Archive for the ‘Cryptozoology’ Category

Patty looks back: 50 years of the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot footage

October 20, 2017

Patty looks back: 50 years of the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot footage

You’ve seen it, or you’ve seen parodies or images based on it. Look at Bigfoot t-shirts or novelty “Bigfoot Crossing” signs, and you are likely to have a pose with swinging arms, mid-stride, looking back over its shoulder at you.

All of that comes from the “PGF” (Patterson-Gimlin Film): shot by Roger Patterson (with Bob Gimlin there as well), and it shows a hairy biped striding away from the camera.

It was reportedly shot on October 20th, 1967, near Bluff Creek, in Northern California.

What does it show?

There are really only two likely possibilities.

  1. It shows a “Bigfoot”, an unscientifically recognized bipedal mammal
  2. It’s a hoax

Beyond that, you have to get more exotic, such as a “tulpa” (a materialized thought form), an alien, and so on.

There has been a lot of analysis and claims about it, both positive and negative. I’ve read reasons why it physically can not be a human being in a suit (based on shoulder to height ratio, arm length, and gait) and I’ve seen claims of finding the zipper in the film. There have been books and DVDs focused on it:

search for “Patterson Bigfoot” at Amazon (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and among many websites of varying perspectives and depth there is at least one focused on it:

As a Fortean, I don’t make a “one or the other” judgment about it…the Fortean  “philosophy” doesn’t make binary choices, not even “real” and “not real”. Well, even that statement is too binary. 😉

You might simply believe its an obvious hoax, or you might equally simply believe it is “real”. You may have read a lot of the analysis and lean one way or the other.

What I thought I would do in this post is show some of the angles to the story…it may be different from what you think, and personally, I always like it when somebody gets me to think about what I think. 🙂

  • The claim was not that this was an accidental, serendipitous event…somebody just trekking through the woods with no ideas about Bigfoot. Patterson was there making a Bigfoot documentary, and had previously written a book on Bigfoot. Patterson wasn’t just a random hiker
  • The movie was not taken without collaborating context of Bigfoot in the area. There were also tracks in the area outside of this event, and not just reported by Patterson and Gimlin
  • Ivan T. Sanderson, a popular naturalist (think someone like Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter), who also wrote about Fortean topics, really popularized the movie with a cover article in the February 1968 issue of Argosy magazine. The cover promised “EXCLUSIVE! First Photos! CALIFORNIA’S ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN”, and showed that arm-swinging lookback. That’s when many people first became aware of it
  • It’s worth noting that Argosy didn’t use the term “Bigfoot” on the cover…although that term, in the modern usage, really had been popularized about ten years earlier
  • In modern parlance, we can say that the movie “went viral”. Patterson and the film appeared on a number of shows, including Johnny Carson’s Show, and it was mentioned in Reader’s Digest
  • An analysis by Dimitri Donskoy in Russia, who had credentials to do a biomechanical analysis, concluded that it was likely not to have been a “MiS” (Man-in-Suit…Donskoy didn’t use that term). That had to do with the apparent naturalness of what is not a natural movement pattern for a homo sapiens…Patty “glides”, not bobbing up and down as much as a homo sapiens does, for example
  • One of the arguments is about whether or not it would be possible for it to be an MiS. If you could say it was possible, that keeps open the hoax; if you could say it wasn’t, then you can’t (or so the traditional logic goes). No serious analysis claims it was a “cheap gorilla suit”: it would have to be fairly sophisticated. Indeed, legendary Hollywood makeup artist John Chambers (portrayed by John Goodman in Argo) has been rumored to have made the “suit” for the PGF. That was never confirmed, but we can say it would have been expensive to make, especially in 1967. It would be hard to prove an impossibility: if you could figure out that the figure was over 2.5m tall (8′ 2″), that wouldn’t rule out a homo sapiens…Robert Wadlow was reportedly about 2.7m (8′ 11″) tall. If you had a circus contortionist with enough training time, it might be possible to create the gait. With enough money and resources, it might have been possible to duplicate the appearance in a suit. However, it’s worth thinking about whether all of those factors would have been combined in the same place and by the people we know were involved…and why that would have happened. Regardless, it’s always going to be very difficult for photographic evidence to prove the existence of something
  • The PGF is not the only evidence for Bigfoot, and the “case” doesn’t depend on it. There could have been Bigfoot hoaxes (that seems very, very likely) and the PGF could be real. The PGF could be a hoax and Bigfoot could be “real”…it isn’t the be all and end all
  • There is an argument that Patty shows both male and female characteristics, which makes it anatomically unlikely. The obvious female characteristic? The breasts (which often don’t appear in toys and images based on it). The male characteristic? The apparent “sagittal crest”which is a ridge of bone on top of the skull which helps with chewing hard objects (as I understand it). You can see that it’s there on male gorillas and not female gorillas. Patty isn’t claimed to be a gorilla: while sagittal crests do appear more in males than in females in some other species also, it would seem unscientific to declare that an unknown primate species could not have a female with a conical skull…or a male with obvious breasts
  • In 1975, a documentary called Mysterious Monsters, with Peter Graves of Mission:Impossible, was another time many people saw the PGF

These are just a few threads from the past half-century…what will the next half-century bring?

I’m interested in what you think…feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!

My current Amazon giveaway:

Beyond Curie: Four women in physics and their remarkable discoveries 1903 to 1963 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)


  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
    Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Scott Calvin on Amazon

Start:Sep 25, 2017 5:46 AM PDT

End:Oct 25, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Finding Bigfoot Festival in Willow Creek on Saturday: a watershed moment

April 29, 2017

Finding Bigfoot Festival in Willow Creek on Saturday: a watershed moment

Today, Saturday (4/29), there is a Bigfoot festival in Willow Creek, California.

That, in and of itself, isn’t new.

After all, Willow Creek can be considered the Bigfoot capital of the world, and has been the epicenter (how Californian!) since the beginning of the modern era (back in 1958). About 25 miles (40 km) away is Bluff Creek, where the famous 1967 (making this the 50th anniversary year) Patterson-Gimlin movie, the one you’ve probably seen (where a Bigfoot walks away from the camera, swinging its ((widely believed to be her)) arms, and looking back) was filmed.

Today’s event, though, feels to me like it is going to be seen as a turning point…a marker along the road where Bigfoot crossed in front of your car.

My intuition is that it is going to be a great time, and that it will be two eras of Bigfooting coming together in siblingship.

From the early days (note that I’m talking about Bigfoot…a lot of you know that there were reports of hairy bipeds in North America for a very long time before the popularization of the term Bigfoot based on Jerry Crew’s October 1958 reports), Bob Gimlin will be there and they’ll show the movie. Also in Willow Creek will be Loren Coleman (@cryptoloren), the world’s leading cryptozoologist and Director of the International Cryptozoology Museum.

