RIP Henry Wayland Blake, aka “Hermitian”


Henry “Hermitian” Blake 1940-2017

Most of you who have followed the Birthers will recall a prolific commenter who went by the handle Hermitian. He commented here, at Obama Conspiracy Theories, John Woodman’s, at NBC’s blog, and in the comments on Jerome Corsi’s Birther book at Amazon. I happened to run across his obituary today. Henry passed away in March. He was an engineer by trade. Hermitian was 77 and had worked at the Oak Ridge, Tennessee uranium separation facility  before retiring.

To put it succinctly Hermitian was the classic Birther troll. He thought he was smarter than all the Obots. He tried to poke holes in the Xerox workflow theory at NBC’s blog and here. He failed. Hermie liked to play word games. Hermie would never admit he was wrong even when it was demonstrated clearly he was. For example, he claimed that the AP JPEG photo of the handout copy of the LFBC released on April 27, 2011 could not have been a photo because photography was not allowed at the press gaggle where the copies were handed out that morning. I contacted Mr. Applewhite who was the WH photographer for AP on that day. Mr. Applewhite not only confirmed this fact he even told me the make and model of the camera that he used.  Hermitian refused to admit he was wrong even then. All he had to do get his ban lifted was admit he was wrong on that one simple assertion but he couldn’t bring himself to do that.

Henry also filed an affidavit in Orly’s Taitz’s case in Mississippi in which he claimed to provide proof that the PDF copy of the Obama LFBC filed by the defendants in that case was a forgery. Taitz submitted his affidavit as one of her exhibits. Henry offered to testify but the case was dismissed and never reached the evidentiary stage. Of course Blake would have never testified since he wasn’t an expert.

In the obituary Blake’s son writes that he loved to watch Fox News and argue with the commentators while watching. Sounds like something out of a Simpson’s episode doesn’t it? He was also a New York Yankee fan but I won’t hold that against him.


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29 Responses to RIP Henry Wayland Blake, aka “Hermitian”

  1. Actually in a letter Blake said he wouldn’t testify since his “expertise” would be destroyed on the stand during cross.

  2. I can’t seem to find his letter to Paul Irey as the file system when I posted it on fogbow changed. He basically told Irey he would rather not testify because he knew he’d fail under cross examination.

  3. COMALite J says:

    That right there is why I sincerely wish that the Birther “attorneys” such as dentist Orly Taitz and Philip J. Berg weren’t every bit as incompetent as the Birther “computer graphics experts” and knew enough about Law 101-level law to get even one of their cases all the way to trial. I for one would love to have seen one of these cases make it that far, and to have been an expert witness on the anti-Birther side. Whatever “expert witness(es)” they had would’ve had their credibilities and careers utterly destroyed within five minutes of the start of my testimony. I dare say that our host and many others posting here over the years could’ve done likewise.

    My line of attack would be to first ask the Birther “expert witnesses”:

    “First, allow me to gauge your real level of expertise on the actual relevant subjects. You say that you’re a qualified graphics expert. Okay, then. I’ll ask you a few very basic questions. You must already know the answers without looking it up at any source. You must know them off the top of your head. Any real expert would. You have five seconds from the time I finish asking a question until you start answering it, and you may not go ‘uhm’ or ‘err’ or hem or haw to buy time. You must start actually answering it. It should only take you 2½ seconds tops, but I’m giving you twice that:

    “First few will be some common industry abbreviations of algorithms relevant to this case. You must say what the abbreviations stand for, describe in basic terms what the algorithm does, and why it’s relevant:

    “• #1: ‘DCT’” (Discreet Cosine Transform, the compression algorithm of the JPEG file format and related file formats such as MPEG, often mistakenly called “JPEG” though that refers to the file format, not the compression algorithm. Works by breaking an image into blocks and compressing the blocks in a manner that can blur details, and as the “P” in “JPEG” suggests, this is most suitable for photography, not documents since it can mess up the text and make it illegible. Used in the Xerox WorkCentre and Adobe Acrobat’s Paper Capture Subsystem to compress the extracted background layer.).

