in Virginia and South Florida are hearing evidence about his activities.
Agents working on the investigation were reluctant to provide many details because of those investigations, but the FBI does say that El'Shukri-Jumah trained at an al-Qaida camp in Afghanistan before Sept. 11.
There he learned to handle AK-47s, M-16s, Uzis and other automatic weapons and studied topography, communications, camouflage, clandestine surveillance and explosives, including C-4 plastic charges, dynamite and mines, they say.It seems fairly certain that Shukrijumah was in Afghanistan on 9/11 and for a few months before that. Nevertheless, in DXer's fantasy world, he apparently believes Shukrijumah packed his bags a couple days after 9/11, somehow traveled half-way around the world, entered into the U.S. unnoticed at a time when security was probably higher than it has ever been before or since, and evidently brought the anthrax letters with him. Then for some inexplicable reason, he traveled to Princeton, New Jersey where he mailed the first batch of letters on or shortly before Sept. 18, 2001. Then he waited around for almost a month before deciding to mail two U.S. Senators different letters which contained more highly refined anthrax. He mailed those on or shortly before October 9. Then Shukrijumah must have left the country once again (without visiting his parents) and evidently went back to Afghanistan. Easy as pie -- a True Believer might believe.
What evidence is there for any of this? Absolutely NONE AT ALL. The evidence clearly and strongly indicates that Shukrijumah was in Afghanistan at the time of the mailings, and there is absolutely NO reason to think he had anything to do with the mailings. Why would he mail the letters from Princeton? DXer doesn't say. Why would Shukrijumah wait weeks between the two batches of anthrax letters? DXer doesn't say. There's no logic or reasoning behind DXer's beliefs at all. Or, if there is, he seems totally incapable of explaining his reasoning.
But, I think everyone knows that. I've certainly pointed it out numerous times. It's just that some of DXer's beliefs are more absurd than others. And the idea that Shukrijumah was the anthrax mailer seems to be the most absurd idea of all of DXer's absurd ideas.
Meanwhile, I awoke this morning realizing that I should have been mentioning novelist Michael Crichton in my query letters to literary agents. Crichton's science fiction books "The Andromeda Strain," "Jurassic Park," "Congo" and others, are about modern-day scientists dealing with new discoveries or inventions in today's world. H.G. Wells did the same thing in his era with "The Time Machine," "The Invisible Man," "The War of the Worlds" and others. And their books were very popular.
When dealing with literary agents, you need to talk in their terms. They know that Michael Crichton's books were best-selling sci-fi novels, and that his stories didn't take place in outer space or in distant galaxies. They were best sellers perhaps because the sci-fi stories took place in today's world and NOT in the far future. So, a literary agent would know more about my novel if I compared it to what Michael Crichton would write, instead of trying to explain that is NOT like most science fiction novels written today.
I'll have to do some further research to see if there are other current sci-fi authors who write about today's world -- other than the ones who write medical sci-fi books about plagues and viruses that turn people into zombies.
Last week, I did some research on publishers who publish science fiction novels and came across Raider Publishing International. Their web site seemed very odd, their list of New Releases seemed even odder, and their "testimonials" seemed beyond odd and into the realm of screwball. Further research found a Facebook page titled "Do Not Publish with Raider Publishing International." That was when it became very clear that they are a vanity publishing company where you PAY to have your book published. They just don't mention that in their ads. They wait until you submit your manuscript, then they tell you how much it is going to cost you.
One reason I'm trying to find a literary agent to help me sell my book is because agents can get to the major publishers who only deal with agents. Another is that it eliminates the need for me to try to figure out what kind of publishing company I'm dealing with. When I find a publisher called Whiskey Creek Press, located in Casper, Wyoming, I have to wonder if they are legit. It appears they are. Very much so. As is Double Dragon Publishing, although it's in Canada, as is Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, which is a division of Hades Publications, Inc.
I wrote in my (A) comment on Friday that I might try sending my book to a publisher in mid-May if no agent is reading my book by that time. After spending a few days doing research on publishers, however, I've changed my mind. I'll wait until I've gone further down the list of literary agents before I try going directly to a publisher. I need to be certain I can't interest a literary agent with lot of experience who can get my book to a major publisher before I start trying the smaller publishers by myself.
And, I really really need to get started on the sequel to my sci-fi novel. It will keep my mind busy while I wait for literary agents to respond.
& Changes: Sunday, April 20, 2014, thru Saturday, April 26,
April 25, 2014 (B) - One of my favorite PBS series is "Foyle's War," and last night I watched a 2006 episode titled "Bad Blood." It was about a fictional British experiment with anthrax that went wrong during the early days of WWII, and some local villagers were killed. Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle is working on a different crime in the area at the time, and he gets involved. I found it interesting that, at one point, they referred to it as "Woolsorters' disease." The only "error" I noticed was when Foyle's driver contracts cutaneous anthrax via a cut on her wrist caused by a piece of barbed wire. The infection "spreads" and causes black blisters elsewhere on her arm. I don't think cutaneous anthrax works that way. All the victims of the 2001 attacks who contracted cutaneous anthrax seemed to have a black sore in only one spot - the point of infection where the spores entered the body through a cut or scratched pimple.
April 25, 2014 (A) - This morning, I received another rejection letter. It was in response to a query email I sent out on March 4. It took the agent over seven weeks to get to my query in his inbox. It was another form letter. So, there's no way to get any meaningful information from it. My query letter and sample chapter just didn't excite him.
Meanwhile, I was doing some research, and I found a couple major publishers who accept sci-fi manuscripts from unagented authors. I may give one of them a try around mid-May, if I don't have an agent reading my manuscript by then. I was rather puzzled to find that publishers generally want manuscripts to be in .rtf format. I don't know why. I'd never encountered or used that format before. But, there doesn't seem to be any problem with saving a .doc file into .rtf format. Visually they seem the same.
Baen Books is a major publisher of sci-fi and fantasy novels, but they prefer their books to be over 100,000 words in length. Mine is only 65,000 words. However, it's not an absolute requirement. What might be a bigger problem is that my sci-fi novel isn't their typical form of sci-fi novel. They seem to prefer sci-fi books that take place in the distant future, perhaps on distant worlds in a galaxy far far away. My novel takes place in our current time. The only sci-fi aspect is that it involves a new device that three inventors are testing to see if it can be used to solve crimes and hunt down criminals.
A non-writer might suggest that I write a sci-fi novel that takes place in the distant future on some distant world, since that is what publishers seem to want. But, I generally don't like reading those kinds of sci-fi novels. And, I write for my own enjoyment. Writing is my hobby. I'm not going to write a book that I don't want to read, that's about a subject of no interest to me. There's no enjoyment in that. I write books I like to read. And, if I can find a publisher, that makes things even better. There's nothing much better than having a very enjoyable hobby that people also pay you to enjoy.
April 24, 2014 (B) - I keep wondering if I should mention to literary agents that there's a lot of current news about a character who almost perfectly matches the villian in my sci-fi novel. The news about rancher Cliven Bundy nicely fits the events in my novel that causes my villain to take action. Bundy even has a small army of anti-government militants supporting him, just like the fictional character in my book. The biggest difference is that Cliven Bundy is from Nevada, and my villain is from Idaho.
But, I think I'm better off if an agent reads the book and then sees the connection himself (or herself). Pointing out the connection to the agent could suggest that my villain is not a truly dangerous character worthy of a sci-fi novel about an effort to stop him. Cliven Bundy seems more silly and pathetic than villainous.
April 24, 2014 (A) - The pieces of metal that showed up on the southwest coast of Australia have been determined to NOT be from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Click HERE to view five additional pictures of the piece shown above. Click HERE for the latest news about the search.
April 23, 2014 (B) - Hmm. I just lost another piece from the bottom of this web page, and I had to fix it. I only lost the part with the copyright info and the "target" of the link to the bottom of the page. But, I'm going to have to watch things more carefully and take some precautions to make certain I can easily recover lost pieces. It seems to be further evidence that this page is getting too large for some software to handle.
April 23, 2014 (A) - While there's no reason to be overly hopeful, the piece of fiberglass covered metal that supposedly washed ashore near Augusta in Western Australia could have come from Malaysia Airways Flight MH370. It could have been carried there by the Leeuwin Current.
Or it could be a hoax or pieces of junk from some other source. According to CBS News, there were actually three pieces of metal, "one about the size of a car with distinct rivets on it." That poses some questions: How could pieces of metal have floated that far? And why would the three pieces be located near to one another after floating so far? Those two questions strongly suggest some other explanation for their source.
Another article from an Australian newspaper says,
Senior Sergeant Steve Principe at Busselton Police Station told The Busselton-Dunsborough Mail the object in their possession, which had washed up on a beach at Scott River near Augusta, was eight feet (2.43 metres) tall, half a metre wide and was an alloy type of metal.
The object did not have any identifiable writing on it, Senior Sergeant Principe told the Western Australian news outlet.It's easy to imagine that it's a piece of a flap or tailfin or aileron, but one would think that those kinds of aircraft pieces would also be immediately recognizable.
April 22, 2014 - Someone just sent me a link to a new article showing how scientists can write papers about total nonsense these days and get them published. I've written about this before in relation to the junk science papers HERE and HERE offering views about the anthrax attacks and published by the Journal of Bioterrorism and Biodefense.
The new article (dated yesterday) is titled "Blinded by scientific gobbledygook - How fake research journals are scamming the science community." The article begins:
I have just written the world’s worst science research paper: More than incompetent, it’s a mess of plagiarism and meaningless garble.
Now science publishers around the world are clamouring to publish it.
They will distribute it globally and pretend it is real research, for a fee.
It’s untrue? And parts are
plagiarized? They’re fine with that.
And here are some
details about the content of the paper:
My short research paper may look normal to outsiders: A lot of big, scientific words with some graphs. Let’s start with the title: “Acidity and aridity: Soil inorganic carbon storage exhibits complex relationship with low-pH soils and myeloablation followed by autologous PBSC infusion.”
Look more closely. The first half is about soil science. Then halfway through it switches to medical terms, myeloablation and PBSC infusion, which relate to treatment of cancer using stem cells.
The reason: I copied and pasted one phrase from a geology paper online, and the rest from a medical one, on hematology.
I wrote the whole paper that way, copying and pasting from soil, then blood, then soil again, and so on. There are a couple of graphs from a paper about Mars. They had squiggly lines and looked cool, so I threw them in.
Footnotes came largely from a
paper on wine chemistry. The finished product is completely meaningless.
The university where I claim to work doesn’t exist. Nor do the Nepean Desert or my co-author.
The article contains an
illustration which shows a layout provided by Merit Research Journals,
giving the author a look at how the article would have looked in print.
But, the author says that he refused to pay them the $500 they
asked to publish his article.
One problem is: Not all
print-for-a-fee scientific publishers are scam artists. Some are
real. But it can be very very
difficult to tell which publisher is which kind.
Another problem is: When
conspiracy theorists who are also scientists get their opinions published in such a
journal, reporters will find it "newsworthy" that their nonsense was
printed in a "scientific journal," and they'll report on it as if the
article actually contained something worthwhile, instead of just
screwball opinions from conspiracy theorists.
There's nothing new in them. It's just those same co-workers and scientists arguing that it cannot be proved to a scientific certainty that Ivins was the killer and/or fantasizing about ways that Ivins could NOT have made the attack anthrax, without even trying to figure out how Ivins COULD have made the attack anthrax. The title for the first of the three articles is a blatant distortion. They found no "new evidence." All it says is,
FRONTLINE, McClatchy and ProPublica have taken an in-depth look at the case against Ivins, conducting dozens of interviews and reviewing thousands of pages of FBI files. Much of the case remains unchallenged, notably the finding that the anthrax letters were mailed from Princeton, N.J., just steps from an office of the college sorority that Ivins was obsessed with for much of his adult life.
But newly available documents and the accounts of Ivins’ former colleagues shed fresh light on the evidence and, while they don’t exonerate Ivins, are at odds with some of the science and circumstantial evidence that the government said would have convicted him of capital crimes.
Documents that are "new" to Frontline, McClatchy and Propublica do not constitute "new evidence" for court, nor do new ignorant arguments from former colleagues.
Meanwhile, in case anyone is interested, yesterday I finished another of Lee Child's Jack Reacher thrillers, "Tripwire." It was the least far-fetched story of the ones I've read so far, even though it has a section where Jack Reacher arrives by airplane in New York and finds he needs to obtain a gun. So, what does this 250 pound, 6'5" ex-Military Policeman do? He goes to the roughest part of the city and punches out one drug dealer after another until he finds a gun he likes on the third guy. Easy as pie.
April 20, 2014 (B) - This morning I decided that the debates with "DXer/Anonymous" on my interactive blog have become more destructive than constructive. So, from this point on, I'll be deleting all further posts to my blog from "Anonymous." Since I've always immediately hung up on him when he tried calling me on the phone, and I stopped responding to his emails years ago, this action means we'll no longer be doing any true back and forth communicating anywhere.
The reasons for this action are as follows:
First, his personal attacks have become far more vile and disgusting than they were in the past. He usually sends the most disgusting attacks via emails, but last week he managed to get one posted to my interactive blog.
I didn't even recognize it as a personal attack at first. I thought it was just stupid and funny. It came in a post yesterday where "Anonymous" seemed to complain:
Yazid Sufaat told KSM that he and his two assistants were vaccinated and so using the virulent anthrax was safe. You would not know that because you spend your time hanging out at the gymnasium rather than reading the detainee statements leaked about Al Qaeda's anthrax program.
I thought "Anonymous" was upset because I go to exercise at the gym most weekday afternoons, and that means he has to wait until I get back before I can respond to his latest rant. Or I thought maybe he was just angry that I go to the gym, and he knows he needs to do so, also, but he doesn't. I thought, What kind of nut case can complain that I go to the gym instead of "reading the detainee statements leaked about Al Qaeda's anthrax program"? I thought that was really funny.
I wondered if he would next complain that I sleep soundly at night, instead of staying up to search the Internet for the latest news about Muslim terrorists. He's clearly wildly obsessed and paranoid about future attacks from Muslim terrorists. I'm not. He evidently doesn't like that. He wants everyone to be as obsessed and paranoid as he is.
But yesterday afternoon he sent me an email where he more or less explained what he meant in his post. Here's the entire email:
Ed, that was a movie allusion: "Billy, do you like hanging out at gymnasiums?"
Huh? I didn't recognize the quote. So, I did a Google search for it. That's when I found that he was trying to quote from the movie "Airplane." He's done that in the past in a couple of his more disgusting attacks via emails. This time, however, he got the quote wrong. What he evidently meant was this quote:
Captain Oveur: Joey, did you ever hang around a gymnasium?
"Anonymous" could be arguing that the only men who go to gymnasiums are men who like to look at other men in the nude in the locker room. But, he probably meant something more vile and disgusting than that. Whatever he meant, it was one disgusting attack too many.
Second, "Anonymous" has begun trying to trick me into doing things. In one recent post, he lied and tried to convince me that he had a copy of Patricia Fellows' deposition in the Maureen Stevens v USA lawsuit, that it was avaliable via FOIA requests, and that I didn't know what it said because I hadn't bothered to get a copy. He wrote:
I've urged that you seek to obtain and upload her [Fellows'] civil deposition in US v. Stevens. You do not know what she said at civil deposition.
Then he made the mistake of stating on Lew Weinstein's blog that Patricia Fellows' deposition was still under seal and not available. (See my April 13 (A) comment.) So, he was just trying to trick me into "adding pressure" to get the DOJ to release it.
Third, "Anonymous" seems to get far too much pleasure out of trying to be as cruel as he can be. He seems to enjoy telling me that no agent is ever going to want to represent my novel. And no publisher will ever publish it. In one recent post he wrote:
It's your unpleasant "schtick" that is going to turn off any agent in marketing a novel. Likability is important in the marketing of ideas.
No publisher is going to go near someone arguing a First Grader wrote the Fall 2001 anthrax letters. That's just nutty.
And in another post he wrote:
I admire your persistence in trying to publish a novel after not publishing the previous six you wrote. Your courage in posting the regular rejections is an example for all aspiring writers.
And in yet another post he wrote:
You like mischaracterizing people in order to provoke me into having to post. It's a very poor practice to be so closely associated with your marketing of a novel.
It's tough enough trying to find an agent to represent my novel without also seeing posts from "Anonymous" showing how happy he is that I haven't yet found an agent.
Fourth, I don't know if anyone noticed or not, but when I added last week's Hartford Courant article about Ottilie Lundgren to the references section of this web site, I saw I didn't have a single news article in the list for either 2012 or 2013. There were dozens for 2011, but only through June 3, 2011. And the "target" for the directory link that takes you to the bottom of the list was also gone.
An investigation showed that the bottom portion of the file had somehow gotten deleted. My April 1, 2014 backup had all the links. So the bottom of the file for the site got deleted between then and April 15th when I did another backup. It took some time yesterday to reconstruct it, but I'm worried that I might be hitting against some kind of size limit, and it could happen again.
The main web page for 2001 through 2004 occupies 331,776 bytes on disk.
The main web page for 2005 through 2008 occupies 241,664 bytes on disk.
The current main web page (2009-2014) occupies 368,640 bytes on disk.
So, maybe I need to write shorter and fewer comments. One way to do that is to stop commenting about all the ridiculous things "Anonymous" posts to my interactive blog. And the easiest way to do that is to just delete all of his posts from this point on.
Lastly, I think it is clear to all readers of this web site that there is simply no way to change the mind of a True Believer. I can show "Anonymous" that he is wrong ten thousand times and it will have absolutely no effect. All he will do is get more disgusting and vile in his personal attacks. It's simply not worth the effort.
April 20, 2014 (A) - This morning I noticed an interesting post on Dr. Meryl Nass's blog. It was about an interview Nancy Haigwood gave to PBS Frontline back in 2011. When I went to verify that it was an interview I'd seen before, I found nothing. It wasn't in my archive, and I'd never written any comment about it (that I could find). I had four other Frontline interviews with the same date, but not Nancy Haigwood's. And, reading it over didn't bring back any recollections. So, it appears I never saw it before. (I just finished adding it to my archive and making a copy for myself.) I also don't know why Dr. Nass should suddenly comment on it after two and a half years - unless it just appeared.
It's an interesting read, but mostly I was interested in Dr. Nass's comments. In pure conspiracy theorist mode, she wrote:
How did Professor Haigwood come to make the case against Ivins? It appears that ... Haigwood too received considerable coaching from the FBI.
It is telling that Haigwood learned from the FBI that Ivins meant to harm her (back in graduate school) by damaging the brakes on her bicycle.
The first quote, in reality, of course, occurred the other way around. Haigwood brought Ivins to the FBI's attention as a result of an email she received from the American Society of Microbiology asking for names of people who could have committed the anthrax mailings. Haigwood says so in the interview. That's been known for years.
As for the second quote, Haigwood didn't know that Ivins had once thought about doing her harm by messing with the brakes on her bicycle back in the 1970's, until the FBI told her. Bruce Ivins confessed that to the FBI in 2007 or 2008.
Bruce Ivins was still a free man at that time. Inexplicably, Dr. Nass seems to think there was something sinister in the FBI suggesting to Haigwood that she be careful of Ivins. I would think it would have been irresponsible of the FBI to NOT tell her to be careful of Ivins, since he'd admitted to them that he'd once thought of hurting her.
Dr. Nass also seems to think there was something wrong with the FBI telling Haigwood that she did the right thing in the 1980s to move to the West Coast to be out of Ivins' reach, since he couldn't easily drive that far to do her harm. Maybe Dr. Nass misread what was said. By any normal reasoning, it was most definitely a very good action on Haigwood's part when she moved to Oregon to get away from endless harassment by Ivins. It's about the only thing a person can do when in such a situation.
& Changes: Sunday, April 13, 2014, thru Saturday, April 19,
April 18, 2014 - I don't know how he did it, but "Anonymous/DXer" seems to have put 2 and 2 together once again, and, according to his 3 posts this morning to my interactive blog, he came up with 735,967. It seems he somehow decided that the three non-US labs which received samples of the Ames strain from USAMRIID were DRES in Canada, Porton Down in England, and Centre d'Etudes du Bouchet in France. It may be totally illogical, but it appears to fit with his beliefs in some way.
There are probably dozens of news articles which explain that the third lab was in Sweden. I listed 3 such articles in my response. And in the 3 posts by "Anonymous," he even provides a good clue as to which lab in Sweden got the Ames from USAMRIID: it was most likely the Swedish Defense Research Agency in Umea, Sweden. (In a later post "Anonymous" says someone else confirmed that it was the lab in Umea. So, now he's trying to figure out some way to argue that Muslim terrorists got their sample of Ames from the lab in Umea, Sweden.)
Meanwhile, in case anyone is interested, I've finished reading Mark Twain's book "The Innocents Abroad," which I've been reading on my Kindle during breakfast and lunch since Jan. 29. It was a fascinating look at a 6-month trip Twain and a group of tourists took in 1867 to the Paris Exposition of that year. They traveled aboard a sidewheeler which was basically hired by the group to take them from place to place for the six months. After dropping them off in Marseille, Twain went to Paris and then by train to Venice, Italy, and to Rome and Naples, where he got aboard the sidewheeler again. Then they went to Crete, to Greece, to Turkey, to Russia, and then to the Near East where they traveled by donkey all across the Holy Land. Then by sidewheeler again to Egypt to climb the pyramids, and then home again. Six months. Along the way, the tourists would chip pieces off of monuments as souvenirs, and endlessly compare things to the U.S. Most poor people encountered along the way were referred to as "vermin," and the tourists woud give their tour guides silly American names instead of trying to pronounce their real names. But, it was a fascinating trip and a fascinating read.
I've decided to do a high-speed read next, reading for hours at a time. I'm already 36% through "Tripwire," the third Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child. I started it yesterday.
April 17, 2014 - Someone brought to my attention a new French novel by John N. Turner titled "Amerithrax," published on Jan. 7, 2014. It's the first published novel by Turner, a bacteriologist who evidently specializes in anthrax. His Facebook page is HERE. A book review HERE, when translated by Google, begins this way:
September 2001. A date engraved in the collective memory. The world fell within the twenty-first century in the most sensational way that is. On arrival over 3,000 people and sprayed it with the hope of a peaceful century. But while the dust death were still suspended in the air of New York, the mechanics of another drama already put on.
Robin Johnson, an obscure photographic retoucher for a Florida tabloid, had nothing that predisposed him to one day in the news, or to become famous. Moreover, it never will. Him, we will retain only his death. Because the man has not left the living world of the mundane that are dead and that it will cause the commotion combat the FBI. An FBI yet still stunned by the attack on the twin towers in New York that he failed to see coming, and that starts without knowing where to look in the hunt for terrorists.
When the phone rings in his narrow office, located at the bottom of a little busy corridor of the large government building FBI Darrin Speman no doubt yet it will call the project in an investigation that lasted nearly seven years and mobilize forces and considerable resources.
Scratching her paper, which has virtually no social life, no one with whom to share his life, and is dedicated body and soul to his work to the point of view as "slave FBI" that employs them. Speman but has a specialty that suddenly interested her agency. Speman is a specialist Anthrax, anthrax.
The overall opinion of the novel in the review is:
"Amerithrax" is a first novel, and this time it is rather successful! John N. Turner manages to sign a captivating novel, where many scientific explanations are by no means insurmountable, do not adversely affect the pace nor the suspense of the book, and for which the quality and accuracy of its documentation in addition to any credibility.
In another review HERE, it says in French,
Darrin fait connaissance d’une unité qui lui était jusqu’ici inconnu : l’USPIS, United States Postal Inspection Service. Elle sera associée a une force de frappe multi-agences créée spécialement pour l’occasion: la Task Force Anthrax. Darrin se voit déjà en haut de l’affiche, lui le héros qui aura débusqué le criminel. Ce n’est pas vraiment ce qui va se passer. Sept années de longues enquêtes pour rien, ou quasiment. Le livre raconte dans le détail le harcèlement (véridique) auquel se livra le FBI envers un homme qu’il soupçonne d’être le coupable. Cela coûtera aux hommes de feu Edgard Hoover, la bagatelle de et une image ternie auprès du public qui déjà se gaussait d’une autre agence gouvernementale, celle de la CIA. Le FBI s’attaque ensuite a un autre suspecte potentiel qui se suicidera avant de passer en procès. Sept années pour rien. Aujourd’hui, on ne sait toujours pas qui a envoyé les lettres pleines d’anthrax et provoqué ainsi la mort d’innocents.
When I ran that through Google Translator, I got:
Darrin made the acquaintance of a unit that was previously unknown to him : USPIS , United States Postal Inspection Service . It will be linked to a multi -agency force strikes created especially for the occasion: the Task Force Anthrax . Darrin sees himself at the top of the poster, it will be the hero who flushed the criminal. This is not really what happens. Seven years of lengthy investigations for nothing, or almost . The book tells in detail the harassment ( true ) to which the FBI gave to a man he suspects of being the culprit. It will cost the men fire Edgard Hoover, whopping and a tarnished public image with the already mocked another government agency , the CIA . The FBI then attack another potential suspect committed suicide before going to trial. Seven years for nothing. Today, we still do not know who sent letters filled with anthrax and thus caused the death of innocent people .
That review seems to indicate that hero of the book doesn't find the anthrax killer. But, it could just be the opinion of the reviewer. It seems more likely that the book ends with the killer committing suicide before the FBI and the hero can bring him to trial. I doubt that the book suggests that someone else committed the crime. But, I could be wrong.
April 16, 2104 - Groan!! I awoke this morning realizing I needed to add a new first sentence to my sci-fi novel. The current first sentence (and first paragraph) is:
Molly Mitchell wasn't my patent attorney, but she worked for the same law firm: Weisman, Fairchild and Miller.
The new first sentence will be:
They arrived while I was having dinner with Molly Mitchell, a patent attorney.
So, the new first paragraph will now be:
They arrived while I was having dinner with Molly Mitchell, a patent attorney. Molly wasn't my patent attorney, but she worked for the same law firm: Weisman, Fairchild and Miller.
What's the difference? The difference is that the new first sentence causes the reader to wonder: "Who are 'they'?" The old first sentence presumably caused the reader to wonder: "Who am 'I' that I need a patent attorney?" Or, perhaps, "Is Molly Mitchell the main character in the story?" Who "I" am is answered almost immediately. So, there's no reason to read any further. And, Molly Mitchell isn't important to the story at all. She isn't mentioned in the book after Chapter 4.
The "Who are 'they?'" question posed by the new first sentence isn't answered until the second chapter, and by that time the reader will be (hopefully) fully hooked, since they'll have encountered many more interesting questions that need answering.
Look at the first sentence of Lee Child's first Jack Reacher novel, "The Killing Floor":
I was arrested at Eno's Diner.
How far will you need to read to find out why "I" (Jack Reacher) is being arrested?
The first sentence of "Die Trying," Lee Child's second Jack Reacher novel is:
Nathan Rubin died because he got brave.
The first sentence of "Tripwire," Lee Child's third Jack Reacher novel is:
Hook Hobie owed the whole of his life to a secret nearly thirty years old.
First sentences are VERY important. I didn't build a good enough "hook" into the first sentence in my book. So, I'll fix that today.
I don't know what made me suddenly realize that I needed a new first sentence. It was probably the fact that the last query letter I sent out was to a literary agent who only wanted me to send the first 5 pages of my book with the query letter. Presumably, if the agent isn't hooked by the first five pages, then he/she will never be hooked. So, why read any further?
I probably knew all this. It's probably mentioned in every book on fiction writing. Doing a Google lookup for "first sentence," I found a random First Line Generator to start short stories. Here are some of the lines that pop up:
He hadn't seen anything like it in twenty years of teaching
He stared hard at the table as he tried to recall his attacker, and began describing
He was terrified of small spaces and she knew
When she opened the door, she wished
You're supposed to finish the thought. A web site about short story writing says,
The first line of a short story is very important, a good one can hook the reader and make them want to read on. A weak first line and they might pass your story by.
If you're entering short story writing competitions then make sure you have a strong opening to keep the judges reading.
Sometimes it's easier to write the whole short story, then go back and rewrite the first line knowing how it will fit in with the rest of the story.It may be very important for short stories, but it can also be important for novels. A web site HERE that contains the best first lines from a hundred different famous novels. A few of them:
1. Call me Ishmael. —Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)
2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)
3. A screaming comes across the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
6. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)
8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
9. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
10. I am an invisible man. —Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)
11. The Miss Lonelyhearts of the New York Post-Dispatch (Are you in trouble?—Do-you-need-advice?—Write-to-Miss-Lonelyhearts-and-she-will-help-you) sat at his desk and stared at a piece of white cardboard. —Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts (1933)It's not that the old first sentence in my sci-fi novel was terrible. But, the new first line is much better. Live and learn. (Hey! "Live and Learn" is a good first sentence. I wonder if anyone has used it. Maybe I'll use it in the sequel to my sci-fi novel.)
April 15, 2014 - Someone sent me an article from Gawker.com titled "The Astounding Conspiracy Theories of Wall Street Genius Mark Gorton." The article begins with this:
Mark Gorton does not have a reputation as a crackpot. Quite the opposite. He's been favorably profiled in the New York Times for his business acumen and charitable deeds. His experience as the head of Limewire—which disrupted the music industry and then lost a $100 million lawsuit as a result—was closely followed by the press. And when Michael Lewis's blockbuster new book about high frequency trading was published recently, prominent media outlets turned to Gorton to learn what HFT firms are really like. The Huffington Post even dubbed him "the new face of Wall Street." He is a very respected and very wealthy man.
The Gawker.com article contains two lengthy documents by Mark Gorton which describe his various conspiracy theories in great detail. They seem to have started with his conspiracy theory related to the John F. Kennedy assassination. Gorton, who runs Tower Research, doesn't seem to have a conspiracy theory about the anthrax attacks, however. Neither of the two documents contain the word "anthrax." But, that may just be because he considers the anthrax attacks to be a minor part of his 9/11 conspiracy theory. Here's some of what Gorton wrote about 9/11:
9/11 was a massive operation, and only the most visible elements of the plot have been investigated. But despite the mass of information yet to be discovered, enough information exists to clearly demonstrate that 9/11 was a massive, domestic run, black op.
The key players behind 9/11 were The Bush Family (George H.W., George W., and Marvin, and perhaps others), Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, the neocons surrounding PNAC (Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, Richard Armitage,), Saudi Prince Bandar, Saudi Intelligence and senior Saudi leadership (get more names), elements of the US military, elements with the CIA and the FBI, the ISI (Pakistani Intelligence)
The comment section of the Gawker.com article contains some interesting opinions. Here's one:
I once worked for a few months as a temp receptionist at a mental health hospital. Many of the patients (all low risk and generally speaking very friendly) sounded exactly like this guy. Since my time there, which was years ago, I came to the conclusion that there are two types of people into conspiracy theories: the lazy ones who forward the emails that someone else wrote (or who repeat said ideas in conversations) and the ones who actually write/ create them.
That comment reminds me of what I wrote in a comment on November 22, 2009:
As with the anthrax case conspiracy theorists, some of the 9/11 conspiracy theorists have modified their claims after being repeatedly confronted with irrefutable proof that their claims were total nonsense. They still believe it was all a government conspiracy, they just accept that Flight 93 probably existed and the Pentagon was probably hit by an aircraft, not by a guided missile.
However, it apparently wasn't the endless flood of undeniable facts which changed their minds. It seems to be the loss of followers and supporters which convinced them they needed to adjust their preachings. If potential and existing followers could easily see that the conspiracy theorists claims were total nonsense and no one wanted to support or be associated with such total nonsense, clearly it was time for the conspiracy theorists to start making revisions. There's no point in being a conspiracy theorist if no one believes your conspiracy theory. If you cannot collect followers, you're either wrong or you're wasting your time trying to get people to listen to your theory.
Another comment after the Gawker.com article says,
I recall at UCLA reading an elegantly systematized paranoid document that was really impressive in its detail. However, the writer became more disorganized as his disease progressed, and the writing deteriorated into graphomania. It's unfortunate that Mr. Gorton is afflicted this way, but from what I hear, recovery is extremely difficult once people acquire these fixed delusions. One caution would be if Mr. Gorton's fears become so overwhelming, persistent and immediate that he decides to "strike" first.
"An elegantly systematized paranoid document" might be one way to describe a certain blog dedicated to the anthrax attacks that I check out every day. Paranoia seems to be the primary force behind it.
The word "graphomania" was a new one for me. Looking it up, I find this definition:
Graphomania (from Greek γραφειν — writing, and μανία — insanity), also known as scribomania, refers to an obsessive impulse to write. When used in a specifically psychiatric context, it labels a morbid mental condition which results in writing rambling and confused statements, often degenerating into a meaningless succession of words or even nonsense and called then graphorrhea.
Hmm. I know someone who seems to write all day and then seems to get up in the middle of the night with a compulsion to write more and endlessly about the anthrax attacks of 2001. He also copies and pastes things in with no coherent idea behind them.
I believe that any day is a good day if you learn something new. Today I learned a new word: graphomania.
April 14, 2014 - Today's Hartford Courant has an article about the anthrax attacks of 2001 which seems to be deliberately trying to create or revive controversy about the case. The article also has what might be a new piece of information:
[Ottilie Lundgren's niece, Shirley] Davis, who was briefed on the Ivins investigation by FBI officials, said she was disappointed that Ivins never went to trial.
"They told me they were two days away from making the arrest when he killed himself, and that ended any chance of knowing why he did it," Davis said.But, mostly the article resurrects a lot of previously voiced OPINIONS and BELIEFS without any attempt to determine what is actually true. The article says:
Since Ivins' death, several anthrax experts and some of his USAMRIID colleagues have criticized the FBI investigation and said they believe that the FBI got the wrong man again.
In 2011, Ivins' supporters
got a major boost when a group of prominent national scientists raised
questions about the science behind the federal probe in a 190-page
review that concluded that there was not enough evidence to say for certain where the anthrax
"I cannot agree more with the statement that it is not possible to reach a definitive conclusion on where the anthrax came from based on the scientific evidence the FBI presented," Louisiana State University professor Martin Hugh-Jones said after the report was released [ignoring all the other evidence in the case].
Hugh-Jones and two other scientists have criticized the FBI for ignoring the high levels of silicon found in the attack anthrax. Although federal authorities have said the silicon most likely got into the powder naturally, Jones and others believe it was intentionally added to it.
Hugh-Jones also argues [his belief] that Ivins did not have the expertise or the equipment to make the attack anthrax.
"Making a powder of that level could never be done in 20 days, even by someone who knew what they were doing," Hugh-Jones said [of his beliefs] recently.In reality, of course, Ivins routinely made spores of the same quality as those in the anthrax letters. And, he didn't have to make any new spores for the letters. All he had to do was retrieve spores he'd already made out of his garbage. He'd recently made enough spores for the letters when he checked dosage levels for some mouse tests. The spores on those discarded serial dilution plates were simply not counted as being part the production of spores at USAMRIID. They were assumed to be destroyed. But Ivins didn't destroy those spores. He used them in the letters.
