|Comments for Sunday, Apr. 26, 2015,
thru Thursday, Apr. 30, 2015:
Thursday, April 30, 2015 (B) - Hmm. Writing about Time Dilation in my (A) comment this morning didn't help me get past the corner I'd painted myself into in my new novel. But, after lunch, when I was on the treadmill at the gym, I suddenly realized that the best way to get out of the corner I'd painted myself into was to move the walls. I just needed to introduce the new character 2 hours earlier in the story. I also realized it made infinitely more sense to introduce him 2 hours earlier. The corner I'd painted myself into was of my own making.
The problem is: I now have to go back the the middle of Chapter 6 and introduce the character there, which means revising or shifting around everything that happened afterward. But, that's why I never print anything out during the writing of a first draft. It's like the first steps in solving a mystery. You never know where things will lead. I know I could have tried outlining the entire book before doing any writing. But, it's much more fun to just jump in blindly.
Thursday, April 30, 2015 (A) - At this moment, I'm on page 44 of my third sci-fi novel. I'm in Chapter 7, and I've got just under 9,000 words written. I'm at the point where the main characters are about to meet the new character. I don't have any idea how that is going to happen. All I know is that it has to happen in a way that is scientifically logical.
So, maybe I need to think about something else for awhile.
This morning, when I looked at my web site logs I saw someone had linked to my Time Dilation web page from Dr. Srinivasa Rao's web site. Checking the link, I found that someone had clicked on the link I put in the message I wrote on April 21. I also saw that someone wrote about me on April 29. But, more importantly, I saw that Dr. Srinivasa had asked me a question on April 22 that I never answered. The question was:
Before I can take the risky adventure of exploring your ‘time dilation’ webpage, please ‘explain': isn’t the speed of the travelling twin relative to the stationary twin?So, I had to figure out how and where to answer that question. There didn't seem any way to post a reply right after the question, so I composed and posted the following message at the end of the thread:
Now we'll see if Dr. Srinivasa Rao responds or if he deletes my answer.
I'd hoped that Dr. Thomas Smid would have sent me another email with another comment along the lines of his previous comments. His misunderstanding seems to be the same as - or similar to Dr. Srinivasa's misunderstanding. He can't envision measuring any speed without relating it to an object. And he envisions all objects in the universe to be moving at both known and unknown speeds. (The speed of an airplane is measured relative to the "stationary" object known as "Earth," but we know that both the airplane and the earth are moving through space at different (including some unknown) speeds.) Therefore, any calculation of "speed" can ONLY be "the rate of change of distance from a known object." A speed related to a speed has no meaning to any of the Time Dilation Truthers unless everything can also be related to a stationary object of some kind.
It all boils down to an opinion versus opinion argument with Time Dilation Truthers. In their opinion, speed must be relative to an object. In my and Albert Einstein's humble opinion, speed can also be relative to a "physical constant" such as the speed of light. The problem is: How do we get out of opinion versus opinion mode and into a mode where we both look at facts and evidence?
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - Yesterday, I wrote a comment for this site. It was about Time Dilation Truthers. I assumed that none of them would be responding any further to my emails. I posted the comment, then I checked my email, and I discovered that Dr. Smid had just sent me another email. So, I quickly deleted yesterday's comment. It was only on the site for about 5 minutes.
Dr. Smid's latest email was very similar to the one before. It was basically an argument over the meanings of words - specifically the word "speed." My reply was very similar to my previous reply. I implied I wasn't interested in arguing over semantics. I much preferred to discuss the science of Time Dilation. Then I gave him some reasons why I think Time Dilation is real and happens every day (in satellite communications and in the longevity of muons, etc.) I wrote:
I'm certainly no "expert" on Time Dilation, much less Relativity. I created my web page on Time Dilation because it annoys me when scientists discuss Time Dilation and Relativity using clocks that can be magically seen across the universe. So, I created a description of Time Dilation that does not require any magic clocks. It uses a natural clock - a pulsar - that can be seen across a galaxy.I strongly suspect that Dr. Smid's next email - if he sends one - will be another argument over the meanings of words - probably the word "speed."
So, I might as well just show you the comment I deleted. Here it is:
Dr. Thomas Smid, Dr. Srinivasa Rao and Mr. Bernard Burchell have all apparently concluded that I'm too stupid to understand what they are saying. And they evidently feel that Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Neils Bohr, Enrico Fermi and other scientists of that ilk are at least equally stupid, since they were all wildly "wrong," too. That puts me in pretty good company. I should probably feel proud to be considered to be "stupid" by Time Dilation Truthers Dr. Smid, Dr. Srinivasa and Mr. Burchell.
But what I find most interesting is the fact that none of those three Time Dilation Truthers can be called "conspiracy theorists." In no way do they believe there is some kind of conspiracy among scientists to mislead the world. Those three Truthers simply believe they are smarter than all the top scientists. They believe they know "the truth," and anyone who disagrees with them is just a stupid dupe who fell for the nonsense rantings of scientists like Einstein and Feynman.
Like Anthrax Truthers, 9/11 Truthers and other kinds of Truthers, Time Dilation Truthers cannot be bothered with discussing facts and evidence. They present their arguments, and if you do not accept their arguments, that proves that you are either too stupid or a troll who just wants to argue for the sake of argument.
That makes me wonder if conspiracy theorists wouldn't be more properly labeled "Truthers." Or maybe "Truthers" is the major category, and "Conspiracy Truthers" should be a sub-category of "Truthers." What ALL "Truthers" seem to have in common is an unshakable belief that they know "the truth," and others are simply being misled. Plus, all Truthers seem to be out to convert the rest of the world to their beliefs. They are not people seeking "the truth." They feel they already know "the truth." They're just seeking unquestioning followers who will accept their beliefs and their understanding of "the truth."
I wonder if Dr. Smid, Dr. Srinivasa and Mr. Burchell know of each other. If they do, who do they think is the "most right" among them? It certainly wouldn't surprise me if each one believes the other two are "nut cases."
Monday, April 27, 2015 - Yesterday, Dr. Thomas Smid responded to my email about Time Dilation. His response was brief - just two paragraphs consisting of three sentences each. Basically, it was an argument over the meanings of words, which is the same kind of argument I used to have with Anthrax Truther "Mr. R."
I had written this clause: "The faster you go relative to the speed of light ..." Dr. Smid argued that the clause made no sense, since he feels that you cannot go "fast" relative to a "speed." He defines the word "speed" as the rate of change in distance between objects, and speed is not an object.
I probably spent two hours writing my reply. The reply wasn't particularly long. I just had to revise and reword it about five hundred times as I tried to explain that if you travel at 1% of the speed of light (2,997,925 meters per second) and then increase your speed to 10% of the speed of light (29,979,246 meters per second), you are increasing your speed (or going faster) relative to the speed of light.
Dr. Smid (and Bernard Burchell) seem unable to view movement except as it is viewed in the Theory of Relativity, where you have two objects in empty space which appear to be moving away from each other, and there is no way to tell if one object is moving or if both objects are moving, since there is nothing to use as a reference point for measuring movement for both objects.
And then this morning, someone who read the comment I wrote yesterday sent me an email about the Doppler Effect (or Doppler Shift). Can the Doppler Effect tell me which object is moving or if both objects are moving? I dunno. I think it requires ME to be the "point for measuring movement for both objects."
I think that some astrophysicist could probably explain things very simply to Dr. Smid and Mr. Burchell, but Dr. Smid and Mr. Burchell would first need to ask for an explanation. That would indicate that they are receptive to an explanation and discussion. Only a science buff like me would be dumb enough to try to explain Time Dilation to them without being asked to do so.
So, I'm awaiting responses to the emails I sent to Dr. Smid and Mr. Burchell. Maybe they are receptive to explanations. Maybe they are not. Time will tell.
And while waiting, I'll continue working on my 3rd sci-fi novel. At this moment I am on the first page of Chapter 4, with about 5,000 words written. Only 35,000 more words are needed to qualify it as "a novel."
