Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dec. 30, 2012 - Jan. 5, 2013 Discussions

My comment for Sunday, December 30 was mostly about a new book by Edward Jay Epstein, Ph.D., that is coming out in February.  It's called "The Annals of Unsolved Crime," and it will include a section about the anthrax attacks of 2001.

Dr. Epstein's opinions about the anthrax attacks of 2001 are well known, and I've commented about them on my web site numerous times over the past 11 years.  He appears to be a dedicated "conspiracy theorist."   Here are some of the other "unsolved" crimes he writes about in his new book:

           The Lincoln assassination
           The Lindbergh kidnapping
           The Reichstag Fire
          
The Marilyn Monroe "suicide"
           The Kennedy Assassination
           The case of O.J. Simpson

There have been "conspiracy theories" that Marilyn Monroe was killed by the Kennedy family.  And, of course there were many conspiracy theories about who really killed John F. Kennedy.  And, if I remember my history correctly, there were actual conspiracies behind the Lincoln assassination and the Reichstag fire.  So, it appears that Dr. Epstein's book may compare actual conspiracies from distant history with conspiracy theories of his own from more recent times.

I'll probably buy Dr. Epstein's book just to debunk the section about the anthrax attacks.  It should give me several weeks of material to write about on my web site.

Meanwhile, I've more-or-less completed the digitizing of the slides and photos I took between 1952 and 1992 or so.  I've got 4,713 digitized images.  But, there are probably other envelopes of negatives tucked away in some box in some closet somewhere.

The photos can be combined to make interesting collages.  Here's a collage I assembled of 16 photographs of Mississippi riverboats that I took over the years around Dubuque and Clinton, Iowa, and New Orleans:    


Then I remembered I had some others that I took in St. Louis, including one of the famous riverboat "Admiral" next to the St. Louis Arch just after the arch was completed:


It's a dust-specked slide that needs to be digitally cleaned up.  (Click on the picture to view a much larger version.)  And, when I found that slide I found another dust-specked slide of two different riverboats:



and a totally different riverboat from somewhere else nearby:


Trying to figure out how to combine those three additional photos into the above collage helped make me lose interest in the whole idea .... at least temporarily.

I also realized that such a poster on my wall would cause visitors to ask, "How did you ever get such an interest in riverboats?"  And, I'll have to repeatedly explain that I didn't.  My interest is in photography and in boats, planes and big machines of many kinds -- and the science involved.  The photos above are just 19 from 4,713, which means that 4,694 are NOT pictures of riverboats.  So, Mississippi riverboats are no more than 0.4% of what interests me.

Maybe I'll eventually get back into making collage posters from my photographs.  But, Dr. Epstein's new book tells me I should be doing more to get my own new book before the public.  His book is going to tell people his theories.  Hopefully, after reading his book, there will be a lot of people who will want to know what the actual facts say.  If so, I need to help them find my book.

Ed   

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dec. 23 - Dec. 29, 2012 Discussions

With my book completed and published in both paperback and Kindle form, I'm now looking for other things to do.  There are no worthwhile discussions going on with True Believers and conspiracy theorists anymore.  They never seem to have anything new to say.   They only have personal attacks and old, irrelevant questions they want someone to answer because they believe the answers will prove they are right about something.  They can't answer the questions themselves because they don't really want answers, they just want to ask questions.  If any questions are answered, the True Believers and conspiracy theorists will just find more questions to ask.  Asking questions allows them to imply that the case has not been solved.  Answers do the opposite.  And, they want people to believe as they believe - that the case has not been solved.

So, I've been doing other things.  Mostly, I've been going through color slides I took between 1952 and 1982, cleaning them up, sorting and digitizing them.  I created a 24x36 inch poster of 19 slides I took in Hong Kong in 1964.  I'm now  working on another poster.  It will tell me if I should do any others.  I've got some blank wall space to fill.  The prints I had on my walls before I moved in August 2010 didn't seem right for my new place, so I never hung them up.  But, posters of photos I took on various trips might not seem right, either.  Finishing a couple posters will tell me if doing more is the solution to the empty space.  I've got some pretty interesting photos that seem like they should be on a wall instead of buried in a closet.    


The picture above was an Ektachrome color slide, but the colors had badly faded to sepia tones, so I converted it to black and white.    


The color slide above was still okay but very dirty, so I cleaned it up.  I think it was taken somewhere between Nahkon Phanom and That Phanom in Thailand, circa 1963.

What I'm most doing is "idea hunting."  I'm looking for an idea that will give me a big project to keep me occupied for a year or more.  I don't know if it will be another book or something else.  Time will tell.

Ed

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dec. 16 - Dec. 22, 2012 Discussions

My "Sunday Comment' for my web site was a somewhat rambling essay on how a lot of the controversy about the anthrax attacks of 2001 can be resolved.

There are people who think Ivins was a cold-blooded killer, and there are people who think Ivins was innocent.  My new book shows him to be neither a cold-blooded killer nor innocent. He was a mentally ill man on that famous road to Hell that is paved with good intentions.  He tried to do something that he thought would benefit America, but he didn't understand all the dangers involved in what he was doing.  And, he ended up killing 5 innocent people and injuring at least 17 others.

Those who think Bruce Ivins was innocent ignore the facts.  They even claim the facts are not evidence.  They insist on examining each item of circumstantial evidence individually and discarding each item because - by itself - the item of evidence does not conclusively prove that Ivins was guilty.

When you explain to them that that is not the way circumstantial evidence is viewed in court, they don't seem to care about how circumstantial evidence is viewed in court.  It's the way they view circumstantial evidence.

It seems to me that the people who truly believe Bruce Ivins was innocent are aided by the conspiracy theorists who believe that the attack spores were "weaponized" with some super-sophisticated form of silicon as part of some secret and illegal U.S. government bioweapons program.  Those conspiracy theorists claim that Bruce Ivins could not possibly have made such a super-sophisticated bioweapon all by himself.

To a non-scientist, their claims seem scientific, even though they're really just distortions of the facts, bogus claims and junk science.

My book explains how easy it was for Ivins to create the attack spores, and how the silicon in the spore coats formed naturally as a result of how the attack spores were grown.  Ivins didn't know that the silicon was there.  The facts (and my book) show there were lots of things about anthrax bacteria and anthrax spores that Bruce Ivins didn't understand, even though he was considered to be a "top expert" on the subject.

The FBI and DOJ didn't show the world how easy it was for Ivins to create the attack spores with their "silicon signature."  In court, they would only have proved that Ivins had the means to make the attack powders.  The way Bruce Ivins most likely made the spores would be considered "speculation," because there were other ways Ivins could have gotten the same results.  The defense could argue against what was "most likely," but they could not argue that Ivins didn't have the means

My Sunday comment suggests that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) could show how easy it would have been for Ivins to create the spores and their "silicon signature."  They aren't bound by the Official Criminal Court Procedures.  Their task is to review the case and inform the public.

If they explain how Ivins "most likely" created the anthrax spores, all the conspiracy theorists will have to change their arguments that it was "impossible" for Ivins to do it. And, the people who think Ivins was innocent because it was "impossible" for him to make a super-sophisticated bioweapon all by himself will have to reconsider their positions.

One simple experiment would shoot down the the main claim by the conspiracy theorists and show the world that Ivins could have done what so many other facts say he did.  It would turn a "scientific" claim that Ivins was innocent into a nonsensical belief about science.  Those who believe Ivins was innocent might continue to believe what they want to believe, but they would no longer be able to argue that it was "impossible" for him to have committed the crime by himself.

Once you accept that it was possible for Ivins to do it, then all the other facts which show he did it seem a lot more important and believable. 

Ed    



  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dec. 9 - Dec. 15, 2012 Discussions

Sunday, December 9, 2012 is an eventful day for me.  There's certainly a lot to write about.

First, my local newspaper, The Racine Journal-Times, printed an article about me and my book.  Click HERE to read it.

Secondly, I finished converting the print version of my book "A Crime Unlike Any Other: What the Facts Say About Dr. Bruce Edwards Ivins and the Anthrax Attacks of 2001" into a Kindle version.  It's now for sale on Amazon.com.  Just click HERE.