The problem today is that no "authority" with real facts and information can be bothered to argue with the relentless Anthrax Truthers and media people who want to rehash all those old beliefs and opinions. There's just me. And I'm no "authority."
April 13, 2014 (B) - DAMN!!! I just noticed that the DOJ recently changed the address for their copy of the Amerithrax Investigative Summary.
That means that none of the seventy kajillion places where I used that link on this site, on my interactive blog and elsewhere work any more. And, I don't have the energy, ambition or desire to go back and fix all the links. #%*(@^#%@^$#^&$^!!!
April 13, 2014 (A) - Arguing with Anthrax Truthers can be very frustrating, particularly the ones who seem totally incapable of explaining what they mean when they argue their bizarre beliefs. The way they put 2 and 2 together to get 739 is sometimes amazing. I just created a new cartoon for my interactive blog which illustrates this subject:
Ed, none of them are experts under the Federal Rules. Indeed, none of them have personal knowledge so as to qualify them to testify other than people making investigative assertions and conclusions.
No one said anything about any of them testifying in court as "expert witnesses." How he put 2 and 2 together to think they would be expert witnesses is a mystery. They are just people who agree with me (or with whom I agree) to counter Anonymous's list of Ivins' co-workers and friends who believe Ivins was innocent. None of the people in his list (Adamovicz, Andrews, Little, Worsham, Byrne, Friedlander, Welkos, Friend, Salerno) would have been testifying in the case as "expert witnesses," either. If they testified at all, it would have been as character witnesses after Ivins had been found guilty.
This morning, I found that "Anonymous" posted another message which says,
Ed, I never said the listed USAMRIID scientists would be testifying as experts. You are the one who began misusing the term. They would be testifying as people who knew the facts relating to the lab and its workings, etc. -- for example, the FBI didn't even understand the facts relating to practices. As an example, the FBI relied on the lack of after hours work beginning January 2002 without realizing that is when a two person rule was first implemented. Thus, their entire chart on hours was a crock.
No, he never said that his "experts" would be testifying as experts. But he clearly said that MY experts could NOT testify as "experts under Federal Rules." I just wondered why he made such a bizarre statement if HIS experts could not testify as "experts under Federal Rules" either.
The people on his list would definitely NOT be "testifying as people who knew the facts relating to the lab and its workings, etc." None of them had the vaguest clue as to what Ivins was doing in his lab at night and on weekends. And many of them have screwball ideas about how the spores were made.
And what does the "two person rule" have to do with anything? It certainly doesn't affect the unexplained hours Ivins worked at night and on weekends.
I'll respond in greater detail on my blog after I finish writing this comment, but his new post is another good example of his putting 2 and 2 together to get 739. He seems to be putting the two person rule that was NOT in effect in September 2001 together with Ivins unexplained evening and weekend hours during that time and producing a belief that the combination somehow says Ivins was innocent. HOW? He can't explain how, of course. You have to understand something before you can explain it. And, it definitely appears that "Anonymous" doesn't understand what he is saying.
Furthermore, "Anonymous" seems to believe that anyone who ever listened to Bruce Ivins' counselor Judith McLean would be viewed by the courts as being mentally incompetent and not eligible for testifying or even commenting on the case. Anonymous seems absolutely obsessed with the fact that McLean once wrote a book about her past mental problems. And, to Anonymous, that seems to make her ineligible to testify in court, or to speak on any subject. And, anyone who ever even listened to her is contaminated beyond all hope and must be ignored and banished from all courtrooms. "Anonymous" inexplicably believes McLean would have been a "key witness" against Ivins, even though McLean might never have been a witness of any kind, since she knew nothing of Ivins' role in the anthrax attacks of 2001. There's no hint of any potential testimony from her in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary. On page 9 and elsewhere, however, there are mentions of opinions from Ivins' psychiatrists:
Dr. Ivins had “a history dating to his graduate days of homicidal threats, actions, [and] plans,” and that a prior psychiatrist “called him homicidal [and] sociopathic with clear intentions.”
On my interactive blog, "Anonymous" also indicated once again that Patricia Fellows' deposition in the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit is now available if I would just send in an FOIA request. Why he won't just email it to me is anyone's guess. I assumed he just wants to be an annoying pest.
This morning, however, on Lew Weinstein's blog where "Anonymous" posts as "DXer," he wrote:
Failing production under FOIA of the civil depositions of Colonel Elliott, Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott under FOIA, suit should be brought in federal court given the public interest in disclosure.
Failure to solve Amerithrax is not an option
Isn't he saying that the Patricia Fellows deposition has NOT yet been produced and that a lawsuit should be filed to force the DOJ to produce it? That's how I read it. And, if it hasn't been produced, why does he complain that I haven't read it while indicating that he has read it? It appears to be some kind of "game" he's playing. He seems to want me to send in an FOIA request merely as a way of putting "pressure" on the DOJ to release the Fellows deposition. It's a trick he's trying to pull on me. Or, maybe it's another example of him not understanding what he's doing. Either way, I'm not going to send in any FOIA request until I know that the Patricia Fellows deposition is available.
And in his most recent post he also says,
I'm not interested in posting here given that you are such an unpleasant person.
It appears he's saying I'm an "unpleasant person" because I disagree with him and show him that his logic is illogical and that he's putting 2 and 2 together to get 739. He doesn't like that. "Pleasant" people are evidently those who believe as he believes.
& Changes: Sunday, April 6, 2014, thru Saturday, April 12,
April 12, 2014 (B) - Hmm. That was quick. (See my A comment.) "The Australian" has a new article which says that the "Malaysian govt doubts report of MH370 call on night of disappearance." Why do they doubt it?
“I cannot comment because, if it is true, we would have known about it much earlier,” Mr Hishamuddin yesterday told Malaysian news agency Bernama.
It appears "doubt" is deduced from the comment above. It's making a headline out of a statement of uncertainty by one official. What the "doubt" probably shows is that the government officials involved aren't really communicating with one another, nor are they studying all the details. The story seems too detailed to be false, but (also see my A comment) it is certainly possible that some enterprising reporter just made it all up.
Later, the British newspaper "The Independent" had a headline which said, "Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Co-pilot call claims denied." It's based upon the same comment from Mr. Hishamuddin. So, one reporter's "doubt" is another reporter's "denial." It all depends upon interpretations and how you want to write the story.
April 12, 2014 (A) - This morning, there's a report in the New Straits Times that says the pilot or co-pilot of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 took the aircraft down to about 5,000 feet while passing over Penang, Malaysia, and someone tried to use the co-pilot's cell phone to make a call. The article says,
A CREW member of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 made a desperate call from his mobile phone as the plane was flying low near Penang, the morning it went missing.April 11, 2014 (C) - I keep thinking that cell phones carried by the passengers and crew of flight MH370 could provide a wealth of information about why the plane disappeared. On PPRuNe.org, "Airbubba" provided a link to an accident report where cell phone data was used. Unfortunately, it's not a flight that crashed in an ocean. It's a UPS flight that crashed short of the runway in Birmingham, AL, in August 2013. But, it indicates that recovering cell phones is already something investigators are probably thinking about.
April 11, 2014 (B) - SPOILER ALERT! If you have last night episode of "Elementary" (which was about anthrax) on your DVR and haven't yet watched it, this comment is going to be a "spoiler" and tell you some of what happened.
The episode involved some guy who made 40 pounds of anthrax in a makeshift lab. The powder was stored in a dozen half-gallon-size jars. He made it on glass plates which were the size and shape of rectangular cake baking pans. There were "hundreds" of those plates in the lab when the police arrived, and the plates all still had the "sheep's blood agar" in them, even though the manufacturing process had been completed. And, it turned out that the crime for which the anthrax was made, would have, in real life, required only about a couple tablespoonfuls. Otherwise, it was a good show - as usual.
April 11, 2014 (A) - This morning, on my interactive blog, someone brought to my attention an interesting article titled "How politics makes us stupid." The idea is that anyone who believes that providing more and better information to your opponent will change his mind --- is wrong. Politics isn't about who is right and who is wrong, it's about "us against them." And the more information you try to give to your opponents, the more angry and disagreeable they will get. The article says:
Individuals subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values.
Is it the same with the debates over the anthrax attacks of 2001? It certainly appears to be when the Truthers band together to fight "us against them." However, in reality, there is no "us." Each Truther has his own personal theory about what happened, who committed the anthrax attacks of 2001 and why. It seems like each Truther has a case of paranoia, and there is no connection between the cases. With enough information, can you change the mind of a paranoiac? I dunno. But, I'll keep trying -- for now.
April 10, 2014 (B) - I just received another query letter turndown. It was a form letter response to the query letter I sent out yesterday, and it says:
Thank you for the opportunity to read your submission. Unfortunately, you have come to me at a time when I am inundated with requests for assistance and representation. The need to allocate my time effectively forces me to decline participation in many worthy projects, and, regretully, that must be the decision in this case as well.
I am very sorry not to be able to help you with this project but please accept my best wishes for you in your search for representation.
At least I didn't have to wait weeks to get that response. So, I'll now get to work on sending out a query to another agent.
April 10, 2014 (A) - Yesterday afternoon, I added the other five presumably acceptable article links to the Wikipedia article about the 2001 anthrax attacks. I don't see any attempt to undo any of them. So, the debate with Wikipedia editor "JzG" is over and done with, from my point of view.
However, I notice on JzG's talk page that two people ("EarWigBot" and "Cjwilky") posted messages telling JzG the proper way to resolve issues. You are supposed to take the argument to the Wikipedia Dispute Resolution Board. I recall someone did that back in June 2010, when some other person kept deleting something I'd put in the article about the hidden message in the media anthrax letter. A third party "Elen of the Roads" created a dispute resolution discussion about the issue.
This morning, I received an email from a regular visitor to this site who wrote:
guess you forgot that "Wiki-ny-2007" is me.
Yes, I had forgotten who editor "Wiki-ny-2007" was. I vaguely remembered that we'd communicated in the past, but I couldn't remember the context or who it was. When I've got 23,107 things going on at once, it becomes difficult to sort out specific memories.
Meanwhile, on my interactive blog, one Anthrax Truther came to my defense after a different Anthrax Truther attacked me by arguing:
Now, I've pointed out to you that your view that a First Grader wrote the anthrax letters is in fact delusional.
The second Truther countered:
I think that's too strong. There are reasons for thinking a child printer is extremely unlikely, but 'delusional' is too much like, indeed stronger than, "preposterous", used upthread by the host. It's a hypothesis, not one I think bears great scrutiny, but certainly not on the same level as Elvis being kidnapped by Martians or anything I would label 'delusional'.
It's nice to see that there are attacks that even Truthers consider to be unacceptable.
Of course, I still spend some time every day on PPRuNe.org trying to find the latest information about Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. And, yesterday's news about picking up more signals from the flight's black box was very interesting indeed. I keep wanting to write a comment about all the conspiracy theories there are about the disappearance of flight MH370. Some of the theories are really interesting. Some are just mindless rants, like this one following the WSJ article:
They can't find the haystack...but they find the needle? Interesting! Somebody really wants us to believe the flight 370 landed in the Indian Ocean...even if they never actually find anything. I wonder... who? and... why?
My guess is the Chinese...and that negotiations with the Uighurs went badly... or Chinese radar did detect the plane and shot it down.
One thing I know for sure ...our leaders lie to us.
Meanwhile, one Anthrax Truther seems certain that Muslim terrorists hijacked MH370 and flew it into the Indian Ocean to do a suicide attack upon an American warship there. The problem is, he can't find any American warship that was in the area at that time. But, if he finds one, it will undoubtedly everlastingly confirm his beliefs. (There almost certainly were American warships in the Indian Ocean at that time. The American Navy constantly patrols to watch for pirates off the coast of Somalia. Does he think Somali Muslim pirates hijacked MH370 and planned to crash it into an American warship off Somalia as payback for the incident in the hit movie "Captain Phillips," but got lost?)
He also seems to have a second theory, that Muslim terrorists blew up the plane for some unexplained reason. Here's how he put two and two together yesterday:
In today’s news:
Bomb Hidden in Fruit Crate
Kills 20 in Pakistan’s Capital
The fruit in today’s bomb was guavas. On MH 370, they had two or three tons of mangosteens.Or maybe the bomb was there as an added bonus for when the plane was flown into the American warship. As usual, he doesn't explain how his theories fit together. He just believes Muslim terrorists were involved in the disappearance of MH370 somehow - and they are the same Muslim terrorists who were also behind the anthrax attacks of 2001.
Yesterday, I was also involved in a very interesting argument on WorldScienceU.com about the properties of gravity and how many "hypotheticals" you can have in one argument before the hypothesis becomes just plain silly.
A first-responder paramedic I know also sent me three newspaper articles about how some doctors are ripping off Medicare, and how the American Medical Association (AMA) has been fighting for 35 years to keep the information confidential. The AMA just lost that particular battle. Click HERE, HERE and HERE for details.
And I'm getting phone calls from people in India with indecipherable accents who want to help me with my computer. I hang up on them, but they are presumably related to the fact that I still use Windows XP as an operating system, which the news says is about to cease being updated. My copy of Windows XP hasn't been updated in many years. I just don't have the time to install a new operating system AND all of my other software.
And somehow, in the middle of all the things I had to do yesterday, I managed to send out another query letter for my sci-fi novel.
April 9, 2014 (B) - This morning, when I checked Wikipedia's article about the 2001 anthrax attacks, I found that the deleted links to articles on my web site had been restored by a second Wikipedia editor "Wiki-ny-2007." (See the comments I wrote yesterday for details.) Not only that, but the editor also added a link to my 2012 book "A Crime Unlike Any Other."
Then, I did some more of my daily chores. When I went back to Wikipedia to look at the changes again and to see if there were any new comments on any talk pages, I found that the first editor had put things back to his way again, with the comment "Please do not reinsert copies of material on unreliable websites with clear evidence of copyright violation."
So the first editor changed the argument. First he argued that I was a conspiracy theorist and that's why he deleted the links. Now he's arguing that the links are in violation of copyrights (even though I offered to replace them with new links that go directly to the sources of the articles).
And on that first editor's talk page, he explained his actions this way:
Ed, I noticed you are a crank abusing Wikipedia to promote your website and delusional beliefs. Now would be a great time to leave because you have been rumbled.
So, in that editor's opinion, agreeing with the government is a "delusional belief," and it makes me a "crank." (Evidently, arguing with him also makes me a "crank.")
The editor called "JzG" also deleted the link to my book, then editor "Wiki-ny-2007" put it back again with the comment:
re-added Ed Lake's book to the list. It's at least as valid as the others. So to the person killing it off, please stop.
And, of course, "JzG" just deleted it again because it's a self-published book. (I can see the point of not allowing the use of self-published books as references.)
There's only so much arguing I can do with a Wikipedia editor on his talk page. He has the ability to delete everything I write there. But, if editor "Wiki-ny-2007" sticks to his guns, maybe the matter will be taken to a Wikipedia forum where arguments are resolved. That has happened with debates in the past.
I may also go to those deleted links and replace them one by one with links to the same articles on other sites - mostly the sites where they first appeared. Then we'll see if he can find some new reason to delete the links. (Added Note: I tried three times to add back one of the links via a patch. None worked perfectly. But the third try was "good enough." I'll study the coding process further before adding another link.)
April 9, 2014 (A) - On my interactive blog, "Anonymous" has hinted that the deposition done by Patricia Fellows in the Maureen Stevens v USA lawsuit is now available for Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests. He hasn't supplied any link anywhere that I've seen. And, I hate to go through the time and trouble of sending in another FOIA request if the pdf file is available somewhere. But, if it's available, I'd certainly like to get a copy. So, if anyone has it, please let me know.
April 8, 2014 (B) - While at the health club working out, it occurred to me that I might be able to find out who removed those links on Wikipedia I mentioned this morning, and why he did it. All it says on the changes is that the guy is named "JzG." But, I tracked him down and found that he's a Wikipedia editor who thinks I'm a conspiracy theorist, and that this web site is a conspiracy theorist web site. So, I got on his TALK page and set him straight. Now, I'm going to wait for his response before I try to fix those links.
April 8, 2014 (A) - Hmm. Each morning, I check Wikipedia's article on the 2001 anthrax attacks to see if there have been any changes. Yesterday, someone evidently suddenly decided to do some housecleaning on that article. They deleted 1,846 bytes. Looking over what they deleted, I see that ALL the deleted items are links to articles on this web site. The links to very important articles were evidently deleted as "Citation Spam."
The first link they deleted was to my copy of a New York Times article from Dec. 5, 2001, titled "Anthrax Pervades Florida Site, and Experts See Likeness to That Sent to Senators." They deleted the link to my copy of the article, but didn't replace it with the above link to the New York Time's copy. Most interestingly, the subject of the article is something I was discussing yesterday on my interactive blog - how the AMI building became so thoroughly contaminated. The NYT article says,
Spores ended up not just in the mailroom and on Mr. Stevens's keyboard, but also in such out-of-the-way places as atop a room divider and computer monitors and in a nook between banks of shelves.
Investigators said that some sites found to be contaminated closely traced the routes taken by people making regular rounds from the first-floor mailroom up stairs and elevators to dozens of desks and cabinets. Spores presumably were stirred up and transported as mail was sorted and delivered. These findings point to a less-dangerous preparation with spores that do not linger in the air but fall where they are released.
Yesterday, on my interactive blog, a Truther argued the notion that the J-Lo letter was transported through the AMI building, spreading spores along the way, which makes no sense whatsoever. But, this NY Times article explains it differently. The mail was contaminated and the cross-contaminated mail was carried through the building and delivered to many different places in the building. That makes a great deal of sense. The fact that there were spores atop a room divider also means spores were floating around in the air, so Bob Stevens didn't need to sniff the powder to become infected.
The second deleted link was to my copy of an Oct. 25, 2001 New York Times article: "Contradicting Some U.S. Officials, 3 Scientists Call Anthrax Powder High-Grade." It is also about subjects that were being discussed on my interactive blog yesterday:
"It's high-grade," said Mr. [William] Patrick, who consults widely on making germ defenses. "It's free flowing. It's electrostatic free. And it's in high concentration."
Experts on germ weaponry agree
that the removal of electrostatic charges is a major step toward making
an effective munition. The Soviet Union and United States developed
sophisticated ways of diminishing this attraction and helping the
particles float more freely, increasing their ease of dissemination and
likelihood of inhalation.
This also was being discussed on my interactive blog. "Anonymous/DXer" was digging up old articles where people once believed the attack spores were weaponized with silica.
The third deleted link was to my copy of Douglas Beecher's 2006 article in Applied and Environmental Microbiology titled "Forensic Application of Microbiological Culture Analysis To Identify Mail Intentionally Contaminated withBacillus anthracis Spores." It's probably no coincidence that "Anonymous" on my interactive blog had recently cited an article that challenged the conclusions in Douglas Beecher's article.
The fourth deleted link was to my copy of an ABC News article from Oct. 26, 2001 titled "Troubling Anthrax Additive Found."
ABCNEWS has been told by three well-placed and separate sources that initial tests on an anthrax-laced letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle have detected a troubling chemical additive that authorities consider their first significant clue yet.
An urgent series of tests conducted on the letter at Ft. Detrick, Md., and elsewhere discovered the anthrax spores were treated with bentonite, a substance that keeps the tiny particles floating in the air by preventing them from sticking together. The easier the particles are to inhale, the more deadly they are.
As far as is known, only one country, Iraq, has used bentonite to produce biological weapons.
Just minutes before ABCNEWS' World News Tonight aired this report, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer flatly denied bentonite was found on the letters. Moments later, another senior White House official backed off Fleischer's comments, saying it does not appear to be bentonite "at this point."
The official said the Ft. Detrick findings represented an "opinionated analysis," that three other labs are conducting tests, and that one of those labs had contradicted the bentonite finding. But, the official added, "tests continue."
It appears there were different versions of that article produced on Oct. 26, 27 and 29. The quotes above are from ABC News's Oct. 27 version. Is it just a coincidence that "Anonymous/DXer" on my interactive blog seems to be pushing Gary Matsumoto as an authority on how the spores used in the anthrax attacks were "weaponized"?
The fifth deleted link was to my copy of Barbara Hatch Rosenberg's June 13, 2002 rant from the FAS web site. The rant is titled "The Anthrax Case: What the FBI Knows" (which can also be found HERE). A couple paragraphs from that article:
2. Properties and Composition of the Anthrax Samples-A biodefense insider who has hands-on experience in weaponizing anthrax says the Daschle sample corresponds to state-of-the-art US anthrax preparations. A number of other inside experts concur. The perpetrator may well be one of those who helped perfect the US technique. No other country is known to have comparable capability.
5. The Likely Suspect--Early in the investigation, a number of inside experts (at least five that I know about) gave the FBI the name of one specific person as the most likely suspect. That person fits the FBI profile in most respects. He has the right skills, experience with anthrax, up-to-date anthrax vaccination, forensic training, and access to USAMRIID and its biological agents through 2001.
The sixth and last deleted link was to my copy of the September 2001 Canadian Study titled "Risk assessment of anthrax threat letters." This is the study that was published BEFORE the anthrax attacks, and some Truthers argue that it was the blueprint for the attacks or generated the idea for the attacks. Here's the abstract:
In recent years an increasing number of letters alleging to contain anthrax have been sent to health clinics, government offices and other locations. While such “anthrax letter” incidents to date have proven to be hoaxes, all incidents must be treated as real until proven otherwise. Since no experimental studies on which to base a realistic assessment of the threat posed by these “anthrax letters” could be found, Defence Research Establishment Suffield (DRES) undertook a series of experiments to determine the extent of the hazard. In the experiments, envelopes containing Bacillus globigii spores (a simulant for anthrax) were opened in a mock mail room/office environment. The data measured on the dispersion of the spores were used to estimate if letters containing anthrax spores posed a significant health risk.
I don't recall if I'm the one who created those links in the Wikipedia article, but, if I did, it wasn't for "citation spam" purposes. It was because newspapers would constantly change the addresses of their articles, so the links would constantly stop working. They'd move a article from their "today" file to their "past week" file and then to their "past month" file and then to the "archive" file. Because they were constantly changing the links, Google couldn't find the article, either. That's why I created this web site, as a place where I could store copies of articles without fear that they'd disappear. Such links just clutter up my log files and use extra bandwidth.
Now I have to decide if I want to go to the trouble of putting back all those links using the versions that do not come from my web site. As you can see from the links provided above, all the articles are available elsewhere, and only the Beecher article requires a subscription to access a fully copy. If links to very relevant articles about the anthrax case are just "spam" if they come from my web site, maybe adding links to different versions of the articles from elsewhere will somehow convert those important articles into "non-spam." I just need to find the time and ambition to make the changes. I think it could be several hours work. Groan!
April 7, 2014 (B) - Wow! Someone on PPRuNe.org just provided a link to a web site at http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ where you can track almost any ship on any ocean. They've got 481,812 ships in their data base. I checked, and it was easy to locate the Australian ship Ocean Shield that is searching for the black box from MH370. Plus, you can locate and track the other ships involved in the search. And you can also see that there are a few tankers passing through the area. It's really cool!
The image below is a composite someone made, with the names added. On the site, you have to put the cursor over the arrow to see what ship it is. The red arrow is a tanker.
April 7, 2014 (A) - This morning, someone called "Dai Farr" on PPRuNe.org posted a long dissertation on radio energy versus sound energy. Right now, it is HERE, but I don't know if the link will work for very long. Links on that site seem to change when the moderator deletes a post that was made before the linked post.
Anyway, "Dai Farr" explained that the signals from the "black box" that the ships are now using to try to locate in the Indian Ocean are SOUND signals, not radio signals. Radio signals do not travel well through water. So, instead of listening for radio signals, which travel at the speed of light, the searchers are listening to sound signals which, according to Wikipedia, in sea water travel at about 4,500 feet per second, depending upon a several factors, primarily temperature, salinity and density.
When looking for the black box from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, they have to worry about sound waves emitted by the black box bouncing off of underwater canyon walls, off of different temperature or salinity layers, etc. The deeper the box, the more potential bouncing of the signal. That makes it far more difficult to locate the box. (If you really want to dig into the subject, click on the link HERE, which also comes from a post to PPRuNe.org. It explains how you can pick up the same underwater sound signal coming from a hundred different directions.)
The information above may help people understand an article in The Washington Post which says:
Searchers looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have discovered signals consistent with those emitted by black boxes in the Indian Ocean, but they may still be a long way from finding the first piece of wreckage.
The pinger locator is designed to detect signals at a range of 1.8 kilometers (1.2 miles), meaning it would need to be almost on top of the black boxes to detect them if they were on the ocean floor, which is 4,500 meters (14,800 feet).
The first signal was picked up Saturday evening and lasted two hours and 20 minutes before it was lost as the ship moved forward. The ship then turned around and a few hours later picked up a second signal that lasted for 13 minutes.and
On Monday, the Ocean Shield was trying to pick up the signal again, so far without success. [U.S. Navy Capt. Mark] Matthews said it would continue trying for at least another day. He said the boat tries to go over the area from different angles in an attempt to triangulate an exact position.
When crews determine the best possible location, the next step will be to send down the U.S. Navy’s autonomous underwater vessel Bluefin 21, a robot that can create a sonar map of the seafloor and any wreckage, as well as take photos.
Matthews said the Bluefin’s sonar can scan only about 100 meters (328 feet) and it can “see” with lights and cameras only a few meters. Since its range is limited, searchers are waiting to use it until they determine more precisely where the pings are coming from.So, the signals from the black box appear to be real. But, they could still be a week or more away from actually finding the black box. It's also interesting to note that the signals are right on the line where the satellite last detected a "ping" from the plane. The image below is from HERE, where a larger version can be found.
I keep thinking that, even when the find the black box, they might find better recordings telling what happened on Flight MH370 by looking for cell phones belonging to the passengers. Those cell phones might have recorded dozens of eye witness accounts.
April 6, 2014 - The most interesting things related to the anthrax attacks of 2001 that occurred last week - that I know about - are (1) I sold three copies of my 2012 book "A Crime Unlike Any Other;" (2) there was some kind of sudden surge in people viewing my YouTube video explaining the facts which say a child wrote the anthrax letters; (3) "DXer/Anonyous" on my interactive blog tried to make some kind of unexplained point about a new article in the Journal of Applied Microbiology that mentions the anthrax attacks of 2001; (4) a different Anthrax Truther on my interactive blog pointed out an error I made in my March 16 (B) comment; and (5) this week's episode of one of my favorite TV series, "Elementary," to be aired on CBS on Thursday, is advertised as being about thwarting some kind of anthrax attack involving a pound of anthrax.
I don't have anything more to add about item #5, but taking the other items one by one,
1. I actually know who bought one of the three copies of my book that I sold last week. He sent me an email saying he'd done so. Based upon the sales reports I get, the first copy was sold on April 1 and seems to have been paid for in English pounds. The second was purchased on April 4 and was paid for in American dollars. Both were purchased via the printer's web site. The third sale appeared on this morning's reports and was via Amazon.com. But, the three buyers could all be connected. The person who emailed me said he and someone else were working on a project that involved the anthrax attacks of 2001, and they needed my book for research. Those three copies were the only copies of my book that have been sold in the past two or three weeks.
2. The numbers are less tangible for the "surge" in viewers of my YouTube video about how the facts say a child wrote the anthrax letters. I don't get or keep any records of the number of viewers, but I do check the total number every day. And it seems like there was a brief surge last week. I crossed the 800 viewer mark just a few days ago. 800 viewers in about a year equals less than 3 viewers a day, and that seemed to be what I was getting. But, as of this morning, there have been 825 viewers. It's not a huge "surge," but I have to wonder if it doesn't have something to do with the books I sold and the anthrax case "project" that is going on.
3. The Journal of Applied Microbiology article that mentions the anthrax attacks of 2001 is also featured in a new thread on Lew Weinstein's blog HERE. As far as I can tell, the only point being made by the Anthrax Truther is that the article seems to cite as a source Gary Matsumoto's thoroughly debunked 2003 Science Magazine article titled "Anthrax Powder: State of the Art?" The Applied Microbiology article doesn't seem have anything new to say about the anthrax attacks. It's about a method to make aerosolizable spores for various kinds of tests. But, the Anthrax Truthers seem to be mentioning it as proof of something. They're just incapable of explaining what it proves.
4. In my March 16 (B) comment, I made the mistake of writing that two Anthrax Truthers on my interactive blog "suddenly and inexplicably seemed to cite Leonard Cole as being a supreme authority" on the J-Lo letter. Yesterday, one of those Truthers pointed out to me that he was actually citing Robert Graysmith and had even provided a link to key pages in Graysmith's book "Amerithrax: The Hunt for the Anthrax Killer." I had evidently read no further in his post than to where he rationalized, "there's no reason the sender couldn't have mixed anthrax spores in with laundry detergent."
Looking over those pages in Graysmith's book (pages 5 & 6 in the hardcover edition), I find them to be, in some ways, even more interesting than what Leonard Cole wrote.
Graysmith seems to say that the J-Lo letter was delivered on Sept. 21, 2001. The National Enquirer says it was opened on Sept. 19.
Graysmith says that as Ernesto Blanco carried the J-Lo letter through the building in his mail delivery cart, he left a trail of spores behind him. That is total nonsense. The facts say otherwise. The CDC's data showed the mailroom to be the most contaminated place in the AMI building. The FBI said the spores were most likely tracked through the building by people coming to the thoroughly contaminated mail room to get copy paper. Graysmith says (without any apparent foundation) that Blanco had "rested a handful of mail atop stacks of copy paper" for some unexplained reason.
Graysmith says that when the J-Lo letter was opened, "a small, cheap Star of David dropped out." Graysmith also wrote, "Inside the envelope was a 'childish' one page, handwritten love letter to Jennifer Lopez. Also enclosed was a tablespoon of 'soapy, powdery substance,' a bluish dust that resembled dishwashing powder. It might have come from a ruptured detergent packet, a sample, but an inspection revealed no packet inside." The Enquirer says the Star of David pendant was buried in the soap powder inside the folded J-Lo love letter, the powder was "pink-tinged," and the envelope also contained a cigar tube with a cheap cigar inside, and "There was also an empty can of chewing tobacco and a small detergent carton."
Graysmith didn't even mention the powder-filled letter that Stephanie Dailey opened. He just mentions that Dailey was one of the mail sorters who put mail into sorting slots in the mailroom.
While I'd normally be the last person in the world to cite the National Enquirer as a key authority on anything, the J-Lo letter was opened in their building by their people, and they had much better access than Cole or Graysmith to interview all the AMI employees involved. And the Enquirer reporters did their interviews when memories were still relatively fresh. While Cole can be faulted for having interviewed only some of the key employees - and not the person who actually received the J-Lo letter - Graysmith's book seems to have far more errors - at least as far as the J-Lo letter is concerned. Yet, the Anthrax Truther stated on March 11 "Graysmith's book is very good on this," meaning the subject of the J-Lo letter.
Of course, all three of them are WRONG about anthrax being in the J-Lo letter.
Meanwhile, this morning I see a lot of news reports about Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and the acoustic signals detected by a Chinese ship which may to have come from the black box aboard MH370. But nothing has been verified. CBS News also reports:
[Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston told reporters in Perth] that the Australian vessel Ocean Shield also was investigating a separate acoustic detection.
The CBS report also says,
false alerts can come from animals such as whales, or interference from shipping noise.
Unfortunately, the Sun Daily reports that the Australian vessel was 300 nautical miles away from where the Chinese ship detected what seemed like black box signals. But, most news reports are now saying that the Chinese ship appears to have picked up black box signals TWICE, first on Saturday, then on Sunday (Friday and Saturday, GMT.)
On the negative side, it appears from a BBC report that the Chinese ship didn't detect the signals, the signals were detected by putting a hydrophone in the water from a zodiac patrol boat launched from the Chinese ship. That's why there were no recordings of it.
Also interesting is the fact that CNN seems to be comparing the search for flight MH370 to the search for the Holy Grail. And "The Voice of Russia" has an article which lists 10 "conspiracy theories" regarding Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. They're not all true "conspiracy theories," many are just "theories," but the one about finding some safety instruction sheets from a Malaysian Boeing 777 in a trash heap in Australia should be interesting to the Truther on my interactive blog who seems to truly believe the plane crash-landed somewhere in Western Australia.
& Changes: Sunday, March 30, 2014, thru Saturday, April 5,
April 5, 2014 - Hmm. Chinese media is reporting that a Chinese ship picked up "black box" signals in the Indian Ocean in the general area where everyone has been searching for debris from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370:
China's Haixun 01 ship has detected pulse signal in the South Indian Ocean, Xinhua news agency reports.
The signal, at 37.5 kHz per second, was picked up by a black box locator at 25 degrees south latitude and 101 degrees east longitude.
It is yet to be determined whether the signal is related to the missing flight MH370 of the Malaysian Airlines, the report says.
The signal was picked up at 4:30pm, which lasted about one minute and a half, the jfdaily.com reports. [jfdaily.com is the same report in Chinese].
According to the British newspaper The Telegraph:
A reporter with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, who is onboard the Haixun, said the patrol ship first picked up the signal on Friday when it was detected intermittently for about 15 minutes. But other vessels were in the vicinity at the time, raising the possibility that they might have been the source.
But Haixun, China's largest patrol vessel, picked up the signal again on Saturday, when it was detected every second for 90 seconds
According to two comments on PPRuNe.org HERE and HERE:
Three crew members heard this signal but could not make a recording as they were surprised by the signal!! Hope its not another false hope.
Neither of two bloggers stated where they read that information. So, I did a Google news search for "three crew members" and "Malaysia," and I found a report from Malaysian media which said:
Meanwhile, Chinese state media agency China News Service reports that the signal that Haixun 01 detected lasted only about 90 seconds, and was heard at about 4.30pm.
“Three crew members have confirmed hearing the suspicious signal, but it came so suddenly that they did not manage to record it in time,” the report said.
That Malaysian source also provided a map of where the signals were received:
It's not in any aircraft search area, but that doesn't mean anything. The aircraft search areas are either where unidentified debris was spotted (and could have floated there from elsewhere) or where various calculations estimate the plane went down.
And, according to another source, more "floating objects" have been spotted and photographed:
A Chinese air force plane has spotted floating objects in the search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, news agency Xinhua reported on Saturday.
photographed the objects over a period of 20 minutes after
spotting them at 11:05 local time.
I hope, too, that it's not all just another false hope.
April 4, 2014 - Someone calling him/herself "lynw" on PPRuNe.org just posted this comment about Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at 15:47 GMT:
I am not saying eyewitnesses should be ignored I am simply pointing out that eyewitness testimony is proven to be unreliable and much more unreliable than technical evidence.