Sunday, April 26, 2015 - No matter how much I may want it, it doesn't seem like I can get any of the three people I've found on the Internet who do not believe in Time Dilation to discuss their beliefs with me. I would truly have like to have tried to come to "a meeting of the minds" with at least one of them.
Dr. Srinivasa Rao in India deleted some of my posts and left two others hanging "awaiting moderation" for several days. The more I study his web site, the more it seems that he is arguing religion, not science. He's just trying to argue science as if it was a religion. On his page titled "Rationalists vs Religious believers" he wrote this:
Dr. Srinivasa then recommends that you either try to understand what is being said, or just blindly accept it as being true because "experts" said it is true. Dr. Srinivasa then takes a third route: He disbelieves what he doesn't understand.
That's the route Anthrax Truthers and Truthers of all kinds follow. They don't understand what is being said, so they disbelieve it and develop their own theory.
Of course, Dr. Srinivasa doesn't consider himself to be a "Truther." He considers himself to be a "Rationalist." He feels he looks at things rationally, while all the other scientists in the world do not.
Yesterday, I tried one last post to explain to Dr. Srinivasa that he is not looking at things "rationally," he is rationalizing. As with my previous two posts, it waited for "moderation." Here's that last post as it looked to me while waiting for Dr. Srinivasa to decide if he should allow it to appear on his site or not:
This morning, I see that Dr. Srinivasa deleted that post and the two others that were "awaiting moderation." So, he is now officially a "Truther" in my view. He believes he knows "the truth," and no discussion of facts or evidence with non-believers is going to change his mind.
I see no point in any further attempts to get Dr. Srinivasa Rao to engage in a discussion of facts and evidence. He'll just delete any further posts I attempt.
That's basically the same procedure I followed with Anthrax Truthers for 13+ years. None of them were willing to admit that they might possibly be wrong. They could only view me as a mindless stooge blindly following the preachings of "the government." So, no intelligent discussion with them was possible.
Meanwhile, Bernard Burchell in Australia is also arguing "Why Time Dilation must be Impossible." During the past week, we exchanged a couple emails, but he's gone silent since his last email to me on Wednesday. I don't know if he's busy trying to develop a better argument to counter my last argument, or if he's decided I am too "ignorant" to bother with. I can see from my web site logs that he looked at my Time Dilation Web page on Friday. So, I know he hasn't simply forgotten about me. Yesterday, I tried sending him one final argument to see if he would respond.
Also meanwhile, Dr. Thomas Smid in England never responded to my first attempt to make contact. In that first email, I didn't try showing him where he was wrong, I merely asked him to take a look at my Time Dilation web page and to comment on it. I can see from my web site logs that he did look at the web page a week ago, but he never responded with any comments.
Dr. Smid's web page titled "Time Dilation and Twin Paradox Debunked" is just one small part of his web site. I spent a lot of time on Friday and Saturday trying to make sense of Dr. Smid's arguments, but (in my opinion) his writings are very difficult to decipher. It's very difficult to point out where he's wrong, because his explanations are so complex, convoluted and math-filled. However, I can clearly see his misunderstanding in these two sentences from his Time Dilation page:
This would mean that the clock rates in the moving (primed) frame would be a factor 1/γ slower than in the rest frame (time dilation). However, according to the principle of relativity, the choice of the rest frame is obviously arbitrary, so with the same right the primed system can consider itself at rest.He is clearly misunderstanding the relationship of Relativity to Time Dilation. But how do I explain that to him if I'm no expert in the Theory of Relativity? Yesterday, I tried doing as I tried with Mr. Burchell. I tried to explain that, while a person needs to understand Time Dilation in order to fully understand Relativity, Time Dilation works independent of Relativity, so it can be understood (and experienced) by itself. With Time Dilation, the "rest frame" is NOT "arbitrary." There is no "rest frame." There is only the fixed speed of light, which Dr. Smid seems to accept and understand, since at the top of his web page about "Speed of Light and Theory of Relativity" he wrote:
The only reason behind the existence of the Special Theory of Relativity is the experimental fact that the speed of light in a vacuum is independent of any motion of the source or receiver.Now I'm awaiting a response. I see he looked at my Time Dilation web page again yesterday, but I've received no email.
It's very difficult to avoid appearing offensive or condescending when you try to explain to a man who believes he understands things better than all the other scientists in the world that he really doesn't understand what he's talking about. It's doubly or trebly or quadruply difficult to do it via emails or a blog. There's no way to "read" the other person's face to see how what is being said is being received.
But, either I get a discussion going with Time Dilation "debunkers" Dr. Smid or Mr. Burchell this week, or I move on to something else.
Somehow, I did actually get some work done on my third sci-fi novel last week. Last Sunday, I wrote about 880 words for Chapter 1. Then I started arguing about Time Dilation, and it wasn't until Friday that I finished the first draft of the first chapter (1,271 words, 7 pages) and wrote a few hundred words for Chapter 2. Yesterday, I wrote a few hundred words more. I still don't have a story worked out for the book. All I have is an idea for a new character. So, I'm going to just see what I write as I write it and figure things out along the way. It may all turn out to be a waste of time, but, for me, it's a very interesting way to waste time. So, whether the time is truly "wasted" or not is all relative to the observer.
|Comments for Sunday, Apr. 19, 2015,
thru Saturday, Apr. 25, 2015:
Saturday, April 25, 2015 - I'm not seeing anything new regarding Richard Lambert's lawsuit or any other subject related to the anthrax attacks of 2001, so I might as well mention a totally different "topic of interest" for me.
For what it's worth, on Wednesday I saw an ad where Best Buy had the Blu-Ray edition of Season 2 of the HBO series "The Newsroom" on sale for $16.88. I'd thoroughly enjoyed the Season 1 DVD edition I'd bought in November 2013 for $19.99. So, I bought Season 2, watched all of Season 1 again, and then started watching Season 2. I'll finish my "binge viewing" tonight. "The Newsroom" is a really interesting and thought-provoking show. Among other things, it also showed how ignorant and hypocritical the Republican candidates for President were in 2011. And some of them are running again! (Amazon is currently selling Season 3 for $34.99. I think it's about $10 more at Best Buy. So, I'll just wait for a year or so and buy it when the price drops down to less than $20.)
Thursday, April 23, 2015 - Hmm. Dr. Srinivasa Rao appears to have deleted my response to "Galacar's" claim that "there is NO limit to the speed of light." I'm not sure why he deleted it, but it may just be that he wants the discussion to take place on a different web page. Or it may be that I was arguing things that others argued before, and he feels he's already been there and done that.
Meanwhile, on the web page where I think Dr. Srinivasa Rao wants me to post my arguments, I tried posting two answers to the questions Dr. Srinivasa asks on his site, including one response to this question:
When Maxwell’s equations predicted the speed of Light as ‘C’, the above crowd (not so ridiculous at that time!) with all their intelligence rightly questioned ‘‘speed of light with reference to what?’’ until Einstein mesmerised their minds with his weird relativity.After 24 hours, my answers are still in "moderation." Maybe Dr. Srinivasa is trying to decide if he should respond to my posts or just delete them. Here is part of my answer to the question in red above:
I could probably have written a better last paragraph, stating that the speed of light is a calculation of speed using agreed upon standards, rather than being a "standard" all by itself. But, it really is a "standard" all by itself. So, I dunno.
Also meanwhile, a different "Time Dilation Truther" responded to my second email in a discussion of Time Dilation that is truly fascinating. Now, I have to wait to see if he will continue the discussion and perhaps actually try to come to "a meeting of the minds" with me, which will either require that he change his mind or that I decide he is right and all the scientists and astrophysicists in the world are wrong.
The parallels to arguing with Anthrax Truthers are still amazing to me. I can clearly see where they are misunderstanding things, but how do I find the right words to change their minds? And, are their minds changeable?
