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An image of This Thing (a scientific technical term) may never previously have appeared on the Web. Vleeptron just got it via an e-mail attachment from the image's creator.
No hints yet. If you want hints, you have to beg and whine.
I think the first correct identification of This Thing deserves a lot of pizza. 2 Large Pizzas with sausage, shitake mushrooms, pesto, and a large antipasto on the side.