More grids in the Gobi. EVERYONE SPECULATE WILDLY! (Updated – Mundane explanation)

Wired ran this story about a former CIA analyst who searches for interesting activity via Google Earth.

What Did Google Earth Spot in the Chinese Desert? Even an Ex-CIA Analyst Isn’t Sure

The Salon version has more details on Thompson’s latest discovery last month:

An aerial view of the desert near the small city of Kashgar in southwestern China shows a strange, vast grid structure built into the arid ground. “I haven’t the faintest clue what it might be – but it’s extensive, the structures are pretty big and funny-looking, and it went up in what I’d call an incredible hurry,” Thompson said.

Salon suggests it is an underground bunker system. Digital Journal notes that “some believe the sightings throughout the deserts in China are codes designed to be read by UFOs”. The Daily Mail (of course) ramps up the hype with all sorts of imaginative ideas.

Photo credit: Google Earth

Photo credit: Google Earth

There is suggestion that the place is far from civilization, that it’s mysterious because they were constructed so fast, and the explanation is possibly ominous. But why? Why make it out to be extreme? Odds are it’s something completely mundane. Because no one knows that for sure (can no one check?), it is framed as mysterious and passed along the stream of website after website, regurgitated news. Let me know if something more exciting than new construction happens…

UPDATED (14-Jan-2013) Factories/warehouses. Oh gee. That was exciting.

[T]he area is probably part of an initiative to develop the region into a major manufacturing or economic center, not a secret military base, said Stefan Geens, a technologist and geospatial blogger who has spent months in that area of China documenting its development.

Like I said…

  21 comments for “More grids in the Gobi. EVERYONE SPECULATE WILDLY! (Updated – Mundane explanation)

  1. January 10, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Death Worm trails!

  2. Ben
    January 10, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Heisenberg’s new meth lab?

  3. Chris Howard
    January 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    It strikes me as unremarkable. Looks like an areal shot of old buildings and some roads, no?

  4. Chew
    January 10, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Knock that off, you. The title said to speculate wildly, so start speculating wildly!

    “codes designed to be read by UFOs” With the almost supernatural abilities alien spaceships have been given (interdimensional travel, superluminary speeds, 5 billion G turns, supersonic speeds without creating a sonic boom, “they know when someone is watching them”) why has it never occurred to one single ET believer that the aliens can read our wi-fi?

  5. Arthur M.
    January 10, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    We only have the former CIA analyst’s word on this (although Google could release their old pictures of the area to confirm this), but he implies that this area was mostly empty desert up to a few years ago.

  6. January 10, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    They have a Death worm in a box. Studying it.

  7. January 10, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Geez! That was a descriptive title, not a SUGGESTION. Oh well, have at it. Might as well make it super looney. Maybe we can start our own urban legend.

  8. January 10, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    If you check out some of the picts at the linked sites, he shows the older views with no buildings. Regardless, buildings going up fast is not really mysterious. This is non-news. The news is the reaction to it.

  9. D.Walker
    January 10, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Bigfoot. Or flying saucer dudes. Surely not a Loch Ness monster, though. They vacation on Mars at this time of year. Seriously.

  10. January 10, 2013 at 8:27 PM


    Some aliens are trying to grow some crops so they can make some crop circles!

  11. Chipshotz
    January 11, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    Space alien cult.

  12. Thomas
    January 11, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    They are building a new tomb for chairman Mao!

  13. January 11, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Yeah, come on – the Daily Mail quotes these sites as having “‘masonic-looking’ road structures” so they’re – you know – just… just… sinister, right?

  14. January 11, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Yeah, there are a couple of soft spots in what he says where you could poke a skeptical stick through. He asserts they went up in “what he would call” a hurry – which would be what, exactly? A month? A week? A year? And they’re “funny looking.”

  15. Alex
    January 11, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    More like a Zombie processing station. Road lead in no Zombie walk out. Yeah big fan of Zombie horror 🙂

    Worms do nothing for me Saw Dune not impressed.

  16. Alex
    January 11, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Or something as non news as Nuke processing plant like anyone is scared any more when it comes to who is making Nukes. Old news Pharma conspiracy way more SCAAAAARY. :-0

  17. January 11, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    This must be where Genghis Khan has his HQ for ghostbusting.

  18. January 12, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    Maybe they didn’t get built in a short period of time. Maybe the were uncovered in a short period of time. Could it possibly be some kind of archaeological dig?

  19. January 13, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    It’s Amazon’s new top secret warehouse. It’s been designed to be invisible except from the ground and from the air. That’s why they built it almost 1.5 miles from the nearest habitation and almost 3 miles from the nearest airport. Damn clever these Chinese.

  20. January 20, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    I love you guys sometimes. The first thought that sprung to mind upon reading this story was “Newsflash: Humans continue to build as they always have done”.

  21. January 20, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Great minds think alike.

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