For the modern era (which is not to say that Loren Coleman hasn’t been very much a part of today’s Bigfooting), the cast of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot will be there…and are filming a special episode. It has been reported that this is the series finale for the popular show. Many people have enjoyed Finding Bigfoot for years, even if they weren’t Bigfoot “believers”. Animal Planet is even a sponsor of the event this year.

So, this event brings together the legacy and the present of Bigfooting. They are going to have fun events, including a Bigfoot calling contest. I’m sure I would do well in a contest like that: anybody who has been within a few sections of me at a San Francisco Giants game can attest to my ability to do loud, sustained, controlled, calls. 😉 It’s going to be very family friendly.

Past, present…what about the future?

That’s hard to say. It would surprise me if the Finding Bigfoot cast didn’t continue to be connecting with the community of Bigfooters in some way for many years. However, the idea of anyone doing a non-fiction TV series is becoming less tenable, as content consumption becomes increasingly personal. It will be possible to sustain an investigation into something with a rotating audience of 100 people, rather than needing a million to all watch at the same time. This isn’t really the right article for that speculation, though. 🙂

I seriously debated going today…the issue is that, even though I am in Northern California and so is this event, it would be about a six hour drive…one way. If I had been aware of it months ago, I might have taken days off work around it, so we could bring our dogs and make a trip of it. The Bigfoot Motel (which does say it has dog friendly rooms) is probably booked, so even if we did want to go today and stay overnight, it might be difficult. The event is free, by the way, and includes crowd events, like a parade. It’s just too far to go for twelve hours of driving (I could fly to Maine, where Loren’s museum is, in about the same amount of time).

I wish everybody there a wonderful time! I do think this will be a sort of “Woodstock” of Bigfooting, in the sense that people will talk about having been there decades later. I sincerely hope that Loren Coleman and Bob Gimlin continue to be able to attend future events and be involved for years themselves: I’m not suggesting that this is a farewell appearance, just that it is a coming together in what may be a unique way as the tide turns.

While I can’t be there, I am running an Amazon Giveaway for one of Loren Coleman’s books right now:

Cryptozoology A To Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature by Loren Coleman (at AmazonSmile*)

Note: this is the paperback. For some reason, I couldn’t make the Kindle book for this one public (like I could with some of my other giveaways). I really wanted this one to be public, because the whole goal is to promote Loren Coleman’s medical expense fund GoFundMe campaign. I’ve never met Loren personally, and we have no shared business interests, although we have had some correspondence. I’ve read Loren’s books for decades, and admire how the cryptozoologist/Fortean helps others, including being the Director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Maine (although in so many smaller ways, too). It’s sad to me that someone who has done so much is having trouble dealing with medical expense (due to multiple operations). That doesn’t stop Loren from going to the Bigfoot festival in Willow Creek, California today, but for people who have enjoyed and benefited from Loren’s work, the medical expenses fund is an opportunity to do a thank you. Literally over 300 people entered in about a day (the number now is well over 400), and they’ve all tweeted (as a requirement to entry) a link to the fund’s page. I do not ask people to endorse the fund or to ask other people to contribute (or for them to contribute themselves)…I’m just hoping to raise the profile so people who might want to contribute and don’t know about it get the word.

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
    • Tweet a message


Start:Apr 27, 2017 9:45 AM PDT
End:May 4, 2017 11:59 PM PDT
While I have contributed myself, this seemed like a good way to help. Hopefully, there may also be a way to donate at the Finding Bigfoot Festival, although Loren himself has been low key about this…another thing I admire about him.
Have fun, everybody!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

My other current Amazon Giveaway:


I recently concluded a giveaway for

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

by my sibling, Kris Calvin

and there were ten winners. I’m doing a new one for the same book:

1 winner

Requirements for participation:

  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (you’ll be notified when future books are added to Amazon…I think that’s the only contact you get, although I’m not positive)


Start:Apr 24, 2017 6:06 AM PDT
End:Apr 29, 2017 11:59 PM PD

Going to Loren Coleman’s International Cryptozoology Museum? See my Jenny Haniver

August 7, 2016

Going to Loren Coleman’s International Cryptozoology Museum? See my Jenny Haniver

image1 (1)

I was very pleased recently to donate something I bought in my travels from a street fair and have had for decades. It’s a “Jenny Haniver”, which is a ray or a skate (both are a type of flat fish) which has been altered to look like a humanoid. My understanding is that they are dried, carved, and coated in varnish.

For many years, I have had it sealed in a box with “DO NOT CRUSH” written boldly on the side.

Well, I wanted to support

Loren Coleman‘s

International Cryptozoology Museum

which is moving into a new location.

Not only have I been interested in cryptozoology since I was a kid and borrowed Gardner Soule’s The Maybe Monsters from my school library as I described here:

A book that changed my life: The Maybe Monsters

but Loren has been kind and generous in the few interactions we’ve had. We’ve never met, but we have had some correspondence. I started something called “Weird World” and it turned out Loren had previously used that name. He graciously said that I could use it (I wasn’t a known writer at the time), but I did change it to “Bufo’s Weird World” to avoid confusion.

It’s better that other people get to see the Jenny Haniver, and I trusted that the museum would take reasonable care of it.

So, after asking Loren if they wanted it and getting an affirmative, I took it down to my local UPS store to have it sent to the museum at Thompson’s Point in Portland, Maine.

They needed to see what they were shipping (not an unreasonable request), and I had quite a conversation with the clerk. I proudly described it as a “museum specimen”, and explained the origin and destination.

They packed it up securely and it arrived safely.

You can see it in the picture at the top of this post, which I presume was taken by Loren, and he granted me permission to share it with you.

The one which I donated is the upper Jenny, fully lit.

I was pleased with the “neighbors”: a Jackalope, a fur-bearing trout, and a poster for Albert Koch’s Hydrarchos. None of those are really cryptozoology, the way that I would use the term, but that’s an important mission of the museum: to educate the public. That’s not only about cryptozoology, but about the popular culture impact of it.

What is cryptozoology to me?

It requires that there first be reports (which includes local knowledge) of an animal apparently unknown to science, which is then investigated.

For me, the discovery of a previously unreported species (and there are many of those each year) is not cryptozoology…but it has a bearing on it by showing that there are undiscovered species (which you would think would be common sense, but…some people think we already know everything. As  far back as 1812, Baron Cuvier thought there were no large animals left to be discovered).

Similarly, “creative taxidermy” has a bearing (fur-bearing, in the case of the trout) 😉 on the topic.

