Monday, September 29, 2008

Who will win Bad Twin...

Lostpedia's birthday now a distant memory, time to round off the events properly and announce the winner of the competition. I gave an unprecedented audio code in my post last week, and then received a huge number of emails from you guys with your responses (once again, the volume of responses was a big surprise, especially considering the specialist nature of this one). So, first off, here is the correct answer:


The audio was in fact a tap code, used by prisoners of war to communicate secretly (kind of like an easy version of Morse). Check the Wiki page for the full explanation on how to decode - there's no need going through it fully as it's easy once you know how! Note there is no K in the tap code, so C is used instead - I got a number of emails saying I had made a gaffe and coded "LICE". Most people who solved the code actually didn't know about the tap code, but used a Polybius square 5x5 grid - which follows a similar principle. I was also very impressed by a couple of you who actually logically worked out the code without any prior knowledge or Wikipedia-ing at all. You may not win the book, but you win my respect for being natural codebreakers!

So, who is the winner.... well, the name is (drum roll).... Tom, from Belgium!!! Big congrats to you, an email will be heading your way soon, along with all my savings affording postage to Belgium...

Thanks to all for taking part, and hopefully we can do another competition soon - a holiday season one perhaps?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Recruits Get Promoted

Dharma sent out their usual day-late reminder email today, advertising Test 6 (see full message here). Old Hans gives us the usual spiel, but also tells us the names of recruits who contributed to the test, and so have been thus promoted to Instructor status. Congrats to:

Bboepple, DanyWho, Ellenh, Iseibert, Lost4evr, Mattabramson, Orangemoonbeam, Sawyer78, Wrinkledogs.

...Who now also receive special Dharma Initiative Instructor T-shirts. Good going, peeps - a lovely piece of memorabilia to cherish! Or sell to the highest bidder on eBay - your choice!

Hans also gives us a security notice - about how they're now doing a bit of house-keeping with regards to the cheats. They're also checking our scores for indicators that we used Black Swan's cheats, and accordingly will "deal with us". Eep! I'd find it highly amusing, however, if we all en masse got demoted to "Work Man" for cheating on the tests. Once more, Hans tells us NOT to cheat, but whether or not you listen to him is your decision - though what's the fun in playing it right, I say. There'd be no clues to solve!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Click and See

I take my invisible hat off to those of you who on Monday noted that in addition to the "honest man" proverb were the words "click" and "see". Well - you were right to question as today marks Test 6 - and those two words are the key to the cheat!

Test 6 is a catered multiple choice test for recruits - but to be fair its probably the most straight-forward of the tests. Every question can be cheated on, and when only your first run through counts, its a good thing too. To cheat, all you need do is "see" by holding down the "C" key. Right-CLICK and you'll find that there's a "black swan" option (pretty cool actually). Clicking that makes the correct answer flicker every time - making a very easy 100% score opportunity indeed.

I got put into the Demeter group, but there's also Apollo (little bar with the real big taste!), Ares, Athena, Hestia and Poseidon. I would have thought there'd be more groups than this though considering the trend to increase numbers each time? Anyway, I think it's interesting that while we're still on Greek Gods - these are some of the big players like Ares - seems like a progression from the start of giants and titans to the introduction of the Olympians (as per the chronology in fact, Zeus and co. overthrew the Titans, according to my Greek knowledge base that is Xena: Warrior Princess lol).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Do you think the Emmys lost the plot?

In picture: The Lost cast in 2005 after winning the "Outstanding Drama Series" award. Unfortunately, 2008 did not bring a repeat of such success.

The dust has now somewhat settled after Sunday's Emmy awards, though I notice some are still in uproar at some of the decisions. To be honest, the whole process confused me as I thought Lost was nominated for more than two major awards, but apparently that's not the case.

Relevance and controversy to Lost seems to surround the "Outstanding Supporting Actor In a Drama Series" award (note, Terry O'Quinn won this last year), and the "Outstanding Drama Series" award (Lost won this back in 2005). Should Emerson have won the supporting actor award though in your opinion? A number of blogs I found through Google seem to think so, and though I don't know the other nominees other than Shatner, I do think Emerson does a fantastic job. Hopefully next year he'll get the recognition he deserves!

