ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
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lybrary
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 20th, 2017, 11:54 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:He may have been a professional magician (how would a background as a gambler have hurt that profession? We know magicians today are willing to let people believe that they are gambling experts).

Then why not publish it under his real name, if it would have helped him in his profession, for example if he was a magician?

Bill Mullins wrote:He may have owned his own business -- why would you care if your plumber (or your printer) used to cheat at poker?

Because a business owner has to do business with others. If I know he was a professional cheat why would I trust him with business matters, such as contracts, a fair quote, reliable work? What assurance do I have that he doesn't cheat here, too?

Bill Mullins wrote:He may have been a laborer, or a miner, or a factory worker, or a baker, or a lumberjack -- there are dozens of jobs for which having formerly been a card cheat would make no difference at all.

Same applies here. If you are asking for a job at most any business and your resume - be it written, or by reputation - would say 'professional cheat' many will take a pass and hire somebody else. I don't know if you have ever hired anybody. I have. I read through many resumes and interviewed applicants. A cheating past doesn't really play well in that situation.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 21st, 2017, 12:31 am

Bill Mullins wrote:or a miner, ... or a lumberjack

Come on Bill. Just a few posts earlier you argued that Gallaway couldn't have soft hands because he worked in the print industry (misreading that he didn't stand behind a printing press for all of his career but rather was superintendent, salesman, estimator, ...). And now you are arguing that Erdnase was a miner or lumberjack with hands as soft as a woman? Before you flail your hands in desperation and throw around arguments which contradict your own earlier arguments I suggest you think through these things a bit more carefully.

A side comment regarding being a printer and if that does fit with a cardshark. My father learned the printers art. He did a lot a manual composition - meaning typesetting - in his life. He credits his manual composition work for his extraordinary dexterity. While my father never played cards or did any sleight-of-hand he thinks that somebody who has been trained as manual compositor would actually benefit for sleight-of-hand work. So it is exactly the opposite of what you think. Somebody trained as a printer/typesetter would make a stellar sleight-of-hand worker.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » October 21st, 2017, 2:38 am

lybrary wrote:
Leonard Hevia wrote:Erdnase didn't have a comprehensive plan to completely conceal his identity, otherwise the book would have said "Anonymous" on the spine.

I don't agree. Writing "Anonymous" would have invited much more inquiry much earlier. It is psychologically much better to write a name which most will gloss over. While "S. W. Erdnase" to us today sounds like a strange name, back then with all those immigrants from countries with foreign names, it would not have been a name that stood out or would have been particularly unusual. Erdnase reads and sounds very German. With all those German speaking folks in Chicago, and newspapers published in German, and public addresses given in German, it wouldn't be seen as a strange name.

There's two ways to show this is wrong:
1. "Erdnase" sounds German only if you pronounce it as if it were German -- and historically, it hasn't been pronounced that way. It's always been said "Urd-nace", not "Ehrd-nahseh". And Urdnace sounds weird, not like any normal word. It draws attention to itself. (Maybe to a native German speaker, it would look German, but in that case, it would call attention to itself because it says "Earth Nose." Or so some people say.)
2. History doesn't bear this out. When people first started speculating about the author, they interpreted it as a backwards English name, not as a German name. Rullman noticed it was E. S. Andrews backwards in 1928 -- 26 years after publication. It was 90 years after publication before Sawyer noticed it could be a German word.

Gallaway who was working in the print industry knew how easily it would have been for somebody to steal and reprint his book if he had no protection.

Then he also would have known how easy it was to steal his book if it had protection. Supposing a printer lived in New York and ran off a few hundred copies, and wholesaled them to the many "sporting goods" dealers -- Erdnase would have never even known about it. This is the sort of book that would have been sold under the counter. It wasn't even 3 years before Ritter plagiarized parts of the book -- copyright statements and registration didn't stop him (or the others who plagiarized sections).
Copyrighting the book, particularly registering with the printer (who knew the author) as the address of record, provided no benefits, cost him money, and provided a trail back to the author. It is evidence against anonymity.

Bill Mullins wrote:He may have been a professional magician (how would a background as a gambler have hurt that profession? We know magicians today are willing to let people believe that they are gambling experts).

Then why not publish it under his real name, if it would have helped him in his profession, for example if he was a magician?

If you think his real name was E. S. Andrews, he did.

Bill Mullins wrote:He may have owned his own business -- why would you care if your plumber (or your printer) used to cheat at poker?

Because a business owner has to do business with others. If I know he was a professional cheat why would I trust him with business matters, such as contracts, a fair quote, reliable work? What assurance do I have that he doesn't cheat here, too?

My banker has to be a man of trust. My plumber has to show up on time and fix the toilet. There are some jobs in which your reputation is based on what you do, not what you used to do.

Bill Mullins wrote:He may have been a laborer, or a miner, or a factory worker, or a baker, or a lumberjack -- there are dozens of jobs for which having formerly been a card cheat would make no difference at all.

