You Know You Want To Believe
December 16, 2017 11:23 AM   Subscribe

 
It sounds like they have a similar view on UFO's as I do:

They are Unidentified Flying Objects, the name already says everything we know about them. We know this phenomena exists, but we do (currently) not have the ability to capture/measure this phenomena.

Thus, it's important to attempt to catalogue and observe this phenomena for when we are able to study it with more depth.

Outside of it being a phenomena we cannot scientifically observe, there is not a lot more we can say about it without further study.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:38 AM on December 16, 2017 [7 favorites]


my favorite conspiracy theory is that the Airforce invented and sponsored off the wall over the top UFO conspiracy theorists in order to shut down public discussion of secret aircraft. It only takes a few wild eyed ranters to turn any discussion of unfamiliar flying vehicles into a punch line that doesn't get explored further.
posted by idiopath at 11:58 AM on December 16, 2017 [20 favorites]


Funny how in that entire breathless NYT article about UFOs and black money, it's barely a footnote that we already know that "most" of the money went to Bigelow. You know, this Bigelow. Big mystery here guys... 🙄
posted by cirrostratus at 12:31 PM on December 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


A buddy of mine did a presentation on debunking a specific UFO report a few years ago. Even reputable eye witness accounts can be misled by not understanding or expecting key pieces of additional information.

#ilikexfilesbutufosvisitingusarebogus.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:36 PM on December 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


idiopath, that has some known basis in reality. During the test and development program for the first US jet aircraft they used to taxi it around Edwards (then Muroc) under wraps, but with a big cartoon propeller strapped to the nose, because they knew every pilot on the base would go "Ok, what the fuck is that!?" if they saw any kind of fixed wing aircraft at all without a propeller. even if it was just being carted around on the ground.

Further, reports have it that they sent the test pilot up in a gorilla suit a few times, knowing that if there were any aerial encounters, the fact that it was apparently piloted by a gorilla would preclude any reports or even loose talk from other test pilots.

Because no pilot would want to make that report and have it on their record. They're certainly not going to go to Pancho's and brag about the fact that they saw a propellerless airplane moving like a bat out of hell piloted by a gorilla. It would be flight career suicide.
posted by loquacious at 12:38 PM on December 16, 2017 [30 favorites]


Also, whose to say UFO's aren't simply experimental aircraft being developed by a different country?

If that's the case, I'd say studying them is definitely within the DoD's wheelhouse.

I mean, if the Chinese manage to get drones running on cold fusion identifying unidentified flying objects is going to be pretty important.

I'm not sure why everyone always assumes UFO only means "aliens" and not, I don't know, an unidentified flying object? I mean, it's not like there haven't been plenty of advances in drone technology over the last ten years. I would think it's a more important time than any to be cataloging UFO's.
posted by deadaluspark at 1:17 PM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


How come no one discusses Gordon Cooper's, Leap of Faith, a book about bogies he saw at Edwards, and photographed, piloted by us. Bogies that had liver toxic outer hulls, and bogies he saw and flew up in Tremonton, Utah, tethered in a barn, created as copies of UFO's the engineer saw flying over the Malad River. Interesting book, my Dad insisted on my reading it, while at the same time, saying the Air Force Blue Book never found anything. Leap of Faith here. Yes, he was an Okie, who passed away in Ventura in 2004, not a bad place to finish up. An amazing character, really.
posted by Oyéah at 1:34 PM on December 16, 2017 [5 favorites]


Because no pilot would want to make that report and have it on their record. They're certainly not going to go to Pancho's and brag about the fact that they saw a propellerless airplane moving like a bat out of hell piloted by a gorilla. It would be flight career suicide.

We should start our own airline - an airline that will welcome these pilots into the family.
posted by thelonius at 1:53 PM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


We should start our own airline - an airline that will welcome these pilots into the family.

According to a certain K. Pilkington, this fine airline already exists.
posted by deadaluspark at 2:01 PM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


Also, whose to say UFO's aren't simply experimental aircraft being developed by a different country?

