Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jan. 29 - Feb. 4, 2012 Discussions

The (A) topic of my Sunday comment this week was about all the arguments I've been having with Anthrax Truthers on this blog. While the arguments sometimes seem to be a total waste of time, at other times they seem to be very interesting and educational. Even the arguments which are just repeats of old arguments can be beneficial when they force me to find new arguments to challenge their old arguments. And, of course, there's the added benefit of having a record of how Anthrax Truthers think.

It was also made VERY clear by last week's postings from Anthrax Truthers that the disdain they have for the FBI's "circumstantial evidence" against Ivins doesn't apply to the wildly circumstantial evidence they use in support of their own theories.

Lastly, my (C) comment on Sunday was about some additional "evidence" I noticed which seems to further indicate that a child wrote the anthrax letters. The way the writer wrote Y's is very odd. It appears he may have been drawing Y's with THREE STROKES. And, sometimes it seems he drew his Y's starting at the upper left and sometimes starting at the upper right. That is VERY childlike, and it is NOTHING like any example of handwriting we have from the 9/11 hijackers.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Jan. 22 - Jan. 28, 2012 Discussions

The first subject in the comment I wrote for my web site this morning was about the fact that Bruce Ivins looked at anthrax colonies on agar plates nearly every day, yet he failed to notice that flask RMR-1029 contained countless morphological variants.

Yet, Terry Abshire (who had far less experience with anthrax than Bruce Ivins) noticed morphological variants in the attack anthrax, which eventually led the FBI to flask RMR-1029 and helped identify Bruce Ivins as the anthrax killer.

And, Bruce Ivins evidently believed that morphological variants resulted from passaging. Or he didn't understand what morphological variants were. Either way, it was one of the errors that led to his downfall.

I also mention discussions with various Anthrax Truthers. One tried to convince me that the FBI was wrong in the way they instructed people to create samples for the FBI repository. But, I showed her that she just didn't understand what the real world is like outside of her own microbiology laboratory.

Another Truther tried to convince me that I was a "True Believer" because I accept the facts and can't be persuaded by beliefs and opinions.

And a third Anthrax Truther started posting sermons to this blog about his beliefs, and I had to start deleting them. He also endlessly argues that my conclusion that a child wrote the anthrax letters is wrong, because he has a different theory. And, it doesn't matter to him what the facts say, because doesn't accept the facts as being facts.

And, of course, Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary in spite of the fact that I find it difficult to believe that anyone would vote for him for anything. (It's difficult to believe, but NOT impossible to believe.)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jan. 15 - Jan. 21, 2012 Discussions

The main topic of my Sunday comment today was the observation that Ivins committed suicide because his ego had been shattered by learning that he'd made one careless mistake after another in his preparation of the attack anthrax.

1. He thought no one would be harmed, and he killed 5 and injured 17 others.

2. He thought he used a common, totally untraceable strain of anthrax, but the Ames strain was a rare strain used primarily at USAMRIID.

3. He thought his basic lab practices prevented the formation of morphs, but his key creation, flask RMR-1029, was filled with traceable morphs.

He was wrong in all three beliefs. And that was shattering to his ego. He was not the top expert among experts that he believed himself to be. He was a careless scientist who made stupid errors in life-and-death situations. He couldn't live with being viewed that way. That's what led to his suicide.

I also point out that the FBI was wrong in thinking Ivins was giving them false information about flask RMR-1029 in January 2002. The facts say that Ivins believed that the FBI was on the wrong track in thinking that morphs in the attack anthrax would pinpoint the source of the attack powders. Ivins was trying to persuade the FBI to get off the wrong track - the track leading to USAMRIID - and onto the "right" track, the track leading to nowhere.

Ivins wasn't lying. He believed what he was telling the FBI was true. But, he later learned that he was wrong and the FBI was right.

Lastly, my Sunday comment also mentions last week's discussion with "Anonymous" on this blog, where "Anonymous" argues that I am a True Believer because I do not accept his beliefs.

I agree with the facts, and the facts say that Ivins did it. I do not totally agree with the FBI, however. But, our disagreements aren't over the main issue: Ivins' guilt. Our disagreements are over details, like the handwriting, the reason Ivins mailed the letters from New Jersey, the reason Ivins tried to convince the FBI they were wrong about the morphs, etc.