What about outstanding drama series? Should Mad Men have won? I seem to find divided opinion - some blogs are very much in favor of the decision for a well-crafted show with great momentum. Meanwhile, others claim it was a poor choice, citing arguments such as that it airs on an obscure cable network with "anaemic" ratings (quote from "The Australian" online newspaper). Surely it's quality not quantity though, eh? What's your opinion as not-so-objective fans? Do you respect the choices, or believe a travesty has been committed? Or do you hold to the fact that nomination is satisfactory recognition in itself?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Lost Day! Win a copy of Bad Twin!

Note: The competition is now CLOSED.

Well the day has finally arrived, its September 22nd, the day Oceanic Flight 815 crashed onto the Island and the day the world brought us Lost. Its been four years now, and for Lostpedia it also marks our third year anniversary. Yes, on September 22nd 2005, Lostpedia launched, and since then we have grown to become one of the world's great wikis, of course building and expanding to include a thriving Forum, a charming chatroom, and an often when I'm at the helm bombastic blog.

Thought it might be nice to do what we did last year and reflect on how far we've come, check out comparisons between the Jack article (one of the first on Lostpedia) before and after:

September 22nd 2005
September 22nd, 2006
September 22nd, 2007
September 22nd, 2008

To celebrate the day though, I've decided to run a second Lostpedia competition, after the success of the first one where I gave away a copy of Lost: Via Domus (the winner has since received his goods, and is probably playing it as I type!). This time we have up for grabs a copy of "Bad Twin" by Gary Troup, who coincidentally died on September 22nd after the crash. As with the last contest, winning entries go into a hat and the one I pick out of said hat gets the prize, which I will send anywhere in the world for you (speed of delivery depends just how far I have to send it!). Again, legal mumbo jumbo about how I can't be held responsible should it get lost, yada yada, all rights reserved and all that, I keep your email details/personal info safe, blah de blah - you agree you won't sue me for some unforeseen reason, etc etc.

How do you enter? Well, all you need to do is listen to the audio below (aptly 1:08 in length as a matter of fact), and figure out what the message is. Its actually the answer to a question - if you can figure it out, tap it to nickb123ATlostpediaDOTcom along with your public username and what country you're from. Please also explain how you got the answer in the response, pot luck correct replies won't be counted. The last contest I did, I got LOTS of responses, so please do not be offended if I don't reply to any/all of them to notify you that you're wrong and should try again. I will offer some help and hints when needed, either by email or in the blog comments section. You have until Monday 29th to send entries. Good luck!!!

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

*A big thanks to Congested for helping me record, upload and embed this audio. I've switched to eSnips though after I exceeded bandwidth for Congested's site. If you have audio problems, try a direct link to the audio here. If there's still a problem, contact me and I will email you the mp3 file.

ARG Whispers

First of all, happy September 22nd to all Lost fans. I have drafted a proper post and a new competition to celebrate the day, but this will have to go on hold until the evening - as ARG land also decided to do a little something for the day too.

Head over to where you'll hear some rather weird noises. Thanks to the dudes at LostARGs and DarkUFO who've pieced together some of the words, including - he/cheat, resembles, more, a, right, man, nothing, click, ?? (Inaudable), and, honest, see. The best theory on this so far is that it relates to the French proverb - "Nothing resembles an honest man more than a cheat". Certainly seems like Black Swan is telling us to continue cheating, and to disregard anything good old Hans says about playing the game true.

Also heard that some recruits have been emailed about their recruited-made tests. Apparently, Dharma wants some of the questions, and has been offerring out instructor status. However, it seems they want you to print and sign release forms and fax them back to them in order to do it. Faxing - so legal, can they not just accept scanned and emailed copies I wonder? Nothing of real sleuth interest though here, other than the release document reiterates that this ARG is still called "Dharma Initiative Recruiting Project (the "Project")."

