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UFO spotted twice over California, or, Viral marketing campaign launched successfully
May 21, 2007 11:09 PM   Subscribe

UFO-filter: Odd spine-y and asymmetrical craft spotted over Lake Tahoe, then two days later over Capitola, California.
posted by tomharpel (96 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Of course, I now accept that by posting this, I am firmly ensconed in the crackpot camp on MeFi. Fair enough.
posted by tomharpel at 11:10 PM on May 21, 2007


Movie viral marketing.
posted by humannaire at 11:14 PM on May 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Can't wait for the blockbuster movie!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:15 PM on May 21, 2007


It's a streetlight.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:15 PM on May 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


une mauvaise campagne publicitaire
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 11:18 PM on May 21, 2007


It's a deleted thread.
posted by felix betachat at 11:18 PM on May 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Curse you furiousxgeorge, for beating me to it. *shakes fist*
posted by Meredith at 11:19 PM on May 21, 2007


rajman1977 doesn't even have a profile, or any other photos, or any contacts on flickr. I hope this marketing company didn't get paid very well, 'cause seriously, this is bush league.
posted by patr1ck at 11:20 PM on May 21, 2007


I just hope this thing doesn't "transform" into a giant robot & attack us all, like some kind of giant "transformer."
posted by jonson at 11:21 PM on May 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


The border wall. It needs to be higher.
posted by srboisvert at 11:21 PM on May 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


While there's something fishy about the images, what makes folks say that this is viral marketing?
posted by KokuRyu at 11:27 PM on May 21, 2007


Because "this is viral marketing" : 2007 :: "that's so Web 2.0" : 2005
posted by Meredith at 11:30 PM on May 21, 2007


une mauvaise campagne publicitaire

An evil countryside promotion?
posted by Joeforking at 11:40 PM on May 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


An evil countryside promotion?

I miss those.
posted by dreamsign at 11:49 PM on May 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, these photos seem 'way too clear to have been taken by joe random with a handheld camera. Also, the EXIF data on the Tahoe photos says "Adobe Photoshop Elements for Windows, version 2.0" (for both the "cell phone" and other-camera photos). Ho hum.
posted by hattifattener at 11:50 PM on May 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I want to believe!
posted by Dag Maggot at 12:04 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Definitely a streelight.
posted by tomble at 12:09 AM on May 22, 2007



Give them points for....

no. don't give them points.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:22 AM on May 22, 2007


Isn't Lake Tahoe a ski resort?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:24 AM on May 22, 2007


So maybe this is what is supposed to have shipped with Vista to make it work?
posted by humannaire at 12:32 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like the design.
posted by lekvar at 12:50 AM on May 22, 2007


These hoaxers:

1) are dumb enough to think that people would fall for this.
OR 2) throwing out "bait" to believers to show how gullible they can be.
OR 3) are viral marketing...The Transformers?

Besides, everyone knows that UFOs are saucer-shaped, or bright balls of light. No, really.
posted by zardoz at 12:51 AM on May 22, 2007


oh noes, alien craft running windoze, we!re all d00med!
posted by imperium at 12:51 AM on May 22, 2007


A whois search leads to this guy owning ufosightings.ca. There are a bunch of nonexistent websites in his web design portfolio.

Looks like an attempt at a viral mystery we're supposed to get excited about unraveling.
posted by gubo at 12:55 AM on May 22, 2007


On second thought, scratch that, it's late and I'm sleepy.
posted by gubo at 12:59 AM on May 22, 2007


Everyone knows that aliens use Macs.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:13 AM on May 22, 2007


Everyone knows that aliens use Macs.

Uh, no. But as we all learned from Independence Day, Macs are compatible with alien computers and are even able to download computer viruses that blow up everything on 'em!

Take that, Mr. Sr. Program Manager for Microsoft!
posted by humannaire at 1:30 AM on May 22, 2007


Yeah, you need to use an old PowerBook to destroy the aliens. The new Intel Macs just won't interface and Jeff Goldblum will be making faces at the camera for 10 minutes before the world asplodes. Is that what you want, Jobs?!?
posted by Talanvor at 1:34 AM on May 22, 2007


Looks like the chums of chance are on their way, better lock up the Campanile di San Marco.
posted by scodger at 1:36 AM on May 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hey this is great, but I can't tell which part dispenses the Pepsi Blue.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:58 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Viral or not (okay, yeah, viral) the design on the "UFO" is pretty neat looking.
posted by kosher_jenny at 2:19 AM on May 22, 2007


