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[TRAILHEAD] What's In The Box?
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thebruceModerator
Dances With Wikis


Joined: 16 Aug 2004
Posts: 6899
Location: Kitchener, Ontario

well... here are my theories... I'm not fully sold on its officiality yet...

A) at worst, it's all fan-made, even the credits. The video seems very much grassroots and based on the Halflife world. And the youtube channel has 4 other videos, none of which are related to the subject, but are related in other ways. I find it hard to believe that the site would include blatantly vulgar language (even if it is pretty hard to make out) if it's an official movie promotional site. Maybe if it's independent... The video may then be attempting to leech off traffic for related subjects like 'halflife', 'lost', and 'whats in the box' (as per video keywords)

B) The website is real, but the video is fanmade. The only connection between the website and the video is due to the video showing the url to the site. Not vice versa. See above regarding the youtube channel.

C) It's all real, and the video is part of a promotional campaign from a contracted viral campaign/marketing group; the video is high quality. The video wouldn't be giving away the plot to the movie, so if it is indeed related to Halflife, the movie likely wouldn't cover this initial 'waking up' scene. In which case either the movie could be a parallel story arc, or this video could be the events from another character's perspective and isn't intended to be Gordon Freeman.

D) The connection to Halflife isn't real, it's entirely speculation, and the video has more flexibility in being related to official promotional material for an upcoming movie. Then see A B and C w/o Halflife.


or something like that... Dunno
But yeah, the video is very well done, especially if grassroots or from an amateur filmmaker, and the halflife connection are too hard to pass over.


also, with the keywords containing halflife and lost, it strengthens my opinion this is either fanmade or not official (crossover?). Then there's the 'test film', '3ds max'... IMO, fan-made, or badly done official marketing. (or, brilliant viral marketing? Exclamation )

Perhaps it's an independent filmmaker. However they'd need legal permission to use Halflife property if they were creating and profitable film, yes? If it's fan-fic though, it could end up being really nice...
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:35 pm
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redct
Entrenched


Joined: 20 Jun 2007
Posts: 1233

As far as I can tell, the overlayed ??s on the credits are equal to:
OTION nts ST WHAT IS IN THE BOX
TIS CREA TEV O ector phy BAUT SM S TH IS EEU S dito MS c ec MIT T dition R TER EL U OOS d AR
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:43 pm
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redct
Entrenched


Joined: 20 Jun 2007
Posts: 1233

AHA!

Found the filmmakers, I think. Notice how the account has Mythbusters: Phone Book Myth on it? How the filmmaker is Timsmit? And how music is by a Steven Roeters?

Well, apparently the duo won the Discovery Channel's "Be A Mythbuster" contest for that phone book myth. And, they're film students and mentioned their new project "What's in the box?" here:

EDIT: link (http://www.ru.nl/io/english/alumni/archive_alumni/vm_newsletters/first_edition/radboud_students_win/)

Quote:
Two Natural Sciences students from Radboud University, Tim Smit and Steven Roeters, recently won first prize in the Discovery Channel’s Be a Mythbuster contest. A jury selected the five films which received the most public votes and then chose the winner from these five.
The prize: a trip to San Francisco to meet the real Discovery Channel Mythbusters. ‘We are getting many enthusiastic reactions, and the attention from the media is really great’, said Tim. Meanwhile, Steven pulls out of his bag a business card that he recently got from a t.v. producer. ‘Collecting contacts goes fast in the media world!’
Phone Book Myth
In the film that the Radboud students sent in for the contest, they proved the so called ‘Phone Book Myth’. Tim came up with the idea to see if it is indeed impossible to pull apart two intertwined Yellow Pages books. Since making the film, it has been viewed more than 125,000 times on YouTube. In February 2008 the winning film was broadcast on Discovery.