Same applies here. If you are asking for a job at most any business and your resume - be it written, or by reputation - would say 'professional cheat' many will take a pass and hire somebody else. I don't know if you have ever hired anybody. I have. I read through many resumes and interviewed applicants. A cheating past doesn't really play well in that situation.

I have hired people, in two different contexts.
1. In my professional capacity as a engineer for the Army, where the people being hired had to be able to be granted a security clearance, I'd see resumes and the results of background investigations by the Defense Investigative Service. In these cases, like you say, a cheating past wouldn't necessarily be a good thing.
2. In my personal capacity, I've (in the last couple of years) hired plumbers, landscapers, foundation workers, tree trimmers, painters, roofers, auto mechanics, electricians, and alarm contractors. I didn't inquire what their backgrounds were, because I was picking them based on their competence, availability, reputation for doing good work and price. They could have been alcoholics, wife-beaters, or communists and it would have made no difference. I once had some carpet installed -- when the guys took off for lunch, they came back reeking of marijuana. It made no difference to me, because they worked hard and installed carpet well.
For some jobs, your reputation may be tainted by gambling and cheating. For others, it makes no difference. And for a very few, a reputation as a former cheat may be a good thing.

Bill Mullins wrote:or a miner, ... or a lumberjack

Come on Bill. Just a few posts earlier you argued that Gallaway couldn't have soft hands because he worked in the print industry . . . . And now you are arguing that Erdnase was a miner or lumberjack with hands as soft as a woman?


Pay attention. I was not arguing that Erdnase had been a miner or a lumberjack. I was arguing that having formerly been a cheat would not necessarily keep you from being any of a number of other professions later. The mining and tree cutting would come after the cheating, not before.

While my father never played cards or did any sleight-of-hand he thinks that somebody who has been trained as manual compositor would actually benefit for sleight-of-hand work.

If he never played cards or did any sleight-of-hand work, then why should I or anyone else trust his opinion about what makes a good sleight of hand worker?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 21st, 2017, 11:14 am

Bill Mullins wrote:1. "Erdnase" sounds German only if you pronounce it as if it were German -- and historically, it hasn't been pronounced that way.

And how do you know how it was historically pronounced? Rullman was a generation after the book had been published. During 1902 there was a large German immigrant population in Chicago. So large that they published several newspapers entirely in German. So large that they held political public addresses in German. There were German newspapers in many states during that time. You don't know how it was historically pronounced. Given the strong German presence, many people with German names, it would have not sounded strange and many would have pronounced it very differently than it is pronounced today in the US.

Bill Mullins wrote:Then he also would have known how easy it was to steal his book if it had protection. Supposing a printer lived in New York and ran off a few hundred copies, and wholesaled them to the many "sporting goods" dealers -- Erdnase would have never even known about it.

Erdnase did the best he could with an eye to sell his book. Without a copyright registration he would have likely not been able to sell it to Drake, or receive a lot less for it. It was a perfectly logical decision. And to stay anonymous he gave James McKinney's address, his buddy who would not out him. Completely consistent with his goal to stay hidden.

Bill Mullins wrote:If he never played cards or did any sleight-of-hand work, then why should I or anyone else trust his opinion about what makes a good sleight of hand worker?

Because common sense confirms it. A typesetter develops very agile, nimble and toned fingers due to the constant work with his fingers. That is a great foundation to build sleight-of-hand on. I would go even a step further. Typesetting is not a mindless work. The typesetter constantly has to check spelling, make sure he is using the right type (italic, bold, small caps, point size), think about adding the right spacers, and deciding if he should use ligatures or individual characters. It is a combination of mental agility and finger agility, a great foundation for work as cardshark, which is also a combination of sleight-of-hand with mental facilities.

With this I am not saying that Erdnase had to be a typesetter. But the work as typesetter is perfectly compatible with that of a cardshark contrary to what you like to argue. Of course, if one adds the fact that Erdnase used printer's terms (jogging, end-for-end) and self-published his book which required at the very least a familiarity with the print industry, the likelihood that he was working in the print industry increases.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » October 21st, 2017, 12:51 pm

lybrary wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:I was not arguing that Erdnase had been a miner or a lumberjack. The mining and tree cutting would come after the cheating, not before.

Yes Bill, Erdnase was so desperate to become a lumberjack that he couldn't wait to stop being a cardshark, write his book to get it out of the way, and then dedicate his life to felling trees. Thanks for pointing this out. Really insightful stuff.


Your insults are getting tiring Chris.
What on earth has happened such that you've gone from presenting factual documents and historical linkages - to childish insults directed at anybody who disagrees with you, or worse, anybody who doesn't immediately agree with you?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby AJM » October 21st, 2017, 3:55 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ExnZY5fniU

See this video? That's you that this. That's you in this thread. All of you.

:-)
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » October 22nd, 2017, 10:59 am

lybrary wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:1. "Erdnase" sounds German only if you pronounce it as if it were German -- and historically, it hasn't been pronounced that way.