Here’s an enlargement of the picture above:

Jenny Hanniver

As you can see, it looks like it has two legs, a tail, and wings. Even though the “face” is clear, the anatomical features are not what they appear to be. I’m impressed with the art of making it, even though I would not want to encourage the production of them.

If  you do get to the museum, say, “Hi!” to Jenny for me. 😉

You may not have a specimen to donate, but you may want to support the ICM in other ways. Information is available on their site, and you could set them as your non-profit (the museum is a recognized as a 501(c)3 non-profit by the IRS, so donations are generally tax deductible, although you always want to confirm that for your specific situation) at (Amazon is making the donation in that case and gets the write-off). When you do that, Amazon donates half a percent of eligible purchases, at no cost to you.

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

The Geeky Seventies

June 9, 2015

The Geeky Seventies

CNN is following up their successful series on the 1960s with one on the 1970s:

Tom Hanks is an Executive Producer.

The existence of this series is kind of funny to me. I did a comedy bit years ago on our community access TV show (Freedom from Fear) called “In Search of the Seventies”. I treated it as a mystery as to whether or not the Seventies even (culturally) existed. I asked if they were really just “…the end of the Sixties and the start of the Eighties”.

I think that’s because I was too close to it. I was really engaging in pop culture in the Seventies…well, often culture that wasn’t so popular, but you know what I mean. 😉 I didn’t have the distance from it and maturity to recognize what was special about it.

Certainly, I thought the 1960s had a unique culture…with the Beatles in part driving the bus.

As to the 1980s, well, New Wave music seemed to stand out to me.

The 1970s? At that time, I wasn’t seeing what made it special.

Now I do. 🙂

This post is going to give you an overview of geek-friendly culture in the 1970s.

It was definitely a transformative decade…even if the Transformers didn’t arrive until the 1980s. 😉

Geek culture moved mainstream in very big ways. Predominantly, there was Star Wars, which made space opera a blockbuster, but we could also look at The Exorcist for horror, and Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice) for vampires.

We saw the arrival of Stephen King as a novelist, and the publication of Dungeons and Dragons.

Home video technology meant that people could easily watch movies after they were out of theatres…decades after, in some cases. Prior to that, some of us had three-minute long Super 8 movies, and the real hobbyists might have 16mm reels, but the Betamax and others meant our cinematic history (including the geeky part) was much more accessible.

Star Trek: the Original Series was canceled in 1969…but the fandom continued. That led to the first Star Trek convention in the 1970s. Science fiction conventions went back to 1939, but this was different.

Batman in the 1960s might have made superheroes a hit on TV, but Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk were part of the 1970s scene.

The Weird World interested a lot more people…the In Search Of TV series was only one part of that, but was many viewers’ first exposure to some of these topics.

Let’s look at some of the highlights in different areas:


How times have changed!

When you look at the top ten US grossing movies released in the 1960s, arguably only two are geek-friendly (GF) and not specifically intended for the family/children’s market:

  1. The Sound of Music
  2. 101 Dalmations
  3. The Jungle Book
  4. Doctor Zhivago
  5. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  6. Mary Poppins
  7. My Fair Lady
  8. Thunderball (GF)
  9. Cleopatra
  10. 2001: A Space Odyssey (GF)

By the end of the 1970s, that picture had entirely changed, and would look more like our box office today:

  1. Star Wars (GF)
  2. Jaws (GF)
  3. The Sting
  4. Animal House
  5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (eventually) GF
  6. The Godfather
  7. Superman (GF)
  8. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (GF)
  9. Smokey and the Bandit
  10. Blazing Saddles

The Exorcist (1973) brought straight up horror to blockbuster status and mainstream acceptance (along with a lot of protests).

In 1975, Steven Spielberg changed the summer. Up to that point, it had largely been a season of cheapo exploitation movies. People actually went outside (including drive-ins), not to the movies. Jaws reshaped all that, giving us the summer blockbuster season. There have been heated debates about whether or not Jaws is a fantasy (are we supposed to believe the shark is just a shark, or something more?), but it was clearly a monster movie.

Then in 1977, Star Wars changed it all.

While those movies were all big hits, there were a lot of other significant geek movies. Undeniably, we have to count the Rocky Horror Picture Show as establishing midnight movies and a special kind of cult film. It flopped when it came out, but then got a new life in a new way. He’s the hero…that’s right, the hero. 😉

Here are some other stand-outs:

  • Alien (1979)
  • A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  • Mad Max (1979)
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  • Carrie (1976)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  • Halloween (1978)
  • Young Frankenstein (1974)
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • The Omen (1976)
  • King Kong (1976)
  • Eraserhead (1977)
  • Solaris (1972)
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
  • Logan’s Run (1979)
  • The Wicker Man (1973)
  • Live and Let Die (1973) (the first Roger Moore James Bond)
  • Soylent Green (1973)
  • Enter the Dragon (193)
  • The Amityville Horror (1979)
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  • Zardoz (1974)
  • The Wiz (1978)
  • Westworld (1973)
  • Four of the original Planet of the Apes movies
  • A Boy and His Dog (1975)
  • Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
  • Tommy (1975)
  • The Lord of the Rings (1978) (Ralph Bakshi)
  • Escape to Witch Mountain (1975)
  • The Andromeda Strain (1971)
  • Phantasm (1979)
  • The Sentinel (1977)
  • Suspiria (1977)
  • Death Race 2000 (1975)
  • Rollerball (1975)
  • The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
  • The Omega Man (1971)
  • Tales from the Crypt (1972)
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
  • Freaky Friday (1976)
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
  • The Car (1977)
  • The Muppet Movie (1979)
  • The  Stepford Wives (1975)
  • Dark Star (1974)
  • Eraserhead (1977)


Sure, the 1960s had been huge for high concept TV (with 1964 particularly important), but the 1970s built on that with many geek-friendly hits. Batman on TV had burned out by 1970, but opened the field for other superheroes (DC, Marvel, and bionic). Star Wars and James Bond were both big in movie theatres, and we saw their effect on the small screen as well. Home video arrived, which began to give us more options (although cable wouldn’t be a factor until the 1980s). Saturday morning got trippy with the Kroffts (although H.R. Pufnstuf debuted in 1969), and saw the return of Star Trek with the original cast…in animated form.

