John W. Oller, Jr., Ph.D.
John W. Oller, Jr. holds a PhD in General Linguistics from the University of Rochester, New York. He was accelerated to tenure and the Associate Professorship at UCLA within two years of completing his PhD. In 1972, he founded and the Department of Linguistics at the University of New Mexico where he served until 1997 when he moved to Louisiana to build the PhD in Applied Language and Speech Sciences at UL. That program was unanimously approved by the Board of Regents in 2001 with core requirements in theoretical semiotics. Oller was one of “100 Stars” honored at the Fresno City College Centennial in 2010; received the MLA Mildenberger Medal in 1984; and his former doctoral students occupy positions of distinction at universities in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas as well as Thailand, Korea, Japan, and Germany. From 2004-2013, he held an endowed professorship titled the "Doris B. Hawthorne/Board of Regents (formerly, Louisiana Educational Quality) Support Fund Professorship IV in Communicative Disorders." In the summer of 2013, during on-going legal contest (see Oller v. Roussel 2011; summary here and initial complaint here), Oller's endowed position was taken away for one year, but was restored in summer 2014.
What Is the Underlying Source of Disorders, Diseases, and Mortality?
Here is the key to answering that question: true representations correctly understood are just as necessary to health and well-being as they are to ordinary language acquisition and successful communication. They are absolutely foundational.Theoretical work (see Entropy 2010) backed by sound research in mathematics, physics, biochemistry, immunology, toxicology, the neurosciences, and linguistics (see Biosemiotic Entropy 2012-2014) shows that the success of linguistic-social interactions as well as the biological communications on which health in general depends all require connecting abstract symbols with their intended meanings. Even in marketing, economics, education, and high stakes communication in general, in the long-run sound theory and research show that true representations are essential (see Images that Work and references cited there). Ultimately, the meanings of true representations are grounded in mappings of abstract signs (words, phrases, and higher units) into the stream of ordinary experience populated by material bodily entities interacting with each other in space and time.
What Is Ordinary Truth?
As explained in the general theory of signs (Discourse Processes 2005; also, Modern Language Journal 2005), valid connections between representations and the facts they purport to be about are what is meant by ordinary "true" reports, faithful descriptions, kept promises, and the like. As Donald Davidson (1996, Journal of Philosophy, 93, 263-278) explained in a famous paper about "truth", if Brutus killed Caesar, then saying that Brutus did so, is telling the truth. True connections require pragmatic mapping of referring terms and phrases in the right sequence and in dynamic stereoscopic arrangements that fit the facts in a timely manner. In biological systems, toxins, disease agents, radiant injuries, and their interactions disrupt biological control systems. In biology, as in all ordinary communications, like an upright posture or a plomb wall, true representations work better than ones that are out of kelter. Distorted, imperfect, incomplete representations (errors, lies, and nonsense mistaken for valid representations of facts) especially in biology, lead to breakdowns, disorders, diseases, and ultimately to death. On a happier note, sound theory, careful research, and clinical results show that certain toxic exposures and manufactured pathogens can be avoided. Also, there are natural antioxidants such as astaxanthan and other phytochemicals that can help to cleanse the body of toxins and keep the immune systems tuned up. By avoiding unnecessary injurious exposures, eating a healthy diet, getting adequate sunshine, rest, and regular vigorous exercise, it is possible to maintain or even restore health and prevent many disorders, diseases, and untimely fatalities. By contrast, corrupted representations, from genes upward through the central nervous system (see the paper on aluminum below) and beyond, even in social and international relationships, tend toward undesirable, even catastrophic, outcomes.
Oller, J. W., Jr., Chen, L., Oller, S. D., and Pan, N. (2005). Empirical predictions from a general theory of signs. Discourse Processes, 40(2), 115-144.
Oller, J. W., Jr. (2005). Common ground between form and content: The pragmatic solution to the bootstrapping problem. Modern Language Journal, 89, 92-114.