And how do you know how it was historically pronounced?

Because Dai Vernon, whose experience with the book went back to when he was 12 (1906), pronounced it "Urd-nace".

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » October 23rd, 2017, 4:10 pm

Chris has posted a new version of his ebook about Erdnase and Gallaway. It includes some new introductory material to his Linguistic Analysis section, including the statement "In other words there is something like a linguistic ‘fingerprint’."

Others may disagree with this statement. For example: "However, contrary to popular belief there is in reality no such thing as a 'linguistic fingerprint' . . ." (From John Olsson, Forensic Linguistics: Second Edition, p. 15).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 23rd, 2017, 4:17 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:Chris has posted a new version of his ebook about Erdnase and Gallaway. It includes some new introductory material to his Linguistic Analysis section, including the statement "In other words there is something like a linguistic ‘fingerprint’."

Others may disagree with this statement. For example: "However, contrary to popular belief there is in reality no such thing as a 'linguistic fingerprint' . . ." (From John Olsson, Forensic Linguistics: Second Edition, p. 15).

Olsson doesn't like the term 'fingerprint' because it implies a static feature. A real fingerprint never changes. However, a linguistic 'fingerprint' can change over time because language is not static. That is the reason why he doesn't like the term. I do like the term, as do some linguists, because it is very descriptive and conveys in one word a good part of the meaning, even though it is not completely accurate - no analogy ever is. Nevertheless, many cases have shown that the linguistic 'fingerprint' of a person is unique enough that it can in many cases be detected by various linguistic methods, and in that way like a real fingerprint can identify the author. Perhaps you like the term linguistic 'signature' better. Either way, it is the only evidence of Erdnase detailed and rich enough that it could possibly allow an identification of the author.

Wikipedia mentions that some scholars do use the term linguistic fingerprint. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forensic_ ... erprinting
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » October 23rd, 2017, 7:05 pm

lybrary wrote:Either way, it is the only evidence of Erdnase detailed and rich enough that it could possibly allow an identification of the author.

This is not accurate - in that a bookplate, or any other form of identification written by the author, in his own hand on the title page (or elsewhere - marginalia perhaps?) into any one of the many first editions that he marketed himself would indeed be a 100% accurate identifier.

So "no" ... linguistic analysis is definitely not the only type of evidence that would allow a positive identification of the author of EATCT.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 23rd, 2017, 7:45 pm

I am talking about evidence we already have secured, not evidence we may find someday. Absent of a 'smoking gun' the linguistic 'fingerprint' Erdnase has left behind is the only evidence data-rich enough to allow an identification.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby observer » October 23rd, 2017, 8:43 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:
lybrary wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:1. "Erdnase" sounds German only if you pronounce it as if it were German -- and historically, it hasn't been pronounced that way.

And how do you know how it was historically pronounced?

Because Dai Vernon, whose experience with the book went back to when he was 12 (1906), pronounced it "Urd-nace".


Is that the generally accepted pronunciation? I've always heard & said Urdnaze. (Pretty small sample size though.)

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » October 23rd, 2017, 8:54 pm

lybrary wrote:I am talking about evidence we already have secured, not evidence we may find someday. Absent of a 'smoking gun' the linguistic 'fingerprint' Erdnase has left behind is the only evidence data-rich enough to allow an identification.


Linguistic analysis seems to be a very nascent form of scientific analysis, at least in terms of using it to identify unknown authors.
Indeed, it appears the the assorted professionals in the field haven't yet even agreed on a common terminology or set of reference points.

I can appreciate that there is some value to the analysis done to date on EATCT, but would suggest that it's not at all a robust enough scientific method that it could positively identify Erdnase absent some other form of corroborating identification.

In a nutshell, we haven't really secured anything with the linguistic analysis to date.
There is nothing remotely resembling a consensus as to what the linguistic work done to date on EATCT might actually mean ... and building consensus can be quite important.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » October 23rd, 2017, 8:59 pm

observer wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:
lybrary wrote:And how do you know how it was historically pronounced?

Because Dai Vernon, whose experience with the book went back to when he was 12 (1906), pronounced it "Urd-nace".


Is that the generally accepted pronunciation? I've always heard & said Urdnaze. (Pretty small sample size though.)


In the pre-internet age, I guess it depends on whether you grew up reading EATCT under the nearby influence of a guy like Vernon, who pronounced it "Urd-nace", or whether you were alone in some small city, likely with the only copy of EATCT in your town, and pronounced it "Urd-naze" - never to be corrected.

Realistically though, unless one can find somebody older than Vernon who was also obsessed with the book - it makes sense that one would have to accept that the correct "historical" pronunciation was "Urd-nace".

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 23rd, 2017, 9:41 pm

Roger M. wrote:Linguistic analysis seems to be a very nascent form of scientific analysis, at least in terms of using it to identify unknown authors. Indeed, it appears the the assorted professionals in the field haven't yet even agreed on a common terminology or set of reference points.

