[Somewhat OT] Extra-terrestrials and 1980's printers
pdp11 at saccade.com
Tue Jul 3 16:52:06 CDT 2007
Here's an odd one for you:
Coast To Coast AM (UFOs, Ghosts, ETs etc.) has been running a story
about strange spacecraft buzzing around (where else?)
California. Recently somebody claimed to have spent the 1980's
working at a secret lab in Palo Alto trying to "commercialize" the
Now, veracity-wise, these photos and "documents" have problems:
- Nobody is coming forward and identifying themselves.
- In the top-left and top-right photos, if the camera exposed the sky
for a neutral blue, the underside of the craft would be very
under-exposed (almost black) like the middle photo and the underside
of the leaves and power pole.
- If the lab was as secure as the author claims it is, "TOP SECRET"
or somesuch classification would be clearly stamped on every(!) page.
- The final problem is with the look of the documents. While there
are some nice touches (three-hole punch marks on the cover...remember
those ubiquitous binders?) the documents have nice fonts and
formatting, and look laser-printed.
Now, in 1986, the number of systems available capable of producing
such documents "in house" was fairly limited. You did have the
LaserWriter, but it had just come out and the document doesn't look
like it's using one of the original LW fonts. The other options were
Scribe, TeX, Xerox, maybe InterLeaf...and not much else. Integrating
a digital photo into a document was a royal pain back then, and
scanners were still exotic equipment.
I'm curious - does anybody recognize which system produced the
documents? I'd be impressed if hoaxers went to the trouble of
tracking down vintage equipment to produce them.
Overall the story the web page tells is pretty entertaining. One
wonders if this is a viral marketing campaign for a sci-fi movie next year.
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