Monthly Archives: September, 2012

Aeon Magazine

It’s been a while since I added a new science fiction magazine and I’ve found a new one – Aeon from the U.K.

Like someone is there

Ineffable encounters and moments of ego-transcendence can be quite matter-of-fact. What’s really going on?

Ken MacLeod 28 September 2012

Two-Travellers-by-Jack-YeatsJack Butler Yeats The Two Travellers© Estate of Jack B Yeats. All rights reserved, DACS 2012here are two kinds of experience, both of which have happened to me several times, and I can’t explain either of them. In fact, I could make up any number of explanations for them on the spot: they may be mysterious but they’re not mystical, and they don’t make me suspect for a moment that anything inexplicable is going on. But I’ve never actually come across an explanation of them, or even an account by someone else of having had them. I’ve described them as best I could as minor incidents in novels, and I’ve hardly ever heard anyone say they knew just what I was talking about.

The first kind dates from my late childhood and early teens. It hasn’t happened since. Until the age of 10 I lived on the Isle of Lewis and that’s where it first took place. I may have been eight or nine at the time. On hot, sunny afternoons — which were rare — I would go exploring up a narrow glen near our house. Its sides were rocky and steep: two cliffs, face to face. On its floor a single-track road ran alongside a small river. I’d do daft, dangerous things like walking along a water pipe that crossed the burn beside an ancient stone bridge, or clambering from boulder to boulder. And now and again, I climbed up the side of the glen to sit on the lip of a rock step near the top, commanding the roads with an imaginary machine-gun.

On at least one, maybe more, of these adventures I became intensely aware of something that rang from the silence, sunlight, solitude, and rock. I can only describe it as a sense of some enormous presence. It was everywhere, like the shimmer of the heat in the air. Maybe I was frightened at first but that passed, and it became something that was just there, like the light.

A tale of dual awareness?

Read the rest here.

Science Fiction and Real World Warfare

From Foreign Policy:

Last month, Small Wars Journal managing editor Robert Haddick asked whether new technology has rendered aircraft carriers obsolete. Well, not everyone thinks so, especially in science-fiction, where “flat tops” still rule in TV shows like Battlestar Galactica. So FP’s Michael Peck spoke with Chris Weuve, a naval analyst, former U.S. Naval War College research professor, and an ardent science-fiction fan about how naval warfare is portrayed in the literature and television of outer-space.

Foreign PolicyHow has sci-fi incorporated the themes of wet-navy warfare? How have warships at sea influenced the depiction of warships in space?

Chris Weuve: There are a lot of naval metaphors that have made their way into SF. They are analogs, models of ways to think about naval combat. When people started writing about science-fiction combat, it was very easy to say that a spaceship is like a ship that floats on the water. So when people were looking for ways to think about, there was a tendency to use models they already understood. As navies have changed over time, that means there is a fair number of models that various science fiction authors can draw on. You have a model that resembles the Age of Sail, World War I or World War II surface action, or submarines, or fighters in space. Combine a couple of those, and you have aircraft carriers in space. I’m not one who gets hung up on the real physics because it is science fiction. But all of these models are based more upon historical analogs then analysis of the actual situation in space.

FPLet’s reverse the question. Has sci-fi affected the way that our navies conduct warfare?

CW: This is a question that I occasionally think about. Many people point to the development of the shipboard Combat Information Center in World War II as being inspired by E.E. Doc Smith’s Lensman novels from the 1940s. Smith realized that with hundreds of ships over huge expanses, the mere act of coordinating them was problematic. I think there is a synergistic effect. I also know a number of naval officers who have admitted to me that the reason they joined the Navy was because Starfleet Command wasn’t hiring.

FPHow do these different space warfare models differ from their oceanic counterparts?

CW: Science fiction authors and moviemakers tend to gravitate towards historical models they — and their audience — understand.  So, sometimes you end up with “submarines in space” — but a submarine is a vessel designed to hide under the water, which obscures your vision and forces you to use capricious sensors like sonar.  Space, on the other hand, is wide open, and any ship putting out enough heat to keep its crew alive stands out from the background, if you have enough time to look.  Other times we get “dreadnoughts in space,” with gunnery duels like Jutland — but again, hiding is hard, so this battle should take place at extreme range.  Or you get “airplanes in space,” which largely ignores that airplanes work in the real world because they take advantage of the fact that air and sea have different attributes.