Some geek-friendly series:

  • Wonder Woman
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Saturday Night Live (Coneheads! Land Shark!)
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Fantasy Island
  • Mork & Mindy
  • Land of the Lost
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
  • Kung Fu
  • Space: 1999
  • The Six Million Dollar Man
  • The Bionic Woman
  • The Muppet Show
  • The Tomorrow People
  • Isis
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker
  • Blakes 7
  • The Amazing Spier-Man
  • Nanny and the Professor
  • Shazam!
  • Tales of the Unexpected
  • SCTV
  • Paddington Bear
  • The New Avengers
  • Schoolhouse Rock!
  • Super Friends
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series
  • Man from Atlantis
  • Return to the Planet of the Apes
  • Sigmund and the Sea Monsters
  • Sapphire & Steel
  • Star Blazers
  • The Prisoner
  • Quark
  • Josie and the Pussycats
  • The Invisible Man (David McCallum)
  • Electra Woman and Dyna Girl
  • Doctor Who in the United States
  • Monty Python in the United States


I’ve gone into depth on the general topic of literature of the 1970s in another blog of mine:

I Love My Kindle: Books in the 1970s

In terms of geek-friendly, it was a huge decade! Just as movies saw the mainstreaming of geek-friendly genres, bookstores saw bestsellers from a new author named Stephen King, and a vampire hit (Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice).

While geek-specific bookstores (and comic book stores) were crucial, you could walk into a the newly national Barnes & Noble chain and get a variety of science fiction/fantasy/supernatural horror. You wanted military SF? You had Joe Haldeman. Light fantasy? Enter Xanth by Piers Anthony. Social science fiction? The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner. Ringworld…Riverworld…we weren’t only reaching out to new planets, we were visiting new worlds and universes.

Here are some of the stand-out titles and authors:

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
  • The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny
  • Gateway by Frederick Pohl
  • Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer
  • Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven
  • The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
  • Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  • Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan
  • Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
  • The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner
  • Altered States by Paddy Chayefsky
  • Autumn Angels by Arthur Byron Cover
  • The Cave of Time (Choose Your Own Adventure) by Edward Packard


1974 saw the release of Dungeons & Dragons…and we had Advanced D&D by the end of the decade. This was really the decade that saw the RPG (Role-Playing Game) world established, and would include Runequest and Traveller.


Star Trek:  The Original Series ended in 1969, but the people who had come together to fight for a third season kept at it. That included the first Star Trek convention (well, the first widely available to the public one in 1972), the return of the original cast for the animated series, and eventually, 1979, to the big screen.


Again, there was a transition happening, with some significant experimentation.

  • Jack Kirby jumped from Marvel to DC, and introduced Darkseid
  • The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide first appeared
  • Green Lantern and Green Arrow take a philosophical walk-about across America
  • Mister Miracle debuts
  • An arc in Spider-Man features drug use, and defies the Comics Code Authority
  • Ra’s Al Ghul first appears
  • The Kree-Skrull War storyline
  • The Sandman
  • War Machine makes his first appearance
  • Wonder Woman gives up her powers

The Weird World

  • The TV series In Search of… (hosted by Leonard Nimoy) was instrumental in reinteresting people in the Roswell Incident
  • 1973 was dubbed “The Year of the Humanoids” by UFO researcher David Webb…one of the most famous was the Pascagoula incident
  • Uri Geller was famous, even appearing on the Tonight Show in 1973 to “bend spoons”
  • Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain by Lynn Schroeder and Sheila Ostrander was published in 1970
  • The Mysterious Monsters was a Sunn Classics documentary, featuring Peter Graves
  • The Legend of Boggy Creek was released in 1972
  • The Unidentified, published in 1975, by Loren Coleman & Jerome Clark, is Coleman’s first “name on the cover” book
  • John A. Keel’s inimitable The Mothman Prophecies was published in 1975
  • Momo, the Missouri Monster, was just one of many hairy bipeds
  • Newsstands had magazines galore, including Ancient Astronauts
  • The “flipper photo” of the Loch Ness Monster was taken in 1972 by Dr. Robert Rines’ team
  • In 1975, Travis Walton is missing for several days, and a report emerges of an abduction by aliens


Listening to LPs was definitely a 1970s thing, and there were some definitely geeky concept albums.

  • 1972: David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  • 1973: Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells
  • 1978: Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds
  • 1978: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!


  • Home computers became a thing in 1977, with the Apple II, the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor), and the TRS-80 (Tandy Radio Shack)
  • Skylab launched in 1973…and docked with the Russian Soyuz in 1975
  • The Atari 2600 was released in 1977
  • The first Pong arcade game was put to use in 1972. Arcade games would really take off with Space Invaders in 1978

There’s a bit of the geeky 1970s for you! We certainly didn’t cover everything, but you can see the big shift from geek culture being kids and niche to becoming the mainstream pop culture force that it is today. Want to add something? Feel free to comment on this post.

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The Weird Old Days: Possible Sea-Serpents, June 18, 1905

August 28, 2013

The Weird Old Days: Possible Sea-Serpents, June 18, 1905

The Weird Old Days is a special series of posts in The Measured Circle which reproduces articles from public domain sources.  They give us an insight into how people in earlier days saw the world, and in particular, that world on which we are not all agreed. In each case, the material may have been reformatted to be easier to read on the internet (for example, spacing between paragraphs may have been added), but every effort is made to keep the words as they originally were.

Introduction to this article
by Bufo Calvin

In the 21st Century, most people dismiss the idea that sea-serpents ever existed, and indeed, that they were taken seriously any time after Columbus’ voyage or so.

As you will see in this article from 1905, that was not the case, on into the 20th Century.

In 1892, the Encyclopaedia Britannica had included a serious article on sea-serpents, and in 1905, there was the famous sighting reported by those on board the Valhalla off Brazil. However, that sighting reportedly took place on December 7th, more than five months after this article was published.

I’m not sure what, if anything specific, prompted this article. There was a short released in 1905 called The Real Sea Serpents, but I don’t have a specific release date. I’m not aware of a particular book that might have been in the public consciousness that year.

I did find a sighting published on January 26 of 1905, but that was in a New Zealand paper (

The fact that I don’t see anything obvious is testimony to how much people were thinking about sea-serpents in 1905…there may not have needed to be a particular event to justify the article.

Possible Sea-Serpents 19050618

POSSIBLE SEA-SERPENTS Prehistoric Monsters That May Not Be Extinct

By Frederic A. Lucas
Director of the Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts & Sciences
Evening Star, Washington, D.C., June 18, 1905

NOTHING is easier than to deny a thing. There are plenty of people who pooh-pooh the sea serpent, asserting point-blank that no such animal exists. I will not say that they are wrong; but it certainly seems to me not unlikely that they may be mistaken; for undeniably a far greater mass of sworn testimony in the creature’s behalf has been placed on record than would be necessary to prove any ordinary case in a court of law. Let us give the sea-serpent the fair chance it deserves, rendering judgment on the evidence just as if any other question was under consideration.

It is not necessary to prove that the creature is a serpent. In my opinion, if it exists, it almost certainly is not a snake, and probably not a reptile at all. Supposing that there is such an animal, it may be a gigantic fish of peculiar form, as yet unknown to science; it may be a mammal, or it may be even a mollusk. These various possibilities I presently shall have an opportunity to discuss.