The Racine Journal Times' article is followed by three comments from readers.  The first person commenting, "FOR5DOLLAR," wrote:

"This is hilarious, this is the same Ed Lake that thrives on lies, innuendo, unfounded accusations, in a fairy tale form. I would not buy this book for any reason. Ed Lake does not have a clue as to who sent the anthrax in 2001, it was not Bruce Ivins. "The scientific road to nowhere" that is where Ed Lake has been, driving his psychotic dream of becoming a writer only to find himself sitting on a pile of scrap paper."

"FOR5DOLLAR" then posted another comment just telling people not to buy the book.

Then "BigRed" wrote a comment that says,

"If someone is going to commit a serious crime, the perp (who Mr. Lake urges was Dr. Ivins) has no reason to involve a young child who could tell the secret. Mr. Lake should have checked his facts. There in fact was no first grader in Dr. Ivins' home as Ed imagined."

In reality, of course, the facts say that Ivins used a child to write the anthrax letters.  Here's a video where I list 12 facts which appear to prove that the letters were written by a first grader:



If it's a "fact" that there "was no first grader in Dr. Ivins' home," then the facts say Ivins found a first grader somewhere else.  The handwriting facts remain the same.  And they say a child wrote the letters.

However, when "BigRed" claims it's a "fact" that there was "no first grader in Dr. Ivins' home," he's saying he doesn't have any evidence of it.  He asked people, and they said no.  And, he believes what he was told -- because he has a theory of his own.  He evidently believes a Muslim terrorist who couldn't write English very well wrote the letters and addressed the envelopes, and, by pure happenstance, the terrorist's handwriting went through the exact same changes as a child's handwriting would be going through in August, September and October of 2001 as he begins the first weeks and months of first grade.

Saying you don't believe a child wrote the letter or that others don't believe it doesn't change the facts.  The only way anyone can prove that a child did NOT write the letters is to provide more and better facts which conclusively and undeniably show that it was done by someone else, facts which also fully explain why it appears to be a child's handwriting.  

All I've seen are arguments that people don't believe it.  Claims that there was no child in Ivins' home at that time do not change the factsClaims that Ivins could have written the letters himself and tried to make them look like they were written by a child just starting first grade doesn't change the factsClaims that if Ivins wrote using his "wrong hand," the results could look just like what's on the letters doesn't change the factsClaims that a Muslim terrorist would write just like a child just starting first grade at that point in time doesn't change the facts

Until more and better undeniable facts can be found that solidly prove otherwise, the facts say that a child just starting first grade wrote the anthrax letters

Ed
 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dec. 2 - Dec. 8, 2012 Discussions

The bulk of my comment for Sunday, December 2, 2012, was about my efforts to produce the Kindle version of my book.  It's going to be a LOT of work.  But, I think I can be done a lot earlier than the planned release date of January 7, 2013.  (Many of the scientists I contacted about the book told me they were waiting for the Kindle version.)  

Kindle provides a means to review your book on a simulated Kindle Fire screen before you actually put it on sale.  The conversion process produces a lot of errors.  It changed quote marks that I'd copied and pasted from some PDF file into A's and @'s.  So, "covered with blood" shows up on the Kindle screen as

                      Acovered with blood@

I'll try doing "search and replace," but it's going to take a lot of work to find every place where that happens and fix it.  Apostrophes are also sometimes changed to equal signs:  husband=s 

I'm also trying to figure out the right image size.  Every book reading device uses a different screen size.  I'm being told that 5x7 is the evidently the best ratio.  So, I'm going to try using images that are a maximum of 5 inches x 7 inches at 100 dpi.

Kindle says the "maximum" image size is "127 KB," and 5x100x7x100 = 390 KB or 390,000 bytes.  But, if pictures are "too large," Kindle's software converts the image to the "right size" and produces excellent results.  Here's a sample page from the previewer:


That image of Ivins in his lab wasn't in the printed version of the book where all the illustrations were in also in black and white.  But, Kindle Fire allows color images and so do a lot of other reading devices, so I'm adding the above image and several others to the Kindle version, and I'm using color versions of the B&W images that I used in the printed book. It doesn't cost anything to add images or use color, and the extra color images add a lot of "value" to the Kindle version of the book.

Meanwhile, a reporter from my local paper will be stopping by tomorrow to do an interview for a "feature" they plan to write about me and my book.  It will be the first real publicity I've gotten for the book.  Without publicity, only the people who read this blog and my web site will know the book exists. And, of those, supposedly only about 2 out of every 100 actually buy books.

All I can do is produce the best book I possibly can and hope that some "word of mouth" will get the sales rolling.

Ed

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nov. 25 - Dec. 1, 2012 Discussions

My Sunday comment this week was almost entirely about the new video I created which shows beyond any reasonable doubt that Dr. Bruce Ivins didn't do the handwriting on the anthrax letters and envelopes himself.  He manipulated a child just starting first grade to do the handwriting (everything except the date on the media letter).  Here's the icon you can click on to view the 8 minute 37 second YouTube video:


Starting tomorrow, I'll send emails to all the reporters and media outlets I can think of to tell them about this video and what it says.  I'll send out "press releases," and I'll send out personal emails.

My hope is that some media organization will try to get opinions from "handwriting experts" to see what they have to say about this "new evidence" (which has been on my site since 2002, and which was described in great detail in my 2005 book).  Since, to my knowledge, no "expert" has ever mentioned the key fact that the handwriting on the Brokaw letter has significant differences from the handwriting on the Brokaw envelope, I'm most curious as to what "experts" might say about that and how it relates to the other facts I mention.

The FBI and the Department of Justice didn't seem to be able to find any two "handwriting experts" who agreed on much of anything about the handwriting.  Some of their "experts" seemed to agree that it was the writer's "natural style" of handwriting.  That's why the FBI sent out 150,000 post cards to people in the Trenton area to see if anyone recognized the handwriting.  Some probably agree that the handwriting on the letters and envelopes does not match Dr. Ivins' handwriting examples found elsewhere.  Some "experts" opine that means that Ivins must have disguised his handwriting.  But, as my video says, the facts say the handwriting is not disguised using any of the best known techniques.

The FBI and DOJ didn't use the handwriting on the letters and envelopes as evidence in the case.  It was just too "inconclusive."  But, if their "experts" had looked at all the facts, the evidence probably wouldn't have been so "inconclusive."

Ed 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Nov. 18 - Nov. 24, 2012 Discussions

My web site comment for Sunday, November 18, is mostly about the new YouTube videos I'm creating to show what the facts say about the handwriting in the anthrax letters and envelopes.  The first video in the series can be viewed by clicking on the image below.  It explains Fact #1 and Fact #2, and it's 3 minutes, 26 seconds long.


What I try to point out in the first video is that there were very significant differences between the handwriting on the letter sent to Tom Brokaw and the handwriting on the envelope addressed to Tom Brokaw.  I've found no evidence that any "handwriting expert" ever addressed those differences.  I don't think it's because they have no explanation.  I think it's because the "experts" never noticed those very important differences.

I may send out another press release to TV outlets which will include a link to the first video.  No one in the media ever reported on those significant differences, either.  Probably because no "expert" ever mentioned them.  But, when you view the video it becomes the proverbial "elephant in the room" that no one mentions.

"Handwriting experts" did mention other differences that I'll describe in the second video in the series, but don't recall any "handwriting expert" ever trying to explain those differences.  They are NOT explained by some theory that a semi-illiterate Muslim terrorist did the writing.  Nor are the differences explained by the theory that the handwriting is "disguised."  The differences are NOT accounted for by the common disguising techniques of writing upside down, writing with the wrong hand, copying someone else handwriting, etc., etc.

My Sunday comment also mentions that the "Look Inside" feature is now working on Amazon.com's ad for my book.  So, people can read the introduction and the first few pages of Chapter 1, plus they can get a glimpse at the first pages from the first 33 chapters before that ability is turned off. 

And, my comment mentions the rantings by "Anonymous" (a.k.a. "DXer") where he endlessly argues opinions against facts, arguing that if someone has stated some opinion that disagrees with the facts, then the facts are wrong.  As "Anonymous," he posted to last week's blog entry.  As "DXer" he posted at least 45 messages to Lew Weinstein's blog arguing that he disagrees with what I wrote and how I wrote it.  He also sent me three emails (so far) this morning.  But, he's been doing that sort of thing for nearly eleven years, so that's not really news.