All of these models are fun, and some work better than others, but they all present space combat in a way that doesn’t really fit with the salient attributes of space.  And lest I get a thousand emails from people who say I don’t understand how combat in their favorite universe works — yes, I do.  My answers are necessarily approximations for this interview.  Someday I should write a book.

I would certainly hope that mankind doesn’t spread its’ particular brand of tribal warfare into the Solar System and the galaxy.
Even if we breed a successor species that spreads throughout the Cosmos, I fear we’ll pass on that particular nasty genocidal gene.
I pray we don’t.

Filmmaker Dan Mack’s Response to Lord Martin Rees

From Huffington Post:

Lord Martin Rees recently offered The Huffington Post his opinion about UFOs:

“No serious astronomer gives any credence to any of these stories … I think most astronomers would dismiss these. I dismiss them because if aliens had made the great effort to traverse interstellar distances to come here, they wouldn’t just meet a few well-known cranks, make a few circles in corn fields and go away again.”

Such sweeping statements from well regarded scientists are endlessly frustrating to the UFO researcher. Particularly given that interest in UFOs actually drives some people to study astronomy! Unfortunately the idea that only kooks see UFOs is prevalent.

But because Lord Rees is a scientist, the correct answer is to provide him with scientific data that is directly relevant to his claim. I am aware of only three attempts to scientifically gauge what percentage of astronomers see UFOs. Two show that not only do astronomers see UFOs in America, but many are afraid to report their sightings because they fear professional and public ridicule. The final source indicates that astronomers see UFOs at a dramatically greater rate than the general population.

On August 6, 1952, Astronomer J. Allen Hynek offered the USAF’s Project Blue Book a “Special Report on Conferences with Astronomers on Unidentified Aerial Objects.”

2012-09-26-Screenshot20120926at6.02.59PM.png

Hynek interviewed some 45 astronomers on their experiences and opinions about UFOs during and following the meeting of the American Astronomical Society that June. Hynek provides some notes on each individual astronomer and their opinions. Here’s what some astronomers thought in 1952:

Astronomer Y (no sightings) said, “If I saw one, I wouldn’t say anything about it.”

Astronomer II (two sightings) “is willing to cooperate but does not wish to have notoriety,” Hynek reports.

Astronomer OO: (one sighting) was a new observer at the Harvard Meteor Station in New Mexico. He saw two lights moving in parallel that were too fast for a plane and too slow for a meteor. He had not reported his observation.

Hynek concluded: “Over 40 astronomers were interviewed of which five had made sightings of one sort or another. This is a higher percentage than among the populace at large. Perhaps this is to be expected, since astronomers do, after all, watch the skies.”

http://youtu.be/6Je3vlCAltI

The next data point comes from 1977. Dr. Peter Sturrock made a questionnaire about UFO attitudes and experiences. Again the target was the members of the American Astronomical Society. The paper was eventually printed in 1994 in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, a peer-reviewed but decidedly non-mainstream publication.

Sturrock received 1,356 responses from 2,611 questionnaires. Sixty-two astronomers responded that they had observed something they could not explain which could be relevant to the UFO phenomenon. Eighteen of those witnesses said they had previously reported their sightings, and Sturrock notes that a 30% reporting rate is greater than what is assumed for the average population. Section 3.2 of the paper titled “Comparison of Witnesses and Non-Witnesses” contains a table showing that UFO witnessees were actually more likely to be night sky observers (professional or amateur) while non-witnesses are more likely to not even be observing the skies at all!

2012-09-26-1977sturrock1table3.2p11.jpg

Sturrock also includes commentary from the astronomers, and again a sample is illuminating:

C1. “I object to being quizzed about this obvious nonsense. Unidentified = unobserved or factually unrecorded: modern mythology. Too much respectability given to it.”

C1O. “l find it tough to make a living as an astronomer these days. It would be professionally suicidal to devote significant time to UFOs. However, I am quite interested in your survey.”

C16. “Menzel and Condon have made further investigation unnecessary unless some really new phenomena are reported … There is no pattern to UFO reports except that they predominantly come from unreliable observers.”

I could add more, but I want folks to read Mack’s article.

