UnCon 08

Marrowpod

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On lights, cameras and action:

I am photophobic. Flashguns and bright point sources of light have a curious effect on me, involving (a) intense pain to me (b) a curious and irrational desire to retaliate in kind. Nervous types may be reassured that the venom is usually directed at the kit, not the person. Those seeking technical advice on how to capture my Adonis-like features on camera should consult Etienne Gilfillan, who is a kindly soul and understands the system. But apart from that, it is (regardless of medical quirks) distracting to any speaker to have cameras firing while one's talking. (Speakers who don't look at their audience may not notice, of course.)

On persons in the front row of an audience:

Humphrey Lyttleton was once asked why he kept his eyes closed while playing on stage. He answered: "If you could see what I can see from where I'm standing, you'd keep your eyes closed too."

This is what is called a... no, you can work it out for yourselves. Clue: The plural rhymes with "hoax".

On respect for audiences:

A recovering bypass patient suggested that "perhaps a few beers would've loosened up the Hoaxing talk."

Be careful what you wish for. It was no more than a couple of sips of beer that initiated the launch of the first set of projectiles from Rob. Had this spectacular occurred while he was on the stand, this weird discussion about "respeck" would have taken a rather different turn -- so to speak -- perhaps involving the effect of inflation on shampoo and dry-cleaning prices these days.

Now, would anyone like to discuss what Rob and I were trying to get across, or is it more fun to wallow in the warm ponds of amour-propre?
 

AnyankaJ

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I sympathise with your photophobia, and actually found the constant flash photography during talks quite irritating, esp during the slide shows. Do flash pics of a PowerPoint presentation even show anything? However, as a former German I am always reluctant to ask for activities to be 'verboten'.

I cannot, unfortunately, engage in a discussion of the Hoax talk, as it ran parallel with Gail Nina Anderson, who is my one Unmissable Speaker.
 

GailNina

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AnyankaJ - I wallow shamelessly in your praise yet share your regret at missing the deadly Hoaxers.
And yes, I too dislike the taking of photos during a talk. There's an obsession now to record everything you watch, which with a live performance of any kind somehow challenges and crushes the immediacy of the transient moment, insisting on pinning it down when it should perhaps be stored only in the memory.(And you remember it better if you pay attention rather than fiddling around with cameras!) From now on I may insist that my audiences should record talks only via the time-honoured medium of the note-book (and using a proper lead pencil!)
Gail-Nina
 

gordonrutter

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I must admit I don't have a problem with people taking pictures during my talks but I admit I did turn the tables on people this year when I took a couple of pictures of the audience from the stage just as I was about to start my talk :)

Hell it was about photography so it seemed fitting.

Gordon
 

Marrowpod

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Praps those who speak and don't like being stunned by the fiendish
flashbulbs have all been a bit, and foolishly, recessive in not asking
people nicely to put their cameras away. Or to set them up so that they
don't go flash. If Etienne can do it, can't everyone?

Meanwhile I sympathize with anyone who would prefer to gaze upon
Gail-Nina rather than Rob or me, but Gordon I have to confess

I do like your mushroom
 

gordonrutter

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Duke_Mendoza said:
but Gordon I have to confess

I do like your mushroom
And also in confessional mode I have to admit I found it on the web and merely appropriated it so no act of creativity was involved on my part, it is good though isn't it :)

Gordon
 

Marrowpod

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And 'sides, what do you expect when a failed roué and one not unknown to
make proposals of an intimate nature in public places should chance to bump
into each other in the shade of a mushroom in cyberspace? I still think it
is a very fine mushroom.

I think I may begin work on a major contribution to post-modern thinking
that starts with the proposition that hoaxing is central to human discourse insofar
as all social intercourse is based on some form of deception. Some of it furry...
some of it just called "post-modernism"... what future is there for a post-
modern vampire? Are vampires hoaxes... I still think hoaxes are really rather
interesting... where inkpot has my gone... That doesn't sound like French...
 
A

Anonymous

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No moans only praise - thanks FT!

Hi

I'd just like to counter some of the moaning that seems to be detracting from what we, as paying guests, actually got for our money.

This was my 3rd Uncon and I thought the whole weekend was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to expand my horizons once again. Where else would one get to see and partake in these lively discussions for only the cost of a couple of rounds in your average London 'pub'? Technological issues (mikes, powerpoint, sunglasses, etc..) - what should we expect when we're enticing the Cosmic Joker to make an appearance. Not sure why we would expect speakers to have an early night so to be fresh faced for a 10am talk out of 'respect' - I suppose my point is that this was as much an opportunity for them to get together with old friends and chew the fat as for me or any other paying guest.

