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Someone Found a Real Life Buried Treasure, Maybe

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  • The legendary Forest Fenn treasure has drawn thousands to the Rocky Mountains over the past decade.
  • The retired art dealer and author announced on June 6 that someone sent him pictures of the buried treasure.

Someone is out there living my literal best life. The story starts a decade ago, with a book. Its author, Forest Fenn, was coping with a cancer diagnosis, believing it to be terminal. As his last act, he wanted to create a great treasure hunt, his grave to be the site of a massive buried treasure. Instead, he recovered from cancer and went on to write a short story collection titled The Thrill of the Chase: A Memoir. Within the memoir was a poem with clues to a treasure chest’s location in the American Southwest. 

Photo by Jouwen Wang on Unsplash
A poem with Meaning

The poem lured thousands to the Rocky Mountains, from Montana to New Mexico. They searched using scant clues from the poem. 

“Begin it where warm waters halt

And take it in the canyon down,

Not far, but too far to walk. 

Put in below the home of Brown.”

Facebook groups and online message boards devoted themselves to decoding the poem and finding the treasure which Fenn said contained gold and artifacts from his work as an art and antiquities dealer in Santa Fe. 

 

Critiques noted that the treasure hunt drew ill-prepared and inexperienced people into tough terrain. Seven people died searching the mountains, causing authorities to pressure Fenn to call off the search to prevent more harm. But on June 6, Fenn announced that someone from the East coast, who wishes to remain anonymous, found the treasure chest. That individual reportedly sent Fenn pictures of the cache to prove he’d found it. Fenn released a statement saying, “It was under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains and had not moved from the spot where I hid it more than 10 years ago.” 

There’s never been proof

Some think the treasure was a hoax, and the “discovery” a ploy for media attention by Fenn. The wife of one of the treasure hunters who died, Linda Bilyeu, told the Westword in Denver, “I believe he never hid the treasure. He needed attention, and this is how he got it.” And it’s true that Fenn still has produced no proof that the treasure existed or that someone found it. 

Photo by Mads Schmidt Rasmusser on Unsplash

But imagine for a moment that the treasure hunt was real. Picture how it must have felt digging in the sand beneath a canopy of stars when the shovel hit that treasure chest. How those gold nuggets must have glowed in the sunlight. Also, it’s said the treasure was worth as much as $2 million. True, it’s not as much money as it was back in 2010. But it’s enough to make me want to believe in treasure hunts. 

Want to tell your strange story? Tell us about it and it could be featured on Oddee. You can remain fully anonymous.



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Apple I Computer in Original Box Signed by Steve Wozniak Goes on Auction

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  • If you’ve ever wanted to own a relic of modern history, here’s a pretty good one to go for.

Apple or PC, that is the question. There have been entire marketing campaigns built around the rivalry, but let us be diplomatic here and say both kinds of computers have their uses.

No matter which can you’re in, though, it’d be hard to deny that Apple computers have shaped the way we think about personal computers in significant ways. Many of such basic things as a graphical user interface were popularized – if not necessarily invented – by Apple.

It’s no wonder then, that Apple has built the kind of cult following that the company still has. Many of its early machines are masterpieces of popularly available computer technology of their time.

But these are old, old computers and exceedingly rare. If you happen to collect for whatever reason, finding one can be hard – and best not to talk about whether the thing will be in working condition.

Now, though, RR Auction has available a thing so rare you wouldn’t even think it exists. We’re talking about the original, the one and only Apple I computer, and you can make a bid to buy it.

Or you can try, if you have $50,000 lying around that you don’t need. And that’s just the starting price, so you’ll probably have to dig a lot deeper.

For example, in 2019, another Apple I unit sold for $470,000. But there’s a good reason why this one might go for even more.

That’s a bit of a mark-up from the original price of $666.66.

Photos courtesy of RR Auction.

A Functional Fossil

You might be wondering why anyone would part with tens of thousands of dollars of hard earned cash for an antiquated computer. This is not just any old Apple I we’re talking about here, though.

To begin with, this thing actually works. It was manufactured in 1976, and it’s still in working order.

Or, well, it’s been returned to functionality, we should say.

“This Apple I computer was restored to its original, operational state in September 2020 by Apple I expert Corey Cohen,” says RR Auction on its website.

“The system was operated without fault for approximately eight hours in a comprehensive test.”

But so what? It’s still just an old computer, right? If you still think that, you’re not quite grasping just how rare the Apple I is.

Apple – still just a tiny three-man startup operating out of the garage of Jobs’ parents in 1976 – only ever made 200 of these computers. Out of that batch, 175 were sold.