    “• #2: ‘MRC’” (Mixed Raster Content, the image layer separation and compression algorithm patented by Xerox decades ago and used in the Xerox WorkCentre during “Scan-to-Email.” Works by analyzing a scanned image of a document and breaking it apart into a background and one or more foreground layers. The background is then reduced greatly in resolution and compressed with DCT, since it’s usually not important. The foreground layers are also reduced in resolution but not as much, and reduced to being truly monochrome [one color {the color of the ink or toner detected for that layer} over transparent background] and compressed separately, greatly reducing the overall size of the document file while still maintaining legibility of text. In short, the single “raster” that is the original scanned image is broken up into multiple “rasters” of “mixed” bits-per-pixel-depths that can each be compressed differently, with a method most suited to that particular raster, rather than having to compress the whole thing — thus, “Mixed Raster Content.”)

    There are a few others such as “JBIG2.” But if they failed #2, my next question would be:

    “Do you even know what a ‘raster’ is? It’s only the second-most-basic term in all of computer graphics, next only to “pixel.” For anyone claiming any level of computer graphics expertise who doesn’t know what that word means would be tantamount to an M.D. or surgeon who knows what a ‘cell’ is but not what ‘tissue’ [in the medical, not Koch Brothers bathroom / nasal paper product, sense] is, let alone what an ‘organ’ [in the medical, not musical instrument or journalism, sense] is. If you don’t even know this much, we can just stop right here and you can say buh-bye to your career for life. Answer not only what a ‘raster’ is, but what three pieces of metadata information in addition to the raw pixels themselves that every raster must have (there may be others, but these three are always required).”

    (A “raster” is, of course, a rectangular array of pixels. Rasters can be nested, with larger rasters containing smaller ones. Examples include rendered characters from a font such as every letter you’re reading now, this paragraph as rendered, my comment as a whole, this comment sub-thread, the whole commenting area, this web page as a whole, the web browser active display window, the various menus and buttons and icons and other user elements in the web page and/or browser UI, and the screen you’re viewing this on as a whole. The three pieces of required metadata info needed to be able to parse the raw pixel data are width in pixels, height in pixels, and number of bits per pixel [bit-depth].)

    If they managed to get past these first few, I’d also ask where I could download the Adobe Illustrator or Acrobat plugins they’ve written (merely using those products or even writing manuals about them no more constitutes expertise in the underlying structure of documents than does chewing food and writing article and thus using one’s teeth for decades, or even writing artlcles on the importance of chewing one’s food thoroughly, makes one an expert dentist like Orly Taitz).

    Then (if they lasted this long) I’d bring out a Xerox WorkCentre 7655 and a computer….

    Oh, how much fun it would’ve been! Sadly, Berg, Taitz, et al knew no more about actual courtroom legal practice than “Hermitian,” Zullo, “TechDude,” “Polarik,” Zebest, Hayes, et al do about actual digital document forensic analysis.

    Still, though, R.I.P. “Hermitian” and comfort to your loved ones.

    • COMALite J says:

      Sorry about the re-post. Please delete the first one. I had thought it didn’t post and retried.

    • I guess the BIrther “experts” had a few moments in court. Doug Vogt testified in Georgia at a ballot challenge hearing for David Farrar’s challenge. Of course no one bothered to show up for the defense and the Birthers still lost.

      Paul Irey testified for Orly Tatiz in Indiana but Judge Sherry Reid later had all his testimony expunged from the record. I think Irey also testified in Orly’s case against the Electoral College in the Eastern District of California.

      I know that no Birther “expert” ever went through a voir dire hearing.

      • tbfreeman says:

        No one testified in the E.D. Cal. case. There was that big brou-ha-ha because Taitz whined to the judge that the judge’s secretary said witnesses would be allowed. The judge reminded Taitz that he, the judge, is the boss, and repeated there would be no witnesses.