This morning I awoke thinking about an analogy I might be able to use to get them out of the purely hypothetical world of Relativity they seem to live in and into the real world I live in. It goes something like this:
In my world, when I pick up a bow and arrow and shoot the arrow at a target 30 meters away, I know the arrow is moving because I caused it to move.Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure that if I caused the target and the universe to move thirty meters toward the arrow in about a second, I would be thrown off my feet, buildings would topple, tidal waves would flood cities, and millions would probably die. I've shot lots of arrows in my day, and none of that happened.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - I don't know how he found it, since Google doesn't seem to know about it, but an Anthrax Truther found what appears to be an April 20 video interview with Richard Lambert on Fox News. Click HERE to view it. Shepard Smith does the 5½ minute interview. There's nothing "new" in the interview, but it's interesting nonetheless. Here's one question and answer:
Shepard Smith: So, you're saying ... Are there items within the evidence that would exonerate this man? Do you have real doubts about whether heAnd the interview ends with something similar. Lambert argues that, since the case has never been brought to trial, no jury has been able to view the evidence the defense would have presented to create reasonable doubt.
Meanwhile, the debate I'm having with Time Dilation Truthers has taken a strange turn. Dr. Srinivasa Rao appears to have gone silent this morning, turning the argument over to his co-Truther "Galacar." And here is the argument I found from "Galacar" on their site this morning:
you mention ‘speed of light”, I assume you mean here the ‘standard’ speed of light? If so, then as you can see on this site, there is NO limit to the speed of light.I'm going to have to think about the best way to respond to that. I've never before argued with someone who believes there is "NO limit to the speed of light." From the mountain of evidence showing him to be wrong, what evidence do I pick to make my counter-argument clear, concise and devastating?
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - Hmm. The "Time Dilation Truther" who I expected would engage in an intelligent discussion didn't send any emails overnight. But, Dr. Srinivasa Rao was joined by another "Time Dilation Truther" on his web site HERE to argue together that they do not believe Time Dilation exists and that I am just another dupe who believes a conspiracy fostered by ignorant scientists.
It's hard to explain how absolutely fascinating I find such a discussion. Anyone should be able to see the parallels with Anthrax Truthers who also argue their beliefs against the facts and evidence. Only this time it isn't "the government" who is lying and hiding the truth, it's the world's scientists and astrophysicists.
It seems that the main point of confusion for all the Time Dilation Truthers I've talked with so far is the "proof" of Time Dilation known as "Muons and Special Relativity." The Truthers cannot separate Time Dilation from Relativity. So, I decided to try to explain the muon phenomenon in a different way to see if that will help. I added a section to my Time Dilation web page that I labeled "Muons and Time Dilation." Hopefully, it will simplify and clarify things.
I don't know how many readers of this web site care about any of this, but I find it spectacularly interesting. So, I can only hope that people who ARE interested in Time Dilation will find my web page and the discussions and join in.
Monday, April 20, 2015 - Ah! Cool! Two of the three people I tried to contact yesterday about my Time Dilation web page responded overnight. One of them responded via email, so I can't show what he wrote until or unless I can get his permission to quote him here.
However, he pointed out that I made a mistake in describing the effects of gravity on Time. He was right. I'd added that section to the site as an after-thought, and I had the clock on earth confused with the clock on the satellite. I've made the correction.
In his rather long email, the responder addressed a number of other issues where he seems to be the one who fails to understand what was being argued. And in a couple cases he argued things that I didn't even mention -- apparently because it's something others always argue with him.
I sent him a friendly email responding to his response, describing how I see things differently and why. Now I'm going to have to wait to see if he'll keep the discussion going. I sincerely hope so. There's a definite possibility that he isn't a "Truther," but just someone who doesn't understand the Time Dilation concept.
The other response is in the public domain. It's on Dr. Srinivasa Rao's blog, which can be viewed by clicking HERE. Here is what he wrote:
So, Dr. Srinivasa Rao fails to understand Time Dilation and continues to argue against it. Time Dilation does not enable people to "emerge as new born babies" or anything like that. One twin simply ages slower than the other.
I wrote a response, which is currently awaiting moderation. Since he is clearly a "Truther," it will be interesting to see if he continues the discussion or stops allowing me to post. (Stopping me from posting doesn't make him a "Truther." Arguing BELIEFS and refusing to discuss facts and evidence would make him a "Time Dilation Truther.")
Meanwhile, the email responder referred me to a web page titled "Muons and Relativity," which also seems to be an issue with Dr. Srinivas Rao. It's not something I've studied - nor particularly want to study, but I'll try to see if I can make sense of it in hopes that I can figure out where they have a problem grasping the evidence supporting Time Dilation.
Added Note: Yeah, I can see what the "problem" is. Their arguments are about movement of one object "relative" to another object. When Time Dilation is the issue, it becomes totally an issue of your speed "relative" to the speed of light. The closer you get to the speed of light, the more time slows down for you. It makes no difference what anything else in the universe is doing.
Sunday, April 19, 2015 - It seems that all I've accomplished in the past 13+ years of arguing with Anthrax Truthers is to demonstrate that there is no way to change the mind of an Anthrax Truther. Facts and evidence clearly mean nothing to them. They will simply believe what they want to believe.
It also appears that most people already knew this. That's why they generally just ignore and try to avoid dealing with conspiracy theorists, True Believers and Truthers of all kinds. When they see one coming, they feel it's best to cross over to the other side of the street and avoid making eye contact.
I've been trying to move on, to focus on other things. Writing is my hobby, and it has been since grade school. And, as I explained in my March 23 comment, writing is also a way I have of clarifying what I know and understand.
Last week I updated my web page on Time Dilation and created an entry about it on my new interactive blog. I'd certainly like to have some "experts" comment on my method of explaining the subject. But, before that can happen, some expert who is prowling the Internet has to stumble upon it. That could take months. It could take years. Or it might never happen.
I could try pestering some "experts" by sending emails to get their comments. But, I can visualize what they'd probably say: "Your way of explaining Time Dilation does not fit well with mathematics, and Time Dilation is best understood if you can compute how Time Dilation works and why it works."
Right. My explanation is an explanation of how I visualize Time Dilation. I have difficulty "visualizing" Time Dilation if magic is involved, like magically seeing something that is happening a trillion miles away as it happens. And that is what the traditional, mathematics-based explanations require.
Interestingly (for me, at least), there are Time Dilation Truthers out there on the Internet. While checking to see if Google knows about my web page (it does), I noticed a Time Dilation Truther web page titled, "Why Time Dilation must be Impossible," where the author (Bernard Burchell) apparently disputes the "traditional explanation" because he cannot visualize it.
I also found a Time Dilation Truther web page titled "Time Dilation and Twin Paradox Debunked." The page is filled with mathematics I don't understand, but the British author (Dr. Thomas Smid) seems to be trying to "debunk" the notion that the length of an object will change if magically viewed from a different location while the object is traveling at speeds approaching the speed of light. I don't directly address that subject on my web page, since it seems to be entirely a mathematical construct that requires magic to be actually seen. However, it is easily explained by my description of the distortion of the orbits of electrons when atoms are moving at high speeds.
I also found a Truther web page titled "Debunking Relativity," which appears to use one kind of "magic" to debunk what the author feels is another kind of "magic." Or maybe Dr. Srinivasa Rao just doesn't understand Time Dilation, and he's tying to debunk something he doesn't understand. He doesn't seem able to believe that Time Dilation would allow one twin in a pair of twins to live longer than the other twin. However, for some reason (possibly a lack of understanding of English terminology or idioms), he sees the twins as being of two different species, and he sees one traveling in "heaven," while the other stays on earth.