So, to even find one anymore is a real challenge. But for the computer to be actually functional?

Let’s just say that by all probability, this thing should not be.

A Box! A Box!

Oh, but it gets even better. The lucky winner of the auction won’t just get the original Apple I motherboard.

No, they will get the whole shebang, everything you need to get the most out of an ancient computer. In addition to the Apple I unit itself, the auction includes original manuals, the Apple Cassette Interface, a power supply, a vintage Datanetics keyboard (in an age-old wooden case), a 1976 Sayo monitor, and another cassette player by Panasonic.

Yeah, about those cassette players. Computer programs used to come on cassettes. Man, this thing is old.

To quote the late Billy Mays, though, there’s more. The cherry on the top of this computer history cake is that it comes in its original packaging.

It might seem to like just an old cardboard box. If you like collecting old stuff, though, you’ll know that having them in the original shipping box can make this stupidly valuable.

But wait, says the ghost of Billy Mays, there’s even more! The box is signed by Steve Wozniak, the man who built the Apple I computers with his own hands in that tiny California garage.

If you’re looking to own a piece of personal computing history, it doesn’t get much better than this.

It Belongs in a Museum

And what a piece of computing history it is. Apple was the world’s most valuable company between 2012 and 2018, and still is the biggest tech company in the world. And it all started with this thing.

“The Apple I is not only a marvel of early computing ingenuity, but the product that launched what is today one of the most valuable and successful companies in the world,” says RR Auction.

But still, we are talking about history. The Apple I is old, almost prehistoric when comparing it to modern computers.

To begin with, if you had bought one of these boxes in 1976, you wouldn’t have gotten a computer as you might think of it today. All you got was a caseless motherboard.

Apple never even manufactured a case. You would have to house the motherboard in whatever box you had available. Briefcases were apparently a popular option.

Still, Apple I was ahead of its competition at the time. All you needed to use it was a keyboard and TV to act as a display. Other computers required extensive programming and additional hardware to even put out text.

The relative simplicity caught the eyes of investors, and just a year later the Apple II came out. That one resembled a modern computer a lot more, and set Apple on the path that would eventually lead to the Macintosh, the iPad, and the iPhone.

That’s a whole other story, though. But if you have a few hundred grand burning a hole in your pocket, you might as well try bidding for the first chapter of that story.



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What’s Up with the Monoliths?

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  • Silver monoliths are appearing and disappearing around the world.
  • And, oh yeah, Germany lost a seven-foot phallus from a mountainside.

Is the pandemic just really unraveling everyone? We brought you the story of the silver monolith in Utah last week. It had captured the delight of the Internet (no simple task these days as we’re all chronically over-stimulated and under-motivated). Well, that monolith has disappeared in as mysterious a manner as it appeared. If you cynical and experienced in all things internet, it’s less mysterious and more likely that someone cut the thing down to sell on the dark web for bitcoins. 

Why do people ruin everything?

The Utah Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who first posted the monolith on their Instagram page, denies moving it but admits it garnered more interest than expected. Curious visitors ruined it because that’s what people do. 

Hundreds of inexperienced hikers drove out to the remote location after discovering images of the monolith on Google Earth dating back to 2016. They parked on plant life, left behind trash, had to get their cars towed back to civilization, and didn’t realize there would not be an available bathroom in the middle of the Utah desert. 

Probably for the best that the thing’s gone. 

We haven’t seen the last of monoliths.

Photo by CALIN STAN on Unsplash

But, coinciding with that disappearance, a similar monolith appeared in Romania. Either this is actually aliens, or someone is getting in a lot more international travel than the rest of us. The new monolith sits on a hillside in Piatra Neamt at an established archaeological site. 

Unlike the Utah BLM, the mayor of Piatra Neamt is hopeful for an influx of curious onlookers. He told NPR, “I am honored they chose our city.”

And, oh yeah, the German phallus.

Worth noting is a second, less mysterious monolith also missing this week. This one comes from Germany, where someone chopped down an infamous seven-foot wooden phallus from the Gruenten Mountainside. The phallus had a few more years to generate an origin story, crediting the mysterious arrival to a teenager who sculpted the piece as a gift for his family. Shockingly, they weren’t appreciative, and he hauled it up the mountainside. 

Photo by CALIN STAN on Unsplash

Maybe because the Germans are more courteous people, it didn’t cause the rampant destruction from curious tourists like Utah monolith. It made it onto Google Maps, dubbed a “cultural monument.” 