If all you have is eyewitnesses, then of course you need to investigate the validity of that evidence bearing in mind recall is not always complete, or accurate. If you have technical evidence that also needs to be assessed and investigated. Unlike eyewitness testimony though, that technical evidence is unlikely to change and the validation comes from another examiner using the same set of data and independently reaching the same conclusion.
In this case, Inmarsat have confirmed the aircraft pings long after these eyewitness reports saying they saw the plane. A company like Inmarsat is not going to put their reputation on the line over data they are not sure of. I suspect that these calculations would have been thoroughly validated and verified before release. The consequences for Inmarsat are very considerable if they have got it wrong.
The consequences for these eyewitnesses? they get the Daily Whinge probably paying them for their account and their pic in the paper. It's not rocket science to figure which one I would consider more credible and reliable.
I am not saying all eyewitness accounts should be automatically ignored but their credibility and motives have to be considered, and considered in light of the technical evidence. The question becomes whether they genuinely reported something they think may be relevant even if they are mistaken or hoping the worlds press and its cheque book will come calling.
Interestingly, someone else on PPRuNe.org just posted a link to an article from March 8 which was headlined "Vietnam confirms MAS flight crashed into sea off Tho Chu island." The article says,
The Vietnamese navy had earlier confirmed that Kuala Lumpur-Beijing bound Flight MH370 had crashed into the sea off Tho Chu island.
Tuoi Tre quoted Navy Admiral Ngo Van Phat, Commander of Region 5, as saying that military radar reported that the plane crashed into the sea at a location 246km south of Phu Quoc island.
On the map below, Tho Chu island is "A" and Phu Quoc Island is "B."
Evidently, none of this actually related to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. But, it would be interesting to know what those "experts" actually saw. And, this example makes it easy to see how conspiracy theories can be formed.
April 3, 2104 - There's an interesting video at the link HERE which has one CNN reporter, aviation expert Jeff Wise, discussing the known facts about Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and another CNN reporter trying to find a way to ignore all the facts so he can believe what he wants to believe.
Meanwhile, on PPRuNe.com, someone mentioned the idea that they try to recreate the flight with another Boeing 777 (without running out of gas and crashing, of course) to see if the satellite and radar data match. If the data does match, it should shut up some of the disbelievers. If the data doesn't match, they can again adjust the search area.
Another comment on PPruNe.com leads to an article HERE which contains some very illuminating information:
[A former lead crash
investigator for the US National
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Greg] Feith believes there will be
several plausible theories that all will point to a deliberate act by
someone with intimate knowledge of flying the Boeing 777, most likely one of the pilots.
Too many deliberate actions maneuvering the airplane and turning off
communications systems occurred to have any plausible mechanical
failure explanation. He
completely discounts theories that a fire, either in the electronics
bay or involving lithium-ion batteries being transported in a cargo
bay, disabled the airplane. He also discounts a theory that there was a
depressurization that incapacitated the pilots and allowed the 777 to
meander over the skies of the Gulf of Thailand, Malaysia and the Strait
of Malacca before turning south 3,000 miles over the Indian Ocean
before running out of fuel. ......
“The transponder is turned off with a switch of a switch. ACARS goes off line with a few key strokes,” Feith told us. “If there was a fire, the auto pilot would have gone off line.”
Fire could not have disabled the transponder, he said. There are different wire bundles for the five radios, the two transponders and the ACARS precisely to avoid a single-source fire capable of disrupting these eight communications devices.
“There is no centralized area where a fire could take all these out at the same time,” he said.
As for the related theory that the auto pilot took over after the crew was disabled by hypoxia, the series of left and right hand turns belies this, he said. If the crew were overcome, the airplane would have continued on its original course to Beijing. Instead, it made a “shallow” left turn after its last radio communication with Malaysian Air Traffic Control to a new course almost behind its original course. Then, over the Strait of Malacca, it made a right turn, a left turn and another left turn going south over the Indian Ocean.
Citing his sources familiar with the investigation, Feith said these were shallow banks of perhaps 20 degrees, normal turns that would not have alerted passengers that anything was out of the ordinary.
“The auto pilot isn’t smart enough [on its own] to make the maneuvers the airplane did,” Feith said.
All the altitude changes that have been reported in the media are incorrect, he said, citing his sources. The airplane never left its cruising altitude of 35,000 ft.Interesting stuff. It seems to squelch all theories except a deliberate act by a crew member or, less likely, some kind of hijacking.
April 2, 2014 - This morning, someone sent me an email with a link to a Bradenton Herald article about some lawsuits filed by two Florida newspapers trying to get the government to release more information related to the 9/11 hijackers who stayed for awhile in Florida. I was challenged to find some way that Anthrax Truthers could connect these lawsuits to the anthrax attacks. I couldn't find a way. But, that doesn't mean the Truthers can't dream up a connection if they really want to.
April 1, 2014 (B) - Ah! I just received my first response to the query letters I've sent to literary agents regarding my new sci-fi novel. It was a response to the query email I sent out on March 12. The response is a form letter that reads:
I greatly appreciate the opportunity to consider your query - thanks for sending it.
Alas, the query didn't appeal quite enough to my own tastes to inspire me to offer representation or further consideration of your project. I wish I had the time to respond to everyone with constructive criticism, but it would be overwhelming, hence this form response.
This business is highly subjective; many people whose work I haven't connected with have gone on to critical and commercial success. So, keep trying!
I am grateful that you have afforded me this opportunity to find out about you and your project, and wish you the best of success with your current and future creative work.
All best wishes,
It may be a turn-down, but it's not because there's anything wrong with the book. It's just that the book doesn't match his own personal tastes or what he wants to work on. Such a response is better than no response at all. But not much better. It's only "better" because now I'm free to contact one of the five other agents at that agency.
For the record,
[Stephen] King received dozens of rejections for his first novel, Carrie; he kept them tidily nailed to a spike under a timber in his bedroom.
[William] Golding's Lord of the Flies was rejected by 20 publishers.
[J.K. Rowling's] Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (later Sorceror’s) Stone was rejected by a dozen publishers, including biggies like Penguin and HarperCollins. Bloomsbury, a small London publisher, only took it on at the behest of the CEO’s eight-year old daughter, who begged her father to print the book.
One publisher rejected Mr. [George] Orwell's submission, Animal Farm, with these words:
It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.
Mr. Tony Hillerman, now famous for his Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels, was initially told by publishers to
Get rid of all that Indian stuff.
April 1, 2014 (A) - I find it incredible how many people in the media are trying to make something significant out of the fact that what some Malaysian official originally said were the last words from the co-pilot of flight MH370 is different from what the official transcript says. Click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for a few such articles. All I see is that (1) the official didn't have the words memorized, (2) the official didn't think the exact wording was important, and (3) the official didn't realize that every word he was speaking would be scrutinized and analyzed a million times over.
The official originally said the final words were "All right, good night."
The transcript says the final words were "Good Night Malaysian Three Seven Zero."
This morning I found a full copy of the actual transcript. Click HERE to view it. Since a "transcript" is what someone writes down as they listen to a recording, I suspect that a lot of people are now going to be demanding that the recording be released so they can create their own transcript. There are a lot of "Truthers" out there who believe they are the only reliable investigator for anything unusual that happens anywhere.
On the other hand, you can never tell where a good idea might appear. Some pilots on PPRUNE.ORG have wondered if the plane might have created contrails which might be observable on satellite photos. I see news stories about that HERE and HERE. But, "Lorimer" on PPRUNE.ORG points out that the flight was at night, which would make contrails very difficult to see. But he analyzes the data HERE anyway.
March 30, 2014 - Uh oh. I don't have anything already written and set to post here as my Sunday comment. So, once again, I'm going to have to "wing it" and just write something from scratch.
Umm. Last week a state prosecutor who doesn't have anything to do with the anthrax case sent me an email asking permission to use one of the cartoons on my interactive blog in a presentation she needs to make to a grand jury. For some reason, she wanted to use this cartoon:
I gave her permission and pointed out that the drawings in the cartoon are copyright-free artwork I obtained by buying a Corel MegaGallery CD Pack many years ago. All I did was combine two different drawings and add the text.
And that was that.
Okay. What next? Umm. In yesterday's comment I said I wasn't going to write anything more about the subject I wasn't going to write anything more about. So, I can't write about that, except to say that I got into another argument with another Truther or "True Believer" in the comments that follow a Bloomberg article on the subject.
Umm. I'm not making any progress on starting a new sci-fi novel, a sequel to the one I finished a couple months ago. I even reached the point where I had so little to do that I "borrowed" a novel from my local library. I "borrowed" Lee Child's 6th Jack Reacher thriller "Without Fail." But, as soon as I "borrowed" it, I lost the urge to read it. It's in my Kindle for when the urge returns. (With my Kindle there's no need to return any "borrowed" books. They're automatically considered to be "returned" after 7 days.)
Meanwhile, I'm 75% done with Mark Twain's "The Innocents Abroad." I'm only reading it during breakfast and lunch. Here's an interesting passage I highlighted:
"What is it that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man's breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding what human eye has not seen before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere. To give birth to an idea--to discover a great thought--an intellectual nugget, right under the dust of a field that many a brain--plow had gone over before. To find a new planet, to invent a new hinge, to find the way to make the lightnings carry your messages. To be the first--that is the idea. To do something, say something, see something, before any body else--these are the things that confer a pleasure compared with which other pleasures are tame and commonplace, other ecstasies cheap and trivial."
I think writing a book might fit into the section about "to give birth to an idea." I also think I can do a better job of marketing my book to literary agents. I'm just not very good at selling. I'd have a hard time selling ice cream sundaes for a penny a dish in the Sahara Desert. I've been trying agents who say they like science fiction, but they all seem to be looking for "young adult science-fiction and fantasy" right now. The "Harry Potter" books fall into that category. So does "The Hunger Games" series, the "Perry Jackson" books, "The Hobbit," the new "Divergent" series and many others. I watched the movie "Ender's Game" a few weeks ago thinking it was going to be my kind of science fiction, and it turned out to be "Harry Potter in Outer Space." They're fantasy books and movies, not science-fiction. While I managed to sit through both "Hunger Games" movies, I didn't buy the premise (people hunting and killing people as a public amusement). While there are lots of exceptions, I don't particularly care for fantasy. I prefer "straight" science fiction -- real science used in fictional situations.
The sci-fi novel I'm trying to get published is "straight" science-fiction. But how do I get a literary agent interested enough to help me? How do I summarize the book into a paragraph or a page? Some agents also want to know "the theme" of the book. What is "the theme" of my book? "New discoveries can be both beneficial and dangerous?" That's not going to sell anything. "None of us is really fully understandable?" Too schmaltzy. "Geniuses are not like other people?" Maybe. But would a literary agent find that "theme" to be interesting?
And what about the synopsis? I know it should emphasize the characters in the book not the science. Maybe something like this:
Professor Frank Wycott has built a device that uses anti-time to help debunk conspiracy theories, which are his favorite peeve. His daughter, Professor Lillian Wycott believes she has uncovered a real conspiracy among anti-government radicals that could be an immediate threat. The two Wycotts explain the situation to one of Frank Wycott's former students, Nathan Rawlins, the President of the United States. The story opens when President Rawlins asks his brother, Kyle, a wealthy inventor, to try to figure out what the Wycotts are talking about, if Frank's invention has any practical use, and if Lillian's theory about a pending attack by anti-government radicals upon Washington has any foundation in reality.
Hmm. That's not bad. It needs work, but maybe I'll use it in my next query letter.
And that's the end of today's comment.
& Changes: Sunday, March 23, 2014, thru Saturday, March 29,
March 29, 2014 - I think this may be my last comment about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 until some actual debris from the aircraft is located and is positively identified.
The only news I see this morning is a BBC headline that says "Flight MH370: Chinese and Australian Ships Draw Blank." The article says:
Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 and Australia's HMAS Success "reported they have retrieved a number of objects from the ocean but so far no objects confirmed to be related to MH370 have been recovered", the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) said late on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the pilots on PPRUNE.ORG are discussing and arguing over what yesterday's news reports actually said. It makes no sense that, if the plane was going faster than previously thought, it would have gone a shorter distance in the specified amount of time. Yes, if a plane flies at a steady and faster air-speed, it will go a shorter distance before it runs out of fuel. But, between any two points in time, if it is going faster, it will go further. It would certainly go further between satellite "pings." It would have traveled further at the point of the last known "ping" at 8:11 a.m. So, the chart below (found HERE) makes no sense if the purple track is the faster track.
The only way the new final location might make sense to the pilots on PPRUNE.ORG is if the plane was only flying significantly faster at the start of the flight when it was flying westward, and then it slowed down when it headed south. So, I looked around to find out what the experts actually said. The quote below is from The Detroit Free Press:
Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Air Transport Safety Bureau, said a revised analysis of radar data prompted the agency to refocus the search in the Indian Ocean off Perth. The analysis indicates that the plane was flying faster than previously estimated between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca before radar contact was lost, Dolan said.
But, if you view the video at that link, it just says what other news reports said:
'Continuing analysis indicates that the plane was travelling faster than was previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel usage, reducing the possible distance it travelled south into the Indian Ocean,' Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Martin Dolan said on Friday.
There's nothing in either report about the plane slowing down when it headed south. You have to deduce that from the area that they're now searching.
I've often written in this blog that a person doesn't really understand something until they can explain it to someone else and get them to understand it, too. It seems like none of the experts explaining things to the media understood that the plane must have slowed down when it headed south, since no one mentions it, and that is the key to understanding what's going on. And, as far as I can tell, no one in the media mentions it either. There are dozens of news stories which merely say the plane didn't go as far as previously thought because it was flying faster. It seems that only the people actually doing the data analysis understood it.
A Google search for the words "slow down" found an interesting article HERE about a "blow torch fire" aboard a different Boeing 777 three years ago that might explain something, if it could somehow also account for all the course and speed changes.
But, I'm tired of trying to put the pieces together when the media and the "experts" are leaving out key pieces. (Bloomberg also mentions that the plane was going faster when heading west, but makes no mention of slowing down when it turned south.)
March 28, 2014 - I find this morning's news on CNN about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 to be very interesting and very relatable to the Amerithrax investigation. They've got NEW data and that changes their analysis. So,
Forget all those satellite photos showing promising patches of debris. The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has moved again.
In a stunning turn, Australian authorities announced Friday that they were abandoning the remote region of Indian Ocean where search crews had spent more than a week looking for the plane. A new analysis of satellite data showed the plane could not have flown that far south, they said.Hmmm. So, those 300 white objects in the Thai satellite photos that made headlines yesterday were just whitecaps? No one is actually saying that, but it appears to be the case. Search aircraft weren't able to find anything in the area where 300 large objects were supposed to be. Findings in the new search area, however, are very different:
In what could be a sign the search is on the right track, or possibly yet another letdown, the agency said five of the 10 planes dispatched to the new search zone spotted objects in the waters below. Crews took photographs of the objects, and those images will be analyzed overnight, the authority said.
There's understandable frustration among reporters and among the public. They want investigators to be right the first time. They cannot understand how any facts can point investigators in a wrong direction. But, the investigators can understand it. It happens all the time. When the investigators are questioned about whether the previous searches and findings were all a waste of time, here's the response:
"I don't think we would've done anything different from what we have done," [acting Malaysian Transport Minister] Hishammuddin [Hussein] said.
[John] Young [general manager of emergency response for the Australian maritime authority] said previous searches were based on the information authorities "had at the time."
"That's nothing unusual for search and rescue operations," he said.
CNN safety analyst David Soucie said it was "a good sign" that experts had adjusted their assumptions.
"Assumptions are the key to all of this," he said. "If you assume something and you end up with a final conclusion, you have to constantly review that."I wouldn't call anything based upon assumptions to be a "final conclusion." But, this seems very relatable to early "findings" in the Amerithrax investigation which later turned out to be wrong or misleading (i.e., an anthrax lab in Afghanistan, the so-called "J-Lo letter, the reports of silica in the powders, "experts" pointing at Steven Hatfill, etc). The Anthrax Truthers were generally incapable of changing their minds when NEW data showed their original "final conclusions" were totally wrong.
It appears that the main assumption they had to review in the MH370 case was the speed at which flight MH370 was traveling as it headed south. The old assumptions were 400 knots and 450 knots. The new findings seem to be based on the plane traveling at a higher speed, about 480 knots (552 mph), which would also mean that it would run out of fuel more quickly. There's evidently another assumption involved, too. They were making assumptions about where the aircraft was and how fast it was traveling when it turned south. If the aircraft traveled further west than previously assumed, then the "ping" data would mean it was flying more south-south east than just straight south. Here's what a pilot in Ireland who calls himself "glenbrook" wrote on PPRUNE.ORG:
my understanding is that the analysis of the satellite pings requires an assumption of constant speed and heading. This does not give unique solution, because you need to know where the start point is (i.e. the point at which the a/c started flying south). If the a/c speed west over the Malay peninsula was higher than assumed up until now then the start point of the southerly track was farther westwards and the mathematical solutions to the satellite ping data have the a/c flying more easterly, ending up closer to Western Australia.
If you've got the time and talent for it, you might try to figure out what "hamster3null" on PPRUNE.ORG was trying to do when he compiled the data found HERE.
A media release from the Australian Martime Safety Authority (AMSA) seems to be making it clear the new sightings cannot be whitecaps. The media release says:
The objects cannot be verified or discounted as being from MH370 until they are relocated and recovered by ships.
A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion reported sighting a number of objects white or light in colour and a fishing buoy.
A Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion relocated the objects detected by the RNZAF Orion and reported it had seen two blue/grey rectangular objects floating in the ocean.
A second RAAF P3 Orion spotted various objects of various colours in a separate part of the search area about 546 kilometres away.
A report from Sky News in Australia says,
'Continuing analysis indicates that the plane was travelling faster than was previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel usage, reducing the possible distance it travelled south into the Indian Ocean,' Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Martin Dolan said on Friday.
'This is our best estimate of the area in which the aircraft is likely to have crashed into the ocean.'
He said the search area could change again as new information emerged.
Anthrax Truthers would almost certainly argue that if these "experts" were wrong once, they can never be trusted ever again. But, the CNN report cited above says:
U.S. flight crews involved in the search aren't frustrated or disillusioned by the sudden change in the search, said Cmdr. William Marks of the Navy's U.S. 7th Fleet.
"For the pilots and the air crews, this is what they train for," he said. "They understand it."I can certainly understand it. But, personally, I'm looking for a plot of the adjusted ping data which visually illustrates the change from the old assumed flight path to the new assumed flight path. And I'd like to see those new photographs taken by the various P3 search aircraft. I don't want to look at any more pictures of whitecaps that some "expert" analyst of satellite images believes could be debris from flight MH370.
March 27, 2014 - An article on CNN's web site this morning points out another problem with those debris sightings in the southern Indian Ocean:
Search crews have yet to put eyes on, much less recover, any of the objects, and experts warned Thursday against putting too much stock in what the images show.
Stephen Wood, a former CIA analyst and satellite imagery expert, said the satellites could be seeing something as simple as whitecaps, which he said can look deceptively like solid objects.
And CNN aviation analyst Jeff Wise said that while the latest find is "very enticing," the number and size of the objects make him question whether they could be from the plane.
"If you see something
floating that's 60 feet across, that could be a big chunk of fuselage,"
he said. "But if you have 10 pieces that are 60 feet
across, that would indicate that they're not from the plane because the
plane has only so much stuff in it."
That kind of comment makes me want to figure out how large the white spots are in the satellite image below. The image is from the Bangkok Post and is one of several that were taken by a Thai satellite. Unfortunately, I can't find a larger version:
There's a scale below the main picture which seems to show an inch to be about 250 meters. Based upon that scale, many of the long spots seem to be about 10 to 20 meters in length. That's about 30 to 60 feet. If so, there are simply too many large spots for them to be debris from flight MH370.
I doubt that they are whitecaps, since you'd expect to see more of a pattern to whitecaps. Whitecaps would generally be aligned perpendicular to the prevailing winds.
They're not ice. The sea temperature there is supposedly about 50 degrees.
With luck, planes might get a better look at the items tomorrow. But, we may just have to wait until someone on a surface ship can physically examine some of those items.
March 26, 2014 - Another week has passed without any response at all to my query letters regarding my new sci-fi novel. There's no way of knowing if the agents are just too busy and haven't yet read my queries, or if my query letter is badly phrased, or if the agents don't like the subject of the novel, or if the agents don't like the writing sample I provided. So, I've revised the query letter once again and sent it out to another agent.
Meanwhile, on my interactive blog, "Anonymous/DXer" seems to be arguing that, if the pilot of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 committed suicide by flying it into the southern Indian Ocean until it ran out of fuel, it could still have been done as part of some kind of al Qaeda terrorist plot. "Anonymous/DXer" seems totally incapable of explaining himself or his theories, so that's just my best guess as to what he is driving at.
Meanwhile, meanwhile, on PPRUNE.org, the idea is being discussed that there might be explanations for the loss of flight MH370 on passenger cell phones, if they are found. Here's a brief discussion I pieced together:
SPEED OF SOUND: One thing which nobody seems to have mentioned so far is the possible use of onboard images and audio recorded on passenger and crew mobile phones in any investigation. ...Let's hope they find some of those phones. They could tell us a lot more than the "black box" and other official recording equipment aboard. The new report of a satellite photographing 122 objects floating in the search area is in French, so I don't know if it mentions that those 122 objects were spotted in open areas between clouds:
If, and it's a big if, passengers and crew were still conscious during some or all of the flight south, it is very likely that audio and video recordings exist on the 200+ mobile phones on board at the time.
In the old days Nokia phones were famous for their ability to survive immersion in water and work perfectly again after removing the battery and leaving them in a warm place for a few hours. I have seen a few telecoms engineers posting here in the last two weeks. Does anyone know the likely survivability of a modern 'smartphone' (or more relevantly, the data contained) inside a crashed aircraft in deep salt water?
JIMSTER99: This has been mentioned. A lot!
PONTIUS NAVIGATOR: There was a case about 3 years ago, a Spanish fisherman recovered a camera that had been lost in the Atlantic some months before. The camera was ruined but the images on the SD Card enabled the owner to be traced. SD Cards are solid so water pressure us unlikely to be a factor and that one had survived immersion in salt water.
So, there could be thousands of pieces of floating debris under the clouds. One degree of longitude at that location would be about 53 miles. The left and right photos are separated by about 11 minutes of longitude, so they're roughly 10 miles apart.
March 25, 2014 (B) - Ah! My (A) post this morning got a reaction on my interactive blog from Anthrax Truher "Anonymous/DXer." In four posts, he continued to argue that flight MH370 was hijacked to attack an American destroyer (either the USS Kidd or the USS Pinckney) in the southern Indian Ocean. I thoroughly debunked that theory by doing a few minutes of basic research. I did a Google News lookup for "Pinckney" and found an article in Stars and Stripes which said:
The USS Kidd, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, joined the USS Pinckney in the search effort, according to the U.S. 7th Fleet. Both destroyers were conducting training in the South China Sea when they were dispatched to aid the search.So, according to "Anonymous/DXer's" logic, Al Qaeda operatives hijacked flight MH370 and turned it around in the South China sea where the Pinckney and Kidd were located in order to fly to the southern Indian Ocean where they planned to attack one of the two ships, even though neither of two ships would be there until after flight MH370 ran out of fuel and crashed and the two ships were assigned to help locate the wreckage.
And in one of his posts, "Anonymous/DXer" also asked:
Certainly, it is a lot more likely that Al Qaeda is targeting US naval targets than it is that a First Grader wrote the anthrax letters -- as you think. Isn't it?
Is it? The hypothesis that a child wrote the anthrax letters is supported by 12 solid and unchallenged facts. The belief that Al Qaeda hijacked flight MH370 to target either the Pinckney or the Kidd in the Indian Ocean is unsupported by any logic or reasoning, and has been easily and thoroughly debunked.
March 25, 2014 (A) - Last night, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart contained a very funny bit about how CNN was filling their 24-hour news cycle with reports on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 even when there was nothing new to report. They actually had a reporter discussing (or trying to discuss) the "possibility" that the missing aircraft fell into a black hole. The black hole theory apparently came from some blogger.
Almost as funny, this morning I see "Anonymous/DXer" has conjured up a theory where Flight MH370 may have been hijacked by Muslim extremists and flown on a suicide mission to crash into an American warship crossing the south Indian Ocean.
Where was the U.S.S. Harry Truman? Did the 777 try to locate into an US warship that had been supporting the war in Afghanistan? (LINK)
The U.S.S. Harry Truman, which came to mind, is in the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility but the Indian Ocean is in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility. Was there a US aircraft carrier transiting the Indian Ocean that someone might have been targeting? … then running out of gas? (LINK)
Was a terrorist targeting the USS Kidd? (LINK)
A couple more interesting questions might be: (1) How on earth could a commercial airliner locate a specific American warship moving across the middle of the Indian Ocean? (2) Why would Muslim extremists hijack a aircraft from a Muslim country that is carrying numerous Muslims, including a Muslim pilot and co-pilot in order to try to kill some American sailors (but actually just kill a lot of Muslims)?
Meanwhile, this morning I received an email pointing me to an explanation of how the path flown by Flight MH370 was refined using doppler shift calculations. And, when I checked the latest posts to the PPRUNE blog, I found a link to an announcement from Malaysian Ministry of Transport (MOT) which explains in much greater detail the doppler effect technique British experts used to determine that the MH370 had gone down in the south Indian Ocean. The copy of the announcement appears to come from Facebook. Here is some of what it says:
As you have heard, an aircraft is able to communicate with ground stations via satellite.
If the ground station has not heard from an aircraft for an hour it will transmit a 'log on / log off' message, sometimes referred to as a ‘ping’, using the aircraft’s unique identifier. If the aircraft receives its unique identifier it returns a short message indicating that it is still logged on. This process has been described as a “handshake” and takes place automatically.
From the ground station log it was established that after ACARS stopped sending messages, 6 complete handshakes took place.
The position of the satellite is known, and the time that it takes the signal to be sent and received, via the satellite, to the ground station can be used to establish the range of the aircraft from the satellite. This information was used to generate arcs of possible positions from which the Northern and Southern corridors were established.The "ground station" was evidently an Australian Earth Station. The announcement has three nice illustrations which help explain things. Below is a reduced-in-size copy of one of them. Click HERE for the full size version.
It's a lot of information to digest. Of course, matters aren't helped when you need to learn new terms in order to understand exactly what is being stated.
I had to look up what "UTC" means, since this and many reports state the "ping" times in UTC time. According to Wikipedia, UTC means "Temps Universel Coordonné" (TUC?) or Coordinated Universal Time (CUT?). It appears to be just another way of giving Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). In order to understand the section of the MOT announcement reproduced below, you may need to convert UTC times to the local time in Kuala Lumpur by adding 8 hours to the UTC time (which I did in red for you).
There is evidence of a partial handshake between the aircraft and ground station at 0019 UTC [8:19 Kuala Lumpur time]. At this time this transmission is not understood and is subject to further ongoing work.
No response was received from the aircraft at 0115 UTC [9:15 Kuala Lumpur time], when the ground earth station sent the next log on / log off message. This indicates that the aircraft was no longer logged on to the network.
Therefore, some time between 0011 UTC and 0115 UTC [8:11 and 9:15 Kuala Lumpur time] the aircraft was no longer able to communicate with the ground station. This is consistent with the maximum endurance of the aircraft.So, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m., local time on March 8, and went down sometime between 8:11 and 9:15 a.m. on March 8 when it would have run out of fuel. They don't know how fast it was flying during its long cruise southward, and that complicates the calculations. If it was flying at 400 knots (460 mph), it would compute to be many hundreds of miles away from where it would compute to be if it was traveling at 450 knots (518 mph). The illustration below (click HERE for a larger version) indicates how the satellite "ping" data can determine how far the plane was from the satellite at 8:11 a.m. Kuala Lumpur time (the green line). But, if it was going 518 mph it would be where the yellow line connects with the green line, and at 460 mph it would be where the red line connects with the green line. Or, if it was going at a different speed, it could be anywhere in between or slightly to either side.
[Image deleted because it links to Facebook]
What this may illustrate is that people really only want to know the final answer, but they also don't want to be kept in the dark, so they want to know what's going on now. What they really want is the final answer now. And, it's not available.
Right now, everyone is waiting for some surface ships seaching in the Indian Ocean to actually recover some debris that can be directly tied to Malaysia Airlines Flight HM370. Then they'll try to backtrack by calculating ocean currents to locate where the plane actually went down. Then they'll try to figure out HOW it ended up there. That will be the "final answer." It's still a long ways away.
March 24, 2014 - The news this morning indicates that they are finding debris in the search area where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is calculated to have gone down. Unfortunately, the news reports are as murky as the weather in the area appears to be.
Here's what ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) News reported 90 minutes ago:
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australian authorities have located new "objects" during the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
He has told Parliament the objects were located 2,500 kilometres south-west of Perth by a Royal Australian Air Force P-3 Orion about 2:45pm (AEDT).
Mr Abbott says the first object was grey or green and circular and the second was orange and rectangular.
He says HMAS Success is on the scene and is attempting to locate and recover the objects.
Further down in the article it says:
Flight Lieutenant Josh Williams, who was on board the P-3 Orion, said the flight was successful.
"We were looking for debris in the water and we sighted a number of objects on the surface and beneath the surface visually as we flew over the top if it," he said.
"The first object was rectangular in shape and slightly below the ocean. The second object was circular, also slightly below the ocean. We came across a long cylindrical object that was possibly two metres long, 20 centimetres across.
"Everyone is quite hyped."
Presumably, "slightly below the ocean" means "slightly under the surface." That would be objects that have enough air inside to keep them from sinking totally, but not enough air to keep them fully above the surface - like the wing of a plane or a deflated life raft. I found the article by going through the posts on the Professional Pilots Rumour Network. Here's a recent exchange that I pieced together from that blog:
DAYGO: Reports suggest that one of the items found is a square orange coloured object. Is there any possibility this could be a life raft?
OLDOBERON: Re P3 debris siting, hopefully the rectangular orange object a slide and the circular green/grey object underside of a raft, as both objects relatively near to each other and two more objects with no details that would indicate a common source and not a very old one .
OPENDOOR: Do the life rafts have to be manually deployed?
SKYTRAX: Not really. Slide rafts would be deployed after the aircraft ditches, what we call ditching in aviation. It is done by the pilots with the clear intention to do so.
In ideal conditions aircraft floats for a while and cabin crew would open doors in armed mode. Slide rafts are deployed automatically when doors are opened in armed mode. Cabin crew would evacuate the pax on rafts, disconnect the rafts and apply sop's to survive for as long as possible and signal when activity is observed in the nearby area.
A B777 raft is large, it can fit up to 80 pax. It does have an orange canopy.....if the sea was rough it would be very hard for a raft to be afloat after 14 days, but you never know.
KOOLJACK: "We came across a long cylindrical object that was possibly two metres long, 20 centimetres across." That sounds like a portable ELT.
SKYTRAX: Sliderafts don't have elts. The plane has 2, one in the front at L1 and one at the aft. They are to be removed by the crew in emergency. They do start transmitting when [they] hit the water but for only 50hrs.
So, the "evidence" at the moment seems to indicate that they've located two empty and partially deflated life rafts, a rectangular life raft that would also serve as a slide during emergency evacuations on land, and a circular life raft that is stored aboard. But, there could be some totally different explanation -- if there were just more facts to work with.
On the other hand, USA Today reported 3 minutes ago that
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razar said Monday that a new analysis of electronic data shows that the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with 239 people aboard "ended" in a remote area of the Indian ocean and indicated there were no survivors.
Just before the prime minister spoke in Kuala Lumpur, the airlines sent a brief text message to family members of the passengers saying, "(w)e have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived."A BBC article HERE explains how the assumption/conclusion was reached. And, if you are interested, the passenger and crew manifest can be viewed by clicking HERE.
March 23, 2014 - So, another day has gone by without any aircraft or ships spotting any debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the middle of the south Indian Ocean. But, this morning we have news that a French satellite reportedly recorded debris in the same general area where the Chinese and Australian satellites previously recorded objects in the water. Unfortunately, the French satellite images have not yet been made public. Nor do we know when the images were recorded.
While the subject of the missing airliner might seem to be "off topic" here, in many ways it is very much "on topic," if the "topic" is considered to be psychology and how people react to mysteries that aren't immediately solved. The media, conspiracy theorists, amateur detectives, nut cases, and the terminally paranoid are endlessly producing theories about the missing plane, just they way they produced theories about the anthrax attacks. Many seem to be blaming their favorite boogie man. Plus the matter isn't helped by the fact that the authorities are not releasing all the information they have, and occasionally someone in authority makes a mistake in what they tell the public.
"Anonymous/DXer" seems to be desperately trying to pin the blame on his favorite boogie man, Yazid Sufaat, who "DXer" is still arguing had something to do with the anthrax attacks of 2001. And, if some screwball tabloid prints a story that seems to support his beliefs, that is BIG NEWS for him. For example, Britain's Daily Sunday Star printed a story that the plane had been headed toward the island of Diego Garcia to execute a suicide crash into American facilities there, 9/11 style:
Diego Garcia’s US airbase houses 1,400 workers and was used as a CIA “black site” to hold captured Islamic terror suspects.
The remote island is also said to have been used for “extraordinary rendition” flights, in which terrorist figures were transported around the world.
Internet conspiracy theorists backed claims that a hijacker may have been trying to fly there.Ah! It's a theory that is backed and supported by Internet conspiracy theorists. That is definitely worth making it a headline story. If you've got nothing better to do.
If you read the arguments on the Professional Pilots Rumour Network (PPRUNE), they have all kinds of theories.
Personally, I'm not really trying to promote any theory. Nor am I really interested in any specific theory. I'm just trying to understand what's going on. Mostly, I've been trying to find some solid information which would explain why they are searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the middle of the Indian Ocean. On Friday, I didn't find out why they were searching there, but I think I found out why they aren't providing details about why they are searching there.
On the Professional Pilots Rumour Network, "AndyJS" from Birminham, England, asked this at 18:07 GMT on the 22nd:
I don't understand why they released information about the final "handshake" [at 8:11 a.m.] but not the others.
It would have made sense not to have revealed information about any of them for security reasons maybe, but once they released information about the 8:11 handshake it seems odd that they didn't do the same for the others.
And at 18:34 "RichardC10" replied at 18:34 GMT:
The final handshake/ping data had to be released to convince everyone that the aeroplane was far South (or North) and definitely not in the South China Sea. After that there was no benefit to the investigators in releasing extra information, it would just lead to more spam in the e-mail accounts of NTSB, Boeing, Inmarsat, the Malaysian Authorities etc. etc.