Well done FT, thanks to all the speakers and thanks to Mr Sutton for making sure that the wild and woolley North of England was so well represented this year. How about holding the thing in the North East next year - the Sage is a lovely venue!

My only complaint? The rain on Saturday night - if Mr C. Joker could sort that out next year, I'd be extremely grateful. :lol:

PS - Duke Mendoza - isn't postmodernism a hoax! Now there's thesis and a half.
 
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Re: No moans only praise - thanks FT!

lordshiva said:
How about holding the thing in the North East next year - the Sage is a lovely venue!
.
Funny you should say that LordShiva! I have set up a Geordie Fortean group on Facebook which can be found here if the link works: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group ... 013&ref=ts

Please post any comments, photos, links, whatever and hopefully we'll have enough interest to gather in a suitable venue (by which I mean pub!).

I shall be posting my thoughts on UnCon on the facebook group later on tonight but here are a few comments. I thought the best talk of the weekend was by Dr. David Clarke who was lively, engaging and showed a great passion for his work (as well as being a Yorkshire-person so I'm biased, sorry). I would like to thank him on behalf of all forteans for his perseverance in getting the UFO files into the public domain. And I am gutted that I left the University of Sheffield after 3 weeks when I was younger! I don't know what I was thinking *holds head in hands*

Other highlights were the talks by Gail-Nina Anderson and Gordon Rutter who both seem very down to earth and were entertaining as well as knowledgeable about their subjects.

I was disappointed there weren't more books on sale as I like a good rummage. Perhaps Gail-Nina could have her own fortean themed bric-a-brac stall next year judging by some of the slides she showed in her talk.

:)
 

Marrowpod

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No, Lord Shiva bro, I wouldn't say post-modernism is a hoax, but rather a forgery
or a counterfeit, with much the same effect on critical thinking in the humanities
as a plethora of fake money has on a local economy. Actually it may be worse than
that, as I suspect that many who designed and printed this (non)intellectual currency
thought they were working in a real mint. There is a line that can be drawn from
the hoax seen as innocent entertaining pastime through deliberate or malicious
forgery all the way to self-delusion. A theme the circular Mr Irving and I were
working on... tho' it probably didn't come across to the audience for various reasons.

If you want to see fortean post-modernism as self-delusion in full mythic flow, go
visit the Combat Diaries website, where whole chunks of history have not even been
rewritten but magically invented as real, even tho' there is no reality...Oh dear.

The idea of a hoax thesis on hoaxing written in a counterfeit intellectual idiom does
rather appeal. It reminds me of the solemn advice concerning dowsing rods buried in
Irving and Lundberg's The Field Guide (which all forteans should buy, and not just to
help make Mark Pilkington loads of dosh). I am not sure I would have the stamina for
it, tho'.

Thanks for the appreciation -- i say this as an apprentice cosmic joker (barely up to
county standard so far, let alone cosmic), but sincerely...
 
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It looks like my services are needed again.

Duke_Mendoza said:
Rob's response to Chia's intervention was a perfectly phrased and timed piece of stagecraft, a gem I shall always treasure.
And I will always regret that I responded to his comment with a polite pointing-out of its flawed logic instead of the verbal smackdown that such logic deserves. I'm too nice of a lady. Also, if that's what passes for brilliant stagecraft in your view, you're a lucky man - you must be easily pleased.

Suggesting that he has little grasp of crop circles and picks and chooses his arguments is a bit like suggesting Stephen Hawking should bone up a bit on Boyle's Law for his GCSE. Rob has his own reasons for "admitting anomalies" into the cropfields, and I am not going to risk misrepresenting him by suggesting what they may be here. But he is, as they say, gray in the making of crop formations -- rather more than just moderately well-informed. He is also a master of deep irony and high ambiguity, as befits the several-layered artist he is.
Sorry, but I don't care if he's out every single night vandalizing crops and throwing around iron shavings, et cetera in order to make what you refer to as crop art. That's not forteana, it doesn't mean he's an expert on all formations and it's certainly not relevant to what I'm talking about - complex crop circles with characteristics that cannot have been the result of mechanical flattening.

