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Bizzare & Odd

What’s Up With All These Booms in Mason City, Iowa?

A frost explosion. A meteor sonic boom. Blown transformer. Trains. Tannerite. Fireworks. Build ups in the sewer line. Aliens.

Yes. Aliens.

All these have been offered up as possible culprits for a semi-regular, unexplained “boom” that’s been heard by residents of Mason City for the past few years.

Map shows the most recent locations of booms heard and reported on local social media platforms.


Some insist they only hear it in the southeast part of town, while others insist it’s farther north.

Even the intensity of the boom isn’t wholly agreed upon. Some of that could be explained by location. The farther away you are from something, the less intense it’s going to sound, after all.

But there’s a lot of metaphorical distance between someone messing around with something as explosive as tannerite and frost quakes, or cryoseisms, which can happen when ice in the ground expands too rapidly.

Uncertainty about the source(s)

Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley said that there isn’t even a consensus on the cause from the calls the department gets and what officers hear for themselves.

“In a couple of cases we have found that they have had a business or industrial cause, in one case we found one person who had made a homemade firework, and many of the rest we are unsure about,” Brinkley relayed.

He added that the booms do appear to be sporadic: “There isn’t a pattern that we have been able to identify.” Which is backed up by plotting locations mentioned in a North Iowa Rant & Rave comments thread on Facebook.

Using that as a resource, booms have been heard at or near: Ninth Street Southeast, North Madison Avenue, East Park, 12th Street Southeast, South Virginia Avenue, North Kentucky Avenue, the Southside McDonald’s and the entire east side of town.

“We would like to have residents call when they have information that may help us identify the source of the noise or the area where it originated,” Brinkley said.

Night time is the wrong time

“I hear them mostly in the evening, but they have happened in the middle of the night, which makes you sit straight up in bed,” Mason City resident Lori Caspers shared.

Caspers said that she herself hasn’t contacted any local officials about the matter but has heard rumblings about a homemade cannon being to blame. Though, in the same turn she mentions the possibility, Caspers somewhat dismisses it.

“If I was this person’s neighbor I would have turned them in a long time ago,” she said.

Based on her own timeline, Caspers thinks it’s been going on since last winter, which would lead credence to the ice boom theory. But she swears she’s heard similar noises in the summertime as well and, as frigid as North Iowa can get, conditions for cryoseisms aren’t quite right in mid-August.

Nicole Kesten, who lives on the Northeast side of 12th Street, has also heard “it” for about a year, and usually at night, like Caspers.

“One time it sounded like it was in my backyard and scared the living crap out of me! Woke up on a dead sleep!” Kesten remembered.

She’s cycled through the ideas about what’s causing such a headache. At first she just dismissed it as train cars hooking up. Then she, too, considered the cannon possibility. After the last incident, a firework.

“I honestly have no idea what it is, it’s just totally weird! [I’m] getting so used to the boom that, if it ever stops, I’d be [like]: Where’s the boom?” she joked.

Something bigger…

In July of this year, Accuweather ran a story entitled “Mysterious ‘skyquakes’ continue across the world with few answers to their origins.”

The story’s author, Michael Kuhne, cited a figure that “more than 64 different incidents involving loud, unexplained booms worldwide” were reported in 2017, “according to a NY Post report.”

Later in the piece, he reckoned that possible explanations for the booms included lightning from distant thunderstorms, large meteors entering the atmosphere, earthquakes, mining operations such as blasting and super-sonic aircraft. And there was a case in San Diego that was attributed to jets.

But the closest large military base to Mason City is Camp Dodge in Johnston. So that wouldn’t explain larger, closer, booms.

So maybe aliens?

The website “Mysterious Universe” “looked into” the matter in February and said that there was a “deafening silence” on the part of law enforcement bodies. And while the article stops short of X-Files type speculation, the author does suggest that “Someone out there knows something the public doesn’t.”

To its credit, the article does also make mention of the “Baader-Meinhof phenomenon,” or “recency illusion.” Think of it like buying a car, and then starting to notice that make and model of car on the road a lot more because you now have a reason to look for it. That’s the Badder-Meinhof phenomenon. The threshold for confirmation bias is low too so it doesn’t take much for the effect to take hold.

And that may well be it then. It’s to a point where residents have almost “trained” themselves to listen for “the boom.” If it’s aliens though, we’ll at least know when they’re here.

Jared McNett
Globe Gazette


Bizzare & Odd

Strange sprite occurrences in Mexico: Signs of thing to come?

In the evening of July 11, 2020, the inhabitants of the Mexican province of Tabasco faced the following strange atmospheric phenomenon:

These obscure lights hung in the sky for several minutes, so some witnesses of the phenomenon could record everything on video:

The official explanation of what is happening, is the sprites. According to official statements, sprites are lightning, only very high. They do not last very long, therefore, they say, they have not been seen for such a long time and could only be discovered for the first time in 1989.

However, as is obvious from the video, “sprites” hung in the sky for a very long time. In addition, there were no thunderstorms and atmospheric fronts in this area, so they are not sprites by any means. Furthermore, if some kind of “sprites” were in nature – the Aztecs would draw them on their pyramids, and the ancient Romans would either have attributed the creation of sprites to Jupiter, which is metal lightning, or to a delegated authority to create sprites by other gods. Nevertheless, this is nothing – neither in myths, nor in rock art, so “sprites” are a completely new phenomenon that has only been observed in recent decades. But what is this phenomenon?

