« Rather to turn his Swift Boat toward the enemy and beach it tonight? | Main | Tonight's CBS Evening News broadcast's only arguable "expert," Marcel Matley, can only opine as to handwriting and signatures »

Friday, September 10, 2004

Fonts and typefaces for dummies; plus more links

In a comment to the preceding post, Corrie brought to my attention this post that explains many of the technical concepts in small words, with chuckle-worthy anecdotes interspersed to ward off MEGO (mine eyes glazeth over).  Either this fella knows whereof he speaks, or he spins an incredibly good line of bull.  Decide for yourself, friends and neighbors.

Elsewhere:  Blogger Bill at INDC Journal has more from Dr. Bouffard.  AllahPundit also has more links and timely info.  Prof. Gene Volokh addresses the likelihood that any crimes have been committed, albeit only from the aspect of statutes designed to punish election fraud, rather than those relating to military or governmental documents. 

Update (Fri Sep 10 @ 6:25pm):  Rather's CNN interview earlier today can be watched in streaming video courtesy of The Daily RecyclerKerry Spot has a quick (and not quite complete) transcript of Rather's broadcast tonight on the "CBS Evening News."  [Update: Garaghty's now replaced the original version with a complete one from a better source.]

Update (Fri Sep 10 @ 8:36pm):  The irreplaceable Hugh Hewitt — whom we must someday teach how to edit out the extra line endings from his blog — has more on the technical issues from an email exchange with Robert "Corky" Cartwright, Professor of Computer Science at the extremely prestigious Rice University here in Houston.  CBS will doubtless characterize him as just another blogger in a bathrobe, I suppose.

Posted by Beldar at 05:42 PM in Mainstream Media, Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Fonts and typefaces for dummies; plus more links and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) Birkel made the following comment | Sep 10, 2004 5:44:25 PM | Permalink

Do you think this will be a battle of expert witnesses designed to fool the jury? (ie voters)

(2) MaDr made the following comment | Sep 10, 2004 5:57:23 PM | Permalink

Compendium of all evidence against the authenticity of the Bush TANG docs


(3) GT made the following comment | Sep 10, 2004 6:35:17 PM | Permalink

Should we use this as the new thread?

I admit I am getting more comfused by the minute. INDC Journal is now saying there is no kerning in the documents. That means that it was technically possible to write the memos on a typewriter.

I guess somebody needs to find out what typewriter were available at TANG.

(4) M. Simon made the following comment | Sep 10, 2004 6:36:10 PM | Permalink

Based on what we know now (Lehman?) who in this campaign seems to be most involved in sexing up military documents?

(5) Al made the following comment | Sep 10, 2004 6:49:42 PM | Permalink

1) A typist puts a double space after a period.
2) Someone with a word processor puts just one - which is auto-adjusted to be a space-and-a-half character by all competent word processors.
3) The Charles Johnson documents line up pretty darn well.

That isn't kerning, but it does require knowing that the last character was a period. Not a typewriter function.

Does this hold water?

(6) YouGottaBeKidding made the following comment | Sep 10, 2004 9:15:46 PM | Permalink

The forgeries use two spaces after a period. Even though you are only supposed to type one period after a space when using proportional fonts, most people use two. (How do I know this? I teach this stuff, and most of my students use two spaces. I have to break them of that habit.).

I typed all four docs using two spaces after the periods and the alignment was perfect.

Based on Cartwright's info, it appears that Word has two levels of kerning. One is built in and the other is a setting that is not on by default. A typewriter wouldn't have been able to space documents as nicely as a word processor and computer can.

(7) Jay Random made the following comment | Sep 10, 2004 11:36:32 PM | Permalink


The issue of kerning is immaterial, and I, for one, didn't even mention it in my discussion (which Beldar has graciously linked). MS Word does little or no kerning by default at ordinary text sizes (12 point or less). But the spacing and word-wrapping correspond exactly with the default settings of the current versions of Word. Times Roman was indeed available in 1973, though not on any typewriter that I know of; but the versions of Times then available were subtly different from the Times New Roman used in Charles Johnson's copy of the memo. The different versions of Times drive typographers mad, because the font metrics and kerning keep changing from one edition to another.

Now, here's the other point. There were indeed (expensive, rare) typewriters in 1973 that could do proportional spacing of a sort. But they did so in very large, clumsy increments. The smallest unit they used was 1/4 of an em. By comparison, most modern software uses units of 1/1000 em or smaller. (The PostScript typesetting language uses a unit of 1/4096 em.) I can't tell by looking at the PDF just how small the units were on the machine used to produce the alleged memo, but they were certainly a lot smaller than 1/4 em.

No electric typewriter ever made could produce output that similar to the default settings of present-day versions of MS Word. And the standard formatting prescribed by the ANG in 1973 did not match the formatting (tab stops, centring, etc.) of the alleged memo, which is identical to the default settings of Word.

One more detail: The line spacing of the alleged memo, as measured by Charles Johnson of LGF, is 13 point. All standard typewriters, whether pica or elite, had a line height of 1/6 inch (approximately 12 points) built into hardware.

I'm prepared to eat crow if anyone (a) shows me a typewriter that can exactly match the type in the alleged memo, and (b) explains where this memo came from. CBS isn't naming any sources, and that alone is mighty suspicious to me.

The comments to this entry are closed.