Strictly on my own behalf I can say that Chia's remarks are among the most hilarious I've encountered in anomalistics. Complex crop art is made by people, full point. Learn to live with it. If we'd had the half a day that the material we had to hand could have consumed, the reasons why that is true, and why it's at least as interesting to a fortean as any other interpretation, would have become clear.
I can understand how you'd get confused, seeing as I'm usually a comedy goldmine - just not this time. See, when I come across woolly thinking, I get all serious. We've got a problem here: you claim ultimate certainty about the origins of complex formations, and yet you're supporting (I use the term loosely here) your case with nothing but "I'm right and you should believe me because I know what I'm talking about" assertions. You also imply that Irving is a highly knowledgeable crop circle insider and so if he dismisses scientific evidence, we should be cool with that. Not OK.

Can I ask that you have a look at www.bltresearch.com and share with us how your associates have figured out how to do all this with plank and rope:

- somatic tissue spiralling
- elongated nodes
- non-phototropic, non-gravitropic bent nodes
- expulsion cavities
- bent canola stems and bent-but-not-broken anomalies in other crops where relevant (late-season brittleness, for example)
- long-term growth effects
- equipment failure

You might come back to me and say that Levengood is biased, and he may be. However, while any bias may affect his conclusions about the evidence, I do trust that he hasn't gone so far as to fabricate said evidence, which still leaves us with the question of how notable plant abnormalities could have been caused by hoaxers.

To conclude: you've provided nothing but unsubstantiated claims thus far, so if you've got anything declassified that you can share, and if you can address the above evidence, by all means - enlighten us. Then maybe we can have a more interesting and useful conversation on this subject. You may know plenty that I don't, but if you're not prepared to cite it, then I have no reason to accept your conclusions.

(To anyone reading this who's new to crop circles: light phenomena, formations appearing within very short windows of time and apparitions have also been observed. As ever in paranormal research, eyewitness reports like these aren't gospel but are very much worth a look; they might, with further study, add to our understanding of those circles which remain unexplained.)
 

Marrowpod

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Unless I entirely misheard Chia's intervention -- which is not impossible, because the effect of imperfect acoustics goes both ways -- I thought she was referring specifically to the notorious Case of the Iron Filings that were found in the remains of an already harvested crop circle near Cherhil in Wiltshire. Judging from Rob Irving's response, he was under the same impression. She seemed to be claiming that there was scientific evidence that there was something anomalous about the iron deposits. By implication the creation of the formation itself was anomalous, or beyond human power, and BLT's research, experiments, citations and conclusions is the evidence in question.

Chia was, in effect, trying to suggest to the man who made the formation that there was evidence he didn't. Whether or not there is a case for saying other aspects of crop formations are anomalous, this was the one cited and it fell at the first elegantly delivered hurdle. Baffled or thwarted by that, she is now moving some goalposts by issuing challenges about nodes, etc. But let's deal with Cherhil...

First let's clear away some problems of definition. [1] The iron at issue was a powder, not filings. Rob called the particles filings because it was the first shorthand term that came to mind. They seem to have come from an Oxford laboratory via Jim Schnabel. [2] In general I am not interested in trying to define what is forteana and what is not, nor in trying to convince True Believers of my 'skeptical' case: waste of time, although others less committed do, I'm told, find such exchanges both entertaining and enlightening. [3] Fortean studies today ought, I think (and FT's editorial policy seems to support this), to be able to include the effects of apparently anomalous events on their observers. This (and no one else has to join in) is why I'm interested in crop circles. IMO the phenomenon per se isn't really a fortean one, because it can be explained -- it doesn't fit the label 'Damned Data' -- but it does have fortean effects on its spectators.

The research and the assertions made about the iron powder by BLT amounts to a pile of weird science at its worst, tho' it does seem to come down in favour of an unusual natural phenomenon such as a plasma having been responsible for the formation. This isn't an anomaly, or forteana, particularly, just something rare, if it were plausible that that's what happened. Unfortunately BLT's case for same is still junk science (a.k.a. codswallop), and the reasons I say that can be found at http://www.xstreamscience.org/, where interested readers should click on the button labelled "H-Glaze" and go from there. The Addendum page is particularly rich in revelations about BLT's confusions and self-contradictions. Irving and Lundberg's The Field Guide also has some useful insights into BLT's thinking and methods, as -- now I come to think of it -- does Monty Keen's contribution to UFOs and Ufology by none other than Yrs Trly and Paul Devereux.