I think my explanation might help him understand - since it doesn't require any magic. But, there might be a language barrier. He wrote:
My explanation seems to answer his question, since it has both of the twins performing the same experiment, one after the other. So, I posted a suggestion to his blog that he read my new web page. The last time anyone argued with him was in February. I suspect that his response to my suggestion (if he responds) will probably be similar to the typical Truther response he wrote to someone in May 2014:
Your religion’s stupidity on GPS and Twin flights has already been dealt with. But don’t pay attention to that but continue to chant that time dilation has been proved etc, etc. You need to at least pretend so to save your stupid religion.One might conclude that he is talking religion, while others are talking science, and he sees science as just another religion that disagrees with his religion. But, I'm curious to see if he is as closed-minded as he appears.
And once I had posted my comment to his blog, I decided to locate the email addresses for Bernard Burchell and Dr. Thomas Smid and ask them for their thoughts on my new web page.
While waiting to see if they respond, maybe I'll try to figure out why I have a serious problem bothering "main stream" scientists who do not dispute the physics of Time Dilation to ask their opinion of my new web page, while I have no problem whatsoever asking Time Dilation Truthers on the Lunatic Fringe for their opinions about my new web page. I suspect it has something to do with the Truthers being obviously ready and willing to argue their beliefs against any and all evidence. Meanwhile, "main stream" scientists don't want to argue and don't have the time to discuss something that has been settled and generally accepted for nearly a century.
|Comments for Sunday, Apr. 12, 2015,
thru Saturday, Apr. 18, 2015:
Saturday, April 18, 2015 - This morning, I found another news article about the Richard Lambert lawsuit. This one is from TV station WHAG in Hagerstown, MD. It's worthy of mention because the web page also contains a TV interview with W. Russell Byrne, who was a friend of Dr. Ivins.
"It never appeared to me that it was well established that the powder was made at USAMRIID at all. There should've been evidence of the equipment used, the laboratory it was made in and I never saw any of that," said Byrne.The equipment used was standard equipment that was in Ivins' lab where Ivins made the powders!
So, Mr. Byrne either did see the equipment and the laboratory, or he was never in Ivins' lab. He just didn't realize what he was seeing. He is evidently assuming Ivins could not have made the powders using standard equipment in his lab.
Whenever some friend of Ivins' makes a silly argument like that, I wish there was some way to get them to read my web page on "How Ivins Made the Anthrax Powders" and comment on it. I suspect the comment would be something like, "Well, okay, Ivins had the equipment and could have done it, but you do not have any video tapes or other direct evidence that he actually did it that way. So, I'm going to continue to believe what I want to believe."
Friday, April 17, 2015 (B) - Ah! Okay. Finally! The Canadian conspiracy theorist web site at www.globalresearch.ca just jumped into the fray with a long article with this headline:
Here's one interesting part of the article:Head of the FBI’s Anthrax Investigation Says the Whole Thing Was a Sham
So, once again, in the world of conspiracy theorists and Anthrax Truthers, "evidence" that was NOT FOUND is "exculpatory evidence." If Ivins cleaned up after himself, that's proof he didn't do it. If he didn't deposit DNA and hair follicles into the mailbox when he mailed the letters, that's proof he didn't do it. If he didn't leave evidence around and keep evidence around to show his guilt, that's proof he didn't do it.
The article also contains this:
The Canadian site at globalresearch.ca promotes the conspiracy theory that the US government was not only behind the anthrax attacks of 2001, but that they were also behind 9/11 (and the Boston Marathon Bombings, and Martin Luther King's Assassination, etc.). And no facts or evidence can ever change their minds.
Friday, April 17, 2015 (A) - This morning, the only news about Richard Lambert's lawsuit seems to be an article on Australia's news.com.au web site. The article is probably most interesting because of their lack of understanding of American terminology. The headline for the article is, "Ex FBI director suing agency for intentionally concealing evidence during 2001 anthrax case." And the article contains this:
But 14 years on, one of the most important investigations in FBI history has been thrown into doubt thanks to a legal bombshell dropped by the FBI’s own former director.Richard Lambert, of course, was never an "FBI Director." He was just in charge of (or "directed") the Amerithrax investigation for awhile.
Another couple of interesting paragraphs from the Australian article:
The New York Daily News link is to an article from 2008 that contains these three interesting paragraphs:
Yes, initially there was a lot of political pressure to blame al Qaeda for the anthrax attacks, and that as followed by even more political pressure to blame Dr. Steven Hatfill for the attacks. But the evidence gradually pointed to Dr. Bruce Ivins. The problem is: How do you get people to look at the evidence when they just want to believe their own theories?
Coincidentally, yesterday someone sent me a link to a different New York Daily News article about a different conspiracy theory. It's from two days ago, and is titled, "Former Obama pilot: TWA Flight 800 was not blown up by a faulty fuel tank; it was shot down. I’ll always believe that, and here’s why."
The term "Former Obama Pilot" translates to a pilot who flew a plane Obama was aboard. It happened when Obama was running for President in 2008. The article begins with the "Obama pilot" saying he isn't a conspiracy theorist, but he has a theory about a U.S. government conspiracy to hide the truth about TWA Flight 800, which exploded off the South Shore of Long Island in April 1996. The "Obama pilot" has no evidence to support his theory, of course, "But jets do not explode in midair." "Remember, airplanes just don’t blow up in-flight."
In other words, "I don't care what the facts and
evidence say, I'm going to believe what I want to
believe. And I believe that planes do not blow up
And, yesterday I also received an email with a link
updating me on the year-long search for Malaysian
Airlines Flight MH370. According to articles in The
Washington Post and other newspapers,
if they don't find the wreckage of MH370 by the time
they complete their search of the current search area
next month, they will expand the search area and
continue searching for at least another year.
Meanwhile, Time Magazine has an article titled "Why
We Should Stop Looking for Malaysia Airlines Flight
370." An Australian "aviation expert" says
it could all be a waste of money, and the
wreckage of MH370 might never be found.
So, it's best to give up and spend the money on other
Of course, all the conspiracy theorists would like nothing better than for the Malaysian, Chinese and Australian governments to give up. That would "prove" that they didn't really want to find the plane, because the passengers are all alive somewhere, being held prisoners for some reason, or they're all dead - murdered - because of some U.S. government plot that the other governments are being paid (or forced) to cover up. Or some variation on those themes.Thursday, April 16, 2015 - Ah! Yesterday evening, the Associated Press released an article about Richard Lambert's lawsuit, and it has been reprinted in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Frederick News-Post, The Seattle Times, The Miami Herald-Mail, on the Fox News web site, on ABC News, and undoubtedly many other places.
It took a lot longer than I expected, and it still isn't the furor I expected. The AP article is trimmed down in some of the news outlets where it was used. The Washington Post is one of the outlets that seems to use the longest version. All the versions seem to include this paragraph:
Lambert, who is also a lawyer, said in his lawsuit that while Ivins might have been the mailer, the circumstantial case against him would not have been enough for a conviction. He said there is a “wealth” of contrary evidence, “which the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people.”Note that it says a "wealth" of contrary evidence, NOT " a wealth of exculpatory evidence," which is what Mr. Lambert actually wrote in his lawsuit. It's hard to tell if AP is just using simpler words for its readers, or if they don't want to suggest that the "evidence" Mr. Lambert claims he has is truly "exculpatory." All the versions of the article seem to also include this:
Under Lambert’s direction, relatively early in the inquiry, anthrax investigators focused on another Army scientist, Steven Hatfill, who was eventually cleared.In other words, Lambert guided the misguided investigation of Dr. Hatfill, so he definitely could be wrong in his claims about "contrary evidence" regarding Dr. Ivins being withheld.
"Exculpatory evidence" is certainly NOT the right term to describe Mr. Lambert's "evidence." In my opinion, neither is "contrary evidence." The best term is probably "unusable evidence" or "meaningless evidence." It appears to be "evidence" that proves nothing -- unless you add "spin" to it and imply it means something more than it does. In other words, it is not really evidence.