That is not at all the case. Ever since the famous paper by Mosteller and Wallace from 1963 about the Federalist papers, where their statistical analysis correctly identified the authorship of several disputed papers between Hamilton and Madison, the field has come a long way. Linguistic analysis, be in the form of a classical forensic analysis like Dr. Olsson has done, or a statistical analysis like stylometry, has had several successes in the past, such as the Unabomber case, or the more recent identification of J.K Rowling as the author of "A Cuckoo’s Calling". Depending on the type of text samples, size and other characteristics, these methods can achieve success rates close to 100%. Ben Blatt in his book "Nabokov's Favorite Word Is Mauve" in the chapter titled "Searching for Fingerprints" - there is that word again - achieved a 99.4% success rate testing 600 different books of fiction by 50 authors. He got 99.7% success rate with fan-fiction. These are promising numbers and should encourage us to apply the same methods to Erdnase.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » October 23rd, 2017, 10:09 pm

Yes, those are the same, small, group of successful undertakings we always read about when the subject of linguistic analysis comes up.
Same 5 or 6 books, same 5 or 6 authors, same 5 or 6 discoveries.

I will certainly give you that these limited examples do point to the potential for success.
Such is the definition "nascent", undeveloped but with the potential to develop further.

I guess my point though, is that the linguistic analysis done to date on EATCT has not garnered any consensus whatsoever, beyond you and your contracted analyst, Dr. Olsson.
Additional consensus would definitely advance your candidate, and I'm not seeing any additional consensus develop with the linguistic analysis done to date.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » October 24th, 2017, 1:18 am

J. K. Rowling was found out as the author of The Cuckoo's Calling because one of the partners in Rowling's solicitors' firm could not keep his mouth shut (the initial revelation was made by the best friend of the wife of the partner.)

Linguistic analysis has also had a number of failures, some spectacular (ask Donald Foster, who had to settle a defamation lawsuit with Steven Hatfill after accusing Hatfill to have sent Anthrax-laced letters based on his literary analysis of Hatfill's writings).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » October 24th, 2017, 1:39 am

Pretty sure too that the Unabombers brother David actually deduced it was his brother who was the Unabomber simply by recognizing Ted's writing style, which I don't believe is stylometry, just a brother recognizing how his own brother writes and talks.

The stylometric analysis was done after David tipped the FBI off, this David's effort to persuade the FBI to further accept what he (David) was proposing - which was that his brother was the Unabomber.

But stylometry didn't lead anybody to Ted, his own brother did ... so not a particularly good example in support of stylometry finding somebody who had chosen to try and remain anonymous.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby observer » October 24th, 2017, 4:09 am

Would "Erdnase" have been so determined to conceal his authorship as to change his writing style to evade stylometric analysis?

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 24th, 2017, 9:36 am

Roger M. wrote:Pretty sure too that the Unabombers brother David actually deduced it was his brother who was the Unabomber simply by recognizing Ted's writing style, which I don't believe is stylometry, just a brother recognizing how his own brother writes and talks.

In the Unabomber case stylometry was not used. It was a classic forensic linguistic analysis. Both have to do with linguistics, but they are two quite different methods. Before the manuscript was published the linguist created a much more accurate profile than the FBI had based on other forensics. It wasn't his brother who made the connection but his sister-in-law who then contacted her husband to take another look. While not stylometry it was still linguistics - what he wrote and how he wrote it - that gave him up. After that Ted's letters were analyzed by the linguist and the findings were sufficient to convince a judge to issue a search warrant. Anyway you want to look at it, linguistics was at the core of finding the Unabomber.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Henderson » October 24th, 2017, 10:21 am

lybrary wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:If he never played cards or did any sleight-of-hand work, then why should I or anyone else trust his opinion about what makes a good sleight of hand worker?

Because common sense confirms it. A typesetter develops very agile, nimble and toned fingers due to the constant work with his fingers. That is a great foundation to build sleight-of-hand on. I would go even a step further. Typesetting is not a mindless work. The typesetter constantly has to check spelling, make sure he is using the right type (italic, bold, small caps, point size), think about adding the right spacers, and deciding if he should use ligatures or individual characters. It is a combination of mental agility and finger agility, a great foundation for work as cardshark, which is also a combination of sleight-of-hand with mental facilities..


the problem with nonsense is it is too easily mistaken by people as common sense - especially when they don't know what they are talking about.

ignorant laypeople believe that big hands and fast fingers are the key to being a great sleight of hand artist. experienced magicians know this to be bunk.

larry jennings was a plumber.

ramsay was a grocer.

malini had hands so small they couldn't conceal a card.

having a master's degree in music i don't know how many times i've heard people say to those with long fingers or pretty hands - i bet you would make a great piano player.

it's cute. but it's a baseless conclusion.

having nice hands and a job as a typesetter won't make you a better musician any more than it would make you a talented magician or card cheat

this claim, or rather the basis thereof, is not common sense. it's utter nonsense.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » October 24th, 2017, 10:25 am

If you took a bunch of the great sleight of hand magicians and examined them for common traits, I think "engaging personality" and "misdirective skills" would rank above dexterity and nimbleness.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » October 24th, 2017, 10:27 am

lybrary wrote: ...or a statistical analysis like stylometry, has had several successes in the past, such as the Unabomber case...

lybrary wrote:In the Unabomber case stylometry was not used.


