New Scientist has the story but do you notice how they attribute the phenomenon to what in another context would be called “intelligent design”? Any real scientist would see that these patterns, while seemingly giving evidence of purposeful design, in fact are the product of chance and necessity alone which fully account for their coming into existence and being picked up by Google Earth:
If you like puzzling over the meaning of the Nazca lines in southern Peru, crop circles in central England or poring over maps of Area 51then you’ll like this. Digital mapping fans today noticed some wild and wacky forms of indeterminate function in China’s barren wastes in the Gobi desert.
The bizarre shapes vary widely. Two of them are grids that look a little like street floor plans without buildings and are around 2 kilometres long by just over a kilometre wide. Conspiracy theorists pounced immediately. Were these some sort of alien markings or the remains of a lost civilization?
Slightly more likely is that it is being used to give China’s upcoming spacecraft some kind of frame of reference. China’s crewed Shenzhou 7 mission, launched in September 2008, released a small satellite that orbited the crew capsule a few kilometres away: Japanese researchers believe it was testing a quantum key distribution system between the spacecraft and satellite. Could a ground-to-space system need some kind of elaborate ground sight?
Uh huh, sure. Next thing they’ll be telling us how phrenology and Ouija board are actually scientific.
Oh, those Discoveroids at New Scientist magazine, these IDiots, these Christian fundamentalist creationists with their superstitious non-science notions of “design detection,” attempting a redefinition of science to fit a sinister Wedge Strategy of separating naturally occurring Chinese desert patterns from other Chinese desert patterns. Don’t they know that real science only offers natural explanations, reflecting material processes devoid of meaning or purpose? That’s been established since the time of Bacon and Newton.
Don’t they know anything? Haven’t they read Wikipedia?