Mefite - Real Life Occupation

humannaire, there's really no call for that, even when the point was to make a joke.
posted by poppo at 3:38 AM on May 22, 2007


anyone notice that the two 'crafts' are slightly different? One has a boxy king of attachment on the ring part. Anyway, I kind of like the design, but I'm not buying it as a ufo. I would only hope the transformer movie would have this much originality - I'm gonna have to sit through it with my son pretty soon.
posted by bashos_frog at 3:38 AM on May 22, 2007


Please tell us, hattifattener, how you get exif info off of a scanned page or a jpeg you downloaded online.
posted by donfactor at 3:39 AM on May 22, 2007


Naaaah, not buying it. Not blurry and ambiguous enough.
posted by pax digita at 3:50 AM on May 22, 2007


If this is a Halo 3 promotion, Mr. Harpel, I sincerely hope Matthew Haughey will contact your employers by way of a registered letter.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:02 AM on May 22, 2007


It's the planet Venus.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:37 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


It seems like a terrorist plot to me. Better call the Mayor of Boston. He knows how to deal with these things.
posted by caddis at 4:45 AM on May 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'd just like to point out that it was the old school pre-unix Macintosh that was compatible with the alien systems in Independence Day. Since OSX isn't compatible, we have to wait for the Open Source guys to write drivers or we are all screwed. You know, kindof like any time you have to wait on the Open Source community...
posted by shagoth at 4:46 AM on May 22, 2007


An eye witness report of an incredibly strange object flying over Lake Tahoe was submitted last week to Coast to Coast AM.

The tip off that this is a hoax is right there in the first sentence, before any of the images. C2C AM is the former home of Art Bell. There's a picture of him next to the word "ultracredulous" in my dictionary.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:07 AM on May 22, 2007


It's swamp gas.
posted by PenDevil at 5:07 AM on May 22, 2007 [2 favorites]



here's a link to the C2C photos here.

So is it Japanese, the writing? Is it, like a model or is this supposed to make me want to buy something?
posted by From Bklyn at 5:14 AM on May 22, 2007


This is either Transformers viral marketing or marketing for Halo 3. Either way, I say this thread should be baleted.
posted by empath at 5:19 AM on May 22, 2007


In the first link, the story seems to be that they got the first snap off a cellphone camera, but then went back 'several days later' and it just happened to still be floating around. And the pictures are eerily sharp; the trees are a little blurred as I would expect, but the craft itself is razor-sharp, with no motion blur at all. I'm no expert, but that looks fishy to me.

Both links mention 'the writing' on the craft, even though it doesn't look like the second guy got anywhere near close enough to even realize that there was writing on it. I think we're supposed to get all excited about the writing and try to decipher it.

So, yeah, probably viral marketing of something. Neat design, though, on the little ship.
posted by Malor at 5:51 AM on May 22, 2007


From reading the C2C link my money is on it being a viral for Bug. It opens this Friday, as opposed to Transformers which opens in July.
posted by saraswati at 5:56 AM on May 22, 2007


It's just a weather balloon...
nothing to see here...
move along...

TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD MULTI-PLEX AND BUY YOUR TICKET FOR TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE!!!

/ahem

What? Too subtle?
posted by Hugh2d2 at 6:00 AM on May 22, 2007


A quick look in Google news got these results:
From the American Chronicle, UFO Sightings Keep Rolling In From Ontario Canada, with a hand drawn diagram. Same newspaper, PART ONE -- On The Road To Roswell 2007: A Discussion With Nuclear Physicist Stanton T. Friedman, on the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Roswell sighting.

from the BBC, Monday, 14 May 2007, Residents in County Down have raised the possibility of a UFO sighting above the skies of Bangor.

Islington Gazzette, Feb 7 2007. Video.
Muswell Hill Gazette, Feb 9 2007.

May 17 2007, Is this a UFO?

Mick Jagger says he saw a UFO

Plasma Laser theory.
posted by nickyskye at 6:10 AM on May 22, 2007


Please tell us, hattifattener, how you get exif info off of a scanned page or a jpeg you downloaded online.

like this maybe?
posted by delmoi at 6:12 AM on May 22, 2007


This was on reddit a few weeks ago with fewer pictures. At the time there was no exif data. The exif data appears to have been added after the fact in response to the criticisms in that thread.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:20 AM on May 22, 2007


Hey it's the mothership! w00t! Let's all chop off our gonads and hop on board.
posted by Mister_A at 6:39 AM on May 22, 2007


Some say that clearly, it's powered by ion wind and thus not from space.

