Unfavorable Semicircle

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What is Unfavorable Semicircle?

Unfavorable Semicircle is the name of a Youtube channel posting strange videos. This community is dedicated to finding out what they mean.

While UFSC remains "unsolved" as to its origins and purposes, it has created a community devoted to exploring it, as well as serving as artistic inspiration.

What do we know about Unfavorable Semicircle?

Origins

On April 5, 2015 a YouTube channel named Unfavorable Semicircle started uploading strange videos. Generally these videos:

  • were 5 seconds long
  • had a man's voice saying a letter or number
  • had a solid background with a colour pixel in the frame

With a few exceptions, the names of the videos start with ♐, the astrological symbol for Sagittarius.

The initial videos from were titled with strings of digits. Around February 14, 2016 videos titled "♐BRILL" followed by a number counting up were posted.

Attention and disappearance

There is no indication that the youtube channel made any efforts to attract attention, but due to the volume of uploads and strange nature of the videos, observers started to take notice. Reddit threads on r/UnexplainedPhotos/ and r/DeepIntoYouTube/ brought attention to the phenomenon, which lead to the formation of /r/UnfavorableSemicircle/ to centralize investigations.

Blog and media attention followed, including articles on Atlas Obscura and the BBC. Unfavorable Semicircle was going viral.

Then, at approximately 15:40 EST, on February 25, 2016 the Unfavorable Semicircle YouTube account was suspended for TOS violations - most likely from uploading too many videos too fast.

Investigation and reappearance

The suspension of the original youtube channel only increased the interest in the phenomenon, and theories and ideas blossomed on the reddit.

On March 15, 2016 garbled text was discovered on the Google+ page linked with the terminated YouTube account. This was decoded to be source of a Twitter account and also contained a link to a second YouTube account. Both these accounts were named Unfavorable Semi. (Since then, there have been several "copycat" channels re-posting the videos but this was the only "official" youtube account.)

This was the beginning of the "modern era" of UFSC, and a huge amount of data continued to be posted, although there are few solid conclusions to be made as to the underlying reasons. On youtube and twitter, there have been many series of videos (some with over thirty thousand videos apiece) which often alternate with one-off unique videos.

The meaning of the videos and the intent of their creator(s) remains unclear. One key discovery was that many of them contain individual frames that can be assembled into larger pictures. These composites, however, are equally mysterious. The audio in these videos ranges from distorted carnival music to barely-comprehensible speech to what might be encoded binary audio.

Continuing efforts

After a pause of several weeks, on September 16th 2016, Unfavorable Semicircle became active again. During this downtime, a second youtube channel named Stabilitory newing was launched. A post on the main channel's Google+ page would later suggest a link to Stabilitory newing, which would start posting videos in its own variation on the UFSC "style".

Discoveries over the next year would include:

  • that the large composite for ♐HARVEST contains small (but legible) text that was taken from the introduction to the Wikipedia article on "Art".
  • that some videos (such as ♐BREADTH) whose regular composites create only color gradients, can in fact be used to extrapolate 3-D Composites.
  • various efforts to reverse-engineer UFSC's process to create videos that create UFSC-like composites.
  • credible speculation that the glitches in UFSC videos exist to explore so-called Stagefright and Rowhammer exploits in Android.
  • that the music in ♐RETIO appears to be Miss Patricola with the Virginians' 1922 recording of a song called "Away Down East In Maine".

A "strange reset"

On September 15, 2017, after more than two months of silence, a new video named ♐RESET STRANGE YD was posted. Shortly after that, videos were being manually deleted from the youtube account before the account was manually terminated. Around the same time, the stabilitory newing youtube account and twitter account were also deleted by their users.

After the "reset" the only known account connected to UFSC is the G+ page.

Twitter returns, and a new youtube channel

Some time in November 2017, the @unfavorablesemi twitter account was either reactivated by the creator(s) of UFSC or claimed by another user. On November 25th it tweeted a cryptic text string, and then a sort series (♐FMI) followed by a standalone video (♐DDR_DONE). Since the Twitter account had been deleted and is now reactivated, suspicion arises that this might not be the original author(s). The quality of the work and consistency with past material has, however, deemed it as worthy of further investigation from the community.

On New Year's Eve, another cryptic tweet was posted, and when the text was decoded the next day, it lead to the discovery of a new youtube channel.

What is ♐REAL?

Shortly before the announced ending of the Google+ service, it was observed that the third G+ post was removed; shortly after that, a new post appeared. Headed "♐REAL", it contained a list of various accounts, giving the implication that these are the products of UFSC's creator(s). The absence of the third youtube channel (as well as the caveat that the original Twitter account was real up to the date of the Reset) casts doubt on the authenticity of all the post-reset videos.

Catching up/Articles to read

Take a look at the theories page as well as the Timeline, and the List of Things Accomplished/Tried.

Joining the Community

We're a fairly active community, dedicated to solving this mystery. There is a lot of work to be done! Because there are so many unknown parts to this phenomenon, a wide variety of skills are required. Coding, video editing and sound engineering are being employed to try and figure this out, but even if you don't know anything about those fields, your own particular expertise (as well as your questions and your analytical mind) is still important!

Subreddit

https://reddit.com/r/UnfavorableSemicircle

Discord Chat

https://discord.gg/0153LdFL1F3RQmns9

  • The chat is fairly active 24/7, so feel free to join us. We'll do our best to bring you up to speed.

The videos

The original youtube account was shut down for TOS violations, and that could happen again — or UFSC could simply pull the plug at some point. An important part of the work on this project is ensuring that the videos will remain available to this community and future researchers.

Archives

An archive (large, but not complete) of the videos from the original youtube account can be found here: http://www.mediafire.com/?94a040t5vwsprwx

(n.b. The 7zip is 300MB, but what's inside is 7.5GB, 77442 files)

An archive of the videos from the second youtube account can be found here: https://mega.nz/#F!ThAi2TZT!kFlgV0_JDaFeQdVWmJG7bg

tomasf has an archive of some videos here, including most major videos of the deleted channel as well as the deleted video SQEN.

A mirror of the 3 sources above is also available here (note that the website is very slow but it will eventually open and allow you to download the files at normal speed, just be patient). Total mirror size is just under 2GB.

Grabbing new videos

There are several ways to download the videos that are posted on youtube.

  • youtube-dl is a command line utility for downloading videos from YouTube, Twitter, and other sites. It can download groups of videos by keyword or channel, and control the format of the video and audio it downloads in.
  • JDownloader is a free, open-source download management tool which will download material in the same format it was uploaded.
  • Discord user spicy boy indicates that ClipConverter is the best online youtube downloader.
  • Firefox users can use add-ons such as Download YouTube Videos as MP4, which integrates with YouTube's interface, adding a button to download YouTube videos directly from YouTube.