Oller is the principal author of Milestones: Normal Speech and Language Development Across the Life Span (Plural Publishing, 2014 2nd edition).Cases: Introducing Communication Disorders Across the Life Span (Plural Publishing, 2010), Autism: the Diagnosis, Treatment, & Etiology of the Undeniable Epidemic (Jones & Bartlett parent company to Allied Health, 2010); and Images that Work: Creating Successful Messages in Marketing and High Stakes Communication (Quorum, 1999). One of the predictions emerging from the theory of abstraction first published in 1995, and explained at anintroductory level in the first and second editions of the Milestones book (2006 and 2014) is the fact that child development from conception forward progresses more rapidly, more consciously, more deliberately, and with greater intellectual capacity and more intense interest in language than prior theoreticians had thought possible. Among the breakthroughs documented in Milestones is the practical clinical demonstration that human infants are already engaged in language learning before they are born and that they can learn to comprehend many words, both spoken (Bergelson & Swingley, 2012, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109.9, 3253-3258) and written (Robert C. Titzer, 2005-2013) before they can say a single word intelligibly. It was argued years earlier by Stephen D. Krashen (1985, Input Hypothesis) that comprehension must precede the production of meaningful words in any language and the Milestones project (2006-2014; and prior works leading up to those books) spelled out the steps of the process of abstraction in considerable detail. The theory of abstraction, in particular, showed how and why comprehension is easier to attain, develops earlier, and generally precedes production. In the early stages of first language development it must do so for reasons that are plainly spelled out in the theory. Also, as shown in the attached video, compliments of Robert C. Titzer and Chad Murdock (award winning videographer, television producer, and documentary journalist extraordinaire), we now have irrefutable evidence available to all the world showing that babies can learn to read earlier than most of us dared to dream.
Why we wrote the books and other projects referred to on this web page. Books don't come together on their own. They are made by teams of committed individuals and the ones on this web page are no exception.
How do we know the autism epidemic is real? There are two streams of work on autism and related disorders. One says that there is a genuine epidemic and the other says the whole idea may be an illusion. What to believe? Why the conflict? The controversy is summed up here.
What about vaccines and their components? Is it true, as claimed by the CDC in its public statements that there is no correlation between the toxins and disease agents in vaccines, or their interactions, and the rising incidence of the autism diagnosis? See the video "I've stopped lying," from CDC researcher, William Thompson who co-authored many false research reports on behalf of the CDC. For a succinct commentary on the CDC fraudulent claims about vaccines, see Wakefield here. For an interview with Wakefield giving more details have a look here.
Current Writing & Research:
For findings of recent work in communication disorders, click here. Complex valid pragmatic mappings are found in true narrative reports about ordinary facts of common experience. Similarly valid and complex pragmatic mapping relations are found in genetics and epigenetics upward through all of our biochemistry ranging from cells to tissues, organs, organisms, and extending as well to communications between persons, as well as social, economic, and political entities (nations). The simplest pragmatic mapping relations are seen in conventional names or referring terms correctly applied and understood. Because of what are known as "combinatorial explosions" as the number of signs and the length of strings increases from infancy to maturity, the likelihood of our agreement by chance on any particular fact rapidly diminishes toward a vanishing point. The question then, is how can any unity of understanding ever be achieved? That seems to me to be the central mystery of human intelligence.
Shaw, Christopher A., Seneff, Stephanie, Kette, Stephen D., Tomljenovic, Lucija, Oller Jr., John W., and Davidson, Robert M. (2014). Aluminium-induced entropy in biological systems: Implications for neurological disease. Journal of Toxicology, 49316, pp. 1-27.
Oller, J. W., Jr. (Ed.), (2014). Biosemiotic Entropy: Disorder, Disease, and Mortality. Special Issue of the journal of Entropy, 14-16, 473 pages.
Oller, J. W., Jr., Oller, S. D., & Oller, S. N. (2014). Milestones: Normal speech and language development across the life span (Second edition). San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing, Inc.