I've argued for years with Anthrax Truthers about what they consider to be "exculpatory evidence." The most popular example is where they argue that the powders in the letters were "weaponized" with silicon, and Ivins didn't know how to "weaponize" spores that way. It's simply not true. The silicon was from natural sources and processes. It had nothing to do with "weaponization." The most meaningless example is probably the "evidence" where Ivins' friends at USAMRIID say Dr. Ivins didn't have the time or the equipment to make the anthrax powders. Those friends absurdly assume that Dr. Ivins would have followed standard procedures when making the powders. Click HERE for a description of how easy it would have been for Dr. Ivins to have made the powders by simply NOT following standard procedures.
Time will tell if the AP article will be largely ignored and quickly forgotten the way The New York Times article seems to have been.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - Hmm. Yesterday broke the record for the number of visitors to this web site. I don't know why. And I don't have the time right now to analyze the data. (It's still not a big number.) Instead, I want to mention a movie I rented and watched last night: "Big Eyes." It's about the "big eyes" art craze in the 1960's. Here are some examples:
Here's another shot of "the artist in his studio":
In reality, however, the paintings were all done by his wife, Margaret. Walter was a salesman and fast talker, while his artist wife was shy and awkward in public. It wasn't originally a deliberate fraud on Walter's part to take credit for his wife's work. It just started with one small lie to get out of an awkward situation, and then it grew and grew and grew. The movie shows that, without Walter's fast talking, flamboyant salesmanship the paintings probably never would been the sensation they became. But, gradually his wife became more and more determined to stop her husband from taking credit for her work.
This morning I did a Google image search for Walter Keane. I found a lot of the images used in the movie where Walter Keane was photographed with movie stars like Joan Crawford, where movie stars posed next to Keane "big eyes" paintings of themselves, like Natalie Wood and Joan Crawford, and where movie stars simply posed next to copies of "big eyes" paintings they owned, like Kim Novak:
Click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE for additional interesting images.
The movie was an interesting look at a piece of forgotten history, plus it tells the very interesting story of how Margaret Keane eventually got the credit for the art she created. And, she's still alive and still painting.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 - It looks like I made a minor mistake when I created the cartoon below a couple years ago:
I neglected to include an Anthrax Truther arguing that he still believes Dr. Steven Hatfill was the anthrax mailer.
Today I noticed that the Truther who calls himself "DXer" and former FBI Agent Richard Lambert are exchanging emails about their mutual belief that "the government" was wrong in claiming Dr. Ivins was the anthrax killer. There's no mention, however, that DXer still believes al Qaeda sent the letters or that Mr. Lambert apparently still believes Dr. Hatfill sent the letters.
Here's part of a post by DXer that attracted my attention:
In reality, of course, it wasn't "the government" conspiring with David Willman to have him write something in support of "the government's" position, in return for providing access to people in "the government." The Notes in Willman's book show the names of some of the people he interviewed - primarily retired agents. Others with whom he talked wouldn't want their names mentioned.
I doubt that there is any law against an FBI agent talking with a reporter about a closed case, or even a case where the killer has committed suicide, but the case has not yet been officially closed. I talked with FBI agents about the Amerithrax investigation while it was still open and being actively investigated. They were just very careful to not talk about anything that was "confidential." And they generally didn't want me to mention their names, because they didn't want to have dozens of angry, obsessed Anthrax Truthers attacking them and hounding them for "proof" that "the government" was conspiring to hide evidence about who "really" sent the anthrax letters. There's nothing really "confidential" about Richard Lambert's actions to try to prove that Dr. Hatfill was the anthrax mailer. It doesn't involve any national security secrets. The same with Mr. Lambert exchanging emails with DXer, allowing DXer to write about it on Lew Weinstein's blog. (Click HERE for a different discussion.) There's nothing "confidential" or "secret" being said. They're really only discussing unsupported beliefs that exist only in the minds of the Anthrax Truthers.
Monday April 13, 2015 - You may have noticed that I changed the background color on this web site. It was just too much of an annoyance to use black as the background color, with white text. Ever time I copied and pasted some text from within the site, it would likely end up as white text on a white background, and I'd have to go through a lot of machinations to make the text visible again. It also required me to change the colors for links, so that the standard dark blue used for links wouldn't be nearly invisible against the black background. I thought the black background looked very cool and dramatic, but sometimes looking cool and dramatic simply isn't worth the effort.
Meanwhile, Richard Lambert's lawsuit continues to fade from sight. Except for an obscure blog here and there (including the one you are currently reading), no one other than The New York Times seems to think the unsubstantiated claims in the lawsuit are worthy of mention. I wouldn't have thought they were worthy of mention, either, if I hadn't been so certain that the media would go into a wild feeding frenzy over them - particularly the McClatchy chain of newspapers. Evidently, however, they don't see any way to create a sensation by turning an FBI agent into a hero whistle blower when that agent had been focused for years on trying to prove that an innocent man, Steven Hatfill, was the anthrax killer, and that FBI agent very likely still holds that belief.
The rest of the world seems to have largely forgotten about the anthrax attacks of 2001 -- or they are trying very hard to forget about them. I created this web site to discuss other subjects, after abandoning my old site which was fully dedicated to reporting on every detail about those attacks.
I'm still interested in the psychology of True Believers, Truthers and conspiracy theorists. But it also seems that every point that can be made about them has already been made.
1. They argue beliefs and opinions against facts and evidence.And they are not just weird computer geeks. Their ranks include businessmen, lawyers, college professors, doctors, scientists, and at least one former FBI agent.
Sunday, April 12, 2015 - The "tempest in a teapot" created by unsubstantiated accusations in Richard Lambert's lawsuit seems to have petered out. I don't see any more about the lawsuit in newspaper Sunday editions. And I see it caused nothing more than a small jump in the number of visitors to my OLD web site (which I highlighted in red):
The news broke about Mr. Lambert's lawsuit on Tuesday the 7th. But, for some reason the biggest surge was on the 6th. I have no explanation for that. Maybe a lot of people knew about it before I did.
The breaking news also caused a brief, small, but longer lasting jump in visitors to my NEW web site (the site you are visiting now). The numbers are still higher than before the lawsuit, probably meaning that more people have now been made aware of my new site. This time the surge started on the 7th:
But, confusing the situation is the fact that I have access to two different automated charts showing the number of visitors to my NEW web site, and they don't agree on the numbers. Here's the second chart for my NEW web site:
I no longer keep access logs for my old site, but they're available for my new site. So, I wondered: who were the 32 visitors on the 8th? My examination and analysis of my web site access logs found 61 "visits":
Excluding Google and Amazon search engines (and the robot in Manassas, VA, and the Chinese hacker in Wyoming), I see only 18 U. S. and Canadian visits that are definite legitimate visits. (I highlighted them in red.) Subtracting my "visit" to verify an update worked correctly, subtracting 5 of the 6 visits by "DXer," and subtracting 1 of the 2 visits from "Mr. R," that leaves just 11 actual U.S. and Canadian visitors, plus maybe 7 or 8 legitimate foreign visits.
Good thing I created this site for my own amusement, not to create competition for The New York Times or The Washington Post.
|Comments for Sunday, Apr. 5, 2015,
thru Saturday, Apr. 11, 2015:
Saturday, April 11, 2015 - Since things seem kind of slow at the moment, I checked to see what the Anthrax Truthers are doing. I found one comment that includes this:
One nutter’s theory that a First Grader wrote the Fall 2001 anthrax letters because of the block lettering used is the stupidest theory or commentary out there, bar none.Hmm. I wonder whose theory he's talking about. My hypothesis says nothing about the block lettering indicating it must be a child's writing. So, that Truther must be thinking of someone else. Otherwise he's just distorting the facts again, because he's incapable of discussing the Amerithrax investigation any other way.
In another comment, the Anthrax Truther shows signs of paranoia:
He seems to be saying that if al Qaeda isn't blamed for the anthrax attacks of 2001, we are somehow in greater danger of them launching an anthrax attack today or tomorrow. And there will be a firestorm of criticism because no one listened to the Anthrax Truther's arguments.