Ed

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nov. 11 - Nov. 17, 2012, Discussions


My web site comment for Sunday, November 11, 2012, was mostly an announcement that my new book "A Crime Unlike Any Other: What The Facts Say About Dr. Bruce Edwards Ivins and The Anthrax Attacks of 2001" is now for sale at the printing company's web site.  Just click HERE to go to their site.

And, to my stunned surprise, it's also available on Amazon.com.  Click HERE to go to Amazon's web site.  It was my understanding that Amazon wouldn't be selling it until a week from now.  (It's also my understanding that you won't be able to order it through your local bookstore until sometime in late December.)

If you're interested, I've created a YouTube Video of me describing the book:


The video has some stammers and flubs in it, but took me about 30 "takes" to get something that was reasonably watchable.  If I can gather the will power, I might replace it with a better one.

I put a half dozen short "outtakes" on YouTube.  Here's a video that shows six of the "outtakes":

 
In the first outtake, I not only flubbed my lines, I also forgot to turn off my stereo.  So, music almost drowns me out.  In the last "outtake," I realize that I forgot to change the image on the computer screen behind me, so I stop before saying a single word.  The rest are mostly line reading flubs.

Now, I have to start sending out emails to people telling them that the book is for sale.  And, on Tuesday, I'll start sending out press releases to newspapers and other media outlets.

I'm also thinking of creating another video where I explain the FACTS which show that a first grader wrote the anthrax letters and addressed the envelopes.  People who have viewed my web site during the past 11 years should already know what the facts say, but there are millions of people for whom it would be stunning news.  And, one way to tell them about it is via a YouTube video, which will get to people who would never think of looking for information about the anthrax attacks of 2001.  One of the most common searches that brings people to my web site is a search for "handwriting analysis."  Another is "children's handwriting."

But, before I can create such a video, I need to learn more about the video editing software that came with the digital camera I bought many years ago.

Busy busy busy.       

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nov. 4 - Nov. 10, 2012 Discussions

The comment on my web site for Sunday, November 4, was mostly about my plans for promoting my new book "A Crime Unlike Any Other" as soon as it goes on sale at Create Space.  I've written a Press Release that I will be sending to just about every newspaper on the East Coast that has an email address.  I'll be sending out emails to just about everyone who has ever contacted me about the case (excluding neo-Nazis, True Believers and the obviously insane).  I'll be telling scientists who work with anthrax about it.  I'm even thinking about notifying Professors and teachers who teach criminology courses, since the book describes the FBI investigation chronologically, step by step.  It was a case unlike any other.

I did none of that with my first book in 2005.  I learned a lot of lessons from that experience.  

Most of the controversial issues that are in "A Crime Unlike Any Other" were also addressed in "Analyzing The Anthrax Attacks" in 2005.  But, in 2005, everyone fully agreed that the case was still unsolved.  Today, there's a scorched and battered no-man's-land between those who view the case has having been solved and those who angrily believe with absolute certainty that the case has not been solved.

Last week, I learned that even people who agree that Dr. Ivins was the anthrax killer can get very upset if their views about how and why Ivins did it are disputed.

So, there's a great potential for controversy over what's written in my new book.  And controversy definitely helps sell books.

Meanwhile, I hope everyone votes on Tuesday.

Ed

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Oct. 28 - Nov. 3, 2012 Discussions

My web site comment for Sunday, October 28, was entirely about the progress I'm making with my new book. 

I made a bunch of minor changes and ordered 5 more "proof" copies.  They're scheduled to arrive on Wednesday.  I'm not sure who will get those copies, but it seemed wrong to not have any copies available to send out if I suddenly thought of someone who should have received a copy.

Now I'm waiting to see what the people who received earlier "proof" copies have to say about the book. 

On an impulse, I had a poster of the front cover created.  Here's what it looks like (before I framed it and hung it on the wall behind my desk):


  I think my book reads like a "thriller."  Will others agree?

I think my book is a pleasure to read.  Will others agree?

I think my book is filled with fascinating NEW information.  Will others agree? 

I think my book provides new perspectives on the case.   Will others agree?

Before very long, I'm going to be getting some answers to those questions.


I ended my Sunday comment with some relevant quotes:

"Good writers have two things in common: they prefer being understood to being admired, and they do not write for the overcritical and too shrewd reader."
                                            - Friedrich W. Nietzsche

"No author is so poor that he cannot be of some service, if it is only as a witness of his time."
                                            - Claude Fauchet

"The most original authors are not so because they advance what is new, but because they put what they have to say as if it had never been said before."
                                            - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"There are three difficulties in authorship: to write anything worth publishing, to find honest men to publish it, and to get sensible men to read it."
                                            - Caleb C. Colton


Ed

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oct. 21 - Oct. 29, 2012 Discussions

The first part of my Sunday comment on my web site is about my new book.  I received 5 "proof" copies on Friday.  I took a picture of them before sending out three copies to people who will go through it looking for typos, errors in grammar and other minor errors.  Here's a photo I took of the books:



And here's a YouTube video I hastily shot of me looking the books over before I plunked three of the books into envelopes for shipping:


I've ordered another 5 proofs which should arrive on Wednesday.  They won't have a couple typos I found, and all the illustrations after #4 will be renumbered.  The first set of proofs had an illustration numbered "4a" which I changed to #5 and renumbered the other 26 illustrations after it.  I plan to send those proofs to newspapers who have a particular interest in the case.

The book should be available for sale around November 12 at this link:  https://www.createspace.com/4019175

The last part of my Sunday comment was about the book "500 Days," which just came out.  It mentions the anthrax attacks quite a bit, but it's not about the attacks.  If "500 Days" sells well, maybe it will generate some new interest in a book that is all about the anthrax attacks of 2001.  I hope, I hope.

Ed 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Oct. 14 - Oct. 20, 2012 Discussions

I haven't seen any 11th anniversary articles about the anthrax attacks of 2001.  And I'm not seeing any news about the Syracuse hoax letters.  So, the entire Sunday comment on my web site was about my new book.  Here's what I expect the cover art will look like:


It's a book unlike any other about a crime unlike any other.

It tells the story of the case, how Ivins committed the crime, how the media and conspiracy theorists misled the public about the case, and how the FBI eventually figured out who did it.

I keep wondering what people who aren't really familiar with the case will say if the read the book.  Will they be stunned by all the mistakes made by nearly everyone involved?   Will they be amazed by what a messy process it was to find the killer?  Will they be surprised by all the important details they knew nothing about?

What will FBI investigators and DOJ prosecutors think of it?  The book explains a lot more than they did about how Ivins went about committing the crime.  The book fills in a lot of blanks. 

What will journalists think about it?  The book doesn't paint a very nice picture of their profession.  The anthrax attacks of 2001 resulted in some of the worst examples of media reporting in modern times. 

What will scientists think about it?  There are many examples in the book of scientists with mistaken beliefs arguing against scientists with solid facts

What will friends and co-workers of Bruce Ivins think of it?

Time will tell.

I expect to be receiving five "proof" copies on Wednesday.  I'll then send out the "proofs" to people who will go through the book looking for typos and minor problems in grammar, etc.  When I have their feedback, I'll make the changes and tell the printing company (Create Space) to go ahead and release it.  They'll make it available for sale on Amazon.com and it can be ordered via bookstores.  I expect it to be available in November.

Ed

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oct. 7 - Oct. 13, 2012 Discussions

Last week, there were no 11th anniversary news stories about the anthrax attacks of 2001.  Nor were there any updates about the Syracuse hoax letters.  So, my comment on my web site for Sunday October 7 was all about the progress I've made on my new book.

I received another rejection from a literary agent last week.  It was another form letter, but it was in response to a query I sent out on August 1.  So, it took the agent 65 days to respond.  That was the only response I received, so it's looking more and more like I'm going to self-publish.