Either something’s going on here, or we’re all just paying closer attention to the minutiae in the world. Piatra Neamt doesn’t seem to have any plans to establish protection for their monolith. There’s not a current listing for an alien monolith or seven-foot phallus on eBay.



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U.S. Army Develops Technology to Create Telepathic Soldiers

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  • It’s a cool piece of tech, but it also means you better watch your thoughts.

If you like watching military action movies, you’ve seen the U.S. military carry out some weird research projects. But in reality… Actually, you will still see the U.S. military carry out some weird research projects.

From robotic mules to trying to weaponized hallucinogenic drugs, the U.S. Army has tried a lot of things that sometimes cross into science fiction territory. This time around, they’ve really gone out there, though.

Recently, the scientists at the U.S. Army Research Office finished a study whose results seem to open doors even to the supernatural. We’re talking about telepathy here, folks.

Communications is one of the greatest challenges for soldiers – it’s pretty hard to carry out orders if you don’t know what they are, after all. Imagine, then, what a squad of telepathic super troopers could do.

A Brainy AI

As fantastic as it sounds, the Army’s research is firmly based in science. And when you start looking into it, calling it telepathy is actually kind of out there.

But hey, it made for a catchy headline.

What the Army scientists have done in reality is develop a new kind of machine learning algorithm – or AI. This algorithm is able to tell brain signals that affect behavior or action from those that do not.

In other words, the AI can recognize a brain signal intended to carry out an action, like moving an arm.

“Our algorithm can, for the first time, dissociate the dynamic patterns in brain signals that relate to specific behaviors and is much better at decoding these behaviors,” Maryam Shanechi, assistant professor at the University Of Southern California Viterbi School Of Engineering, said in a statement.

You can see how equipping soldiers with technology that reports their actions as they’re carried out could have some significant impacts. A commander could, for example, follow their soldier’s movement and positioning decisions in real-time.

Speaking Without Words

It is precisely this kind of an application that researchers have primarily in mind. Hamid Krim, a program manager for the Army Research Office, said the technology could give commanding officers direct feedback from a soldier’s brain.

This would allow them to help soldiers take corrective action before an event even happens in reality.

Krim gave an example of situation where a soldier realizes they’re dead tired. The commanding officer sees this, and can immediately order the soldier to take a breather.

The logical next step from this situation, according to Krim, would be to enable full-on silent communication by transferring brain signals between the participants. Telepathy, in a nutshell.

“In a theater, you can have two people talking to each other without even whispering a word,” Krim told C4ISRNET.

“So you and I are out there in the theater and we have to talk about something that we’re confronting. I basically talked to my computer – your computer can be in your pocket, it can be your mobile phone or whatever – and that computer talks to your teammate’s computer. And then his or her computer is going to talk to your teammate,” he explained.

So it’s not really enabling the kind of paranormal telepathy that the $6.25 million research project is aiming to do. Instead, they’re just trying to teach a computer to read your brain for what you want to do and send that message forward.

That might actually be even more awesome, now that we think about it.

‘M’ is for Medicine, not Military

The Army’s research could open more than just military doors, though. The kind of brain-machine interface it enables could improve civilian lives, as well.

“The algorithm has significant implications for basic science discoveries,” said Krim.

“[It] can discover shared dynamic patterns between any signals beyond brain signals, which is widely applicable for the military and many other medical and commercial applications.”

For example, imagine someone with a prosthetic arm. Even though prosthetic technology has advanced in leaps over the last decade or two, the artificial limbs are still clumsy at best.

This research could enable a whole new level of limb control for amputees. Arming the prosthetic with computer that interprets the user’s brain signals directly has the potential to greatly improve the level of control.

According to the researchers, the technology could even allow fully paralyzed people to move again. They would only need to be fitted with an appropriate supporting machinery on their limbs.

Decades of Development Needed

These kinds of far-out applications are, however, still “decades away”, says Krim. The scientists have identified action-related brain signals in tests on monkeys. Human applications are a whole other story.

“You can read anything you want. That doesn’t mean that you understand it,” Krim said, talking about the technology’s ability to identify the brain signals.

The next step after that is to be able to understand it. The next step after that is to break it down into words so that you can synthesize in a sense, like you learn your vocabulary and your alphabet, then you are able to compose,” he added, continuing with the reading metaphor.

The ultimate purpose of the research, Krim says, wasn’t even necessarily a military one. The scientists wanted to come up with a way for a human brain to directly communicate with a machine.

“At the end of the day, that is the original intent mainly: to have the computer actually being in a full duplex communication mode with the brain,” he concluded.

Getting functioning telepathy out of it all is just an additional plus.



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