Ah! Okay! If true, that explains why I couldn't find any official information about the "pings" at 2:11, 3:11, 4:11, 5:11, 6:11 and 7:11 a.m. All I could find was someone asking about those "pings," and I found articles and posts which seemed to use the question as if it was an official answer, instead of someone looking for an actual answer. I also found information which vaguely explained that a Malaysian military radar contact with an unidentified aircraft (because its responder was turned off) at 2:14 a.m. was confirmed by a satellite "ping" to be Flight MH370, since the distances match.
The way I'd initially understood those "pings" was based upon a story in the Montreal Gazette, which said the last "ping" recorded from flight MH370 was at 1:07 a.m. on the 8th. There was supposed to be a "ping" every half hour. But, the "ping" scheduled for 1:37 a.m. did not occur. And there were no more "pings" until the satellite received a "faint ping" at 8:11 a.m.
Now it appears there was never any "faint ping," there were loud and clear automatic "pings" at roughly hourly intervals from 2:11 a.m. until 8:11 a.m., when the last automatic "ping" was recorded. And it was the 2:11 a.m. "ping" that verified the Malaysia military radar contact of an unidentified aircraft heading west over the Strait of Malacca. Those pings, while not "faint," were the equivalent of unacknowledged handshakes. Here's how the Hindustan Times describes those "pings":
The data consists of attempts by an Inmarsat satellite to identify a broad area where the plane might be in case a messaging system aboard the plane should need to connect with the satellite, said the official. The official compared the location attempts, called a "handshake," to someone driving around with their cellphone not in use. As the phone passes from the range of one cellphone tower to another, the towers note that the phone is in range in case messages need to be sent.
So the "pings" were the satellite detecting that the plane's ACARS system was in range and available to be used. Here's how a TV station in the United Arab Emirates explains the "pings":
Based on the hourly connections with the plane, described by a US official as a "handshake," the satellite knows at what angle to tilt its antenna to be ready to receive a message from the plane should one be sent.
So, the data recorded on the satellite gives the angle from the satellite to the plane. The satellite is in a "stationary orbit" 22,223 miles over the equator. The up-down angle can be determined, but not the side to side angle. So, the distance to the plane's ACARS system can be computed via triangulation, but not the direction.
The satellite does its "pinging" hourly at 11 minutes past the hour. Like a cell phone tower, it notes which systems are in range. When turned on, the plane's ACARS system does its transmissions every half hour, at 7 and 37 minutes past the hour. The last transmission from the plane was at 1:07 a.m. It failed to do its scheduled transmission at 1:37 a.m. But the ACARS system was still detectable by the satellite every hour at 11 minutes after the hour until the last signal was detected at 8:11 a.m.
Wow! I finally understand what was going on! I understand why they're looking in the middle of the south Indian Ocean. That's where the calculation based upon the hourly "pings" between the satellite and the turned off ACARS system indicate the plane is most likely to have been. The only alternative is for it to have been over land far to the north, and that doesn't seem possible without someone spotting it on radar or visually.
So, I'm changing the confidence level for my hypothesis that the plane went down in the Gulf of Thailand or South China Sea from 5% to 1%.
I don't have any vested interest in where the plane went down or why it disappeared in the first place. I just want to understand the data. Now I think I do.
Another area of very heavy thinking last week involved me trying to figure out exactly what Professor Greene was talking about in the on-line course about Space, Time & Einstein on the WorldScienceU.com web site. I understand time dilation, okay, I think. To confirm it, I created a new web page about it HERE. The idea is that if I can explain it to others and get them to understand, that means I also understand it. I think just about anyone should be able to understand my explanation. I may add some drawings, if I can find the time.
Meanwhile, the part of the course that seems to have nearly everyone else confused is also still confusing to me. It has to do with an alien moving between "slices of time." I think it requires a thorough understanding of theoretical higher mathematics, which I do not have. But, maybe I can learn to understand it enough to explain to others why I find this explanation from the professor to be not understandable:
The point I made in lecture does not have to do with what the alien will see. Instead, it has to do with what events belong on the alien's NOW slice. These two concepts are different. At a given moment, you don't see what is on your NOW slice. Why? It takes some amount of time for light to travel from one location in space to your eye, so you only ever see objects that belong on now-slices for earlier moments in time.
So, the stunning conclusion we reached in the lecture is not that the alien will see, say, your future. Rather, the conclusion is that events that we consider to be in our future would belong on the alien's NOW slice, even though before the alien got on his bike, our NOW slice and his NOW slice agreed completely, they were the same.
THAT'S the marvel of this thought experiment.
If that's not perfectly clear, try reading Minkowski's explanation of spacetime.
I think I need to get back to working on the sequel to my sci-fi novel.
& Changes: Sunday, March 16, 2014, thru Saturday, March 22,
March 21, 2014 - DAMN! Once again, as I was going to bed last night, it appeared that some important news was about to break in the case of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. And this morning there's no news.
I think someone needs to provide a detailed explanation for why they are searching in the middle of the Indian Ocean for flight MH370. There is so much contradictory and unverified information out there in the media, that nothing makes sense. The biggest problem seems to be that final "ping" at 8:11 a.m. Everything the searchers are doing in the Indian Ocean seems to be based upon that ACARS "ping" being assumed to have come from a flying aircraft somewhere along an arc at least ten thousand miles long.
Most think it's "impossible" for the plane to have been flying over land anywhere along the northern part of that arc without being detected by radar somewhere. So, they've largely eliminated the "impossible" and they're searching the southern part of the arc where there is no radar, and thus it's "possible" the plane could have flown there.
But, it appears that not everyone is "buying" the idea that the plane crashed in the middle of the Indian Ocean. According to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) article dated this morning:
India said it was sending two aircraft, a Poseidon P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft and a C-130 Hercules transporter, to join the hunt in the southern Indian Ocean. It is also sending another P-8I and four warships to search in the Andaman Sea, where the plane was last seen on military radar on March 8.
In New Delhi, officials said the search in areas around the Andaman island chain was not at the request of Malaysian authorities coordinating the global search for the airliner.and
The search for the plane also continues in other regions, including a wide arc sweeping northward from Laos to Kazakhstan.
I hope they're also still searching around the area where the plane was last positively known to be - in the Gulf of Thailand.
March 20, 2014 (B) - Just for the record, while the discussions about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 have been going on, "Anonymous/DXer" and I have also been arguing same-old same-old anthrax case stuff on my interactive blog. Via emails and without any explanation, he also sent me a link to a very funny video HERE. From my point of view, that video clearly shows what it is like to argue with "Anonymous/DXer."
March 20, 2014 (A) - Just before going to bed last night, I turned on my computer to take my nightly backups of my web site log files, and I saw on Google News that it looked like wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 had been found at last. But, this morning they don't know any more than they knew last night. CNN reports that the object could be a cargo container. Cargo containers evidently fall off of container ships from time to time. (The recent Robert Redford movie "All Is Lost" is about a guy sailing alone in that part of the world when his sailboat bangs into a floating cargo container, which punches a hole in the side of his boat.) Pictures of the floating object make it look like a cargo container. However, it's estimated to be 25 meters (82 feet) in length, and ocean shipping containers seem to have a maximum length of about 40 feet.
I don't quite understand why the experts seem to be focused on that area. It seems to be because the final ACARS "ping" at 8:11 a.m. on March 8 would calculate to have come from that area IF it is assumed that the aircraft had been flying on autopilot in a straight line until its fuel ran out. That assumption also seems to include the assumptions that either everyone on board was dead, or that the pilots had barracaded themselves in the cockpit and no one from the passenger cabin could break the door down.
And, there are other problems, too. According to CNN:
Complicating the search is the fact that the debris field is probably far away from where it was when it was spotted in satellite images shot four days ago. "It could have drifted a thousand miles," [Capt. Timothy Taylor, president of Tiburon Subsea Services and an ocean search expert] said.
But, on the positive side,
In a stroke of luck for investigators, a merchant ship near the suspected debris spot is pitching in on the search, [John Young, a spokesman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority] said. ...
The ship, a Norwegian cargo vessel, has reached the area where the objects were spotted, a spokesman for Hoegh Autoliners, Ben Stack, told CNN.
The presence of the merchant ship opens up great possibilities, said former CIA counterterrorism expert Jeff Beatty.
It could serve as a base for the salvage teams, especially if it is equipped for helicopter landings.I hope we see an end to this mystery soon, not only for the sake of the friends and relatives of the victims, but because I want to go back to focusing on other things.
March 19, 2014 - I awoke this morning with my mind examining Einstein's famous "Twin Paradox" from a very different angle. I just don't know where I can discuss it with people who are interested in that sort of thing. I might try WorldScienceU.com, if I can figure out some way of doing it without "disturbing the class."
Meanwhile, it's been another week without any response from literary agents regarding my new sci-fi novel. So, my first priority this morning was to compose a new query letter to another agent from the list. This time, however, I added a few "sales pitch" items to the letter. I added an advertising "tag line":
THERE IS NO FUTURE,
AND THE PAST CAN KILL YOU.
Maybe it will help.
Waiting in my inbox this morning were some emails about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. They both pointed to articles about the hypothesis that there was a fire aboard the aircraft. Click HERE and HERE for the articles, one by Chris Goodfellow, the other about Goodfellow's theory. It's very interesting, but I still need to work on a timeline of the events in order to understand all that is being said and theorized.
Added note: That Timeline post to the Professional Pilots Rumor Network that I spent all of yesterday morning hunting for, only to determine it had been "deleted," has just been posted again as Post #6268. At this moment, it's the most recent post, with a posting time of "19th Mar 2014, 19:54". (I made a copy of it for my personal files, just in case it gets deleted again.) Uh oh! I just rechecked the link and the post is now #6255 and the "permalink" is HERE. The post time remains the same: 19th Mar 2014, 19:54. Good thing I made a copy.
The image below was also found on the Professional Pilots Rumor Network. But the record in which it was found seems to have disappeared.
March 18, 2014 - Yesterday, someone sent me a link to a forum called "Professional Pilots Rumor Network" where professional pilots are discussing the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. (Click HERE to view the site. Click HERE to view the thread about Malaysia flight MH370.) I found a very interesting post and marked down the post number and the time. But this morning I cannot find that post. The post number (#5484) doesn't lead to the post I read, and there isn't any post at all at the time I marked down (17th Mar 2014, 21:51). So, I have to assume the post was deleted and the post numbers all adjusted accordingly. I spent all morning searching for it.
The missing message was trying to debunk the theory (and my hypothesis) that the missing aircraft could have gone down near where the transponder shut off and the last voice contact was made. But, as I recall, the debunking was all based upon the idea that the searchers couldn't find any wreckage in that area. I don't think any DATA actually debunked the theory. And, there are lots of pilots on that forum who also believe that Flight MH370 could have gone down where my hypothesis says it went down. And, they give reasons for believing it. The missing post showed the timeline of various events, including some pings that were recorded hourly after the last radio call from flight MH370.
(This afternoon, I found a post HERE that references the missing post by number (5484) and quotes from it. However, the quoting post is currently numbered 5450, which seems to mean that at least 35 posts were deleted at some point in time.)
Although I couldn't find what I was looking for, I found a LOT of other interesting posts on the forum. I recorded the links to them, and now I'll try going back to see what I can find out about the "hourly pings" that interested me so much. Nothing better to do.
March 17, 2014 - Hmm. After looking at all the available data I could find this morning, I have developed a new and different hypothesis about Malaysian Airlines flight 370. This hypothesis has about a 5% confidence level.
The hypothesis resulted from trying to understand what the news media is talking about when then say Flight 370 could have been on either one of "two possible corridors." Here's a map showing red lines tracing over those two possible "corridors."
When I look look at that map above, what I see is that those two "corridors" should be just one "corridor." Those arcs merely represent a distance. It appears the satellite data can provide a distance between itself and the source of a ping, but it cannot provide any directional information. So, the two red lines are distance lines. However, what they fail to mention is that that distance line is really a single line and should be joined together. And, if joined, the "corridor" includes the last place where the aircraft communicated by radio with the ground. That is the spot marked #2 on the map below:
According to a CNN article HERE,
One way to hide a plane's flight information from air traffic controllers would be to turn off the transponder. Experts give conflicting opinions about what the transponder shutoff could mean: One theory points to someone -- perhaps a hijacker -- wanting to hide the plane before changing course; another theory is the transponder could have stopped transmitting because of a catastrophic power failure.
So, it seems very "possible" that the aircraft had a "catastrophic power failure" at point #2 on the graphic above and was actually on the surface of the water in the Gulf of Thailand when it last pinged the satellite. The "corridors" are just other "possible" locations based upon the assumption that it couldn't have been on the surface, because none of the searching ships and planes saw wreckage in that area.
According to that same CNN article:
The aircraft's ACARS was sending pings more than five hours after the transponder last emitted a signal, an aviation industry source told CNN on Friday.
These pings don't provide information about speed or altitude, but they do indicate the plane was intact for that long, since an aircraft has to be powered and have structural integrity for the ACARS to operate, the source said.However, according to a Montreal Gazette article dated today there weren't "pings," there was just one "ping":
The sequence of events surrounding the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370:
— March 8, 12:41 a.m. The plane carrying 239 people leaves Kuala Lumpur heading to Beijing.
— 1:07 a.m. ACARS transmits its regular, half-hourly data report about the jet's engines and other data to the airline.
— 1:19 a.m. Someone, apparently the co-pilot, makes the final voice communication from the cockpit, saying "All right, good night" to air-traffic controllers.
— 1:20 a.m. The transponder shuts down, removing the plane's identification on commercial radar systems.
— 1:37 a.m. An ACARS data transmission is due, but never sent.
— 2:14 a.m. The plane is last seen on military radar, heading west over the Strait of Malacca.
— 8:11 a.m. A satellite records a faint, final "ping" from the disabled ACARS system. A broad arc of the jet's possible location stretches from Kazakhstan into the southern Indian Ocean.
— About 8:40 a.m. The estimated end of the jet's fuel supply.
It's possible the plane's last satellite contact could have been made from the ground, as long as the airplane still had electrical power
But, what does "electrical power" mean? Does it include battery power?
There's more information about the ACARS system and that 8:11 a.m. "ping" on a different CNN report HERE. It says:
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Raza revealed Saturday that a satellite tracked the plane at 8:11 a.m., more than seven hours after takeoff.
Najib didn't provide details on the satellite tracking, but it appears that orbiters high above the ocean detected the plane as the satellite or satellites attempted a series of "handshakes" -- or electronic connections -- with the plane below, Quest said.
It's likely that the plane didn't complete the handshake because its communication systems were disabled, Quest said. It's also possible that the airline doesn't subscribe to that part of the satellite system, he said
So, the "faint, final 'ping'" wasn't really "faint." It was incomplete. The satellite detected the ACARS system, but when contacted, the ACARS system didn't respond.
Those Malaysian military radar tracks (#3 and #4 above) and identified as "Last Radar Contact with MH370" on the first graphic above are based upon unreliable data. As I understand it, if the transponder is turned off, all that radar can pick up is an unidentified echo. They don't know what plane they spotted at 2:14 a.m. They're just assuming the unidentified echo picked up at a great distance was flight 370.
So, my new hypothesis is that the plane had some kind of "catastrophic failure" and went down not far from where the co-pilot last talked with the ground controllers, and a part of the plane remained on the surface long enough for the ACARS systems to send one last battery powered signal at 8:11 a.m.
If the plane landed intact on the surface of the water, there wouldn't be much of an oil slick. There also wouldn't be very much debris. But, there should be lifeboats and passengers - unless the plane sunk too quickly.
I don't have all the answers. It's just another hypothesis.
And, since the Malaysian military radar report I relied upon before now seems likely bogus, I've lowered the Somalian pirates hypothesis to a confidence level of about 0.5%.
March 16, 2014 (C) - I just received an email from "Anonymous/DXer" in response to the last part of my (B) comment this morning. His entire email is as follows:
In terms of stupid theories, your Somalia pirate theory tops even your theory a First Grader wrote the anthrax letters! And that was hard to do.
Is an hypothesis with a 2% confidence level a "theory"? I see it as nothing more than a wild idea to knock around. I can't defend it -- other than to argue that Malaysia flight 370 was last recorded headed in that general direction. And, there's nothing much else out there. Plus I have a vague memory of some hijacked airliner landing on the waters off the coast of Africa some years ago. (Found it HERE.) But, I'm certainly open to facts which disprove the "Somalian pirate hypothesis." And, it wouldn't bother me one bit if someone could show me a better hypothesis which better fits the evidence.
Added note: Upon reading the above comment, "Anonymous/DXer" sent me another email which said only:
You write: " I can't defend it ." That's right. You can't.
What he's doing is making it clear he understands only beliefs. If I believed that Somalian pirates hijacked Malaysia Airlines flight 370, then I should be able to defend it. But, I do NOT believe it. Nor do I disbelieve it. "Anonymous/DXer" undoubtedly disbelieves it (for no explained reason), and his mind is firmly closed on the subject. He could probably rant on for an hour about why he disbelieves it just because "it's stupid" -- without once mentioning anything as mundane as "evidence."
For me, it's just an interesting idea. There's "evidence" to support it, but no "evidence" to disprove it. However, there's so little "evidence" that it's almost meaningless. It just sits there making me wonder and making me hope some solid evidence shows up soon.
Another added note: "Anonymous/DXer" also posted a message to my interactive blog on the subject. He indicates that he cannot understand me mentioning an idea if I can't defend the idea. That more or less proves he cannot participate in an intelligent group discussion. Tossing ideas into the ring for a group discussion is a basic tool for figuring things out. Others in the group are supposed to either explain why the evidence says it's not possible, or why the evidence says it IS possible. And then, working together, the group tries to figure out if more evidence can be found one way or the other. They do that until the idea can be rejected because it is found to be virtually impossible, or until the idea can be accepted by everyone as a genuine possibility worth fully checking out. That kind of discussion is clearly totally incomprehensible to Truthers.
Another added note: "Anonymous/DXer" sent another email which said,
You write: "There's "evidence" to support it." No there isn't. That's why you can't defend it.
There is "evidence," of course. But it's not the conclusive and undeniable evidence that Anthrax Truthers require before they'll even consider it to be evidence. As stated above, the "evidence" is just that (1) the aircraft was headed in that general direction when the recordings stopped, and (2) there isn't much else in that general direction. (3) Hijacking an airliner is, in some ways, less complex than hijacking a ship on the ocean. And (4) a hijacked Ethiopian airliner crash-landed off that coast of Africa in 1996, which might plant an idea in some Somalian's head. That's not very good evidence, but I only gave it a 2% confidence level. It's certainly enough to discuss as a possibility.
"Anonymous/DXer" just sent me another email saying for probably the thousandth time that there's "no evidence" that a child wrote the anthrax letters. I've shown him the evidence HERE and HERE countless times, but it's not evidence according to Anthrax Truther standards. They require evidence than can change a Truther's mind. I've seen no evidence that any such evidence exists anywhere about anything.
March 16, 2014 (B) - Wow! I did a LOT of very heavy thinking last week. It kept me from just sitting around waiting for a response to my query letters to literary agents.
I completed the course on Space, Time & Einstein at the WorldScienceU.com site. The basic principles of time dilation and the constancy of the speed of light are very familiar to me and required learning nothing new. I think I fully understand them. Here's one of the comments I wrote explaining my view of time dilation:
I think I understand time dilation okay. If I'm on a rocket ship traveling near the speed of light, where time is slowed down to 1/10th what it is back on earth, everything will still SEEM normal aboard the ship. The clock will seem to keep normal time. I'll still need a haircut every month (more or less). If a woman aboard gets pregnant, she'll still have a 9 month gestation period.
AND, if I had a magical "simultaneous viewer" device aboard that could show me the eastern horizon back on earth as it was happening at MY time rate, I'd see the sun rise every 2 hours and 24 minutes.
AND, if the people back on
also had a magical "simultaneous viewer," the parents of the pregnant
woman aboard would have to wait 90 months for the child to gestate and
be born. And, if they could see the clock we have aboard the spaceship,
they'd see it was moving at 1/10th the rate of the clocks they have.
However, there was one video (Module #8) that contained a section that was really puzzling for me, and, evidently, also very puzzling for a lot of other students. So, I played it over and over until I could spot the exact sentence where Professor Greene lost me. Then I looked at all the comments by the other students to see if any of them could clarify anything. (My outdated computer software prevents me from getting any direct feedback from Professor Greene.) Eventually, I realized the problem was all the result of a confusing choice of words used by Prof. Greene. Am I right? I dunno. But, I've finished the only course I see of interest. I'll just check the student comments from time to time to see if anyone clarifies anything further for me.
Meanwhile, on my interactive blog in response to my March 11 (A) comment, those same two Anthrax Truthers ("Anonymous" and "R. Rowley") are back to argue about whether or not the so-called "J-Lo letter" opened at the AMI building on September 19, 2001 contained anthrax. The facts clearly say NO, the J-Lo letter did NOT contain anthrax. But, those two Truthers can still argue that it's possible for the letter to have contained anthrax regardless of what the facts say.
When I showed one of them all the evidence that said the powder in the J-Lo letter was laundry detergent, he began to argue that it's possible there could have been anthrax mixed in with the laundry detergent.
When I showed the other Truther that the J-Lo letter was opened on the third floor where there was very little contamination, he tried to argue it's possible that it could somehow have been opened on the first floor where all the contamination was - even if all the facts say it was opened on the third floor.
And, both Truthers suddenly and inexplicably seemed to cite Leonard Cole as being a supreme authority. Cole's book "The Anthrax Letters" seems to argue that the J-Lo letter was the letter that "almost certainly" contained the anthrax. But, Cole only does so by twisting the facts to make them fit that scenario. And, he evidently didn't interview a key witness, Joe West, who saw Bobby Bender open the J-Lo letter. Here's what the National Enquirer published:
“When I picked up the envelope, I could feel something cylindrical inside,” [Managing Editor Joe] West told The ENQUIRER.
“Something told me, `Don’t open it! So I tossed it into the garbage.”
But recently hired news assistant Bobby Bender, whose daughter is a J.Lo. Fan, said, “I want to open it.” He grabbed the envelope from West’s garbage can.
“As he opened it, I saw a metal cigar tube – obviously the cylinder I’d felt – with a cheap cigar inside.” Said West. “There was also an empty can of chewing tobacco and a small detergent carton.
“There was a handwritten letter to Jennifer Lopez. The writer said how much he loved her and asked her to marry him. The letter also contained some sexual innuendo. "
“Sticking out of the powder was a little gold something. I couldn’t tell what.
Furthermore, Cole doesn't even try to figure out why the witnesses have different views of what happened. In the National Enquirer article it says Bobby Bender gave the J-Lo letter to Stevens. Roz Suss saw him do it. She was an assistant photo editor just like Stevens and her desk was about 6 feet from Stevens' desk. In Cole's book, Cole says that Bender doesn't remember any letter or giving any letter to Bob Stevens. All Bender remembers is the package addressed to Lopez, the cigar tube and cigar, the Star of David, and the powder "that seemed like soap powder."
Does Bender remember giving the PACKAGE to Stevens? No one asked that question.
Where was the powder inside the package? Loose? In the detergent box? Cole didn't ask that question. The Enquirer implies the powder was wrapped in the letter.
When sorting out the differing viewpoints, it appears that Bender may have opened what he thought was a sheet of paper containing the powder, and he handed the paper atop the package to Stevens. Suss remembers that as Bender handing the letter to Stevens. Bender doesn't remember any letter -- but if someone had asked, he might have remembered handing over the package. And he might remember a sheet of paper.
It's a good example of how unreliable witnesses can be, and how you have to ask the right questions if you want to understand what really happened. In Cole's book, they know about another letter received at AMI that also contained powder, and the people who worked on the third floor inexplicably seem to assume it was another "J-Lo letter."
It's also a good example of how imprecise unofficial reports can be. Critical details are missing and nothing is cross-checked. Discrepancies go unresolved.
But, the facts are clear: There was only one anthrax letter. It was the letter opened on the first floor by Stephanie Dailey. It was addressed to the National Enquirer and looked just like the other anthrax letters. The box or envelope addressed to Jennifer Lopez was opened on the third floor and did not contain anthrax.
Lastly, I've been watching the news about that missing Malaysian Airlines plane - flight MH370. I keep thinking about Somalian pirates, even though it's a certainty the plane didn't have enough fuel to take it all the way to Somalia. I can rationalize that they may have planned to land the aircraft on the water where some of their fishing boats were waiting. Somalian pirates seem like a ragtag bunch who have the nerve to take over a ship on the high seas. But, if they landed the plane somewhere, we'd probably have gotten a ransom demand by now. And if they landed it on the sea, what could there be aboard that would be worth the risk and the effort. If it's the passengers they want to hold for ransom, the passengers could still be on fishing boats enroute to Somalia. But, I give that scenario only about a 2 percent confidence level. And, I don't know how to rank the other possibilities.
It's certainly an interesting mystery. I assume everyone aboard is now dead. But, it would make a terrific story if they somehow all showed up somewhere.
Here's what one Anthrax Truther has to say about it:
Have air defenses been raised? What would keep an explosive-laden 777 from destroying Wall Street or the Capitol? Numerous of my loved ones plan on visiting DC this month in time for the cherry blossoms. I’m beginning to feel uneasy.
That seems like paranoia to me. How many refueling hops would a Boeing 777 have to make to get from some dirt airfield in Asia to New York City? Is it even possible to do it without being detected? And, why would terrorists even try to head for America? Wouldn't they more likely use the plane to attack some closer place in Europe?
There's a map HERE of all the runways where the 777 could have landed.
Meanwhile, I need to get started on a new novel.
March 16, 2014 (A) - This morning, when I did my regular Google search for "anthrax" and "2001", up popped the latest rant by Professor Francis Boyle. His article on countercurrents.org is dated yesterday and begins with this:
It is now a matter of public record that immediately after the terrible tragedy of 11 September 2001, U.S. Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld and his pro-Israeli Neo-Conservative Deputy Paul Wolfowitz began to plot, plan, scheme and conspire to wage a war of aggression against Iraq by manipulating the tragic events of September 11th in order to provide a pretext for doing so. Of course Iraq had nothing at all to do with September 11th or supporting Al-Qaeda. But that made no difference to Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, their Undersecretary of War Douglas Feith, and the numerous other pro-Israeli Neo-Cons inhabiting the Bush Jr. administration.
"Anthrax" and "2001" appear in a later sentence:
Meanwhile, the Department of Injustice's own F.B.I. is still covering up the U.S. governmental origins of the post 11 September 2001 anthrax attacks on Washington D.C. that enabled Ashcroft and his Feddies to stampede the U.S. Congress into passing USAPA I into law.
So, Professor Boyle has learned nothing in the past decade. And, like all Anthrax Truthers, there doesn't seem to be any way to get him to learn anything. Therefore, he could never change his mind. In that way, he's a model Anthrax Truther.
& Changes: Sunday, March 9, 2014, thru Saturday, March 15,
March 12, 2014 - The past 7 days turned out to be another week without any responses to my query letters regarding my new sci-fi novel. So, this morning I sent out another query to another literary agent.
Meanwhile, I've started taking a physics course about "Space, Time and Einstein" on WorldScienceU.com, which I learned about while watching The Colbert Report back on Feb. 18. I'm currently about to start part 9 of 14 parts.
I also watched Stephen Colbert's interview with Niel deGrasse Tyson on The Colbert Report for March 10. They discussed the new series "Cosmos," which began airing on Sunday on various networks, including Fox, FX and the National Geographic Channel. I recorded it on my VCR, but I haven't yet had time to watch it. On The Colbert Report, they made an interesting point which is discussed in an article on Rawstory.com titled: "Neil deGrasse Tyson tells Stephen Colbert that science ‘is true whether you believe in it or not’." Here's a quote from that article:
Host Stephen Colbert asked Tyson, who was promoting his new Fox documentary series, “Cosmos,” why he believed that opposing viewpoints were not necessary in every scientific debate.
“That would be a waste of
everyone’s time,” Tyson said. “Once science has been established, once
a scientific truth emerges from a consensus of experiments and
observations, it is the way of the world. What I’m saying is, when different experiments give you the
same result, it is no longer subject to your opinion. That’s the good
thing about science: It’s true whether or not you believe in it. That’s
why it works.”
Tyson, making his show-record 10th appearance on the program, told Colbert that Americans could make any arguments they wished, but he said no one has the right to be taken seriously.
“You get to say the world is flat because we live in a country that guarantees free speech, but it’s not a country that guarantees that anything you say is correct,” Tyson said.That's something that can be directly related to my arguments with Anthrax Truthers.
The science and the findings in the Amerithrax case are true whether the Anthrax Truthers accept them or not.
They are true until the Truthers can PROVE they are NOT true. And, the most vocal among them cannot even discuss the science or the findings intelligently. The "experts" they cite are "experts" in name only, who voice opinions based upon misunderstandings and display a total lack of interest in what is actually true according to the science and the evidence. So, there's no point in taking them seriously. If they want to be taken seriously, they would have to discuss facts and evidence, not just theories and beliefs.
March 11, 2014 (B) - This is somewhat off topic, but I just received an email with this animated gif showing a couple fishermen "fishing" with a hand grenade:
The email said:
Fishing with a hand grenade.
1. Pull the pin.
2. Throw it far from the boat.
3. Net the stunned and dead fish.
These guys forgot step 2.
The lesson: There seems to be no limit to human stupidity.
March 11, 2014 (A) - Yesterday, I received a large envelope in the mail containing a response to a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request I'd sent to the FBI on October 9, 2013. The request was for "Amerithrax search warrant findings related to AMI building anthrax contamination." I wanted to see if there was any way I could shut up the Anthrax Truthers who endlessly argue that Bob Stevens was killed by anthrax in a package sent to Jennifer Lopez c/o the Sun magazine, a package that was opened by Bobby Bender and examined by Bob Stevens. The facts say their beliefs are FALSE.
I think it was the first time I'd ever received a response to an FOIA request in paper form. So, I had to use my scanner and some pdf software found HERE to combine the 9 sheets of paper into a single pdf document. Click HERE to view the results.
Since I did the scan in black-and-white (B&W) and created the pdf file from the B&W images, I couldn't highlight anything in yellow. Instead, I outlined in black the paragraphs I found to be most interesting, and I put a large numeral beside the eight paragraphs I considered to be of particular interest.
The first paragraph of interest is on page 2. It's marked with a large "1" and it says:
(2) Source of anthrax release not found. The entries and evidence collection failed to locate a unique source that might be deemed responsible for the inhalation anthrax in AMI employees Robert Stevens and [redacted, but undoubtedly Ernesto Blanco].
So, they didn't find the actual letter that contained the anthrax. We already knew that, of course, but the report makes it "official."
The paragraph on page 3 which I marked with a large "2" clearly refers to the letter opened by Stephanie Dailey, even though her name is redacted. The paragraph says:
The amounts and distribution of anthrax are deemed suggestive that she is accurate in her accounting of her having opened a letter containing a suspicious white powder, which may have been anthrax.
The paragraph marked with a "3" begins with these two sentences:
The following observations suggest that a letter may have been opened in the room in which [Dailey] worked. [Large redacted section] throughout the building generally produced zero to several B. anthracis colonies, while samples in [Dailey's] work area produced greater than twenty.
The paragraph marked with a "4" is worth displaying in its entirety:
The entire area surrounding the desk of Robert Stevens (the index case) was not significantly contaminated on exposed desk surfaces, carpet or inside of drawers.
That would seem to confirm that the J-Lo letter, which Robert Stevens reportedly examined at his desk, was NOT the letter that contained the anthrax that killed him.
Paragraph "5" describes how Stephanie Dailey opened the letter which was addressed to AMI (more likely to The National Enquirer) but to no specific person at AMI. Such letters are routinely discarded after checking the contents. However, a white powder fell out of this one. Dailey cleaned herself off and then discarded the letter. Later, she tested positive for exposure to anthrax.
Paragraph "6" says Dailey had been absent from the AMI building from September 8 through September 21, 2001, because she was on vacation. And "It seems reasonable to conclude that Stevens was exposed to anthrax spores" after Dailey opened the powder-filled letter upon returning from vacation. Paragraph "7" says, an alternative scenario could be that Stevens was somehow exposed to spores that had escaped the anthrax letter before it was opened by Stephanie Dailey.
Paragraph "8" just says "The mail room was heavily contaminated" and the mail room was likely the source from which other areas of the building were contaminated.
There is no mention of the J-Lo letter in the report. That's probably because there is no evidence to suggest the J-Lo letter had anything to do with anything. The evidence clearly says the J-Lo letter did NOT contain anthrax, since the J-Lo letter was opened on the third floor, which was not significantly contaminated. Bobby Benson, the person who opened it, did not test positive for exposure to anthrax. The only reason the J-Lo letter is even an issue is because the people who opened the J-Lo letter and inspected the powder inside changed their minds about what it contained. Initially they believed that the powder was what it looked and smelled like: laundry detergent. But, after it was learned that anthrax had been mailed to AMI, they changed their minds and told the National Enquirer and the CDC that the powder could have been anthrax.
That's one reason why the FBI went back into the AMI building to do further testing to see if it could be determined where the anthrax letter was opened. The evidence says it was opened by Stephanie Dailey at her desk in the mailroom on the first floor.
The evidence indicates that the powder in the J-Lo letter was what everyone originally thought it was: laundry detergent. But, because the CDC reported that there were two letters sent to AMI that contained "powders," and because some people at AMI changed their minds about what they thought they saw in the J-Lo letter, some Anthrax Truthers have argued for over a decade that the J-Lo letter contained the anthrax powder that killed Bob Stevens, regardless of what the facts and evidence say.
March 10, 2014 - This morning on Lew Weinstein's blog I see two pages (pages 25 and 26) which appear to be from the full Peter Jahrling deposition in the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit. There's no real explanation for why Lew or "DXer" chose to show those two pages, other than that the pages hint that security was lax at USAMRIID prior to the anthrax attacks. I also see a comment from "DXer" who wrote yesterday:
I have been having problems uploading and haven’t uploaded this Jahrling Deposition. Now when I’ve tried uploading to Dropbox it’s not readable. I must be doing something wrong.
Looking at my copy of the docket for the Stevens lawsuit, I see that I provided a file of excerpts from the Peter Jahrling deposition years ago. It's a file I obtained via PACER, not via any kind of FOIA request. The 8-page file is mostly introduction and conclusion. It only has 2 pages of meaningful testimony, pages 66 and 67. But, those two pages contain some interesting statements from Dr. Jahrling. On page 66 Jahrling explains why, although he doesn't understand anything about the contents of flask RMR-1029, he believes the attack powders originated with that flask:
A. I mean again I don't know. I just know what I read but I've heard very compelling argumentsfrom the FBI, openly presented, that, you know, my understanding is that the fingerprint was that the contents of that flask was actually a mixture. It wasn't pure anthrax or maybe it was pure anthrax but they were different strengths of anthrax, anyway. So somebody who had the original A-strain of anthrax would not have come up with something that had the exact composition that was both in the flask and spores. That's pretty close to a frigging smoking gun as far as I'm concerned. Okay?