One thing you need to do if you self-publish and don't want to hire "professionals" to do all the work for you, is to design the cover.  I think I've pretty much settled on the cover art for the book.  For the moment, I'm still keeping the title confidential, but here's what the combined back and front covers will probably look like:

 
I decided to publish the book via Create Space, which is owned by Amazon.com.  It's "print on demand" company, which means they do not publish a truckload of books and send them to you to put in your garage or in a warehouse somewhere.  It means you do not have to fill the orders for books and incur the shipping costs to get copies to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.  In theory, the print-on-demand company just prints a copy whenever anyone wants one, and they take care of the shipping.  (In reality, they probably print a small supply and reprint when the small supply is gone.)  That makes the production costs for a single book much higher, but it also means you won't end up with a warehouse full of books you cannot sell.

Click HERE for Wikipedia's explanation of what print-on-demand is all about.

I have lots of other chores to do before they can start printing.  I need to get a Library of Congress Control Number, which goes on the page after the cover page of the book.  When I have that, I need to upload a single pdf file to Create Space that contains the entire book.  They run some kind of program that checks for typical errors in the pdf file.  If there are no errors, we then go through a process of doing "proofs" to see what the printed book pages will actually look like.  Those "proofs" are shipped to me to look over.  If everything is okay, they then tell me how much it will cost to print copies.  That tells me what the retail price needs to be.  That enables me to put the price on the back cover and obtain the UPC scanner code for the bottom of the back cover.  That lets me finalize the cover art.  And, again there's a "proof" process.

Then I'll probably have them print me 30 or 40 copies, which I'll give to members of my family and to sources who helped me with the book.  I may also send copies to journalists and scientists who might write reviews for me.

So, the end is in sight.  I'm still hoping that an agent will want to represent the book, but if no agent has asked to do that by the time I've received the 30 or 40 copies and had a chance to look them over, I'll tell Create Space and Amazon.com to put the book on sale.

Ed   

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sept. 30 - Oct. 6, 2012 Discussions

The news is that there is no news.  Last week,there were no discussions, no news articles and no 11th anniversary articles about the anthrax attacks of 2001.

On Monday, I sent out a final batch of 14 query letter emails to literary agents to tell them about my new book.  I received back 2 rejections the same day, 2 more the next day, and 1 on Friday.  I also received a form-letter rejection slip from book publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux on Monday.

So, it looks more and more like I'll be self-publishing. 

I finished the first version of the Index for my book.  I may go through the book again just to add more entries about Bruce Ivins.  He's mentioned on nearly every page in about 70% of the book, so I tended to just pass over those mentions when I did the first version of the Index for everyone and everything else.  Finishing the Index says that my book will be 391 pages long after I complete the 2-page "About the Author" section.

The next step is to get some quotes from printing companies on how much it will cost me to print 300 copies of the 391-page book.  Once I have those quotes, I can do a Cost-Benefit analysis to see if I should go with a regular printing company or a print-on-demand company like iUniverse.

Meanwhile, there's still been no arrest or news in the Syracuse hoax letter case.  "DXer" on Lew Weinstein's blog lives in Syracuse, and he's saying, "It appears that there’s going to be an arrest shortly in the Syracuse anthrax hoax letters matter."  I hope so.  It's a very interesting case, and I'd like to see how all the various pieces of the puzzle actually fit together.

Ed


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sept. 23 - Sept. 29, 2012 Discussions

I sent out 5 more query letters to literary agents last week, but I received no responses - not even any rejections.  When I sent out query letters in March and April, I received responses to 60% of them, and there's usually one agent who responds (with a rejection) the same day or the next day.

Nevertheless, I'll be sending out a bunch of new query letters this coming week.  It should be the last of them.  There aren't any more agents on the list I developed a couple months back.

Meanwhile, there's been no news about the Syracuse hoax anthrax letters.  It's a subject I find to be of great interest.  I hope that the FBI is still checking tips or the DOJ is presenting evidence to a grand jury.  I wouldn't like the case to just vanish into oblivion.   

Most of my Sunday comment on my web site this week was about the frustrations of building an index for my book.  What should I include, what should I omit?  It's apparently totally arbitrary.  There are no fixed rules.  So, I'll just do the best I can.

A representative at iUniverse told me that they like to build the indexes for the books they publish.  I shudder to think what such an index would look like for my book which mentions Ivins on at least 60 percent of the pages.  The WORD program for building indexes doesn't even seem to have the ability to combine strings of pages (e.g., combine 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 into 1-5).

I keep waiting for some news organization to publish a long article about the 11th anniversary of the anthrax attacks of 2001.  No sign of anything so far.  But, when is the anniversary?  It's probably either October 5, when the first victim died or October 12 when the first letter was found.  Or it could just be the month of October.  Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Laurie Garrett gave a speech at Harvard a couple weeks ago where she said she thought Ivins didn't do it.  On Monday, October 1, the Emmy Awards for News & Documentary shows will be presented.  Will the error-filled PBS Frontline program "The Anthrax Files" win?  We'll find out in 8 days.

Ed   

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sept. 16 - Sept. 22, 2012 Discussions

The Syracuse hoax anthrax letters were the major subject for discussion last week. Now things have gone quiet on that subject. 

Presumably, the FBI is still sorting through the tips they received.  Or, they may be in the process of making a case.  I'm not sure what is needed to make an arrest in such a situation.  It's a federal crime.  Does that mean that the evidence has to be presented to a grand jury?  Or, if they have solid evidence, can a judge simply sign an arrest warrant?

I would think that if an arrest warrant had been signed, we would hear about it almost immediately.  So, it's more likely that the FBI is either still sorting through the tips (most likely), or they are presenting a case to a grand jury (less likely).

I keep thinking about the Dallas hoax letters, where the FBI announced a $150,000 reward back in May.  There's been no news about that.  I haven't heard about any arrest.  And, I don't recall ever hearing of someone collecting such a reward posted by the FBI.  But, that's probably because the recipient wants to keep it secret out of fear of some kind of retaliation from the culprit's family.

On this blog, there were some interesting discussions last week.  I keep thinking I should build a list of Richard Rowley's beliefs and my responses to those beliefs.  It would save a lot of time if I could just copy and paste a response each time he repeats the same argument.

Lastly, I sent out 3 more query letters to literary agents last week, but I received no responses.  So, I'm planning to send out 5 more letters tomorrow.  My Oct. 8 deadline is approaching.  I could be done with the index for my book in a week or so.  And, I need to either have something in the works with an agent, or I'm going to have to make a decision on how to self-publish.

Ed

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sept. 9 - Sept. 15, 2012 Discussions

My first comment on Sunday, Sept. 9, was mostly an update on the progress with my book.  I've finished creating the pdf files for the text part of the 6x9 book version, and I'm now about to start working on the Index.  I'll send out more queries to agents, starting tomorrow. 

In my comment, I  also wrote about how "Anonymous" (a.k.a. "DXer") is complaining because I'm deleting his posts to this blog.  He wants to argue about the rabbits Ivins was working with in early October 2001.  It appears that, to "DXer," if Ivins had any work of any kind to do during that period, he MUST have done it at night and on weekends, thus explaining his unexplained long hours working nights and weekends. 

But, records show that there were animal handlers who took care of the menial work involving animals and even checked on the animals.  Autoclaving dead animals would almost certainly be done by animal handlers.  Plus, people don't usually stand around twiddling their thumbs while the autoclave goes through a sterilization cycle.  The machine turns off by itself, so it's more common to put things into the autoclave, turn it on, then go back to your own work, and then to come back to the autoclave later to empty one load and put in another.

There's NOTHING of substance in anything DXer posted to Lew Weinstein's web site.  He just asks questions instead of providing answers.  He posts documents, but the documents don't answer any questions.  They only cause DXer to ask more questions. 

The facts say that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax mailer.  Asking meaningless questions that no one else has the time or interest to answer won't change the facts.  And, besides, when answers are provided to DXer's questions, the answers usually show that asking the question was just a big waste of everyone's time.

My second Sunday comment on my web site was about anthrax hoax letters that someone has been mailing from Syracuse, NY, since 1997.  The letters are very interesting.  Click HERE to go the the Syracuse Post-Standard article about the letters.         

