This article lays out the evidence Alan Gray (CEO of alternative news site NewsBlaze) is quite likely the key person behind the anonymously published website named Real Science hosted on the domain name goodsciencing.com. It was recently in the news because it was the source for some spectacular (but wrong) statistics about athletes suffering cardiac arrests (here's our fact check on that). We have used publicly available data anyone with a browser can verify. We reached out to Alan Gray for comment by email 24 hours before this story was published but received no response. We will update this story if we receive one.
Website with a rising profile
In recent days an anonymously published website named Real Science hosted at goodsciencing.com (archived here) has been receiving a lot of attention, mainly because of its running list (archived here) of "athlete cardiac arrests, serious issues" and even deaths that allegedly happened since the "COVID injection" became available.
The list on Real Science appears to be mainly based on unverified media reports and anecdotes, with very little (if any) basis in actual science. As several fact checkers (including Lead Stories) have pointed out since the site started maintaining the list in November 2021, it is rife with problems and includes obviously non-related cases such as the cancer death of a curling player, a softball player's suicide and the drug overdose that killed a linebacker. These clearly have nothing to do with cardiac arrests, COVID-19 or vaccinations.
That didn't stop people like Panagis Polykretis and noted anti-vaccine doctor Peter McCullough from citing numbers from Real Science in a letter to the editor of the Scandinavian Journal of Immunology and attributing all cases on the list to cardiac arrest:
(Source: Screenshot from the letter to the editor in question [archived here] created by Lead Stories on January 5, 2023)
(Source: Screenshot of https://twitter.com/drsimonegold/status/1610361731380813828 taken by Lead Stories on January 5, 2023)
Twitter owner Elon Musk amplified numbers originating on the site when he drew attention to a tweet from commentator Liz Wheeler citing them:
Certainly worth further investigation-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 4, 2023
Who is behind Real Science and goodsciencing.com? Lead Stories decided to investigate and we think we may have found the person responsible for setting it up and initially promoting it.
Why is it published anonymously?
We are a small team of investigators, news editors, journalists, and truth seekers, now backed up by others, who are discovering pieces of information that we can investigate. It doesn't really matter who we are. What really matters is that we care carrying on an investigation and we're presenting the evidence we've found, almost all of it documented in mainstream media publications.
We're doing this anonymously because we've seen people viciously attacked and threatened for doing things like this, so we're not going to open ourselves or any of our contacts to that. Also, please note, we're not being paid and we're not making any money from this - it is costing us time, effort, and money. We're doing it because there is a concerted effort to block all of this information, but as some smart people used to say, 'sunlight is the best disinfectant.'
Side note: The last thing we would want to see happen are vicious attacks and threats to anyone. Any reader who feels the need to viciously attack or threaten anyone after reading this story: Please don't! This investigation was undertaken with the intent of helping readers make a more informed decision about whether to trust information from this anonymous website, and part of that includes attempting to evaluate the credentials and expertise of the people behind it.
The authors of the site also seem to be very concerned about being called "anti-vaxxer" and what it means to be "scientific":
One thing we don't understand is the huge number of people who want to call other people terrible names, such as 'anti-vaxxer' just because we want to assemble the information, to see if there are patterns worth looking at. Those people, including so-called 'scientists' apparently have no scientific curiosity at all. When professors and doctors and PhDs come out and say people should be arrested or shut down because they are hurting some ongoing program, they are saying they don't care if it hurts, maims or kills people, because it didn't hurt them and it needs to continue with no curbs at all. That's not very scientific.
One of the patterns we noticed on the site was that all content seems to be chosen to systematically scare people away from getting vaccinated, going as far as linking to videos calling the COVID vaccination campaign a "genocide." One could argue that anonymously putting up an anecdotal list of deaths and then not correcting the glaring errors in it is also not very scientific. Nor is refusing to permit "goodsciencing" users to know the credentials, funding and potential conflicts of interest of those producing the site, as is the case in every reputable science journal. As for the purported journalists working on the site, their refusal to stand by their work violates a fundamental journalistic principle: accountability and transparency.
The first clue
When we tried looking for authors on the site, we found three user accounts: "Researcher A," "Researcher B" and "admin" (archived here, here and here). When we used the "view source" function of our browser on the author page of the "admin" user we found this snippet of code, revealing an important clue:
(Source: Screenshot of the source code of https://goodsciencing.com/author/admin/ taken by Lead Stories on January 5, 2023)
In short, this tidbit of code identifies this page as the profile page of a "Person" named "admin" on the website "Real Science" and associates a profile image with that person on the gravatar.com website, hosted at https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/1d94cab96e42e144bbcaf36675119606.