And on page 67 he adds:
So, you know, and I've always maintained that just because it came from that flask didn't, doesn't mean that Bruce Ivins did it. But, you know, if you combine the circumstantial evidence and all of that with that flask I think if it had gone to a jury trial he would have been convicted. That's just my speculation.
Q. Okay. Now, let me ask you about the flask. Do you know -- and again I know you're focused on virology but do you know or were you aware of the existence of that flask in Dr. Ivins' laboratory?
A. I was not aware of it. I had no idea what went on in that laboratory until, you know, after the whole FBI thing unfolded. I didn't know their -- you know, my understanding is that that flask was kind of topped off on a regular basis with spores that were produced at Dugway, dumped in there.
So, although Dr. Jahrling doesn't know whether Bruce Ivins was guilty or not, he believes Ivins would have been convicted if he'd have gone to trial, because there was enough circumstantial evidence to convict him. That's different from the statements by most others who provided depositions to that trial.
Yesterday, "DXer" ordered me to upload the full Jahrling deposition. He didn't say what punishment he'd dole out if I failed to do as ordered, but if there isn't anything in the full deposition that is more interesting than what is in the excerpt I already have, then I see no reason to put the full deposition in this site. Or maybe "DXer" just ordered me to do it because he can't figure out how to upload the full deposition himself.
March 9, 2014 (B) - The blogger known as "DXer" and "Anonymous" is issuing orders again on my interactive blog. He doesn't say, however, what will happen if I do not obey his orders. Here's his latest post:
Ed, you serve no purpose to me unless you do what I say as I'm not interested in your First Grader theory.
You will obtain the Peter Jahrling civil deposition and then you will upload it.
I will obtain the civil deposition by the government's expert, Reynolds M. Salerno, and then you also will upload that. Thanks.
If I see a copy of Peter Jahrling's deposition somewhere, I might provide the link along with some comments about how it shows Jahrling knows little or nothing about the criminal case against Bruce Ivins. But, I'm definitely going to pass on providing a link to Mr. Salerno's deposition. He has nothing of interest to say about the case against Ivins. He was only a witness in the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit. Plus, I'm just going to ignore that deposition because I don't like being ordered to do things. And, I want to see if "DXer/Anonymous" will revert to issuing threats if I don't do as he orders.
March 9, 2014 (A) - Yesterday morning, I found eight emails in my inbox from "DXer" a.k.a. "Anonymous." The first email asked me to do something I'd already done back on March 4. He wanted me to add the Arthur Friedlander and Susan Welkos depositions to my "collection" of depositions in the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit.
Then, in the next email, he supplied me with part of the Jay Arrison deposition to add to my copy of the docket for the Stevens v USA lawsuit. I did that, even though there wasn't much of interest in it. Jay Arrison was (and probably still is) a security officer at USAMRIID. The highlighting on that deposition was presumably done by Maureen Stevens' lawyer, Richard Schuler. I was tempted to (but didn't) delete all his highlighting in order to highlight the only passage in the entire deposition that I saw which seemed of even remote interest -- this exchange from page 77:
Q. Ultimately, his [Bruce Ivins'] access was restricted, I guess, to one -- one or all of the five containment laboratories, after October of '01, correct?
A. Particular time frame?
Q. Yeah. What was the time frame?
A. Probably late 2008, I believe.
Q. Okay. And what was your role in that, if any?
A. Cut his access off. My understanding was that Dr. Worsham recommended that his access be restricted or removed, and we did so.
Q. And Dr. Worsham, what was her position at the time?
A. Might have been the acting chief of bacteriology at the time, or at least his supervisor.
Q. When you say cut his access off, what, physically, what steps did you take to do that?
A. Just go to the computer and, you know,
The only reason that passage is of very minor interest is because the incident that caused Ivins to be banned from all the labs at USAMRIID actually occurred on March 18, 2008, not in "late 2008" as Arrison recalls. Ivins was dead in "late 2008." Plus, that part of the deposition makes it seem like Dr. Worsham was doing something negative toward Bruce Ivins. In reality, if you know the whole story, Dr. Worsham didn't simply get Ivins' lab access "restricted," she also saved Ivins from getting fired. Here's what it says on page 309 of my book "A Crime Unlike Any Other":
The rest of the emails from "DXer/Anonymous" included images of some meaningless and irrelevant pages from the deposition of Reynolds M. Salerno, who was a Sandia National Laboratories security expert behind a 2002 report on security at USAMRIID, and there were also some ravings from "Dxer/Anonymous's" about his hopes to get some videos of the depositions and some photograph exhibits. Evidently, the more meaningless and irrelevant material he has, the more he believes he knows about the Amerithrax case and the evidence. Presumably, he feels that if he has a bigger pile of meaningless crap than anyone else, then that means he knows more than anyone else.
Most puzzling of all in yesterday's emails, was a request for me to fix an error on my web site. But, as usual, "DXer/Anonymous" couldn't or wouldn't explain what error he was talking about or why it was an error. That's probably because a person has to really understand what they mean before they can explain what they mean.
But, I suppose I should be grateful. If "DXer/Anonymous" hadn't sent me those on-topic emails, this morning I would probably have written some kind of off-topic comment about Bitcoins, a very complicated subject which make me wonder just how many people in this world are totally nuts.
& Changes: Sunday, March 2, 2014, thru Saturday, March 8,
March 7, 2014 - According to one on-line source, the General Accountability Office's (GAO's) review of the Amerithrax investigation will be released "sometime this summer." I suspect that probably means somewhere around mid-September and the 13th anniversary of the first attack, which would be at the very end of summer. But, hopefully, I'll be wrong on that and the report will be released much earlier.
When the report is released, I suspect it will be very dry reading. There are already a number of GAO reports available that relate to the anthrax attacks of 2001:
Agencies Need to Validate Sampling Activities in Order to Increase Confidence in Negative Results
GAO-05-251:Published:Mar 31, 2005. Publicly Released:Apr 5, 2005
U.S. Postal Service:
Better Guidance Is Needed to Ensure an Appropriate Response to Anthrax Contamination
GAO-04-239:Published: Sep 9, 2004. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 2004
Public Health Response to Anthrax Incidents of 2001
GAO-04-152: Published: Oct 15, 2003. Publicly Released: Oct 15, 2003.
Capitol Hill Anthrax Incident:
EPA's Cleanup Was Successful; Opportunities Exist to Enhance Contract Oversight
GAO-03-686:Published: Jun 4, 2003. Publicly Released: Jun 17, 2003
U.S. Postal Service:
Issues Associated with Anthrax Testing at the Wallingford Facility
GAO-03-787T:Published: May 19, 2003. Publicly Released: May 19, 2003If these GAO reports are any gauge, the Amerithrax review will use some very long paragraphs to make recommendations for improvement. But, the report below may turn out to be the best gauge. It's from before 9/11, and it seems to be a GAO review of the FBI's International Terrorism program as requested by members of Congress:
FBI Investigates Domestic Activities to Identify Terrorists
GGD-90-112: Published: Sep 7, 1990. Publicly Released: Oct 9, 1990.
Basically, it says that because there was so much redacted information in the documents made available by the FBI, the GAO was unable to determine if the FBI infringed on anyone's First Amendment rights when the FBI investigated suspicious activity, or even if the FBI had a "reasonable basis" for monitoring such activities.
That's probably going to be a complaint in the Amerithrax review, too. But, even if the GAO had problems with redacted FBI reports, just having the whole subject re-hashed should provide us with some interesting reading.
March 5, 2014 - Today is exactly three weeks since I sent a literary agent a query letter about my new sci-fi novel. I received no response. Their web site said that if I didn't receive a response within 3 weeks, that would mean they aren't interested. In anticipation of that, yesterday afternoon I sent out another query to another agent.
During the rest of the month of March, I plan to send out one query letter per week. (However, when it comes doing anything related to my writing, I rarely do what I plan.)
Last week, I did a Google search for the scientific concept of "anti-time" that I use in the novel. I thought it was a term I created. To my stunned surprise, I found it's a concept used in episodes of "Dr. Who" and "Star Trek," and it has been discussed at length as a theory put forth by physicist Richard Feynman. So, I suppose it's possible that one of those sources planted the idea in my brain many years ago, and I simply forgot where I heard the term. Both "Dr. Who" and "Star Trek" viewed "anti-time" as a destructive force. Dr. Feynman viewed it as a not-fully-understood theory that could explain some observable phenomena related to particle physics.
In Chapter 5 of my novel, I have a top physicist explain everything in a couple pages, relating the phenomenon to the structure of the universe instead of to particle physics. Strangely, the explanation it doesn't appear to conflict with anything Dr. Feynman said.
Best of all, it doesn't appear to have ever been the basis for a sci-fi novel before. And, what I wrote has nothing to do with the "Dr. Who" and "Star Trek" story lines.
I don't suppose it would make much difference if twenty years ago some other novelist used the same scientific concept. It would still be a different story told in a different way. But, it made me wonder if I should explain things differently in my query letters.
In the query letter I sent out three weeks ago, I tried to focus on the characters in the novel, instead of the science and the plot. But, since "anti-time" is not a new idea, I decided I should probably mention the concept in the query letter I sent out yesterday, instead of just waiting for the agent to discover it if or when he reads the novel.
No matter what I write in the query letter, I'm certain there would be a much better way of writing it. But, I just have to do the best I can.
And, meanwhile, I'm going to really really try to get moving on the sequel to my "anti-time" sci-fi novel.
March 4, 2014 - Yesterday afternoon, I once again read through the deposition of Patricia Worsham in the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit. This time, since I was reading the full version I received from the DOJ on Saturday, I could highlight passages and make notes in the pdf file. I previously wrote a lengthy comment about Dr. Worsham's deposition in my January 16 comment, so there's no point in repeating any of that here. But, I did notice some additional things. For example, I noticed that Dr. Worsham didn't agree with lawyer Richard Schuler's wildly mistaken belief that the FBI and DOJ stated in the Amerithrax Investigation Summary report that the attack spores were dried in a lyophilizer. There is this exchange on page 33:
Q. And the lyopholizer that is mentioned in the FBI's report, they indicate that it's either called a lyopholizer or a speed vac, and that is something that's necessary in order to dry the anthrax into a powder form, correct? And that's the position they take, right?
A. I think there are other methods of drying things that we don't have expertise in. A speed vac is not the same thing as a lyopholizer. A lyopholizer tends to process larger amount. A speed vac is a small piece of equipment that would sit on the bench top that you would use to dry down very small quantities of things.
There are some other interesting passages I didn't fully notice on the first read. And, I saw quite a bit worth highlighting on the 4 pages (22 thru 25) that were mistakenly dropped from the version on Lew Weinstein's blog that I'd read previously. For example, an argument over whether Ivins "developed" or "prepared" the contents of flask RMR-1029 continues and gets pretty funny on pages 22 and 23:
Q. Now, was the RMR 1029 -- I had said developed; you were a little bit more precise, I guess, but Dr. Ivins did ultimately develop the concentration that was known as RMR 1029, correct?
A. I would still say he prepared it.
Q. Prepared it. Okay.
A. "Development" implies more -- it's just different, scientifically.
Q. I agree. So he prepared it.
Q. It was a preparation that he developed, let me put it that way, maybe.
A. It was a preparation he prepared.
And, while most others accept the scientific evidence that flask RMR-1029 provided the source material for the attack powders, Dr. Worsham isn't convinced. On page 25 there is this exchange:
Q. All right. Now, I want to kind of go down through some of the points that you made. You said that you did not agree with the science that the RMR 1029 is the source of the murder weapon?
A. I don't -- I have not seen enough science to be convinced of that.
The biggest impression I got from going through the deposition a second time while also highlighting passages was that Dr. Worsham has some very strong opinions. I can see why Dr. Ivins once called her the "Queen of the Universe." I just wish there was some way to get her opinions on the way the facts say that Ivins made the anthrax powders instead of meaningless views about screwball beliefs that the attack spores were made in flasks or fermentors, were dried with a lyophilizer, and were weaponized with silica.
I also think it's time to produce a list of all the Maureen Stevens vs USA depositions that have been recently added to this web site. Here's the list:
Deposition of Dr. Jeffrey Adamovicz (Ivins' co-worker at USAMRIID)
Deposition of Dr. Gerard P. Andrews (head of Bacteriology at USAMRIID in 2001)
Deposition of Colonel William Byrne (head of Bateriology at USAMRIID prior to 2001)
Deposition of Dr. Edward M. Eitzen (head of USAMRIID in 2001)
Deposition of Dr. Arthur M. Friedlander (head of Bacteriology at USAMRIID pre 1999)
Deposition of Kristie M. Friend (Dr. Bruce Ivins' assistant in Sept. 2001)
Deposition of Stephen Little (Dr. Bruce Ivins' co-worker/assistant in Sept. 2001)
Deposition of Dr. Susan Welkos (Dr. Bruce Ivins' co-worker in Sept. 2001)
Deposition of Dr. Patricia Worsham (Dr. Bruce Ivins' department head in Sept. 2001)
The above list has also been added to the top of my copy of the Docket for the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit. Click HERE for that. That should make it easier to find as this comment drifts into history.
March 3, 2014 (B) - If you are interested, I've also uploaded my highlighted copy of the Gerard Andrews deposition. Just click HERE to access it. It should be easier to read than the 3-part version with missing pages used on Lew Weinstein's blog. (BTW, if you do not like my highlighting, you should be able to get rid of it by just clicking on the highlighted section and deleting it. Only the highlighting will be deleted.)
March 3, 2014 (A) - Another one of the pdf files I received from the DOJ on Saturday regarding the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit is the Stephen Little deposition. Click HERE to access my highlighted and annotated copy. Although Mr. Little and Dr. Ivins were at about the same level in the hierarchy at USAMRIID, Mr. Little was acting as Dr. Ivins' assistant at the time of the anthrax attacks - although Mr. Little couldn't go into Suite B3 or any other "hot suite." (See pages 18 and 19 of his deposition for an explanation of why. Also see my January 17 comment where I examined the version of the Little depostion created by the folks on Lew Weinstein's blog.)
Looking at the new version of the Little deposition this morning, I see that it also says that the anthrax letter sent to Senator Tom Daschle was first opened at USAMRIID in Suite AR-1. On page 39 there's this exchange between lawyer Richard Schuler and Mr. Little:
Q. Do you know who opened the envelope?
A. Dr. Zell. That's what I heard. I was not there.
Q. You were not there, okay. I understand. What about the contamination event that took place in April of '02?
A. May I finish for the --
Q. Oh, sure, yeah, yeah.
A. -- the first story that I've heard?
A. Is that Bruce was concerned that an envelope with possible anthrax spores was opened theoretically on the cold side, in AR-1, with a technician that was in the room. He, from what I understand -- again it's all secondhand -- he made an inquiry as to possible contamination for where Christy worked in the office where he shared with her. He asked to do a survey. And I understand it was denied. He went ahead and did it and he got reprimanded for it. But apparently --
The only floorplan I've ever found of Building 1425 can be viewed HERE. Below is the floorplan from that source with the key suites identified:
I don't suppose it makes any difference if the Daschle letter was opened in Suite AA3 or Suite AR1, but it makes one wonder why they used room AR-105. Because it was a vacant lab? That's my guess.
One thing from the Kristie Friend deposition I failed to mention yesterday is that - before the anthrax attacks - the scientists at USAMRIID evidently had the attitude that if a suspicious substance was untested, it was considered to be relatively safe. Here's what it says on page 33 of the Kristie Friend deposition:
When they receive samples, they're considered diagnostic specimens until they're confirmed positive for any agent that we work with at USAMRIID. So basically there was no harm in bringing it to that area, or so we thought at that point in time, because a diagnostic specimen is nothing other than diagnostic until you confirm it.
That is evidently why they opened the Daschle letter in a BSL-2 lab. It was considered safe until proven otherwise, and any old vacant BSL-2 lab could be used. I seriously doubt they still have that attitude at USAMRIID today.
March 2, 2014 - Yesterday, I received a DVD in the mail. It was in response to the FOIA request I sent to the Department of Justice, and it contained the Kristie Friend deposition - among others. Kristie Friend was Dr. Bruce Ivins' lab assistant at the time of the anthrax attacks of 2001. And, unlike Stephen Little, she actually worked in Suite B3 and in Room B-313 with Dr. Ivins. The depositions are, of course, in PDF format. However, unlike most of the depositions previously provided via Lew Weinstein's blog, these can be scanned for meaningful words, you can highlight passages, and you can easily copy and paste passages from them.
This morning I noted it appears that "DXer" on Lew Weinstein's blog also received a copy of that same deposition in the same scannable, highlightable format. Click HERE to view the copy they put on the Dropbox.com site.
I spent all of yesterday afternoon reading the Friend deposition. I did a massive amount of highlighting, since there is a lot of very interesting material in the deposition. Click HERE for my highlighted and annotated version of the Kristie Friend deposition.
Unfortunately, while the Friend deposition can be fascinating reading in parts, there doesn't appear to be anything particularly newsworthy or unexpected in it. Like the other depositions from Bruce Ivins' co-workers, Kristie Friend doesn't believe Ivins was the anthrax killer. Her main reason? She doesn't think Ivins could have used the lyophilizer the way she believes the FBI said it was used to create the spores (see pages 87 & 88). Plus (page 107) she doesn't believe Bruce Ivins "had it in him," even though (on page 109) she says she's aware of the psychiatric reports on Ivins' homicidal tendencies. And, thirdly, (on page 110) she says she thinks a lot of the "unexplained" time the FBI says Ivins was in his lab in the evenings and on weekends was really just time spent changing clothes and taking showers as part of the entry and exit process.
Because Friend actually worked in Suite B3 with Ivins and helped with animal tests, I was particularly interested to see if she would mention the rabbit experiments that "DXer" endlessly rants about. She doesn't really mention any specific experiment, but on pages 71 and 72 she commented on how rare it was for anyone to work overtime:
Q. Did you -- and I know -- when you worked there, did you work, like, normal working hours, eight to four or nine to five?
A. I worked 7:45 to 4:30.
Q. And did you have occasion to have to come at night to do anything in the evening?
A. Very, very rarely.
Q. What about the other members on the team, Kristie Friend -- that's you. What about Dr. Ivins, did he ever have to come in in the evening?
A. I think he sometimes would come in to prepare, like if we were going to have a large challenge, aerosol challenge. Normally we would start this very early in the morning. He would come in the night before to prepare the spores, and then we would come in very early to heat-shock them to get them ready to go, but that was on a very infrequent basis.
Q. Can you give any idea of an interval?
A. How often? Or for how long he would be there?
Q. No, the intervals when these types of things happened.
A. We had aerosol challenges maybe two or three times a year, big aerosol challenges with either rabbits or non-human primates.
A. So maybe twice a year, if that.
Q. And that might necessitate him coming in one night the night before?
Q. Not to spend several night[s] or the weekend before.
Note that she does not mention any actual work Ivins would do with the animals. She says nothing about monitoring animals. She only mentions tasks involving preparing the spores to be used in the animal tests. And, since she was Bruce Ivins' assistant, it seems she would be intimately involved in any animal tests he did. In fact, she would likely perform the more menial tasks, like monitoring the animals.
She also says on pages 70, 72, 73 and 77 she knew nothing about flask RMR-1029 and never even recalls seeing it anywhere.
The information in this deposition (and others) is somewhat distorted by the fact that Maureen Stevens' lawyer, Richard Schuler, doesn't appear to understand the evidence against Bruce Ivins, either. In the Kristie Friend deposition it is very clear that Mr. Schuler believed the US government stated somewhere in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary Report that the attack spores were dried with a lyophilizer. (It says no such thing.) Mr. Schuler asked this question on page 86:
Q. And I know that you are a lab technician, but to your knowledge -- and if you don't have the knowledge to answer a question like this, just tell me so -- do you think that there was -- you know, the FBI, their conclusions in the published report was that there was a lyophilizer used and a speed vac to dry the anthrax at USAMRIID. Do you have enough knowledge to know whether that's something that could have been done with that equipment there?
And he asked this question on page 87:
Q. What I was asking was, based on your knowledge and from having read the FBI report, where they assert that the equipment used was at USAMRIID, there was a lyophilizer and a speed vac that was used to dry the liquid anthrax and turn it into powder, do you think that was possible to do with the equipment that you were aware of that was there?
It was made very clear by the DOJ in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary that the lyophilizer was just one of the ways that the spores could have been dried. Here are some quotes from the Summary Report:
Page 15: This drying procedure would have required either the type of laboratory equipment, such as a lyophilizer or speed-vac system, that was present in each of the 15 labs, or considerable time and space to air-dry.
Page 30: Drying anthrax spores requires either a sophisticated drying machine called a lyophilizer, a speed-vac, or a great deal of time and space to let the spores air-dry – that is, to allow the water to evaporate – in the lab.
Page 38: Dr. Ivins gave conflicting statements over time regarding whether he knew how to use a lyophilizer – a sophisticated drying machine that may have been used to dry the spores used in the mailings.
I can understand why Truthers would distort the facts and try to argue that the lyophilizer could not have been used, but it's strange to have a lawyer in a related case argue that a lyophilizer WAS the specific drying method that was used, when the DOJ said no such thing. But, maybe it relates to the McClatchy news stories which said something similar. But that was the result of an error in a document filed in the Stevens vs USA lawsuit, not about something stated in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary.
The Kristie Friend deposition also contains a lot of information about other aspects of the case against Bruce Ivins. Friend makes it very clear on pages 78, 79 and 80 that Ivins liked to play practical jokes on other people, but he could get very upset when anyone played a practical joke on him. Starting on the bottom of page 81 and into page 82 there is this exchange between Mr. Schuler and Kristie Friend:
Q. Okay. All right. So those incidents that you mentioned were two incidents that you -- where you saw him really mad?
Q. Because somebody tried to play a practical joke on him?
A. That's correct.
Q. Any other incidents that you recall?
A. I wouldn't call it mad, but he would get -- he did not like the New York Yankees baseball team, and there were several people in the division at that time who were Yankees fans, and so there was a broom that would go around between when they lost or won, and Bruce would place it when the Yankees lost, and when the Yankees won, the same broom would come back to Bruce's office. And I wouldn't call him mad, but you could see he was agitated by it. He didn't like it. So it was okay for him to do, but it wasn't okay for other people to do back to him.
Q. So he could play practical jokes, but he didn't like practical jokes being played on him, basically.
A. Yeah, I would say that's a fair statement.
Note that the fact that Ivins did not like the New York Yankees is confirmed. That relates to the "FNY" hidden message in the media letter.
And on page 104 and 105 there's this discussion of emails sent between Ivins and Mara Linscott that seems to confirm a lot of things:
Q. There have been some emails that have been produced and reference in the FBI report that were fairly lengthy, and in your observation while you were working with him in fairly close quarters, did you see him spending a lot of time sending emails?
Q. And how much time, if you can quantify it, would you estimate that he would spend on this type of activity?
A. Well, specifically e-mailing Mara?
A. Several times a day.
A. If he would think of something or if someone -- not just in our office, but within the division -- would mention something that would spark something in him, he would want to get in the computer and email her right away. They used to play Scrabble every day at lunch, and we continued to play Scrabble at lunch kind of frequently until it kind of died off, so things like that, Bruce would miss, so I know he used to send her encrypted emails like you would have to fill in what the word is, like she was playing Scrabble from far away. So sometimes that would take some time to come up with that.
Q. Oh, sure. Did you ever in your own mind think that this is a little bit unusual here that he's spending so much personal time during the workday sending these personal messages?
A. Yeah, I thought it was odd.
Q. And did it ever rise to the level where you mentioned it to anybody?
So, it's once again confirmed that sending encrypted messages as something Dr. Ivins liked to do. And he was obsessed with Mara Linscott.
The deposition also contains a lot of information about the unauthorized swabbings done by Bruce Ivins, and particularly the swabbing he did of Kristie Friend's desk. It was VERY embarrassing to Kristie, and she was very upset that Ivins would do such a thing, tell other people about what he'd found, and never tell her. When asked if there was anything inaccurate in what Ivins said, Kristie responded (on page 101):
A. The only other thing that I find interesting was that my desk was dirtier than he and Pat's. Bruce's was the filthiest desk anywhere in the institute, so I found that kind of odd. Other than that, no.
One very confusing statement in the deposition is on page 29 and relates to where the anthrax letter sent to Senator Tom Daschle was first examined at USAMRIID:
A. I was not the original person who opened the letter. I was present in the laboratory when the original letter was opened.
Q. What laboratory was it opened in?
A. AR 105.
Q. Where is AR 105?
A. In the middle of part of USAMRIID, AR, there is no designation, unfortunately, for AR, it's just AR 105. That was the primary laboratory that the special pathogen sample test lab used.
Q. Was that building 1425?
A. Yes, sir.
If she's referring to Room 105 in Suite AR1, that could be described as being "in the middle part of USAMRIID (according to the floor plan). But, it's in the Animal Resources Division. It's my understanding that the letter was opened in the Diagnostic Systems Division, which was in Suite AA3 of the Animal Assessment Division. Room 105 in Suite AA1 could also be described as being "in the middle part of USAMRIID." We know all the testing of the samples later was done in the Animal Assessment Division, because the hallways there were eventually filled with boxes of evidence. But, there's just not enough information to figure out exactly to which room she is referring.
I could go on and on. But, in spite of all that Kristie Friend knew about Dr. Bruce Ivins, she still could not visualize him as being the anthrax killer.
One can only wonder what any of his supporters would say if it was explained to them in detail exactly how Ivins most likely created the anthrax powders. The steps involved are nothing like what they imagined was done. Would seeing how easy it was for Ivins to create the attacks spores change any minds? Probably not. Most people just cannot believe that someone they knew could be a mass murderer. Even when presented with concrete and undeniable proof they still cannot believe it. It isn't because they don't believe the evidence, it's because they cannot believe that something like that could be true and they wouldn't have realized it or noticed anything. It is a blow to their own images of themselves.
& Changes: Sunday, February 23, 2014, thru Saturday, March 1,
February 28, 2014 - I've been informed that it may be a couple more weeks before the Kristie M. Friend deposition in the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit will be released. A few pages of it are available on Lew Weinstein's blog HERE.
Kristie M. Friend, of course, was Dr. Bruce Ivins' assistant at the time of the anthrax attacks. And, unlike Stephen Little, who also assisted Ivins at that time, Friend was able to work inside Suite B3. And she probably worked inside Room B-313 with Ivins.
Reading the few pages of her deposition that are available, I kept wondering about a single word in this section from pages 23 and 24:
Q. Okay. All right. Now, you told us the level of work you did, but let me go back to the beginning, when you started, and you said it took eight months before you could get into the hot suites.
Q. For that eight-month period, what did you do?
A. I read a lot of standard operating procedures; I assisted in doing some inventory of the lab notebooks that were in the office, just to kind of quantify what was there. I would make table of contents in front of each notebook so that if people had to go through them, you would know what was on each page, could easily find something if you were looking for it.
I was able to do basic lab research in the biosafety level 2 lab, which was Bacteriology 5, so I would grow media that they would use in the hot suites, that they could take in and use. That's primarily what I did up until that point.
I looked up the term "grow media" via Google and found some examples where "grow" was the last word in one sentence and "media" was the first word in the next sentence. Plus, I found a few instances where "grow media" was used where "growth media" seemed to be what was meant. But no where did I find anything about growing media.
To make certain I wasn't misunderstanding something, I checked various web sites HERE, HERE, HERE and elsewhere, and I confirmed that you do not "grow" media. You MIX or PREPARE media. It seems that either Kristie Friend misspoke, or the stenographer misheard. Moreover, I it's my understanding that Bacteriology Suite 5 was where plates and flasks where filled with the growth media that was mixed and prepared there. Since there's nothing infectious or dangerous about growth media, it could be prepared in a BSL-2 area like Suite B5. The prepared plates and flasks would then be taken into a BSL-3 "hot suites" to be innoculated with a bacteria such as "liquid anthrax" spores. And the anthrax would be grown in a BSL-3 area.
On Lew's site, however, "DXer" had a different interpretation:
I understand Kristie to be saying that before her security clearance, she grew the new Ames grown in Biolevel 2, not Biolevel 3. It was then brought into the BL-3 and used in experiments.
That makes no sense whatsoever, and is undoubtedly wrong and untrue. But, interestingly, no one corrected him. Then, three minutes later, he wrote something else that didn't seem to be true:
Most people didn’t know that prior to 9/11, liquid anthrax was a biolevel-2 pathogen.
I suspect that most people don't know that because it isn't true. I seriously doubt that growing anthrax spores in shaking flasks could be done in a BSL-2 lab anywhere. Nor could you purify spores in a centrifuge in a BSL-2 lab. But, it appears you could inject a mouse with anthrax in a BSL-2 lab and house that mouse in that BSL-2 lab (although USAMRIID would always do that in a BSL-3 lab). It had nothing to do with "liquid anthrax." It had to do with the fact that the spores would be inside the syringe until they were inside the animal. And, inside the animal the anthrax would take the form of living bacteria, not spores. So, you could also take blood samples from the mouse and examine those samples under a microscope in a BSL-2 lab, since the samples would involve living bacteria, not spores. Then, the animal would be disposed of by incineration as soon as it was dead. So, at no time would any large amounts of "liquid anthrax" (spores or living bacteria) ever be exposed to the atmosphere inside the lab.
It would be nice to have my understanding confirmed. If it's wrong, I suspect I'll be quickly told how and why it is wrong. But, if it's right, I probably won't hear anything.
February 27, 2014 - Yesterday, it appears that someone at IP address 126.96.36.199 made 5,359 attempts to find a way to hack into my web site. The IP address tracks back to 490/1 Petchakaserm Road in Hadyai, Songkhla Provence, Thailand. In the bar graph below, those attempts show as a green bar for "hits" on Feb. 26:
The "hits" began at 21:32:17 and ended at 22:08:03, hitting at a rate of nearly two access attempts per second.
As you can see from the above graph, something very similar occurred on Feb. 14. However, the IP address for those approximately 4,000 or so "hits" was 188.8.131.52, which traces back to the town of Derby, which is not far from Nottingham, in central England. Yet, both "attacks" contain the URL http://www.google.com/humans.txt within the log entries. So, I can see there's some kind of connection between the two "attacks. But, I don't think they have anything to do with Google.
Looking around the Internet, I found a web site HERE which is attempting to analyze the problem. They refer to it as "Massive PHP RFI scans," which means nothing to me. According to a web site HERE, "PHP is a popular general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited to web development." And, another web site HERE says "RFI" means "Remote File Inclusion." It also says that the "popular security reconnaisance tool Skipfish" is being used for these attacks.
Here's the explanation they provide:
“Specifically, we have seen an increase in the number of attempts at Remote File Inclusion (RFI). An RFI vulnerability is created when a site accepts a URL from another domain and loads its contents within the site. This can happen when a site owner wants content from one site to be displayed in their own site, but doesn’t validate which URL is allowed to load,” said Akamai’s Patrick Laverty.
“If a malicious URL can be loaded into a site, an attacker can trick a user into believing they are using a valid and trusted site. The site visitor may then inadvertently give sensitive and personal information to the attacker.”
The attackers look for RFI injection points by testing the websites with the string “www.google.com/humans.txt or www.google.com/humans.txt%00,” text files usually available with developer information.Other web sites HERE and HERE provide more information about this type of attack, including a way to block them (temporarily). A web site HERE even includes a graph showing which countries most of the attacks come from. Here's that graph:
It's all very interesting in a boring sort of way. So, what should I do about this? They're not trying to break into my computer. They're trying to break into my host's computer. My host is located in Huntsville, Alabama. So, what I'll do is tell them about it. They can tell me if I need to put the blocking code into my web site software or not. For me, it's just another distraction temporarily keeping me from getting started on a new novel.
February 25, 2014 - Sometimes the Anthrax Truthers go so far off the rails that all anyone can do is just shake their head in amazement. The latest screwball thread on Lew Weinstein's blog is titled "10 questions related to USAMRIID’s secret dried aerosol project … all previously asked on this blog … that the GAO report should have answered … except there is no GAO report!" However, "questions" #2, #7 and #9 aren't questions. They are just blog thread titles. And, the Truthers do not seem to understand that they are talking about TWO different "dried aerosol" studies: one study only involved DEAD spores (see my December 8, 2010 (C) comment), and according to this document (from HERE), the other study "never got off the ground":
The Truthers do not seem to understand that none of their questions make much sense. For example, here's question #5:
5. Who did this dried aerosol study at USAMRIID?
John Ezzell did the study with DEAD spores. The other study never got off the ground. So, no one did it. What's so difficult to understand about that? Yet, the Truthers just ramble on and on, asking crazy, meaningless questions about things that never happened. Who was involved in something that never happened? Where did the things that never happened happen? It's just plain lunacy.
February 23, 2014 (B) - I just completed reading the Dr. Russell Bryne deposition in the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit and noticed that it also has missing pages. Pages 90 to 93 are missing. Like the others with missing pages, it appears to be unintentional.
For me, the most interesting parts of the Bryne deposition are his comments about the apparent purpose for sending out the anthrax letters:
Q. You mentioned earlier something that I want to ask you about that -- back in -- prior to 2001, this type of research was sort of a backwater and there wasn't a lot of, I guess, funding devoted to it, but you said it changed at some point. What that after 2001 and the ---
A. Oh, yeah, yeah. Somebody sent a letter through to build a research empire based upon biowarfare, because it worked spectacularly.
Q. What makes you say that?
A. I mean, look at the buildings. Look at the money. There are a lot of people in this now. So, I mean, there's a whole new building, right? And the new center is going to be built. They're -- we were the -- budgets, when I arrived there in '93, '94 and '95, they just kept getting smaller and smaller. So ... But it's a much larger industry now than it was.
He seems to be saying that, if the purpose for the sending out the anthrax letters was to get funding for more anthrax research, the plan worked "spectacularly."
As far as whether or not he believes Bruce Ivins could have made the anthrax powders, his beliefs are the same as many others who knew Ivins. He does not think Ivins could have done it, because he believes Ivins didn't have the equipment to weaponize spores, and because he believes Ivins' co-workers at USAMRIID would have noticed what he was doing. Same old, same old.
February 23, 2014 (A) - Hmm. This morning, Lew Weinstein's blog is filled with inexplicable and irrational rants. Two examples:
Why doesn’t the FBI offer America a credible story? Why don’t we know who is responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks?The second example includes what Lew Weinstein says is the most likely answer:
The FBI knows who did it (not Dr. Ivins) but is covering up the actual perpetrators, for undisclosed reasonsEvidently, that is the conspiracy theory plot for the novel Mr. Weinstein wrote and continues to promote. Mr. Weinstein's fictional theory seems to be somewhat in conflict with DXer's real belief that devious, pesky Muslim extremists were behind the attacks, and the FBI just seems incapable of seeing the "Truth" that DXer sees.