Meanwhile let us consider the question whether there is any known animal that corresponds to the familiar descriptions of the sea-serpent – descriptions which, it must be admitted, agree to a surprising extent. The reply must be a negative, as far as any creature now recognized as surviving is concerned. But on the other hand, there is one animal, supposed to be extinct but possibly not so, which, if it still lives, would answer to all important specifications in the case. I refer to the zeuglodon. We have excellent reasons for believing that the zeuglodon, a mammal related to the modern tribe of seals, ceased to exist before the close of the early Tertiary, to which period it belonged; but we can not be perfectly sure.

It is hardly necessary to say that the sea-serpent, if it exists, is to be recognized not as a single individual, beheld from time to time as it travels through various seas, but as a gigantic marine species, possibly not uncommon in the depths of the ocean, though rarely seen at the surface. The creature, according to popular tradition, is seventy feet or more in length; it has an enormously long tail; its head (four or five feet long, perhaps) is small in proportion to its vast bulk, and owing to the peculiar structure of the neck is reared easily to a considerable height above the water.

This description corresponds perfectly to that of the zeuglodon, whose bones are found to-day scattered along our southern coasts, in Alabama and elsewhere. In its day it was a numerous species, inhabiting the marine shallows. Undoubtedly it was exceedingly predatory and ferocious. It possessed two powerful flippers in front, for use in swimming (many a sea-serpent is credited with such flippers, by the way), and along its neck were arranged in pairs a number of large, bony, scale like plates.


It is not necessary to go back into the geologic past, however, in order to find an animal which, making due allowance for errors of human observation, may be regarded as presenting a fair likeness to the traditional sea-serpent. Such a creature now lives – the calamary, or giant squid. It is a mollusk, related to the common cuttlefishes, and while rare and little known, is certainly one of the largest and most formidable of existing creatures. A full-grown specimen has eyes a foot in diameter – the largest eyes probably that ever belonged to an animal, unless the ichthyosaur be excepted – and in addition to eight shorter arms it possesses two mighty tentacles sixty to eighty feet in length, with which to grasp its prey. The poor fisherman of the Indian Ocean greatly dreads this monster. Such squids are comparatively plentiful in those seas, and he never knows at what moment he may see two huge greenish eyes, bigger than dinner plates, goggling greedily at him over the gunwale of his boat – a warning that presently a frightful snake like arm, provided with powerful suckers for clinging, will be thrown about him, dragging him overboard and into the depths, to be devoured at leisure.

Most appropriate it will be at this point to tell the story of the bark Pauline, returning home from the Indian seas in 1875. Her mate and crew made oath before a magistrate in a police court of Liverpool to the effect that on July 8 of that year, in latitude five degrees and thirteen minutes south and longitude thirty-five degrees west, they had observed three large sperm-whales, one of which was wrapped around the body by two turns of what appeared to be a huge serpent. The head and tail of the serpent seemed to have a length beyond the coils of about thirty feet. It whirled the whale round and round for fifteen minutes, and then suddenly dragged the unfortunate cetacean head first to the bottom.


Now, if such testimony, given by a number of individuals who signed their names to the affidavit, was offered in behalf of anything else than a sea serpent, it would be accepted pretty generally as worthy of belief. It seems altogether probable that the mariners at least thought that they were telling the truth, and it must be admitted that a sailor knows a whale when he sees one. As for the party of the other part, the description one would think could apply only to a calamary, which, if this theory be correct, must have been engaged in a fight with the cetacean. The squid must have been a huge one, but no larger necessarily than the specimen to which belonged a fragment of a tentacle picked rip on the northwest coast by Dr. Dall of the Smithsonian Institution. From the size of the cup-like suckers on the fragment, it was reckoned that the entire tentacle hardly could have been less than eighty feet in length.

Like the common squid, whose skeleton furnishes a substance for canary-birds to sharpen their bills upon, the huge calamary swims backward, dragging its tentacles behind, accomplishing locomotion by forcing water out through a sort of siphon, and sometimes erecting its tail (provided with horizontal rudder-like flanges) a considerable distance above the surface of the sea. If seen under such circumstances, the tail almost inevitably would be mistaken for a head, while the enormously long arms trailing sinuously behind would appear to represent a snaky tail. Make allowance for a little imagination on the part of the observer, and you have the sea-serpent, to all intents and purposes, complete.

Here then, we have an entirely possible sea serpent, approximately equal in size to the monster of which we have heard so much, corresponding in most important respects to the creature reported by so many fairly reliable witnesses, and which has the great advantage of being an animal actually known to exist at the present time. The mere fact that it is a mollusk instead of a reptile, and that its head may have been mistaken for its tail, does not militate against its acceptability as a realisation in fact of the quasi-fabulous haunter of the mysterious depths of the ocean. It already has been proved beyond doubt that the giant squid is the original of the fabled kraken, famed in Norwegian legends, of which more marvelous stories are told than ever were related in regard to the sea-serpent.

The most authentic evidence on record in behalf of the sea-serpent was given by the officers and crew of the British ship Daedalus, and was transmitted to the British Admiralty in the form of a report by the commanding officer, Captain McQuhae, in 1848. He stated that on August 6 of that year, in latitude twenty four degrees and forty-four minutes south, and longitude nine degrees and twenty-two minutes east, one of his midshipmen, Mr. Sartoris, saw ” something very unusual ” rapidly approaching the vessel. He “reported it to the officer of the watch. Lieutenant Drummond, with whom and Mr. William Barrett, the master, I was walking the quarter-deck. On our attention being called to the object, it was discovered to be an enormous serpent, with head and shoulders kept constantly about four feet above the surface of the sea, while, as nearly as we could approximate, there was at least sixty feet of the animal visible beyond. It passed so close under our lee quarter that had it been a man of my acquaintance I should easily have recognized his features with the naked eye. It held on its course at twelve to fifteen miles an hour, apparently on some determined purpose. Behind the head, which was without any doubt that of a snake, it was fifteen or sixteen inches in diameter. Never, during the twenty minutes it continued in sight of our glasses, was it once below the surface of the water. In color it was dark-brown, but yellowish-white about the throat. It had no fins, but something like the mane of a horse. The monster was seen by the quartermaster, the boatswain’s mate and the man at the wheel, in addition to myself and the officers above-mentioned.”

This, it must be admitted, is testimony which cannot be explained away or cast aside as of no importance. We cannot attribute it to illusion, to ignorance, or to wilful deception. A British naval officer does not go out of his way to invent a lying report for the entertainment of the Admiralty, and it will be noticed that Captain McQuhae took good care to back up his statement with the evidence of a number of his officers and men, who also signed the document.


