“Dr Peter Millican, a philosophy don at Hertford College, Oxford, has devised a computer software program that can detect when works are by the same author by comparing favourite words and phrases.
He was contacted last weekend and offered $10,000 (£6,200) to assess alleged similarities between Obama’s best-seller, Dreams from My Father, and Fugitive Days, a memoir by William Ayers.
The offer to Millican to prove that Ayers wrote Obama’s book was made by Robert Fox, a California businessman and brother-in-law of Chris Cannon, a Republican congressman from Utah. He hoped to corroborate a theory advanced by Jack Cashill, an American writer.
Fox and Cannon each suggested to The Sunday Times that the other had taken the initiative.
Millican took a preliminary look and found the charges ‘laughably unsubstantiated.’ A deal was agreed for more detailed research but when Millican said the results had to be made public, even if no link to Ayers was proved, interest waned.”