Oller, J. W., Jr. (2010). The antithesis of entropy: Biosemiotic communication from genetics to human language with special emphasis on the immune systems. Entropy, 12(4), 631-705.Oller, J. W., Jr., & Oller, S. D. (2010). Autism: The diagnosis, treatment, & etiology of the undeniable epidemic. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Anne Dachel at Age of Autism in her review says:
"The Ollers’ book is a complete reference book on autism. It’s about the history of the disorder, the exponential increase, and the actions of all of those who should have been first responders to the epidemic.... AUTISM by John and Stephen Oller is the textbook on autism."
The upsurge in autism spectrum disorders is not uncaused. The current epidemic is no longer plausibly deniable nor is it untreatable. The first step toward successful treatment, however, is an accurate diagnosis followed by discovery of the underlying causes — etiology. This book, with a Foreword written by Dr. Andrew J. Wakefield, addresses these issues with its primary focus on etiology. The research shows “autism spectrum” disorders are being caused mainly by toxins, disease agents, and their interactions. Genetic factors are important but cannot be the sole causal agents. This book addresses causation at an introductory level but without skimping on the research. It presents many new findings from current ongoing research and from the historical study of vaccines. Autism is a compelling subject of study because it is still the fastest growing diagnosis on the horizon. The autism epidemic is, for reasons we develop in the book, bringing about a paradigm shift in medicine and the health sciences. Theories of increased public awareness, the broadening of criteria for diagnosis, and various other competitors utterly fail to explain the facts at hand. The “autism epidemic” is not an illusion. Theories trying to explain it away cannot account for the contrast across birth cohorts as shown clearly in the IDEA/NCLB data. See figures at http://www.fightingautism.org/idea/autism.php? (also see http://www.johnson-center.org/ and http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/10/prweb2997944.htm).
Relevant studies of biochemistry, especially in human and animal toxicology studies and in systematic research on medical interventions, show what the main causal factors are and how they can be corrected. In this book, we present and explain the healing cycle that has worked in hundreds of cases and that needs to be applied in one way or another to all of them. Health is not the great mystery that some seem to pretend that it is: we need to avoid toxins, consume a nutritious diet, rest well regularly, and exercise vigorously. Beyond that we may also need to fight off or counter attack disease agents, parasites, and fungi, and possibly even to chemically remove toxins already consumed. All the while we need to monitor progress with reasonable and valid measurement and assessment procedures. Communication is critical from top to bottom. We show why and we describe the basis for the paradigm shift in the health sciences that is already underway. As independent researchers, we aim to contribute to the needed changes that must take place from the grass roots upward.
Oller, J. W., Jr., Oller, S. D., & Badon, L. C. (2010). Cases: Introducing communication disorders across the life span. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing, Inc. This book reclassifies communication disorders across the board within the framework of a general theory of signs. It accomplishes at an introductory level what some said was too difficult for Ph.D. level students in communication disorders. Well, it's not too difficult at all and certainly not too hard for undergraduate students to understand and use. We show why the reclassification is necessary and we illustrate it in a narrative way with real life cases that rivet attention and motivate comprehension. The coverage is encyclopedic and yet students want to know more and more. It's the entry point for many professionals who will learn more as they work through this material than any of the practitioners trained at graduate levels in prior years. No brag, just fact. The research here is cutting edge and the theory is consistent, simple, and comprehensive. The real life stories are true and presented in ways that will make you laugh, cry, and want to do something about the disorders that you experience through the cases. Click here to read what users are saying about this book.
Oller, J. W., Jr. & Chen, Liang. (2007). Episodic organization in discourse and valid measurement in the sciences. Journal of Quantitative Linguistics, 14, 127-144. This paper sums up logicomathematical arguments and empirical research showing why piecemeal approaches to language analysis and to any kind of measurement in the sciences, approaches that neglect a dynamic and integrative systems account, are certain to fail. They are doomed to an incompleteness that cannot be remedied without taking abstract discursive phenomena and interactions at a distance into account. This same point applies in biochemistry and genetics as strongly as it does in logic and linguistics. The implications for measurement theory are completely general and the logicomathematical basis, we believe, will stand the closest scrutiny.
