Who made these circles in the Sahara?
May 11, 2022 11:37 AM   Subscribe

The reddit link is defunct.
posted by Keith Talent at 11:46 AM on May 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

I watched this yesterday, what a satisfying detective story! I love that they went to investigate on the ground.
It made a lot of sense that the objects weren't easy to see from the ground--it explains so much!
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:49 AM on May 11, 2022

I skipped to around 18 minutes of the video if you're not in it for the journey and just want the answer.
posted by Think_Long at 11:50 AM on May 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

(the reddit link works fine for me)
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:53 AM on May 11, 2022

I get a 'this project has been removed' error when trying to follow the original Google Earth link in the Reddit post. Someone in the Reddit thread posted this Google Maps link.
posted by mollweide at 12:06 PM on May 11, 2022 [4 favorites]

The link to reddit works fine for me, but the link to the google earth project says 'project removed'. Big sad.
posted by Horkus at 12:07 PM on May 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

Thanks, mollweide!
posted by Horkus at 12:07 PM on May 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

Fascinating. Did not expect that resolution. Also: holy cow, how remote!
posted by davidmsc at 12:28 PM on May 11, 2022

I love this! Seeing the process is more interesting to me than the result, which, don't get me wrong*, is still interesting.

* you wouldn't like me when I'm wrong
posted by aubilenon at 1:09 PM on May 11, 2022

Very fascinating and satisfying video. I love small explorations like this.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:48 PM on May 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

Very cool! The mystery was more intriguing than the solution, but still super enjoyable to watch unfold.
posted by justkevin at 1:57 PM on May 11, 2022

Wonder what the budget for that operation had to be?
posted by 3.2.3 at 1:58 PM on May 11, 2022 [3 favorites]

The story itself, of the survey sites was disappointing, and editing they made it seem like a bigger reveal than it was. They had the answer early on and was partly confirmed by father of the tour guide who worked at the site.

As noted above the behind the scenes really made it and left open a lot of questions: What's the process behind determining how far a reporter should go on a story? Certainly if Leslie Stahl wanted to go see circles in the middle of the Sahara she'd get to, but how does a reporter for Vox get the budget? What's the process? It looks like a lot of time was spent before just going to the circles so I'd love to know how these decisions are made.

And the father-to-be, zubaz wearing Algerian reporter crew was impressive! He did a lot of interviews, got great b-rolls, really top notch reporting and filming. I'm too accustomed to large-scale productions where the first shot is the reporter in a helicopter getting the news at no cost. I'm sure those sets are just as budget sensitive, albeit in different ways, but seeing the reporters grab groceries (first purchase was wine!) made it seem like it was something I could relate to.

Finally there's iconic locations, French Algeria, colonialism, mysterious circles that symbolize our search for natural resources and this has not been made into a French New Wave film?! "Out here... in ze desert, no life, no water, marked only by the consumerism of ze sardine can."
posted by geoff. at 2:24 PM on May 11, 2022 [5 favorites]

My favorite bit was the man with the forty year collection of sardine cans.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 3:41 PM on May 11, 2022 [9 favorites]

Haven't watched all yet, but even I know enough about things that go Boom! that if I see two wires poking out of the ground, that a shovel is not the first thing to reach for! (it retrospect and context a bit dramatic of Vox).

I thought it was going to be someone like Michael Heizer, or Hannsjörg Voth. It makes me think back to my river mechanics professor who said that when you find a new thing / form, never assume it has any relationship to similar forms you do know of.

"this is a story of the limits of what you can find out within the limits of the internet", well, yep, I've trawled around to the point where I feel safest away from home, and behind a VPN, as while it's (mostly) openly accessible there are odd things out there. I've been doing this a while tho' and when I was 14 got a cease and desist notice from min. of Defence for putting an interloan request in for a book that wasn't supposed to exist.
posted by unearthed at 4:50 PM on May 11, 2022

My kids and I loved this -- they were immediately like, "THAT LOOKS LIKE AN OLD FRENCH MRE" when the can was pulled up.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:12 PM on May 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

Can I say that if the video portrays the interactions accurately, I'm a bit upset that Bob didn't realize what they were from the get-go?
posted by mollweide at 6:54 PM on May 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

I found it interesting how subtle and small the features were on the ground, in person, vs. the satellite images. I wonder if there were specific conditions about this particular location (soil composition, etc.) or specific to the exact time that these particular satellite images were taken (e.g. different moisture, lighting, etc.) that made these show up particularly well. I would guess that there were many of these survey sites but perhaps something about these in particular preserved them (vs. erosion) and made them show up on the satellite images.
posted by thefool at 5:42 AM on May 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

Thanks, Bob.
posted by tigrrrlily at 6:55 AM on May 12, 2022 [3 favorites]

I found it interesting how subtle and small the features were on the ground, in person, vs. the satellite images.

Right? Otherwise, someone would have known what they were from the start. But you could walk right by them and barely notice them. Satellite imagery is like a sixth sense.
posted by Bee'sWing at 7:02 AM on May 12, 2022

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