The experiment is described here. Results will be presented later. Any suggestions about the experimental design are welcome.
This part presents an experiment in which I attempt to answer the question of how consistent date stamp angles are when a document like Obama’s is stamped.
I begin with some assumptions: The first is that the person who stamped the date in Box 20, “Date accepted by Local Reg.” is same person who signed Box 21, “Signature of Local Registrar.” That means that the same person who stamped Obama’s certificate also stamped that of Johanna Ah’nee, the one Mike Zullo said was copied for part of a putative fake Obama certificate. Indeed, most published birth certificates contemporary with Obama’s were signed by “V. K. Lee” and I’m going to conclude that she signed literally thousands of birth certificates every year. That was her job, stamping dates on Box 20, day in and day out, year in and year out. Such repetitive tasks will create muscle memory and they can be completed with little conscious effort. Lee had been signing certificates for years before Obama was born.
In my experiment I created facsimiles of a blank Hawaiian birth certificate, and stamped a bunch of them. I created 50 samples and used the following procedure:
- Remove a form from a stack
- Pick up a rubber stamp and stamp inside Box 20.
- Sign the form
- Place the form in another stack face down
- Repeat the procedure for 10 forms
- Push back the chair, get up and walk around so that my precise sitting position and body posture could change
- Increment the date stamp
- Repeat the entire procedure 4 more times, completing all 50 forms.
I am making the “blank” form available as a PDF file so that others can check my results. (The text “Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital” was left on the form for scaling purposes.) Note that my form is bigger than Obama’s birth certificate because it’s not reduced like the birth certificate. I can determine actual size by the 10 characters per inch spacing of the typewriter font.
The next experimental concern is measuring the stamp angle and assessing the margin of error in that measurement.
Ms. Conspiracy (who also holds the MS degree) offered a criticism of the experimental design. She felt that rather than pick up a stamp, a pen, a stamp, a pen, etc. that an office worker would stamp them all, then sign them all. So I did an additional run of 20 forms stamped without putting the date stamp down. These weren’t signed. The two trials were named Experiment 1 and Experiment 2 respectively and the forms for review are in the order stamped.
- It seemed that variation was more caused by the angle at which the stamp was grasped, than the position of the arm.
- Paper positioning is also a source of variation.
- I was surprised in the amount of variation in angle seen in Experiment 2. I’m not sure why.
- The forms in Experiment 1 were printed directly from the “paint” program. That program then printed to PDF and the PDF was printed for Experiment 2. The two forms are not exactly the same size.