Another new thread on Weinstein's blog includes a link to the deposition by Dr. Russell Byrne in the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit. Dr. Byrne was head of the Bacteriology Division at USAMRIID before Dr. Gerard Andrews took over in January 2000. Skimming through the deposition, it seems of most value in clarifying who worked where and what the hierarchy was at USAMRIID. At the bottom of page 13 it says that the Bacteriology Division was split into two parts, one part occupied the Bacteriology section of Building 1425 and the other part occupied Building 1412. Dr. Dave Waag was head of the part of the Bacteriology Division that was in Building 1412. Dr. Waag's equivalents in Building 1425 were Sue Welkos, Patricia Worsham and Bruce Ivins. They all worked for Dr. Byrne.
I haven't yet finished reading that deposition. It seems to contain a lot of squabbling between the lawyers that goes on for page after page.
Yesterday, I skimmed through the deposition of Dr. Edward Eitzen in the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit. Dr. Eitzen was head of USAMRIID at the time of the anthrax attacks. His deposition is a little different from the other depositions I've seen so far in that on page 134 Dr. Eitzen accepts the conclusion that Ivins could have been the anthrax mailer. Or, more accurately, he says, "I don't know."
And, on page 195 and into page 196 there's this unusual exchange:
Q. Now, you mentioned earlier in a question to counsel that you had not reason to suspect Dr. Ivins of these attacks while you were at USAMRIID. In fact, you didn't appreciate the fact that he might have been the anthrax mailer until much later; is that an accurate statement?
A. Specifically, I mentioned to you that I thought the spring of 2002 contamination incident was odd and wondered what the, the reason for that was, and that's why we, we started an investigation. So, other than that incident, I had no reason to -- I had no knowledge or any reason to suspect him as the perpetrator.
Q. In spite of that incident, Dr. Ivins was still allowed to continue to work with anthrax until 2008; isn't that correct?
A. As far as I know.
Q. And one of the reasons you had no reason ---
A. And he was under investigation by the FBI prior to that. Also the FBI apparently never noted -- notified the current authorities at Fort Detrick of that fact.
Q. That's obviously correct. You also had no reason to suspect Dr. Ivins because the head of your SIP failed to request records from Dr. Heller, which would have shown Dr. Ivins was a homicidal maniac; isn't that correct, sir?
A. I don't know that I can answer that.
Although it's a very tedious read, the deposition by Dr. Gerard Andrews in the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit also contains a few interesting tidbits.
In the first part of the deposition, Dr. Andrews describes the hierarchy at USAMRIID at the time of the anthrax attacks. On page 12 it says that, in January 2000 Dr. Andrews became head of the Bacteriology Division (replacing Dr. Byrne). His assistant chief was Jeffrey Adamovicz. Dr. Andrews reported to Dr. Edward Eitzen, who was head of USAMRIID. On page 16 it says there were 45 people in the Bacteriology Division.
On page 18 it says that under Dr. Andrews were the Senior Principal Investigators, which were also considered to be Department Chiefs. Here's what the deposition says at the bottom of page 18 and into page 19:
Q. Okay. Did you have an individual by the name of Bruce Ivins that worked in the department at that time?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. And what was his position?
A. He was a senior principal investigator.
Q. Who was his boss?
A. I was. And, if I wasn't available, he would report to Jeff Adamovicz.
Q. Who -- who were the other senior principal investigators, if there were any, that were on the same level as Dr. Ivins?
A. I would say Pat Worsham, Sue Welkos, Tim Hoover, Dave Waag, Steve Little.
On page 21 he adds: "Hank Heine was also a senior investigator, too. I should -- I should mention his name as well.
Unfortunately, Dr. Andrews doesn't explain how Bruce Ivins came to be "demoted" to work under Patricia Worsham just prior to the attacks. But, at the bottom of page 64 and into page 65 it says this about Pat Worsham on November 21, 2001:
Q. And what was her position at USAMRIID at the time?
A. She was senior PI. And she would also be acting division chief if myself and/or Jeff Adamovicz was out of the office at the time.
So, she would be Ivins' boss when Andrews and Adamovicz weren't around.
And, on page 97 in the second part of the deposition, the issue of one of Ivins' alleged motives for the attacks is brought up. Shortly before the attacks, Ivins told people his life's work with anthrax was coming to an end because he was going to be transferred to work with glanders. In the deposition, Dr. Andrews is asked if it was true that Ivins going to be transferred to work on glanders because the anthrax program was coming to an end. Dr. Andrews responded:
A. No. Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, the -- let me address this issue about glanders. This was -- this is at the end of my tenure at USAMRIID. And we actually had a -- kind of offsite retreat, Pat Worsham, Jeff Adamovicz and myself. And we were talking about putting Bruce on glanders in the light of the fact that the next-generation anthrax vaccine was proceeding to advanced development in 2005.
Dr. Andrews then rambled on and on about how the vaccine program was not coming to an end. But that wasn't really the question. The question was whether Ivins had reason to believe he was going to be transferred off of working with anthrax and into working with glanders. So, Maureen Stevens' lawyer asks the question in a different way:
Q. My question, focusing back in 2001 -- I just want to be clear about your answer. Are you saying you just don't remember at that time whether he was being considered for a transfer to glanders research or --
A. Yeah, I don't remember. And -- and if it was going to be -- if it -- hypothetically if -- I mean, if there was a transfer, it would actually just -- it would be participating in the glanders program.
So, one of Ivins' motives for the attacks is more or less confirmed.
And, for a mentally unstable person like Ivins, it's easy to see he would have reacted to learning that Andrews, Adamovicz and Pat Worsham had been discussing transferring him to work on glanders. It's not difficult to imagine how anyone - particularly Ivins - would react to learning that a woman who was supposed to be at the same level as he, who was younger than he and who had less experience than he, was discussing having him transferred to a different field of study and putting an end to his life's work. She'd be taking over all that Ivins had worked on all of his professional career.
Other than those sections, the deposition is mostly "same old, same old." Dr. Andrews doesn't believe Ivins could have made the anthrax powders because Dr. Andrews mistakenly assumes the spores would have been made from scratch in shaking flasks - which Ivins wouldn't have had time to do. Plus, of course, Dr. Andrews is firm in his clearly mistaken belief that the attack spores were weaponized with silicon. He rationalizes all sorts of ways weaponization with silicon could have been done and still confused the experts at Sandia (and everyone else who worked with the FBI) into thinking the silicon got into the spores via a natural process.
Dr. Andrews' logic about "weaponization" (and the logic from other Truthers) can be easily shown to be total nonsense. All he needs to do is try answer a few questions:
1. If the silicon was added deliberately, why didn't all the spores in the letters have the silicon in the spore coats? Why did only 65 to 75% have the silicon?
2. If the silicon was added after purification, why did the "unpurified" spores in the media letters also include silicon in their spore coats in similar proportions?
3. If the silicon was added to "weaponize" the finished spores, why did spores that were still inside the mother bacteria already have silicon in their spore coats?
4. If the silicon was from a "weaponization" process that Ivins didn't know how to perform, how come 6% of the spores Ivins created for flask RMR-1030 contained silicon in their spore coats?
The depositions were taken for the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit. That lawsuit was NOT trying to find the "truth" about the anthrax attacks. Mrs. Stevens' lawyers were trying to show that the US government was negligent and failed to maintain control of dangerous pathogens government employees worked with at USAMRIID. Thus, the US government was responsible for allowing those dangerous pathogens to be used to kill Robert Stevens. Because the objective was not to show Ivins' guilt, the depositions do not include the right questions to find the answers needed to resolve the issue of whether Dr. Bruce Edwards Ivins was the anthrax killer or not. In fact, proving that Ivins was the anthrax killer would have hurt the Stevens' case, since the government could then argue that it was NOT negligent, because there's just no feasible or foolproof way to stop an angry individual from secretly committing a crime for personal motives.
& Changes: Sunday, February 16, 2014, thru Saturday, February 22,
February 21, 2014 - Lew Weinstein's blog has now provided working links to the 3-part Dr. Gerard Andrews deposition in the Maureen Stevens v USA lawsuit. Just click HERE. But, that page has the parts in scrambled order, and there are some missing pages. File #1 is actually Part 2, file #2 is actually part 3, and file #3 is actually Part 1. So, for you convenience, you can use these direct links to the correctly numbered parts:
Click HERE for Part 1 (pages 1 thru 69).Note that pages 134 thru 137 are missing. It doesn't seem to be a critical error. At that point, they seem be discussing the contamination incident that occurred around April 2002, when a shaking flask leaked. I'll know more when I have a chance to read the entire deposition.
Click HERE for Part 2 (pages 70 thru 133).
Click HERE for Part 3 (pages 138 thru 188) and a letter to the requester).
The other links they provided are to the same versions of the depositions I discussed in my January 16 and January 17 comments. On Jan. 16, I discussed the Patricia Worsham deposition, which is missing pages 22 thru 25. And on January 17, I discussed the Stephen Little deposition, which has the first page upside-down and is missing page 10.
February 20, 2014 - Someone on Lew Weinstein's blog has made the Jeffrey Adamovicz deposition in the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit available. It can be accessed by clicking HERE and then downloading it to your own computer.
I just finished reading it. Mostly, it's just "same-old same-old" in that it is just an opinion from someone who has a wildly incorrect view of how the anthrax attack spores were made. On page 71 of the deposition, it's clear Dr. Adamovicz firmly believes that silicon was added to the spores to make them aerolsolize more easily. Interestingly, however, on page 77 he's asked if someone at USAMRIID could have made the spores if no silicon had been added. Here's that part of the deposition:
Since there was no silicon deliberately or artificially added to the attack spores, Dr. Adamovicz confirms that someone at USAMRIID could have made it.
He also argues on pages 78 through 81 that it would it would not have been possible to make the attack spores via the shaking flasks technique in a week. He says it would have taken "six to twelve months." However, since the facts say that Ivins grew the spores on discarded Petri dishes he kept in a biosafety bag in his lab, it's irrelevant how long it would have taken to grow the spores in shaking flasks. It just shows that Dr. Adamovicz was making false assumptions about how the spores were made.
But, perhaps the most interesting parts of the deposition are his explanations for why he believes that flask RMR-1029 was originally stored in Building 1412. On page 90 he says, "I don't know when it was physically moved over to building 1425, but there in theory -- one could surmise that it could have been as little as a day, but it could have been as long as almost two years."
So, he has no clue. On pages 92 and 93 he explains that he's just guessing that it was stored in building 1412 at one time, because there's a copy of the RMR-1029 form that shows it was stored in Building 1412, and there's a revised version of the form that says it was stored in Building 1425.
The FBI, of course, has Ivins' statement that, while they had planned to store flask RMR-1029 in Building 1412, it was never actually stored there And the FBI would also have the testimony of the co-workers who assisted Ivins in creating the contents of flask RMR-1029.
The only reason it is even an issue is because, if the flask was stored in Building 1412 at one time, then a lot more scientists would have had access to it. And the blame for allowing the attacks to happen could be spread around a lot more. It wouldn't fall so heavily on the scientists who had access to Suites B3 and B4 in Building 1425.
February 19, 2014 - After doing more research on literary agents, I find that the agent I queried is one of the top agents for selling sci-fi novels. So, I'm going to wait the full three weeks he recommends before I try someone else. Meanwhile, I've worked on my query letter to improve it for the next time. And, I've completed doing my federal and state income taxes. So, unless I can find something worth mentioning regarding the anthrax attacks of 2001, I'm going to start working on a sequel to my sci-fi novel.
February 18, 2014 - This is way off topic, but every morning I check NASA's picture of the day web site. A few days ago this picture of the night sky over Thailand appeared:
Click HERE for a much larger version, and click HERE for NASA's description of the picture. It shows the Milky Way across the center. The planet Venus is below the Milky Way at the left center. The fuzzy blue spot above and to the right of center is the plume of a rising Ariane 5 rocket, launched a few minutes before from Kourou, French Guiana. And, just to the right of that plum is a meteor streak. All in one picture.
February 17, 2014 - Jeeze! There's a major blizzard going on outside. Snow, wind, visibility about half a block. That's another factor I suppose I need to consider while waiting for a literary agent to respond to my query letter: the weather in New York City.
All the agents on my query list have their offices in New York City. And, NYC has also been getting a lot of snow lately.
Do literary agents go to their offices if the weather is cold and snowy? I assume so. But is it a valid assumption? I have no clue as to what the daily routine of a literary agent is like. I assume they spend most of their time on the phone, which they can do from home. They can also read books and respond to emails at home. The only thing they can't do at home is to have lunch with publishers. But do publishers and agents go out to lunch together when the weather is cold and snowy? Somehow, I can't imagine it.
Doing research on the Internet this morning to kill some time, I found an agent in New Jersey who writes about her daily routine. Click HERE to view her blog. She makes no mention of snow. But her entry for today begins this way:
Slowly but surely working my way through all the manuscripts in my "To Read" folder.
There's a web site about a day in the life of a literary agent in California HERE. It says:
If you’re an unpubbed writer, you might be dismayed that reading incoming queries is the bottom of the priority list. I do need to keep up with them because I don’t want to miss a potentially great writer sitting in my slush pile. And yet, if I’m swamped with current clients, I’m less able to pay attention to all those potential new clients.
And there's a web site about a week in the life of a British literary agent HERE.
This research helps me to understand the job of a literary agent, but it doesn't help me get through the agonizing process of waiting for an agent to respond to my query letter.
February 16, 2014 (B) - GOD, I HATE SITTING AROUND WAITING FOR LITERARY AGENTS TO RESPOND TO MY QUERY LETTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It wouldn't be so bad if I had some arguments going with some Anthrax Truthers. But the Truthers all seem to have gone away. No one has posted to my interactive blog since February 7th, over a week ago. And, (except for the Anthrax Truther I wrote about in this morning's (A) comment) I don't see them posting anything elsewhere that's worth mentioning here.
I've been occupying some of my time doing research on literary agents. There's a lot of good information on about them on the Internet. A web site HERE lists some agents who are looking for science fiction novels. Another site HERE seems to focus mainly on "fantasy" novels, but when you click on the links you'll find that many of them like science fiction, too. I'm not sure why fantasy and science fiction are so often linked, since, to me, they're nothing alike. Science fiction generally has a basis in good science. Fantasy has nothing to do with science. It's usually about magic, witchcraft, mysticism and the occult.
A spent half a day yesterday going through all those agent web sites to create a file of notes and links for 24 of them to add to the three I'd researched previously. I ranked them (more or less) in the order that I'll send them query letters.
Nearly all the 27 agents say that because of the volume of queries they receive, it will take three or four weeks for them to respond. (Some say "up to 8 weeks.") And they all seem to want to be the only agent who is currently being queried about a book.
In theory, that would mean sending out one query a month until you get a bite. And, since most do not reply at all unless they are interested, they could have rejected your query on the first day, and you end up just waiting a full month for nothing. It would also take 2 years to go through the list, if no one responded.
In reality, I think agents are mostly concerned about reading a manuscript, becoming very enthusiastic about it, responding to the author's query to say they would definitely like to represent it, and then learning that the author has already hired a different agent to represent it.
For the author, it's a different kind of problem: The author could have an agent who is reading the manuscript, and therefore he has to tell a second agent that the manuscript is not available because another agent is reading it. And this upsets the second agent. Then the first agent to read the manuscript might decide it is not something he wants to represent, so he turns it down. And now the author may not be able to go to the second agent who wanted to represent it, because the author has angered that agent.
I can see that it's not a good idea to have more than one agent at a time reading the manuscript.
But how bad would it be if you tell an agent that another agent is currently reading the manuscript, and therefore the second agent will have to wait? (Some smaller agencies don't demand exclusivity, but all the top agents do.) In theory, you can contact the first agent and advise him that a second agent wants to read the manuscript. The agent can then either demand exclusivity until he makes a decision, or he can say it's okay as long as the second agent understands the first agent has first dibs.
But, it's best if you don't have to put an agent in that position. And, the only way around that is to keep the number of outstanding queries to an absolute minimum. However, the absolute minimum of one query per month just doesn't seem realistic.
So, it's a problem with no perfect solution. And no matter how you look at it, it's probably going to involve a lot of waiting.
The solution recommended by writers is that you start working on a new novel, instead of just pacing the floor or sitting around waiting for an agent to respond.
I am knocking around dialog ideas for a sequel to the sci-fi novel I just wrote. It might even begin exactly where the first book leaves off. I just need to think of a totally different kind of problem for the three main characters to resolve.
I suppose I could also work on my income taxes. I keep telling myself that's what I should be doing right now, but then I do something else.
No self control. Maybe I'll just eat some cookies and watch a movie.
February 16, 2014 (A) - Part of my routine when I turn on my computer each morning is to do a Google search for "anthrax" and "2001." When I did that this morning, up popped an article by Brandon Martinez from "Press TV," which is an Iranian news web site. It was interesting to see a lot of very common "Anthrax Truther" comments being repeated by a this new "Anthrax Truther." Example:
There was no evidence tying Ivins to the anthrax letters and he had no conceivable motive. The FBI launched an intense campaign of innuendo against Ivins in an effort to convict him in the court of public opinion. Ivins allegedly committed suicide while in a Maryland hospital just before he was set to be indicted and stand trial. How convenient.
Ivins worked at a US bio-weapons facility called USAMRIID in Fort Detrick, Maryland. This is where the FBI claims the anthrax used in the attacks originated. Since there is no evidence that Ivins was involved in the anthrax mailings, there is likewise no reason to believe the FBI’s claim that the anthrax spores used in the letters originated from that facility.
Brandon Martinez blames
Israel, of course. That's undoubtedly why PressTV.ir posted the
commentary. And, like all Anthrax Truthers, Martinez has no proof
to support his beliefs. He just doesn't believe the mountain of proof that
shows he's wrong, and he seems totally
ignorant of the case against Bruce Ivins. Only his beliefs
are important. So, to him, the solidity of his beliefs means he's
right. Just like all Anthrax Truthers.
(I'm not going to provide a link to the article. It's just anti-Israel propaganda. But, if you really want to read it, you can use the Google link to find it.)
& Changes: Sunday, February 9, 2014, thru Saturday, February 15,
February 14, 2014 - In case anyone is interested (which I seriously doubt), I finished Lee Child's Jack Reacher novel "61 Hours" yesterday. While the writing was excellent, and I generally enjoyed the book, if the previous Jack Reacher book "A Wanted Man" was considered by Amazon reviewers to be "unbelievable," I would consider "61 Hours" to be close to preposterous.
But, it's "preposterousness" was also interesting. It caused me to recall the 1976 Alistair MacLean thriller "The Golden Gate," which had an FBI agent watching over the President, instead of the Secret Service. Alistair MacLean was a Scotsman, and thus he evidently didn't realize it is the Secret Service that protects the President. Lee Child is an Englishman, and he seems to have some equally mistaken (and some really bizarre) misunderstandings about the United States and how it works. But, since Child has produced numerous #1 bestsellers, and "61 Hours" also won a prize for best crime novel of the year, it clearly doesn't make any difference. ( Spoiler Alert!!!: Is it really believable that during WWII the U.S. would have made an extra hundred tons of methanphetamines to help pilots stay alert and awake. Then, after the war they brought it back, put it in a bunker in South Dakota, and just forgot about both the bunker and the methanphetamines? And somehow a Mexican drug dealer finds it before anyone else does? And somehow Jack Reacher just happens to be there when all hell breaks loose?)
I think I'm finished with my reading binge. I'll continue to read Mark Twain's "The Innocents Abroad" during breakfast and lunch, but I'm done with just sitting down and doing high-speed reading of library books for hours at a time. At least for awhile.
February 13, 2014 - In my email inbox this morning I found someone had sent me a link to a song which will help me remember how many wheels there are on a big rig. Click HERE to view it. It's very funny. I also awoke realizing a change I'd made yesterday to my new sci-fi novel needed to be undone. It just involves deleting one word on one page, but I find it fascinating how the brain works through things and figures them out while you're asleep. I don't think it's just me. I may just notice such things more than most people, because it sometimes seems I'm constantly trying to figure things out.
February 12, 2014 - On Monday, when I got to the 50%-finished point in Lee Child's Jack Reacher novel "61 Hours," I could no longer resist the urge to read my own book through from cover to cover. So, I set aside "61 Hours" and read my sci-fi book with a red felt-tipped pen ready to make notes if I saw the need for changes.
I saw the need for a lot more changes than I had expected. There must have been 8 or 9 places where I referred to a "16-wheeler" truck. While doing the previous draft, I discovered it's supposed to be an 18-wheeler. I thought I'd made all the fixes. But, apparently not. The rest of the changes were mostly just typos or minor fixes, but I also had one "major problem." I had a big explanation take place the second time a scientific phenomenon was encountered by the main character. The explanation clearly needed to take place the first time the phenomenon was seen by that character. So, I had to add a page with the explanation to chapter 12. And, removing the second explanation from chapter 25 didn't change the number of pages in that chapter. That meant that every page after page 112 had to be renumbered.
When I finished the "final draft" just before lunch today, it tallied out to be 306 pages with 65,645 words.
I've already sent out an email to an agent who seems to have the right interests. So, now it's mostly a matter of waiting to see if I can get an agent to respond. Initially, I'll be trying one agent a week.
Meanwhile, I'll go back to finishing reading "61 Hours."
February 11, 2014 - This morning, I couldn't access my web site. After trying several times over a period of a half hour without getting to the site, I called my web site host. He quickly discovered that I hadn't changed the Domain Name Server (DNS) when my web site host changed names about a year ago. So, I had to go to the company that rents me the domain name "anthraxinvestigation.com" and try to figure out how to change things there. It took another phone call, but I eventually made the required change.
15 minutes later, the web site was working okay again. When I downloaded the statistics for yesterday, I found it was a fairly busy day, and I couldn't see any "holes" in the log. So, while I wasn't able to get to the site this morning, evidently a lot of other people were still able to do so all day long and into this morning. I guess it all depended upon the route they took through the Internet. But, hopefully everything is fixed now.
February 10, 2014 (B) - I received a response to my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for depositions in the Maureen Stevens v USA lawsuit which I mentioned in my February 5, 2014 comment. The letter from the DOJ says that the request is considered "complex" and "complex" requests usually take about six months to resolve. However, I can "reformulate" my request and give them a call to simplify things. I may do that.
February 10, 2014 (A) - A few days ago, a regular visitor sent me an email saying he was unable to find my web site. Yesterday, I got the same message when I tried. It said there was no such web site as www.anthraxinvestigation.com. But when I tried a second time a few seconds later, the site appeared. I also noticed that the number of visitors to my site on Saturday was less than 400. That's the first time I've had so few visitors in a single day in a year or more. So, there may be some kind of glitch going on.
February 9, 2014 - On Wednesday, the Anthrax Truther known as "Anonymous" on my interactive blog and known as "DXer" on Lew Weinstein's blog repeated one of his bogus arguments just once too often. He wrote:
If in 10 years you haven't even persuaded a single person that a First Grader wrote the anthrax [letters], it is understandable that you realize you have no hope. The question is why it doesn't serve as some sort of reality check.
And he wrote:
Ed, no one agrees with you -- not even your sister.
Tell all the lies you want.
I kept telling him that isn't true. People do agree with the child handwriting hypothesis. But "Anonymous" just keeps making the same claim over and over. I explained that I couldn't say who agreed with me, because he'd contact the emailers and harass them.
In response, he wrote:
Ed, if there is anyone -- I mean, anyone -- who is persuaded a First Grader wrote the anthrax letters of 2001, it is a simple matter to safeguard their anonymity so as to avoid them feeling ridiculous. You could simply quote their email and delete their name. The reality is that you have not persuaded a SINGLE person -- and cannot quote a single email. That is the hypothesis By all means, prove something different.
So, I put aside the novel I was reading and I started searching through my emails related to the anthrax case. I have 47,242 such emails. They're in 64 files with a maximum of 750 emails per file. I spent all day Thursday and half of Friday on the research. I did a search for the word "child" in the body of the emails. In the end, I found and posted to my blog sections of over three dozen emails, including 5 where the emailer fully agreed with my hypothesis that a child wrote the anthrax documents, 16 where the emailer generally agreed, and 10 more where the emailer just appeared to agree.
An example of fully agreeing:
I think your theory about a child writing the letters and envelopes is spot on.
So, by my count, I found 31 emails where the writer agreed that a child wrote the anthrax documents. I found them by searching for the word "child." I may have been able to find a few more by doing additional searches for "first grade" or "boy" (since I recall an email where someone argued that the writer appeared to be a girl, not a boy - as I'd been suggesting) or just "handwriting." And, how did "Anonymous" respond to my posting those 31 emails indicating agreement with my hypothesis? He posted this:
I've got to go, Ed. Your First Grader theory is stupid. it's time you talk to someone about why you don't realize that -- and yet at the same time press on with your schtick about others being what you call True Believers.
I figured he'd either change the subject, launch a personal attack, or just disappear until some time in the future when he'd return to argue that same argument all over again. If he ever again tries to argue that same subject, I'll have solid statistics and examples ready.
The research was interesting for a number of additional reasons. First, I've been wondering why "Anonymous" keeps referring to my sister not believing the hypothesis. Had he called or or contacted her? If so, that would be truly creepy. But, while I wouldn't put it past him, I didn't think it was likely. The research found the answer. In file #23, I found an email from June 5, 2004, where I'd told an email forum:
Yesterday, my sister and her husband paid me a visit. It was the first time I'd seen my brother in-law since I went to visit them in Virginia a month or so after 9/11.
The research also came across a number of emails I'd totally forgotten about. For example, a Canadian police official wrote me on January 12, 2009:
While I agree with you, I would rather use the expression "preponderance of facts" to describe what you are debating in the present context.
Others might use the "preponderance of evidence", but I think it somehow reflects a higher degree of solidity in the scale of demonstrations.
All this being highly subjective.
For instance, we might say at this stage that the preponderance of evidence leads to the conclusion that Dr Ivins and Dr Ivins alone was the perpetrator in Amerithrax.
But in the case of your handwriting argumentation, it might be said that the preponderance of facts supports your conclusion that a child wrote the letters.
You could just make you own mind on this nuance by staging a little safari in the wilderness of Google using both expressions.
But this is a really minor point, just for the sake of the discussion."
I've been arguing that "the facts say a child wrote the anthrax letters." Would it be better for me to say, "the preponderance of facts supports the hypothesis that a child wrote the anthrax letters"? My way seems less wordy and more clear. But, maybe a police official or a lawyer would feel differently.
The police official didn't think I should argue that "the prepondence of evidence" says a child wrote the letters, because the use of the word "evidence" "somehow reflects a higher degree of solidity in the scale of demonstrations." Huh? I think he's simply saying that if I used the word "evidence" it would imply that it is part of a much larger argument, like being additional proof that Ivins did it. It isn't. It's just "evidence" about how the handwriting on the letters was done. Nothing more.
Related to that subject, I also found an email (not one of the 31 who agree) from a NYC health department official who wrote me on November 28, 2007:
I would point out that there is no evidence that a child wrote the letters. No one saw a child write them and there is no letter written by a child that matches it. All you have is interpretation and opinion, which is not fact as you often correctly point out. It does not strike me as improbable that a person could imitate the handwriting of a child by copying a letter. Perhaps the perpetrator had a young niece or nephew who wrote to him. All conjecture, not fact.
I would disagree with that argument. There is "evidence that a child wrote the letters." There just isn't any confirmation in the form of a witness who actually saw the child do the writing or another letter by the same child which has matching handwriting on it. But, admittedly, it is just an intepretation and opinion by someone who is not "an official expert in handwriting." I'd like to get an expert's opinion, but there doesn't seem to be any way to do that other than paying for an expert to give his opinion. And, I don't really want a "handwriting expert" to look at the letters independently and come to his or her own conclusion. That's been done. The results were as many different opinions as there were experts. And there's no indication that any of those "experts" noticed what I and others noticed regarding the sizes of the writing, the change in the way characters are drawn, etc. What I need is for an "expert" to explain to me where my analysis is either correct or incorrect - and WHY. But, I'm not willing to pay for that to be done.
Yesterday, I finished reading Lee Child's Jack Reacher thriller "A Wanted Man." I finished the novel, but not the book, since the book also contains a Jack Reacher "short story" titled "Deep Down." I started reading it during breakfast this morning. I also have Lee Child's Jack Reacher novel "61 Hours" waiting in my Kindle. The "hold" I put on it at my local library worked fine. I "borrowed" it yesterday. When I finish "61 Hours," I'll read my new sci-fi novel through to see if any further changes are needed before I begin seriously trying to find an agent to help me sell it.
Meanwhile, I've more or less stopped thinking of possible changes to make to my new sci-fi novel. What I keep thinking of now is stuff to put in a sequel. Hmm.
& Changes: Sunday, February 2, 2014, thru Saturday, February 8,
February 7, 2014 - This may be totally off-topic, but on Wednesday evening I watched a segment on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" that totally stunned me. The segment was about how the Koch brothers are trying to buy small town elections by financing attack ads against politicians they do not agree with. Click HERE, HERE, and HERE to view videos of that part of the show.
The candidate in Coralville, Iowa, who was endorsed by the Koch brothers stated that having their endorsement was "like being endorsed by Charles Manson. " He tied for last place in the election.
To me, what the Koch brothers did wasn't just sleazy, it was EVIL. I was stunned that this wasn't a story making headlines all over America. According to the video, however, they didn't get away with it anywhere. Maybe that's the explantion.
February 5, 2014 - I just sent in an FOIA request for some depositions in the Stevens v USA lawsuit. The depositions mainly give the opinions of some of Bruce Ivins' co-workers. While most will be self-serving and ridiculously argue that Ivins couldn't have made the anthrax powders using standard procedures without the co-worker noticing, there may be some who have a very different point of view. And, even if they don't, the depositions (if they are provided) might provide some insight into the workings inside USAMRIID. The Stephen Little deposition, for example, showed that he never went into any BSL-3 lab, so everything Little believed about what Ivins was doing inside Room B313 in BSL-3 suite B3 was pure fantasy and guesswork.
Meanwhile, I'm about 33% done with the Jack Reacher novel "A Wanted Man." While I'm finding it thoroughly enjoyable and a lot of fun to read, I can also see why many of the Amazon.com reviewers considered it to be "unbelievable." For one thing, it begins with Reacher hitchhiking and getting picked up by two kidnappers who have their kidnap victim in the car with them. She's riding in the back seat, unbound, ungagged. They ask Reacher to drive. The idea is the roadblocks set up by the police aren't looking for a car with 4 people in it and a 6'5" mountain of a man with a broken nose driving. So, the kidnappers get through all the roadblocks before they try to get rid of Reacher.
Another unbelievable part of the book is that the kidnap victim in the back seat figures out a way to communicate with Reacher by blinking her eyes and wagging her head. This definitely challenges the screwball beliefs of an Anthrax Truther who thinks that the solution to a code has to be known before it can be decoded.
The kidnap victim is a cocktail waitress. She created the code in order to commnicate with Reacher. It takes Reacher awhile to figure out that wagging her head to the right and blinking seven times decodes to the letter G. It's the seventh letter from the front of the alphabet. And wagging her head to the left and blinking 6 times is an U. U is the 6th letter from the rear of the alphabet. Seriously. And then nodding left and blinking 13 times gives you the letter N. Together you have "GUN." The idea behind the head wagging is that it's easier than to blink 21 times to indicate a U. Only Jack Reacher could decode such a message by looking in the rear view mirror while also driving at 80 miles an hour through Iowa in the middle of the night. Unbelievable. But, if the writing is good and funny, a work of fiction doesn't have to be believable to be enjoyable.
February 4, 2014 - Since I had some time on my hands, I decided to create a new cartoon to start a new thread on my interactive blog:
I took a short cut through a residential neigborhood. I was on my way to the Greyhound bus station. The station was about a mile away. A nice day for a walk. I needed to walk off a big lunch anyway. Cheeseburgers. Three of them. I didn't own a car. I didn't live in this town. I didn't know the bus routes. No choice but to walk.
I noticed a frantic, desperate looking man painting a message on the side of his white frame house. Black paint on a white house. It looked like he'd done this many times before.
The message said: "In June 2001, someone caught a civilian contractor exiting the USAMRIID biocontainment who had no authorization to be there."
There seemed to a hundred layers of white paint on that side of the house. Probably a hundred other messages covered over, too.
"What's going on?" I asked him.
"I'm telling the world about what I found," he replied.
"How often does the world come down this block?"
"All the time."
"And the world reads your messages?"
"If I don't write them, they can't read them."
"What does the message mean?"
"It means what it says."
"It says nothing except that in June 2001, someone caught a civilian contractor exiting USAMRIID biocontainment who had no authorization to be there."
"So he had no authorization to be there."
"So, people did things without authorization at USAMRIID!"
"So that proves anything is possible!"
"So, then it's possible my theory is correct!"
"Ah. I see. Thank you."
I started walking again. A bit faster. I'd encountered that kind of thinking many times before. People who have a belief. And if anything is possible, then their belief is the truth. Prove it isn't possible. If you can't, it is. The bus station suddenly seemed further away than before. It was possible it wasn't even there. The house painter would probably say it was impossible for it not to be there. Certitude. Only fools are certain about anything. I was certain about that. I was a fool for being in this town. I should just have passed it by.
February 3, 2014 - Hmm. I'm temporarily "done" with my new sci-fi novel. I just need to let it set awhile before I read through it to see if I can make improvements. And since there are no debates going on right now about the anthrax attacks of 2001, that means I've got a LOT of time on my hands. Yesterday afternoon, I finished reading Lee Child's Jack Reacher thriller "The Affair." I tried to work on my income taxes this morning, but all I could do was sort out all the various documents to get ready for filling out the forms. So, I went to my local library's web site, I did a search, and I found that there's another Jack Reacher thriller available, "A Wanted Man," which is #17 in the series. In spite of the bad reviews on Amazon, I "borrowed" it. (After all, it was a #1 New York Times bestseller.) And I put in a "Hold" for "61 Hours" (#14 in the series, and another #1 New York Times bestseller). My library has 8 copies and there are 7 people who have it on Hold. I want to see how that Hold process works.
The main attraction for me is the fast-pace writing style, the clipped sentences and the humorous banter. Jack Reacher is an ex-Army Military Police investigator who is constantly getting into dangerous situations. Interestingly, in the novels he's about 6 feet 5 and weighs about 250 pounds. In the movie "Jack Reacher" (based upon Lee Child's book "One Shot'), Jack Reacher was played by Tom Cruise, who is 5 feet 7.
Jack Reacher reminds me of Travis McGee, and this afternoon I did a Google search to see if anyone else has noticed the similarity. I found a web page HERE that says Lee Child got the idea for his character Jack Reacher after reading the John D. Macdonald novel "The Lonely Silver Rain," which was the 21st and last Travis McGee novel.