Ed

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sept. 2 - Sept. 8, 2012 Discussions

I received a response from an agent I queried on August 20.  It was a rejection.  She couldn't see why anyone would buy a book where the information was already available on a web site.  And, why would anyone buy a book about the anthrax attacks of 2001 if they weren't already fascinated by the case?

I would think that the first people to buy the book would be people who read my web site.  And the rest of the world should be totally fascinated by the facts of the case, since it was one of the most complex cases in the history of law enforcement and helped start a war with Iraq.

But, the agent wasn't interested.  So, now I'm waiting for responses from some other agents I queried earlier, and from two BOOK PUBLISHERS I queried on Monday.

Meanwhile, I've been arguing with Richard Rowley on this blog.  He seems to believe it's okay to allow mentally ill people to work with deadly pathogens in high-security government laboratories.  I believe that is just plain NUTS. So, we don't seem to have any way to find any common ground.

Mr. Rowley also argued endlessly that there must be PROOF of motive in a criminal case.  I showed him sources which said they don't even have to mention motive to prove a person guilty.  So, he changed the argument to be that if motive is mentioned in a criminal case, then PROOF of motive must be provided.  And, he provided a link to a site that says he is wrong and I am right.  Why he didn't first read what is on that site, I don't know.  He didn't cite anything from it, he just posted the link - as if that was enough to win the argument.

I find it difficult to believe that anyone can argue that "PROOF OF MOTIVE" is necessary to convict someone when all the facts say that idea is just plain preposterous.  But, as everyone knows, Anthrax Truthers don't care about facts.  They believe their beliefs override all facts.

Ed

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Aug. 26 - Sept.. 1, 2012 Discussions

My comment for Sunday, Aug. 26 was mostly about the progress with my book.  I received no responses to any queries to agents during the past week, and I've decided to try querying a publisher this week.  Some research I did uncovered a major book publisher that seems perfectly suited to my book.

I'm also preparing the "final" version of the book, creating the pdf files that printing companies need to print books.  I'm currently on Chapter 7.  I added about a page to Chapter 4 where I evaluate Bruce Ivins' September 17, 1993 letter to the editors of the Frederick News-Post defending pedophilia.  The facts seem to indicate that Ivins was thinking of a teenage girl when he wrote that letter at age 47.  A year later, he hired the girl to work for him as an assistant in his lab.

I was amused last week to see the reaction "Anonymous" had to my pointing out to him in my August 22 post, that his interpretations of what Tom Walker wrote in his book were totally wrong.  "Anonymous" stopped posting to this blog, but he posted a bunch of messages to Lew Weinstein's blog where he admits that he didn't understand what he was reading in Walker's book, and he then demonstrated that he also didn't understand what he was reading in the Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel report.  In one post, "Anonymous" wrote:

"The consulting psychiatrist, for example, points to the fact that Bruce’s mom went to Monmouth College.

Bruce's mom did NOT go to Monmouth College. She went to Florida Women's State College where she got a degree in home economics.  The EBAP report (and the "consulting psychiatrist") did NOT say that Bruce's mom went to Monmouth college.  The EBAP report says on page 130:

"By using the ZIP code of Monmouth Junction, Dr. Ivins may have been
portraying in code the connection between KKG and his own identity.
Monmouth Junction may have represented the union of father
(Monmouth, N.J.) and mother (Monmouth College, KKG), i.e., himself.
And it also represented his entanglement, his obsession with KKG."       
  
It's a psychiatrist's way of saying that Ivins may have seen some mystical connection between his own ancestors from Monmouth, NJ, and the origins of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority in Monmouth, IL.

Ed

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Aug. 19 - Aug. 25, 2012 Discussions

My Sunday comment for August 19 began with information about the progress (or lack of progress) with my new book: I didn't receive any responses to query letters during the week, and I was setting October 8 as the "deadline" for my attempts to find an agent.  If I don't have a literary agent seriously looking at the book by October 8, I plan to be ready for the final steps in self-publishing - getting the ISBN code, signing the contract with the printing company, and sending out the CD with all the pdf files, fonts and the cover art.

I also mentioned some of the problems I'm having in creating the pdf files.  Formatting the Table of Contents and the List of Exhibits has been particularly frustrating.  But, I'm making progress.

Then I mentioned the latest attempt by "Anonymous" a.k.a. "Dxer" to try to show that he is right about something related to the Amerithrax investigation and I am wrong about everything.

On Saturday, it appears that he posted some questions to the previous thread on this blog that were just a devious and pathological attempt to get me to post something that was scientifically incorrect.  But, all he did was show his ignorance of science and how sneaky he can be.  I was being polite to some unknown person posting seemingly innocent questions as "Anonymous," and he was being devious by framing the questions in a way that he believed would cause me to write things that conflicted with a new scientific report he'd found.  It didn't work.  All he showed was that he didn't understand the scientific report he was trying to use against me.

I had previously stated that I'd delete all further posts from him, but I let those posts stay, since they clearly show how sick and devious he can be.

Ed  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Aug. 12 - Aug. 18 Discussions

In the comment for Sunday, August 12 on my web, I mentioned that I haven't received any responses from the literary agents I recently queried.  But, I think it may just be because it's August in New York City and everyone is either on vacation or their contacts and associates are on vacation.  I also mentioned again the problems I currently have in producing the 6x9 book size pdf file I'll need if I decide to self-publish my book.  I may have to buy a new computer to safely solve all those problems.  I need a backup computer anyway.

But, the major portion of my Sunday comment was about my decision to delete all further posts to this blog by the person who identifies himself here as "Anonymous" and on Lew Weinstein's blog as "DXer."  There no longer seems any value to allowing his posts to go through.  He just argues the same nonsense over and over, and there's clearly malicious intent to his posts claiming no publisher will ever represent my book.  I asked him why Laurie Garrett had to self-publish her book "I Heard The Sirens Scream" even though she almost certainly already had an agent, but he didn't respond.  And, I just got tired of the implied threats in the posts by Anonymous where he says I can be sued for agreeing with the Department of Justice's finding that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer.

"Anonymous" attempted to post one message this morning which I deleted.  It was the same old thing: He doesn't approve of what I read and don't read. 

Ed          

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Aug. 5 - Aug. 11, 2012 Discussions

The comment I wrote for my web site for Sunday, Aug. 5 was mostly about my continuing search to find a literary agent to help me get a publisher for my new book.  It's very slow going.

Three months ago, on May 9, 2012, I sent out 12 query letters at one time.  7 agents responded with "sorry, but it's not our kind of project" or "we're too busy right now" rejection slips. The other 5 didn't respond at all.   The rejections arrived after 1, 2, 8, 9, 19, 20 and 35 days.  So, there's no real pattern, other than that Thursday and Friday seem to be the most popular days for sending out rejection slips.

I started to add a comment about some total nonsense posted to this blog by "Anonymous" last week in the July 9 - Aug 4 discussion thread.  He posted:
Therefore, handwriting analysis is a tested theory, it has been subject to peer review and publication, there is a known potential rate of error and there are standards controlling the technique's operation, and it enjoys general acceptance within the relevant scientific community.
And the facts are:
No forensic technique has taken more hits than handwriting analysis. In one particularly devastating federal ruling, United States v. Saelee (2001), the court noted that forensic handwriting analysis techniques had seldom been tested, and that what testing had been done "raises serious questions about the reliability of methods currently in use." The experts were frequently wrong--in one test "the true positive accuracy rate of laypersons was the same as that of handwriting examiners; both groups were correct 52 percent of the time."   (Click HERE for the source.)
Instead, I posted the analogy I wrote in response to a post from Richard Rowley, comparing the solving of the Amerithrax case to putting together the pieces of a 500-piece picture puzzle.

I also mentioned in my Sunday comment that I was trying to think of ways to get the voters for the Emmy awards to see what kind of inaccuracies were in the nominated PBS Frontline program "The Anthrax Files."

Ed

Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 29 - August 4, 2012 Discussions

Last week, I found it interesting to learn that James Holmes - the Colorado theater killer - was seeing a psychiatrist.  Before the shootings, Holmes sent a notebook to his psychiatrist allegedly telling her what he was planning to do.  It reminded me of Bruce Ivins, who would go see a psychiatrist whenever he started thinking of killing people. And, it appears that Holmes was being treated for schizophrenia, just like Ivins.