What is a gravatar?
Gravatar.com is a service that allows websites to generate profile images for users based on their public email address. It is owned by Automattic, the company behind the popular WordPress blogging software that also seems to be in use by goodsciencing.com.
It works by taking the user's email address and mathematically generating an MD5 hash of it and then generating an image based on the hash. The image shows up wherever you post. An MD5 hash is basically a string of digits and letters, for example "1d94cab96e42e144bbcaf36675119606" in the example above. The neat thing about MD5 hashes is that they are unique and can't be easily reversed: You can take an email address and turn it into 1d94cab96e42e144bbcaf36675119606 but there is no easy and fast way to turn 1d94cab96e42e144bbcaf36675119606 back into an email address. You can also be quite sure only one email address maps to 1d94cab96e42e144bbcaf36675119606.
This makes it ideal for Gravatar: No two users will end up with the same profile image and the privacy of the user's email address remains protected.
Identifying Gravatar users
However, those same properties also make it possible to identify anonymous Gravatar users in some cases, as Mark Slapinski found out when we identified him as the person behind disinformation website The Conservative Beaver in 2021.
If the same Gravatar profile image (with the same MD5 hash) shows up associated with user accounts on multiple sites it is undeniable proof they were created using the same email address. And if one of these accounts has a real name associated with it while the other one is anonymous, it makes for a pretty strong case they are both run by the same named person.
The case only becomes stronger if the actual email address of that person resolves to the MD5 hash in the Gravatar link, especially if there are other circumstantial pieces of evidence pointing in the same direction.
"Sally Gray" on NewsBlaze, "Alan Gray" on Folsom Local News
One of the first places where Lead Stories discovered the "1d94cab96e42e144bbcaf36675119606" Gravatar ID was also being used was in the user profile of a "Sally Gray" (archived here) on "The Editor's Blog" of NewsBlaze.com. Other user accounts on that site can be found on this page: https://newsblaze.com/blog/wp-json/wp/v2/users (archived here). The main one appears to be "Alan Gray," who is identified as follows in the data: "Alan Gray is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of NewsBlaze." According to Crunchbase, "Sally Ann Gray" is the CFO of NewsBlaze as well as the co-founder (along with Alan Gray).
The same Gravatar ID again appears in the source code of this Folsom Local News article (archived here), attributed to user "admin," with an author page reported to be at https://folsomlocalnews.com/author/alan. That page now redirects to https://folsomlocalnews.com/author/alan-2 (archived here), where it shows the name "Alan Gray." In the source code the user is listed with a new Gravatar ID "2550a5dfe960d26581464c92430d5adc" and a Twitter account at https://twitter.com/newstext (archived here). That Twitter account has a bio identifying him as "Alan Gray" and "Editor at NewsBlaze," located in Australia.
Even though it would at first seem strange for someone in Australia to be writing stories for a local news website of a California town, a lot became clearer after we found a press release titled "NewsBlaze Announces Strategic Business Marketing Partnership with Folsom Local News Media" (archived here).
What is NewsBlaze?
In its footer, the website describes itself as:
NewsBlaze is the alternative business and world news newspaper, with entertainment, music, politics, and the latest breaking news and videos.
Introduced in February 2005, Newsblaze.com provided Internet news seekers an independent news source. Newsblaze was founded with the goal of giving attention to the news that the mainstream media gives little or no time.
It also has a quote attributed to "Alan Gray, NewsBlaze CEO":
'For many reasons, the number of journalists on the beat is much smaller with each passing year. There 5 to 7 times more PR agents than journalists. So we aim to make up for that,' says Alan Gray, NewsBlaze CEO.
Who is Alan Gray?
Alan Gray's LinkedIn profile again identifies him as the CEO (and CISO, which is chief information security officer) of NewsBlaze and puts his location in Australia. He describes himself as:
... the publisher and Editor-in-Chief of NewsBlaze and senior partner in the World City Press Syndicate. He helps writers craft better stories and helps people, agencies and companies connect with audiences. Every story in these sites passes through the editorial process.
Currently arranging Security round-tables for CISOs, IAMs and Risk professionals.