Chia offers her new list of alleged anomalies:
- somatic tissue spiralling
- elongated nodes
- non-phototropic, non-gravitropic bent nodes
- expulsion cavities
- bent canola stems and bent-but-not-broken anomalies in other crops where relevant (late-season brittleness, for example)
- long-term growth effects
- equipment failure

I can't address the last item because I'm not familiar with an instance, and I don't know what the first one means. All the others are artefacts of the process of using a plank (and a few other implements) and feet and ropes on crops. BLT have gone to great lengths to find that tool-using humans couldn't have created these effects, but they have gone to the wrong lengths using faulty notions of physics and singular experimental techniques. The straightforward experiment, which as far as I know remains undone, involves making some crop circles themselves and taking before-and-after samples of the crop in flattened and unflattened areas. Preferably in a Wiltshire wheatfield. Such experimenters and researchers should also bear in mind the extreme variability of the English climate, the existence of microclimates even over small acreages, physical differences among crops, and perhaps most critically intra-crop variations of growth. There are many variables involved, and BLT seem naive -- townies, probbly -- in expecting uniformity in untouched crops, let alone in trampled plants. Before-and-after samples ought therefore to be taken across the whole growing season, and to be really thorough the experiment should include surveys of seed and fertilizer distribution patterns and close monitoring of weather patterns in the chosen field. Don't say I don't try to be helpful. The hypothesis that all complex crop formations are manmade includes the prediction that the supposedly anomalous effects listed above will be found in same, in which case BLT's findings would be, to coin a phrase, fooked. Or stooked, anyway.

Circlemaking groups or individuals don't usually identify themselves with particular formations and don't finger other authors either. This is a useful convention and is directly related to their reluctance to suggest how others may interpret their work. I mention this because in consequence it's difficult if not impossible to make proper judgements about particular formations without testimony from the makers. (For instance it was critical to sorting what happened to that iron powder to have Rob Irving's testimony that a light drizzle was falling by the time he completed the Cherhil formation.) I also mention it because I am not a circlemaker and have scarcely any locus standi from which to speak for them. But I do know pseudoscience from actual science. I suggest you address further questions to Rob Irving -- but for Christsake turn your irony filters up high if he comes on, because he's good at that and you seem to have missed it the last time round.
 

Stormkhan

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Erm ... while the crop circle topic is always a real "hot potato". as it were, wouldn't discussion in re the details and dissection of particular cases be more appropriate for ... um ... a crop circle thread?

I'm not attempting to stifle debate in the subject - one of which I admit I'm a disinterested observer - but trying to point out that this thread is a discussion, even de-briefing of Uncon 08 and not, particularly, of crop circle matters, cases investigated and iron filings debunked. The latter I have no knowledge of and even less interest, personally.

To paraphrase, in barroom language:

Will you people take it outside and stop bothering the rest of us? ;)
 
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Chia,

See what happens when someone mentions crop circles?

I'm not here to take up an oppositional view to yours on the subject. The point I thought I made clear in our original exchange appears to have disappeared under your radar: I'm not your polar opposite on this. Rather, my position is situated as close to the centre of the matrix of axes that represent "crop circles research" as it is possible for me to manage. Considering the context of our conversation - "hoaxing" - the 'given' that crop circles are man-made was never intended as an earth-shattering revelation. I wrote a book about circle-making, its art, history and philosophy, but if I thought for a moment it would make any real difference to the wider scheme and seriously undermine positions like yours, I wouldn't have. Likewise, if I didn't intend the crop circles I make to catalyse speculation "because their power partly rests on the fact that their origination is inexplicable except as a magical, supernatural occurrence” (Alfred Gell) why would I bother?

I view the circles more affectionately as actants and agents, mediating between modern society and nature, filling in where necessary for a crossed-out God. I suspect this makes our positions closer than you think, and I'm sorry if this bothers you. You would not be the first croppy I've upset with my views. But wait, before railing at me you had not even waited to discover what my views are before telling me and the world. (And what might that tell us about your approach to science and the circles?)

TheOriginalChia said:
Can I ask that you have a look at www.bltresearch.com and share with us how your associates have figured out how to do all this with plank and rope:

- somatic tissue spiralling
- elongated nodes
- non-phototropic, non-gravitropic bent nodes
- expulsion cavities
- bent canola stems and bent-but-not-broken anomalies in other crops where relevant (late-season brittleness, for example)
- long-term growth effects
- equipment failure
The best way to answer that is for you - yes you - to get a plank and suitable accoutrements and see for yourself, as I did. While you're at it, you might also ask yourself why BLT are still pushing this paper when it was withdrawn by its authors 16 years ago?