Oller, J. W., Jr., Oller, S. D., & Badon, L. C. (2006). Milestones: Normal speech and language development across the life span. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing, Inc. (Click here to see what our students are saying about this book. This text contains theoretical and empirical advances that are presented coherently at an introductory level here. It provides a solid, necessary, foundation for understanding communication disorders. It is grounded in empirical research and sustained by a logical and factual presentation of the normal sequence of steps requisite to developing the whole sign hierarchy from sensation, to movement, to language and to all that language makes accessible in human experience, communication, and understanding. It shows how the human language capacity is normally fleshed out and why it is crucial to the full development of so-called "nonverbal" abilities as well as the kinds of intelligence and creative expression that are distinctly social and human.
Oller is a reader and/or serves on the editorial board for the following (and other) journals:
- British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research,
- Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology,
- Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools,
- Journal of Communication Disorders, Deaf Studies & Hearing Aids,
- Interscience Journal,
- The Open Applied Linguistics Journal,
- Language Testing,
- Modern Language Journal,
- International Journal of Linguistics,
- International Journal of Language Studies,
- English for Specific Purposes,
- National Asscociation of Bilingual Education (NABE) Journal of Research and Practice.
Autism Research Grants
Oller was the principal organizer of Autism07 held at the UL Lafayette Cajundome Convention Center April 12-14, 2007. Click here to see what participants from all categories had to say about that conference. A grant for this purpose of $30,000 from Sertoma Club of Lafayette was funded in spring 2006 to organize the Sertoma International Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism07) matched in part by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette ($2,000) and the Tourism Bureau of Lafayette ($1,000) in addition to contributions from numerous other persons (click here to see a complete list of contributors). Clearly, toxicity from pesticides, disease agents, medicines, and dentistry in particular certainly are among the causal factors for the present autism epidemic. The JAMA defense of mercury in dental amalgam for children notwithstanding. If mercury is not safe to hold in your hand, or to include in topical disinfectants, is it safe to wear in your mouth or put in living tissues? The interactions between toxins and disease agents are causal elements in the various epidemics of chronic diseases including autism. (See the book on Autism cited above.)Matching grant of $17,260 from Sertoma International and the Sertoma Club of Lafayette to conduct research on medical protocols for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders (funded April 2007).
An Ancient Question: Still Current
The deepest puzzle, it would seem of modern or ancient times has always been about what is true. Is there any ancient writing, any science, any theory, any idea system that can be regarded as trustworthy? The central question of the sciences, of history, of the world's great religions, it seems is what is true? How can we find truth and act upon it so that we may enjoy longer, healthier, and more prosperous lives? How can we at least post-pone mortality if we cannot avoid it altogether? It is because such a question is inevitable in the experience of thinking persons that the pursuit of understanding appeals to thinking persons in all walks of life. We are drawn to wonder which voices to listen to, which books to read, which roads to follow.
According to the 18th chapter of the gospel of John, Jesus had a brief exchange with the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, ending with the foundational question of history, science, and religion. The conversation is reported like this:  "Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”  “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”  Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”  “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”  “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him."
Here we have the foundational question of the human predicament: What is truth?
In its most ordinary sense, the term "truth" can be defined as noted in the prior section titled What Is Ordinary Truth? Also, as Oller has argued in many of his publications and in the proofs concerning "true narrative representations" (see the TNR Proofs), the most ordinary narratives reporting on our actual experiences have some amazing logical properties. When they are stripped to their simplest form, they are the only representations among all that are possible that are relatively determinate with respect to the facts they report. The facts deliver all the TNR requires in a way that enables us to discover the meaning of the TNR from the facts, and vice versa. The propositional meanings of the TNR are contained, insofar as those propositions are factual, in those particular facts. Ordinary truth in this sense is also completely connected with its facts and within itself. As a result, to the extent that the whole universe of time-space-matter has any coherence (connectedness), every TNR connects with that whole in a relatively perfect way. The same cannot be said for any fiction, error, lie, or bit of nonsense. Only TNRs have the logical property of connectedness. Finallly, every ordinary true narrative provides the necessary basis for generalization to all similar contexts precisely to the extent of the similarities that may exist across whatever contexts may arise or be constructed. For instance, whatever may be true of a water molecule in a particular context can be generalized to all such molecules in similar contexts just to the extent of the similarities that obtain. Leaving readers who have the inclination to explore (and to extend) the theory on their own, it may be interesting to consider just a couple of the applications currently being developed. Besides the applications that Oller himself has explored and developed with respect to marketing, economics, education, linguistics, biology, and the like, in their book Discovering the City of Sodom (published by Simon and Schuster, April 2, 2013), Drs. Steven Collins and Latayne Scott have applied TNR-theory fruitfully in archaeology. They note on p. 231 of their 2013 book that Trinity professor Dr. Peter Briggs used TNR-theory to set a topographical and linguistic screen enabling him to identify "the site of Khirbet el-Maqatir as the biblical Ai described in the book of Joshua; just as our excavation has used a similar screen of indicators in the Bible to identify Tall-el-Hammam as Sodom." The principles underlying these archaeological discoveries are simple at their basis. True reports have to be consistent topographically, temporally, and in every conceivable way with respect to whatever facts, events, and relations they may report. Why? Because truth depends on such consistency.