But, the big discovery last week was learning that the wildly inaccurate PBS Frontline documentary "The Anthrax Files" is a finalist for an Emmy Award for outstanding journalism.  (Click HERE to view a list of the distortions and errors in the PBS program.)  And I also was reminded of a book written in 2009 that suggested that weapons manufacturers were behind the anthrax attacks of 2001.  That means that four books have been published about the case since it was announced that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer: One book said it was really weapons manufacturers, another said it was really al Qaeda, another was neutral, and the fourth agreed with the FBI.

So, it's really clear that there is a need for my book which debunks all the alternative theories and explains how the FACTS show beyond any reasonable doubt that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer.

I rewrote the query letter I've been using, and starting on Monday, I will be presenting my book that way: It's a book that explains all the evidence that proves Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer, it debunks all the alternative theories, and it leaves no room for doubt about who did it.  Bruce Ivins did it.

Lastly, my Sunday comment also explained how Mohamed Atta's handwriting is NOTHING like the handwriting on the anthrax letters, even if a person can find a few individual characters in examples of Atta's handwriting that seem similar to characters in the anthrax writing examples.

Ed    

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22 - July 28, 2012 Discussions

I'm finding myself to be very curious about what motivated James Holmes to go on that shooting rampage in Aurora, Colorado.  He'd been planning it for months.  He was out of work, which may have been part of his motivation, but he didn't kill himself, which seems to be the pattern for people who go on killing rampages as a result of being out of work.

Holmes appears to have been an active church goer, which generally indicates Right Wing leanings.  But, he didn't start buying his guns until a few months ago, so he apparently wasn't a life-long gun nut.  He was gifted, intelligent, and somewhat of a recluse.  But, he also once reportedly worked as a camp counselor for underprivileged children.  These aren't inconsistencies, they're parts of a complex puzzle.  Like Bruce Ivins, Holmes is a scientist who was socially inept, who appeared "nice," but who had an evil "dark side" that no one seemed to know about.  Ivins talked about going out "in a blaze of glory."  James Holmes wore body armor when he shot up that theater, and he surrendered peacefully.  That seems to say that he has a story he wants to tell -- when the time is right.

The bulk of my Sunday comment was about the task of finding a literary agent.  If the query letter I sent out on Thursday fails, I'm going to try a change in tactics.  But the new "tactic" only applies to a few agents.

Ed     

Sunday, July 15, 2012

July 15 - July 21, 2012 Discussions

My Sunday comment for this week was mostly about being ready to send out another query letter to a literary agent.  I've cut 142 pages (28,000 words) from the previous version of the manuscript.

I also commented on when former Wisconsin Governor and former U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson was talking with a group of Tea Party members recently, he mentioned the things he had to do after the 9/18 attack, and people assumed he meant 9/11.  They ridiculed him for not remembering the right date.

Thompson meant the anthrax attack of 9/18. (September 18, 2001 was the date the first anthrax letters were postmarked.)  Thompson evidently remembered that date very vividly, but, there probably wasn't a single person in his audience who remembered it.

That's the kind of mistake I made with the first version of my manuscript.  I thought everyone - particularly literary agents - would vividly remember the anthrax attacks.  But, it appears very few people do.  So, when I made the changes, I cut out all the unnecessary detail and made it more readable for the average person.

The query letter I'll send out tomorrow uses a referral from a well-known author.  If it fails, I have one more referral I can use before I either try to obtain more referrals or I self-publish the book.

Ed      

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 8 - July 14, 2012 Discussions

My comment for this week begins with describing the progress I'm making on the overhaul of my book in an attempt to cut at least 150 pages.  The statistics show that I'm on course.  But, more importantly, the book also seems about 1,000% improved and much more of a page-turner thriller.

The comment then leads into a realization that Ivins told Mara Linscott about his KKG burglaries just after the FBI and postal inspectors discovered which mailbox had been used to mail the anthrax letters -- a mailbox just 175 feet from the KKG office in Princeton.  The finding of the mailbox would really have shaken Ivins up, but what was he thinking when he started to tell Mara about his connections to KKG?  And Mara quickly told Pat Fellows.

The mention of the mailbox used for the mailings also reminded me that I've never been able to accept and believe that the anthrax mailer used the same mailbox for BOTH mailings.  I think that Ivins used a mailbox in Franklin Park for the first mailing, but the crude powder couldn't seep through the envelopes so easily, so no trace was left in the mailbox.  The second mailing left spores in the mailbox in Princeton, so the only available evidence says it was the mailbox used for both mailings.  It's a case where the "only available evidence" says one thing, but I really feel that reality is something a bit different.  But, it's just a "feeling" that cannot be proved nor disproved, so I don't mention it in my book.  If I had, it would have been another long explanation that I'd have to cut to get the book down to a "readable" length.

Ed   

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July 1 - July 7, 2012 Discussions

The main topic of my Sunday comment was the progress of the overhaul of my book to shorten it by at least 15%.  But, of course, it's not just a matter of cutting unnecessary material, I also have to make sure that the narrative runs smoothly and keeps the reader reading.  So, there's a lot of polishing that needs to be done after the big chunks of unnecessary material are cut away.

One agent wanted me to cut 150 pages from the 706 page manuscript, another wanted me to cut 200 pages.  I think I can cut 150 pages, but I'm not sure if I can cut 200.  I'm also moving most of the pictures out of the text and into a separate picture section.  I didn't realize why most books did things that way.  Now I do.  Putting pictures into the text can disrupt the flow of the narrative.  I need to target the book to the people who read books for pleasure, not to students of criminology.  People who read crime books for pleasure are a MUCH bigger audience, and unnecessary pictures can be a distraction to their reading.

For what it's worth, here's a chart showing the number of visitors to my web site for the month of June versus the number of visitors to the main Anthrax Truther web site:


My site got about 3-times as many visitors as Lew Weinstein's site.  The surge on June 12 was from the Cracked.com article.  It's also clear that the patterns are somewhat similar, with mid-week peaks and weekend lows.  I'm not sure what it means, but it seems to mean that more people are interested in the facts of the case than in the theories of the Anthrax Truthers.

Ed

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 24 - June 30, 2012 Discussions

My comment for Sunday on my web site was mainly about my desire to start working on the "final draft" of my book and to get it into print, whether via self-publishing or via a regular publisher.  There are still things pending - such as the supposedly imminent release of Ivins' private emails, some additional pictures the FBI is sending me, and the General Accountability Office's (GAO's) review of the Amerithrax investigation. If any of it gets released before I actually send out the CD containing the pdf files the printer will use to print the book, I can always stop and incorporate something that is of great importance.  But, I can't just keep waiting and waiting.

I also explained in my Sunday comment why I continue to argue with Anthrax Truthers even though there seems no way to change their minds about anything.  That's something else that evidently won't stop until after the GAO releases its review and after my book is printed and fades into history.

I no longer argue with people who have theories about the JFK assassination.
I no longer argue with people who don't believe Americans went to the moon.

There'll come a time when I'll no longer argue with people who have alternative theories about the anthrax attacks of 2001.  It's a matter of diminishing returns.  I still find it somewhat educational, but it's becoming less and less so.    

Ed

Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 17 - June 23, 2012 Discussions

While waiting for the agent who has my book to tell me what she thinks of it, I've been working on a new supplemental page for my web site.  The new page is titled "The illogical al Qaeda Theory."  It shows that no two people with an "al Qaeda Theory" about the anthrax case have exactly the same theory.  Some believe the anthrax was made in a lab in Afghanistan.  Some believe it was made in a lab at George Mason University.  Or maybe it was made in a lab in Canada.  It doesn't make any difference to these theorists that they don't agree with each other, or that the facts say that all their theories are wrong.

Meanwhile, since Richard Rowley resorted to personal insults in his posts to this blog, I'll be deleting any new posts he attempts to make -- unless he discusses the facts of the case instead of his beliefs.

And, "Anonymous" seems to be working another case these days - an art theft case.  He evidently thinks his experience in determining that al Qaeda was behind the anthrax attacks gives him good experience to work on this new case.

I'm waiting on some pictures from the FBI that I want to use in my book. I'm also waiting on some pictures from USAMRIID.  I'm waiting on the FBI to release Ivins' personal emails.  And, as stated above, I'm waiting on a response from the literary agent who is reading my book.