Despite all of the media attention, the students were available for comment on campus. Steven: ‘Filming is our greatest hobby, but naturally we also have to finish our studies.’ Tim nevertheless wanted to clarify that filming is a very serious hobby for them both: ‘Right now we are busy working on a project that has the working title ‘What’s in the Box’.
This film is also a scientific one, but in contrast to the Mythbusters film it is completely fictitious.’ In February the two students flew to San Francisco to meet the real Mythbusters, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, and to receive a personal critique of their film.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:48 pm
Last edited by redct on Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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thebruceModerator
Dances With Wikis


Joined: 16 Aug 2004
Posts: 6899
Location: Kitchener, Ontario

Quote:
As far as I can tell, the overlayed ??s on the credits are equal to:
OTION nts ST WHAT IS IN THE BOX
TIS CREA TEV O ector phy BAUT SM S TH IS EEU S dito MS c ec MIT T dition R TER EL U OOS d AR


omgcloo! It's a new language or code, it has GOT to be! Laughing

Foily!
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:48 pm
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redct
Entrenched


Joined: 20 Jun 2007
Posts: 1233

RUN IT UNDER A BLACKLIGHT. Oh, wait...
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:54 pm
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Delusional
Entrenched


Joined: 16 May 2005
Posts: 839

ndemeter wrote:

Can someone please check and see if it's just my eyes playing tricks on me?


Yeah they are red. Also in lite text is the word "attainableness" towards the bottom of the image.

Anyone know what the mathematical expression under the volume integral is?

Edit: you know how some nonsense strings of words can sometimes form a coherent sentence when read fast? Could that be the case with the covered text under the "read fast" ? I can see some of that in there, like OTION = ocean, CREA TEV = creative, T dition = edition. But that could be stretching it..

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:59 pm
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Chaoticsouls
Boot

Joined: 19 Mar 2009
Posts: 31

I just found the video myself and I was wondering has anyone looked in the video for clues? It has to be half life related.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:13 am
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kosmopol
I Never Tire of My Own Voice


Joined: 27 Aug 2007
Posts: 3154

Now that looks cool. I'll follow it.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:33 am
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Oriza
Entrenched


Joined: 21 Dec 2007
Posts: 1078
Location: Michigan and Florida

redct wrote:
AHA!

Found the filmmakers, I think. Notice how the account has Mythbusters: Phone Book Myth on it? How the filmmaker is Timsmit? And how music is by a Steven Roeters?

Well, apparently the duo won the Discovery Channel's "Be A Mythbuster" contest for that phone book myth. And, they're film students and mentioned their new project "What's in the box?" here:

EDIT: link (http://www.ru.nl/io/english/alumni/archive_alumni/vm_newsletters/first_edition/radboud_students_win/)

Quote:
Two Natural Sciences students from Radboud University, Tim Smit and Steven Roeters, recently won first prize in the Discovery Channel’s Be a Mythbuster contest. A jury selected the five films which received the most public votes and then chose the winner from these five.
The prize: a trip to San Francisco to meet the real Discovery Channel Mythbusters. ‘We are getting many enthusiastic reactions, and the attention from the media is really great’, said Tim. Meanwhile, Steven pulls out of his bag a business card that he recently got from a t.v. producer. ‘Collecting contacts goes fast in the media world!’
Phone Book Myth
In the film that the Radboud students sent in for the contest, they proved the so called ‘Phone Book Myth’. Tim came up with the idea to see if it is indeed impossible to pull apart two intertwined Yellow Pages books. Since making the film, it has been viewed more than 125,000 times on YouTube. In February 2008 the winning film was broadcast on Discovery.

Despite all of the media attention, the students were available for comment on campus. Steven: ‘Filming is our greatest hobby, but naturally we also have to finish our studies.’ Tim nevertheless wanted to clarify that filming is a very serious hobby for them both: ‘Right now we are busy working on a project that has the working title ‘What’s in the Box’.
This film is also a scientific one, but in contrast to the Mythbusters film it is completely fictitious.’ In February the two students flew to San Francisco to meet the real Mythbusters, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, and to receive a personal critique of their film.


