Matt Welch and Ken Layne came up with the framework for this site and gently set us off down the River of Life with a kiss (returning at key moments for such extravaganzas as the Frank Black interview). Those guys rule – really.
Ken has a great new project that deserves your support: Weird Files , which he is seeking to syndicate throughout the fine newspapers of this land – the crappy ones too, for that matter:
- Then let them know! Generally, firstname.lastname@example.org will do the trick. If not, find your paper here and click the Contact Info link on your newspaper’s home page.
If the Weird Files already runs in your local paper, help us out! Send the editors a letter or e-mail to let them know you enjoy the column. Newspaper editors love happy readers, and so do we.
What a great idea. Here’s the latest column:
- Ever since NASA’s Viking 1 orbiter photographed a spooky, sphinx-faced mountain on Mars back in 1976, the idea of ancient civilizations on the red planet has grown into a full-fledged conspiracy culture. And it just got a whole lot weirder with the release of new thermal photos from the Mars Odyssey spaceship … pictures that may or may not show an urban grid beneath a thin layer of dust and ice.
The battle between NASA’s official image team at Arizona State University and a private group of Martian-civilization theorists hit the mainstream media on Sept. 6, when MSNBC science columnist Alan Boyle covered the latest Mars Mystery.
The strange images at EnterpriseMission.com show what looks like a common satellite image of metropolitan sprawl: grids, massive structures and apparent transportation lines in the valley between the “Face on Mars” and various pyramid shapes in the Martian region astronomers call Cydonia. But professor Philip Christensen, who heads the Thermal Emission Imaging System team processing the Mars pictures, says the “city” images are bogus.
Yet the man who processed the weird thermal images, Keith Laney, isn’t the standard fringe nutcase: he’s done photo-optimizing work for NASA’s Mars Surveyor mission. Laney’s article about the process is even featured on NASA’s Mars-exploration Web site, marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov.
Laney told MSNBC his Mars Odyssey source images came from the project’s official Web server — and that he was asked to optimize the pictures by Noel Gorelick, a software manager for the Mars imaging project at Arizona State.
Gorelick, who admits he sometimes talks shop with other Mars-image people at the very unofficial Enterprise Mission message boards, denies sending Laney to fake photos. While he did process the infrared Cydonia images now available on the at themis.asu.edu, Gorelick told MSNBC, “Any role ascribed to me beyond that is totally false.”
But it gets stranger still: Richard Hoagland, head of the Enterprise Project and a frequent guest on Art Bell’s radio show, says Gorelick appeared on the message boards using the nickname “BAMF.” The word is computer-gaming slang for redirecting an Internet user to another site. Was Keith Laney sent to a fake site to get his “official” Mars images, just so NASA’s imagery team could discredit the eerie pictures of urban sprawl on Mars? That’s what Hoagland claims…..
And is anyone more gracious than Matt Welch?
- He also says nice stuff about me, which makes me blush … and it also makes me realize that I don’t thank all of you nearly enough for the boundless generosity and kindness you’ve shown me the past year, both publicly and privately. I’ve met so many terrific people because of this website — for instance, just tonight, Howard Owens [Howard is the coolest as well, another Blogcritic] and his delightful wife … at an Angels game no less. Sorry to be all weepy about it, but I’m a lucky, lucky guy, and it’s because of you. Thanks.
And surely you don’t want to miss them working in seamless musical tandem as in this rare early MTV video. Priceless. I, too, am a lucky guy to have such friends and colleagues.