February 2, 2014 - It's "Groundhog Day," which coincidentally happens to be my favorite movie of all time. I hadn't watched it since 2009, so I watched the DVD again yesterday evening. Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking out my window this morning, I see clear skies. That means the groundhog would see his shadow. Which supposedly means we're going to have six more weeks of winter. Groan! Somehow, I had a feeling that was going to be the case, regardless of what the groundhog saw.
Meanwhile, I've finished the "third draft" of my new sci-fi novel. In the process of writing that "third draft," I also printed it out and put it in a 3-ring binder. The novel now consists of 304 pages, 65,218 words.
Here's a photo of the manuscript:
Looking at the dates that I started working on each chapter, you can basically figure out which days I was bogged down in arguments with Anthrax Truthers. The 19th of January was really bad. I got nothing done on the book that day. The 23rd was almost as bad. Just 1 chapter. And the 21st, 22nd, 24th, 25th and 26th were pretty bad, too. Just 2 chapters. But, starting on the 27th, things really started moving along nicely.
The next step is to let it set for a week or so, maybe making minor fixes -- if such fixes come to mind. (I awoke on Friday morning realizing I had written that a guy who was camping used an "electric razor." I meant "battery-powered electric razor." So, I went back and did the fix, reprinting that page. On Saturday, I awoke thinking that when the female lead talks about having taken a vacation in Italy with a "girlfriend," I should have written that she did it with "a small group of girlfriends." So, I fixed that page. This morning I awoke thinking that the female lead shouldn't talk about how she eats lots of frozen dinners. She's a professor of physics, so she should talk about eating most of her meals in the Sargent Hall cafeteria at Northwestern. I'll make that fix this morning.)
Since I'm going to have some free time on my hands while I let things set for awhile, I also set aside "The Innocents Abroad" and on Friday I "borrowed" Lee Child's 16th Jack Reacher novel "The Affair" from my local library (actually from Amazon). I spent most of yesterday reading it on my Kindle, finishing 51% of it. In paperback it's 608 pages, so I guess that means I read over 300 pages. (It's a terrific book, so far.) I'll very likely finish reading it today. (Added note: I finished it at 3:02 p.m. It ends at the 88% mark. There's a Jack Reacher short story after the book. I'll read it tomorrow.)
The plan is that in a week or so, I'll sit down and try reading my novel straight through, marking it with a red pen if I spot something else that needs fixing. Then, I'll do the "final draft," which will most likely just involve replacing a few more pages.
In theory, when that is done, it would be time to start contacting agents. Giving it to a friend or relative to read isn't in the cards. It's just too stressful. They all have their own particular tastes in books, and my book might not fit their specific taste but may still be excellent. It's much better to just see if a professional agent will read it and give an opinion.
Fiction is a very different market than non-fiction. You don't need to be a recognized expert in some field to get your first fiction book published. Plus, the book is the right size and fits a big market. It's science fiction, but it takes place in today's world, and it's basically a detective story or detective thriller. The only "science fiction" aspect is that the "detectives" use a weird new "gadget" invented by a man and his daughter - two physics professors at Northwestern University. And the story is told in "first person" by a guy who has a sense of humor. Humor is a good selling point, too.
There's no guarantee that any agent will want to represent it, nor that any publisher will want to publish it, but right now my hopes are high. I tried to restrain myself as I go through the process of polishing it and creating the "final draft." But, on Friday I sent off an email query to an agent I've dealt with in the past. But, because of all the queries most well-known agents get, it could take her a couple weeks to come across my query in the email stack and respond -- if she responds at all.
And, just so this comment won't be entirely off topic, I see in the news that someone sent hoax white powder letters to hotels in the area of today's Super Bowl. Evidently, someone also sent a hoax letter to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani that contained sand. The news says that Giuliani's letter was postmarked in Toronto. But, I don't see anything about where the other letters were postmarked. So, there could have been multiple hoaxes occurring at the same time.
& Changes: Sunday, January 26, 2014, thru Saturday, February 1,
February 1, 2014 - For what it's worth, I started reading Mark Twain's book "The Innocents Abroad" on Thursday, and I came upon a passage in Chapter 2 that reminds me of the way Anthrax Truthers think, even though the book was published in 1869:
Everybody was going to Europe—I, too, was going to Europe. Everybody was going to the famous Paris Exposition—I, too, was going to the Paris Exposition. The steamship lines were carrying Americans out of the various ports of the country at the rate of four or five thousand a week in the aggregate. If I met a dozen individuals during that month who were not going to Europe shortly, I have no distinct remembrance of it now. I walked about the city a good deal with a young Mr. Blucher, who was booked for the excursion. He was confiding, good-natured, unsophisticated, companionable; but he was not a man to set the river on fire. He had the most extraordinary notions about this European exodus and came at last to consider the whole nation as packing up for emigration to France. We stepped into a store on Broadway one day, where he bought a handkerchief, and when the man could not make change, Mr. B. said:
"Never mind, I'll hand it to you in Paris."
"But I am not going to Paris."
"How is—what did I understand you to say?"
"I said I am not going to Paris."
"Not going to Paris! Not g—— well, then, where in the nation are you going to?"
"Nowhere at all."
"Not anywhere whatsoever?—not any place on earth but this?"
"Not any place at all but just this—stay here all summer."
My comrade took his purchase and walked out of the store without a word—walked out with an injured look upon his countenance. Up the street apiece he broke silence and said impressively: "It was a lie—that is my opinion of it!"Anthrax Truthers also feel that everyone is like them, doing things and thinking like them, because they only seem to talk with people like them. But, in reality, they are a very tiny group. There's just no way to convince them of that.
January 31, 2014 - Hmm. Yesterday, on my interactive blog, someone brought to my attention the mystery surrounding the sculpture called "Kryptos" that stands on the grounds of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
The blogger provided a link to a New York Times article about how three of the coded messages that are supposed to be in the sculpture have been solved, but one remains and is considered to be "one of the most famous unsolved codes in the world."
It's all just too cryptic for me. But, a different blogger wrote a sarcastic post that is almost as cryptic as the sculpture. I gather he somehow sees the clue to the 4th Kryptos message as proof of his belief that the hidden message in the media anthrax letter either doesn't exist or wasn't properly decoded. Why? Because that's what he believes.
January 30, 2014 - I doubt that anyone is interested, but, for the record, I finished reading Edgar Rice Burrough's novel, "The Land That Time Forgot" on my Kindle a couple days ago. It was an enjoyable read. It took me awhile to read, since I only read it during breakfast and lunch. Today I started on Mark Twain's "Innocents Abroad."
Also, although it's possible no one is interested, this morning I received three emails from "DXer/Anonymous" complaining that, contrary to what I wrote yesterday, he HAS provided explanations for what he believes to be the "truth." In one email he wrote:
Ed, I do explain it.and in another email he wrote:
You delete the argument provided and then speciously claim the explanation wasn't given.
The fact that you don't know who Yazid Sufaat and Adnan El-Shukrijumah and Ali Al-Timimi are says it all.
It's hard to figure out exactly what his reasoning is or what he's actually saying. "The thesis sentence states the factual assertion and the linked and uploaded document is provided in support"?
The "thesis sentence" is most likely the subject of the thread on Lew Weinstein's blog, which is usually very far from "factual." It's better described as a declaration of beliefs.
Looking through the blog, you have to go back to December 29, 2013, to find anything that might be applicable to what "DXer/Anonymous" is arguing. The "Thesis sentence" on a thread posted on that date is:
DXer … It’s naive and uninformed to think that Al Qaeda could not have obtained Ames just because it tended to be in labs associated with or funded by the US military. … The reality is that a lab technician, researcher, or other person similarly situated might simply have walked out of some lab that had it.
But, there's certainly no "evidence" of any kind. It's just "might have" and "could have" and yada yada yada. The only "document is a picture of Osama bin Laden.
Going back to November 1, 2013, I find a thread with this "Thesis sentence":
The USG Has Denied FOIA Requests For Atta’s Handwriting Since The Fall 2001 Anthrax Mailings On Grounds It Could Interfere With Enforcement Proceedings
But, there's no explanation of why they want to check out Mohamed Atta's handwriting. It's perfectly clear that Mohamed Atta did NOT write the anthrax letters. Click HERE for an EXPLANATION in support of that claim.
Going back further through dozens of posts, I find a mention of Yazid Sufaat in a "Thesis Sentence" dated September 14, 2013:
Amerithrax: In February 2002, the FBI Failed To Take Custody of Al Qaeda Anthrax Scientists Rauf Ahmad and Yazid Sufaat
The document provided "in support" of that "thesis" is part of a page of a book. It says nothing meaningful to the Amerithrax case.
I suppose I could try going back farther and farther to see if I can find anything that explains anything, but I've got better things to do. And, there's absolutely no reason to believe that I'll ever find anything that would qualify as "evidence" that "Yazid Sufaat was the processor and Adnan El-Shukrijumah was the mailer" of the attack anthrax.
If you want to see an explanation of how how Dr. Bruce Ivins made the anthrax powders, just click HERE. If you want to see an explanation of when and where Dr. Bruce Ivins made the anthrax powders, click HERE. Or you can read the Amerithrax Investigative Summary which can by found by clicking HERE.
If the evidence is available, why is it so difficult for "DXer/Anonymous" to explain how, when and where Muslim terrorists supposedly made the anthrax powders? Why is it necessary for people who want to see this information to hunt through an endless series of incoherent and irrelevant posts to try to figure it out?
Evidently, it's because "DXer/Anonymous" and I have different understandings of what and "explanation" consists of. To "DXer/Anonymous" it's evidently all in his head. He understands it. Others just have to trust that he knows the "truth" and that his incoherent and irrelevant posts really mean something important. What he considers an "explanation" is to copy and paste a pile of such crap and dump it in my blog. I don't consider that an "explanation." I consider it to be incoherent blather. For some examples of the "incoherent blather," go to the start of the "Reading vs Understanding - part 2" thread where I allowed a bunch of his rambling posts to go through.
January 29, 2014 - The Anthrax Truther who called himself "Anonymous" when he was posting on my interactive blog, and calls himself "DXer" on Lew Weinstein's blog, is sending me emails complaining that, in yesterday's comment here, I didn't correctly characterize what was being written to Lew's blog. The first email was about my comments regarding what "Maserati" said about Bayer's stock price. I did a fix, which didn't satisfy "DXer," and now he's complaining about something else:
Ed, why do you say I think "Muslims did it" rather than I think Yazid Sufaat was the processor and Adnan El-Shukrijumah was the mailer.There are some interesting questions in that email. So, he now believes that Yazid Sufaat was the "processor" and Adnan El-Shurijumah was the mailer? Then why is he still yapping about the handwriting, claiming it may be Mohamed Atta's? Who was it who wrote: "the key people in the anthrax mailings were not Bruce Ivins or Steven Hatfill … instead, they appear to have been Ali al-Timimi and Abderraouf Jdey"?
Is he saying Atta wrote the letters but El-Shukrijumah mailed them? Where do Ali al-Timimi and Abderraouf Jdey fit in? Frankly, I haven't bothered to try to keep all those Middle-Eastern names straight, since "DXer" never produced any proof of any kind that any of them did it.
Yet, he says I'm obscuring the argument "so people don't realize how powerful the evidence is?" WHAT EVIDENCE??!! I haven't seen ANY evidence. But, he's made it clear over the years that he considers people's opinions to be "evidence." So, maybe that's what he means. Or, maybe the "evidence" is buried within all that irrelevant and incoherent crap he posts to Lew's blog, which he also wants to post to my blog.
The problem is: He cannot explain anything. What good is "evidence" if he cannot explain to anyone what the evidence is and what it means? He may believe that burying his readers in irrelevant and incoherent crap will convince them that he's right. But, once again, a quote from Albert Einstein applies very well here:
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
... Albert Einstein
"DXer" doesn't seem to be able to explain anything - simply or otherwise. Irrelevant, incoherent crap is NOT an explanation, and it certainly isn't "evidence."
Oh, yes! I remember! "DXer/Anonymous" cannot lower himself to explain anything to the likes of me. That explains it.
January 28, 2014 - Discussions seem to have come to an abrupt halt on my interactive blog after I posted a reponse to a request from a Truther who wanted me to provide "criteria" for how to find things that no one is looking for and no one expects to find, but which were uncovered through deductive reasoning. Or, to put it another way, he wanted me to provide standard rules for doing things that no one has ever done before.
It seems to be another way of arguing that there is no way to know for certain there was a hidden message in the anthrax letter sent to the media unless it was done before by the same person in the same way. And, if you cannot be certain, then you cannot present it as evidence in court, because only things that are known to be verifiably true can be used as evidence in court. Deductive reasoning is just "guesswork." It's not allowed.
Meanwhile, there seems to be an actual discussion going on on Lew Weinstein's blog. I think it's the first discussion I've seen there in years. Mostly only incoherent blather from "Dxer" is posted there. But for the past few days, an Anthrax Truther who believes the anthrax attacks were a U.S. government conspiracy has been arguing with "DXer," who believes the anthrax attacks were the work of Muslims. An interesting January 24 post by "Maserati" found HERE says:
Both “alleged” targeted victims of the Amerithrax attack, Senators Daschle and Leahey, said nothing about the FBI doing nothing for seven years. Either they were privy to the attack and just “players” in it, or they actually were victims and couldn’t say anything because both had knowledge and passed the legislation above to poison the American people…but it was used on them. THe quickest way is to find out who in Congress (and friends/relatives) in addition to the Bush family had stock in Bayer AG as it soared from around 10 dollars a share to about 90 dollars due to Ciprofloxin contracts issued to Bayer AG by the government in the aftermath of Amerithrax. “Bayer AG” was changed to “Bayer” in the US a few years later to hide the price history, but it can still be found on the Bayer AG symbol in Europe. Yes this was the CIA and FBI, and Director Robert Mueller III should be the first one hanging from a rope for treason going back before he helped cover up 9-11. We live in a dangerous, scrupulous country…. and will until there is a revolt and those in DC brought to justice for treason.He almost seems to be calling for a violent overthrow of the "scrupulous" government.
In a post yesterday (January 27) "Maserati" added,
Our government politicians and agencies did this, and made a lot of money from it like usual....
Amerithrax has no Middle East terrorist connection.
Earlier, on January 23, "Maserati" wrote:
There is no connection to foreign entities whatsoever. ...
Amerithrax was a covert US Op for stock market profit and foreign terrorist fear mongering. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact. It would be easily proved in a court of law, but you would be dead before the charges were filed.
It appears that little or nothing "Maserati" says can be verified. Even some stock price details, which he claims prove that the anthrax scare caused the stock price for the company that makes Cipro to soar "from around 10 dollars a share to about 90 dollars" may or may not be true. Besides, if sales of Cipro did cause the stock price to go up, that would have been true whether there was a conspiracy or not.
"DXer" is trying to challenge his "facts" while also trying to show that "Maserati" doesn't know the details of the "Muslims did it" theory. And another Anthrax Truther sees some significance in where the Maserati automobile was originally manufactured.
Also meanwhile, someone sent me an email that caused me to get sidetracked into the physics behind rooftop water towers like those seen in areas of New York City. I'd never thought much about them before. I didn't realize they supplied drinking water to people within the building. If I thought about those old, wooden, rickety tanks at all, I just assumed they supplied the water for sprinkler systems. In an on-line discussion after an article HERE, it seems a lot of people think the same way. However, one guy who calls himself "ProjectGreen" argues that the towers just provide pressure for the water that actually comes into the building via water mains:
These tanks are present merely to utilize gravity to pressurize the clean water being pumped into the building remotely from a clean source. No one drinks this stuff. How is this not common knowledge..?
How is this not common knowledge? Because it make no sense. If the pumps don't apply enough pressure to get water to the seventh floor of a building, the gravity pressure from the water in the rooftop tanks would push the tank water down into the "clean source" water, which would flow in reverse until the tank was empty. There's some interesting physics involved, and it hasn't changed since ancient Roman times.
January 26, 2014 - The discussion thread titled "Truthers" that I created for my interactive blog on January 19 now has 101 comments on it (48 of them responses from me), almost all of them arguing about the hidden message in the media letter. I've been arguing with two different Anthrax Truthers (although it still sometimes seems it's just one Truther using two different names). "Max," the first Anthrax Truther to post to the thread, basically argues (in 16 posts) that evidence isn't evidence until he says it's evidence. Here's part of that first post:
Try to follow the logic, it's not that hard. You don't know whether there's a message in the first place. If there is a message, you don't know whether you correctly "decoded" it. All you have are guesses piled on top of guesses piled on top of guesses. So think: how can you verify that all this guesswork is (miraculously) correct?
You've obviously never given the question a moment's thought, because you've somehow convinced yourself that no proof is needed. Because you have a lucky feeling about it or something. I don't know.
At first I thought his argument was that you have to KNOW there is a coded message or EXPECT to find a coded message before you can be certain there IS a coded message. Here's how he phrased that belief in a prior thread:
PAT is not a message. ...If you want to claim otherwise, then you need to show that you expected to find PAT before the "decoding". Of course, nobody did.
The FBI agent who deciphered the coded message in the media letter probably didn't know or expect to find a hidden message, much less the message "PAT." So (according to Max's logic), what the agent found is meaningless. It's just deductive reasoning. And, apparently Max believes deductive reasoning cannot be used in court.
His last message on Friday continued that same Truther line of illogical logic:
If your "message" appears to be 3 random letters, then you can't be confident that you decoded it correctly (or that there is anything to decode).
If by some miracle there actually is a message, then I have no idea what it would be. There's no logical reason for a hidden message to begin with. 3 random-looking letters makes as much sense (none) as anything.
If we had some evidence that Bruce Ivins, for some crazy reason, put the hidden message PAT in things he wrote...that would be a coincidence. But we don't have anything like that.
There are no coincidences here, just a collection of meaningless details connected by a far fetched theory.
In the paragraph highlighted in red above, Max seems to be saying that the only way "PAT" would mean anything is if Bruce Ivins was KNOWN to have put the coded word "PAT" in other coded messages that he'd previously sent out. Then it would be admissible because it was done before and was expected.
He also argues that, unless I fully agree with him, I do not understand what he is saying. To me, that is the same thing as saying he cannot possibly be wrong.
In response I wrote:
If you want to discuss the hidden message in the media letter and how it HELPS PROVE Ivins was the anthrax killer, then I'm ready to discuss that. It's what I HAVE been discussing.
And his response was:
Don't be obtuse. My argument is about why there's no reliable evidence of a message. A non-existent message can't "help prove" anything.
So, we're at an impasse. I thought he had some inexplicable belief that "PAT" cannot be a message unless "PAT" is a hidden message Ivins is KNOWN to have sent out before. In other words, nothing can be done for the first time. And deductive reasoning as has been performed by detectives for hundreds of years is not valid in court.
The only response I could come up with to that kind of illogical logic is that I don't want to argue opinion against opinion. Such arguments are endless and pointless.
But, this morning I awoke with a different view on his argument. He's not arguing that nothing can be done for the first time, he's arguing that unless it was done before in the same way, no one can be absolutely certain that the decoding is correct.
And, unless everyone can be absolutely certain there is a message and the decoding of the message was done correctly, it is meaningless and cannot be used in court. So, according to Max's understanding of the law: There is no message.
His understanding of the law is, of course, total nonsense. If everyone was absolutely certain, there wouldn't be any NEED for a trial. Trials are held because there is some question about whether a person is guilty or not. The prosecution presents the facts and evidence which they feel proves the defendant is guilty, and the defense challenges and disputes that evidence. The jury then decides whether the case has been proven or not.
But, it's interesting to see how a Truther sees things and figures things out. As usual, he seems to start with a belief and then he rejects anything that does not support that belief. His initial belief seems to have been that, when it comes to decoding a message, the judge must be absolutely certain that the message was decoded correctly, or he will rule the decoding testimony as being "inadmissible."
And, how can a judge be absolutely certain the decoding is correct? Answer: By only allowing an expert to testify, an expert witness who has decoded such messages before.
The question for me now is: How can anyone change the mind of a Truther who is absolutely certain that what he believes about the law is correct?
Meanwhile, the second Anthrax Truther has been arguing (in 37 posts) that evidence isn't really evidence unless by itself the item of evidence proves something. He also argues the long ago debunked argument that no judge is going to allow just any FBI agent to testify to deciphering the hidden message in the anthrax letter sent to the media, because only certified, recognized "cryptoanalysts" and code-breakers can testify to deciphering a coded message.
It's the same as Max's argument, just presented in a slightly different way.
On Friday evening, I quoted some lawyers who, in mid-2013, responded to my questions about whether an FBI agent could testify in court to finding the hidden message in the media letter. In my web site comment for July 3, 2013, I quoted some of the responses from lawyers. Here's part of one response:
Basically, there is nothing that would specifically prevent the officer from testifying about the code just like there would be nothing that would prevent you or me from doing so. He would not be considered an expert and there may be some limit on what he could testify about regarding the code but generally speaking he could probably say what he believed the code meant.
And here's part of what another lawyer wrote:
If the officer has the personal experience of cracking the code, he or she can certainly testify as a lay witness. The officer's testimony is relevant and has no problem on admissibility as to the process and result of his or her own experiences without expert qualification.
But, since those statements from LEGAL EXPERTS do not match with the beliefs of the Truther, they were simply ignored. He just repeated the same argument again later.
Here's a summary of one exchange between Truther #2 and me:
Truther #2: There is NO WAY to determine whether such a code exists except by employing standard cryptanalysis to the alleged 'text' and that text is simply too short to do that.
Me: In court, the code exists because an FBI agent FOUND it to exist. Period. What some people on the Internet believe is irrelevant.
Truther #2: Mister Lake has failed in this thread and others to supply an alternate method of verification that such a code exists."
Me: Again, the code exists if the FBI agents says it exists, until someone else finds evidence that it does NOT exist.
In the process of arguing with him, I learned a new and hopefully better way to explain "circumstantial evidence" to Truthers. Instead of using the term "circumstantial evidence," it might be better for me to refer to such evidence as "indirect evidence." The term "indirect evidence" might be more understandable, particularly when compared to "direct evidence."
Here's the definition of "direct evidence" from an on-line dictionary:
Direct Evidence: Evidence in the form of testimony from a witness who actually saw, heard, or touched the subject of questioning. Evidence that, if believed, proves existence of the fact in issue without inference or presumption. That means of proof which tends to show the existence of a fact in question, without the intervention of the proof of any other fact, and which is distinguished from Circumstantial Evidence, often called indirect.
Evidence that directly proves
fact, without an inference or presumption, and which in itself, if true, conclusively
establishes that fact.
The following examples illustrate the difference between direct and circumstantial evidence: If John testifies that he saw Tom raise a gun and fire it at Ann and that Ann then fell to the ground, John's testimony is direct evidence that Tom shot Ann. If the jury believes John's testimony, then it must conclude that Tom did in fact shoot Ann. If, however, John testifies that he saw Tom and Ann go into another room and that he heard Tom say to Ann that he was going to shoot her, heard a shot, and saw Tom leave the room with a smoking gun, then John's testimony is circumstantial evidence from which it can be inferred that Tom shot Ann. The jury must determine whether John's testimony is credible.
In the world of Anthrax Truthers, what the jury believes is immaterial. The jury is only allowed to see and hear direct evidence, which is undeniable PROOF they MUST fully accept. And, no competent judge would allow a jury to see or hear circumstantial or indirect evidence, because it isn't really evidence and cannot possibly prove anything.
When I explain to the Anthrax Truthers that nearly all criminal cases use indirect or circumstantial evidence, that just doesn't mean anything to them. To them, it's simply not possible, so I must be misunderstanding something, or maybe I'm just plain lying.
If I wasn't trying to focus on writing a novel, the discussions would probably be a lot more fascinating than they already are. And, I might be able to focus more on finding the right words, better words and better ways to get through to them.
Of course, when I do get through to them, they generally just change the subject. And, later they'll bring up the same argument again as if I'd never said anything.
& Changes: Sunday, January 19, 2014, thru Saturday, January 25,
January 24, 2014 - This morning, someone brought to my attention a CDC article titled "Investigation of Inhalation Anthrax Case, United States," which is about the Florida man who had been traveling around Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming, and was in Minnesota when he was diagnosed with inhalation anthrax in 2011. The cause of his infection is still unknown (and will probably never be known). The article says this about the strain of anthrax involved:
The isolate was related to strains with genotypes generally associated with imported animal products and most closely related to a strain obtained from a 1965 investigation of a case of cutaneous anthrax in a worker at a New Jersey gelatin factory, which used bone imported from India.
The article suggests that the patient may have been unusually susceptible to contracting inhalation anthrax:
This case-patient had a decades-long history of chemical pneumonitis, and although he reported no respiratory difficulties, perhaps his risk was increased. He also had a history of mild diabetes; diabetes has been observed in other anthrax patients.
The fact that he was 61 years old is not mentioned as another possible factor in why he contracted the disease when no one else did, not even his wife who traveled with him. I would have mentioned that, since age seemed to play a role in who contracted inhalation anthrax during the anthrax attacks of 2001.
January 21, 2014 - I decided I was just wasting time sitting around thinking about "polishing" the second draft of my new novel. I wasn't getting very much done. So, on Saturday I started the third draft, printing out the chapters as I complete them. I'm on Chapter 6, page 63. So far, the third draft contains 1 more page than the second draft and 397 more words. Whether or not it will be the "final" draft remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, it's becoming very clear that we are at an impasse in the arguments on my interactive blog. "Anonymous" wants me to allow him to post meaningless material just the way he does on Lew Weinstein's blog (where he posts as "DXer). I refused to let him do that, so he's stopped posting (for now). The two other Truthers arguing on my blog (there may only be one who is pretending to be two people) are showing that they either do not understand how circumstantial evidence works in court, or they want the entire world to stop using circumstantial evidence because it is not they way they believe things should be done. So, since it's the same argument over and over and over, I may have to resort to just copying and pasting some kind of standard response.
January 19, 2014 (B) - I just started a new thread on my interactive blog. The subject is "Truthers." Here's the illustration I created to begin the thread:
January 19, 2014 (A) - About the only work I did on my new novel last week was to think about it a lot and buy a 3-ring binder and a ream of computer paper for when I print out the third draft. I was distracted by finding the solution to the question about the "fake" pictures of snow on the pyramids, and by some fairly interesting arguments on my interactive blog over two seemingly meaningless full-length depositions obtained in the Maureen Stevens v USA lawsuit (which was settled out of court in December 2011).
I've had edited sections of the Patricia Worsham and Stephen Little depositions on this web site (HERE and HERE) for years. As expected, the full-length versions do not show anything of value to the Amerithrax investigation, since they are just opinions and beliefs and provide no new facts. But, to Anthrax Truthers who believe that opinions, beliefs and wild guesses that support their theories are wonderfully meaningful, while solid facts which dispute their theories are utterly meaningless, those full depositions appear to mean something. What they mean, they cannot explain.
In a discussion on my interactive blog, "Anonymous" explained why he couldn't be bothered to explain anything to me:
Why would anyone converse more than absolutely necessary with someone who thinks a First Grader wrote the letters -- and after 10 years hasn't succeeded in persuading a single person?
In other words, because I do not believe as he believes, he doesn't have the time to explain anything. I pointed out some relevant quotes:
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.
-- Albert Einstein
"You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother."
-- Albert Einstein
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
-- Albert Einstein
In another post, "Anonymous" seems to be arguing that he believes correcting mistakes is "juvenile." He has ordered me to correct mistakes on this web site, but he cannot be bothered with explaining what those mistakes are. And, evidently, if I correct his mistakes, that is "juvenile." It's like trying to have a conversation with a cuckoo clock.
(Note: In a new post HERE, "Anonymous" has explained that he meant that it was "juvenile" of me to refuse to post his meaningless links and images, even though I've repeatedly told him my interactive blog is for discussions, not for posting meaningless material. Evidently, discussions are "juvenile" and meaningless crap is "adult.")
Meanwhile, since Anthrax Truthers seem to believe that nearly everyone in the world accepts their theory that the anthrax attacks of 2001 were NOT committed by Dr. Bruce Ivins, the crime was committed by someone else, and the US government is conspiring to cover up the "truth" for some reason (or everyone in the government is just too stupid to see the "truth"), I decided to do some research to find out where the anthrax conspiracy theory fits in the list of "most popular" conspiracy theories.
There are numerous web sites which list the "top ten conspiracy theories." The first one I looked at is on investigationdiscover.com, which is operated by the Science Channel. There is no date showing when the list was created, but here it is:
1: Kennedy Assassination
2: Sept. 11
3: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
5: Moon Landing
6: Bermuda Triangle
7: Alien Reptiles (Princess Diana was an alien reptile)
8: Chemtrails (airplanes are spraying population control chemicals)
9: Electronic Banking (someday everyone's money will be erased)
10: Subliminal Advertising (it's mind control)
A second list is also undated and comes from Time magazine:
1. The JFK Assassination
2. 9/11 Cover-Up
3. Area 51 and the Aliens
4. Paul McCartney Is Dead (he supposedly died in 1966)
5. Secret Societies Control the World
6. The Moon Landings Were Faked
7. Jesus and Mary Magdalene (they were married)
8. Holocaust Revisionism
9. The CIA and AIDS
10. The Reptilian Elite (including Princess Diana)
A third list dated May 2011 comes from the British newspaper The Telegraph:
1. September 11, 2001
2. The assassination of John F Kennedy
4. NASA faked the moon landings
5. The Illuminati and the New World Order
6. Elvis Presley faked his own death
7. Shakespeare was not Shakespeare
8. Paul McCartney is dead
9. Harold Wilson was a Soviet agent
10. The AIDS virus was created in a laboratory
A fourth list dated October 2007 comes from listverse.com:
1. 9/11 was Planned by the US Government
2. UFO Recovered at Roswell
3. John F. Kennedy’s Assasination
4. Global Warming is a Fraud
5. Princess Diana was Murdered by the Royal Family
6. Jewish World Domination
7. Apollo Moon Landing Hoax
8. Pearl Harbor Was Allowed to Happen
9. The Third Secret of Fatima
10. The Philadelphia Experiment
A fifth list dated 2008 comes from livescience.com:
1. Big Pharma (they're keeping people sick)
2. Satanic Cults (they're killing babies)
3. Protocols of the Elders of Zion
4. The Roswell Crash Cover-Up
5. John F. Kennedy’s Assassination
6. Paul McCartney's Death
7. The Moon Landing Hoax
8. Subliminal Advertising
9. Princess Diana's Murder
10. The 9/11 Conspiracies
There are other lists HERE and HERE. NONE include the anthrax conspiracy theory.
Some of these conspiracy theories are new to me. I certainly didn't know there are people who think that Princess Diana was an alien reptile. I don't recall the theory that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a look-alike (who is still alive today), but I may have heard it before and just never paid any attention. The electronic banking, Harold Wilson and Fatima theories are also new to me.
I didn't really expect to find the anthrax conspiracy theory on any top ten list. I think it's just something that a few people on the Lunatic Fringe believe -- along with some of Ivins' friends and co-workers who cannot accept that Ivins was a mass murderer and they failed to realize what he was doing. If I were to create a list of "the top ten conspiracy theories," I wouldn't include the anthrax conspiracy, either. This would be my list:
1. The John F. Kennedy Assassination
2. 9/11 conspiracies
3. The moon landings were a hoax
4. A UFO was recovered at Roswell
5. Secret societies control the world
6. AIDS was created by scientists to kill homosexuals
7. Marilyn Monroe was killed by the Kennedys
8. Princess Diana's murder
9. FDR knew about Pearl Harbor in advance
10. Obama was born in Kenya
I'd put the anthrax conspiracy at around #20 on the list, right after Obama is a Muslim.
& Changes: Sunday, January 12, 2014, thru Saturday, January 18,
January 18, 2014 - In case anyone is interested, McClatchy newspapers are reporting that James Everett Dutschke, the former martial arts instructor in Mississippi who sent out a bunch of ricin-laced letters last year, including one to President Obama on April 8, 2013, and then tried to frame an enemy of his for the crime, just pleaded guilty. He will get a 25-year prison sentence.
Meanwhile, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) is reporting that the source of the case of inhalational anthrax that a Minnesota man suffered in August 2011 has never been identified. It appears they've officially given up.
January 17, 2014 - "Anonymous" on my interactive blog, who is also "DXer" on Lew Weinstein's blog, has obtained a paper copy of Stephen Little's deposition in the Maureen Stevens v USA lawsuit. He uploaded it in pdf format HERE. The first page is upside down and page 10 of the pdf file is missing, but neither contains anything of importance. Nor does the rest of the deposition.
Stephen Little was Dr. Ivins' assistant and co-worker during the time of the anthrax attacks. However, page 20 of the depostion says that in 1992 Mr. Little contracted some kind of infection which caused his doctor to tell him he could no longer safely work in any BioSafety-Level-3 (BSL-3) area. It would be simply too dangerous for him. So, he could not go into Bacteriology Suite 3 (B3), much less into Ivins' lab in Room B313 inside B3. From 1992 onward, Mr. Little worked primarily in Suite B5, which was a BSL-2 area. He NEVER went into Suite B3 after 1992.
Thus, he personally knew nothing of what Ivins was doing in Room B-313 during the day, much less at night and on weekends. Everything he believes about the case is based upon second-hand reports, hearsay and guesswork. Nevertheless, he firmly believes Bruce Ivins was not responsible for the anthrax attacks.
He offers nothing of value to the subject of the anthrax attacks of 2001. But, of course, the Anthrax Truthers were able to dig through the deposition and found something on page 57 that they could quote. It's a guess by Mr. Little about what he thinks Ivins may have been doing during those unexplained evening hours in his lab:
he was probably coming in at night to double-check the results of the [rabbit] challenge, like he did with my experiments.
In a post to Lew Weinstein's blog HERE, a different Anthrax Truther named "Stuart" breathlessly explains how important Mr. Little's guess is:
Wow, unbelievable statements from Little on the rabbit study – basically saying he remembers it in Sep-Oct 2001. So basically proving the FBI totally lied when they said Ivins had no reason to be in the lab. Little said Bruce would go to the lab in the evenings to check his own animal experiments. Little was an FBI Witness – thus proving they lied since he obviously told them Bruce DID have a reason to be in the lab
To Anthrax Truthers, a wild guess of what was probably happening that agrees with their beliefs is undeniably true and vastly more important than anything the FBI investigators found that disagrees with their beliefs.
January 16, 2014 - On Wednesday, I finished reading the Patricia Worsham's deposition in the Stevens v USA lawsuit. As expected, most of it is of no value or interest to the Amerithrax investigation. It's just Maureen Stevens' lawyer laying the foundation for other questions. And, the sections of the deposition which directly relate to the anthrax attacks of 2001 - and Ivins' guilt or innocence - show nothing new.