I'm confused...there wasn't anything about phone book sin the video...
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:14 am
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jasonrj
Kilroy

Joined: 19 Mar 2009
Posts: 1

Tim Smit - Urban Security Suit

It seems Tim Smit has done a bit of fashion design too - Urban Sercurity Suit - similar to the haz-mat guys in the video?

http://www.yankodesign.com/2008/04/28/body-armor-fashion-design-armorni/


And it looks like Steven Roeters has some link to "Biosurface spectroscopy research" possibly explaining where they sourced the background data for the image?
http://www.amolf.nl/research/biosurface-spectroscopy/group-members/amolf-person/article///ce40933c27/?tx_ooipamolfpeople_pi1[showUid]=10891


Jason

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:49 am
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llivne
Boot

Joined: 17 Jul 2005
Posts: 26

i run stegdetect on the anti.jpg and it came back positive with the sensitivity set to 4, now 4 is quite high so it might (and by might i mean probably) be a false-positive but it's worth checking out, so if anyone got an extnsive word list and stegbreak (alongside the time and will needed) it might be a good idea to try it

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:39 am
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redct
Entrenched


Joined: 20 Jun 2007
Posts: 1233

Same account that posted the video had that on there.

Oriza wrote:
redct wrote:
AHA!

Found the filmmakers, I think. Notice how the account has Mythbusters: Phone Book Myth on it? How the filmmaker is Timsmit? And how music is by a Steven Roeters?

Well, apparently the duo won the Discovery Channel's "Be A Mythbuster" contest for that phone book myth. And, they're film students and mentioned their new project "What's in the box?" here:

EDIT: link (http://www.ru.nl/io/english/alumni/archive_alumni/vm_newsletters/first_edition/radboud_students_win/)

Quote:
Two Natural Sciences students from Radboud University, Tim Smit and Steven Roeters, recently won first prize in the Discovery Channel’s Be a Mythbuster contest. A jury selected the five films which received the most public votes and then chose the winner from these five.
The prize: a trip to San Francisco to meet the real Discovery Channel Mythbusters. ‘We are getting many enthusiastic reactions, and the attention from the media is really great’, said Tim. Meanwhile, Steven pulls out of his bag a business card that he recently got from a t.v. producer. ‘Collecting contacts goes fast in the media world!’
Phone Book Myth
In the film that the Radboud students sent in for the contest, they proved the so called ‘Phone Book Myth’. Tim came up with the idea to see if it is indeed impossible to pull apart two intertwined Yellow Pages books. Since making the film, it has been viewed more than 125,000 times on YouTube. In February 2008 the winning film was broadcast on Discovery.

Despite all of the media attention, the students were available for comment on campus. Steven: ‘Filming is our greatest hobby, but naturally we also have to finish our studies.’ Tim nevertheless wanted to clarify that filming is a very serious hobby for them both: ‘Right now we are busy working on a project that has the working title ‘What’s in the Box’.
This film is also a scientific one, but in contrast to the Mythbusters film it is completely fictitious.’ In February the two students flew to San Francisco to meet the real Mythbusters, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, and to receive a personal critique of their film.


I'm confused...there wasn't anything about phone book sin the video...

_________________
Playing and lurking: I'm too lazy to keep track
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:26 am
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Oriza
Entrenched


Joined: 21 Dec 2007
Posts: 1078
Location: Michigan and Florida

redct wrote:
Same account that posted the video had that on there.

Oriza wrote:
redct wrote:
AHA!

Found the filmmakers, I think. Notice how the account has Mythbusters: Phone Book Myth on it? How the filmmaker is Timsmit? And how music is by a Steven Roeters?

