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.


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.


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. 



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  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


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.