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UnCon 08
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StormkhanOffline
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PostPosted: 19-11-2008 21:52    Post subject: Reply with quote

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? Wink
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brotherluth
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PostPosted: 19-11-2008 23:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

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 occurrenceā€¯ (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 wrote:

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 wrote:
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.
_
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StormkhanOffline
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PostPosted: 21-11-2008 22:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

brotherluth wrote:
[...]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. Smile
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
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PostPosted: 22-11-2008 02:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a fan of crime fiction, Stormkahn, surely you recognise a MacGuffin when you see one?
_
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 22-11-2008 07:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

brotherluth wrote:
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. Smile
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justme58Offline
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PostPosted: 22-11-2008 19:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
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MoholoOffline
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PostPosted: 22-11-2008 19:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
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original_fLeebLe
Great Old One
PostPosted: 22-11-2008 23:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

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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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 22-11-2008 23:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

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. Smile
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Anome_Offline
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PostPosted: 23-11-2008 00:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

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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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 23-11-2008 02:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anome_ wrote:
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. Wink

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. Smile
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SoundDust
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PostPosted: 23-11-2008 09:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

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 Embarassed
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Timble2Offline
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PostPosted: 23-11-2008 15:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

It could have been a pub that existed in a parallel universe, which would be Fortean...
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TheOriginalChiaOffline
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PostPosted: 29-11-2008 01:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

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 wrote:

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 wrote:

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 wrote:

TheOriginalChia wrote:


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 wrote:

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 wrote:

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 wrote:


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 wrote:

... 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:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3238/3067236350_3f1b23c5d0.jpg
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TheOriginalChiaOffline
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PostPosted: 29-11-2008 02:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

Duke_Mendoza wrote:
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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