Patricia Worsham repeatedly indicates she doesn't believe Ivins was the anthrax killer. Why? On pages 16 and 17 she explains why:
I don't believe that we had the facilities to make powdered anthrax. I don't think we had the facilities or the time to have made that huge amount of material. I don't believe that Ivins had the expertise to do that
Also from page 17:
And from a personal standpoint, I simply don't believe that Bruce had that in him.
On page 40 there's this exchange which relates to why Dr. Worsham believed what she believed about Ivins:
Q. Where you ever made aware prior to 2001 that he [Ivins] was prescribed Stelazine, which is a medicine that is usually taken by schizophrenics?
A. Not that I recall.
On pages 19 and 20 she says she doesn't believe the FBI's evidence:
I have not been convinced by the scientific evidence presented by the FBI that this preparation [of anthrax spores] traces to USAMRIID.
On page 30, she seemingly indicates that she believes the attack spores may have been made at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah:
since the observation of these morphological variants is not typical in our spore preps, my best guess is that they arose during fermentation at Dougway [sic].
On page 26 she repeats amplifies on her beliefs about how the attack powders could not have been made at USAMRIID:
I don't believe that we had facilities at USAMRIID to make that kind of preparation. It would have taken a great deal of time; it would have taken a huge number of cultures; it would have taken a lot of resources that would have been obvious to other people within containment when they wanted to use those resources.
We did not have anything in containment suitable for drying down anything, must less a quantity of spores.
There was a sink in Ivins' lab. If he spilled a drop of water, would it remain liquid forever? I think not. She appears to be arguing that if they didn't have any device specifically designed to dry spores, then drying spores would be impossible.
From page 27:
I guess my larger scientific concern is that the FBI based this interpretation on what was in the repository, and my personal opinion is, if someone had committed this heinous act, they probably would not have sent the FBI an accurate representation of what they had in their collection.
The lawyer for Maureen Stevens challenges Dr. Worsham on that opinion on page 29:
Doesn't that sort of fit in with what you just said, if Dr. Ivins was the perpetrator, he would be reluctant to give them that sample?
And, in response, Dr. Worsham gives her opinion on how she believes everyone - and specifically Bruce Ivins - may have misinterpreted the subpoena instructions:
I think people were under the impression that they were to submit their stock cultures, and stock cultures are not liquid 4 preps, they're minus 70 freezer preps. I think that only became more clear later on.
She appears to be saying that when Ivins submitted a sample to the FBI repository in April 2002 that Ivins said was from flask RMR-1029, it wasn't really a sample of the spores in the liquid in flask RMR-1029, because Ivins somehow believed that he should only be submitting samples from frozen cultures. The facts say Dr. Worsham was at the meeting on March 29 where it was explained to everyone (including Ivins) exactly how the repository samples were to be prepared. And, why would he say a sample was from flask RMR-1029 if it was from some frozen culture? And why did Ivins send an actual sample from flask RMR-1029 to the FBI repository in February 2002 when the facts say Ivins believed the Ames strain was used all over the world and totally untraceable?
Unfortunately, Dr. Worsham was just giving a deposition. She wasn't on a witness stand where she could be cross examined about her beliefs and opinions.
One of the more fascinating exchanges between Stevens' lawyer and Dr. Worsham occurs on pages 31 and 32. It begins with Dr. Worsham saying:
For as long as I have been at USAMRIID, we have exclusively used liquid spore preparations for our animal challenges, and that's what we have been trained to produce, and produce well. I have not seen evidence of anyone getting any training that would allow them to do that.So, from Patricia Worsham's point of view, if Ivins didn't have any training on how to dry spores, he couldn't possibly have dried any spores. And, if they didn't have any specific equipment designed to dry spores, then Ivins couldn't have dried spores. The Stevens lawyer seems to be amused by that absurd belief.
Q. To do what?
A. Produce dried material of that quality.
Q. Is that something that is that complicated, difficult to do?
A. I would think it is very difficult to do, given the equipment we have, because our equipment is not made for that.
Q. So, your saying that absolutely and without question, in your mind the equipment that's at USAMRIID could not have been used to prepare the dried spore preparations used in the letters.
A. Not any equipment that I've seen.
And, Dr. Worsham contradicts herself on page 71 in this exchange:
Q. Okay, first line of defense. Because from what you've told me, the security measures really don't count, because anybody that wanted to do something like that [making dry anthrax spores], that had a mind to do it, could do it, right?
A. I wouldn't make it sound easy, but it's theoretically possible.
It's all same-old, same old. It's a deposition from a USAMRIID employee who does not believe Ivins was guilty, because that would mean Ivins committed a heinous crime right under their noses. It must have been done somewhere else.
Plus, she doesn't believe the FBI/DOJ's findings, and she hasn't even bothered to read all of it, much less look at the thousands of pages of supplementary documents. When she is asked if she read the Amerithrax Investigation Summary, she says on page 17:
I can't say I read every word, but I have looked at some of it.
The one question I had hoped Dr. Worsham would answer, would be when she became Bruce Ivins' boss. The facts indicate that Dr. Worsham became Dr. Ivins' boss in August or possibly September of 2001. But, when asked about that on page 62, she seemingly sidetracks the question:
Q. Now, at some point, did you become sort of Dr. Ivins' boss as far as the hierarchy is concerned?
A. I was never his direct rater. I was his senior rater beginning in 2008.
So, she was Ivins' boss but not his direct rater? What does that mean? Earlier, on page 10, Stevens' lawyer tried to get some information about Dr. Worsham's place in the hierarchy at USAMRIID:
Q. Eventually, did your role change from principal investigator to some additional role?
A. Over the years, I have served as a steering committee chair, I have served as a department chief, I have served as a deputy division chief. A number of other roles. I have served as lead supervisor as well.
Unfortunately, we don't know exactly what role Dr. Worsham had at the time Ivins was making the anthrax powders. We only know she had the authority to order Ivins to clean up his lab. And he did so. And we know that on Sept. 26, 2001, he wrote an email to "The Queen of the Universe" telling Dr. Worsham that he'd done as instructed.
It also appears that Dr. Worsham believes that people cannot make dried anthrax unless they are trained to do so, even though they are trained to become concerned if anthrax spores accidentally dry on some experiment. They know that anthrax spores will dry all by themselves if allowed to do so, but they don't know how to dry spores on purpose? She believes Ivins didn't have the time to make the spores, but the facts say he had a stock of spores growing in biosafety bags in a corner of his lab right under everyone's noses. And, the the facts say that the spores in the media letters were crude spores as would grow in a Petri dish in a biosafety bag lying in a corner of someone's lab. All that Ivins needed to do was air dry them in his biosafety cabinet during evening hours when he was all alone.
I would certainly like to see some USAMRIID bacteriologist explain why Ivins couldn't have made the attack spores from what he allowed to grow in biosafety bags in his lab. The facts say that is where and how he grew them. The FBI investigators undoubtedly knew he could have done things that way. What FACTS do his co-workers have to prove he could not have done things that way? Why do they always insist the spores must have been grown in a fermenter, when the FACTS say they were grown on plates? Is it because they haven't bothered to look at the FACTS? Why do they say Ivins couldn't have dried the spores, when spores will dry all by themselves if allowed to do so? And biosafety cabinets (like the one in Ivins' lab) are a near perfect place to let that happen.
Most of all, why would "Anonymous" on my interactive blog think that Dr. Worsham's deposition and ill-informed beliefs and opinions would have any significant meaning to the Amerithrax investigation or to the General Accountability Office's (GAO's review of the Amerithrax investigation?
Unfortunately, "Anonymous" seems to be totally incapable of explaining his reasoning or much of anything about his beliefs and theories. Evidently, True Believers feel they do not need to explain themselves. They see "the truth" as obvious, and all who do not see "the truth" are either hopelessly ignorant or deliberately ignoring "the truth."
January 15, 2014 (B) - Wow! This morning, I was given enough information to convince me I was WRONG about the top picture below of "snow on the pyramids":
I thought it was "most likely" real. It is now a virtual certainty it IS a fake.
Someone sent me an email telling me about a web site (http://www.tineye.com/) where I can do a search for images similar or identical to any image I supply. I supplied the largest version I could find of the top picture above, and almost instantly I was furnished with other versions of it on the Internet. One of those images was an identical picture in content and size amid a collection of very artistic "fake" pictures of imaginary post-apocalyptic scenes. Click HERE to go to the web site.
Here's another post-apocalypse work of art from that site which also shows snow:
That site indicates that the web page it was created on April 27, 2013, many months before the real-life reports of snow on the pyramids. And, it shows that it was the laborious work of a skilled artist, not something some faker slapped together overnight to fool people. So, it really isn't a "fake," it's a "work of art" that people other than the artist sent around the Internet to fool people into thinking it was real. It fooled me.
The other picture that seems to show snow on the pryamids is still without solid proof either way. However, using that new tool, I found another version of it:
In it's way, it almost seems more like a real picture of snow on the pyramids than the color adjusted version:
Note, that the man on the camel is in both versions at the lower right corner.
So, on this one I'm still not fully convinced one way or the other. But, I did some research and found that the picture without the camel was also taken by the same photographer (Andre Klaassen) and that he also seems to create "artistic versions" of his real pictures. So, I'm definitely leaning toward believing it's a fake (i.e., "a work of art"), maybe with 98% certainty. It wasn't created as a "fake." It was created as a work of art, and later other people used it to show real snow on the pyramids. I'd still like to see some additional solid evidence one way or the other about why it was created (like a statement from the artist), but I'm not going to actively pursue it any further.
January 15, 2014 (A) - During breakfast this morning, I finished reading H.G. Wells' novella "The Time Machine" on my Kindle. I was somewhat surprised to find that the novella does not end the way the 1960 movie did, with the Time Traveler taking several books from his library with him when he returns to the distant future. Then, his friends wonder which books he took. In the novella, all it says about when he is last seen:
He had a small camera under one arm and a knapsack under the other.I liked the movie ending better.
January 14, 2014 (B) - "Anonymous" responded to my question this morning, about whether or not he had threatened me, by posting this comment to my interactive blog:
After uploading or linking the Stephen Little civil deposition, you will now upload the Adamovicz and Andrews depositions and the handwriting opinion finding Mohamed Atta's handwriting consistent with the anthrax letters.
This isn't in the nature of a threat. It is in the nature of an order.
It appears we live in totally different worlds, since in my world an order implies a threat of punishment if the order is not obeyed. But, "Anonymous/DXer" may just be demonstrating once again that he cannot explain anything because he has no idea how the world works.
In two more cryptic posts to Lew Weinstein's site he wrote:
I’ll next work on the Little deposition but I mess up fax/scanner/xerox machines as fast as I ruin coffee machines.and
Cryptome documents now may be picked up full-text now on google news.
It appears that he thinks that Google is going to convert the images in his pdf file to text and that they'll be seen as so important that Google will show them on Google News. I've seen Google do optical reader work and convert image pdf files to html text, but I don't think I've ever seen them do that when there are four pages in a single "image."
I just did a Google search and found a "Stephen Little Deposition" HERE that Amazon apparently created in .txt format. Note that it is almost unreadable. The pdf version of that same deposition on my web site HERE allows you to highlight and copy the text. You can't highlight and copy text if the pdf file is created as a series of images, as "DXer" just did when he created the Patricia Worsham deposition file found HERE.
January 14, 2014 (A) - Hmm. This morning I found that "Anonymous" had written a very strange post to my interactive blog. In the post HERE, he wrote:
You will upload all the civil depositions from US v. Stevens and then you will correct the mistakes throughout your blog. You, of course, are free to maintain your theory a First Grader wrote the letters.
To me, that looks like a threat. It seems he's saying I'm going to do it whether I want to or not, and he seems to be implying that he's going to make me do it.
Do what? I don't know. As always, he seems incapable of explaining. I know he wants me to "upload" a deposition from Patrica Worsham in the Maureen Stevens vs USA lawsuit. In a post HERE and another HERE, I told him I didn't understand what he was saying, but I would be happy to put the deposition here on the anthraxinvestigation.com web site and provide a link for everyone who visits my site to obtain the deposition. But I think "upload" means something different to him. I think he wants PICTURES of all the pages to be shown on this site -- probably without any text or explanation from me.
And what are the "mistakes" to which he is referring? I have no idea. I'm not aware of any mistakes on my site that I haven't corrected -- particularly mistakes regarding Patricia Worsham, who was Bruce Ivins' boss during the time of the anthrax attacks.
Trying to decypher the "threat," I checked the latest postings by "Anonymous" to Lew Weinstein's blog, where he posts as "DXer." This morning, I found three new threads on that blog. They are HERE, HERE and HERE. Each thread shows a single page from the Patricia Worhsam deposition in the Stevens v USA lawsuit. And each has one or more comments from "DXer." The first comment in the first thread contains a link to the entire deposition. Click HERE to view a pdf file of the entire deposition. (So, if "Anonymous" was making a prediction instead of a threat, the first part of his prediction has now been shown to be nonsense. There's no point in my putting the pdf file on this site if everyone can simply link to the Cryptom.org web site where "DXer" put the pdf file.)
He also writes about having to "re-learn" how to do certain things. ("I’ve only re-learned today how to scan using the feeder and upload to dropbox.com. ") I'm not sure what that means, but I think he means he has a paper copy of the deposition and had to go through a lot of steps to create the pdf file and make it available on-line.
But, the rest of his comments seem to be meaningless gibberish. Here's an example:
There was no “there there” to the FBI’s case. It was all spin, spin, spin. Repeat cycle.
He's evidently implying that there is something significant in the Worsham deposition. What that could be, I have no idea.
The titles of the threads are, I think, written by the operator of the blog, Lew Weinstein. Here are the titles:
Dr. Patricia Worsham, a leading anthrax and genetics expert who testified before the NAS, was not persuaded by the FBI’s argument on the issue of “morphs” and sample submissions
Dr. Worsham explained that she and Pat Fellows helped with the anthrax investigation down in Florida in Fall 2001
In newly produced civil deposition testimony, Dr. Worsham explained that she was the one who raised the issue of contamination and did some swabbing, not Bruce Ivins
So, what is the significance of all of this? Beats me. "DXer" seems incapable of explaining anything. Or, he's unwilling to explain anything, because every time he does he is proven wrong. So, it's just better for him to post meaningless material and assume that everyone sees what he sees.
I see OPINIONS from Patricia Worsham and irrelevant information about what Dr. Worsham did as part of helping the FBI with the Amerithrax investigation.
But, I'll read over the entire deposition to see if I can see anything significant in it.
January 12, 2014 - Last week, an Anthrax Truther posted a comment to my interactive blog that started a short argument about the anthrax attacks of 2001. It began when someone else, "Joseph from Spain," posted a quote from artist Francisco de Goya:
"Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels."
I expanded upon that quote's idea with somewhat similar quotes from Albert Einstein:
When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.
In response, the Anthrax Truther commented:
I can scarcely believe it: I, Mister Lake, Joseph from Spain (not to mention Goya and Einstein) all are on the same page vis-a-vis the imagination!
Since there's no way the Anthrax Truther and I could be in agreement, I assumed he was making some kind of argument, like claiming that the evidence may say that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer, but that means nothing when someone with a good imagination can dream up and provide different "evidence" of how someone else did it.
So, I posted a comment seeking to clarify what was being said:
Don't take the agreement too far. We don't believe that imagination is better than facts when it comes to solving crimes and prosecuting criminals.
And that set off the Anthrax Truther, who wrote:
No, and the facts most important to me are:
1) no proof Ivins was in New Jersey in Sept-Oct of 2001.
2) no proof Ivins wrote (ie authored) the letters in question.*
3) no proof Ivins xeroxed the texts in question.
4) no proof Ivins did any drying of anthrax in August to October of 2001.
And it isn't my 'imagination' saying that!
He proved what I suspected. He was distorting de Goya's comment to justify his own beliefs. Read carefully, Francisco de Goya's quote consists of two observations: (1) "Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters," and (2) Fantasy united with reason "is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels." The Anthrax Truther's theory of who sent the anthrax letters is a "fantasy abandoned by reason."
There IS, of course, "proof" that Ivins was in New Jersey in Sept-Oct of 2001. It's just not the kind of "proof" that the Anthrax Truthers demand. They want a single item of proof, like home movies of Ivins putting the letters in the mail box in Princeton. They'll accept nothing less. But, the proof that Ivins was in New Jersey in Sept-Oct 2001 consists of ALL the evidence against him in combination. When viewed in its entirety, the evidence against Dr. Bruce Ivins PROVES beyond any "reasonable doubt" that he MUST have been in New Jersey during that period of time, even if there are no home movies of it.
When I think of the second part of the de Goya quote, I think of the "fantasy" of Isaac Newton's cannonball. Newton discovered gravity, and Newton also imagined what the discovery meant. He imagined putting a cannon on a mountain top and firing it parallel to the surface of the earth. If there was enough explosive force behind the cannonball, he imagined gravity would cause the cannonball to fall toward the earth at the same rate as the curvature of the earth would fall away beneath it. And that would mean the cannonball could go all the way around the earth and hit the back end of the cannon. If it missed, it could continue on in orbit, just as the moon orbits the earth.
Isaac Newton was imagining something which fantasy combined with reason said MUST be true, even though Newton could not imagine any way to perform an actual demonstration. He was uniting fantasy with reason, and he produced a marvel.
Something vaguely similar came up last week when Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" showed all the pundits at Fox News laughing at the idea of global warming because we just had a cold snap. It made me wonder if those at Fox News who believe global warming is a hoax understand the basic concept of "averages." I've had discussions in the past with people who did not seem to understand how the fact that the AVERAGE temperature is rising can mean anything. They can understand what is happening now, but they cannot understand that a gradual change in average temperatures can indicate what will happen in the future. To them, "predicting the future" is something that belongs only in science fiction and hoaxes.
Is it only me, or is there really a similarity in thinking between (1) the Anthrax Truthers who cannot understand that looking at all the evidence against Bruce Ivins together shows very clearly something that an individual item of evidence might not show at all, and (2) the global warming naysayers who cannot understand that the temperature on a specific day does not disprove or even dispute the EVIDENCE AND PROOF we get from looking at averages and trends?
The Anthrax Truthers want home movies of Ivins mailing the letters before they'll accept any evidence that he was the anthrax mailer.
The Global Warming Truthers want every day to be warmer than the previous day before they'll accept any evidence of global warming.
They consider anything less that what they demand to be just a hoax. I.e., it would require thinking and the use of reasoning. And, to them, long explanations are what hoaxers always use when they try to obscure simple facts.
Meanwhile, coincidentally, I'm reading H.G. Wells' 1895 novella "The Time Machine," which shows how, by learning new facts, his central character "The Time Traveler" gradually changes his understanding of what is going on in the year 802701. The Time Traveler's first impression of the people in that time is described this way:
You see I had always anticipated that the people of the year Eight Hundred and Two Thousand odd would be incredibly in front of us in knowledge, art, everything. Then one of them suddenly asked me a question that showed him to be on the intellectual level of one of our five-year-old children—asked me, in fact, if I had come from the sun in a thunderstorm! It let loose the judgment I had suspended upon their clothes, their frail light limbs, and fragile features. A flow of disappointment rushed across my mind. For a moment I felt that I had built the Time Machine in vain.
The Time Traveler concludes that Communism must have become the way of the world, and that's why all the people in it all dressed identically, why there was no competition or strife, and why life had become just a pleasant, brainless Utopia for everyone.
But then he discovered that something he didn't previously know about. He discovered that something was going on underground. He noticed there were countless well-like holes in the ground that sucked in fresh air while tall towers spewed out used air.
my mind was already in revolution; my guesses and impressions were slipping and sliding to a new adjustment. I had now a clue to the import of these wells, to the ventilating towers, to the mystery of the ghosts; to say nothing of a hint at the meaning of the bronze gates and the fate of the Time Machine! And very vaguely there came a suggestion towards the solution of the economic problem that had puzzled me.
So, he developed a new theory. He concluded that the happy people he saw on the surface were a master race, while underground there was a worker-class that did all the menial labor that no one on the surface could be bothered with doing.
This, I must warn you, was my theory at the time. I had no convenient cicerone in the pattern of the Utopian books. My explanation may be absolutely wrong. I still think it is the most plausible one.
Gradually, of course, he learns why the people on the surface are so childlike. And, he learns that there is a lot more going on than what is immediately visible. He learns that his first few theories had nothing to do with reality. He just didn't have enough facts.
Interestingly, at the beginning of the novella, Wells also does a very good job of describing Time as a fourth dimension. His description could easily be used today in an introductory college course on cosmology -- unless I don't understand the concept.
Researching it, I find that the idea was discussed long before Wells. Edgar Allen Poe wrote about it in 1848. And Wells' 1895 novella, of course, predates Einstein. But, I also found that today there are some physicists believe the whole idea is bunk.
And, while all the above was going on, I finished a first round of revisions to all 35 chapters of my new sci-fi novel to create a "second draft" (288 pages, 61,574 words). However, while the plot seems terrific and exciting, I'm not satisfied that I've given the characters "life." I feel I still need to give them more individuality, depth and character. I need to make them more interesting. I think the best way for me to do that is just to work out their characters in a separate file where I examine their personal histories and give them things to say and ask that show their unique thoughts and perspectives. Then I'll see how I can blend the results in with the "second draft." In other words, I'm going to be doing more "polishing" the second draft before I start working on the third draft where I'll print out a copy and put it in a binder.
I hit an odd snag on Friday. When I started the second draft, I changed the last name of the main character to "Rawlins" from "Benson," which I considered too bland. Then, on Friday I realized that the final confrontation between the main character and the villain of the book begins in Rawlins Park in Washington D.C. Would the match in the names be too distracting for the reader? Would they think the match in names means something it doesn't? I don't want to go back and change the main character's name again. So, what I'll do is just describe the park without mentioning its name.
I also hit a snag with the title I'd decided upon. I could find no book with an identical title, but I discovered that there is a series of sci-fi books with somewhat similar titles -- too similar for me to use the title I wanted. People would assume my book was part of that series. So, I'll be shifting to an alternate title when I begin the third draft. Two other possible titles that occurred to me while eating breakfast this morning turned out to be already used on best sellers during the past 20 years.
And, when I did my web site backups this morning I noticed something about the picture below which some believe is a fake:
The people who argue that it is a fake claim that it is merely a color adjusted version of the picture below, with a fake sky added:
But, this morning I happened to notice that the "fake" picture also contains, in the lower right corner, a man riding on a white camel. The man and camel are not there in the other picture. So, did a faker also add the man and camel? Or are both pictures real?
Inquiring minds want to know.
& Changes: Sunday, January 5, 2014, thru Saturday, January 11,
January 9, 2014 - I don't suppose anyone cares, but just before noon today I finished Chapter 23 of the second draft of my sci-fi novel, which is no longer titled "Gizmo." I've settled on a better title. And, the second draft is now officially 6,800 words longer than the first draft, which pushes it past the minimum of 60,000 words for a novel.
January 8, 2014 - Ah! It was above zero today, so I did my regular workout routine at the health club. I also returned the two DVD movies I rented from Redbox. (I enjoyed "Despicable Me 2," but I couldn't get through "We're the Millers." I turned it off at about the 45 minute mark. I just didn't like the characters or what they were saying.)
Meanwhile, I awoke this morning thinking of a different tactic to try to find out if that picture of snow on the pyramids is real or not. I decided to check into the other picture that seems to show snow on the pyramids, which some people also think is a fake:
I contacted the web site where I originally discovered it, and they told me they couldn't remember where they found it. But, they did some checking and found another copy of it on the blog HERE, which seems to belong to some American soldier. That blog doesn't use a copy of the picture, he uses a "hot link" to the picture on another site. Here's the link: http://i762.photobucket.com/albums/xx266/bonesarelli/image_zps8b7965e7.jpg
There could be some important clues in that address. First, photobucket.com is a place where people store pictures they personally took and want to share with others. It appears to be something like YouTube.com, but mostly just for still pictures. The Bonesarelli photo album, however, is "private," which probably means only people he allows to see the album can see it. Before trying to figure out a way to contact him/her, I tried looking through photobucket.com for pictures of the pyramids. They've got 4,082 of them, but that seems to include a band called "The Pyramids," the pyramids in Central America, gymnastic pyramids, ornamental pyramids, dogs named "pyramid," and ever other kind of pyramid you can think of. My search found nothing significant.
Checking further, I found that "Bonesarelli" may actually be someone named Steven Buchanan, which doesn't help at all. And, that's as far as I got. So, I'm looking for a new way to search.
January 7, 2014 - Damn! It's cold again today. It was minus 6 when I passed that sign on my way to the health club. And windy. While I wasn't as worried about my car not starting as I was yesterday, I decided against working-out. My body won't fall apart if I only work out three times this week. I just didn't like the idea leaving the healthclub in such cold weather right after showering (or without showering). So, instead of going into the club, I went into the Piggly-Wiggly next door and rented two DVD movies from RedBox: "Despicable Me 2" and "We're The Millers." I'll watch them this evening.
The change in routine gave me more time to work on my book. I did 4 chapters today. I also sent an email to Esquire magazine and another to the author of the article "The Year We Broke The Internet" to see if I could prod them into helping me find some definitive proof about the picture of snow on the pyramids and whether it is fake or not.
And, during breakfast I started reading "The Time Machine," by H.G. Wells.
January 6, 2014 - For the record, yesterday during lunch I finished reading Mark Twain's (i.e., Samuel Clemens') non-fiction book "Roughing It," published in 1872. I first started reading it on my Kindle on November 17. The book contains a great deal of fascinating information. There are interesting details about how stage coach lines operated around 1860 and what it was like to travel across country on one. There are fascinating details about Twain's disasterous attempts to make money at silver mining in Nevada. And, unexpectedly, there are a lot of details about a trip Twain took to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) where he stayed about six months writing columns for a San Francisco newspaper. In the book, Twain also wrote extensively about encountering Mormons during his trip west. His description of the "Mountain meadows massacre" seemed unbelievable and too much like a "conspiracy theory," but when I looked it up on Wikipedia, they confirmed what Twain wrote.
Meanwhile, I updated my interactive blog entry about the "fake" picture of snow on the pyramids to include some new illustrations, including an animated GIF file which flips between the real picture and the "fake." It was provided to me to show how the "fake" and real pictures are nearly identical. What I see, however, are important differences:
It shows how the sky changes. It shows the haze on the top of the Great Pyramid appearing and disappearing. It shows the snow on the stone block at the lower left appearing and disappearing. It shows the two men in the bottom center appearing and disappearing. But most of all, it shows the light changing. Notice particularly how the long platform behind the middle of the pillar changes from dark to light, indicating more than a simple color adjustment; there's also a big change in the direction of the light source. But, I still need to find either the faker or the photographer to provide proof.
Damn! It's cold outside! The thermometer on my balcony says it's 20 below. A sign outside a church on my way to the health club said 13 below. And the wind is blowing at about 20 miles an hour, probably making the "wind chill" around 40 below. When I got to the health club I just stood there by the locker for a few seconds and told myself, "This is STUPID!" All I would be doing for the next hour and a half would be worrying if my car would start when I went back outside again. So, I turned around and left, stopping at a grocery store to buy some groceries -- thereby justifying the trip.
January 5, 2014 - I love mysteries. I also thoroughly enjoy doing certain kinds of research on the Internet. Those two interests brought work on my novel to a screeching halt last week as I continued to try to figure out if the picture of snow on the pyramids as seen in the top picture below is real or fake.
I exchanged posts with "waffle" on wafflesatnoon.com, who graciously helped find a better version of the lower picture and who thoroughly debunked a couple additional pictures of snow on the pyramids that I thought might also be real. Then, to help organize my thoughts, I created a new thread for my interactive blog with the title "Subject: Facts versus Facts." In the text to start that thread I reviewed the facts which say "fake" and the facts which say "real."
While it's certainly possible for an expert faker to create such a complex fake, I just have a very difficult time imagining anyone would spend all that time and effort on it without signing the fake or otherwise advertising what he'd created. It would require a LOT of expertise to add that snowy haze to the top of the Great Pyramid, to add an uneven layer of snow to the stone block in the lower left of the picture, to flawlessly add those two people into the picture, and to make many other changes. But, it's also difficult to explain why both pictures would be taken from the same spot and angle -- unless, of course, they were both taken by the same person - a person who works there.
I haven't been able to find any definitive evidence one way or the other, but I'm now encouraging people on three web sites/blogs - (1) This web site, (2) my interactive blog and (3) wafflesatnoon.com - to help me find definitive proof. What would I consider to be "definitive proof"? Finding the faker or the photographer should do it.
I also found it's difficult to determine the proper names of things in order to do the best Google searches. The large pyramid on the right in the two pictures above is the definitely the Great Pyramid of Khufu (a.k.a. Cheops). But, I haven't been able to find a name for the smaller "Queen's pyramid" on the left, nor the other "Queen's pyramid" to the right of it. There's a third "Queen's pyramid" out of sight off to the far right which Google says is the "Tomb of Queen Hetepheres." It can be seen in the distance in the picture below:
And the picture below this paragraph seems to be a reverse angle view of the three Queens' pyramids as seen when looking down from the Great Pyramid:
But, I also realize that this mystery has nothing to do with the anthrax attacks of 2001, other than that I've once again put myself in a position of describing what the FACTS tell me while arguing with someone who views the facts differently. I can debunk many of his arguments, but I can't find definitive evidence to prove things one way or the other.
And it NAGS at me. I keep thinking there must be a way to find out where the "fake" picture came from, or, if it's real, who took it. It supposedly appeared on Facebook after the snow fell, but no one seems to know where it first appeared or who posted it. Plus, I'm not on Facebook, so I don't know how to search Facebook.
Meanwhile, a comment in response to my "Facts versus Facts" blog entry yesterday evening provided an interesting quote from Spanish painter Francisco de Goya:
"Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels."
Which, when I researched that quote, led me to a couple quotes from Albert Einstein:
“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
Also meanwhile, I need to get back to work on my novel. I'm on chapter 12, but I keep going back and revising things. I started out with the intention of printing out the second draft chapters as I completed them, but after printing 42 pages (5 chapters), many of which were printed a second or third time to incorporate changes, I finally gave up and decided to wait until the third draft before I print anything else.
Lastly, the Anthrax Truther who calls himself "Anonymous" on my interactive blog and calls himself "DXer" on Lew Weinstein's blog, evidently tried to start an argument or prove some point by posting a series of meaningless comments to my blog. But, when I pressed him to explain what he was trying to say, he just stopped posting and instead posted a truly weird attack on me to Weinstein's blog HERE. He discusses a news story about a suspicious package containing a "white powdering substance" that was sent to the District Attorney in Syracuse, NY, a few days ago. Then "DXer" rants:
I would encourage the FBI and Postal Service inspectors to use the best forensics — including paper composition, ink, handwriting (or computer font), mass spec on the photocopy toner (if applicable), and DNA from saliva and otherwise etc.
It is important to show justice. Empathy can best begin after catching the bad guy and understanding the nature of the crime.
If the letter was in handwriting used in the graffiti it could be compared to the hoax letters.
It’s about now that Ed, the blogger from Wisconsin ... calls the FBI and tells them I’m responsible. My alibi is usually that I spent the day explaining to him that he’s an uninformed idiot. :0)
On powder letters generally, while I realize that first responders and law enforcement have to take them very seriously, a recipient who is playing the odds can just triple bag the letter and get back to work while awaiting testing.
Ed’s theory expressed to the FBI is that I’m trying to draw attention to these graphics, which coincidentally were done by a federal undercover.
If I’m involved in PR, Ed is my witless assistant.
I have no clue as to what he is talking about. I knew nothing about that "white powdery substance" letter until I read "DXer's" post about it. And since "DXer" seems totally incapable of explaining anything, I can't expect to get any explanation. I'll just have to assume it's more incoherent, insane ramblings from an obsessed Anthrax Truther.
& Changes: Wednesday, January 1, 2014, thru Saturday, January 4,
January 4, 2013 - Someone just sent me an interesting link to an blog article titled "Twenty Reasons to Believe Oswald Acted Alone," by computer scientist Scott Aaronson. All the reasons Aaronson provides are good, but I like reason #20 the best, since it applies to Anthrax Truthers, too:
At its core, every conspiracy argument seems to be built out of “holes”: “the details that don’t add up in the official account,” “the questions that haven’t been answered,” etc. What I’ve never found is a truly coherent alternative scenario: just one “hole” after another. This pattern is the single most important red flag for me, because it suggests that the JFK conspiracy theorists view themselves as basically defense attorneys: people who only need to sow enough doubts, rather than establish the reality of what happened. Crucially, creationism, 9/11 trutherism, and every other elaborate-yet-totally-wrong intellectual edifice I’ve ever encountered has operated on precisely the same “defense attorney principle”: “if we can just raise enough doubts about the other side’s case, we win!” But that’s a terrible approach to knowledge
That is definitely how Anthrax Truthers present themselves. They build a case out of "holes" and an endless string of questions they want answered. They want to create doubt. They feel that if they can create enough doubt, the "jury" (a.k.a. "the public") will believe the case against Bruce Ivins hasn't been proved. And if the government's case hasn't been proved, they somehow feel that that means their own theory is better, even if their theory is laughable and isn't based upon any kind of real evidence at all.
Coincidentally, earlier in the week someone sent me an article about "Room 237," a documentary about the "conspiracy theorists and cinephile obsessives who have latched onto [Stanley Kubrick's movie] 'The Shining' as an all-consuming metaphysical puzzle. The article says there are conspiracy theorists who believe that Kubrick created all the "fake" moon landing footage used by NASA. So, I did a Google search for - Stanley Kubrick fake moon landing - and found quite a few web pages about that particular conspiracy theory. Click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE for a few.
January 1, 2014 - I can't believe the amount of time I've spent in the past two days trying to figure out if the picture below of snow on the pyramids is real or not.
If it is a fake, it wasn't done the way other fakes were done - by just changing the the colors in the shot. The snow picture above involves adding people, adding a pile of snow atop the object in the lower left corner, wiping out marks on the ground beyond that object, changing the sky, adding cloud haze to obscure the top of the pyramid, etc. While all that can be done by an expert faker, it's not the same as just changing colors.
The problem wasn't helped when someone HERE found a picture that seemed to show that a different picture of snow on the pyramids was faked. It's a picture I also believed was most likely real. Below is the picture that MIGHT be a fake and under it is the picture that MIGHT be the original.
Maybe both snow pictures were created by the same expert faker. Or maybe both snow pictures are real. There ARE subtle differences between the two pictures above that can't be explained by simply changing colors and replacing the sky. (Example: Two posts can be seen stuck in the ground in the shutterstock photo and there's only 1 post in the snow shot, the post at the lower right corner.) The problem is aggravated by the fact that no large, clear versions of these pictures have yet been found.