Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Sometimes I will listen to what I like to call Whack-Job-Nation to fall asleep. It’s more commonly known as Coast to Coast AM (usually) with George Noory. It’s basically a national call in talk radio show but the only twist on this one is that it’s for crazy people. I suppose that is why I enjoy it. I get a kick out of listening to the crazy people talk about werewolves in their sheds or shadow people in the hallway or aliens beaming them hither and yon. Heck I have my own crazy so I probably relate.

In my opinion the host is not one of the “believers” but rather he is an entertainer. And that is how I take the show too. It’s very entertaining to listen to these very sincere people espouse the most fantastical theories and ideas. Last night was fairly entertaining – even though I fell asleep very quickly. There were several calls about some picture that shows an actual Martian captured by the Spirit rover cameras. “Spiffy!” my brain thought, “That is way cooler than the face on Mars.”

The discussion was callers saying they knew it all along and now here is the proof with Mr. Noory egging them on to more and more outrageous claims. Not only was it entertaining but it aroused my curiosity. This morning I did a little Google-fu (and found my buddy Neuron Scream had a link to an article about it in in his IM message) to find out what the furor was all about.

First of all here is the real color panoramic view. See any aliens? You can click on the picture to go to the NASA site where this was hosted for a better view. (BTW: The site is slammed be prepared for VERY slow load times.)

Me neither. Yes, there are people whose job it is to poor over enlarged versions of these pictures with magnifying glasses. These people are called scientists. There are also people who have made it their hobby to poor over enlarged versions of these pictures with magnifying glasses. These people are called nut farms.

Here is a false color version of the same picture. (Again linked to a larger NASA version.) Any aliens now?

Nope. Same here. I can’t see anything but rocks.

OK. Then let me help you. Here is a picture with an arrow. Go back to the big NASA picture and it’s totally easy to see it now right?

*sigh* I must be blind or stupid but I still can’t see the Martians. OK here is another help. This is a zoomed in picture of the panoramic view – still in false color.

Ah Ha! Aliens! Monsters of the inky black! Umm… well at least monsters of the orangey um… orange.

This final close up – the most zoomed in picture I could find shows the beast in all its startling fury and ichors.

Oh. Wait. Never mind… looks a lot like a pixilated rock. Which, it almost certainly is. The principle of Occam's razor is well applied to this situation. If there are multiple possible explanations for something the simplest one is the most likely one to be correct. It’s a rock. It would be fun to have orange, rock encrusted, and pixel-y space neighbors but I’m afraid we only have orange, rock encrusted and pixel-y space um.. rock neighbors.

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