Stay tuned for the special Lostpedia birthday post, and the new competition that will be running so you can get yourself a Lost-related prize. The clue is pretty awesome if I do say so myself, a real ARG style mystery... :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Book Club Moves to "Slaughterhouse-Five" October 1st Onwards

As always, huge thanks to those who waded through "Lord of the Flies" for September's read. On October 1st, we move on to "Slaughterhouse-Five", by Kurt Vonnegut (not all THAT slaughtery apparently, don't judge a book by its cover). This is one which I personally am excited about, as not only does it have big Lost connections about time travel and what not - it also uses these out-there elements as devices to reflect the human condition (quite a Buffyesque style by the sounds of it, which I'm a big fan of). The book will undoubtedly also cater for the big sci-fi junkies amongst you anyway, so let's look forward to a great book and great Forum discussion about it!

A little memo - we're going to be removing the "live chat" function, as its becoming difficult for peeps to get online at a specified time, and also its hard to use the main chatroom and moderate. The forum discussion threads for the books remain strong, and Chat can always be used to discuss the book on an informal basis (which to be honest, is what I've been doing with the last two books mostly). Monthly reads will still OFFICIALLY last for about 3 weeks, with a cooling off period of a week which I'll use (like with this post right now) to advertise the forthcoming reads. However, threads remain open, so read-time is essentially the full month if you wish. Please let me know if you have a comment to make about this shake-up.

On a brighter note, November's book has already been decided, and it will be.... Alice in Wonderland!!! By this, we mean both "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" AND "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There". The idea of two-in-one sounds like book club suicide, but in fact most later editions available do print the two together in a combined book - so hopefully it still should be easy to source. The voting for November was tied between Alice and The Third Policeman, but I decided after October's book (which is tricky to source), we should go with a widely available book before Third Policeman (which could be December's if you vote for it!). Anyway, you have over a month to find an Alice book. As usual, you can be an early bird by checking USA library locations to borrow, or Amazon to buy. Internationals - check your local libraries or regional Amazon!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Holy **** I say as I learn that there is a better cheat for Test 5. I'm sorry this is late y'all, but a huge shout-out to Nicole88 who posted on Lostpedia about a much better cheat.

When you get to the Conway sequence question like this:

32 1312 11131112 ______

We get the answer is 31133112, but don't enter this, CLICK! Click 1113112 (3rd one) then 32 (1st) then 32 again (1st) and so forth to make a full 31133112 sequence. A noise sounds and voila, 100% score. You can even skip every question prior to the Conway sequence one, and then every one after it!!!


Call Hans Van Eeghen?!

Dharma sent out a new email today, firstly advertising Test 5 as a reminder to those who have yet to take it, but also to notify us that the Dharma recruitment tests will end on October 7th. They all inform us that roles and group allocations will then be conducted to decide where to place us within their latest research project (relating to that Pierre Chang video one surmises). We will also get our volunteer assessment dossier things. See the full newsletter here.

But the real kicker in this newsletter is the sourcecode message from Black Swan. It reads:
13237438573 - say Hi from BS

So what are those numbers? Well its a phone number! Call 1-323-743-8573 and you reach the voicemail of Hans Van Eeghen?! TPTB are now basing out of Los Angeles instead of Australia huh, which is where the number is apparently from. If you are international, dial 001-323-743-8573, but be prepared for major cost issues (get permission from whoever pays the bill, as they used to say on children phone-in shows). Here's what it says when you dial anyway (it rings a few times first, which scared the be-jebus out of me):
Namaste. You have reached the voicemail of Hans Van Eeghen, the Dharma Initiative's head of recruiting. Unfortunately I am unable to take your call right now, but I do hope you leave a message so that I may address your inquiry at a later time. Thank you and Namaste.
Then goes the beep and you can leave a message. I bottled out, however, I must say - just hanging up. I should have gone with "Hi from Lostpedia and Black Swan" but meh. Try the number though guys, and comment about what messages you leave, and how much you lose calling what has to be a premium rate number, right?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Lostpedia Test

I figured as the Dharma recruit-made tests have a submission deadline by today, I should take advantage with a last minute test. This isn't just an excuse for me to get some extra Dharma points, I thought this test would do well to coincide with the anniversary we all know that's coming up in a few days for Lost, and our site (uhoh, clue to a question).