Waiting is really really really hard work.   

Ed

Sunday, June 10, 2012

June 10 - June 16, 2012 Discussions

My comment for Sunday, June 10 was mostly about the agony of waiting to see whether the agent who is reading my new book will want to represent it.  I'm hoping to find out late this week.  I'm afraid she won't want to represent a controversial book that wasn't written by someone with impeccable credentials, but times are a-changing, and credentials in today's Internet-driven world aren't always the same as they were pre-Internet.  Plus, much of the book involves arguments between "experts" with opinions and experts with facts, where both parties have impeccable credentials. However, I'm hopeful that the agent will want to represent my book.  It is very badly needed, since it shows the fallacy of most belief-driven arguments.

Meanwhile, I'm finding it hard to keep occupied.  I can't work on the final draft of book for two reasons: (1) I need to hold changes to a minimum until the agent gives her opinion on the current version, and (2) I'm waiting on some FOIA requests for pictures and for copies of Ivins' emails.  There isn't much point on making revisions until I see whether those requests will produce useful photos and information.

Also meanwhile, "Anonymous" and Richard Rowley continue to argue beliefs and opinions against facts on this interactive blog.  Is it really that difficult to understand that opinions and beliefs mean NOTHING if cold, hard facts say that those opinions and beliefs are nonsense?

Ed    

Sunday, June 3, 2012

June 3 - June 9, 2012 Discussions

My entire comment on Sunday June 3 was an analysis of Laurie Garrett's beliefs regarding the anthrax attacks of 2001.  On this interactive blog and via emails, "Anonymous" keeps harping on how I haven't read Garrett's book "I Heard The Sirens Scream," which he seemingly feels is Holy Writ proving that Muslim terrorists were behind the anthrax attacks of 2001.

My analysis of Garrett's beliefs, based upon two lengthy interviews she gave to NPR (National Public Radio) and to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, shows that Garrett has NO real evidence that al Qaeda was behind the anthrax attacks.  All she has is a hodge-podge of scrambled, incoherent beliefs that the government screwed up and allowed 9/11 to happen, so they must have also screwed up when they found that Bruce Ivins was responsible for the anthrax attacks and not al Qaeda.  She compares the FBI's investigation to the antics of the Three Stooges.

She never mentions the evidence against Ivins, so it's doubtful that she has even bothered to examine it.

She admits that "most experts" don't agree with her.  So, she also acknowledges that "most experts" find the Three Stooges to be more believable than her.  But, she's too "outraged" by the failings of the U.S. government in allowing 9/11 to happen to care about what "most experts" think about the anthrax attacks.

Ed

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27 - June 2, 2012 Discussions

The main part of my comment on Sunday May 27 was about an article in Clinician's Biosecurity News where yet another scientists states his uninformed and incorrect beliefs about the Amerithrax investigation.

Then I wrote about another scientist who has been on my email forum for a decade, and who suddenly broke a long silence to send me the article from Clinician's Biosecurity News.  When I pointed out the errors in the article, the scientist went into his standard mode of arguing his beliefs against my facts and his credentials versus my credentials.  And, in my Sunday comment I explained how that left no possible way to reach any kind of mutual understanding.

Which brings us back to last week's discussion with Richard Rowley on this blog.  I tried to explain to him how we have no basis for communication, since he believes facts mean nothing if he can find other meanings for the facts, and I believe that facts are the key to understanding everything, and even if the facts can sometimes be misleading, it's still necessary to stick to finding and examining the facts until it becomes certain what the facts actually mean.

While waiting for an agent to tell me what she thinks of my new book, I'm finding myself with a lot of time on my hands.  I'm also waiting on some new materials from Freedom of Information Act requests I sent to the FBI and to USAMRIID, which means I can't start on the final version of my book until I learn if I'm going to get the requested information.  So, that probably explains why I spent a lot of time last week philosophizing about the fundamentals of person to person communication.

Ed

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20 - May 26, 2102 Discussions

The main topic for my Sunday comment was the fact that a literary agency asked to see my book -- not because I'd sent a successful query letter, but because a science writer with many published books to his credit offered to assist me in finding an agent.  He succeeded on his second try.

So, I sent the agent the entire book via emails, and now I'm waiting to see what's going to happen.  But, I'll still self-publish if the agent turns it down and I cannot find another agent who wants to represent it.

I also commented on how "Anonymous" seems to have decided against further posts to this blog, and he sends me emails instead (often carbon copying Mr. Rowley).  The email I received this morning was nearly incoherent and about me citing "the PR person of an X-ray company" when I quoted a document on this blog last week which said there had been "hundreds of thousands" of hoax emails.  "Anonymous" feels I should have used official FBI statistics instead.
 
Why doesn't he argue that on this blog?  Apparently because he doesn't want his own mistakes documented for the world to see.

Ed

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13, - May 19, 2012 Discussions

My Sunday May 13 comment covered a lot of different topics.  I mentioned how Anthrax Truthers (and "Truthers" of all kinds) will go quiet if you can manage to get them to discuss facts instead of just their beliefs.  They have no facts of their own, and they misunderstand or deliberately misinterpret the key facts that are known, so when confronted with solid facts, all they can do is either go silent or start hurling personal insults.

I mentioned that I gave up on the two agents I'd contacted last month, and I sent out query letters to a dozen other agencies.

I mentioned some interaction I had with an FOIA officer at the FBI who was trying to fulfill my request for some pictures.  She pointed out where one of the pictures could be found on a DOJ web site I'd totally forgotten about.  That led me into a discussion of the differences between photos in pdf format on the DOJ site versus photos I obtained back in 2002 that were in high resolution TIF format.

Then I got into the kind of problems encountered when trying to track down the source of something - like a well-known picture of Bruce Ivins in his lab.

Lastly, I discussed some emails I'd exchanged with a scientist who wanted information about how Ivins was able to make the anthrax powders in the letters if he didn't take the spores directly out of flask RMR-1029.  The scientist was able to see that it was easy IF you didn't make a lot of silly assumptions about Ivins following standard procedures when creating the powders.

That discussion also pointed out the need that exists for my new book.  But, I'm working on it as fast as I can.

Ed

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 6, - May 12, 2012 Discussions

My Sunday comment on my web site was once again about Anthrax Truthers.  A couple new Truthers have appeared in recent days, the first with a theory that connects the anthrax attacks to sensational murders from the 1940s, the second with a theory that connects the anthrax attacks to the New Hampshire State Lottery.

Then I mentioned the arguments I've been having with "Anonymous" for over ten years. He continues to dig for information to support his beliefs, but it appears that all he can find is information that is either totally irrelevant or disputes his beliefs.  As a result, all he seems to be able to do is complain that the responses to his FOIA requests weren't handled fast enough.  I also dug into his past posts to Lew Weinstein's web site to get some idea of why he persists in trying to convince the world that only he knows the truth about who sent the anthrax letters in 2001.

But, his request for Ivins' emails might produce something of interest.  There's no chance of finding anything that will support "Anonymous's" claims, of course, but the emails might help explain why Ivins was planning to build an ammonium nitrate bomb in January 2000.  I had to put together a lot of very tenuous pieces to come up with an hypothesis for my book.  I'd definitely like to have something more solid.  Hopefully, the emails will explain something, when the FBI releases them via their vault.fbi.gov web site.

Ed 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Apr. 29, - May 5, 2012 Discussions

My Sunday comment was largely about the discussions I had last week with "Anonymous" (a.k.a. "DXer" from Lew Weinstein's web site).  "Anonymous's" argument seems to be that because I do not read what he reads, I'm not adequately informed about the case.  And, to "Anonymous," that means he is right and I am wrong.

But, I also argued with another Anthrax Truther who believes the anthrax killer was also responsible for the "Chicago Lipstick Murders" which took place before Ivins was born.

Meanwhile, I continue to work on the "Notes & Resources" section of my book while I wait for responses from two large literary agencies.  My plan is to self-publish about 300 copies of my book.  But, if a regular publisher wants to publish it, I certainly wouldn't object.  I'm just not relying upon that to happen.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Apr. 22, - Apr. 29, 2012 Discussions

Sunday's comment on my web site was all about the trials and tribulations of finding a publisher for a book.

