I feel silly writing about so trivial a subject with yet another disaster poised to hit New Orleans. But a few readers have expressed an interest in the topic I'm about to address, and something tells me that I won't have another chance to deal with fluff for some time to come.
Most of you will recall the great Obama COLB (Certificate of Live Birth) controversy. The allegations became particularly wild when an alleged expert in digital forensics, code-named "Techdude," claimed to have discovered proof that the COLB ascribed to Barack Obama orignally belonged to his sister, Maya Sotero. By working his computer magic, Techdude was able to tease out stray pixels spelling Maya's name, which had been covered over by a piece of background pattern, cut and pasted into place.
Or so said the dude. Alas, his dramatic announcement -- which enchanted so many within PUMA-land -- had certain Big Problems:
1. He never provided a jpg proving the existence of the name "Maya." He gave us many other images, but not the important one.
2. No-one could replicate his work.
3. His "technical" explanations of what he did made no basic sense to anyone else versed in the ways of Photoshop.
4. His defenders kept pointing to his resume, as though that
. But the resume settled nothing, since no real-world name came attached to it.
5. The dude told a story of severe harassment (including dead rabbits!) that struck many as dubious. If the bad guys already knew his real name and location, why wouldn't he tell us
6. His much-ballyhooed final report never showed up.
Techdude went into hiding shortly after it was learned that his resume exactly matched that of Adam Fink, who runs a firm called Collectech, a.k.a Missouri Forensics. An Obama supporter named Dr. Neal Krawetz -- a recognized expert in digital forensics -- accused Fink of being Techdude. Fink denied this identification during a phone conversation with Krawetz.
Was that denial a fib? Is Fink Techdude? Krawetz, I'm told, is still not sure. He seems to think that the imposture theory may yet hold water.
I'm quite sure, at this point, that Fink lied when he denied being Techdude. Adam Fink has used the email address Techdude@yahoo.com. Under that name, he provided webmaster services for an import company. Representatives of that company confirm that they dealt with Adam Fink (or so I am told by my correspondent, G). Texas Darlin', one of the dude's main online apostles, has pretty much admitted that she was dealing with Adam Fink.
Fink, I am told, won't talk to Krawetz any more. And he certainly won't talk to me. I've tried repeatedly to reach him.
Fink really is a member of at least one of the professional associations listed in his resume. This fact surprised me, since his writings struck me as amateurish.
For example, he said that his first step was to save the COLB jpg (available online) as a .png file in order to make sure that the image would not degrade further as he worked on it. But .png is a format designed for final output to the web. Anyone using Photoshop to work in layers would save an image as a .psd file, Photoshop's native non-lossy format, which supports layers. (Photoshop is the industry standard; I cannot imagine an expert using any other software.)
Why was the head of Missouri Forensics wrong about the image file format thingie? Ya got me!
Now we come to a more troubling question: Is Techdude/Fink the same person who writes under the name "Techdude" for the neo-Nazi website Stormfront? For present purposes, we will call the former AFTD and the latter SFTD.
AFTD has denied being SFTD -- but then again, Fink denied any kind of Techdudery in his dialogue with Krawetz, and I have just now shown the evidence indicating the contrary.
The writing styles of AFTD and SFTD are uncannily similar. They both use the same shorthand phrases and abbreviations. Word length, sentence length and vocabulary are all a good match.
Here we come to the most troubling aspect of our inquiry. In one post, AFTD used the spelling "G_D." This is characteristic of pious Jews. I've never seen a non-Jew use an underscore in place of the vowel.
(Side note: When did this practice start? Jews have avoided writing the tetragrammaton for centuries, but I don't recall seeing the G_D spelling until the late 1970s.)
The obvious question: If Fink is Jewish, would he write for a neo-Nazi website?
Oddly, the Stormfront Techdude has indicated that he himself may be Jewish. He has aroused some controversy on that site by his stated admiration for Jews. In his view, other races deserve to be treated as inferiors, but not Jews, who are just dandy. Needless to say, SFTD does not like Obama at all
For these reasons, I began to suspect that the two Techdudes may indeed be one and the same.
Then a problem was brought to my attention.
In older posts, written long before this controversy flared up, SFTD revealed that he is a high school football coach in Virginia. The "Tech" part of his name comes from Virginia Tech. This biography cannot be reconciled with what we know of Adam Fink of Missouri.
Is it possible that the Stormfront Techdude created a false persona for himself? I suppose that someone posting to that site might not want to reveal the actual details of his life.
But the simplest explanation is usually the best. And the simple explanation is that Adam Fink is not
the Techdude who posts to Stormfront. I do not believe that those two men are one and the same.
believe, however, that Fink is
the Techdude who corresponded with Texas Darlin' and who made some silly assertions about the COLB.The Great Techdude Challenge
-- revealed! In an earlier post, I challenged our fine dude to discover the "hidden" text in an image I prepared. I covered the words -- a Shakespeare quote -- using the exact same technique that, in his imagination, was used to hide Maya's name. If the dude's computer magic could tease out that name, then surely it could tease out the words of William Shakespeare.
(Think about it: Why not?
In my initial post, I gave two clues: I said that the quote was obscure, and that it was the meanest line Shakespeare ever wrote. Later, I gave this clue: "Twain - Tchaikovsky - Shaw - Voltaire - Brecht - Bresson."
All of those artists, as one of my well-read readers noted, created works about Joan of Arc. (I'm a Johannaphile from way back.) Thus, the play is Henry VI: Part 1
, because that's the one in which Joan shows up. I'm afraid that young Shakespeare treats her unfairly; the French/English rivalry was still going strong in his day.
The hidden quote is this:Strumpet, thy words condemn thy brat and thee
These words are said to Joan by the Duke of York in Act 5, Scene 4. By this point in the story, she has been taken prisoner. Her captors ready her for burning. She tries to escape her fate by claiming to be with child. York wants to fry her anyways.
(That is not
how it happened in real life, by the way.)
Shakespeare wrote many cruel lines. But I know of none crueler than this one: He obviously meant the audience to applaud
as a a pregnant woman was tossed to the pyre.