The first half
In the first half of our topic, Typography on the Lucas Smith Kenyan birth certificate, we looked at an email from someone who claims to be an experienced pressman. He analyzed the Lucas Smith Kenyan birth certificate, and concluded that it was a fake, basically saying that characteristics of the print are those of modern digital composition, and not those of commercial printing in 1961 or before when the certificate in question was printed. The pressman’s argument could be distilled into two points:
- The letters “ny” in Kenya appear as a single glyph (the descender of the “y” underneath the “n”). This is highly unusual for body text prior to digital typography.
- The font used in the certificate is Adobe Caslon [or bold], a font that didn’t exist before 1980.
The discussion got rather heated and it also ranged to other perceived flaws in the Smith certificate.
The main claim of a historical flaw centers on the “Chief Administrator” shown on the form, “Helton Maganga.” Objections are that Maganga was not the Chief Administrator of the Coast General Hospital in Mombasa in February of 2009 when the copy was dated, and that he spelled his name “Heltan” with an “a.”
Other alleged flaws include the name of the physician who signed the original certificate not being at the hospital in question and the use of the word “province” instead of “region.”
These include the absence of an informant signature, dates in the US style rather than the British style (Kenya was a British colony in 1961), and an extremely unusual height to weight ratio for the infant described on the form.
These center on the story of how the birth certificate was obtained and how its appearance lines up with that story.
First half highlights
I think we have more loose ends than when we started, but let me summarize some highlights:
- Lucas Smith, the presenter of the Kenyan Obama birth certificate, joined the discussion and gave us an extended narrative of how he claims the certificate was obtained, beyond an affidavit filed by Orly Taitz in the case of Barnett v. Obama. A couple humorous accounts of Smith’s alleged trip to Kenya appeared here and on YouTube.
- Commenter Sef stated that the Smith certificate font was not made with the Adobe Caslon or ITC Caslon font and raised other questions. I observed that the font was not Bitstream Caslon 540. So far, no commenter has come up with a procedure using a modern font and a modern word processing program to reproduce the “ny” appearance of the Smith certificate.
- While Smith came up with examples of a “ny” ligature in old text for large titles, we haven’t seen it yet in old body text (but we do see it in modern books).
- The WorldNetDaily image of a government-issued certificate from Kenya was noted.
- No external support for the certificate was presented (i.e. no example of a similar certificate from Kenya or documentation that Smith even traveled to Kenya). The certificate and the narrative rest solely on Smith’s word, and it should be mentioned that Smith is a convicted felon.
- I observed that Dr. Heltan Maganga’s LinkedIn profile has his first name spelled with an “a.”
- Smith claims that Dr. Maganga never saw the certificate, yet his signature is on it. Someone said it was a stamped signature, but it is obvious from looking at it that it is not a stamp (compare to the other stamp-like images on the form).
- The claim is made that the baby measurements on the form indicate dwarfism, but I was not able to confirm this for myself, but I was able to verify using CDC charts that a 7 lb 1 oz baby only 18 inches long was something found in less than 2 out of 100 babies. Shoulder width is normally well-correlated to birth weight. The infant described in the certificate is dead on average in weight, but has shoulders 20% above normal.
- Finally, I would like to add a new question: would a hospital in a British colony in 1961 use inches or centimeters? Kenya officially went metric in 1967.
So as we open the second half, the Obot team is challenged with figuring exactly what modern digital font was used to make Smith’s certificate and Smith is challenged with finding a “ny” ligature in normal body text printing or on a government form. Of course all the other objections are open for discussion too (including any new ones).
I would just remind the obot team that confirmation bias works on everybody and that people who use name calling don’t come across as well as people who are civil in a debate.
A subsequent higher-resolution version of the Smith certificate shows that the “ny” ligature was an artifact of low-resolution reproduction. It’s not really there.