Rees’ comments are not unusual for the conservative scientific community at large and in turn benefit the military-industrial-complex which runs the U.S. and most world governments. The MIC doesn’t want any release of technology that is derived(?) from supposed alien technology because it would destroy the present world order. They prefer a slow “leak” of tech in dribs and dabs which doesn’t rock the boat much. Apples Ipod and other Smart Phone technologies are relatively innocuous in that they are primarily for games and other entertainment that distracts the younger population from more important concerns.

Astronomers and UFOs: A Response to the Lord Martin Rees

Hat tip to the Daily Grail.

Are People the Biggest Challenge to Interstellar Travel?

From msnbc.msn.com:

The biggest challenge in mounting a space mission to another star may not be technology, but people, experts say.

Scientists, engineers, philosophers, psychologists andleaders in many other fields gathered in Houston last week for the 100 Year Starship Symposium, a meeting to discuss launching an interstellar voyage within 100 years.

“It seems like it would be so hard, and the biggest obstacle is ourselves. Once we get out of our way, once we commit to this, then it’s a done deal,” said former “Star Trek: The Next Generation” actor LeVar Burton, who is serving on the advisory committee of the 100 Year Starship project.

The initiative hopes to spur the development of new propulsion technologies, life support systems, starship and habitat designs, as well as myriad other necessaryinnovations, to send a vehicle beyond our solar system — where no manmade object has yet traveled — and to another star. As the closest stars to the sun are still light-years away, such a feat will be daunting. [How Interstellar Space Travel Works (Infographic)]

But Burton wasn’t the only one who said the most difficult part of interstellar spaceflight may be corralling public and governmental support, and getting the right thinkers to work together to attack the problem.

“I think the greatest challenges are going to be what the greatest challenges in anything are, and that’s the people piece,” said former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison, who was the first African-American woman to travel to space. Jemison is heading the new 100 Year Starship organization, which was founded with seedmoney from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

“The really exciting thing and the scary thing is I know I can’t do it by myself, but there are a lot of people who want to help,” Jemison added.

Interstellar spaceflight for humanity isn’t inevitable, she said — merely imperative.

“We could screw it up,” Jemison told Space.com. “We could decide not to do it. But I can tell you what, if we don’t figure out how to do it, then we probably aren’t going to be around to worry about whether the sun turns into a red gas giant. Unless we find some focal aspiration that pushes us further, that helps us see ourselves as a species that we should be cooperating with, we’re going to be in trouble.”

Plus, if human beings can solve the challenges of interstellar spaceflight, in the process they will have solved many of the problems plaguing Earth today, experts said. For example, building a starship will require figuring out how to conserve and recycle resources, how to structure societies for the common well-being, and how to harness and use energy sustainably.

Perhaps the 100 Year Starship Symposium should partner up with the Build The Enterprise Project? They have a 100 year timeline also and I couldn’t think of a better marriage.

The biggest challenge to interstellar spaceflight? Us 

Sister Earths

Really? Warp Drive Actually Possible?

From Space.com:

HOUSTON — A warp drive to achieve faster-than-light travel — a concept popularized in television’s Star Trek — may not be as unrealistic as once thought, scientists say.

warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from moving faster than light. A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre; however, subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy.

Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially bringing the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science.

“There is hope,” Harold “Sonny” White of NASA’s Johnson Space Center said here Friday (Sept. 14) at the100 Year Starship Symposium, a meeting to discuss the challenges of interstellar spaceflight.

Warping space-time

An Alcubierre warp drive would involve a football-shape spacecraft attached to a large ring encircling it. This ring, potentially made of exotic matter, would cause space-time to warp around the starship, creating a region of contracted space in front of it and expanded space behind. [Star Trek’s Warp Drive: Are We There Yet? | Video]

Meanwhile, the starship itself would stay inside a bubble of flat space-time that wasn’t being warped at all.

“Everything within space is restricted by the speed of light,” explained Richard Obousy, president of Icarus Interstellar, a non-profit group of scientists and engineers devoted to pursuing interstellar spaceflight. “But the really cool thing is space-time, the fabric of space, is not limited by the speed of light.”

With this concept, the spacecraft would be able to achieve an effective speed of about 10 times the speed of light, all without breaking the cosmic speed limit.

The only problem is, previous studies estimated the warp drive would require a minimum amount of energy about equal to the mass-energy of the planet Jupiter.