The questions are all about Lostpedia - I know, not as fun, but interesting tidbits you may or may not know about the site which grew from a few bullet pointed articles on a wiki, to a full prosey community, ranked as one of the greatest wikis in the world! Take the test:

The Lostpedia Dharma Test

Next test in the sequence

What is the best wake up in the morning besides normal Dharma updates, well Dharma updates with maths - bound to jerk you out of blissful ignorance and into the world where you realize you are just plain ignorant. People, its Test 5!!!

In terms of test subjects, maths has to be, personally, a bad zone (I hope many of you would agree). Its pointless, I don't care that I can figure out a weird x=nx4-2, etc - it is of little use. However, apparently it is of use with this test - sequencing. They aren't all 5, 6, 7, 8, ___ though - this test includes some tough algebraic cookies. For example, see the image I uploaded. 3, 13, 53, 213, 853 ____ (answer 3413). Now I did get this one, but I mean its x4+1, not exactly THAT easy. One I really couldn't get was 1, 7, 23, 55, 109 ___ and I still don't know, I just Googled and got this site, so the answer is 191 then haha. The last few questions seem to be Fibonacci-esque a lot, so using the one bit of maths I do know from being a codebreaker fan, that wasn't too difficult (though I'd imagine it could be if you had no prior knowledge). The other question that would have bust me if I hadn't known was the one that relates to the cheat....

There's a new vid featuring good old Hans, where he tells us not to cheat, and that he's currently onto Black Swan, who is "on the inside" you might say. Good clarification there from the PTB about that old hack. During the vid though there's a lil flashing white thingy on the bottom right of the screen - guessed it pretty quick - old Morse. Now I did order a lovely Morse kit (geek I know) which never arrived, so unfortunately I fail and had to rely on others to break it. I give shout-out to Sayid'sGirl from LostARGs (good friends of Lostpedia), who got this baby: THE CHEAT IS IN THE SEQUENCE BUT THE SEQUENCE IS THE ANSWER. This seems to relate to the weird sequence question, using a style like 32, 1312, 11131112, ____ - the answer is actually a Conway sequence, so you take the whole thing verbally, 32 is "one three, one two", and then 1312 is "one one, one three, one one, one two", etc. So the final one in my above example would be 31133112 (I think).

So finally we get to groups - there's six this time it would seem - Aether, Chaos, Chronos, Hemera, Nyx and Oranos (another way of spelling Uranus, gives it a nice Oceanic edge regardless whether its the correct form or not - I've no idea). All of them belong to the elite group of Greek primordial gods - least we ain't got Titans anymore. I'm in Oranos (lol to Anna who pointed out that its a good thing they changed the spelling for Uranus, otherwise that sentence takes on whole new meaning!), having gone from Otus to Oceanus and now another O group. The pic is also by Henri Fantin-Latour if you're interested, of the Queen of the Night (so I'm inferring Nyx from this). It was either this pic or the one on the Wikipedia article that shows boob - and I didn't wanna get political correctness outcry as Lostpedia is a family site, even if it is a very cool painting (and I mean that artistically!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Test 4 email

Just a quick update about a new email today from Hans (see here), basically advertising Test 4. I noticed on yesterday's message (email version only) that these newsletters are now being called "reminders" - which is better considering they get sent out a day later than the test release! Nothing in the source code, but Hans mentions thinking "outside the octagon", a possible reference to Test 3. Also, there's info about becoming eligibe for "instructor" positions at Dharma - if you get mucho points I'm assuming rather than how good your quizzes are. Might be interesting, and could open up secret messages or vids? I dunno about marginalizing though - we all know that instructors by point basis is pretty dumb considering how many hacker cheats we have out there. Hence, I decided not to pull a RuckusGuy/Bronson and say jokingly "I'm going to make sure I pass their test" cause I know I really won't.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Brain Teasers

Yawn, an early start in ARG land today with a surprise Test 4 making an appearance! I figured it would be next week, but no, its a proper task, complete with a cheat. A new email was also sent out advertising the "make your own test" thing - a day late again - I guess they're just reminders though. Weirdly I can't seem to access the newsletter from the site itself - if I follow the link it brings up a username and password box... let me know if you have better luck.