Since al Qaeda hasn't launched any such attack in over 13 years (or ever, in reality), I wish the Anthrax Truther would explain how blaming al Qaeda for the 2001 attacks changes anything. Doesn't it make more sense to believe that because al Qaeda was not blamed for the 2001 anthrax attacks, there hasn't been another attack in over 13 years? Both beliefs are absurd, of course, because they both ignore all the hard work being done by many different agencies (including the FBI) to prevent al Qaeda - or anyone else - from launching such an attack.
Friday, April 10, 2015 - I don't see any other news outlets reacting to or joining in on The New York Times' article about Richard Lambert's lawsuit against the FBI and DOJ. Maybe they're waiting for the Sunday editions. Or maybe no one else sees unsubstantiated claims by an "Anthrax Truther" to be newsworthy, even if the "Truther" is a former FBI Station Chief.
Meanwhile, the arguments have been hot and heavy on my old interactive blog. And while pointing out how obsessed Mr. Lambert seemed to be to prove Dr. Steve Hatfill guilty, I noticed a good example of "an avenue of investigation" that can do more harm than good. In a comment HERE I summarize one of the distorted facts that Mr. Lambert used in his lawsuit. Mr. Lambert wrote on page 25 of the complaint:
(g) the FBI Laboratory’s deliberate concealment from the Task Force of its discovery of human DNA on the anthrax-laden envelope addressed to Senator Leahy and the Lab’s initial refusal to perform comparison testing;David Willman wrote about this "discovery" on pages 203 and 204 of the hardcover edition of his book "The Mirage Man" (which was inexplicably renamed "The Ames Strain" for the paperback edition). The FBI laboratory found a speck of dried skin on a swab taken of the outside of the Senator Leahy envelope. They didn't think it was worth investigating since it could belong to anyone, like some postal mail sorter or even an employee of the company that made the envelopes. And if they were not able to track the speck down to a specific person, which seemed highly probable, the defense would be able to use the unidentified speck of skin in court to argue that it could belong to some mystery culprit who was never caught.
When Mr. Lambert learned of it, however, he demanded that the DNA be tested, since he felt it could belong to Dr. Hatfill, who Mr. Lambert strongly believed was the anthrax mailer.
In spite of the costs and risks that were felt to be unnecessary, preliminary tests were done of the speck, and the DNA was determined to be from a female, so it definitely was not Steven Hatfill's speck of skin.
But Mr. Lambert wasn't satisfied. He believed it could be the DNA of Hatfill's girlfriend, Peck Chegne. He demanded a complete WGA (Whole Genome Amplification) test. The testing and investigation took two years. Eventually the speck of skin was found to belong to a female lab technician who had accidentally contaminated the evidence soon after its arrival at the FBI lab.
So, as predicted, the speck of skin proved nothing worthwhile for the case. And only through pure luck was it traced to a specific person. Yet, Mr. Lambert is evidently still upset that the time and money wasn't wasted sooner and faster.
It's an interesting incident, however, since it illustrates one situation where what might possibly produce evidence can far more likely produce an unsolved mystery that will only damage a legal case in court. The Bacillus subtillis contamination that was found in the powder in the media letters is another example. While it was hoped it might produce a clue or some evidence, all it produced was an unsolved mystery that Anthrax Truthers sometimes claim proves something, but which really proves nothing. It's just an example of an unsolved "mystery" that the prosecution does not want to bring up in court because it proves nothing, but the defense would very much like to use to help create some unjustified "reasonable doubt."
Thursday, April 9, 2015 - I was going to write a comment this morning in which I would attempt to explain why the main stream news media is ignoring Richard Lambert's lawsuit. But, that's no longer necessary. This morning, The New York Times has an article by Scott Shane about the lawsuit. The article begins with this:
When Bruce E. Ivins, an Army microbiologist, took a fatal overdose of Tylenol in 2008, the government declared that he had been responsible for the anthrax letter attacks of 2001, which killed five people and set off a nationwide panic, and closed the case.and contains this:
Mr. Lambert says the bureau also gathered a large amount of evidence pointing away from Dr. Ivins’s guilt that was never shared with the public or the news media. Had the case come to trial, he said, “I absolutely do not think they could have proved his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” He declined to be specific, saying that most of the information was protected by the Privacy Act and was unlikely to become public unless Congress carried out its own inquiry.So, we can only assume who Mr. Lambert believes really did it, and Mr. Lambert cannot provide any facts or evidence to support his claim that there is "a staggering amount of exculpatory evidence" regarding Dr. Ivins. In effect, Mr. Lambert is just another "Anthrax Truther" who has a theory he cannot prove.
Scott Shane's article was printed on page A21 of today's New York Times. So, it's not a "front page" story. But, they didn't ignore it, either.
I started a discussion thread about Mr. Lambert's lawsuit on my old interactive blog. So far, there are eight comments. Anthrax Truther Dr. Meryl Nass has also started a thread about it on her blog HERE. So far, she has NINE comments - all by the Anthrax Truther who calls himself "DXer." Post #8 says,
I think Adnan El-Shukrijumah was the mailer of the letters containing anthrax in Fall 2001.DXer doesn't have any meaningful facts or evidence to support his theory either. But, that isn't stopping him from writing comment after comment about it for Lew Weinstein's blog.
The Anthrax Truthers are undoubtedly thrilled to have a former FBI agent join their ranks. I also find it very interesting.
For what it's worth, I tracked down a photo of Mr. Lambert giving a presentation titled "Amerithrax Solved" to the East Tennessee's section of AACE International on September 22, 2008. Here it is (click HERE for a larger version):
Here's the "Event Narrative" for the presentation:
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - Checking the news this morning, I was very surprised to see absolutely nothing new about Richard Lambert's lawsuit. It appears that no one has read anything beyond the boring first few paragraphs of the complaint. Who cares if some retired FBI agent lost a cushy job at the DOE because of some bureaucratic problem? Apparently no one. And there's no reason to read further to find Mr. Lambert's stunning, controversial accusations.
I was so excited about what I found yesterday that I mentioned it to a couple people at my gym. It was a stupid thing to do, since the average person doesn't want to even think about bioterrorism matters, and they aren't comfortable around someone else who thinks about bioterrorism matters. They prefer to talk about the weather and local sports teams, subjects which aren't scary and aren't filled with terrible unknowns.
I go to the gym on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. So, I've got one more day for some news to appear before I go back to the gym and get strange stares from people I don't really know who will be wondering why I told them there was going to be a big breaking news story that never happened. What kind of nut case am I?
Ah, well. They probably already think I'm a "nut case," since I have absolutely no talent for small talk about the weather, and I have absolutely no interest in how some local sports team did last night. So, it will just be a matter of avoiding eye contact for awhile. Been there, done that.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 (B) - This afternoon, when I got home from my regular workout at the gym, I noticed that another media source has just written about Richard Lambert's lawsuit. And, just like the Knoxville News Sentinel, the Courthouse News Service seems to have missed what I think is a MAJOR story.
Interestingly, they do show some of the flowery language that Mr. Lambert put into his claim. (He's acting as his own lawyer.) Here's an example they quoted:
"Defendants [FBI/DOJ] waited patiently for plaintiff's [Lambert's] retirement and then wielded a grossly negligent and erroneous interpretation of the conflict of interest statute as a blunt instrument of retaliation," Lambert claims in the lawsuit. "Seemingly drunk with blood lust and blinded by animus, defendants failed to discern that the platter on which they sought to serve plaintiff's head was illusory - a factually unfounded and wholly meritless legal opinion."That's so theatrical and pretentious, and so wildly unlike what is in a typical legal document, that it is almost funny. But, I have to wonder when the media will notice the wild accusations that are buried within the complaint, such as:
(j) the FBI’s fingering of Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer; and, (k) the FBI’s subsequent efforts to railroad the prosecution of Ivins in the face of daunting exculpatory evidence.And, will they also notice that Mr. Lambert hints that he has no actual evidence proving that Bruce Ivins was innocent?:
Plaintiff [Lambert] continued to advocate that while Bruce Ivins may have been the anthrax mailer, there is a wealth of exculpatory evidence to the contrary which the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people.What is this "exculpatory evidence"? Mr. Lambert doesn't say. But, I can imagine what some of it is. And, obviously, it's NOT really "exculpatory," since Mr. Lambert leaves open the possibility that Bruce Ivins MAY have been guilty.