If it were possible to have an intelligent discussion with an Anthrax Truther, it would have to begin with a comparison of evidence: My evidence against Ivins versus their evidence against whoever it is they believe did it.

But, that cannot happen. I'm totally willing to be proved wrong by solid, undeniable evidence. But, all they can do is argue that they do not believe the evidence against Ivins. They believe they are right about whoever they think did it, even though they have no proof to support their beliefs. All they have is an unshakable belief that they are right. And that makes them True Believers.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jan. 8 - Jan. 14, 2012 Discussions

The first topic mentioned in my Sunday comment was the solution to the "Russian Statistics Mystery" that had bugged me for over a year. It appears to be some kind of "residue" left over from the serial.jar Trojan Horse malware put on my host's computer in November 2010. A "Trojan Horse" isn't a virus. Here's what Wikipedia says about the Trojan Horse malware:
Trojan may allow a hacker remote access to a target computer system. Once a Trojan has been installed on a target computer system, a hacker may have access to the computer remotely and perform various operations, limited by user privileges on the target computer system and the design of the Trojan.

Operations that could be performed by a hacker on a target computer system include:

Use of the machine as part of a botnet (e.g. to perform automated spamming or to distribute Denial-of-service attacks)
Data theft (e.g. retrieving passwords or credit card information)
Installation of software, including third-party malware
Downloading or uploading of files on the user's computer
Modification or deletion of files
Keystroke logging
Watching the user's screen
Crashing the computer
Anonymizing internet viewing

It appears that the guy who put the Trojan Horse on my host's computer is still attempting to get back into my host's computer via my web site. And, I'm continuing to block his attempts.

It's still a mystery why he's so persistent, but it's no longer a mystery why all those HEAD reads were showing up in my web site log.

The second subject on my Sunday comment was the way Anthrax Truthers continue to try to mislead people by asking silly and irrelevant questions, with the idea that if the questions aren't answered by the FBI, that means the Amerithrax case wasn't fully investigated -- and Ivins was innocent -- and whoever the Truther believes was the anthrax mailer could still be out there planning another attack (after 10 years).

The Truthers are also trying to mislead people by posting total nonsense. They argue that it was the FBI's fault that Ivins didn't prepare slants properly for the FBI repository. The Truthers say that the instructions were badly written. They ignore the fact that of 1,200+ samples submitted to the FBI repository, ONLY Ivins didn't follow the instructions.

Anthrax Truthers are clearly not interested in finding answers to any questions. They're only interested in creating doubt by asking irrelevant questions, by distributing misinformation and by falsely accusing the FBI of causing Ivins' "mistakes."


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Jan. 1 - Jan. 7, 2012 Discussions

The main comment this morning is about the Anthrax Truthers continuing to attempt to show that Ivins' "unexplained" hours in his lab alone during the evenings just before the anthrax attacks were actually fully explained by Ivins having to work with test animals during those times.

Their "evidence" is - as usual - a flurry of irrelevant documents which show nothing, but which they imply are proof that Ivins was working with animals.

The facts seem to show that animal handlers took care of mundane tasks like feeding the animals, cleaning their cages. Did they also check on the animals to see if they were all still alive, and make a note on a cage card if any were dead? The documents aren't clear about that.

Documents seem to indicate that veterinarians would do necropsies, NOT principal investigators like Bruce Ivins. For awhile, it appeared that the Anthrax Truthers were arguing that Ivins would do the necropsies (animal autopsies).

Documents seem to indicate that either the animal handlers disposed of the dead animals, or whoever did it just put the animal in an autoclave bag, put the bag into the autoclave and then turned the autoclave on as he or she was leaving for the day. The autoclave would go through its cycle and turn itself off when done.

The Anthrax Truthers seemed to argue that Ivins would stand around for the entire autoclave cycle, and that could account for some of his "unexplained" time in his lab in the evening.

The arguments are becoming standard Anthrax Truther arguments: Prove the negative! Prove that it was totally impossible for Ivins to have been tending to animals during those "unexplained" hours! And, if you can't prove it, that means that Muslims were behind the anthrax attacks. (They, of course, have no proof implicating Muslim terrorists, but they don't require proof for their beliefs, they only require proof for other people's claims.)

A second subject for discussion this week would be the Russians who continue to access my site in a very strange way. It's still an unsolved mystery.