But recently White calculated what would happen if the shape of the ring encircling the spacecraft was adjusted into more of a rounded donut, as opposed to a flat ring. He found in that case, the warp drive could be powered by a mass about the size of a spacecraft like the Voyager 1 probe NASA launched in 1977.

Furthermore, if the intensity of the space warps can be oscillated over time, the energy required is reduced even more, White found.

“The findings I presented today change it from impractical to plausible and worth further investigation,” White told SPACE.com. “The additional energy reduction realized by oscillating the bubble intensity is an interesting conjecture that we will enjoy looking at in the lab.”

This is a boon and a most fortuitous opportunity if it’s the real deal. But like most things in the real world, there is something that is an essential ingredient in any research project.

Money.

Warp Drive May Be More Feasible Than Thought, Scientists Say

Score One for Hollow Moon Theory

It’s been a bit since I posted about the Hollow Moon Theory. For those who are unfamiliar, the theory is simple; the Moon is far older than the 4.3 Billion years the Earth and the Solar System are. Plus it’s artificial.

Enter the GRAIL probe.

A sneak peek at the first results from a NASA mission to measure the Moon’s gravitational field hints at a lunar crust that is only half as thick as once thought.

There were a few gasps among scientists in the audience at a 13 September seminar at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as they took in the data revealed by Maria Zuber, principal investigator for NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission. Zuber, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, showed a crisp, high-resolution gravitational map made with data collected by GRAIL’s twin spacecraft between March and June of this year.

“We are three to four times better in resolution compared to Kaguya and Lunar Prospector,” said Zuber, referring to two previous missions that mapped the Moon’s graviational field.  GRAIL’s results have not yet been published or released publicly by NASA, and Zuber was not at liberty to give an interview.

Yet her talk, and the thrilled reactions from those present at the seminar and others interviewed by Nature, suggest that GRAIL is poised to have a profound effect on scientists’ understanding of the origins and early evolution of the Moon when its results are released in the coming weeks.

GRAIL’s two probes, named Ebb and Flow by schoolchildren in a NASA competition, were launched in September 2011 (see ‘Twins to Probe Moon’s Heart’). The first probe began orbiting the Moon on 31 December 2011, with the second joining the next day. By March, they had begun detailed mapping. The two spacecraft exchange radio signals, recording fluctuations in their relative positions that are then used to reveal tiny accelerations and decelerations caused by variations in the Moon’s gravitational field. The average altitude of the primary mission was 55 kilometres —  much lower than the orbit used by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), a similar gravity-mapping mission for Earth that has to fly higher to avoid atmospheric friction. Occasionally, the GRAIL operations team brought the craft lower than 20 kilometres to further improve the resolution of the data. “Nothing beats flying low,” says Zuber.

Zuber gave the packed auditorium a heads-up on three science results. The first is that the Moon’s crust seems to be thinner than thought. When lunar geologists first estimated the thickness of the Moon’s crust, using data from seismometers placed by the Apollo astronauts, they concluded that it was around 60 kilometres thick. Subsequent re-analyses of those data brought the estimate down to around 45 kilometres. Now, GRAIL’s results suggest that the crust’s average thickness is only 30 kilometres, says Zuber. ( emphasis mine )

Now, it could very well be that underneath that 30 klicks of crust is a different kind of rock and there is nothing artificial at all.

But the Moon has stories that span generations of things flashing across its surface, smoke appearing, tales of spaceships and aliens who told NASA to keep mankind’s filthy paws off from it.

Maybe this is scientific validation of the theory?

Tandem satellites probe the Moon’s interior

Hat tip to the Daily Grail.

Robots and UFOs

From Scott Corrales’ Inexplicata :

In 1920, when Karel Capek wrote the three-act play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) he probably didn’t realize he would be changing humanity’s conception of what it is to be alive for generations to come, much less had the word “robot” to the world’s collective glossary. Derived from the Slavic term “robota”, meaning the work done by an indentured servant, robots have gone on to become a staple of science-fiction. We take their functions and existence for granted, with our own efforts at robotics ranging from industrial mechanical arms to the new wave of lovely Japanese automata. According to our age group, we look back fondly at either Robbie the Robot or Artoo-Detoo and See-Threepio. Perhaps some even remember seeing the graceful “María” making her appearance for the first time in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis

Only a year after “R.U.R.” appeared on the stage, French director André Deed created one of the first science-fiction movies involving robots: L’uomo Meccanico (The Mechanical Man), depicting a giant humanoid robot created for criminal purposes, but who is checked by another equally sizeable machine, settling their differences inside an Italian opera house. These original “rock’em-sock’em robots” showed audiences that the mechanical men, while emotionless, could serve the cause of good as well as evil.