When will the mainstream media notice the controversial part of this lawsuit? Or is its significance just my imagination? Time will tell.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 (A) - Hmm. A name from the past just appeared in the news. On the surface, it looks like a very minor news story. But if you dig into it, it looks like it could become a MAJOR news story.
According to today's Knoxville News Sentinel, Richard Lambert is suing the FBI and the DOJ for 2.5 million dollars for falsely accusing him of violating the law when he took a job with the Department of Energy at Oak Ridge, TN.
Richard Lambert was head of the Amerithrax investigation from April 2003 to August 2006, and he is best known to followers of the investigation for being the top FBI agent who seemed convinced that Steven Hatfill was the anthrax killer. (Lambert left the Amerithrax Task Force in August 2006 to become Agent in Charge of the FBI's Knoxville Field Office. Edward Montooth was put in charge of Amerithrax, and a fresh evaluation of the evidence soon identified Bruce Ivins as the person most likely to have sent the anthrax letters.)
Copies of Mr. Lambert's April 2, 2015 lawsuit can be found HERE and HERE.
The matter under dispute in the lawsuit is extremely complicated, but it seems to boil down to whether or not Lambert was in violation of the law when he accepted a position as the senior counterintelligence officer for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE's) Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence Oak Ridge field office. The law Lambert appears to have violated says that it is a crime for a former government worker to "communicate" with his or her former co-workers for one year after leaving his or her post "with the intent to influence official action."
According to the News Sentinel, "There were at least two FBI agents assigned to the counterintelligence field office in Oak Ridge, and the office worked closely with the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office." So, Lambert may have technically (but unwittingly?) violated the law. Lamert says he checked with the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, both of which deemed the supposed violation of the law to be “meritless.”
Meanwhile, however, someone else reported the supposed violation to FBI Ethics attorney Patrick Kelly, and Kelly initiated actions which deemed the supposed violation of the law as having merit.
“I know this will prove disruptive but I see no way around it and the statute is a criminal prohibition so we can’t very well ignore it,” Kelley concluded.So, in June 2013, the Department of Energy ended Lambert's contract, which in effect meant that they fired him. And that's why Lambert filed his law suit last week.
It appears to be a simple bureaucratic screwup, but Lambert claims the firing implied he was a federal felon, making him unemployed and unemployable.
It's all very interesting, and I don't have any opinion on the merits of the lawsuit one way or the other, but the complaint document Richard Lambert filed contains a wealth of material that will probably give enough ammunition to conspiracy theorists and Anthrax Truthers to enable them to argue their beliefs for many years to come. This is from page 3 of the lawsuit:
5. This complaint further details how Defendants’ derelict failure to perform their mandated legal duties to Plaintiff was driven by Defendants’ blinding animus toward Plaintiff for Plaintiff’s prior whistleblower reports of FBI and DOJ mismanagement of the FBI’s investigation into the anthrax attacks of 2001 (code named “AMERITHRAX”).And this is from pages 23 to 25:
50. In the fall of 2001, following the 9/11 attacks, a series of anthrax mailings occurred which killed five Americans and sickened 17 others. Four anthrax-laden envelopes were recovered which were addressed to two news media outlets in New York City (the New York Post and Tom Brokaw at NBC) and two senators in Washington D.C. (Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle). The anthrax letters addressed to New York were mailed on September 18, 2001, just seven days after the 9/11 attacks. The letters addressed to the senators were mailed 21 days later on October 9, 2001. A fifth mailing of anthrax is believed to have been directed to American Media, Inc. (AMI) in Boca Raton, Florida based upon the death of one AMI employee from anthrax poisoning and heavy spore contamination in the building.HOLY COW!!! I don't know what others will make of this, but it will certainly be a very big deal with Anthrax Truthers. To me, it appears that Mr. Lambert still believes he was right about who sent the anthrax letters, and that the rest of the FBI and the DOJ were wrong and deliberately "railroaded" Bruce Ivins.
It will be interesting to see what the rest of the media makes of this - particularly the so-called "journalists" working for McClatchy News and Propublica.
Monday, April 6, 2015 - I think I'm going to set aside my overhaul of the web page about Time Dilation that I created a year ago and go back to work on the third book in my sci-fi series. This morning I awoke realizing that the old version of the Time Dilation web page already makes the key point I wanted to make in the new version: In Einstein's "Twin Paradox," even though one twin might age ten years while the other twin only aged 1 year, neither twin was ever ahead of or behind the other in time.
This morning I realized what was really on my mind was the same questions I had when I wrote about Professor Brian Greene's course on Space, Time & Einstein at the WorldScienceU.com web site in my (B) comment on March 16, 2014 and then again on March 23, 2014. I didn't understand what point Prof. Greene was trying to make when he talked about different "NOW slices of 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.To me, that "stunning conclusion" is still just a pointless "thought experiment" that clarifies nothing and only seems to make the students think that traveling into or viewing the future is somehow possible instead of being total nonsense. (Yes, I can see something today, like a supernova, that some alien won't see for another hundred years because he's a hundred light years further away from the location of the supernova, but SO WHAT!?)
I think I just need to remember the "Serenity Prayer":
I need to get back to work on my third sci-fi novel.
Sunday, April 5, 2015 - I awoke yesterday morning thinking I may have found the perfect example to use to illustrate and explain how Anthrax Truthers think, why they cannot discuss facts and evidence, and why they can only discuss their opinions and beliefs. But, then I realized it was only an example of how one specific Anthrax Truther thinks. Yet, the illustration and explanation might have wider relevance. So, in the following explanation I'll refer to that one specific Anthrax Truther as "Mr. R."
On Thursday, Mr. R attempted NINE rambling, repetitive posts to my old interactive blog. In one of them, however, he wrote a long, rambling, nearly indecipherable comment which contained an interesting sentence. Since Mr. R only seems able to discuss his opinions and beliefs, I didn't show his entire post on the blog, I just briefly summarized it (while keeping a full copy in my archives). Here is about half of that long, incoherent attempted post with the "interesting" sentence highlighted in red:
Here we come to something that is evidently a 'surprise' to Mister Lake: words sometimes have multiple, if frequently related, meanings. So I consulted WEBSTER'S THIRD NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY and under "aver" was: (meanings only, page 15; 1993 edition)That entire post could have been condensed into NINE (9) words: "Lake has NEVER said the Task Force was WRONG!"
Of course, as usual, Mr. R is distorting the facts. I have never said the Task Force was "wrong," because I cannot PROVE that they were "wrong." Neither can Mr. R, yet he endlessly argues that the FBI Task Force was wrong. I have made the point many times, however, that my handwriting hypothesis disagrees with the FBI/DOJ's handwriting evidence. I generally made that point when the Anthrax Truthers argued that I am a "shill" or "stooge" who simply agrees with everything "the government" says. (Check my July 27, 2014 comment for an example. There's a copy of the important part HERE.)
What Mr. R evidently fails to understand is that it is a disagreement between two different and conflicting hypotheses, neither of which has been proven, but both hypotheses help show that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer.
Or maybe he does "understand" it, but he also erroneously believes that if a matter has not been "proven" it is not evidence and cannot be used in court.
The lay witness testimony about handwriting that the DOJ could have used as evidence in court is by itself not "proof" of any argument or claim, because it is only lay witness testimony about notes and letters the witnesses remember seeing. The actual documents with Ivins' disguised handwriting no longer exist.
