1. The Lincoln mystery I solved but the media suppressed
2. More examples of media bias

The motto of The New York Times is “All the News That's Fit to Print.” Similarly, other liberal media outlets want you to believe they keep you well-informed. Although I knew that is laughably untrue, I didn't realize how their ideological prism filtered out interesting rays of light on various topics until one of the big-name weekly news magazines published an article about a photograph of Abraham Lincoln—or was it? That was the million-dollar question, because no one knew for sure if the relatively young man was indeed Lincoln, or just someone who bore a remarkable resemblance to him. Whether or not it was him would greatly influence the value of the photo, which was scheduled for sale by the premier auction house that caters to the über-rich.

As various experts looked at the facial features and concluded it could very well but not certainly be Lincoln, I thought of an easy way to conclusively solve this mystery: compare the clearly visible hand vein patterns to older known photographs of Lincoln. Hand vein patterns are very unique and stable.

I proposed this in a letter sent to the magazine, which never printed it. While magazines cannot print everything sent to them, it was suspiciously odd they saw fit to publish an article on this mystery but not a way to solve it. They did, however, find enough space to print the guesses of experts in needs of more expertise and even guesses from Joe Sixpack. Given that this magazine bills itself as a fount of facts, this omission is impossible to justify. Its publisher wonders why readers are leaving in droves, but that's no mystery.

Other examples of media bias

When Fox News focused on honor killings, I contacted them, offering to discuss an honor killing case with a twist I was involved in, as a doctor, but I never heard back from them.

I also received no response from CBS's 48 Hours after I tipped them off about a crime that would make for a fascinating episode. The wife of my organic chemistry professor was a Ph.D. chemist with a twisted mind. She wanted her children to be the best in their school band, but her kids just weren't that talented, so Little Miss Chemist—excuse me, Doctor Chemist—crafted a diabolical plan to help her kids rise to the top: eliminate the competition! She did that by planting toxic chemicals in the homes of her kid's competitors, along with their automobile air ducts, hoping to knock them off. She was caught exiting the garage of one of her targets, holding a bag with poison inside.

Some of my sheds:

my sheds
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A few years ago, Popular Mechanics (PM) magazine invited readers to submit photographs of unusually nice sheds. I submitted some of mine, none of which appeared in a subsequent article in which the fanciest shed shown was so ordinary that most people would give it little or no attention.

Since my sheds have received worldwide coverage, including by Alex Johnson (author of Shedworking and publisher of the Shedworking site), I was confident that at least one of my sheds would tickle the fancy of the PM editors. But no, Popular Mechanics readers were treated to sheds that screamed “plain-vanilla.”

Another magazine, another fancy shed contest, and not even an honorable mention for one of mine while their grand prize winner would not look out of place in a Home Depot parking lot. Yawn.

What might explain this media bias? I have a suspicion, but not yet enough evidence to conclusively prove it, so I won't speculate now. However, I do have a nifty way to test my hypothesis. Stay tuned for that later this year.

The political relevance of this?

You may not care about Lincoln's photo or my sheds, but if you live in the United States, you almost certainly care about our national prosperity. In my opinion, one of the reasons why we are failing is because our system is degenerating from an idea meritocracy (in which the best ideas get the most attention and funding) to an old boys' club in which Ivy League grads and other well-connected people help their buddies with third-rate ideas and products instead of the best ones. There's only so much capital to go around, and if it is frittered away on mediocre investments, none is left for ideas that could allow us to compete with China and other nations with an insurmountable advantage in cheap labor. We can't beat them by working for peanuts, but we can beat them with products that are amazingly good.

How? See my strategy to leave China in the dust.


  1. Buy lunch, pay with your hand: Vein scanning technique
    Excerpt: “Every individual's vein pattern is completely unique …”
  2. February 12, 2021 (> two decades after I contacted the magazine about Lincoln's photo): AI can use the veins on your hand like fingerprints to identify you
The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

Comments (1)

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Comment #160 by Rinda Opp • Website: Cometranch.com
April 3 2011 11:06:04 PM

Missing your wit and intellect . . .

This is quite an interesting post. You never cease to amaze me as to how insightful you are. When I find time I plan on reading all of your articles. Stay safe and keep busy. Until we hear from you again.

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