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Are they connected to espionage or even aliens?
But the truth is, as ever, more mundane.
Isaul Vargas, a New York-based software tester, spotted the videos in a post on BoingBoing and recognised them from an automation conference he had been at a year ago. They were being shown by a European firm that made streaming software for set-top boxes, the kit that sits under a TV and connects to services such as Sky or Netflix.
The company needed to be able to quickly and reliably upload digital video, a capability which it tested by uploading short, randomly generated snippets to its YouTube channel and running image-recognition software on it. "Considering the volume of videos and the fact they use YouTube, it tells me that this is a large company testing their video encoding software and measuring how Youtube compresses the videos," says Vargas.
So there's the answer. What looked like an insight into the murky world of espionage, or maybe even something otherworldly, turns out to be a little bit of a quality-control system leaking into the outside world.
Perhaps some puzzles are better left unsolved.