        So Irey displayed his oversized exhibits on a loud Sacramento corner. And no one cared.

  4. David L says:

    Blake letter is on NBC’s site.

    “I would prefer not to testify because of personal reasons. I also believe that. if I were to testify, then I would quickly become a (/punching bag” for the defense because I don’t have an IT certificate and I have never testified as a forensic expert.”

    • Thanks for posting the letter David L. He is correct that he would have been a punching bag for the reasons he stated and because he was flat out wrong.

    • I noticed the letter was addressed to Paul Irey, with copies to Chris Strunk, Chito Papa, Doug Vogt and Orly Taitz. If you wanted proof that these idiots like Hermie could find a conspiracy in anything this letter is it. They saw something nefarious in the simple process of filing a copy of a letter to the Hawaii DoH requesting a verification of birth for President Obama in Orly’s case in Mississippi.

      The comments at NBC’s article with the letter are great with classic Hermitian nonsense.

      Now let’s see, of the current commenters here of whom am I reminded?

      • Northland10 says:

        Hermie’s claims (do we remember the ‘white toner’) coupled with his actual public letter do make me doubt whether Trader/Helen is an actual troll or just someone similar to Hermie, only more anonymous.

        • I forgot about the white toner claim! That was great. On Trader Jack I think the latter would be correct.

        • trader jack says:

          Oh ,I am not anonymous, just old, and still remember that no one on any of these comments could stand cross-examination, because of one simple fact.
          And that is the question, as :
          As you know that HDOH issues birth certificates , certified , and verified, that have the wrong names on the document, how can you be sure that the document in question is not one of the birth certificates so issued?

          No one can answer that document unless they wrote the document and recorded it themselves.
          Anonymous Trader Jack says so.

          • Every one of your comments has been rebutted. Your ignorance of how vital records work is no excuse. Your rhetorical games are petty and tiresome.

            • trader jack says:

              and good afternoon to you. No one has ever rebutted the truth of that statement or questions as it has never been asked on the sites. It has simply been ignored by the positive side of the question,

              Oh, well, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and do not like to be questioned about personal beliefs.

          • Northland10 says:

            Because something can be wrong does not mean it is. You have to show proof that the actual facts of birth do not match what is on the certificate. This has never been done.

            Unverified documents from a convicted forger do not count.

            When errors on certificate are made, there is a process to correct them.

          • W. Kevin Vicklund says:

            Let’s see how that would play out in court:

            “Objection: Relevance. The identity of defendant’s parents has no bearing on his eligibility.”


          • dunstvangeet says:

            So, your argument is that nobody can ever prove where they were born because the birth certificate might be wrong? Then, please tell me, why does the State Department accept the very same birth certificate for proof of citizenship?

  5. rantalbott says:

    I never knew Hermie’s real name, so I only now noticed the coincidence of his name matching the MASH character’s, who was also something of a clown (though not an arrogant obnoxious one), and who also died “off-camera” after his “mission” was over.

    I hope the real Henry also managed to find relief from whatever it was that was troubling him before the end.

  6. Andrew Vrba, PmG. says:

    I know you’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but f— that guy. Here’s to the rest of the birther trash joining him.

  7. Steve says:

    When he finally met God and God told him that Obama was indeed born in Hawaii, I wonder if his reaction was “Wow, this goes even deeper than I thought.”

  8. trader jack says:

    if there is no information in the raster of the display screen where are the pixels? A television screen has raster that contain no information although the beam is energizing the screen.

  9. trader jack says:

    because people are subject to believing things , it all winds up in beliefs being accepted as being true by believers
    that is what birthers , obots, flat earth people,and conspiracy believers have in common,
    they never believe the other side of the discussion.
    only agnostics can see the both sides of the discussions under way.
    Of course that means that I am an agnostic in almost everything.

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