Well, apparently the duo won the Discovery Channel's "Be A Mythbuster" contest for that phone book myth. And, they're film students and mentioned their new project "What's in the box?" here:

EDIT: link (http://www.ru.nl/io/english/alumni/archive_alumni/vm_newsletters/first_edition/radboud_students_win/)

Quote:
Two Natural Sciences students from Radboud University, Tim Smit and Steven Roeters, recently won first prize in the Discovery Channel’s Be a Mythbuster contest. A jury selected the five films which received the most public votes and then chose the winner from these five.
The prize: a trip to San Francisco to meet the real Discovery Channel Mythbusters. ‘We are getting many enthusiastic reactions, and the attention from the media is really great’, said Tim. Meanwhile, Steven pulls out of his bag a business card that he recently got from a t.v. producer. ‘Collecting contacts goes fast in the media world!’
Phone Book Myth
In the film that the Radboud students sent in for the contest, they proved the so called ‘Phone Book Myth’. Tim came up with the idea to see if it is indeed impossible to pull apart two intertwined Yellow Pages books. Since making the film, it has been viewed more than 125,000 times on YouTube. In February 2008 the winning film was broadcast on Discovery.

Despite all of the media attention, the students were available for comment on campus. Steven: ‘Filming is our greatest hobby, but naturally we also have to finish our studies.’ Tim nevertheless wanted to clarify that filming is a very serious hobby for them both: ‘Right now we are busy working on a project that has the working title ‘What’s in the Box’.
This film is also a scientific one, but in contrast to the Mythbusters film it is completely fictitious.’ In February the two students flew to San Francisco to meet the real Mythbusters, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, and to receive a personal critique of their film.


I'm confused...there wasn't anything about phone book sin the video...


ah that makes more sense.
_________________
"You want weapons? We're in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room's the greatest arsenal we could have. Here-- arm yourself."
--Doctor Who, Tooth and Claw


PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:49 am
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smartmart
Unfettered


Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 351

numbers

Why those numbers would be highlighted: 71-73.5% and 87%?

Seven digits for---> 717-3587?

Any other guess?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:09 pm
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otakreg
Boot


Joined: 19 Mar 2009
Posts: 11
Location: Maryland, USA

Hi all, first time poster here. I've followed some ARGs in the past but never posted until now. So, anyway... I wanted to put all the information about this potential ARG in one place. Credit for a lot of this stuff goes to other users from unfiction, RelicNews, Reddit, and Youtube, so... thanks everyone for your contributions!

Youtube video What's in the Box? - Test Film 2009 posted on Mar 13 2009 from account Timacious, registered June 22 2007. Comment reads "This is a early temp version. Will be deleted soon." Video is said to contain heavy Half Life references including a similar universe and concept, borrowed sound effects, usage of the phrase "What's in the Box?", and a news ticker reading "MILLIONS FEARED DEAD - NO NEWS FROM DISASTER AREA - LARGEST SINGLE COLLAPSE IN HISTORY SINCE BLACK MESA", leading some viewers to immediately assume the video to be a viral add for Half Life 2: Ep 3. Some claims are made that the video is an advertisement for Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, or Acer because of the product placement. Also, it is noted that most of the music in the video is ripped directly from Lost, written by Michael Giacchino, with the possible exception of a track from The Lost World - Jurassic Park 2 by John Williams when the man in the video runs from the bus around 5:00 into the video. The scenery in the video is recognized as the city Nijmegen, Netherlands.

There are 3 other videos uploaded by the Timacious account:

Discovery Mythbusters - The Phone Book Myth, uploaded Nov 20 2007, shows the Dutch student Tim Smit and friend Steven Roeters attempting to separate two interwoven phone books as a part of Discovery Channel's Be a Mythbuster contest. At 3:53 a red logo of a tilted square with a question mark in the center shows, with unreadable text beneath it. This appears again at 4:31. According to this article, Tim Smit and Steven Roeters are Natural Science students at Radboud University, won the contest, and flew out to meet the real Mythbusters in Feb 2008. The article also mentions that they are working on What's in the Box.

Terminator 2 - Sweded, uploaded May 13 2008, is a humorously low-budget re-enactment of the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The credits for the video, shown at 1:17, list Tim Smit among other names. The same logo of a tilted square with a question mark in the center can be seen twice during these credits (bottom-right at 1:17, bottom-left at 1:19).

