Bob Shell: Fixing Forensics

Forensics lab technician working on a case
Lab Technician. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2022

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Fixing Forensics

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I urge anyone who believes that our American justice system works to get a copy of the November/December DISCOVER magazine. On page 40 you will find an article with the same title as this post. Basically, the article says that real scientists have found that ‘forensic science’ is largely hogwash – to put it politely.
The article talks about Keith Harward, who spent 33 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, convicted with junk science. In his case an ‘expert’ testified that Harward’s bite marks matched those on a rape and murder victim. After 33 years, the Innocence Project had DNA testing done that showed Harward was innocent and pointed the finger at another man. But it should never have taken 33 years. Is that justice? Bite mark comparison has now been completely discredited as evidence.
If you watch CSI and NCIS on TV, you get the impression that their techniques are infallible. But that simply is not true. The Innocence Project documented 25 false convictions based on bite mark comparison. There are probably many more.
What about fingerprints? Aren’t they conclusive? In one case, examiners matched the fingerprints of an unidentified corpse with those of a woman whose prints were on file, and notified her mother of her death. The mother grieved and prepared for a funeral. Luckily, the woman turned up in California before her funeral. The fingerprint match was just wrong!
The FBI arrested Brandon Mayfield for involvement in the 2004 Madrid train bombing that killed 191 people. The arrest was based on fingerprints found on an explosive-filled bag at the scene of the explosion.
Fortunately for him, Mayfield had not been out of the country in ten years and could prove it. But the FBI had said the fingerprint match was “100 percent” and “verified,” before having to eat their words and release Mayfield.
Scientists showed fingerprint analysts pairs of prints they’d testified were 100 percent matches without telling them they’d seen the prints before. Most of the examiners said the prints didn’t match or were inconclusive! That was 15 years ago, and every study done since has produced similar results.
There’s much more, and I urge everyone concerned with justice to read the article.
Hundreds of people are in American prisons based on false forensic testimony, and I am one of them. It is long past time that something is done about this travesty.

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author, former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine and veteran contributor to this blog. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read additional articles by Bob Shell, click here:https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/bob-shell-hes-different-lock-him-up/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com. Here’s the link: 

Tony Ward: Highlight of Summer 2021

Thunderbirds in the sky in Atlantic City July 2021
Thunderbirds. Atlantic City, NJ. August 18th, 2021

Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2021

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Highlight of Summer 2021

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Like most of us I too am looking forward to leaving 2021 behind.  It was another year of Covid to contend with not to mention the economic, social and political  turmoil its caused.  For a moment though on August 18th, 2021, a mid point of the year seemed to have reached a peak. Not for a spike of new covid cases.  No . This peak was one of fun and pure joy as hundreds of thousands of people journeyed to the Jersey shore for the annual Atlantic City Airshow. It was definitely my favorite highlight of the summer.

My son Julian Ward came up with the idea of attending the airshow. He planned the perfect place to meet up with family and friends. Julian carefully choreographed where we were to meet on the beach in front of Bally’s Beach Bar and BBQ. It was a sunny day in the open air with a slight breeze.  Not a soul was wearing a mask. It was perfect weather to enjoy an assortment of old and new airplanes including our newest fighter jets maneuvers  thrilling the crowd with surgical precision. 

I shot the footage of this video clip using a combination of my I-Phone and a Sony mirrorless RX100V mirrorless camera. Julian edited the clip brilliantly in I-Movie.   The Thunderbirds of course were my favorite. This clip is a most see. Enjoy!

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Tony Ward in Atlantic City with daughter Racquel and son Julian Ward
Tony Ward with two of his children, Racquel and Chanel Ward. August 18th, 2021.

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About The Author: Tony Ward is the publisher and editor of Tony Ward Studio blog. 

Studio News: Water Main Break

Water Main Break: 6th & Bainbridge Streets. Philadelphia


Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2021

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Water Main Break

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In the early hours of Sunday, July 25th a 100+ year old cast iron thirty inch water main broke at the intersection of 6th & Bainbridge Streets in Philadelphia, causing a massive flood of epic proportions. Water department  officials on the ground at the epicenter claimed that it was the largest main break they had ever seen.

At approximately 2:00AM a resident of The Ward Studio was awakened by a large crash of water breaking glass on a floor below her bedroom prompted her to get up to see what was going on.  The resident, a close friend of the Ward family, had the presence of mind to immediately begin videotaping the wall of water descending onto the property. 

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LIWEI VIDEO

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Within minutes all of the below grade rooms including; lounge area, kitchen, dressing room, darkroom suite, editing room, workshop and bathroom were all under approximately 24 inches of water.

There was extensive damage done to the property, including  thousands of vintage black and white and color negatives that I was preparing to review in anticipation of an upcoming exhibition in the fall.  

The city of Philadelphia has stepped in to mitigate the damage while my family sorts out the damage and loss.  Mitigation efforts are currently underway to save as many negatives as possible. All activities including studio and darkroom rentals have been suspended until further notice.

Bob Shell: Hidden Truth About the Pentagon’s UFO Report

UFO citing by Military Aircraft

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2021

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Hidden Truth About the Pentagon’s UFO Report

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Like most UFO investigators, my first reaction to the Pentagon’s UFO report released in late June, was disappointment. I suspect the report was carefully crafted to produce that response in people knowledgeable about the UFO phenomenon at first reading. The Pentagon would like for us to just go away. 

