Mystery Crop Circle Was PR Stunt

UFO enthusiasts not happy
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2014 3:19 AM CST
Crop Circle Was Chip Maker's PR Stunt
This photo provided by NVIDIA shows a 310-foot “crop circle” in a California barley field that mystified locals this week.   (AP Photo/NVIDIA)

No aliens involved: A California crop circle that got worldwide attention after its discovery was actually a publicity stunt for chip maker Nvidia. The 310-foot circle in a barley field 100 miles southeast of San Francisco contained the number 192 in Braille, which turns out to have been a reference to the 192 computing cores in the company's new chip for tablets and smartphones, the AP reports. The company's CEO says he told his marketing department to find a way to promote the chip on a tight budget.

The company hired a Hollywood location scout to find the right spot, and the field's owner was in on the stunt, an Nvidia spokesman says. The circle was mowed down after a few days amid safety concerns. A spokesman for the Independent Crop Circle Researchers Association says he quickly realized the circle was a hoax but he's still angry at Nvidia. "A lot of people wasted a lot of time and a lot of money and resources to go out there," he tells the Monterey Herald. "It is costly for the researchers to follow up on all this nonsense." (More crop circles stories.)

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