In recent work in biosemiotics, Oller and colleagues from many different areas of study and research are furthering understanding of how disorders, diseases (especially cancers; see the fully downloadable open-source paper by Gryder, Nelson, & Sheperd 2013), and mortality itself involve the systematic corruption of TNRs. It is important to note that in all the work currently underway, the underlying premise is that truth itself is necessarily coherent (completely so, or it would not be true).
Yet, that premise has no firm basis in the sciences. No phenomenon in experimental science has yet been discovered that is absolutely, exactly, and forever, perfectly consistent. On the contrary, what we know of numbers and measurement assures us that our accuracy in experimental work is limited and can, so far as we now know, always be indefinitely improved (for an example, see the recent work in water dynamics by Song et al. 2014 where translational diffusion is being measured at the level of ~10 Angstroms). So far, for every limit set on the degree of improvement that may be possible in experimental scientific measurement, a new methodology has come along to exceed that supposed limit. But perfect measurement remains, still, about as far out of reach as an eternal perpetual motion machine. As far as is known, only the God of the Bible has the characterisistic of perfect consistency being a God who cannot be made to lie and who is the same, yesterday, today, and forever... the Beginning and the End. Any lesser God is simply inadequate from the point of view of ordinary truth. A god not quite true cannot be the Almighty God of the Bible..
Likewise, there is, as yet, no perfectly consistent system of mathematical proofs that cover all the possible propositions that can be constructed. In fact, Kurt Gödel's incompleteness theorems purportedly show that there can be no complete set of proofs even for true propositions about the natural numbers. Thus, there appears to be no adequate basis in mathematics for the premise that perfect consistency is by any means attainable. In other words, mathematical reasoning cannot prove the existence of any perfect consistency, and, yet, without the premise that such consistency exists, the whole house of mathematical reasoning is doomed. Without the starting premise that consistency is attainable, no mathematical proofs can be constructed. And, needless to say, without the presumption of mathematical consistency, experimental science is also lost.
But ordinary truth in TNRs shows that consistency of a profound sort is indeed attainable by human beings acting against all odds in the present tense. The very existence of anyTNRs, easily provable beyond any reasonable doubt as is demonstrated by anyone attempting a disproof, shows that we human beings, though at risk of making errors (even fatal ones) for lack of complete knowledge, have, it would seem, on account of our intelligence and our albeit incomplete knowledge, a sufficient modicum of moral responsibility to qualify as sinners under the Mosaic Law. Not only this, but in some cases, we ourselves are able to judge between truth and falsehood, between right and wrong, between wisdom and foolishness, between good and evil. We don't always get such distinctions right, but the fact that we do in many mundane instances shows that ordinary truth exists.
