NASA today released a stunning image of the famous “Martian face” rock formation in which the “mouth” appears to be turned upward, as if smiling. The image was taken about 12 hours after a previous image of the mouth-like crevice is shown expressing no particular emotion in a way that’s similar to thousands of previous pictures of the formation that have been taken.
“It’s really a remarkable image sequence,” says Kristin Rogers, NASA chief of geological imaging. “We are starting with the assumption that the change in appearance is simply a change in the angle of light on the surface features. But we’re not prepared to say that with certainty, because it’s a shift we haven’t seen before.”
Rogers says analysts are looking at archived images of the rock formation to see if there have been previous shifts in light. The agency has thousands of images of this particular geological formation, so a full historical analysis will take several weeks. “The rock formation looks like a face, so we have a lot of pictures of it, as you can imagine,” says Rogers.
Conspiracy theorists and extraterrestrial-life cultists have already jumped on the image as proof of life on Mars. “Of course the federal government doesn’t want us to know about this, because it undermines their agenda of command and control,” says Pitrov Gorky, editor of a blog called NASA Cover-up and the author of several books on extraterrestrial life. “This is an image NASA would have preferred the public not see, but we see it and we want answers instead of the agency’s usual spin.”
Debra Sylvester, a housewife in Oklahoma City, says she had a UFO sighting yesterday at exactly the same time as the image was taken, 8 p.m., Eastern Time, and thinks the two events are linked. “It’s just too coincidental to be a coincidence,” says Sylvester, 54. “Even if you don’t believe in chance, it’s clear this isn’t a chance happening. Everyone thought Noah’s ark was a myth, but now we know it actually existed. Same thing with the ladder Jacob walked down to claim the Holy Land for his people. We’ve seen it. And this is also one of those signs we’ll see in the Bible someday, in a future edition. That’s why we can’t let the government cover this information up. And we won’t, not here in the United States, not here where God is watching over us and smiling upon us.”
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: ngsf (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
Unverified news reports say Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been endorsed by the American Association of Conspiracy Theorists (AACT). If true, Trump would be the first presidential candidate to receive the group’s endorsement since Richard Nixon was reportedly endorsed by the group in 1968. “We need a president who won’t be caught sleeping when dark forces around the world align to do harm to the United States,” says a statement attributed to the group, which is said to have been created in 1960, the year the American U2 spy plane was shot down by the Soviet Union during a deep penetration overflight. “I have reason to believe the group is endorsing Trump and I have reason to believe that’s a good thing,” says Alex Jones, host of The Alex Jones Show on Genesis Communications Network and operator of InfoWars, PrisonPlanet, and other websites popular with Americans concerned about the growing number of plots against the United States. More.
In a rare moment of bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee yesterday applauded U.S. wildlife officials for their decision not to set aside protected habitat areas for an endangered species of bats. “All of America’s wildlife are important, and we’re as worried about our bat population as anyone, but if we had to let one species go, it should probably be the bats,” Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chair of the committee, said yesterday. “While we hope the Department of Fish and Wildlife can work out a way to protect imperiled bats, if they can’t, we understand.” “Not all animals get protected habitat, it’s as simple as that,” said Jim Costa (D-Calif.), a senior member of the committee. More.
Manufacturers and technology companies have failed to blanket the living environment with blinking lights and bleeping noises even though they’ve had the capability to do so for many years, the world says. Until enough blinking lights and bleeping noises fill all living spaces at all times, there will be operations and processes that won’t be sufficiently signaled for people the world over to be sufficiently signaled about every process and operation. “As hard as it is to believe, it’s possible today to go from your home to your car without being signaled by a blinking light or a bleeping noise alerting you to an operation or process that has occurred and that could affect you,” says the world. “Has the newspaper arrived at your doorstep? Have your sprinklers been turned on to water your grass? These are the kinds of processes and operations today that remain un-signaled with a blinking light or bleeping noise. More.
Calling clowns creepy and not funny, lawmkers in both houses of Congress today passed legislation outlawing entertainers who wear makeup, big red noses, and floppy shoes in a belief that people find them funny. “I know there’s a tradition, dating back to the days of court jesters, of entertaining audiences by wearing costumes and makeup in goofy ways while engaging in antics, often with balls or bicycles,” says Rep. Snowden Baxter (R-Texas), principal sponsor the legislation. “But not all traditions are destined to survive in perpetuity, and clowns are one of those traditions whose time should come to an end.” Baxter pointed to overwhelming support from members of both parties for his bill and cited it as an example of the kinds of things Congress can get done when the need is clear and compelling. More.
If all the resources that go into supporting religion in the United States were channeled into productive enterprises, the domestic economy would expand by an estimated $465 billion a year, a study by the Federal Reserve finds. “Religion is a big part of the identity of many Americans, and certainly is embedded in our heritage as a country, but from a purely economic standpoint, it’s a disaster,” says Alfred Smith, a senior Fed economist. The study by Smith and a team of researchers is the most detailed yet of the economic toll religion takes on the U.S economy. It has sought to factor in virtually every way religion intersects with the economy, from lost tax revenue to states and localities, lost investment into goods and services that grow the economy, lost productivity by having people employed in religious institutions instead of companies and organizations that produce goods and services, and the cost of violence perpetrated in the name of religious belief. More.
Google has launched a service to step in and write your emails for you since it knows what you’re writing about anyway and can do a better job at it. “Having us write your emails is just another way for you to spend more time doing what you like to do and are good at and leaving to us the drudgery of spelling out words and connecting them in sentences in ways that make sense,” says Janna Learner, head of the new service, called Google Ghost Writer, or Google Ghost for short. The service uses the same algorithm the company uses to match ads to the subject matter in your emails. “We’re already tailoring ads to what you’re writing about, so this is just the next logical evolution in that mutually beneficial relationship,” says Learner. “If you’re writing an email about, say, a job you’d like to apply for, imagine how much help our service can be in making sure you say the right things.” More.
GOTHAM CITY—Several of America’s greatest superheroes, including Superman and Spider-Man, say they “feel dumb” wearing tights and other “design affectations” like capes and masks and have agreed among themselves to stop doing it. “I’ve never been comfortable flying in my tights,” says Superman, also known as the man of steel. “I started wearing the costume in the late 1930s because I needed to protect my identity. But I also needed to convey a sense of separateness, otherwise people would constantly come to me and say they want to stop trains and out-run bullets. But the world has changed. Today, we have smartphones and tablets. People have moved on. What’s important today is authenticity.” More.
TORONTO—Not everyone at Orione Corp. knows what the guy with three monitors does, but there’s little doubt he’s a man of mystery. “I’ve got a five-year-old Dell computer and that’s it,” says Jeff Norton, one of the company’s purchasing associates. “No one walks by my cubicle and wonders what I do, but I can tell you people wonder what he does.” Based on the kinds of programs he uses, the guy with three monitors appears to do something requiring complex multimedia functionality because he’s always working with a high-res graphic interface, motion graphics and video, and audio. To add to the mystery, he keeps the lights out around his workstation to reduce glare on his screens. “It’s almost like a spaceship control module,” says one colleague, a hint of awe in his voice. More.