Contrary to what you are now telling us, in our original exchange you essentially asked me how much I valued BLT's scientific findings viz the 'anomalies' you list above, and I answered, essentially, "not much". As I implied at the time, I arrived at this opinion by way of personal experience, rather than your more common methodology of reading websites and believing what they tell you if it suits your preconceived notions. Tell me this ain't so. I ask again, what is it specifically about BLT's science that so convinces you?

TheOriginalChia said:
eyewitness reports
Briefly on another point, with regard to "formations appearing within very short windows of time", people reporting that they did not see anything hardly qualify as eyewitnesses. I wonder if that isn't just the kind of limp rationale that turns the likes of Stormkahn off what is really an interesting subject, given the chance, when released from the grip of certainties like yours.

I prefer to recognise these 'anomalies' as material manifestations of (as Latour so eloquently put it) "a fibrous, thread-like, wiry, stringy, ropy, capillary character that is never captured by the notions of levels, layers, territories, spheres, categories, structure, systems."

Or, indeed, pointless, unproductive arguments.

Not that I don't occasionally stoop to those too, but I choose my enemies wisely and I don't want you as one. So, why don't you tell us what you think the circles represent, or "are for" - perhaps, as Stormkahn suggests, nestled in a new thread - but this time without risk of the immaculate put down, which, by the way, was never intended as any such thing.

(GailNina, warm greetings. I too am sorry I didn't make your talk - perhaps next time.)

Yours in memoria Dei, etc.
_
 

Stormkhan

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brotherluth said:
[...]that turns the likes of Stormkahn off what is really an interesting subject, given the chance, when released from the grip of certainties like yours.
_
No. I've had a passing read on basic crop circle stuff, minus the obviously intense and deeply meaningful scientific jargon. It may/may not be a really "interesting subject, given the chance". Thank you for being concerned over my education in the subject, anyway. :)
What really turns me off is being treated to reading lines upon lines of text on a subject ... which is more suited elsewhere. If I want to delve deeper into the ins and outs of crop circles, I will read through the suitable thread(s).

With respect, and with a tad nuance of irritation, please can you discuss crop circles elsewhere. As far as I'm aware, this is a thread about the social event UNCON 2008. Not the pro's, con's and contentious stances surrounding crop circles.

At the risk of second-guessing the patience of moderators, can we please stay on the subject of the thread and not turn it into a "crop circle politics/standpoint" thread, with countless quotes from academics, fans, publications being thrown at each other?

Unless, of course, the board administration consider Uncon to be all about crop circles.
 
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brotherluth said:
As a fan of crime fiction, Stormkahn, surely you recognise a MacGuffin when you see one?
_
The Maltese Falcon would still be out of place in 'Murder At The Vicarage'. So, please try to stay on topic.

We haven't had a good thread on crop circles, or cereal murderers, for ages. :)
 

justme58

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I was enjoying following the conversation on this thread, I really don't see the need for taking it outside, it's far to cold out there anyway.
 

Moholo

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Stormkhan, with respect, if you have anything further to say about UnCon, surely you can just go ahead and post it here. So can anybody else who still wishes to.

In the meantime, I dont see why there should be a problem with discussing crop circles since the issue originally came up in a talk which was one of the UnCon events.
 

original_fLeebLe

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lots of people registering just to defend things people didn't like?
not even talking about uncon just defending.
how very odd.
we were asked what we thought.
 
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I'd just like to add that, if it hadn't been for Timble, Fleeble and Anome, walking back with me, in the right direction to my hotel, on the Saturday and Sunday nights, I would probably have ended up in Maida Vale, or even Reading.

We might have stopped at a few hostelries, on the way. :)
 

Anome

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Actually, after walking Pietro back to his hotel, and with Timble to the station, I then proceeded to get completely lost walking back to the Strand.
 
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Anome_ said:
Actually, after walking Pietro back to his hotel, and with Timble to the station, I then proceeded to get completely lost walking back to the Strand.
And after you assured us, you'd have no problems finding your way back. ;)

I lived in London for years. The longer I lived there, the easier it was to get lost. It's a bit of a maze, built up of several ancient boroughs and villages.