Leaving aside the question as to what sort of animal this actually was, and admitting that it must have been a monster of some kind not familiar nor easily identified, the fact is worth mentioning that two months and a half later, on September 20 the officers and crew of the American brig Daphne, in latitude four degrees and eleven minutes south, and longitude ten degrees and fifteen minutes east, beheld an extraordinary creature, which seems to have resembled in all important respects the one seen by the mariners of the Daedalus. One of the deck guns was brought to bear upon it, charged with spikes, nails and whatever other pieces of iron could be got at the moment, and was fired at a distance of about forty yards. It “immediately reared its head in the air and plunged violently with its body, showing that the shot had taken effect.” The Daphne then stood toward the brute, which was “foaming and lashing the water at a fearful rate.” However, as the brig approached, it made off at a rate of fifteen or sixteen knots an hour. Its length was estimated at one hundred feet.

We have mentioned a possible mammal and a not unlikely mollusk as corresponding with reasonable accuracy to the description of the conventional sea-serpent. But may it not be a fish? Dr. Theodore Gill, one of the most famous of living naturalists, while not himself an advocate of the sea-serpent, suggests that possibly the actual original of the monster may be a “giant selachian related to the basking-shark, with an elongated snake-like or eel-like body, a dorsal fin close to the head, and a snaky tail.”

Recently some remarkable sharks of eel-like form have been discovered by science- dwellers in the depths of the sea, which for that reason have remained unknown hitherto. Such a fish, of extremely large size, swimming at the surface of the ocean, easily might be mistaken for a gigantic serpent. Some animal there must surely be that is accountable for those descriptions of the monster which, when sifted out of the mass of mariners’ yarns and newspaper fairy-tales, bear the marks of truth. Goode and Bean, in their authoritative work on marine ichthyology, say. “It cannot be doubted that somewhere in the depths of the seas are living certain animals, unknown to science and of great size, which come occasionally to the surface, and give foundation to such stories as those of the sea-serpent.”

One more anecdote I may relate, of the steamship Nestor, Captain John K. Webster, which, on September 11, 1876, was voyaging through the Malacca Straits, when her commander and the surgeon of the vessel, James Anderson, saw an object which had been pointed out by the third officer as a shoal. The weather was fine and the sea smooth. It was found, on further inspection, that the supposed shoal was in motion, keeping the same speed as the ship. It had somewhat the shape of a gigantic frog. The head, pale yellowish in color, was twenty feet long, and was directly connected, without visible neck, with the body, which was forty or fifty feet in length. Behind was discernible an immensely long tail, cylindrical in shape and slightly tapering. Apparently the creature possessed no fins or paddles. This, allowing for some exaggeration in point of size, may have been a calamary, swimming with its tail elevated above the surface of the water.

As suggested by Goode and Bean, however, in trying to identify the real sea-serpent, one is not restricted to the consideration of animals already known to exist. In the depths of the ocean, from three to six miles below the surface, in a region of perpetual cold, where the blackness of an everlasting night is illumined only by the lights of torch bearing fishes and other phosphorescent creatures, there are innumerable “monsters and chimeras dire” unknown to science. Occasionally one of them is found floating on the sea, dying or dead, and from time to time an interesting and unfamiliar specimen is captured by a trawl-net lowered into the marine abysses by a vessel sent out for purposes of zoological research and investigation.

Unfortunately, no appliance has been invented that is suitable for the capture of the larger creatures that inhabit the depths of the sea. They are too swift, too wary and too cunning to be taken by slow-moving nets, even if the latter could be made big enough to entrap them. If a balloon was to pass over New-York city with a suspended net, how many men would it catch? The situation of the dredging vessel, which floats from two to five miles above the aqueous field of exploration, is pretty much the same. Supposing that the people in the balloon were making their trip in the darkest of moonless nights, and were obliged to depend wholly upon what their nets brought up for their notion of the species of animals inhabiting the metropolis, they would be in much the same circumstances as scientists who fish for abyssmal forms.

For all that anybody can tell to the contrary, the depths of ocean at the present day may afford retreats to monsters of species supposed to be long extinct, but which still survive from remote geologic epochs. Who can say with certainty that the ferocious ichthyosaur, or that other huge fish-eating lizard, the plesiosaur, may not lurk even now in the dark unfathomed caves of the sea?

In this connection I shall tell one more story, of a British vessel, the Fly, which a few years ago chanced to be becalmed in the Gulf of California in twelve fathoms of remarkably clear water. While thus stationary, the Captain, who made formal report of the incident, saw crawling over the bottom an extraordinary lizard-like animal, about twenty-five feet in length, which appeared “like a gigantic snake threaded through the body of a tortoise.” Its neck was long and its tail rather short, and it had four paddles like the flippers of a turtle. In brief, the description answered in every detail to that of a plesiosaur. It was certainly remarkable, and inasmuch as the skipper was not likely even to have heard of such a reptile as the plesiosaur, the details given were amazingly accurate.

The plesiosaur cannot be assumed to be extinct, merely on account of its age, inasmuch as other animals dating back to an equally ancient geologic epoch, such as the sharks, still survive. On the other hand, there is no more reason for admitting the survival of this particular reptile than for granting a similar extension of life to the mosasaur and other gigantic marine lizards of the Cretaceous. The mosasaur, of which no fewer than ten species are known to have inhabited this part of the world (remains of six of the ten having been found in New-Jersey), attained a length of forty feet. It had a long tail and one pair of paddles in front; its head was flat and pointed; and its lower jaw was provided with an attachment of cartilage by which the animal was enabled to open its mouth to an enormous extent, in the same manner as a modern snake. But some of its not distant relatives, particularly the elasmosaur, were even more snake-like, and, did they still survive, might answer well to popular descriptions of the sea-serpent.

Assuming, however, as seems reason able, that the real sea-serpent, if it exists, is neither an ancient lizard nor any other creature surviving from a remote geologic epoch, we must suppose (unless we reject the monster outright, together with an immense mass of testimony in its behalf, much of which seems reliable enough) that the giant squid is the veritable original, or else that there dwells in the depths of the ocean a species of animal unknown to science, rarely seen at the surface, in size equal to or surpassing the largest whales, of an elongated and snake-like form, and corresponding in other respects, at least in a general way, to the accepted portrait of the marine mystery which holds so equivocal a status, half-way between fact and fiction.

In the tropical seas that wash the southern coasts of Asia, particularly in the neighborhood of the East Indian Archipelago, veritable sea-serpents are found in such enormous numbers that sometimes the water for miles in every direction seems to be literally alive with them. They are of several species, some of them reaching a length of eight feet, though ordinarily they do not exceed three feet, and are so extremely venomous that fishermen, who occasion ally catch them in their nets, are much afraid of them. Indeed, their venom closely resembles that of the cobra, which is the most deadly of land snakes, and appears to act in the same way, causing the death of the person bitten by suffocation. A man has been known to die in five hours from a bite by one of them.