To Test 4, its style is similar to that of Test 2, multiple choice covering a range of topics, including a few fiendish ones on mathematical logic I noticed - I'm not good with percentages! I wonder if these questions are fan-made? Anyway, I was worried as it said only your first run-through counts, and at this time I wasn't completely sure what the cheat was, but managed to figure it out by the end. The final question is just like Test 2, asking "what is the answer to this question". I figured out that it must be like test 2 where you need to write in a code, and so remembering the video clue from yesterday, entered "Mittelwerk". Sure enough, this was the code and option "B:C" flashed, revealing the answer. Good times. I hope though that the Mittelwerk thing wasn't just a flippant code, I'd love to find out that he is actually involved in the narrative... but any TLE reference really is fine by me.

New groups are also up, again they are all titans from Greek mythology. We've got: Atlas, Crius, Cronus, Helios and Oceanus (click for Wiki info). I got Oceanus, who I'm not aware of, but I know that Cronus was at some point the leader of the Titans (thank you Xena), and that Atlas held the world on his shoulders. If there is some unifying theory possible for all five, Higgs Boson the comments section.

Thanks to those who took my tests as well, its great to finally get some Dharma points. Do keep posting your tests too, I've played all the blog comment ones and most of the Forum ones and they're pretty great - my faves being the Psych ones and the Simpsons one. If you still wanna do my tests, they're on Lost ARGs, Psychology and Literature.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Best DWY Test ;)

I logged on today expecting a challenging new test, saw the Lostpedia clue page with some black and white squares and thought "oh, some kind of chess game!" - but no, that was just part of a video. Test 4 is, literally, what we make it. You can create your own test! The first reaction I had was "are they running out of ideas ALREADY" to warrant asking us to make the tests for them, but then I figured maybe its actually part of the story - and also maybe for the first time I can actually get some friggin Dharma points!!!

If you would like to take my test, which is aptly based on Lost alternate reality game trivia, inc. TLE, F815 and DIRP, then follow the link (I wonder if it'll get taken down...). Apparently you get 50 Dharma points for every person who takes your test, and also the chance to be in some official Dharma portfolio, gaining you a swish 500 points. I do see a slight flaw in the logic though, as I hear anyone can "cheat" by taking their own test over and over, but hey its still fun, and I'd love to take other peoples' tests if they link in the comments section - I'm a bit of a quiz show fan so I think I'll enjoy this portion of the story!

But now we come to the part of the story which I'm really excited about - the video. There was a brief glitch during Hans Van Eeghen's talk about making your own test. Now I have no claim to this find, BUT the glitch thing is actually a data matrix 2D barcode, and that barcode says "reiwtletmk"... and an anagram of this is.... wait for it.... MITTELWERK! DA DA DA, DA DAH! Having almost literally written the book on Mittelwerk (I devised a large amount of the Lostpedia article on him), I'm very excited at the awesome TLE reference! But is it a mere shout-out or something huge. Remember what happened at the end of The Lost Experience? (go here and click the word "humanity"). Could this reconstituted Dharma Initiative be a separate gig from Hanso as was surmised, being run on the QT by the evil Thomas Werner Mittelwerk, who's planning a new way to kill 30% of us with a third-world health and safety not-so-tested viral agent? I'm now slightly more inclined to be supporting Black Swan/RuckusGuy/Dan Bronson in their efforts to take down this supposedly altruistic group, especially if ponytail man is behind the action. Very cool though, the game is finally starting to over-reach into a real narrative, and now half-way through the testing phase, things seem to be hotting up.