But deeper digging shows the report actually is a very important contribution to our knowledge of what the Pentagon calls UAPs, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. Importantly, it could be summed up as ‘Yes, they’re real, but we don’t know what the hell they are.’ 

The study was restricted to 144 credible reports by military personnel. In those 144 encounters the report rules out four categories; one, a secret technology from one of our adversaries, two, our own classified technology, three, airborne clutter such as balloons, and natural atmospheric phenomena. This leaves a fourth category they call ‘Other.’ That’s where the meat of the report lies. 

Very importantly, 80 of the encounters classified as ‘Other’ ‘involved observation with multiple sensors,’ in other words, they could not be observer error by human observers. The report concludes those 80 encounters were with actual physical objects. That’s the grains of wheat among all the chaff in the report. More than half of the encounters were with real physical objects. Unknown real physical objects. 

Of those 80 encounters with actual physical objects, 18 manifested seriously anomalous behavior. This includes instant changes in direction, moving at speeds impossible for aircraft of any sort, and no observable means of propulsion. So these are actual physical objects using technology we don’t have, and we’re sure no other country on Earth has.

As usual the ‘scientific’ brigade came out to debunk. Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb said the encounters probably have ‘mundane explanations.’ ‘Mundane explanations?’ What ‘mundane explanations?’ Are we back to swamp gas, swarms of fireflies, and other imbecilic explanations thrown at us in the past? I hope not. 

Someone named David Axe wrote in TheDailyBeast.com that we may not know what these objects are, but ‘we can say with reasonable certainty what they’re not.’ That’s space aliens, he says, and asks why extraterrestrials would travel ‘galactic distances’ just to fool around with military pilots and make no effort to communicate. 

Remember in Star Trek they had a ‘Prime Directive’ not to interfere in developing civilizations? Maybe the beings visiting us have such a rule. It’s quite logical to let civilizations develop on their own, each going in a different direction. Our own cultural anthropologists try to interfere as little as possible with the primitive cultures they study. 

Maybe, from their perspective, communicating with would have as much use as us communicating with beavers! 

Besides that, Mr. Axe’s argument has a fatal flaw. He assumes aliens would have to travel ‘galactic distances’ to get here. That’s an obviously false assumption. They’re already here and have been here a long time. 

Anyone who has studied the subject deeply, as I have, knows that whatever UFOs are, they’ve been here a very long time. There are reports from ancient Rome, medieval reports, reports from every period in written history. The Biblical report of Ezekiel’s encounter, if converted to modern language, is a classic ‘Close Encounter of the Third Kind.’ 

When I interviewed an elderly member of an isolated indigenous tribe in New Mexico in 1996, I learned from her that her people had a very old oral tradition of encounters, and considered seeing a UFO to be a very bad omen. This was not something they normally talked to white men about, but a relative who’d left the reservation to work construction in big cities heard me interviewed on Art Bell’s radio program, contacted me, and convinced her to talk to me by telling her that my great grandmother was Cherokee (true). 

Human encounters with this ‘Other’ is not a recent phenomenon! 

In the 70s Jefferson Starship, that great old band, asked, “What I would really like to know … what are they watching us for?’ We don’t have an answer to Paul Kantner’s question — yet. The truth is still out there somewhere.

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author, former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine and veteran contributor to this blog. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read additional articles by Bob Shell, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/nudes-in-state-parks/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

 

Aliana Ho: We Thrive

Photo: Aliana Ho, Copyright 2021
 

Photography and Text by Aliana Ho, Copyright 2021

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We Thrive

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In all honesty, I had a hard time deciding what to do for this shoot. Choosing a good friend of mine to be my model and subject took little thought, but the matters of where, how, and when proved to be much more challenging than I anticipated.

We first met up on Saturday evening, but just as he had meticulously completed his look, one foot out the door, a small family emergency arose. We rescheduled for Wednesday night, and during this second attempt, we had spent about an hour and half working on our set and shooting when my camera battery died. Knowing I was running out of time, my panic began to rise.

Luckily, the next day, we were able to pick up a battery, get lunch together, and decide on a location. As we arrived at the Ardmore Ave Septa Station, our chosen set, we were met by an elderly gentleman who asked us to call an ambulance for him, as he needed a ride to the hospital. We then waited for said ambulance, said goodbye, and only then were we able to complete our shoot. And of course, this all occurred within two and a half hours.

We decided upon the Ardmore Ave Septa Station predominantly for the lighting, as it was the afternoon and the sun had already begun to drop in the sky. I hadn’t yet been to the station since they had completed construction, so I was curious to see what it looked like as well. Looking back, the fluid relationship of a train station was a fitting set for the chaos of this shoot.

When I recount these experiences, I can’t help but chuckle at the ridiculousness of it all. How could it be that every time we tried to complete this project, something would disrupt our plans?

But of course, that’s what we’ve come to practice. Our safety plan: adapt and survive.

During the past year, everyone has had to learn how to adapt. Adapt our health practices, adapt our social lives, adapt our emotions and feelings, adapt to survive. This piece came together under suboptimal conditions and in such a short time, but it felt easy after all the bumps we hit. Like this shoot, this year has forced us to face obstacle after obstacle, and still maintain a forward motion. So we adapt, we survive, and we thrive.

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About The Author: Aliana Ho is a student enrolled at Haverford College, Haverford, Pa. Class of 2022.