Tag Archives: Blog

Image Authentication and Forensics – The Moon Landing Photos

By Hany Farid via Image Authentication and Forensics | Fourandsix Technologies

By some counts a surprising number of people believe that the 1969 moon landing was a hoax. These dis-believers point to, among other things, purported inconsistencies in some of the moon landing photos. I’ll describe the application of a new forensic technique that refutes some of these claims.

Shown below is the iconic photo of Buzz Aldrin in which the physical plausibility of the lighting and shadows has been called into question.


I have previously described how cast shadows in an image can be analyzed to determine if they are consistent with a single light source. In order to determine if shadows are authentic, we connect points on a shadow to their corresponding points on the object. These lines should all intersect at a single point (or in the special case, be parallel) — this point is the location of the light source projected into the image. The application of this forensic technique (as shown here) requires a clearly defined shadow to object pairing (e.g., the tip of a cone). Such shadows in the above photo are in short supply thus limiting the application of this forensic technique.

In collaboration with Dr. Eric Kee (Columbia University) and Prof. James O’Brien (UC Berkeley) we recently developed a new forensic technique that can be applied to ambiguously defined shadows [1]. In this analysis, we start at any point on a shadow and draw a wedge-shaped constraint that encompasses all parts of an object to which the shadow may correspond. Shown below is one such constraint. The constraint encompasses the entire sphere because there is no systematic way of reasoning about which part of the sphere is associated with a particular spot on the shadow.


In the above figure, the shaded red region constrains the projected location of the light source. While obviously not as specific as a single line constraint, this approach allows us to analyze all cast shadows in an image.

Because we can now handle ambiguous shadow-object pairings, we can also exploit attached shadows to determine the location of the light source. An attached shadow occurs when an object occludes the light from itself (e.g., a non-full Moon). Shown below, for example, is an attached shadow on the sphere’s surface. The line that is tangent to an attached shadow constrains the projected location of the light source to be on the illuminated side of the object.


Multiple cast and attached shadow constraints can be specified in an image. If the shadows are physically correct, then all of the constraints will share a common intersection (this consistency check is automatically determined using standard linear programming). Any violations of these constraints is evidence of photo tampering.

Shown below is the result of this new shadow analysis applied to the moon landing image. The cast shadow constraints are shown with solid red lines and the attached shadow constraints are shown with dashed lines. All of the constraints are consistent (the triangular region outlined in black denotes a common intersection). Despite some claims to the contrary, the lighting in this spectacular photo is physically consistent.



[1] Eric Kee, James O’Brien and Hany Farid. Exposing Photo Manipulation with Inconsistent ShadowsACM Transactions on Graphics, 32(4):28:1-12, 2013.

[2] Eric Kee’s presentation at SIGGRAPH, 2013.

[END] via Image Authentication and Forensics | Fourandsix Technologies

Alex Jones Explains How Government “Weather Weapon” Could Have Been Behind Oklahoma Tornado

H/T: Thomas J. Proffit

AlexJonesMoron_240pxMy favorite moron is at it again.

Now Alex Jones says the government could have caused the tornado devastation in Oklahoma. Yes, he’s serious.

But along his journey to Oz, he made reference to a law i just had to fact check.

At 1:27 into the video, dopey says: “See, under United States Code Title 50, chapter 32, subsection 1520a, paragraph b – it allows chemical, biological, radiological or any other testing … even lethal … on citizens unsuspecting. The government claims it is allowed to kill us.”

You got that? The law allows our government to kill us using chemical, biological, radiological or ANY other lethal testing! It’s in the law!!! The law!!! Right???? Wrong.

I looked up the law and, as you might have suspected, the moron got it wrong. Completely wrong. Again.

The law is 50 USC § 1520a(b) (Restrictions on use of human subjects for testing of chemical or biological agents) and can be found at http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/50/1520a or downloaded here in PDF format.

50 USC § 1520a not only mandates congress be given 30 days notice of any plans to conduct any experiment or study involving human subjects, but the law also mandates “consent to the testing [must be] obtained from each human subject in advance of the testing on that subject.

Here is the pertinent language in the law. Click the image to download the PDF copy of the law.

Click Image to download a PDF copy of this law.

Click Image to download a PDF copy of this law.

It’s a one page law and easy to read. It makes me wonder how Jones can get it so wrong. I think he gets it wrong intentionally because it makes him lots of money and his followers are too damn lazy to fact check his lies.

Enjoy 🙂

Mason I. Bilderberg

By BEN DIMIERO & OLIVER WILLIS via Media Matters for America

AlexJonesLunaticConspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones explained to his audience today how the government could have been behind the devastating May 20 tornado in Oklahoma.

On the May 21 edition of The Alex Jones Show, a caller asked Jones whether he was planning to cover how government technology may be behind a recent spate of sinkholes. After laying out how insurance companies use weather modification to avoid having to pay ski resorts for lack of snow, Jones said that “of course there’s weather weapon stuff going on — we had floods in Texas like fifteen years ago, killed thirty-something people in one night. Turned out it was the Air Force.”

Following a long tangent, Jones returned to the caller’s subject. While he explained that “natural tornadoes” do exist and that he’s not sure if a government “weather weapon” was involved in the Oklahoma disaster, Jones warned nonetheless that the government “can create and steer groups of tornadoes.”

According to Jones, this possibility hinges on whether people spotted helicopters and small aircraft “in and around the clouds, spraying and doing things.” He added, “if you saw that, you better bet your bottom dollar they did this, but who knows if they did. You know, that’s the thing, we don’t know.”

In April, Jones garnered attention for labeling the Boston Marathon bombings a “false flag” event staged by the U.S. government. Over the years, Jones has endorsed a wide array of paranoid conspiracies, including alleging that the U.S. government carried out or was somehow involved in the 9-11 attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing, and recent mass shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary school and the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

ALEXJONESFOIL_250pxDespite his well-publicized career of pushing conspiracies, Jones is regularly validated by media figures and conservative politicians. Jones’ biggest ally has been Matt Drudge, whose heavily trafficked Drudge Report website has linked to at least 244 different articles at Jones’ Infowars website since April 2011.

In the midst of the controversy over Jones’ comments about the Boston bombings, Drudge announced that he had “privately told friends” that 2013 would be the “year of Alex Jones.”

By BEN DIMIERO & OLIVER WILLIS via Media Matters for America

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