I'm in the process of trying to find a literary agent. On Friday, I received my first rejection letter. But, it was more positive than negative, since my first query email was badly written and didn't even include the chapter summaries. The response told me that agents still DO read email queries, and it told me that 15 days to get a response is probably not unusual.

I'm currently in the process of writing the Notes & References section of the book, which involves going back through all my research. That process also is also causing me to find things I didn't include in the book, and I have to wonder if I should add them or not.

So, I've got a lot of work left to do with the book while I'm continuing to send out queries to agents.

I also had an unexpected surprise when I started writing this blog entry. The format changed. It appeared that nothing works the way it formerly did -- until I found the option of going back to the old format. 

Ed

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Apr. 15, - Apr. 21, 2012 Discussions

My comment on Sunday morning was primarily about the progress I've made on my new book. I've completed the "third draft," which means I'm ready to start sending it out to agents -- assuming an agent asks to see it.

So far, I've received no responses from the two agencies I've contacted. But, past experience says it takes about 2 weeks, and it hasn't been that long for either one. If neither of the first two agencies responds before Tuesday, I'll send out another query to a third agency.

The book was written in 6x9 book format. It's 441 pages long. I'm now creating the manuscript version. It looks like it will be about 700 pages when printed.

I've also discovered a new "Russian mystery" in my web site logs. I'll have to research it further when I get an opportunity.

Ed

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Apr. 8 - Apr. 14, 2012 Discussions

My comment on Sunday was mostly about finishing the second draft of my new book. I thought it was going to be shorter than the first draft, but it turned out to be 847 words longer. I also sent out my first query letter to an agent. I did that on Thursday.

I hadn't realized it, but I've been working on the book since September 2010, about 19 months! On the other hand, when I started the second draft I didn't think I'd be done until mid-Summer. And, just a few weeks ago I stated that I didn't think it would be done until the end of April. So, I either didn't need to make as many changes as I thought I'd have to make, or I found more time to work on the book than I thought I'd have.

My focus now is on writing a much better query letter, in case the first one gets a negative response. If I get a negative response or don't get any response at all by Wednesday, I'll send out another query. There are dozens of agents looking for new material to represent. (I dealt with agents before. About 12 years ago I had an agent in Hollywood trying to sell my screenplays, and I had another agent on the East Coast trying to sell my novel "Clipper," which is currently available on Kindle.)

Meanwhile, I'll be re-reading the second draft while making notes on what needs changing or improvement.

In case you haven't read it, on Thursday I wrote a comment about the problems John Grisham had with selling his first book "A Time To Kill." The publisher printed only 5,000 copies and Grisham bought 1,000 of those. The book didn't sell well, and Grisham ended up giving away many of his thousand copies. Then his second book "The Firm" became a best seller. They re-printed "A Time To Kill" and it has since sold 20 million copies.

I don't expect anything like that with my book, but I thought it interesting that I happened upon the Newsweek article about Grisham just as I was finishing the second draft of my second book.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Apr. 1, - Apr. 7, 2012 Discussions

My comment for April 1 was about many things not directly related to the anthrax attacks of 2001, even though some seem to contain similar lessons. People seem to understand the need to have procedures in place to assure that airline pilots are mentally healthy before they take responsibility for the lives of their passengers. Is it really so much different to want policies to assure that microbiologists who work with deadly pathogens are also mentally healthy?

I also wondered if the lynch mobs forming in Florida to take justice in their own hands are much different from the lynch mobs that formed to demand Steven Hatfill's arrest in the anthrax case.

Then I got off topic and wrote about how Newsweek magazine has changed to the point where it no longer contains anything of interest to me. Last week's issue was all about the TV series "Mad Men," which I view as nothing but a soap opera. I prefer TV shows where something gets accomplished in every episode. My favorites are: (1) House, (2) The Mentalist, (3) Castle, (4) Justified, (5) Eureka.

And, I also mentioned that I've passed the half-way point on the second draft of my new book.

Ed

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mar. 25, - Mar. 31, 2012 Discussions

I got a great deal of work done on my new book last week. I hope to start contacting agents and publishers in late April.

It appears that the Kazakh/Russian attack on my web site is over. But there's still a mystery surrounding some POST commands done by a Russian site.

The argument on this blog over whether or not the EBAP report was "biased" does not appear to be resolvable. So, it's just a waste of time. Opinion versus opinion arguments accomplish nothing.

The argument says nothing about whether Ivins was guilty or innocent.
The argument says nothing about the facts of the case.

I probably wasted more time on that argument last week than I should have.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mar. 18 - Mar. 24, 2012 Discussions

The main comment I wrote on Sunday, March 18 was about my finally getting started on the second draft of my new book. I'm currently trying to figure out what to write about the "non-demotion" that Ivins seems to have been informed of in August 2001. Ivins seems to have been told that Patricia Worsham was going to be promoted to become his supervisor, effective in early 2002. I know Ivins knew of the change in September 2001, because he wrote a nasty letter related to the "non-demotion" on Sept. 27, 2001. But, I've only got an "impression" or just a "feeling" that he was informed of it in August. He was going to be working for a woman, which would be a real problem for Ivins. And, that woman was younger and less experienced than Ivins was. That would have been a real blow to Ivins' ego, and a bigger motivator than a lot of other concerns he had at the time.

However, another topic for discussion on this blog could be the comment I wrote on Saturday, when I mentioned how an Anthrax Truther on Lew Weinstein's web site "outed" another Truther's "suspect" and criticized a third Truther's theory at the same time. And he explained that the third Anthrax Truther's "suspect" is a fourth Anthrax Truther.

Publicly naming a Truther's "suspect" was a true breach of confidence, but the Truther on Weinstein's site has also made it a practice to repeatedly and publicly name a suspect I had back in 2001 (He got the name from newspaper articles, not from me). I had to delete a post on this blog when he tried to do it here.

I thought the posting on Lew's site was a good illustration of how the Truthers each has his own suspect, and each thinks all the others are totally wrong. The only thing they agree about is that the FBI must be wrong, because if the FBI is right, then every one of their own individual theories must be wrong. And none of them believes his own theory can be wrong.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mar. 11 - Mar. 17, 2012 Discussions

The main subject in my comment for Sunday, March 11, is the lunatic theories from the Lunatic Fringe which argue that inconclusive evidence should be considered conclusive toward proving Bruce Ivins to have been innocent.

If, seven years after the attack, Bruce Ivins didn't have the pen that was used to address the anthrax envelopes, the Truthers argue that should mean he was innocent.

Or, isn't that what they're claiming? They don't actually make claims. Instead they make statements: "Experts determined that there was not a single exemplar written by him in which the distinctive “fluid-like” ink used on the envelope was a match." So what!? They don't exactly say why they made such a statement, but they IMPLY that it means something.

It's probably too late to do anything in the Amerithrax case, but it seems like it might be a good idea to create a new law that would authorize the creation of a Special Inquest in situations of national importance where a jury trial cannot be held because the accused killer either died or in some other way became unable to stand trial. It could also be a jury trial in absentia, which occasionally take place when a person on trial escapes custody and thereby waves his constitutional right to face his accusers.

The Anthrax Truthers currently seem to be hoping the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will somehow overturn the DOJ's closing of the Amerithrax case. When that doesn't happen, they'll be claiming that the GAO is part of "the government's" coverup of what really happened.

Many others (including me) hope that some kind of Congressional Investigation of the Amerithrax case will take place. But that seems highly unlikely.

The Internet is giving the Lunatic Fringe a bigger voice in public matters than they ever had in the past. No one wants to cut off their freedom of speech, but many people seem to have the bizarre, almost INSANE belief that dead people should always be presumed innocent because they cannot stand trial. And Anthrax Truthers constantly make up new rules of evidence to suit themselves.

So, it seems that -- in crimes of great national interest -- it might be worthwhile to hold trials or inquests in absentia to allow a jury to decide if the evidence really says beyond a reasonable doubt that a dead person did commit the crimes for which he's accused.

If nothing else, such a trial would stop all the endless arguments about what a jury would or would not have done.