Other experts disagree with such assertions.

My own theory? It's a new species of bird but will be driven to extinction by poachers after its long, elegant tusks.
posted by pokermonk at 6:51 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


From Bklyn: the writing is not Japanese, although it does kind of look like they took a stylized Japanese typeface and photoshopped some katakana to get that.
posted by adamrice at 6:52 AM on May 22, 2007


Of course it's a UFO... until you identify it.

Just ask me. I'm a UFO expert. I can barely identify anything in the skies.
posted by Balisong at 7:02 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


The anal probe from that thing has got to hurt.
posted by rolypolyman at 7:16 AM on May 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's a giant egg slicer in search of a giant boiled egg.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:17 AM on May 22, 2007


Wow. "Mick Jagger had a UFO detector installed at his British estate. The alarm kept on going off whenever he left home, indicating the presence of strong electromagnetic activity in the immediate area." And he saw a UFO above the crowd at Altamont.

"It's so very lonely, you're two thousand light years from home "
posted by Sailormom at 7:22 AM on May 22, 2007


It's a giant egg slicer in search of a giant boiled egg.

It's the Juice Overlords come to collect and squeeze us.
posted by sidereal at 7:45 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think those pictures are pretty damn cool, even if it is supposed to excite me for a movie that's almost certainly going to suck at least half as much as Spider-Man 3 did.

Maybe it's supposed to be the space bridge. Although that didn't fly in the cartoon... F42, maybe?
posted by cribcage at 7:46 AM on May 22, 2007


WHERE ARE WE GOING?

PLANET TEN!

WHEN ARE WE GOING?

REAL SOON!

WHAT? IS? THE GREATEST JOY?

THE! JOY! OF! KILLING!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:49 AM on May 22, 2007


And he saw a UFO above the crowd at Altamont.

Consider the possibility--and I know this is a stretch--that Mick Jagger was on drugs at Altamont.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:56 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


The anal probe from that thing has got to hurt.

"People of Mars, you say we are brutes and savages. But let me tell you one thing: if I could get loose from this cage you have me in, I would tear you guys a new Martian asshole... If you will not free me, at least deliver a message to Earth. Send my love to my wife, and also to my girlfriend. And to my children, if I have any anyplace. Ask my wife to please send me a bazooka, which is a flower we have on Earth. If my so-called friend Don asks you where the money I owe him is, please anally probe him. Do that anyway."
posted by peeedro at 8:01 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


PepsiBlUFO
posted by Avenger at 8:16 AM on May 22, 2007


lolcats version:

I is a greeny man all up in ur blu sky!
posted by Muddler at 8:18 AM on May 22, 2007


Klaatu barada nikto!!
posted by Skygazer at 8:23 AM on May 22, 2007


Of course, I now accept that by posting this, I am firmly ensconed in the crackpot camp on MeFi.

OK, then! Off to Camp Clavdivs for you, buster...
posted by y2karl at 8:29 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know, in the middle ages when people saw lights it was considered to be angels. After World War II, the cold war, and science fiction movies the lights were considered to be alien spacecraft.

Now, in the Web 2.0 world? The lights are just viral marketing campaigns.
posted by Nelson at 8:48 AM on May 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure those are just cicadas.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:51 AM on May 22, 2007


Reminds me a bit of the sites that popped up before the release of The Core.
posted by SentientAI at 8:53 AM on May 22, 2007


Oh, shit. About 1,000,000 stupid people are going to email me links to these photos. Here is the withering response which I can then cut and paste into my replies.

These photos are fake, and probably designed to promote a lame movie. Besides, anyone who has had 8th grade science can tell you that all the inhabitable planets in the galaxy are too far away from Earth to ever reach us within the lifespan of an organic life form. Even if it were possible to approach the speed of light in a spacecraft (here's a hint: it isn't) or freeze and unfreeze a creature with a complex nervous/respiratory system for a long space voyage, it's STILL TOO FAR.

Please stop forwarding me emails you got from random people. If you didn't type your own widdwe self, don't send it to me.

Have a *great* day, mom.

posted by chuckdarwin at 9:05 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Qxvifif - "Did you approach the humans?"
Arfhug - "Yes we did. We sent our drones."
Qxvifif - "And the result?"
Arfhug - "They threw rocks at it and yelled something about not going to see your stupid fucking movie"
Qxvifif - Ah well. We tried. Destroy the planet
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 9:16 AM on May 22, 2007 [18 favorites]


Odd spine-y and asymmetrical craft, and UFO are contradictory.

