August 4, 2004

Spontaneous Formations

This world wide web thingy is frickin' amazing:

When Spirit began transmitting in January, space fans downloaded 35 terabytes of visual data from NASA's servers in less than a week. And they're not just loading up on screensavers. They're putting their image-processing software to the test, hunting for signs of life, past and present. Since the 1960s, when NASA probes sent back the first shots of Mars, amateurs have filled their files with curiosities. Their conclusions: worms, trees, UFOs, pyramids, subway stations, giant fungi, fossils, buried cities, and, of course, the famous face. According to, a Web site devoted to "figuring out the universe" and run by 56-year-old "E.B. from Texas," amateur investigators don't look for the sorts of general principles that attract most scientists. "We look to the anomalous features," says E.B.

What is intersting is not the curious creatures detected by the independent researchers but:

1. The spontaneous analysis of the Mars images over the web using widely available software.

2.I've always had an eye on the amateur astronomy world and what is interesting is the open door and deep water that characterises the conversation animated within.

3. How we see things in things.

4. That amateurs do it for love.

5. Dendrite formation, it's how bushes and brains and life works.

Posted by Dennis at August 4, 2004 5:59 AM

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