The PJ Tatler

Yes, it's true: The birth certificate is built in layers. And there's an explanation.

I’m not a birther, but this is interesting from a tech point of view. It is true that the PDF birth certificate released by the WH today is not a single image doc, but is a layered construction. Here’s what I mean by that. Below is a series of screen shots in Adobe Illustrator CS4. Keep your eye on the Layers window over on the right. Here’s the document in Illustrator, with no layers twirled down to open them up. (You can click on all of the following images to enlarge them.)

And here it is, with the top level group twirled open. Viola, there are now a whole lotta layers visible for manipulation.

Let’s turn one off and see the results. You turn them off by clicking on the eye next to them. No eye, no see the layer.

Hm. Where’d all the green go? It’s invisible now, because turning that layer near the bottom off made it so. Click in that now empty box and the green reappears. Now let’s take a look at another layer and turn off the one above the green layer we just played with.

Where did all that text go? It’s invisible now too. But see the first image, with everything turned on.

Maybe this is what Trump’s people in Hawaii found that was so incredible. The problem is, it’s not too hard to figure out what’s going on. If you scan a doc with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) turned on, Adobe Acrobat is capable of taking a scanned doc and breaking it out into layers automatically. That’s what seems to have happened here. There are still one or two funky anomalies, like the text in box 17a getting split into two separate layers and the date in 20 getting its own, but OCR is an imperfect beast and stuff like that happens. The larger question seems to be settled on how the cert got broken out into layers: Adobe did it.


Now, there are at least 50 other ways to get the country to leave Obama. Let’s talk about them.