P.S. I also made tests on Psychology and classic literature if anyone is interested.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Fringe airs tonight 8pm ET on FOX

Pretty much as the title states, the series premiere of JJ Abram's new show, Fringe, will begin airing tonight on FOX. Many Lost fans are also big JJ fans, so I figured there should be some mention. Perhaps also the show might throw out some references to Lost - which seems to be something JJ does a lot - he did a couple of references to Lost in Mission Impossible III, for example. It does sound like a decent show in its own right, however - will it be as big if not bigger than Lost? Well FOX have already launched their own official "Fringe wiki", and if you're not a fan of wet paint wikis like me, there's even already a fan-made "Fringepedia"! (No affiliation to LP). Looks like this show is already a hit with some people, promising considering it hasn't even aired yet!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Test 3 email

A dull clue post for today, hence the not even trying with a catchy headline - just an email from our old friend Hans about test 3 being active. View the message here. I had considered just not even bothering posting this info, as there's nothing in the source code it seems, and nothing really of interest at all in the message.

Bit of a dreary day today, the inevitable let-down after the sudden rush of development with the new test, and indeed video content! Hopefully next week's test will also bring us video and therefore character appearances, maybe even with the infamous Black Swan (who I even dreamed about yesterday - I found out who he/she was and how the name was a clue, but I can't remember what it was, only that the answer involved something like Gustav or Gasta?! - somehow I doubt that it was prophetic...)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Well you wait for a Dharma bus and then it finally comes along with four other buses which you then have to narrowly avoid for 100 seconds in a confined space. Yeah I think I pretty much just slaughtered that expression there... Ladies and gents, its Test number 3!!!

The bus thing is about right though, so much seems to have happened in the space of 24 hours, I feel like Jack Bauer, except with much worse technology (still ain't got a proper wireless, so I'm leeching from an unreliable server - perfectly legal though!). Anywayz, I think first we should mention the new video on the site, featuring the ever suspicious and hard to place accent of Hans Van Eeghen. Hans gives us a little insight, congratulations spectacular results on the DWY tests (obviously oblivious to our little cheat fest), and also mentions the hacker "Black Swan" - apparently behind these little hacks. So the confusing part is - is Black Swan RuckusGuy, or is he Dan? Or is he both! This whole thing is confusing, maybe Dan Bronson was just a sidekick to someone bigger?

With the mystery video also came some glitchy hacks, which spelled out B P M 40 60". Stick it together and you get BPM 40-60, which apparently in music corresponds to the word "lento". There do seem to be other possible cheats, like right-clicking to pause the game, but this must be the proper method for passing Test 3.

Test 3 is called a Dexterity and Attentiveness Evaluation. Basically, you're controlling a Dharma logo and have to dodge little biddy asteroids for 100 seconds. The speed increases though, so its pretty tough to last for a full marks 100. However, typing in "lento" seems to make the asteroids speed drop dramatically, giving you time to move around safely. The cheat only lasts for a few seconds though, but you can repeat it. So you just need to find a safe corner, type lento and then repeat until you survive the game without a collision.

After a successful cheat, you'll be placed into one of four new groups - Antaeus, Enceladus, Tityos and Otus (I'm in the latter). All four names are giants from Greek myth - again with the Greek!

Right that's a full round-up, now I'm back to real-world movey stuff - I've had non-Dharma workmen in my kitchen during the entire time of writing this blog fixing the boiler... oh the glam of the secret and dangerous hacker Black Swan world is so appealing right now...

Keep track of these developments at Lostpedia's clue page, which includes a YouTube version of the Hans video.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Lord of the Flies read begins

Today officially marks the beginning of our Lord of the Flies read-time. Hope everyone who wishes to take part now has a copy. The reading lasts for three weeks, however, so you have some time if you're a real latecomer.

You can discuss the book on the Forums here or use the Chat service using a direct browser link here. A live chat will also be conducted on the final day of the reading period, Saturday September 20th. Hope to see you there!

As a fyi warning, October's book will be.... Slaughterhouse Five. Don't judge it purely on the name, its a gripping tale involving time travel and the analysis of the human condition, apparently. It could be a tough one to source, I'm not sure, but as ever here's a couple of handy links if you want to buy/borrow the book and you're in the USA. Internationals, my advice is, as usual, Amazon.

Buy Slaughterhouse-Five

Borrow Slaughterhouse-Five


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