Rampaging Robots

In an article for SAGA UFO Report (UFO Annual, 1975), Otto Binder wrote: “[Robots represent] a rather rare category of UFOnauts, but one that cannot be ignored. Witnesses often describe these creatures as having stiff movements and also having angular lines quite unlike living human beings. These strange entities range from the uncanny to the eerie.” He goes on to add: “We can logically assume that some worlds do not send their living explorers to Earth, but use robots somewhat like the Russian mobile vehicle on the Moon. But apparently the aliens have perfected observation vehicles in the form of living creatures.” Binder refers to the automated Lunakhod probe, but a more updated example would be our own Curiosity rover on Mars, about to engage on a study of the red planet in 2012.

UFO encounter reports from the late 1960’s and the early to mid-1970’s often described encounters with robotic entities emerging from UFOs or conducting their activities in areas where UFO activity was common. Researchers at the time conceded that organic ufonauts could, on occasion, entrust certain missions to mechanical creations much in the same way that our planet’s space programs launch unmanned probes to destinations within the solar system. The robotic alien, for want of a better term, became one of the four or five “recognized and accepted” types of possible UFO occupant.

Did robots from another planet visit Avon, Connecticut in September 1967? Police officers found themselves responding to frightened calls from the public involving a “shiny-suited robot” in the vicinity of Talcott Mountain. The seemingly mechanical entity appeared to be engaged in some sort of frantic semaphore, trying to stop drivers along Route 44. Descriptions of the entity coincided in aspects such as a cowl or helmet that completely enshrouded the figure’s features, and its stiff movements as it wobbled on the road’s shoulder, trying to stop traffic. Police officers reported to the scene, but were unable to find any trace of the intruder.

In February 1981, Luis Dominguez, proprietor of small food and beverage concern in the village of Fuentecén in Spain had a brush with the unknown that led him to believe that ‘robots” of unknown provenance had visited his small community.

Between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. on February 13 of that year, Dominguez had closed down his business and was heading home when two red lights caught his attention. Thinking it might be the taillights of car being used to commit burglaries in the wee hours of the morning, he headed in their direction, hoping to take the law into his own hands, but the would-be vigilante was floored by what happened next: the “taillights” rose into the air, made an odd twisting turn to the right, and landed elsewhere in the countryside. By his own admission, the unnatural sight made him break out in goosebumps.

Speeding back home, from where the red lights were still visible, Dominguez, his wife and son watched nervously as the lights engaged in a variety of movements, some of the undulating. Most spectacular of all was a sudden flash or beam of white light fired from the source of the two red ones, illuminating all the homes of Fuentecén as if by a giant klieg lamp.

It was then that Dominguez heard his dog bark. The family pet, ominously named “Satán”, was outside the house barking at an object near to fence that encircled the property. Dominguez realized described it as a box-like contraption resembling a washing machine or small refrigerator, taller than the fence by a few inches. It had neither head nor appendages.

The curious object disappeared when Dominguez armed himself with courage and a flashlight and stepped outside for a closer look. However, he made a startling remark to J.J. Benítez: “the dog would bark at it and the object, from the very edge of the fence, would answer it with a very slow “bark” that was slower and muted. It may seem ridiculous, but I swear it’s true. We got the sensation that the thing was imitating our dog.”

The following day, while returning from school, Jose Francisco Dominguez excitedly told his father that a patch of burned vegetation was now in evidence at the site where the red “taillights” had been seen the night before: in fact, a patch measuring some five square meters of desiccated–rather than burned –grass was found in a field. The case attracted the interest of a number of local newspapers, which in turn prompted government ministries to take an interest in it. Subsequent analysis revealed no traces of radiation at the site.

