The PDF long form birth certificate was created at 12:09 PM following the White House press conference and released on the Internet. Subsequently, much was said about various artifacts and inconsistencies that people claim to have found in the online file. However, before that PDF was created and before any criticisms were made, there was another version of the long form, a handout given to the White House correspondents at the press conference. The handout version appears to be a black and white photocopy. The PDF version is an optimized image, with the color background and some of the text isolated into a low resolution lossy JPG layer with additional bitmaps in various resolutions of the purely back portions (the lowest resolution part of the PDF being the segment containing the registrar’s rubber stamp). The handout doesn’t have all this automatic software optimization and is at a much higher resolution.
A high-resolution scan of the photocopy is available (courtesy of The Obama File) and it explains a lot of what “seen” in the PDF .
What appears to be the letters “TXE” where “THE” belongs is an interesting artifact. Here’s what it looks like in the low resolution, optimized PDF image:
Here’s what it looks like in the higher resolution unoptimized version:
In the preceding the vertical stroke on the right side of the “H” makes it clear that this is not an “X” but just some missing ink on the rubber stamp.
Dr. Onaka’s “smiley face”
Another humorous feature found was the “smiley face.” Again here is the low-resolution PDF version:
But at a higher resolution, what looks like a mouth becomes an unattached smudge.
Certificate number digit
An objection was raised that the terminal digit of the certificate number didn’t match the rest of the number. In this case, examination of the PDF showed that the “1″ was stored in a lossy, lo-resolution color layer of the PDF, while the balance of the number was stored in a higher-resolution black and white layer. This is an artifact of the compression. Here’s what the lossy, low-resolution PDF looks like:
When we see the earlier, unoptimized, high-resolution photocopy, everything is treated the same and the number isn’t at all odd looking.
One of the biggest complaints was a visual illusion that makes it seem that the typed word “Male” on the form is not curved as much as the form around it, proving that it was added later. I made the following series of illustrations to show that this also goes away under examination of a better image.
What I did here was to take the image and crop it, as shown in the first image, Male 1. I used a “copy” operation to duplicate the line that was underneath “Male” and then pasted it back, just a little higher (not to the right or the left) with a 50% percent transparency, so you could see what was underneath. You can see that the pasted link parallels the line under it precisely. Even with the lines this close, the longer original pulls the eye to believe that my pasted line is straighter — but you can measure it and prove that it is not.
Then I inched the line up vertically a little bit to make the figure Male 2.
Then I inched it up a little more to make the image Male 3. What appears in the final image is that the letter “M” is just a very tiny bit up (keep in mind how magnified these images are) and is consistent with vertical variance in other letters all over the form. This final image looks quite different from the trick the eye plays when the lines are separated from the text.
I suppose a lot of time could have been saved if the White House had released a high-resolution JPG in the first place, but then how could we expect them to think like birthers?