These quotes of yours say two very different things Chris, making it hard to hold a conversation.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 24th, 2017, 10:30 am

Brad Henderson wrote:having a master's degree in music i don't know how many times i've heard people say to those with long fingers or pretty hands - i bet you would make a great piano player.

I don't think I have said anything about size or the look of hands. I do sleight-of-hand and I do a lot of very basic finger exercises which has helped me tremendously to develop my skill. Just as I did various agility and strength exercises when I was an athlete. Typesetting provides that basic agility foundation, both for your fingers and your mind. Nothing more nothing less.
Last edited by lybrary on October 24th, 2017, 10:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 24th, 2017, 10:36 am

Roger M. wrote:
lybrary wrote: ...or a statistical analysis like stylometry, has had several successes in the past, such as the Unabomber case...

lybrary wrote:In the Unabomber case stylometry was not used.


These quotes of yours say two very different things Chris, making it hard to hold a conversation.

Because you are leaving out the passage before your cut off: "...be in the form of a classical forensic analysis like Dr. Olsson has done,..."
I first listed different linguistic methods, classic forensic, stylometry, and then I listed some prominent cases that used EITHER one of these methods. Stylometry is counting words and then making a statistical comparison across dozens if not hundreds or thousands of such words. A classic forensic linguistic study looks at a number of linguistic markers and features and also includes reading the text and applying all those brain cells to draw connections. In the Unabomber case a classic forensic linguistic approach was used.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Henderson » October 24th, 2017, 11:03 am

lybrary wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote:having a master's degree in music i don't know how many times i've heard people say to those with long fingers or pretty hands - i bet you would make a great piano player.

I don't think I have said anything about size or the look of hands. I do sleight-of-hand and I do a lot of very basic finger exercises which has helped me tremendously to develop my skill. Just as I did various agility and strength exercises when I was an athlete. Typesetting provides that basic agility foundation, both for your fingers and your mind. Nothing more nothing less.


agile nimble and toned. same thing. having toned fingers doesn't mean you can perform sleight of hand any more than having large or small hands.

because someone is a great piano player
doesn't mean they would be a great card cheat or a decent typesetter, and vice versa. i was told i should be a great piano student because i was a skilled sleight of hand magician

these people were wrong.

this is laymen type thinking.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 24th, 2017, 11:15 am

Brad Henderson wrote:this is laymen type thinking.

I am not a pro magician neither am I a laymen. I am a pretty active amateur, at least when it comes to practicing sleight-of-hand. My experience is different. A good agility and muscle tone foundation was very helpful to me. I remember struggling with certain moves until I addressed particular weaknesses and agility aspects of my fingers. Then suddenly I could do the moves. I agree that agility and muscle tone alone will not make you a good sleight-of-hand practitioner, but it is helpful. It certainly will not hurt. Some have even written textbooks about it, such as Dr. Hans-Christian Solka https://www.lybrary.com/fingergymnastik-p-4181.html Perhaps you don't believe in such things, but it has been helpful to some of us.

But the starting point of the discussion was that Bill Mullins and others argued that a printer, typesetter, or somebody else working in the print industry could not be a cardshark. I gather from your response that you don't believe this to be the case. And that was my main point. Gallaway's profession was not in disagreement of him potentially being a cardshark. I think his typesetting work was a helpful foundation for sleight-of-hand work, but regardless of if it was or not, it certainly wasn't a hindrance either.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » October 24th, 2017, 11:56 am

lybrary wrote: After that Ted's letters were analyzed by the linguist and the findings were sufficient to convince a judge to issue a search warrant. Anyway you want to look at it, linguistics was at the core of finding the Unabomber.


The affidavit supporting the search warrant is online here.

If you look at all the evidence the FBI had accumulated before applying for the search warrant, it is clear that linguistics was only a part of it, and was not at the core. There was DNA evidence on stamps from letters that both Kaczynski and the Unabomber had sent. Kaczynski knew and had worked with several of the Unabomber victims. Some of the books that were mentioned in the Unabomber's manuscript had also been mentioned by Kaczynski in his writings. Kaczynski's movements to and from Montana were consistent with the locations that some of the bombs had been sent from. Kaczynski's wilderness life style matched the life style described in the Unabomber manuscript. Kaczynski's mother and brother suspected that he was the Unabomber, for a variety of reasons (some of which did include the way elements of the Unabomber manuscript were phrased).

But the starting point of the discussion was that Bill Mullins and others argued that a printer, typesetter, or somebody else working in the print industry could not be a cardshark.

