“So, how exactly does this thing work?”; The reporter asked. While his cameraman focused his lens on the subject of the news story, the producer pantomimed off-camera for Richard to ask more informative questions. He nodded back that he understood.
“We use a helicopter equipped with Lidar to map the surface of a grid area with ground penetrating radar.”; Mr. Hogan explained. “Then we analyze the recorded data for specific anomalies which stand out. There are times when the dinosaur fossils and ancient stone structures are as plain as the nose on my face once the vegetation and topsoil are digitally stripped away. This process is nearing a 90% success rate.”
“Wow! Laser radar?”; The reporter subtly tried to simplify the CEO’s terminology in layman’s terms. “I’ve seen the process used to locate lost temples in Angkor Wat and Central America but it never occurred to me that it might also be used to locate dinosaurs. Impressive! Can we see an example of your company’s patented search technique in action, sometime?”
“Certainly Richard. We’re going on a deep mapping mission to Wyoming in a couple weeks. Bring your film crew and producer. With any luck, we’ll find a couple T-Rex skeletons. Footage of the search process will look great playing on a loop at whichever museums we sell them to.”
Richard thanked Jeff Hogan for the tour of his archeological scanning facilities and operational overview. After he made his closing comments on camera as ‘host’; the producer yelled ‘cut’. Then once the shooting had wrapped, the CEO and producer discussed the aforementioned follow-up excursion to Wyoming. Richard was actually excited about the prospect of getting to do a real story on remote location. Especially one as potentially fulfilling as looking for dinosaur relics. He had his fill of ‘fluff journalism’.
Despite the enticing offer from the CEO, Richard was highly skeptical about actually getting to go on the excursion. He assumed his producer would edit out that part as a cost cutting measure. Sending a film crew on remote location was very expensive. To his surprise, the invitation was green-lighted by management. As it turns out, the archeological scanning company was footing the entire bill.
To nearly everyone’s amazement, they located four major relic sites in just a few days. Richard and the crew was right there to document the impressive fossil finds. With well placed publicity, it was only a matter of time before a number of major museums across the world sought to purchase the full rights to the excavation treasures.
Management from the film studio received a sizable documentation and licensing fee. In turn, Richard and everyone on the production crew were rewarded with a bonus for their hard work. Several nature-themed cable channels expressed interest in broadcasting the fossil discovery films worldwide. That also meant significant funds to add to their retirement accounts. It was a fantastic partnership which lasted many years.
Just as several search engines had done years earlier, the archeological salvage company decided to use their patchwork of topographic scans to map the surface of the Earth. A sophisticated computer array began to process the lidar images where they overlapped and ‘stitch’ them together. In the many places where no surveys existed, Jeff Hogan’s scanning team utilized orbiting satellites to fill in the blanks.
In six months time, an impressive picture was starting to develop of the interlocking spherical pieces. Long-lost shipwrecks and plane crash mysteries were finally solved. The ruins of prehistoric settlements were discovered. Fossil remnants of unknown reptilian species were located under the secretive sands of the Gobi and Sahara. For all their expense and efforts, the planetary mapping project brought countless finds and invaluable knowledge to the scientific community. It was as if Jeff Hogan’s mapping team took a massive toy sifter and processed the entire global ‘sand box’. As if he didn’t have enough enrichment and rewards from his successes, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for the significant advancement of science. Impressive as his prior discoveries were, a far more startling discovery was still to come.
Imaging software was used to smooth the edges of the lidar scan sections of the global topographical map. Once the sections were fused together, adjustments were made to the coloring until it better matched. This process took the most powerful computer on Earth several weeks to complete but once done, it was hoped scientists would learn even more about our mysterious home. An unparalleled, ‘naked’ view of mother Earth would exist where all the mountains, trees, vegetation and oceans would be stripped away.
Near the end of the processing sequence, the computer began to break down. The algorithms that scanned for fossil and man-made shapes gave nonsensical readings. The IT department assumed the sheer volume of visual data being processed was the culprit but they were unable to compensate for it. It went so far as to suggest the entire planet was a fossil. Unable to find the reason for the malfunction, they had to shut off the fossil locating algorithm until the imaging software was finished ‘cleaning’.
“Jeff, I’m no renowned biologist or scientist but maybe that’s actually an advantage for what I’m about to tell you. I’ve been looking closely at the global map as the overlapping pieces are being cleaned up. Every day it gets a little clearer but I can already make out something that the rest of the people viewing it haven’t been able to focus on. That’s not because of the clarity of the image. I believe they haven’t been able to focus on what I see because it’s too difficult to grasp. As a matter of fact, what I’m about to say is so bizarre that I was actually hoping someone else realized it so I didn’t have to be the one to point it out.”
Jeff stepped over to his assistant’s monitor to gaze as the developing image. He could tell that whatever was on the young man’s mind was really plaguing him. On one side of his computer screen was the familiar topographic image, nearing the end of its sophisticated processing. On the other was a microscopic image of a common ‘roly-poly’ bug, all balled up.
At first Jeff had no idea what his assistant was trying to communicate with the two very different things. It wasn’t clear what they supposedly had in common. “I fail to see any relationship between a microscopic cross-section of a roly-poly bug and our topographical stitching of the planet. What are you trying to say, Mark? Just spit it out, ok?”
Without saying a word, Mark used his ink pen to point at the barely visible legs of the tiny, innocuous creature. Then he rotated the 3D spherical rendering of the planet to the Mariana Trench. Undeterred by the rising wave of denial from the CEO, he silently pointed to the exoskeleton tiles of the bug, and then at the parallel tectonic plate ridges of the Earth.
“You can’t be serious! This is what you wanted me to see, Mark? Are you actually trying to say that the Earth is a, a giant roly-poly bug?”
Mark took a deep breath. He anticipated the understandable skepticism from his boss. He was a no-nonsense type of guy and this went way past nonsense and into full-blown lunatic absurdism. He realized that so Instead of responding verbally, he just kept on pointing out comparisons. Not one, or two or three more. He showcased 23 more unmistakable comparisons. Once Jeff let go of plausible rationale, he was able to see it too. The Earth as they knew it, was actually a massive fossil of a coiled up roly-poly bug.
Jeff laughed hysterically and then nodded back and forth in a vigorous, last minute denial. Then he laughed again in begrudging acceptance; while silently wincing at the breathtaking revelation and how it was going to be viewed by the scientific community. He had a hilarious visual of having to hand back his Nobel prize for science after divulging the bizarre, very unscientific news. Mother Earth was a giant cosmic bug floating through space. Perhaps all the other planets were too. Human beings and all life on the planet were simply parasites unaware that they were living off the body of their fossilized host.
“Speaking of ‘hosts’, get me Richard’s number.”; He requested from Mark. “He broke the original story when we were just starting out as a fledgling business. I need him to help break this incredible story.”
Mark recommended that he not try to convince him over the phone. There was no simple way to break past the wall of denial. “You need him to be standing right here in front of the monitor. Otherwise he can just hang up or walk away.”; He pointed out. “Once you have him here in the room, do not engage him verbally. It will only distract him from accepting what he sees. Just point out the details I showed you and let him come to terms with the unbelievable truth at his own pace.”
Jeff agreed with the plan. “Hello Richard! Long time no speak, eh? How have you been buddy? I have the reporting story of your life if you want to break it! Are you interested? If so, I need you to catch the very first flight here to our headquarters. It’s far too big of a thing to talk about over the phone. Just email me your flight number and I’ll have Mark pick you up at the airport. See ya soon! bye.”