The analysis I've done on the handwriting cannot be used in court because I do not qualify as a lay witness or expert witness under Rule of Evidence #701. I never even heard of Dr. Bruce Ivins until after his death, I am not a recognized handwriting expert, and my knowledge of the handwriting was developed solely for purposes of Internet discussions about the Amerithrax investigation.
So, what we have is, in effect, two opposing, unproven hypotheses. It appears the DOJ's hypothesis can only be proven by finding some of the lost letters and having an "expert" in handwriting confirm the the lay witness's opinions. It appears my hypothesis can only be proven by having the person who actually wrote the anthrax letters and envelopes come forward and admit to having done the writing. (He (or she) would be about 19 or 20 years old now.)
But Mr. R seems to have some wildly mistaken belief that if neither hypothesis can be proven, that somehow invalidates both hypotheses as evidence and somehow magically validates his mistaken beliefs and opinions.
I explained in many different ways that the lay witness testimony on handwriting can be used in court. I found examples, I cited the law. Mr. R merely stated he didn't believe it. His argument was that "such a stratagem wouldn't be effective in a notional trial of Bruce Ivins" and/or that the lay witnesses "would not have been eligible to testify about the printing under any circumstances," and/or that "A layman may not give testimony that constitutes a handwriting comparison." He twists and distorts the wording of the law to make it fit his beliefs.
Making the argument even sillier and more absurd, Mr. R would repeatedly argue that I have "semantic aphasia" because he has repeatedly told me that he doesn't believe my interpretation of the Rules of Evidence is correct, and yet I do not accept his beliefs (i.e., he has not been able to convert me to his beliefs).
So, the big question is: What is the point in continuing to argue if Mr. R will only argue that his opinions and beliefs are more valid than facts and evidence?
I also fully realize that posting to an Internet blog isn't conducive to making short arguments. The tendency is to argue as completely and comprehensively as possible in one post, because it will often be a full day or more before you get a response. I can only dream of having a brief intelligent discussion with Mr. R. I fantasize that it would go something like this:
Mr. R: You have NEVER said that the FBI Task Force was wrong about the handwriting.Since there doesn't seem to be any hope of ever having an intelligent discussion with Mr. R, I'm sorely tempted to just start deleting and ignoring all future posts from him. That was what I eventually had to do with "DXer."
But, I hate to give up. Maybe Mr. R has some solution to our communication problem - other than me simply accepting his beliefs as being superior to all facts and evidence. If not, I see no point in just continuing to let him argue his beliefs and opinions on my blog. I've got a million better things to do.
|Comments for Wednesday, Apr. 1,
2015 thru Saturday, Apr. 4, 2015:
Friday, April 3, 2015 - It might be worthwhile to mention that on Wednesday I rented and watched a movie called "The Rewrite," staring Hugh Grant. The Rotten Tomatoes web site gives it only a 64% positive rating, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would give it at least 85%. I made a note to buy a copy a year or two from now if WalMart or Target or someone else has it on sale for $5 or less.
The Rotten Tomatoes web site describes "The Rewrite" as being about a formerly successful, award-winning screenwriter named Keith Michaels (Hugh Grant) who has fallen on hard times. He has gone through a divorce, plus a string of unsuccessful films have left him with nothing but bad debts and blank pages. So when his agent arranges a job as guest screenwriting professor at a remote university in upstate New York, a desperate Keith can't say no. Initially hoping to give minimal effort to actual teaching so he can focus on his next script, Keith gradually and unexpectedly finds himself becoming invested in his students lives, including Holly (Marisa Tomei), a single mom looking to start her own new chapter.
I enjoy watching Hugh Grant stammering and being witty in a low key, awkward way. "The Rewrite" has all that. It's also about writing, and the characters talk about writing problems and writing techniques during the course of the movie. I can't say I learned anything from it, but I still had a good time watching the movie. So, if there is anyone reading this web site who has an interest in writing, I can recommend "The Rewrite." However, be warned: I also enjoyed "Writers Anonymous," a recent movie about book and short story writing. Rotten Tomatoes gives it only a 7% positive rating, while IMDb gives it only 4.4 stars out of 10. I marked it down as being a bit corny, but if a year or two from now I see a copy on sale for $3 or less, I'll probably buy it and watch it again.
Thursday, April 2, 2015 - I'm getting nowhere with my 3rd sci-fi novel. I keep thinking of other things - particularly Time Dilation. Last year around this time on my old web site, I made an attempt to create a web page about Time Dilation. I was never fully satisfied with it. On Monday, for the fifth or sixth time, I watched the excellent 1997 Jodi Foster movie "Contact." It involves Time Dilation, since Foster's character spends 18 hours traveling around the universe while almost no time passes on Earth. On Tuesday, I watched the very good 2014 movie "Interstellar." It has a lot more about Time Dilation in it. Matthew McConaughey's character uses alien technology to zip across the universe, aging very little, while his daughter back on Earth ages at the normal Earth rate.
I think I understand Time Dilation very well, and I want to do as Albert Einstein said about explaining things, I want to explain Time Dilation so simply that my grandmother (if she were alive) would be able to understand it, too. That means doing it without mathematics. As I see it, you don't need mathematics to explain Time Dilation, you only need mathematics to prove or compute Time Dilation effects. I also think I can do a much better job of explaining Time Dilation than I did in 2014 if I use some illustrations.
Another hope is that it might get some discussions going on some topic other than the anthrax attacks of 2001, the psychology of Anthrax Truthers, and the proper use of uncommon words.
On the other hand, someone sent me an email this morning about the web site Professor Mark Davies created to show the usage frequency of words. As a result of that email, I checked to see what the 50 most frequently used words were, and I found the word "that" listed twice. As a subordinating conjunction (C), it's #12 on the list, and as a determiner (D) it is #27. That made me wonder about Part of Speech (PoS) type "R." The word "up" is #50 and it is PoS "R." So is "so" (#55), "out" (#64), "just" (#66), "now" (#72) and many others. I couldn't find anything on the web site which explains what PoS "R" means. Checking other PoS web sites HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE, they list no Parts of Speech that begin with R. But, looking up those words in dictionaries, I find they are all used as adverbs. And PoS "A" means adjective. So, Professor Davies must have arbitrarily used "R" to identify adverbs, because "A" was already being used. It just took a little while to figure it out.
And, I think I've just inadvertently provided an explanation for how I got into writing about the anthrax attacks of 2001: My curiosity took over and I couldn't stop investigating until I felt I knew as much as I needed to know. Now I just need to stop investigating parts of speech so that I can get to work on explaining Time Dilation in order to get that off my mind so that I can get back to work on my 3rd sci-fi novel. So much to do, so little time to do it.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - It's April Fool's Day, and the news is filled with stories about a cellphone video that was supposedly found in the wreckage of Germanwings Flight 9525. The video supposedly shows what was happening aboard the flight moments before it crashed. But where is the video? One source on the subject (HERE) says,
If those magazines posted the video, where is it? Clicking on the links finds nothing. I did a search of YouTube looking for it, and all I found was a video that appears to be a FAKE. (Click HERE.) It just shows a view out of the window of an airplane with the sounds of a lot of noisy passengers on the soundtrack.
I've been waiting for searchers to find the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 because it could have cellphone videos explaining what was going on during the hours aboard the flight before it crashed. So, it's certainly possible that at least one passenger used a cellphone to record what was going on aboard 9525 in the minutes before it crashed. While the cell phone would be smashed to bits, it certainly possible for the microchip to survive. It's also possible that a searcher found such a microchip in the wreckage of 9525 and is trying to sell it for a lot of money. But, neither magazine says anything about someone trying to sell them the video or the microchip. They only say they've seen the video. The Huffington Post says officials say the video is a FAKE.
I'm not sure what to think. Such a video is highly unlikely to provide any kind of additional explanation for what happened to flight 9525, so it would only be a ghoulish curiosity. But that is exactly what newspapers and magazines look for and desperately want.
I'll just wait and see. I'm currently inclined to suspect it's a fake. That doesn't mean I "believe" it's a fake. It just means that a fake seems more likely.