Saturday, June 21, 2008

Crop Circle: Prank, Alien Contact, or X-Files Alternate Reality Game?

Crop Circle: Prank, Alien Contact, or X-Files Alternate Reality Game?

By Aaron Rowe June 20, 2008 | 1:54:59 PM


A complex crop circle, which appeared in an English barley field last month, is a cryptic representation of the first ten digits of Pi, says Astrophysicist Mike Reed. The remaining question: Was it made by pranksters, aliens, or a guerrilla marketing team?

As the theatrical premiere of a new X-Files movie draws near, I want to believe that this mysterious occurrence is the opening act of an elaborate alternate reality game. One thing is for sure, whomever dreamed up the 150-foot geometric spectacle is familiar with fractals -- objects that contain small patterns within a larger but similar pattern.

Pictures obtained by the Daily Mail show ten notches within the spiral. The distance between each of those marks corresponds to a digit of Pi.

In other words, the circle is divided up into ten invisible segments, like a pizza. To represent the 4 in 3.141592654, the third notch is four segments further along in the spiral than the preceding mark.

Image: Crop circle from a barley field near Barbury Castle in Wroughton, England. Credit: Daily Mail


Easy as pi: Astrophysicist solves riddle of Britain's most complex crop circle

By Daniel Bates
18th June 2008

It is - by any calculation - a creation stunning in its ingenuity.

Carved out in a barley field, this 150ft wide pattern is said to be a pictorial representation of the first ten digits of Pi, one of the most fundamental symbols in mathematics.

Believers in extra-terrestrials could argue it was made by mathematically-minded aliens on a field trip to Earth.

Enlarge Crop circle

Mystery: The crop circle in a barley field near Wroughton in Wiltshire is a coded version of pi

Sceptics will think it the work of humans with a fondness for figures and a penchant for puzzles.

But whatever its origins, the experts say it is the most complex crop circle ever seen in Britain.

The pattern appeared earlier this month near Barbury Castle, an Iron Age hill fort above the village of Wroughton in Wiltshire.

Initially, crop circle enthusiasts were stumped as to its meaning and even a number of experts said it was 'mind-boggling'.

Then retired astrophysicist Mike Reed saw a photograph of it and made the mathematical link.

Enlarge Crop circle

Complex: The formation is 150 metres in diameter

He said the crop pattern 'clearly shows' the first ten digits of pi, which - as many will remember from their schooldays - is used to calculate the area of a circle using the formula Pi r squared.

Mr Reed said: 'I noticed a photo of the Barbury Castle pattern. It shows a coded image representing the first ten digits of Pi - the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter.

'The tenth digit has even been correctly rounded up.

'The little dot near the centre is the decimal point. The code is based on ten angular segments, with the radial jumps being the indicator of each segment.'

After working out the sequence, Mr Reed produced the accompanying diagram. The image is an example of what is known as a fractal, or geometric pattern.

Fractals have been a staple of crop circle designs for many years, the most well known being the Mandelbrot Set or the Julia Set, which appeared 12 years ago in Avebury Trusloe, Wiltshire.

Lucy Pringle, a renowned researcher of crop formations, has the largest database in the world on the phenomenon.

She said yesterday: 'This is an astounding development - it is a seminal event.'

Although numerous-individuals have come forward over the years admitting they had been making crop circles, many people still believe the rings are linked with the paranormal or civilizations in far-flung galaxies.

As yet, no one has claimed responsibility for the Barbury Castle circle.

How it works

Although it appears complicated at first glance, the puzzle does make perfect sense if approached logically and taken step by step.

The coded image depicts 3.141592654, the first ten digits of Pi. How is it done?

Firstly, the diagram is divided into ten equal sections (a bit like a dartboard, or a cake sliced ten ways) because there are ten staggered edges located at strategic points around the crop circle.

Banbury Castle Crop Circle

To help understand how this is arrived at, look again at the photo above and imagine a giant ruler being aligned with the edges (ignore the tractor lines, which were there before the circle was created).

That sets the basic framework. Next, each number in Pi is represented in the diagram by a corresponding number of coloured blocks.

Beginning in the centre with the arrow marked 'Start', the first number, three, is represented by three red blocks from clockwise.

Follow this round and this takes you to the decimal point, which is depicted by a small circle in the barley.

The number after the decimal point is one, represented by one green block.

The same pattern continues for each of the numbers - four purple blocks, one orange, five blue, nine yellow, two purple, six red, five green, then four dark blue, followed by three circles, or dots, acknowledging that Pi is infinite.

1 comment:

Letting the time pass me by said...

I believe there have been some reports or confessions that the crop cricle are pranskster/hoax... (being made by human)

Maybe this crop cycle also the same hoax... but maybe it has some message...