It may surprise you, but as Curtis Peebles described the evolution of the UFO legend in his book, Watch the Skies, that was exactly the theory in the late 40's-early 50's, before the introduction of the "extraterrestrial hypothesis." The "government cover-up" in those days was not protecting the innocent population from the knowledge of alien invaders, but rather the knowledge that the Russians were over-flying US territory with experimental aircraft. In the years after WWII, with new technology like the A-bomb, missiles, jet aircraft, and radar finally emerging from the shadows, anything seemed possible at the time.
posted by SPrintF at 4:17 PM on December 16, 2017 [5 favorites]


My mom and I saw something we couldn't explain in the skies over Portland, OR in the late nineties. We heard a loud engine sound and saw something race across the sky, then stop on a dime, then race off in another direction, and then repeat this for a few minutes before flying off over the horizon. It had lights on it and it definitely made engine noises, but it didn't move like a helicopter or anything I'd seen up to that point. In retrospect I think it must have been some kind of gas-powered drone (before that was a thing you might see), but it was a weird experience for sure.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 7:04 PM on December 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


Billionaire lobbies senior politicians to authorize classified military project that contracts to said billionaire. The project produces results that further justify continued spending on the project and continued secrecy. Only after senior politicians are dead or retired, and the funding has dwindled, does the project makes itself known.

I think UFOs are a government-funded conspiracy to derail public discussion about corruption, including government-funded conspiracies.

Of course UFOs are real. Under capitalism, if anything brings in money, it is by definition real.
posted by runcifex at 7:14 PM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


Have they tried posting to /r/whatisthisthing?
posted by um at 7:24 PM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


I do not regret that all I have to add to this discussion is this absolute fucking monstrosity courtesy of NASA. Clearly they were in on the joke because they spawned different models - Pregnant Guppy, Super Guppy, Super Guppy Transport. In this case I support the government funded conspiracy.
posted by hexaflexagon at 9:09 PM on December 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


I've long been a proponent of UFO =/= aliens, and we're dealing with a mix of inexpert observations and experimental aircraft (and swamp gas and Venus being low on the horizon of course). The fact that the Pentagon has been continually compiling these sightings means it might not be their experimental aircraft which opens up so many more questions.

When I first saw a B-2 in flight it was coming at us straight on and until it banked it was for all intents and purposes a flying saucer. This was at Niagara Falls and all of the tourists were pointing and talking about it. And when it banked the murmurs grew even louder because airplanes just aren't shaped like that. If I'd never heard of the B-2 before, I would be sure that the big black tailless thing flying overhead was some sort of UFO.

Doesn't account for the time I saw some stars/lights in the sky head towards each other, spin in a circle for a second, then shoot off in opposite directions. That one is a full on I don't know/shrug
posted by thecjm at 9:50 PM on December 16, 2017 [5 favorites]


I've come to believe that UFOs are piloted mostly by psychic sasquatches from the Next Level here to reset the timeline, so I tend to cut them a lot of slack.
posted by Sonny Jim at 5:28 AM on December 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


When I was around 11 yrs young, I remember watching TV with my father, a UFO enthusiast, when Donald Keyhoe's appearance on a live CBS show was blacked out. The video and audio disappeared for quite a while. I will never forget that.
posted by DJZouke at 7:01 AM on December 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


I've come to believe that UFOs are piloted mostly by psychic sasquatches from the Next Level here to reset the timeline, so I tend to cut them a lot of slack.
Did you see a show about it?
At some point I watched one of those mystery/monster/alien shows where they connected bigfoot sightings with UFO sightings with the conclusion pointing to sasquatches be some sort of alien and possibly some sort of interdemensional alien. It was a really great example of how easy it is to put a bunch of weird accounts and events into a blender and come out with a great story.

I've decided that this the best theory and I'm gonna subscribe to it. It's fun. Now I just get to add "AND THE GUBERMINT KNOWS DAMN WELL THAT THEY ARE HERE" into it.

