Conspiracy-Minded Response to a Skeptical Crop Circle Explanation

January 21, 2014

Earlier this month I wrote a piece about a mysterious 310-foot-diameter crop circle that appeared in a farmer's barley field in Chualar, Calif., as 2013 ended puzzled the public for more than a week. Echoing the sentiments of many, the field's owner told CNN, "To be that intricate in design, it kind of baffles me as to how that was done."

Videos and photos of it went viral, and though some dismissed the crop circle as a hoax, others weren't so sure. Some crop-circle experts wrote in-depth analyses that claimed to cleverly decode hidden meanings in the pattern, including that a bright comet would appear in the sky later this year.

It remained a mystery until January 5 when at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the real circle makers stepped forward: a marketing team hired by computer-graphics company Nvidia. The "crop circle" was not an astronomical calendar forewarning of an impending comet, but instead a drawing of the company's new Tegra K1 processing chip. A small team of British crop-circle artists created the complex pattern expertly and without detection. It was a great publicity stunt, and one that left many people wondering how experts could have been fooled.

In response I received the following e-mail... It is a typical, and interesting response, and provides insight into the conspiracy mentality. It also contains at least three or four logical fallacies. I will let the text speak for itself, other than to note that the repeated fallacy of "I wouldn't do it that way..."

Good day. I'm contacting you concerning the Salinas crop-circle and the recent claim by NVIDIA taking credit for the formation. As a researcher into UFO's and EBE's and a customer of NVIDIA I find this claim based on a viral-campaign to be rather disturbing. From the article , Crop circle reveals comet ISON was a spacecraft & July 2014 ET event it is obvious there are some major inconsistencies with NVIDIA's claim and the video statements of the on-lookers and the farmer. Now NVIDIA claims they worked weeks before Christmas to create a stylized crop-circle design based off of their new Tegra graphics-chip. In a conversation via Facebook on David Serad's wall concerning this claim a engineer named John Ratcliff posted a video created by NVIDIA that they say proves they made the formation and it was nothing more then a marketing campaign for their new chip.

‪Salinas Crop Circle - Behind the Scenes with NVIDIA - Dec 2013‬

This video shows absolutely no evidence they made this formation based on a marketing campaign. The video shots show distant views of some guy walking around a field all at eye level and for a few seconds each. Not once is there a aerial shot showing the actual process. I have contacted NVIDIA to speak with a PR representative, however they are currently busy at the CES revealing the new graphics tech. I was asked to email them concerning the formation, but I want to question them directly so they will not have time to think out a response. From a marketing stand-point this whole deal makes no sense. I build PC's and use NVIDIA exclusively to run my games. They have never advertised in such a big way. If I wanted to promote a high-end chip I would not spend a lot of money to create a design way off in a field of barley 2-3 feet high as a way to get people in the know.

Now this is whats very strange. This formation was discovered December 28th. A week passes and suddenly NVIDIA makes an announcement that they are responsible for the pattern design to promote the Tegra chip. Then it is mowed down right before the biggest consumer show on the planet CES. I have been following NVIDIA at CES and they have not made a lot excitement around the crop-circle which should be a big deal considering this is a viral-marketing device for them. You would think the design would stay until CES was over on January 10, 2014.

Now Mr.Radford the video you attached the linked article, has some very conflicting data in light of NVIDIA's claim. Disregarding the decoding of the crop-circle, the news report shows statements by on-lookers and a absences statement from the farmer. 1)First the farmer in the reported statement says he was out of town and had nothing to do with the creation of the formation. This raise a red-flag because it implicates a large well known corporation, NVIDIA is responsible for the formation, therefore also have committed two crimes, trespassing and vandalism. I contacted the Salinas PD and I talked with dispatcher 97. Ms. 97 stated to me that the farmer worked with NVIDIA or was paid and the video statement from the news report was a deliberate lie by the farmer. Ms.97 was rather condescending and I got the feeling the SPD was in on it. 2)The quoted statements from and Jeff Krause do not fit with NVIDIA's statements that this was a marketing campaign. Why would you need security to protect a marketing campaign you want people to see?

It's rather baffling this whole event. I'm a comic-book artist/ illustrator r. Radford, and if I was trying to promote myself like this I would not wait a week to announce it was me and I would have signed my work. And if I was having a gathering to further my self-branding then I would not destroy the design until after the whole marketing campaign was over. I have contacted the Martin Agency here in Richmond and a few other ad agencies. A representative from the Martin Agency called me back but was very reluctant to discuss it when I broke down all the data. Attached to this email are two photo's. One of the formation in the field and one projected onto the floor at CES. As an artist with much experience the design pattern with the NVIDIA logo in the center instead of the cryptic brail formation makes no sense once again. The projected image should have been the one used, especially if you want to create buzz around the product. Being cryptic to get your name and brand into the minds and hands of the consumer requires rational design.

Now I'm not saying NVIDIA did not do this, just the way it was all handled and the data inconsistencies shown on video needs to be investigated.Regardless off your skepticism Mr. Radford 90% of the formations are not done by humans as the spiral-layered clockwise/counterclockwise interlocking technique is prevalent in most of the formations including high levels of electromagnetic radiation. This technique cannot be produced with a plank board. Further when one examines the Salinas crop-circle, there are no disturbances in areas where there should be as there are no visable walk lines to create much of this pattern. For instance the circles, there are no walk lines, none of the barley is disturbed around the circles.How do you make a circle perfectly that close to this intricate pattern and not disturb the surrounding barley? In the center, how did these guys walk through all that barley to create perfect squares and again did not disturb one piece of barley? 


My reply:

Thanks for writing... I guess I'm not sure what to make of your comments; the biggest flaw I see in your logic is that you repeatedly write statements such as “If I wanted to promote a high-end chip I would not spend a lot of money to create a design way off in a field of barley 2-3 feet high as a way to get people in the know...You would think the design would stay until CES was over on January 10, 2014... if I was trying to promote myself like this I would not wait a week to announce it was me and I would have signed my work.”
You present these as some sort of evidence, but just because you personally would not do something a particular way doesn’t mean that it is at all strange or suspicious that someone else chose to do it a different way. There are many different ways to do any given thing, ranging from driving from Los Angeles to Dallas, to writing a book, to launching an advertising campaign, to baking a birthday cake. The fact that you would have done something different really doesn't point to any evidence of a conspiracy, I'm afraid. 


If you feel that this circle needs more investigation, I encourage you to look into it, and if you find anything more substantive, I'll be happy to look at it. 


I never heard back.