Storm Chasers - Becoming Tornadoproof, uploaded Dec 16 2008, appears to be an entry for Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers contest. The video is a spoof instructional video about becoming "Tornadoproof" and features a character named "The Extreme". At 0:14 in, the gearshift of the car can be seen to be a Terminator's metallic skull. At 1:00, a piece of debris resembling part of a wall falls to the ground in the background and is destroyed. As the piece is falling, the logo of a tilted square with a question mark in the center can be seen on it for a split second. The email address Timaciousd.at.gmail.com can be seen at 1:17. This email address seems to be a reference to the band Tenacious D.

Website http://whatsinthebox.nl/ displays a tilted square with a question mark in the center. The square pulses with light, revealing that is actually 3-dimensional, a cube or box. The box appears to have sparks emanating from it. 4 digits in the center of the screen cycle between a number of strings. At the bottom of the screen, motion picture-style credits read:

PRODUCTIONS presents a MYSTERY OF MYSTERIES production "WHAT IS IN THE BOX"
writers TIMSMIT THIBAUT NIELS music created by STEVEN ROETERS directory of photography TIMSMIT production design THIBAUT NIELS TIMSMIT
special effects TIMSMIT screenplay written by THIBAUT NIELS TIMSMIT website complex by TIM MEEUWISSEN TIMSMIT film editor TIMSMIT produced and directed by TIMSMIT THIBAUT NIELS
additional thanks to FRANK TER ELST JURI JOOSTEN and MARKUP
2007 A PRODUCTIONS official series. All rights reserved

When moused-over, the box flashes red, text appears within and below the box, and question marks appear over certain letters within the credits. With some visual adjustments, the text in the box can be seen to be the lyrics of Tenacious D's song Beelzebob.

The letters from the credits which are covered with question marks read something like this:

OTION nts ST WHAT IS IN THE BOX
TIS CREA TEV O ector phy BAUT
SM S TH IS EEU S dito MS c ec MIT T
dition R TER EL U OOS d AR

or this:

O TION nts ST WHAT IS IN THE BOX
s TI crea TEV RO ector phy BAUT MSM
SM TH IMS EEU S MS c ec MIT UT
ditio R ER EL U OOS d AR

or this:

O(T)ION NT (S) ST "WHAT IS IN THE BOX"
ST(IM) CREA TE (R)O (C)TOR
PH(Y) BAUT MSM
S Th IMS EEU SM EDI-(Possibly DIT from the word EDITOR) CE ED MIT UT
DITO R ER ELS OOS(T) D R

It's hard to tell which letters are actually supposed to be covered and which are not, because in some cases a question mark covers part of a letter but not the entire thing.

Decompiling the flash object on the page reveals that the 4-digit string is an array called bullshitArray, and contains the strings:
0001 WSAD 134G ASDF 123A 1234 5223 QWER FASG 4213 UUUU READ FAST JFSD 2123 BOXR SAGA JFSD 2123 6335 2347 2678 7856 1111 0003

When the source of the page is viewed, a comment can be found which reads:
Every medium, as its ancestors
Every pro, has his anti's, now you think about that

Also, a link to the image Anti.jpg, which shows the box and credits again, but with different text behind the box. With visual adjustments, this text has been found to be from this page about Dye-sensitized solar cells. The numbers 71-73.5% and 87% are highlighted in red and differ from the numbers on the site, and the word ATTAINABLLNESS is overlayed near the bottom. This seems to be a misspelling of "attainableness". Rather than a question mark in the center, the box contains some math formulas and images of squares. It has been suggested that the 4 cube graphics within the main cube are representations of a hypercube rotating in 3-space. The top math formula (V2n=integrals) integral is the volume of a cube of side length 2n, but the rest of the math at this point seems to be insignificant. The EXIF of the image shows the graphic was made on 2007/03/12 at 15:19:54 using Photoshop CS for Windows.

A whois of the site shows that it is hosted in the Netherlands, was registered by "T. Smit" 2006-07-13, and was updated on 2006-10-03.