Willy Rodriguez was an avid fisherman who enjoyed practicing the sport in the waters of the Esla River, not far from the monastery of Santa María de Moreruela in the Spanish province of Zamora. During the quiet hours of an early morning in the spring of 1974, Rodríguez’s two dogs began to bark furiously for no reason. Chiding his animals for spooking away the fish, the man later became aware of a bizarre figure, standing over six feet tall, with its arms held closely to the sides of its body, “like a soldier”, according to his description. In the sunlight, the strange entity looked as though it had been made of silver. Once recovered from the shock, he ordered his dogs to attack the strange metallic form, which simply glided away toward a nearby hill, and then vanished.

While may have questioned his claim, Rodriguez is adamant that the silvery presence he saw in the spring of 1974 “wasn’t a person – it was artificial. I think it was a sort of robot that came out of a flying saucer and answered to its commands,” he told Iker Jiménez and viewers of the Cuarto Milenio television program.

Spain’s own Antonio Ribera made a significant caveat when it came to cases involving humanoid occupants: “We must not exclude the hypothesis of biological robots created by an extremely advanced Science. Such robots would bear no resemblance to the crude robots of our science-fiction, full of nuts and bolts and electronic cells, but would be actual living being.” (FSR, “The Landing at Villares del Saz”). This dovetails, interestingly enough, with the physical appearance robots presented by Karel Capek’s “R.U.R.” – human looking in every way, and capable of emotion.

As mankind extends its explorations throughout the Solar System and eventually into interstellar space, semi-intelligent beings will evolve into intelligent entities that will become our surrogates to the Universe.

So it stands to reason the process has already occurred in the Milky Way galaxy and we are ( have been ) visited by intelligent machines.

Machines From Elsewhere: Robots and UFOs

Hat tip to the Daily Grail.

Is Ufology a Religion?

I am not the first to ask this and certainly not the last. In fact over at Micah Hank’s Mysterious Universe blog, researcher and author Nick Redfern asks the very same question and entertains some very interesting thoughts:

A few days ago, I wrote a Top 10-themed post at my World of Whatever blog on what I personally see as some of the biggest faults of Ufology. It was a post with which many agreed, others found amusing, and some hated (the latter, probably, because they recognized dubious character traits and flaws that were too close to home, and, as a result, got all moody and defensive. Whatever.). But, regardless of what people thought of the article, it prompted one emailer to ask me: “What do you think of the future for Ufology?” Well, that’s a very good question. Here’s my thoughts…

First and foremost, I don’t fear, worry or care about Ufology not existing in – let’s say, hypothetically – 100 years from now. Or even 200 years. In some format, I think that as a movement, it will still exist. I guess my biggest concern is that nothing will have changed by then, aside from the field having become even more dinosaur-like and stuck in its ways than it is today, still filled with influential souls who loudly demand we adhere to the Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis and nothing else, still droning on about Roswell, still obsessed with what might be going on at Area 51, still debating on what Kenneth Arnold saw, and still pondering on what really happened at Rendlesham.

Ufology’s biggest problem also happens to be what made the Ramones the greatest band that ever existed: never-changing. For the latter, it worked perfectly. If, like me, you liked the mop-topped, super-fast punks in the beginning, then you still like them when they disbanded in 1996. Throughout their career, they looked the same, sounded the same, and were the same. For them, it worked very well. For Ufology, not so well. Not at all.

The reality is that 65 years after our Holy Lord and Master (Sir Kenneth of Arnoldshire) saw whatever it was that he saw on that fateful June 24, 1947 day, Ufology has been static and unchanging. It has endorsed and firmly embraced the ETH not as the belief-system which it actually is, but as a likely fact. And Ufology insists on doing so in stubborn, mule-like fashion. In that sense, Ufology has become a religion. And organized religion is all about upholding unproved old belief-systems and presenting them as hard fact, despite deep, ongoing changes in society, trends and culture. Just like Ufology.

If Ufology is to play a meaningful role in the future, then it needs to focus far less on personal beliefs and wanting UFOs to be extraterrestrial, and far more on admitting that the ETH is just one theory of many – and, while not discarding the ETH, at least moving onwards, upwards and outwards. Can you imagine if the major UFO conference of the year in the United States had a group of speakers where the presentations were on alien-abductions and DMT; the Aleister Crowley-Lam controversy; Ufological synchronicities; and the UFO-occult connection? And Roswell, Area 51, and Flying Triangles weren’t even in sight at all?