If it's unidentified, you don't know what the hell it is (you have to maintain an open mind -- it may be aliens with anal probes from planet 10; it may be a hoax; it may be a natural phenomenon; it may me a man-made phenomenon; it may be anything: it's unidentified).

If it is a "craft," you've apparently done a significant bit of identification already. Where's the evidence? You don't have it -- you've assumed it's a craft.

This logical inconsistency and silliness defines the whole "UFO movement" in a nutshell.
posted by teece at 9:25 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


chuckdarwin wrote:

These photos are fake, and probably designed to promote a lame movie. Besides, anyone who has had 8th grade science can tell you that all the inhabitable planets in the galaxy are too far away from Earth to ever reach us within the lifespan of an organic life form.

I agree that the photos are almost certain fakes.

However, (as I seem to keep pointing out on the blue), it is perfectly possible to believe that some UFO's do represent honest-to-goodness unexplained phenomena without believing ETH, the Extra-terrestrial Hypothesis that postulates that UFO's are extra-terrestrial, intelligent visitors.

I would be extremely surprised to find out that some UFO's were transportation devices for technological beings like ourselves. I'd be a lot less surprised to find out that there really was something going on that we don't understand right at this moment.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:28 AM on May 22, 2007


Bighappyfunhouse for the win.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:28 AM on May 22, 2007


It's a giant egg slicer in search of a giant boiled egg.

Space travel makes me hungry, too. All those light years...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:32 AM on May 22, 2007


ROU_Xenophobe: Another Blue Blazer Regular in the audience, I see.

Sheesh, if you're going to build a prop, at least build it from something original. Damn thing looks like plastic glued onto a wire egg chute.
posted by FormlessOne at 10:09 AM on May 22, 2007


I, for one, welcome our new streetlight overlords.
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:36 AM on May 22, 2007


"Macs are compatible with alien computers"

It's true. Take that, anti-Mac bitches. Even aliens know the power of AppleTalk! If you can't get a Mac on your Windows network, you FAIL.
posted by drstein at 11:19 AM on May 22, 2007


I don't think any craft from another planet is going to look like I can bang on its plastic walls with a hammer.
posted by Peter H at 11:31 AM on May 22, 2007


Look, I want the malevolent long-traveling space fuckers to come wipe the plague of us off the planet as much as the next guy, but those pictures have "Maya" and "Photoshop" laser-inscribed on them in bat-shit luminous 50 foot tall letters.

The antialiasing, blurring, screwy lighting and weird perspectives are about as subtle as my skateboard shoes smell.

And I've killed an upwind yak at 50 paces with those things.

Of course, none of this will be so funny when a hundred of the damn things show up and start Hoovering up people like they were popcorn and making Soylent Green out of everything walking on two legs and carrying a very tiny and annoying RF transceiver - and we learn later that the ionized antigravity field surrounding the craft just so happens to make it look exactly like it was composited in photoshop.

Somewhere here there is a very important lesson for Chad and other hoaxers about crying wolf. No, I'm not talking about that classic Russian tale of "Peter and the Wolf" or "The Boy Who Cried Wolf". I'm talking about "Churlish Chad and the Doom of Planet Earth by Fostering Disbelief and Jadedness Through Photoshop Hoaxes", which I wrote and is currently on sale at most major book chains.


Also, on preview: Another Blue Blazer Regular

That's Blue Blaze Irregular, you Red Lectroid scum! HA! I've been waiting to find one of you for so many years. It's been so long since we crushed YoYoDyne. I'm going to enjoy stomping your bug guts into pate. GIVE ME THE OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER. AND THEN DIE AND OOZE YOUR OOZY GUTS OUT. IN THAT ORDER AND NO OTHER.

Why, yes, that is indeed a genuine Banzai Institute positronic dematterizer you see in my hands, pointing at your thorax. It is indeed charged and lovingly maintained after all these years. Yes, very shiny. I tested it just yesterday. Give me the OO now and I'll be nice and start with your head instead of your feet.
posted by loquacious at 11:38 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


What? No speculation about the Flying Spaghetti Monster?
posted by ahimsakid at 11:47 AM on May 22, 2007


That's a Flying Spaghetti Monster serving tool, is what that is...