Where did we get the amazing ability to discern between truth and falsehoods in the vast majority of ordinary contexts? Is our ability to do so really a product of random bumping together of particles as some would have us to believe? Has the universe always existed? Did it create itself? How did we come to be? Is there a difference between the self (the soul) and the body? How is it that the body for a time seems to contain our consciousness? Does the body merely house the "self"? Or, is the self the very same as the body, just an arrangement of molecules? Or does the arrangement of molecules, the text of our own DNA, have a higher, transcendant existence? Based on current science, it certainly appears that the molecules are incidental while their arrangement and sequencing is what constitutes individual identity. So, given that, is the body destined only to decay and does the soul dissipate with the molecules when they lose their coherence at the time of an individual's death? Meantime, what holds any given living organism and the rest of the universe in place during any given moment? What holds it together right now? What gives the universe any coherence?
Oller's answer is one he has been writing about in various contexts, including his professional books and articles, for more than half a century. However, there are some ideas that merit more than just words, more than pictures, more than poetry. They are, in Oller's thinking, like the music of some of the ancient hymns that seem to speak directly to the human spirit, e.g., take the song by Frederick Weatherly put to music by Michael Maybrick titled "The Holy City" as performed by the Hong Kong Police Choir in 2007), where the music is its own meaning... Even stripped of its words many would say that the music retains its depth of meaning beyond what words can express.
In physics, it would seem that the truth of such music is like a glimpse into what is being called "quantum coherence"... Years ago, Oller decided to pursue the study of linguistics, languages, genetics, and sign systems in general because his soul seemed to resonate in advance with the biblical statement: "In the beginning was the Word..." Perhaps that idea would have seemed quaint up until the middle of the last century when the so-called "genetic code" was partically unraveled, but so many current ideas with the explosive growth of knowledge show that signaling systems are foundational that the biblical statement that caught Oller's interest seems now to be the only game in town. It's the only idea grand enough to fit the exploding range of current data and theory. A few years ago, Oller's friend, a physicist of LSU fame, D.Russel Humphreys explained how Einstein's gravitational dilation of time could be used to explain how the earth may be very young while the universe appears to be billions of light years across. That book, first released in 1994, showed how the stretching out of space and matter necessitates the speeding up of time. The movie titled "The Genesis Code" took off from Humphrey's idea and tried to suggest that the Bible is subject to re-interpretation based on gravitational dilation. But that idea more or less gets things upside down and backwards. The fact is that any true interpretation of the universe must agree with the Bible, if the Bible is itself a true narrative representation. God does not depend on science or scientific discoveries any more than my experiences or feelings can provide new and unknown information to God Almighty. In fact, my experience and feelings are utterly dependent on God, if God exists, and God's existence is not at all dependent on what I believe or don't believe. If asked to express that idea or the simplest notion of truth in its most ordinary sense, Oller takes the same road that the ancient psalmist of Israel took about seven centuries before Christ. Oller's rendition of Psalm 19 is his idea of ordinary truth expressed in words, music, and the stars.
CODI 601 is the foundational course for the ALSS PhD Program as approved by the Board of Regents of the State of Louisiana based on the document presented by Oller and approved in June 2001; can be offered on distinct topics as well.
CODI 612 (formerly CODI 602) is an advanced course on the causation, diagnosis, and treatment of communication disorders.
CODI 118 is an introduction to communication disorders based on Cases: Introducing communication disorders across the life span. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing, Inc.
CODI 219 is an introduction to anatomy and physiology with emphasis on current theory and research concerning toxins, disease agents, and other sources of injury leading to known communication disorders and related disease conditions.
CODI 274 is an introduction to normal speech and language development based on Milestones: Normal speech and language development across the life span. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing, Inc.
CODI 497/590 seminar in autism spectrum disorders dealing with diagnosis, treatment, and the etiology of the current epidemic.
UNIV 100 is a how-to course introducing incoming undergraduates to university life, the benefits of higher education and responsible citizenship.
Other GrantsThe Departmental Excellence through Faculty Excellence was awarded to Oller and funded in June, 2000 at $75,880 from the State of Louisiana and was supplemented by $4,120 of matching funds from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for a total of $80,000 per year in perpetuity for the Department of Communicative Disorders at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. So far this grant has generated $1.2 million in revenue to the Department of Communicative Disorders at UL Lafayette from the Louisiana Board of Regents and then Governor of Louisiana, Mike Foster.Updated September 19, 2014