Before class started the other day, one of my students wanted to show me President Obama's long form birth certificate when she loaded it in Adobe Illustrator, to show the "layers" that it seems to be made of. I explained how OCR software often does that--it tries to identify areas of a scan that are potentially convertible to text,
and while it looks bad, it is not a sign that the document is a forgery. But while I was explaining this to her, I saw something that she did not see.
Diagonal lines, when scanned, produce a jagged set of pixels. This is an artifact of how sharply drawn the line is, and the scan resolution (dots per inch). All things being equal, two lines drawn at the same angle should produce similar levels of jagged pixels. Yet when I looked at the mother's maiden name, "Dunham" at 800% in Adobe Acrobat, I noticed that the diagonals on the "D" are very, very noticeably different in their pixelation than the diagonal lines of the letters in the rest of the name.
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The attendant's name (the doctor who delivered the child with the halo over his head) has the same jagged, low-resolution characteristics as the "D" in Dunham--but not the "unham." (This was 600%.)
click to enlarge
I am not saying that the certificate is a fake. I am assuming that it is real--because the alternative explanation is it took Obama more than two years to have an incompetent fake put together. That makes far less sense than the Kenya birth theory. I am mostly curious why it looks so different. I look forward to an explanation. I guarantee that if freshmen in my classes are asking these questions today, there better be an explanation or this birth certificate matter will never end.
UPDATE: An interesting comparison is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's birth certificate, which is here. One of the commenters who thinks that we are picking on Obama's birth certificate points to several things that he thinks are suspicious:
1. that Jindal's mother's address is listed as "Physics Dept. LSU";
2. that the city is identified as "BAton Rouge";
3. that the hospital is "Woman's Hospital."
None of these seem all that odd to me. I suppose if there had been questions about Jindal's place of birth--and Jindal had spent years and lots of money fighting to prevent its release--well, I might be a bit more curious. What I do find interesting is that when I blow up the image of Jindal's birth certificate, I do not see the oddities that are in Obama's birth certificate--such as signatures that seem to have been scanned at a different resolution than other parts. Why did Jindal's birth certificate come out looking like it was just a scan of a document--and Obama's looks like it is a composite?