Not quite so. I argued that this particular printer/typesetter could not have been Erdnase. And it wasn't because he was nimble-fingered, but because his life before 1901 was too full of being a printer/typsetter to develop the skill set and world view outlined in Expert. As I have stated in the past, printers can be experts with cards: "Dave Solomon, Guy Jarrett, Julien Proskauer, Richard Buffum, Lewis Davenport, Carl Ballantine, Percy Naldrett, Jack Avis -- all of them have worked as printers at one time or another."

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 24th, 2017, 12:35 pm

I would believe the profiler who actually did the work, James Fitzgerald, who said: "Linguistic Work Was Pivotal In Capture Of Unabomber". http://www.npr.org/2017/08/22/545122205 ... -unabomber

Bill Mullins wrote:Not quite so. I argued that this particular printer/typesetter could not have been Erdnase. And it wasn't because he was nimble-fingered, but because his life before 1901 was too full of being a printer/typsetter to develop the skill set and world view outlined in Expert.

So somebody working 3 years at circus sideshows as orator could not have been a cardshark. Somebody extensively traveling by train as compositor could not have been a cardshark. Somebody who was a bachelor up to 1901 could not have been a cardshark. Interesting, except I can't follow your logic.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Brad Henderson » October 24th, 2017, 1:24 pm

lybrary wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote:this is laymen type thinking.

I am not a pro magician neither am I a laymen. I am a pretty active amateur, at least when it comes to practicing sleight-of-hand. My experience is different. A good agility and muscle tone foundation was very helpful to me. I remember struggling with certain moves until I addressed particular weaknesses and agility aspects of my fingers. Then suddenly I could do the moves. I agree that agility and muscle tone alone will not make you a good sleight-of-hand practitioner, but it is helpful. It certainly will not hurt. Some have even written textbooks about it, such as Dr. Hans-Christian Solka https://www.lybrary.com/fingergymnastik-p-4181.html Perhaps you don't believe in such things, but it has been helpful to some of us.

But the starting point of the discussion was that Bill Mullins and others argued that a printer, typesetter, or somebody else working in the print industry could not be a cardshark. I gather from your response that you don't believe this to be the case. And that was my main point. Gallaway's profession was not in disagreement of him potentially being a cardshark. I think his typesetting work was a helpful foundation for sleight-of-hand work, but regardless of if it was or not, it certainly wasn't a hindrance either.


one would have to prove that the ways in which a hand moves for typesetting encourages muscle development that is specifically good for sleight of hand. With the tremendous variety of "sleight of
hand" techniques, i - as someone who makes his living performing sleight of hand - can't imagine that any specific act would translate into being a better sleight of hand practitioner, in fact the repetitive movements of a trade like typesetting could JUST AS EASILY be conditioning the hands in ways that would make certain sleights or grips MORE DIFFICULT to master.

That's not to say typesetting as a career would preclude him from being a cheat - on that we agree - but there is equal likelihood that from a technical perspective that ones training in one field could be beneficial OR detrimental, a boon OR an obstacle to overcome. i take issue with the premise on which you are basing this claim.

do typesetters get ink on their hands? does it wash off or is that the type of field where it's common for those involved are known for darkish fingers? if true then i'm sure
smith would have mentioned it.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » October 24th, 2017, 3:26 pm

lybrary wrote:I would believe the profiler who actually did the work, James Fitzgerald, who said: "Linguistic Work Was Pivotal In Capture Of Unabomber".


Fitzgerald is making the rounds shilling his book, in which he describes his role in capturing the Unabomber by way of linguistics. Of course he'll say it was pivotal. It's a self-aggrandizing statement which should be taken with a large grain of salt. (Like when you say "A century old mystery has been solved. Erdnase has been found.")

So somebody working 3 years at circus sideshows as orator could not have been a cardshark. [/url]
Why on earth would a circus tolerate the person who is their public face going and cheating the customers? I can follow when you say that graft and connivery might follow a circus around, but the idea that the barker is the guy doing it doesn't hold water.

[url]Somebody extensively traveling by train as compositor could not have been a cardshark.

Why do you think he rode the train as a compositor? The bio you quote says he never "paid a cent of railroad fare." You think that the railroads just handed out passes to printers? The line in the bio is hard to interpret (for all we know, it meant that he worked on a travel magazine), but there's nothing in it that says he spent a lot of time riding the train, and playing cards to build sleight of hand skills.
But even if he did ride the train from job to job, how often was he moving around in this period? Compositing doesn't seem like a short-term gig, where you'd ride into town, get a job compositing for a few days, and then do it again. Realistically, did he change jobs more than half-a-dozen times a year? Under what scenario would there have been train rides enough for more than, say, 25 card games in a year while doing "travelling compositing"?

Somebody who was a bachelor up to 1901 could not have been a cardshark.

He wasn't a bachelor up until 1901; he had been married in Milwaukee in Feb 1896.