There are several explanations for the phenomenon and the most widespread suggests some global transformations of reality; Either something incomprehensible happens to the Earth, or something happens in the surrounding outer space, as a result of which such light phenomena appear in the sky.

The second explanation connects the “sprites” with the activities of aliens who either drove some new type of vehicles to the planet, or did something like terramorphing. Finally, there is also a third explanation that links the “sprites” to some secret military activity. It can be manipulations with the ionosphere or some holographic tricks with satellites, chemical trails and so on.

On the night of January 3rd to 4th of this year, the Iraqi people saw exactly the same thing:

And they saw the same thing a bit earlier in Texas and Canada:

The next important question is what should the Mexicans expect now?Nothing extraordinary happened after the sprites, although, given the incomprehensible source of this light, everything can occur soon – starting from an earthquake and ending with unknown developments.

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Bizzare & Odd

Meet Susan: how working remotely will change us in the future

© DirectlyApply

The Covid-19 pandemic has seriously affected the labor market. Employers transferred employees to a remote mode of operation, scientists are trying to understand how the new conditions will affect us and what will happen if we keep them. 

Some large companies are already thinking about closing their offices and points of sale in favor of working through the Internet, and Twitter invited all employees to stay on the remote forever.

Susan model illustrating the effect of office work on the body / © DirectlyApply
Susan model illustrating the effect of office work on the body / © DirectlyApply

According to a study conducted by IWG (International Workplace Group) , before the pandemic, 80% of respondents would prefer a job with more flexible working conditions. In April of this year, commercial property provider Cresa presented its study, which showed that 29% of people who switched to remote work feel less productive than in the office, despite the control of their bosses.

At the same time, some companies noted that the hybrid mode of operation (combining an office and a remote office) seems to them effective, and they are going to use it further. But such a schedule can affect people’s health. The DirectlyApply job search platform has shown what consequences await the “remote” workers if they do not change their daily habits.

Its creators invited a group of clinical psychologists and fitness experts to study how udalenka affects a person physically and psychologically. Experts explained what changes will occur with this mode of operation after 25 years. As a result, Susan appeared – a model of a typical remote employee of the future, on which they analyze in detail all the negative consequences.

50% of people around the world work outside the office for approximately 2.5 days

So, a constant presence in front of the monitor will cause “computer vision syndrome”, in which the eyes become dry and sore, and vision – blurred. In addition, red spots will begin to appear on the squirrels, and large bruises under the eyes.

Lack of physical activity and sitting in the wrong position will lead to curvature of the spine, back and neck pain, obesity and a tech neck (the effect of constantly looking at mobile devices and tablets): the skin will sag around the neck, and a second chin will appear. From constant work on the keyboard, the hands are deformed. A lack of vitamin D will cause hair loss, the skin will turn pale, dull and wrinkle.

Susan / © DirectlyApply
Susan / © DirectlyApply

Finally, a person working remotely will be constantly under stress, which will cause a mode of work and lack of personal contacts. From this, in turn, blood pressure rises, and the state of health worsens even more.

To preserve it, the authors of the study advise to adhere to several rules. It is important to maintain a constant mode of work, regularly perform physical exercises and from time to time go out to recover after a day spent at the computer. Psychologist Rachel Allan notes:

“Adhering to one lifestyle and level of productivity is necessary to maintain emotional health when working remotely. Routine gives us the opportunity to manage our time and maintain our attention. Think about how you want to manage your time and what will work best in the wider context of your life.”

One of the main problems that we encounter when working remotely is the lack of direct contact with people. Staying alone for long periods can increase the level of the stress hormone cortisol. Dr. Allan believes that “some of our most important professional relationships come from informal conversations and unstructured moments that organically arise in the physical workplace.” According to her, “remote work may require us to consciously create opportunities for informal communication with colleagues.”

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Bizzare & Odd

1947 film predicts smartphones and other modern technology

Inspired by Barjavel’s essay, a 70-year-old documentary offers the evolution of portable pocket television as well as a way people interact with objects. Today, parallels are drawn between the objects, like smartphones described in a short documentary.

Anne-Katrin Weber, television historian at Lausanne University, said:

People using miniature television devices in public places; professional meetings held by telephones with a picture; cars equipped with television screens; shops that advertise their products on television: these topics are from the 1947 short film Television: Oeil de Demain. Produced and directed by Raymond-Millet.

The film combines documentary and science fiction sequences, while also offering a television image in post-war France, as well as creative speculation about future developments.

While Raymond-Millet’s work is almost forgotten today, his film received a standing ovation for “predicting our present” and although the small portable devices used in the film have long retractable antennas that resemble the first cell phones, it shows that 70 years ago smartphones already existed. In fact, they mirror today’s smartphones that are in the pockets of almost every person.

At the end of the film, the audience is transferred to the bedroom, where the man is having trouble sleeping. He seems to be “invoking” the hologram of a dancing woman who appears on the bed and looks at her while his wife is sleeping.

The film outline about upcoming television shows, really look like a fairly accurate forecast of modern digital media in terms of flexibility and hybridity of media technologies and their various forms of consumption.

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