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Friday, December 14, 2018

Decemystery 13: Unfavorable Semicircle

The icon often associated with Unfavorable Semicircle.
This mystery is a modern day legend. By the standards of internet mysteries, Unfavorable Semicircle is topped only by Cicada 3301 in the way of cult followings and a fanbase dedicated to solving it. I personally am absolutely fascinated by this mystery simply because of the life it’s taken on. But let’s not waste time on the philosophical angles of internet mysteries. Let’s instead dive headfirst into this gem.

And immediately stop. I want to make something clear: I’m basing most of this history part from the official Unfavorable Semicircle wiki. So, full credit goes to them for this. As for why I’m doing this: I’d be here for hours if I used a fine comb to throw every detail there is to this story into a single blog. Maybe down the line, if I ever find myself bored to death, I’ll write a thorough documentary script about this story. Until then, I’m going to try to keep this brisk and as abridged as humanly possible.

This legend comes to us from YouTube—and I’m aware that I just did a mystery that took place on YouTube. To that, I say: go write your own blog series if you hate it. Anyways, on March 30th of 2015, the original YouTube channel was started up. There is no activity until April 5th of that year when a staggering 1,247 videos were uploaded. Every one of them was silent—and some of these videos were uploaded within seconds of each other. Their length also varied very heavily; some being mere seconds long while others were upwards of twelve hours. The wiki also claims that some of these videos had a voice that spoke that either “one” or “zero”, which to me sounds like binary. There were also apparently some videos that had microphone fumbling and “very personal” sounds; such as the microphone being flicked a heartbeat.

With that said: anyone who’s ever dealt with YouTube and their uploading process knows that it’s a nightmare and not the greatest in the world. So for this many videos to be uploaded in rapid succession has led some to believe that this channel was akin to another oddly named one: Webdriver Torso.

For the uninitiated: Webdriver Torso was a channel that uploaded peculiar content of its own. It consisted of two varying shapes—red and green—and a few varying tones. These videos were usually between ten and twenty seconds in length. The consistently odd content led some people to speculate on whether or not the channel belonged to Google—which it did. They stated that Webdriver Torso was used to test audio and uploading functionalities.

Although the content on Unfavorable Semicircle wasn’t exactly in the same league as Webdriver Torso’s, it did bear the same mysterious air that the latter bore when first discovered. So, some just brushed it off as another testing channel for Google and went on with their lives.

That is, until Unfavorable Semicircle was banned.

This raised enough red flags for some to believe that the Soviets had returned from the dead and were finally invading the United States. Although one could’ve potentially passed off the entire thing as a spam bot, the cryptic and enigmatic nature of Unfavorable Semicircle struck the mystery bone in the bodies of some. Thus, the hunt was on to figure out the truth behind the channel.

As luck would have it, Undesirable Halfcircle wasn’t done. A Twitter account was created on March 7th of 2016. Between this, numerous other videos were posted on both the first and second channels—and that didn’t show any sign of slowing down. Unfavorable Semicircle continued to post video after video and cryptic video after cryptic video. To give you guys an idea, I’ll pull up two random videos that are linked on the wiki and give a brief rundown of their content.

The first is a video called LOVE. According to the wiki, it was posted on Unfavorable’s second YouTube channel and came out a week after the “FEND” series ended and just before the “FOND” series began. The wiki classifies many of the videos into numerous series’, though I can’t quite figure out why, though I believe it has to do with certain videos bearing similar titles and styles in their cryptic nature.

LOVE is a minute and fifty-one seconds long and has a picture of what looks like a distorted barcode as muffled sounds and possibly a voice plays over it. The image shifts around a bit until the video hits 21 seconds—at which point I have to use the arrow keys on my keyboard to advance the video if I want to skip the painful sounds of the video. If I do, the content is no different than it was seconds earlier.

The second video was uploaded on the second channel on May 24th, 2016. It’s a minute and thirty-three seconds long and simply titled CREM. The wiki purports that it contains dialogue, though all I heard was muffled and somewhat garbled gibberish. This happens for about forty-ish seconds until the video goes dead silent. The image in the background is half black and half white—not unlike the original channels profile picture (as seen above). I will say though: it’s likely that the “dialogue” may either be audible if this is run through some sort of software that I’m not aware of or I somehow missed it in my drowsy state of mind.

These are but two of an insurmountable number of videos that have either been archived by fan channels or have been uploaded by a third channel that has (somehow) been confirmed to be an official Unfavorable Semicircle channel—and two Twitter accounts (though it’s unknown if the newer one was made by the individual[s] who run the channels). As of the writing of this blog, there’s a subreddit, websites, and a Discord server dedicated to solving the mystery of Unfavorable Semicircle. There also exist a few theories—which I won’t be going over with the wiki, though I’m sure that I’ll list off the same ones as they’re pretty common.

The first is that it’s the government. When in doubt, the government is to blame. The reasoning behind this is that the channel is being used to transmit coded messages of sorts. Exactly why the FBI or CIA would use such a public platform to transmit messages is anyones guess. The former is dedicated to criminal investigation and the latter is, well, the CIA. If a reader of this blog has any idea as to why this is a theory, please leave a comment explaining it.

The second is that it’s aliens attempting to communicate with us via YouTube. Next.

The third is that it’s actually an account owned by Google and they are, for some inexplicable reason, not telling the truth. If you have any idea why this is, tell me in the comments section.

The fourth, most likely, and most prevalent/popular theory is that this is some peculiar ARG (Alternate Reality Game) or just a puzzle by people doing their own Cicada 3301-esque puzzle. However, for what purpose is up for debate and that’s sadly something I can’t think of. I’d lump the possibilities of that into the same ones as I listed in the Cicada blog.

Unfavorable Semicircle’s legacy isn’t done any justice by this blog. I spent a lot of time cracking nonsensical jokes and left out a lot of details. The truth of the matter is: I wanted to catch up on this series after missing a day and there’s an insane amount of detail that relates heavily to the videos and other things that I lack the time and effort to write about. If you want to know more about this, follow the hyperlink above to the wiki and check up some videos on the channel on YouTube. It’s extremely interesting. As for the truth behind the channel: perhaps some dedicated amateur sleuths will one day crack the case. Until then, this is a semicircle that will likely not become a full circle any time soon.

1 comment:

  1. Tyler "Bio" RodriguezDecember 14, 2018 at 11:53 PM

    Honestly it all sounds like an incredibly weird performance art. It's never really been stated to be a puzzle like cicada. Though posting that many videos that quickly is a logistical nightmare.