Walking to the UnCon, on the Sunday morning (I went the wrong way, for half a mile), I watched the trainee taxi drivers, motoring around on their scooters, with the map holders clamped to their handlebars and learning 'The Knowledge', with a new respect. :)
 

SoundDust

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When we were trying to find that pub that possibly only existed in my mind (or, more likely, my liver) I was convinced we were heading away from Goodge Street :oops:
 
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Thanks for replying to follow up our brief discussion, Rob. I will address both of your posts here (...assuming you are be both robirving1 and brotherluth):

robirving1 said:
Chia, you know how things are when people start talking about crop circles. Please forgive my shallow analysis of BLT's work on Saturday. You'll find a more in depth analysis in The Field Guide: The Art, History and Philosophy of Crop Circle Making.
Duly added to my (very long) reading list. I was not aware of your book prior to the Uncon, and so my questions were based on what you presented to the audience at the time.

brotherluth said:
I view the circles more affectionately as actants and agents, mediating between modern society and nature, filling in where necessary for a crossed-out God. I suspect this makes our positions closer than you think, and I'm sorry if this bothers you. You would not be the first croppy I've upset with my views. But wait, before railing at me you had not even waited to discover what my views are before telling me and the world.
Not a croppy, just an interested party. I don't ascribe any personal spiritual significance to the circles, don't make regular pilgrimages to Wiltshire and have not been convinced that the circles are leading up to a global consciousness shift in 2012. So as much as I would like to find some common crop circle ground with you, even if circuitously so, it won't happen on this point. That aside - yes, you are right that I was ill-informed to an extent, even while accusing you of being the same, which is totally not cool. In my view it is clear that, based on the evidence, not all crop circles are man-made, even though a great many of them are. Based on what you said during your talk, I assumed you were completely disregarding said evidence in favor of a worldview in which you and other hoaxers are in complete control of the phenomenon and are therefore in a position of power and superiority over gullible believers. I should have done more research on you instead of drawing conclusions based only what you said at Uncon, and for this lapse I hope you will accept my apology. Your iron filings comment seemed to me a very shallow analysis indeed, hence me getting (overly) wound up.

brotherluth said:
TheOriginalChia said:
Can I ask that you have a look at www.bltresearch.com and share with us how your associates have figured out how to do all this with plank and rope:

- somatic tissue spiralling
- elongated nodes
- non-phototropic, non-gravitropic bent nodes
- expulsion cavities
- bent canola stems and bent-but-not-broken anomalies in other crops where relevant (late-season brittleness, for example)
- long-term growth effects
- equipment failure
The best way to answer that is for you - yes you - to get a plank and suitable accoutrements and see for yourself, as I did. While you're at it, you might also ask yourself why BLT are still pushing this paper when it was withdrawn by its authors 16 years ago?
I did not refer to any specific paper in my comments; rather, I was talking about patterns of plant abnormalities found in a variety of circles, both simple and complex. According to Peter Brookesmith / Duke Mendoza in another post on this thread, node abnormalities are the result of mechanical flattening and he laments that BLT haven't checked this out, but according to BLT, these abnormalities were not replicated by MIT undergrads planking at the behest of the Discovery Channel (http://www.bltresearch.com/published/mit.html). You make a good point here, though - I should go flatten some crops myself and see what happens, so if I can get permission from a farmer next summer, I'll give it a try and report back.

brotherluth said:
Contrary to what you are now telling us, in our original exchange you essentially asked me how much I valued BLT's scientific findings viz the 'anomalies' you list above, and I answered, essentially, "not much". As I implied at the time, I arrived at this opinion by way of personal experience, rather than your more common methodology of reading websites and believing what they tell you if it suits your preconceived notions. Tell me this ain't so. I ask again, what is it specifically about BLT's science that so convinces you?
I'm not sure what you mean by "contrary to what you are now telling us", as I don't think I've contradicted myself so far. I asked you what you thought about their research and you answered "not much" but gave your reason as, essentially, "A friend of mine once threw some iron filings into a crop circle". You can see why I would object to the kind of logic you appeared to be presenting. Anyway, with regard to preconceived notions, I don't actually have any of those about crop circles, because they're so weird I don't know what to make of them. This is why I'm so fascinated, and why I feel they're worthy of further study. I'm not, to quote from an article of yours on Circlemakers.org, one of the "committed phenomenalists" for whom you seem to have at least a small measure of contempt. With respect (I'm an artist myself), I think it is very unfortunate that you and others have so thoroughly silted up the waters with intentional deceptions. However, I freely admit that there is some evidence of anomalous effects occurring in association with man-made circles. This is bizarre and most definitely merits further investigation, but the more pressing issue (to me) is finding the cause of what appear to be as-yet-unexplained formations. As for what convinces me about BLT's research, it is the plant abnormalities I mentioned, as well as effects I didn't list such as changes at cellular level and complex floor lays.