These sea-snakes are variously marked, some of them being striped and brilliantly colored. They have flattened tails for swimming, and in calm weather spend most of their time floating on the surface. When disturbed they dive, and if caught they strike at everything in sight with the utmost ferocity, sometimes driving their fangs into their own flesh. But owing to the peculiar structure of their eyes, they do not see nearly so well out of the water as in it. They feed on fishes, which they kill with their venom, and never leave the water except to lay their eggs, fifteen to twenty-five in number, which they deposit on sandy beaches.

In conclusion, I would say that I am by no means the sea-serpent’s advocate. I do not assert that such a creature lives. All that I mean to convey by this plea in its behalf is a suggestion to the effect that the evidence for its existence, while falling far short of proof, is worthy of serious consideration. In fact, I will go so far as to admit that, in view of all the testimony adduced, I incline rather to belief than to disbelief in the monster, which, be it reptile, mammal, fish or mollusk, is undeniably the most interesting of zoological puzzles.


A note on preparing the text for this post: this article came from the U.S. Library of Congress


and is part of their Chronicling America program. They do have OTC (Optical Character Recognition) which converts the image which is originally seen into text, but there were a number of errors in that process (as is commonly the case). I made corrections by comparing the OCR text result with the original image. This takes some time, as you can imagine, and it is possible I have missed something.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

On the Circumference #3: 3-D scanning, Batfleck

August 25, 2013

On the Circumference #3: 3-D scanning, Batfleck

The On the Circumference posts contain short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Recent passings

We were sorry to hear of the passing of these contributors to geek-friendly movies and TV:

  • Karen Black, August 8 : we had written on March 25 about Karen Black crowdfunding her cancer treatment. At the time, I noted how impactful Trilogy of Terror had been, and that was only one of her geek-friendly credits
  • Dennis Farina, July 22: Farina was deservedly cited for his work on Law & Order in mainstream obituaries. For geeks, he is also known for having voiced Wildcat (Ted Grant), a Silver Age costumed hero who appeared twice in the animated Justice League series
  • Richard Griffiths, March 28:  Griffiths was one of our 2011 Box Office MVPs for his work in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Hugo, but may be best known to geeks as Uncle Vernon Dudsley from the Harry Potter movies
  • Haji, August 9: A star of Russ Meyers’ Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Haji also appeared in Robert Slatzer’s Bigfoot versus bikers movie (called simply Bigfoot) opposite John Carradine, Wham! Bam! Thank you, Spaceman, and the Double-D Avenger
  • Gilbert Taylor, August 23: Some of the most visually stunning geek movies have Gilbert Taylor to thank for the cinematography: Star Wars; The Omen; and Flash Gordon (1980) (among others). Taylor had also worked on several episodes of the  John Steed The Avengers

Ben Affleck cast as Batman

There has been a lot of controversy about the recent casting of Ben Affleck as Batman for the 2015 Batman vs. Superman movie.

Joss Whedon and others have made statements in support of the choice (Hollywood Reporter article by Sophie Shillaci), while some fans have started petitions and social media campaigns against the choice.

Personally, I’m not happy about the decision, but I wish the production success with it.

My concern is that it is difficult (but not impossible) for a celebrity to successfully play a superhero. After all, superheroes are already celebrities…we know their strengths and their weaknesses, their social habits, and all about their love lives (if any). I think Ben Affleck is a good actor (and a great director, by the way), and can probably craft a good enough performance as Batman/Bruce Wayne. I just think that you can’t help but see Ben Affleck, and that’s going to overlay our perceptions of the character.

Think about the most culturally impactful portrayals of superheroes. Quick, what was Hugh Jackman doing before Wolverine? Christopher Reeve? Adam West, for that matter?

They were all actors, with screen credits…but they weren’t really celebrities. The average person didn’t walk into the theatre feeling like they knew all about them.

One could present a couple of counter arguments. Michael Keaton was on the A-List (with a recent big hit starring in Beetlejuice) when he first donned the cowl. However, while the Tim Burton movie really did reboot the character, was Keaton’s portrayal embraced by the fans? How often do you see Keaton Batman cosplay at a convention?

Now, there is no denying that Robert Downey, Jr. was a tabloid figure before Iron Man. I’ll give you that one, even if it was a big turning point in his career. I think one reason for that is that the Tony Stark character was not that far from the Downey mythos. That wasn’t a big case of cognitive dissonance.

Do we think of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman like? I’d say we don’t…I certainly don’t think of him as an upper class sophisticate.

I also understand the feeling that Ben Affleck had a chance at playing a superhero (Daredevil), and that wasn’t the most successful one for Marvel. Other actors have played more than one superhero, but it’s as rare and hard to do as playing two professional sports at the highest level.

I would rather have seen an unknown or little-known in the part, but I’ll hope for the best.

Did anyone check with Andre Delambre on this one? 😉

Okay, one of the high-tech innovations I haven’t used (or even seen in person) yet is a 3-D printer.

It still sounds to me like the replicator, or in some ideas of how they worked, the transporter. The latter is usually thought of as actually beaming the component parts (physically transporting something), but there is a pattern of the person stored, and they can be “reconstructed” from that. Another idea (things weren’t all that well explained in the beginning) is that the object was disassembled to determine its make-up, and then the pattern was used to create a replica in a distant location from locally available materials.

In reality, I think the 3-D printer works more like the Creepy Crawlers Thingmaker. The material out of which the shape is made doesn’t have to have any special similarities to the material of the original (that’s why, as Makerbot helpfully explains, you can’t print a 3-D hamburger and then eat it).

However, it is still somewhat mind-blowing. 😉

The next thing from Makerbot is the


being released in mid-October.

You’ll be able to scan an object, and then 3-D print it.

It certainly appears to me that I could scan it in Los Angeles and have somebody print it in New York.

Not only that, they cheerfully tell you that you can alter the pattern: scan a garden gnome, and add a hat or more beard, for example.

They also explain that it isn’t designed to scan and reproduce living things…

What’s the opposite of cryptozoology?

The “discovery” of the olinguito recently got a great deal of coverage, some of it a bit…well, inexact, perhaps.

It’s a cute little mammal…sort of looks like a kinkajou, but only a couple of pounds…perhaps a quarter of the weight of your small housecat!

This, however, isn’t like traditional cryptozoology. There weren’t a lot of reports of it and no specimens…there were specimens with no reports. Those are specimens in museums, and even a living one that was shipped from zoo to zoo because it didn’t get along with the “other olingos”…when it wasn’t one.

It took someone noticing that the remains in museums weren’t actually from an olingo to get the ball rolling.