Who's got the sauce?
posted by zoogleplex at 12:09 PM on May 22, 2007


Mister_A : Hey it's the mothership! w00t! Let's all chop off our gonads and hop on board.

I need to know your commitment to the cause, so, you first brother.

So, if the first link is to be believed, the guy was able to go out on several occasions and see this thing flying around. But at no point did he bring a camera capable of recording video?

I'll grant that it's a neat looking object, but in terms of viral hoaxishness, they aren't even trying here.
posted by quin at 12:30 PM on May 22, 2007


This thing was debunked about 30 seconds after it hit the web. It is F-A-K-E. It is a rendered 3D model composited on top of a photo background by an amateur. It seems unlikely that this has anything to do with the Transformers movie as the characters visible on the underside bear a striking similarity to Klingon although at least one person out there thinks it is Aurabesh, the Star Wars Alphabet. However, just to be on the safe side, we have alerted our own automated defense drones to standby for planetary defense.

Just so nobody leaves this thread empty handed, here is a scan of a 35mm slide that is not fake.
posted by well_balanced at 2:38 PM on May 22, 2007


well_balanced, how do you know that the 35mm slide has not been faked?
posted by lekvar at 3:33 PM on May 22, 2007


Is it possible to just favorite loquacious himself, and save the wear & tear on the checkbox?
posted by Space Kitty at 4:28 PM on May 22, 2007


humannaire, there's really no call for that, even when the point was to make a joke.

This is the most exemplary description of MeFi social values I have ever closely encountered.

And, yeah, I agree. But somehow I got under the impression this was part of the viral marketing.

For some reason, I imagined that there was no tomharpel, that it was part of some marketing department's new ARG.

I guess I got carried away by the infectious nature of the post.
posted by humannaire at 7:49 PM on May 22, 2007


like this maybe?

Neat!
posted by humannaire at 7:57 PM on May 22, 2007


Some say that clearly, it's powered by ion wind and thus not from space.

Oooh. Neater.
posted by humannaire at 8:00 PM on May 22, 2007


Waitaminit. Loquacious?...

...Rawhide! That's you?! You're alive!

Hoo-hoo! Wait'll Buckaroo hear's about the news!
posted by humannaire at 8:23 PM on May 22, 2007


humannaire, some sources say that Rawhide didn't die at the hands of the Red Lectroids. Others know that this is heresey of the rankest sort, and a smear on the name and legacy of the Greatest of the Cavaliers, devaluing his selfless sacrifice.

Choose your words carefully.
posted by lekvar at 8:33 PM on May 22, 2007


Best answer. And I assure you, there is a tomharpel.
posted by tomharpel at 9:38 PM on May 22, 2007



That's a Flying Spaghetti Monster serving tool, is what that is...

Who's got the sauce?
posted by zoogleplex at 12:09 PM


We're all sauce now.
posted by Balisong at 7:19 AM on May 23, 2007


The design looks more like something from the Half Life folks than from the Halo folks, to my eye.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:12 AM on May 23, 2007


how do you know that the 35mm slide has not been faked?

I'll rephrase. After carefully considering the wide variety of corroborating civilian and military eyewitness testimony of the events in the time frame of the photograph's introduction into the public domain, the rather extensive analysis done of the image by multiple qualified parties, the extremely well documented public involvement of Belgium's air force in said events as well as considering critic's complaints regarding image edge sharpness, claimed exposure times, identity of the photographer and the quality of the image analysis studies performed along with numerous other extremely poor faux-skeptical arguments of the FUD variety, it is my opinion that the probability that this is a hoax in the form of a photographed model is so low as to not merit further consideration. It is my opinion that this is a photograph of an as of yet unidentified anomaly in the air above the photographer. In my opinion the identity of the thing photographed is open to speculation.
posted by well_balanced at 10:48 AM on May 23, 2007


chuckdarwin: too far away from Earth to ever reach us within the lifespan of an organic life form

Why bother sending an organic life form when you can just send your uploaded state vector or a fancy AI running on a block of computronium?

Leaves lots more room for weapons and stupidly shaped distracting floaty things.

Even if it were possible to approach the speed of light in a spacecraft

Pfft, if you can get close enough to c time dilation effects mean you can get just about *anywhere* within a fraction of a human lifespan.
posted by Freaky at 12:56 PM on May 23, 2007


DO NOT WANT TO BELIEVE!
posted by ryanrs at 4:32 PM on May 24, 2007


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