MILLION-DOLLAR IDEA: Lamp That Can Read Your Mind - It Turns The Color You're Thinking About
By Eunju Lie
Is today's idea brilliant or a bomb?
|Beautiful image created by Esther Kirby (flickr link)|
|Image taken from foxnews.com, but really from NASA|
There are a lot of people who will tell you, with great conviction, that crop circles are created by balls of light. I've heard people say that they give off microwave radiation, that makes the crops wilt in certain chosen spots, creating the formations we see in aerial photos, on the news and on the internet.
In this day and age, the age of nearly ubiquitous video cameras, one might wonder where the video evidence is of this process. It doesn't take long on Google, though, to find that such a video does exist, and it's from a slightly earlier day and age. Simply called the Oliver's Castle video, it's low-quality footage of a field that, after some low-flying balls-of-light visit it, is suddenly marked with a telltale crop circle. The footage is pretty remarkable to see. Please take a look if you haven't seen it before.
Well, the man who took the footage (look at timestamp 3:40), John Wabe, confessed a couple of years later that he did, in fact, create the footage himself, on a computer, in a television studio. Case closed, right?
No, when it comes to belief, it's never case closed. The Oliver's Castle footage was so important to the balls-of-light create crop circle groups, that even a videotaped confession has not wiped out the following of that video. A man told me online, the other day, that the actual man who'd taken the footage has disappeared, and the man who made the confession was an impostor. I can't disprove that, so I just shrugged. This website states that the video withstands closest analyses. That's a very powerful statement. I'm going to show you, though, that the video does not withstand a slightly more distant analysis.
Watching a documentary on the subject (the one linked above), I saw what has to be the best piece of evidence for the video being a fabrication. In my mind, the best evidence is always the evidence that you can see for yourself, without any experts or celebrity middle-men muddying the waters.
If you look at the first couple seconds of the video, there are balls of light flying around the field. Now, this might be because Hollywood has us expecting the camera to be where to action is, but most of us don't immediately notice that, during those first couple of seconds, the cameraman is not following the balls of light. Why not? As it turns out, his camera is actually framing the spot where a crop circle is about to form.
As in, he was aiming the lens at nothing interesting, yet.
Then, suddenly, out of this nothing interesting, a crop circle appears. He doesn't even catch the edge of it, and then focus. He's immediately staring straight down into it, and then it develops like a Polaroid nearly dead-center in his camera's eye.
One trick many of us have picked up in the age of digital trickery is to ask, "Why was he filming this?" If a video depicts a newspaper boy being attacked by a chupacabra, you have to ask why someone was even filming a newspaper boy in the first place. So, in the Oliver's Castle video, you have to ask why he chose to film a section of perfectly normal field when there were mysterious balls of light bobbing around the place.
If you look at John Wabe's confession (or impostor John Wabe, whatever the case may be) this fits perfectly with that. If you look at the people telling us that the debunking of this video was a hoax itself, this does not fit with that. And, unlike the government paying this man to make up a phony story, this is something you can actually see with your own two eyes.
So, why was he filming that spot in the middle of the field? Well, because there was a crop circle there, and he wanted to have a bit of fun. Why else?
Thanks for reading.
People hoax things sometimes. We can all agree on this. But, when we get to attached to an idea (whether it's Eastern religion, spirit channeling or the Shamwow) we get blinded to the hoaxter possibility. "Well, this and that may be wrong, but at least I can tell that he/she is being honest."
While I call into question anyone's ability to tell whether someone's being honest, that's a different matter for a different day. Much of the time, an individual has a very clear reason to be dishonest, which may look like dollars in the US, or pounds sterling in the UK, perhaps yen in Japan, but it all amounts to the same thing. Money has been a great power in the campaign to turn otherwise good people into scam artists since its invention. As the saying goes (and I'm not entirely sure it's true) Everyone has their price.
But then that leaves all of these other things. Things where something happens, and there is no clear motive for someone to have lied, or faked evidence. They're not making tourist money, book money, talk show money or movie rights money. Sometimes the hoaxter, if there actually was a hoax involved, has hidden from public view. In these cases, those of us that are rather attached to the idea of something being real may argue that it was not a hoax, because obviously the perpetrator would have nothing to gain, in the measure of dollars, pounds, or yen.
When it comes to fooling people, though, there's always a motive. Even if the trickster is losing money in the exercise, there is always a motive. That motive is fun.
It's fun to fool people. Whether you want to throw on a bigfoot costume, video-edit balls of light making a crop circle, or just give a moving testimonial on the internet on how ipecac helped your ulcers. I don't know if you're like me, but I think there's something very thrilling about telling a tall tale, and having people hang on every word.
It is fun to fool people. I don't know if I'm special, or if this is just a quirk of the animal we call Humanity. Untold millions of practical jokes have happened, and very few people ever gained a dollar off of them. Youtube is crowded with things like cell-phone radiation popping popcorn, a giant Lego-ball rolling down a street, not to mention the ridiculous chain-emails that get sent my way, giving me the most absurd advice I may have ever gotten.
I recently read an article in WIRED magazine (yes, I'm a few months behind) about this very subject. It's called Cognitive Surplus: The Great Spare-Time Revolution. It's a very good read, and is basically a discussion of something that we all already know, but doesn't really seem to be fully integrated into many of our worldviews. Besides biological imperatives (eat, drink, watch Beyonce music videos), and reward-punishment type motivations, there is a third drive, which amounts to just doing something because it interests you. This is why Wikipedia exists, it's why Youtube exists. Hell, it's why half of the modern internet exists, including this blog. Don't let the ads fool you, my fortune cookies do not mention money.
So, the next time you hear a knocking on your window, and nobody is there when you look, keep in mind that someone might be having a great time at your expense. The next time you see gigantic footprints when you're out camping in the Pacific Northwest, don't discount the possibility that there is someone with a big rubber foot watching the newspapers, waiting for photographs of his handiwork. And next time you get a convincing email telling you that hugging your kid causes Ebola, don't let the kid suffer for someone else's jollies.
I think we're all tricksters, at some level. And I'm sure we were that way long before the invention of money.
Thanks for reading.