Salinas crop circle was NVIDIA promotion

Processor manufacturer NVIDIA releases word that the crop circle discovered in a Salinas California barley field was a promotional image for their latest mobile processor, the Tegra K1.

They say it’s out of this world.

Salinas Crop Circle and Project 192 | NVIDIA Blog.

So, when our Tegra team tried to figure out how to tell this story – in a creative way – they kept returning to a simple theme: How impossibly advanced this stuff is. So advanced, it seemed otherworldly.

That’s when we reached out to a team of crop circle experts. They flew in after Christmas and quickly headed to a dusty field in an effort our marketing team dubbed “Project 192,” — a reference to the number of graphics cores in K1.

The field’s owner had planted the barley, as many farmers do, to be plowed under, renewing the land. Meanwhile, it provided the perfect canvas for our crop circle specialists who drove out to the site accompanied by our team. They worked quickly.


Apparently there were clues hidden in the pictogram. A few crop circle “experts” were rather convinced it was “real”. It was real alright, as real as crop circles are – made by people, not aliens. When will croppies get the message. You sound completely ridiculous. Aliens are not creating art in our farm fields.

Any strange picture, video, event, puzzle, has really good odds of being a hoax or part of a marketing scheme. We must always consider that option before a paranormal one.

NeuroLogica Blog » The Salinas Crop Circle.

Tip: @Blue_Wode on Twitter


  13 comments for “Salinas crop circle was NVIDIA promotion

  1. January 6, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    Thanks for the follow up post on that story. Of course we skeptics are not surprised at all.

  2. spookyparadigm
    January 6, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    I will once again note that the crop circle cannot make sense outside of its paranormal, and generally UFO related, reading. This was the exact message the company was trying to send in this case. It doesn’t make them not art, but it also shows why they aren’t entirely divorced from hoax either.

  3. Brandon
    January 6, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    Doubtful News got a mention on CNN because someone figured out who was behind the crop circle in the comments section: “At least one person appears to have figured it all out. John Van Vliet posted this at 12:16 a.m. Wednesday, January 1, on “The crop art really dose (sic) look like a graphics GPU chip if i had to bet … one of the NEW CPU/GPU combos from AMD or Nvidia or intell.””

  4. Lagaya1
    January 6, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Were they also responsible for the video with the flashing lights? My guess is Yes.

  5. stale_ale
    January 6, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    The “discovery” video was made by the company as well. Yes. What I’d like to know is whether the farmer knew. Seems lame to me for a corporation to feel like they can just appropriate anything they want for promotional purposes.

  6. John V
    January 6, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    From the other post on this
    I thought that looked like a GPU

  7. January 6, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    I love that one of the artists had a 2600 Magazine shirt. Nice. I liked the crop circle, but the chip looks fabulous. I’m suddenly thinking that finally it’s the UI, not the graphics that will be the challenge for mobile computing…

  8. Lagaya1
    January 7, 2014 at 4:18 AM

    There’s no way the farmer didn’t know, and he was probably well compensated. No company would risk this big of a project by trespassing on someone’s farm without permission. Can you imagine getting it halfway done and getting chased off or arrested for trespassing? They would have made their company look extremely silly. Companies that don’t evaluate risk well, don’t stay in business for long.

  9. Tim Martain
    January 7, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    I also think it’s worth mentioning that one of the leading crop circle researchers (for whatever that may be worth) who commented on this story early on actually DID say it looked like a hoax, most likely a marketing campaign.

    Jeffrey Wilson of the Independent Crop Circle Researchers Association

    So while we’re sticking the boots into the blind believers, it’s worth noting (and a little refreshing) that not everyone in the field is so gullible 😉

  10. January 8, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    NO ONE ANYWHERE should have fallen for this.

  11. Frederick
    January 8, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Knew it, There was chance it was Intel or AMD, But Nvidia had a new tegra chip brewing for a while now, and they always big on marketing, k1 that mean that now gpu on this ARM chip use their Kepler core, like the ones in regular pc GPU, that’s gonna be a powerful mobile gpu!

  12. Why
    January 8, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Sure enough this one lacks the heartbreaking beauty and symetry. And most crop circles do not parralel sorrounding streets. BUT IF this was really man made, WHY do those unknown guys [Tradition ,-working in secret?- for nothing?!- Never sign their work-and never get cought…on the whole GLOBE – so they must be very rich- (until now never charging but always spending) and POWERFUL] just talk about it – much to late. Where are the NVIDIA Spots on TV or anywhere. There is no evidence – no making of, instead they cheat you with some Gaming grafiks and a little running in the field, nothing to prove anything. As Promotion this would really suck. BY BY NVIDIA

  13. One Eyed Jack
    January 9, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    They sort of skipped over some of the clues in the video. If viewed from the perspective of the road, the positions of the outer orbs on the circle are at the clock positions 1, 2, and 9 (192).

    The orientation itself is a clue to its human origin. Although the picture is shown upside down, the artists created the image oriented from their point of entry (the road), just like they would have looked at it on a piece of paper. This may have been intentional, but more likely it was an oversight by the artists and would have seemed natural and proper to an engineer’s mind. Although this hoax was obvious, human oversights like this are some of the best clues to less obvious hoaxes. The bird snatching a baby hoax from last year had similar human oversights that gave it away.

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