The guy who wrote Expert didn't play cards and do magic on the side. This was his occupation. At some point in his life, he spends many hours a day (or night) for months (years?) on end practicing and playing cards to get to the level of skill and maturity that allowed him to write Expert. A printer's devil doesn't have that time. An editorial writer/typesetter for a German newspaper doesn't have that time. A man running his own newspaper in Alabama doesn't have that time. A circus barker/orator doesn't have that time. A man starting his own company in Chicago doesn't have that time. A full time employee of Bentley-Murray doesn't have that time.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 24th, 2017, 4:16 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:He wasn't a bachelor up until 1901; he had been married in Milwaukee in Feb 1896.

We discussed this earlier. This note from the newspaper could not be confirmed by a marriage certificate. The note was sent without signature to the newspaper. Likely a prank or an error.

The line from his bio is: "Young Gallaway then became what he terms a “typographical tourist,” a travelling compositor who never walked a foot or paid a cent of railroad fare." Sure, you can interpret this in different ways, but typesetting projects typically ranged from a day to a week. Even a single person typesetting a complete book like Expert would have been able to do it in about a month. But typically for entire books you would have more than one typesetter work on the project.

Bill Mullins wrote:A circus barker/orator doesn't have that time.

Of course he does. They had off the entire winter. There is time during travel, there is time after the shows and between the shows. Gallaway didn't have an act to rehearse.

Gallaway never had continuous employment until about when Expert was published. He starts a newspaper in 1889 but in 1890 it already folds. Until 1895 we have no record of him doing anything but being at circuses. In 1895 he starts his second business a job printing shop. Where does he get the money to do so? Working at small circuses as barker? I don't think so. Indication that he may have won the money gambling. Again in 1896 he is managing a sideshow at a county fair in Indiana. I guess his business didn't work so well. In 1897 we have him as partner with Lupp and then at the Western Carbon Paper and Supply Company. None of these businesses seem to live very long. At some point he works at James McKinney & Co., which goes bankrupt begin of 1903. None of these startups have to smoothly transition from one to the other. There could be, and likely were, significant gaps between them, all time to practice and play.

Then in 1901 he gets married and settles down. We see this reflected also in his addresses in Chicago. He is moving around from place to place changing almost every year his address. In 1902 he finally settles at an address where he stays for a longer time until 1909. So curiously, he is all over the place both in terms of his activities as well as his addresses until about 1902 when Expert was published. Particularly the period from 1890 to 1895 is one where he would have had lots of time to practice and play. The year before in Fort Payne during the boom would be fertile ground for a cardshark, particularly one who had legitimate business and would therefore not be suspected as a cardshark. The time from 1895-1901 we see no continuous employment. I see plenty of time and opportunity for him to hone his skills, practice as well as play.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Roger M. » October 24th, 2017, 6:45 pm

lybrary wrote: I see plenty of time and opportunity for him to hone his skills, practice as well as play.


I think a point to consider might be, that nobody else does - and if they did, they'd post their support saying so to this thread (which nobody has done to date).

Not having any sort of consensus on this specific statement, and some of your other statements regarding Gallaway is an ongoing problem for your candidate Chris.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » October 24th, 2017, 8:22 pm

Chris's most recent post is a perfect example of the two reasons his book doesn't convince.

1. When a fact exists, but doesn't fit his narrative, he simply denies it.
2. When a fact doesn't exist, but would be helpful for his narrative, he assumes it to be true.

The evidence that Gallaway was married in 1896 is much greater than the evidence he knew anything about cards. But Chris denies the marriage, and assumes that Gallaway was such a successful card player that his winnings were sufficient to found a business. (what is more likely is that the several business that bore his name that did not survive were undercapitalized - a common problem with small businesses).

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 24th, 2017, 9:14 pm

If the earlier marriage actually happened or not, and how long it lasted, is fairly unimportant. It doesn't change anything. Married or not he had lots of time. So you can knock yourself out arguing about the unimportant stuff. That is part of the problem of the discussion here. Page after page is spent on fairly unimportant stuff, but the things that actually matter, the things that could actually allow us to identify Erdnase are largely misunderstood, underappreciated, or totally ignored.
Bill Mullins wrote:(what is more likely is that the several business that bore his name that did not survive were undercapitalized - a common problem with small businesses).

There is also a lot of stuff that is being offered here that sounds kind of logical but is completely misinformed. The above from Mullins is a good example. I have informed myself about the history of printing and print shops in general. The reality is very different. The main reason why many print shops suffered was because printers did not know how to price their services properly. They typically under-priced them hoping to get the business, not knowing what the actual costs were for them, and therefore quickly went bankrupt. Most printers who started their own print shop were not business people. They were people who knew how to operate a printing press and how to typeset, but not much more. They had little concept of accounting, cost finding, and pricing. That is why the field of print estimating was started in the first place. That is why organizations like the United Typothetae of America made big efforts to educate printers about the true cost of printing, held courses, and created educational material. Gallaway was part of that effort to develop estimating in America. He held courses at the United Typothetae of America, built the estimating apprentice courses at R.R. Donnelley and then founded his own independent estimating school. It wasn't under-capitalization that sank many small print shops, it was faulty or not existing cost accounting, estimating, and pricing.