Loren Coleman article

This is not the first time an animal has been discovered in a museum.

For example, something similar happened with the bonobo, a species of great ape that had been misidentified as a small chimpanzee. In reality, chimps and bonobos behavior is pretty different…with the very active and…let’s call it flexible sex lives of the latter being commonly referenced.

Because humans have proven to be such reliable decision makers…

This article by Troy Moon

has a great video and accompanying text about the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition having received a humanoid robot (an “Atlas” model) since they won a contest…no, they didn’t have to send in boxtops. 😉

They are going to compete, in December 2014, in a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) test that puts humanoid robots into real life situations.

I have to say, Atlas reminds me a bit of Tobor the Great…I think it’s the general bulkiness. However, I do think Atlas looks cooler, with some sort of Whovian-looking panel on the chest.

In the video, they make a point that they don’t do artificial intelligence, which I think is supposed to be reassuring (this is a big, powerful robot). I think I’d be more comfortable with something that feels it has a personal stake in its interactions (as opposed to something that can be very low risk for its controller), but that might just be me. 😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle

Bigfoot DNA reportedly sequenced

November 26, 2012

Bigfoot DNA reportedly sequenced

In this

press release

a group at DNA Diagnostics, Inc., reportedly led by Dr. Melba S. Ketchum, reports having sequenced “20 whole mitochondrial nuclear genomes” from reported Bigfoot samples.

Astonishingly, they say that the information is being peer-reviewed, and that it shows that the hair that was analyzed comes from a human/hominin hybrid species.

The press release says:

Genetically, the Sasquatch are a human hybrid with unambiguously modern human maternal ancestry. Government at all levels must recognize them as an indigenous people and immediately protect their human and Constitutional rights against those who would see in their physical and cultural differences a ‘license’ to hunt, trap, or kill them.”

Needless to say, this is an extraordinary claim.

It will be interesting to see what develops with this story going forward. I would guess it won’t be too long until we get opinions about what is being presented.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

Spike TV offers $10 million for proof of Bigfoot

October 25, 2012

Spike TV offers $10 million for proof of Bigfoot

Spike TV announces in this

press release

that they are doing a reality series in which different teams will attempt to prove that Bigfoot exists. If a team succeeds, they will be awarded $10 million (that’s where Lloyd’s of London comes into the deal).

This “largest cash prize in television history” is probably a pretty good bet on Spike’s part. If a team does succeed, you could work a whole more than $10 million out of it.

This is the show website:

My impression here is that it may still be possible for you to become involved. They’ve ordered eight episodes (presumably, if the first team succeeds, that one would be broadcast last). 🙂

The show is produced by Charlie Corwin’s Original Media:

which has some solid credentials (Miami Ink, Comic Book Men, Swamp People).  I would contact them:

New York
175 Varick Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10014
212 683 3086

Los Angeles
933 N. La Brea Ave, Ste 400
Los Angeles, CA 90038
323 850 7809

Jon Kroll of The Amazing Race is also an Executive Producer. You could try contacting him:

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

My take on…Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America

September 3, 2012

My take on…Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America

Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America
by Scott Francis
published by How
original publication: 2007
size: 3420KB (256 pages)
categories: encyclopedias; mythology and folklore; unexplained mysteries
lending: enabled
simultaneous device licenses: six
part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: yes
text-to-speech: yes
real page numbers: yes
x-ray: no

“…my wife and I decided to take a leisurely drive around scenic Lake Leelanau … it was our vacation after all. We found a few interesting things: a swampy looking outlet of the lake near where the original sightings were described, a bowl of delicious white fish chowder at a local restaurant known as the Bluebird, a crazy looking old silo decorated as the tower of Rapunzel, and a very suspicious looking log. Did we ever find the monster? Well … that’s not really the point of Monster Spotting. It’s really about enjoying the search.”
–Scott Francis

Books about reports of unknown animals can go a lot of different ways. They can be scientific, skeptical, paranormal, personal investigations…being particularly interested in cryptozoology, I’ve enjoyed all the different approaches.

Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America is largely what is called a “seed catalog”. There are standardized questions (Characteristics, Size, Habitat, Appetite, and Precautions), and then a brief narrative and, typically, a cartoon-like illustration.

The book is divided into areas of the USA, and does cover Mexico and Canada.

The “creatures” include both ones that might possibly have a zoological explanation, and folklore animals, like the wampus cat. Each entry is categorized as

  • Sasquatch and Hairy Monsters
  • Flying Monsters
  • Ocean, Lake and River Monsters
  • Folklore Monsters
  • UFO-Related Monsters
  • Reptilian Humanoids
  • Phantom Animals

While there is some humor in the book, the entries don’t really contain narratives…you won’t feel like you are experiencing one person’s report in it. That gives it somewhat of a sense of sameness throughout…I didn’t find it especially engaging.

The seed catalog part did have a lot of entries…I can see how this would be fun for someone getting into the subject (like a child) to find out about reports near them or where they are going.

Unfortunately, the format of the standardized questions didn’t reproduce well on my Kindle Fire.  There was a lot of empty space in each of the cells of what was a small, single column table.

Interestingly, it was in the back of the book that it moved away from simple listings. There were two “case studies” which made it more personal (the author isn’t just an armchair enthusiast), and a nice little monster time line.

Don’t expect to find a lot of analysis or hypothesizing…this isn’t like reading Ivan Sanderson or Loren Coleman.

I think this sums up the attitude of the book pretty well:

“Of course, you can be scientific about it and wait for absolute, undeniable proof. But isn’t it more fun to believe in something? Do you really want to question the existence of the Santa Claus of the monster world? Bigfoot is real.”
–Scott Francis

That’s not to say that Francis is an advocate…it’s just that for the fun hobby of “monster spotting”, it doesn’t really matter if it’s an objective reality or not.

At $9.99, this is relatively expensive as a Kindle book, but I was able to read it as part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

I would say that the book would be a good one for a curious ten-year old. It was reasonably accurate, and not poorly proofread. It’s light, and the topic is intriguing. My life was changed by The Maybe Monsters by Gardner Soule, and I can see how this could have a similar effect. For people who are serious about the subject, it’s just going to be seen as too surface.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Yeti’s Best produce at Whole Foods

November 6, 2010

Yeti’s Best produce at Whole Foods

This was a fun one.  🙂

We were at Whole Foods, and I saw these produce boxes with a smiling yeti giving a thumbs up, and the name, “Yeti’s Best”.  I was even tempted to ask if they had an empty one I could have. ..I think my Significant Other is happy that I didn’t.   😉

I did a little research, and it turns out the brand doesn’t actually exist.  It’s the work of a professional designer, Christy Carroll:

The yeti is drawn by David Carroll.

Anyway, I thought it was cute.  🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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