Cool.
posted by Jalliah at 7:31 AM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


> my favorite conspiracy theory is that the Airforce invented and sponsored off the wall over the top UFO conspiracy theorists in order to shut down public discussion of secret aircraft.

That'll be the Doty/Bennewitz story.
Which, by the nature of handling top secret stuff, may or may not be true.
posted by farlukar at 7:55 AM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Did you see a show about it?
No; I read about it in one of the vast numbers of UFO/cryptozoology books I read when I should be reading other things. It's actually a mainstream theory in fringe circles.

I also love the book's Amazon "about the author" blurb. Apparently the author is a sasquatch.
posted by Sonny Jim at 8:02 AM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Most UFOs are the moon. I'm all for going back to and investigating the moon.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:38 AM on December 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


20 years ago I watched a silver flying saucer through a pair of binoculars for several minutes in broad daylight. It was following the coastline near my village in the Scottish Highlands, travelling slowly a few hundred feet above the ground. It paused for a while above some woodland and then rose a little higher and moved over a hill-side and out of sight. It was quiet a beautiful thing, maybe the size of a large SUV, simple and angular, no windows or markings, surface like brushed aluminium (in fact, the reason I noticed it was because sun was shining off it, it looked like a moving fireball at first). The local radio station reported a similar sighting a few miles along the coast from me the next day. My distinct feeling was it was a man-made thing, not sure why, perhaps its lack of supernatural behaviour. It was so slow, I sort of thought it was mapping or observing the surroundings. I still search the internet for images of experimental drones and UAVs that might reveal what it was I saw but nothing as yet.
posted by Caskeum at 12:28 PM on December 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


Back in the late 90s I became internet friends with a woman whose husband was an Air Force colonel overseeing the decommissioning of a nearby Air Force base. On my first visit to spend a few days with them, she introduced me to her husband. At the dinner table, ever courteous, he said, Lunaloon, if there's anything you want to see or do while you're here, just tell us and we'll take you there. Seizing the opportunity to engage in a little leg-pulling, I excitedly asked, "Hey, can you take me to that Air Force base in Ohio that's got those alien bodies stored in the freezer?"

He gave me a look that could've peeled paint, until I burst out laughing. He relaxed.

After dinner, he told me he actually was interested in the subject of UFOs, and had done some researching and writing on the subject. He told me his superiors couldn't have cared less. He, like me, assumed there were most probably rational explanations for the vast majority of sightings. In fact, he knew, he said, that the Air Force took advantage of the UFO craze to use it to mask some test flights of experimental craft. He figured most of the time it was mis-identification of natural objects or aircraft, experimental or otherwise.

However, he said, he quit writing on the subject when he began being contacted by kooks and cranks. He didn't want to put his family at risk with these unknown oddballs, he said. And that led to another story, by his wife, about how she'd been retained by the government in her professional capacity in an international plant-smuggling case. The culprit, learning that her husband was in the Air Force, promptly adopted the aliens-made-me-do-it-defense. Yes, he actually claimed he was "collecting specimens" not for the lucrative plant collectors market, but because his alien overlords had commanded him to collect specimens for them. He began writing endless screeds to the couple, begging her husband to share his top-secret knowledge of ETs to help get him acquitted (because, of course, every member of the Air Force is in on the UFO conspiracy).

It made for a memorable evening of getting acquainted with my new friends.

A few months later, noted UFO crank Stanton Friedman was on a local radio show, talking about an alleged UFO encounter in the state my friends lived in. He claimed the base my friend's husband was stationed at had not only scrambled jets, they'd sent out troops in the middle of the night to comb the snow-covered fields for...something!