He leverages his many years in the technical area as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for World City Press.
When he's not editing or helping other people and companies connect with their audience, you can find Alan volunteering or running at parkrun.
Alan has been on the internet since it first started. He loves to use his expertise in content and digital marketing to help businesses grow, through managed content services. After living in the United States for 15 years, he is now in South Australia. To learn more about how Alan can help you with content marketing and managed content services, contact him by email.
The references to his education on his LinkedIn bio do not show any medical background at all:
(Source: Screenshot of https://www.linkedin.com/in/newsblaze/ taken by Lead Stories on January 5, 2023)
We also found several references connecting NewsBlaze to the now mostly defunct website loopbiz.com, which seems to have been a site offering various services to small businesses and which is owned by "NewsBlaze LLC" according to the "about" page (archived here).
In short, Alan Gray appears to be an experienced, technically minded editorial entrepreneur specializing in content marketing with connections to both California and Australia.
World Asthma Foundation & Microbiome First Conference
Alan Gray also appears to have written about the World Asthma Foundation since as far back as 2013 at NewsBlaze: https://newsblaze.com/usnews/health/severe-asthma-copd-overlap-syndrome-war-is-on_31934/ (an earlier version of that story appears to be here).
NewsBlaze congratulated the organizers of the Microbiome First conference via Twitter (archived here) and mentioned interviewing WAF researchers in October 2020 in reply to a tweet by noted antivaxxer Michael Yeadon (archived here).
Note that the domain name goodsciencing.com was registered in November 4, 2021, so this would be shortly after these interviews took place. According to the Internet Archive, the "list" article was first captured on November 13, 2021, but the article at the time mentions a "Nov 9, 2021" update, implying it was published somewhere between November 4 and November 9 of 2021.
As it turns out, the Gravatar ID earlier identified as that of Alan Gray also appears in the user list of the microbiomefirst.org website, namely for user accounts ID 1 and 2 ("sustainad" and "microad"): https://microbiomefirst.org/wp-json/wp/v2/users (archived here).
Note: None of this proves or implies anything about involvement of other World Asthma Foundation members, staff, etc. with goodsciencing.com. But it shows Alan Gray/NewsBlaze interacting with an anti-vaccine activist on Twitter and demonstrates yet another link between him and the Gravatar ID.
Initial promotion of the goodsciencing site
The about page of goodsciencing.com (archived here) explicitly thanks Telegram channel NOTB Sports - Sudden injuries and death for help. We looked at the archive of this channel and found a user named "Alan Gray" who joined on November 25, 2022, and almost immediately posted a link to goodsciencing.com (archived here).
(Source: Screenshot of https://t.me/NOTB_Sports_Sudden_Death_Injury taken by Lead Stories on January 4, 2023)
The final link
Lead Stories used publicly available tools to look up email addresses related to Alan Gray. We then used the MD5 hash encoding tool at www.md5hashgenerator.com to see which MD5 hashes they resolved to. It only took a few tries before we landed on this one, which matched the hash in the Gravatar ID found on goodsciencing.com:
It appears to be an address using the domain name of the now mostly defunct website.
Summing up the evidence:
- Alan Gray is the CEO and editor-in-chief of NewsBlaze.
- The "admin" user on goodsciencing.com uses an email address from a NewsBlaze-owned domain name.
- The same email address is used on accounts for several other websites connected to Alan Gray and to NewsBlaze.
- "Alan Gray" on Telegram and NewsBlaze Australia on Twitter were among the earliest to promote the site.
- NewsBlaze was communicating with a known anti-vaccine activist on Twitter only weeks before goodsciencing.com went live.
I'd say that is a pattern worth looking at.
I want to make one thing very clear: Please do not attempt to contact, harass, viciously attack, call, email or shower insults on Alan Gray or anyone connected to him. That is uncivil, unproductive and uncalled for and it helps nobody. There does not seem to be any advertising, donation buttons or other obvious monetization on the site, so the motives behind it are probably driven by honest concern and fear of the unknown (even though they are severely misguided when it comes to scientific validity of data).
Instead, if you want to do anything at all, go out there and warn anyone using data or numbers from this site that they are probably basing important medical decisions on (sometimes badly miscategorized) information haphazardly collected from media reports originating on a website most likely set up by someone without any scientific or medical qualifications at all. It might be called "sciencing" but it definitely is not science.