I therefore think a likely explanation for why Gallaway went into estimating in the first place is the many failures he was part of early on. His failing newspaper can be explained with the ending boom in Fort Payne. But all the print shops he started or was part of in Chicago, I am counting 5 in the span of 8 years, went bankrupt quickly, most probably because they did not know how to properly price their services. I believe that just as with being cheated at the card table that prompted him to learn and develop his own way of succeeding at the card table, Gallaway learned about pricing and estimating, and he did a lot by himself to develop the field as a whole. His work in print estimating was substantial and unique. There was no other school of print estimating in the US at that time. He was the first. His textbooks are substantially better than anything else I could find. He did groundbreaking work for print estimating, just the kind of guy Erdnase was.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » October 25th, 2017, 1:23 am

Under-capitalization of small businesses is a well-documented cause of business failure. On the other hand . . .

lybrary wrote: I have informed myself about the history of printing and print shops in general. . . . The main reason why many print shops suffered was because printers did not know how to price their services properly.

I think you are talking out of your hat, and cannot document any print shops of the era going out of business for that reason.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 25th, 2017, 2:57 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:Under-capitalization of small businesses is a well-documented cause of business failure. On the other hand . . .

lybrary wrote: I have informed myself about the history of printing and print shops in general. . . . The main reason why many print shops suffered was because printers did not know how to price their services properly.

I think you are talking out of your hat, and cannot document any print shops of the era going out of business for that reason.

If you would read, for example, "History of the United Typothetae of America" by Leona Powell (1926) you would know better.
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby magicam » October 27th, 2017, 3:43 pm

lybrary wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:If he never played cards or did any sleight-of-hand work, then why should I or anyone else trust his opinion about what makes a good sleight of hand worker?

Because common sense confirms it. A typesetter develops very agile, nimble and toned fingers due to the constant work with his fingers. That is a great foundation to build sleight-of-hand on. I would go even a step further. Typesetting is not a mindless work. The typesetter constantly has to check spelling, make sure he is using the right type (italic, bold, small caps, point size), think about adding the right spacers, and deciding if he should use ligatures or individual characters. It is a combination of mental agility and finger agility, a great foundation for work as cardshark, which is also a combination of sleight-of-hand with mental facilities.

With this I am not saying that Erdnase had to be a typesetter. But the work as typesetter is perfectly compatible with that of a cardshark contrary to what you like to argue. Of course, if one adds the fact that Erdnase used printer's terms (jogging, end-for-end) and self-published his book which required at the very least a familiarity with the print industry, the likelihood that he was working in the print industry increases.


In the abstract, it certainly seems possible that a typesetter could also be a card shark. But as others have pointed out, the notion that a full-time typesetter (or circus worker or any other full-time worker) would have the time to develop the skills elucidated in EATCT seems a stretch of faith.

In any case, for one who has claimed to study the history of printing, I am surprised that Chris would attempt to equate Gallaway's work as a typesetter with card-sharping skills. The primary reason is that the hands and fingers of anyone who has worked for years setting type by hand are far from the "soft feminine" hands recalled for Erdnase. The hands and fingers of a typesetter are calloused, nicked and rough.

The other problem with Chris' theory is that he's assumed that Gallaway exclusively (or at least primarily) set type by hand. But is there any evidence that this was indeed the case? By the time Gallaway was working as a typesetter, Linotype machines were in widespread use throughout the US, and even the smaller print shops that couldn't afford a Linotype machine would ship out copy to be set by Linotype and returned in galley form for layout.

So if Gallaway was primarily a hand-set compositor, then the condition of his hands would seem highly incompatible with the stated condition of Erdnase's hands. And if Gallaway primarily set type by Linotype or monotype machine, then Chris would have to equate punching keys on a keyboard with the type of dexterity required of a card cheat.

Either way, Chris' arguments would be unconvincing.

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Re: ERDNASE

Postby lybrary » October 27th, 2017, 4:16 pm

magicam wrote:The other problem with Chris' theory is that he's assumed that Gallaway exclusively (or at least primarily) set type by hand. But is there any evidence that this was indeed the case? By the time Gallaway was working as a typesetter, Linotype machines were in widespread use throughout the US, and even the smaller print shops that couldn't afford a Linotype machine would ship out copy to be set by Linotype and returned in galley form for layout.

Not at all the case. The time during which Gallaway did work as typesetter was from 1883-1889. The Linotype machine was invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler in 1884 but it took until 1886 to have the first working model finished. It took several more years for the machine to spread around the country to be used in the way you describe. Once the Linotype machine was in widespread use Gallaway was already superintendent, proprietor, director, estimator, ...
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Re: ERDNASE

Postby Bill Mullins » October 27th, 2017, 4:22 pm

So then, since he set type manually, his hands wouldn't be the velvety-smooth described by Smith to Gardner . . .


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