I phoned the colonel at his office on the base. When he got on the phone, I began ribbing him, telling him the jig was up, the news was out, I'd heard it on the radio. He was, WTF you talking about? I told him Friedman's story, which he hugely enjoyed. Once he quit laughing, he noted that since the base was in the process of being shut down, there were no jets there anymore. And the only people left were those working with him on shutting the base down. But, he said wistfully, it would've been fun to do, if only it'd been real and he'd have been able to do it.
posted by Lunaloon at 5:44 AM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


How come no one discusses Gordon Cooper's, Leap of Faith
They do. For example James Oberg discusses it in this article on Cooper's history after leaving the space program.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 2:20 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Even reputable eye witness accounts can be misled

I remember one of the standard phrases in ufology is "Trained Observer". Which could be anything from military limits to police officers. I mean it sounds great, until one realized they're really isn't a training program to produce "trained observers". There's no such thing.

And the thing is, perception is unreliable, and so are memories. Normal waking hallucinations are far more common than normally supposed, and memories are constantly being modified and overridden.

Add to that, there a lot of atmospheric stuff that really looks weird, and hell, we're still discovering major phenomena like Sprites. So basically what I'm saying, in dealing with UFOs, the last hypothesis to leap for should be spacecraft.
posted by happyroach at 10:57 AM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


I thought the F/A-18 video was striking. What's interesting about it is that the object appeared visually to the pilots, and it appeared on the radar or other sensors of both the F/A-18 and a ship. This wasn't a shooting star or a weird optical illusion or a reflection. There was some kind of a physical thing hovering above the ocean and then zipping around.
posted by chrchr at 4:06 PM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that F/A-18 FLIR video is amazing. I keep watching it over and over, giddy. I don't know why all of this isn't getting more attention.

"Back in 2007, a user (cometa2) of the popular Above Top Secret (ATS) forum posted an alleged official CVW-11 Event Summary of a close encounter occurred on Nov. 14, 2004. Back then, when the encounter had not been confirmed yet, many users questioned the authenticity of both the event log and the footage allegedly filmed during the UFO intercept. More than 10 years later, with an officially released video of the encounter, it’s worth having a look at that unverified event log again: although we can’t say for sure whether it is genuine or not, it is at least “realistic” and provides some interesting details and narrative consistent with the real carrier ops. Moreover, the summary says that the callsign of the aircraft involved in the encounter is Fast Eagle: this callsign is used by the VFA-41 Black Aces – incidentally the very same squadron of David Fravor, formed Co of VFA-41, the pilot who recalled the encounter to NYT.

Anyway, here’s an excerpt:

FAST EAGLES 110/100 UPON TAKE OFF WERE VECTORED BY PRINCETON AND BANGER (1410L) TO INTERCEPT UNID CONTACT AT 160@40NM (N3050.8 W11746.9) (NIMITZ N3129.3 W11752.8). PRINCETON INFORMED FAST EAGLES THAT THE CONTACT WAS MOVING AT 100 KTS @ 25KFT ASL.

FAST EAGLES (110/100) COULD NOT FIND UNID AIRBORNE CONTACT AT LOCATION GIVEN BY PRINCETON. WHILE SEARCHING FOR UNID AIR CONTACT, FAST EAGLES SPOTTED LARGE UNID OBJECT IN WATER AT 1430L. PILOTS SAW STEAM/ SMOKE/CHURNING AROUND OBJECT. PILOT DESCRIBES OBJECT INITIALLY AS RESEMBLING A DOWNED AIRLINER, ALSO STATED THAT IT WAS MUCH LARGER THAN A SUBMARINE.

WHILE DESCENDING FROM 24K FT TO GAIN A BETTER VIEW OF THE UNID CONTACT IN THE WATER, FAST EAGLE 110 SIGHTED AN AIRBORNE CONTACT WHICH APPEARED TO BE CAPSULE SHAPED (WINGLESS, MOBILE, WHITE, OBLONG PILL SHAPED, 25-30 FEET IN LENGTH, NO VISIBLE MARKINGS AND NO GLASS) 5NM WEST FROM POSITION OF UNID OBJECT IN WATER.