brotherluth said:
Briefly on another point, with regard to "formations appearing within very short windows of time", people reporting that they did not see anything hardly qualify as eyewitnesses. I wonder if that isn't just the kind of limp rationale that turns the likes of Stormkahn off what is really an interesting subject, given the chance, when released from the grip of certainties like yours.
I think it's safe to say that you've completely mischaracterized my point, so you may have to look elsewhere for the cause of Stormkahn's boredom. To spell it out for you: witnesses, sometimes multiple, seeing a pristine field a short time before noting a crop circle in the same field = reports of circles being laid down very quickly and sometimes in daylight, even though the act of creation was not witnessed. Whether the individual reports stand up to scrutiny is another matter entirely, but they should not be immediately dismissed. Was this chain of thought really so unclear based on what I originally wrote, or did you just want to bust out the phrase "limp rationale"?

brotherluth said:
I prefer to recognise these 'anomalies' as material manifestations of (as Latour so eloquently put it) "a fibrous, thread-like, wiry, stringy, ropy, capillary character that is never captured by the notions of levels, layers, territories, spheres, categories, structure, systems."
You may be right. However, I am still not convinced that the only physical causative agents are people with planks, ropes and rollers. So, although it may one day become clear that I'm on the wrong track, I will keep trying to pin down the cause of those formations that, at this time, appear to myself and others not to be man-made. Maybe I'm interpreting the evidence incorrectly and the cropfields have been not just partially but entirely contaminated (or enriched, depending on one's point of view) by hoaxing. If this turns out to be the case, I'll be prepared to accept it. I was all excited about rods back in the day, but they've now been pretty conclusively explained and my life is none the poorer for it. What I'm after is the truth, no matter what that may be.

brotherluth said:
... but I choose my enemies wisely and I don't want you as one. So, why don't you tell us what you think the circles represent, or "are for" - perhaps, as Stormkahn suggests, nestled in a new thread - but this time without risk of the immaculate put down, which, by the way, was never intended as any such thing.
I don't want to make enemies here either, and I think this debate has been inflamed by misunderstandings on both sides (me not giving you enough credit for your understanding of the phenomenon, you seeming to think I'm a crop circle true believer when in fact I'm an enquiring agnostic). What do I think the circles are for? I have no idea. I doubt I'll be prepared to speculate until I understand the cause(s) of what I would call "genuine" formations. There's always this, though:

 
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Duke_Mendoza said:
Unless I entirely misheard Chia's intervention -- which is not impossible, because the effect of imperfect acoustics goes both ways -- I thought she was referring specifically to the notorious Case of the Iron Filings that were found in the remains of an already harvested crop circle near Cherhil in Wiltshire. Judging from Rob Irving's response, he was under the same impression. She seemed to be claiming that there was scientific evidence that there was something anomalous about the iron deposits. By implication the creation of the formation itself was anomalous, or beyond human power, and BLT's research, experiments, citations and conclusions is the evidence in question.

Chia was, in effect, trying to suggest to the man who made the formation that there was evidence he didn't. Whether or not there is a case for saying other aspects of crop formations are anomalous, this was the one cited and it fell at the first elegantly delivered hurdle. Baffled or thwarted by that, she is now moving some goalposts by issuing challenges about nodes, etc.
Wait, what? "Baffled or thwarted"....I'm afraid not. Perhaps we experienced the Uncon in slightly different branches of the multiverse. Neither myself nor my companion can recall any one specific formation having been involved in my questioning. Something was said (admittedly I can't now remember the exact words, but "Cherhill" wasn't one of them) implying a certainty that all crop circles are man-made, which set off my clarification of your collective position. THEN the iron filings/shavings/deposits issue came up. It seems that you did mishear me, because I spoke with clear (or so I thought) reference to your overall opinion of crop circles, not any single example. Sorry if I wasn't actually as clear as I recall myself to have been, though.
 
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