Well, imagine is just about all you’ll be able to do, as it ain’t gonna happen anytime soon!

While such matters do, of course, occasionally get mentioned on the UFO-themed lecture circuit today, the fact is that mainstream Ufology (and specifically mainstream ufological organizations, where more time is spent on deciding what utterly ridiculous title everyone will have than on doing investigations) will largely not touch such matters, or even consider them ripe for debate at their conferences. Why? Simple: they want everything to be as it was in the “Good Old Days” of the past. Well, tough: the past is gone, and no-one has succeeded in proving the ETH. So, give the highly alternative theories – and theorists – a chance for a change.

“Nooooo!” cries the old brigade. For them, that won’t work at all, because they don’t want to see the ETH-themed domain that has been so carefully nurtured for decades infected and infiltrated by matters ignorantly perceived as being of a “Hocus Pocus” nature. What they do want is crashed UFOs; aliens taking soil samples; landing traces; abductions undertaken to steal our DNA, etc, etc, blah, blah. Or, as it is scientifically and technically called: Outdated Old School Shit. They don’t want talk of altered states; mind-expanding and entity-invoking drugs; conjured-up beings from other realms; or rites, rituals and manifested Tulpas.

What this stubborn attitude demonstrates is: (A) a fear of change; (B) a fear of having been on the wrong track for decades; and (C) a fear of the unknown. Yes: mainstream, old-time Ufology lives in fear. It should be living in a state of strength. And it should be a strength born of a willingness to address everything, not just the stuff that some conference organizer thinks will attract the biggest audience. But Ufology commits the biggest crime of all: being weak and unsure in the face of new concepts and making like an ostrich when it encounters sand. Actually, I’m wrong. Ufology commits an even bigger crime as it coasts aimlessly along like an empty ship on the ocean waves: it avoids the alternative theories knowingly and fully aware of the long-term, and potentially disastrous, consequences that a one-sided, biased approach may very well provoke for the field.

If Ufology is to move ahead,  find answers, and actually have some meaningful future, it needs to totally do away with belief systems and recognize that every belief is just a theory, an hypothesis, an idea. And that’s all. Ufologists need to embrace alternative ideas and paradigms, since many suggest far easier, and more successful, ways of understanding the various phenomena that comprise the UFO enigma than endlessly studying radar-blips, gun-camera footage, FOIA documentation, and blurry photos.

Should Ufology fail to seize the growing challenge it already faces, then will it die or fade away? Nope, it will still be here and here, popping up now and again. Not unlike a nasty, itchy rash picked up in the “private room” at the local strip-joint on a Friday night that never quite goes away. Probably even 100 or 200 years from now. But, it will be a Ufological Tyrannosaurus Rex: its sell-by date long gone, clinging on to an era also long gone, and perceived by the public of that era as we, today, perceive those nutcases who hold on to centuries-old beliefs that if you sail far enough you’ll fall off the edge of the planet. Or, the deluded souls who think the women on those terrible “Reality TV” shows that sit around arguing over lunch are really arguing.

I agree with some of Nick’s talking points in that UFO conventions often feature speakers who often talk of the “space brothers” and how they will save us and the Earth in spite  of ourselves.

That is just the money making crap and smacks of televangelism.

Paranormal events versus technical reasons for UFOs is the wrong tact however. I think there is a way to join the two, but would be very hard to test using the scientific method.

Maybe there is a way to test paranormal events in the future? I do believe a scientist has tried to do so, but it is proving very hard to confirm by testability.

Perhaps that is why new paradigms are difficult to break through. The old ones must pass away slowly into that sweet night?

The Future of Ufology

The future of ufology. ( The Daily Grail )

Stanton Friedman: Flying Saucers and Science

Once again apologies for my infrequent posting. I have an ongoing family health crisis ( not me this time! ) which takes my time. But I’ll give you a little food for thought this week in this UFOTV video by Stanton Friedman, nuclear physicist and premier UFO researcher and major proponent of the nuts and bolts theory of UFOs.

Personally, I don’t think all UFOs are alien space vehicles, but there’s a chance a good many of them are, and Friedman gives his case a nice reason to be believed.

Enjoy!

Flying Saucers and Science – Stanton Friedman LIVE