CAPSULE (ALT 4K FT AT COURSE 300) PASSED UNDER FAST EAGLE 110 (ALT 16KFT). FAST EAGLE 110 BEGAN TURN TO ACQUIRE CAPSULE. WHILE 110 WAS DESCENDING AND TURNING, CAPSULE BEGAN CLIMBING AND TURNED INSIDE OF FAST EAGLE’S TURN RADIUS. PILOT ESTIMATED THAT CAPSULE ACHIEVED 600-700 KTS. FAST EAGLE 110 COULD NOT KEEP UP WITH THE RATE OF TURN AND THE GAIN OF ALTITUDE BY THE CAPSULE. 110 LOST VISUAL ID OF CAPSULE IN HAZE.
LAST VISUAL CONTACT HAD CAPSULE AT 14KFT HEADING DUE EAST.

NEITHER FAST EAGLES 110 OR 100 COULD ACHIEVE RADAR LOCK OR ANY OTHER MEANS OF POSITIVE ID. FAST EAGLE 100 WAS FLYING HIGH COVER AND SAW THE ENGAGEMENT BY FAST EAGLE 110. FAST EAGLE 100 CONFIRMS 110 VISUAL ID; 100 LOST CONTACT IN HAZE AS WELL.

CPA OF ACFT 110 FROM CONTACT 4000-5000 FT.
posted by Auden at 1:42 PM on December 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


The Truth About Those 'Alien Alloys' in The New York Times' UFO Story -- Is the government really stockpiling materials in a Nevada building that scientists cannot identify? (Rafi Letzter for Scientific American, December 22, 2017)

Spoiler: material specialists say unidentifiable "alien alloys" is bunk, because we have lots of ways to identify alloys, thanks to a long history of evaluating and making alloys.
"I don't think it's plausible that there's any alloys that we can't identify," Richard Sachleben, a retired chemist and member of the American Chemical Society's panel of experts, told Live Science. "My opinion? That's quite impossible."
...
"There are databases of all known phases [of metal], including alloys," May Nyman, a professor in the Oregon State University Department of Chemistry, told Live Science. Those databases include straightforward techniques for identifying metal alloys.

If an unknown alloy appeared, Nyman said it would be relatively simple to figure out what it was made of.

For crystalline alloys - those in which the mixture of atoms forms an ordered structure - researchers use a technique called X-ray diffraction, Nyman said.

"The X-ray's wavelength is about the same size as the distance between the atoms [of crystalline alloys]," Nyman said, "so that means when the X-rays go into a well-ordered material, they diffract [change shape and intensity] - and from that diffraction [pattern] you can get information that tells you the distance between the atoms, what the atoms are, and how well-ordered the atoms are. It tells you all about the arrangement of your atoms."

With noncrystalline, amorphous alloys, the process is a bit different, but not by much.

"These are all very standard techniques in research labs, so if we had such mysterious metals, you could take it to any university where research is done, and they could tell you what are the elements and something about the crystalline phase within a few hours," Nyman said.

Sachleben agreed.

"There are no alloys that are sitting in some warehouse that we cannot figure out what they are. In fact, it's pretty simple, and any reasonably good metallurgical grad student can do it for you," he said.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:58 AM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


Looking at that F/A-18 combat report, and knowing what I do about Ufology, I'd like to suggest the following possibilities for what the "capsule" and "object in the water" might have been:
  • The planet Venus rising above the horizon
  • Squid boats
  • Beams from a nearby lighthouse tower
  • Swamp gas
  • A family of curious ambulatory owls
Seriously, though, I think this whole flap is less the start of "disclosure," and more an indication that the mainstream media is becoming increasingly fragmented and unable to filter out obviously fake information. It reminds me of the media flaps that occurred in the Soviet Socialist Republics during the final years of the USSR—in retrospect, signs not so much of alien contact as the collapse of an information system.
posted by Sonny Jim at 4:52 AM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


but it rotated
posted by not_on_display at 9:28 PM on December 30, 2017


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