Other info about Tim Smit and Steven Roeters:
- Tim Smit apparently designed an Urban Security Suit which bears resemblance to the generic-ish jumpsuits worn by the men in the What's in the Box video
- Steven Roeters may have some connection to Biosurface Spectroscopy Research: http://www.amolf.nl/research/biosurface-spectroscopy/group-members/amolf-person/article///ce40933c27/?tx_ooipamolfpeople_pi1[showUid]=10891
- Tim Smit's name is a palindrome (TIMSMIT is the same backwards and forwards); Tim Smit is also not an uncommon name in the Netherlands

Other notes about the What's in the Box video:
- The device that the "box" is in at the beginning of the video is an Atomic Force Microscope
- The phone number that the runner is attempting to dial is 59462
- At 5:21 when the runner removes the Brain Computer Interface, it has a Windows Blue Screen of Death, specifically a page fault (error 0x0E)
- At 6:44 when the runner is hiding in the house, as he turns, an image of a face can be seen briefly. It was suggested that this face resembled a Heavy from Team Fortress 2, but I think this idea has already been dispelled because it was discovered that the face is merely a wall ornament in the house
- All of the birds in the background fall dead out of the air at 8:20
- It was suggested that 3 different brands of cell phones were shown because of a law in the Netherlands that requires at least 3 brands of a certain product to be mentioned in order for a film or TV show to not be considered advertisement. I'm not sure, however, what this says about the Acer handheld at 1:05 and the Philips monitor at 0:54

Links to other threads:
Reddit Videos
Reddit Gaming
RelicNews

My thoughts:
- The usage of Half Life sound effects and ideas, Lost and Jurassic Park music, and the brand names of Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, Acer, and Philips is undeniable, but I think they are (intentionally or unintentionally?) sidetracking people into thinking this is an advert. Sure, it may just be a HL2:EP3 viral, but then again it may not be. Let's find out. Also, if it IS a HL2:EP3 viral, doesn't it seem weird that it would use borrowed music and such? Seems like that would be a copyright issue.
- Both of the Discovery Channel videos, as well as the Terminator video, show the box with the question mark inside. This may just be the logo for Tim Smit's studio PRODUCTIONS, but nevertheless the concept of the box has been floating around for a while now. The registration date of the http://whatsinthebox.nl/ URL and EXIF on the anti.jpg image confirm this. If Valve is somehow involved, and this is indeed a HL2:EP3 viral, this would mean Valve was already planning it before they released HL2:EP2.
- The Tower of Babel and the Box seems to be the main focus of the video, with the math formulas and hypercube illustration possibly hinting at some 4th-dimensional stuff. But, the website, anti.jpg, and Steven Roeters page bring up another topic, which is the solar energy stuff. To me, the red highlighted numbers in anti.jpg, which are higher than the numbers from the Biosurface Spectroscopy Research, are directly related the ATTAINABLLNESS; that is to say, that with a some sort of new technology/research/whatever, some sort of high-efficiency solar energy capturing device/ethod could be attainable.
- There seems to be a Terminator theme going on here, between the Terminator 2: Sweded video, and the Terminator gearshift in the car in Discovery Channel: Storm Chasers. I don't know if this means anything; probably just that Tim Smit and his crew like the Terminator. ALSO: about the solar cells, "These cells were invented by Michael Graetzel in 1991 and are also known as Graetzel cells". 1991, same year as Terminator 2.
- There also seems to be a Tenacious D theme, between the TimaciousD email address and the lyrics in the background on the page. Again, I have a feeling Tim Smit just likes Tenacious D.

Where to go from here:
- Decipher the 4-digit strings of text from the website, if there's any meaning to them. This is doubtful, considering they are from "bullshitArray".
- Figure out the significance of the other math formulas on the anti.jpg image, if there is any.
- Figure out the meaning behind 71-73.5% and 87% and ATTAINABLLNESS, if there is anything beyond what I've stated above.
- Is there any significance to the phone number 59462?
- Do Discovery Channel, Terminator, or Tenacious D have any meaning? What about Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, Acer, and Philips? What about Half Life, Lost, and Jurassic Park?
- Can we find any more information about Tim Smit or Steven Roeters by googling around?
- Email Tim Smit? He did give us his address after all in the Storm Chasers video.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:18 pm
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