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UK UFO Sightings Declassified, Still No Intergalactic Relations 319

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the stupidity-is-universal dept.
schwit1 is just one of the massive flood of readers (and publications) writing to tell us about the recently declassified UK Ministry of Defense account of a supposed UFO sighting. Included are nineteen sightings between 1986 and 1992, with the most notable being a sighting in 1991 with a US Air Force pilot's first-hand account. Not that this lends an air of credibility to anything, just more papers with more words. "Almost 200 such files will be made available by the MoD over the next four years. [...] UFO expert and journalism lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, Dr David Clarke, said the documents would shed new light on relatively little-known sightings. He said some conspiracy theorists would already have decided that the release of the papers was a 'whitewash.' He added: 'Because the subject is bedevilled by charlatans and lunatics, it is career suicide to have your name associated with UFOs, which is a real pity. The National Archives are doing a fantastic job here. Everyone brings their own interpretation. Now you can look at the actual primary material — the stuff coming into the MoD every day — and make your own mind up.'"
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UK UFO Sightings Declassified, Still No Intergalactic Relations

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:28PM (#25444973)

    The U.S. government weren't trying to cover up aliens at places like Roswell, they were covering up their secret spy aircraft. Why do you think most of these "UFO cover-ups" involved strange craft spotted near isolated air force bases at the height of the Cold War? Project Blue Book wasn't about little green men, it was about making sure no one had gotten a good look at their latest prototype stealth planes and also checking to see if any hillbillies might have actually spotted any Soviet spy planes in the area.

    No alien civilization is expending the mammoth amount of resources needed to traverse the vast distances of interstellar space just to stick a probe up your ass. Deal with it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:31PM (#25445001)
      But what will I do with my tinfoil hat collection?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:28PM (#25445759)

        Get ready for the staged alien invasion [google.com] slated for 2012, of course.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Plekto (1018050)

          Wow. I've read hundreds of doomsday and off the wall ideas over the years, but this one is by far one of the most entertaining conspiracy theories that I've heard. Truly tinfoil-hat time.

          That said, it's pretty clear that there are some incidents that look to be legitimate mixed in with all of the various piles of other junk. What they are, though... that's a whole other discussion. It's far more likely that they are actually the results of various secret programs. Doubly so since most "sightings" tak

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:36PM (#25445079)

      No alien civilization is expending the mammoth amount of resources needed to traverse the vast distances of interstellar space just to stick a probe up your ass. Deal with it.

      yeah, but, it's more PC to say, "Aliens stuck a probe up my ass!" than saying "I stuck a probe up my ass because I LIKE IT!"

      I'll still blame the aliens thank you very much!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        My girlfriend stuck her tongue in my ass and it felt very alien. I did like it though...

    • by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:38PM (#25445103)

      No alien civilization is expending the mammoth amount of resources needed to traverse the vast distances of interstellar space just to stick a probe up your ass. Deal with it.

      I think you underestimate the driving power of finding inlets of pornography.

      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:43PM (#25445171)
        Considering that most of the people whose asses they probe are smelly rednecks with beer guts and only a few teeth, I would question their taste. You travel 100's of light years, only to forgo probing Natalie Portman for some trailer park skank?!?! Aliens are indeed strange.
        • by voss (52565) on Monday October 20, 2008 @06:29PM (#25447029)

          Rectal thermometers are standard in hospitals and rectal probes would be safer for the patient and the alien scientist than oral ones.

          Second if youre doing scientific experiments on a primitive population your not going to raid the population center youll grab somone on an outlying settlement. Plus you would figure the rednecks would have interesting diseases to study.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by elrous0 (869638) *
            Yes, I suppose it could be aliens expending vast amounts of energy and traveling across distances that the human mind can't even easily comprehend just to do cursory exams of human biology. But may I also suggest the more radical idea that it's just a bunch of ignorant yahoos mistaking a rape nightmare for an anal probe and interpreting simple sleep paralysis [wikipedia.org] as being held down by aliens?
        • by bussdriver (620565) on Monday October 20, 2008 @11:17PM (#25449287)

          On earth the highest order creatures use rectal "probing" more than the lower creatures. It only stands to reason that more advanced creatures would have an even greater interest on rectal probing than us humans.

      • by Yetihehe (971185) on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:04PM (#25445451)
        I think you shouldn't be so sure. http://www.commissionedcomic.com/index.php?date=2008-09-19 [commissionedcomic.com]
    • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:41PM (#25445149)

      No alien civilization is expending the mammoth amount of resources needed to traverse the vast distances of interstellar space just to stick a probe up your ass. Deal with it.

      Joyriding teenagers at faster than light travel certainly might think it worth their while.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tablizer (95088)

      The U.S. government weren't trying to cover up aliens at places like Roswell, they were covering up their secret [craft].

      This may be true, but it also means the govt's creditability is zilch.
           

    • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:48PM (#25445257)

      Rule 34. Even aliens have it.

    • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:52PM (#25445299) Journal

      No alien civilization is expending the mammoth amount of resources needed to traverse the vast distances of interstellar space just to stick a probe up your ass. Deal with it.

      To counter your wildly irresponsible statements, I offer proof [youtube.com].

    • Maybe the aliens just want to test our tendency to panic, create histaria, and believe ridiculous things even though a plausible explanation may already exist ?

    • by Saffaya (702234) on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:57PM (#25445373)

      Well then, you will have to explain why you can see flying saucers on medieval paintings, or exactly what the belgian F-16 were chasing above their territory, and which went through the sound barrier over urban areas without producing any supersonic bang.

      I have seen on television the videos of the F-16's radar when in pursuit of those. The commentary didn't mention any numbers, but as I recognized a familiar layout from my FALCON (ATARI ST) days, I did check the illuminated target speed indicator. It went from 400K to 700K in a matter of seconds.
      It is publicly known the intruder lost the F-16 in pursuit behind like leaves in the wind.

      Belgium is a small country and is maybe one of the few to have a fighter air force but no official, government-run public relation service in charge of explaining that everything people see is either a meteor or a piece of rocket burning on reentry.

    • by MechaBlue (1068636) on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:04PM (#25445453)

      Why is the possibility of of earth being observed by alien xenobiologists and xenoanthropologists always immediately dismissed? It certainly falls within the realm of possible when compared against our current understanding of physics.

      Astronomers are regularly finding extrasolar planets and are, in some cases, able to determine the atmospheric composition.

      Biology is slowly moving toward transgenic creatures, cloning, and cyborgs.

      Physics and nanotechnology continually revealing new information about how the universe works. Some of this information is finding practical uses in controlling information and energy.

      In the past 100 years, computers have gone from laughably simple to being capable of modeling the climate of an entire planet. It's still innacurate and slow but it's getting faster and better.

      If it were possible right now, we'd have all kinds of people exploring the galaxy. Within the next 1,000 years, it will be possible to find planets that have a high chance of sustaining higher life forms and deliver some kind of observers to those planets for further study.

      What would prevent there from being one or more alien races from undertaking a similar mission of exploration? Why would Earth automatically be disqualified as a target of such a mission?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:10PM (#25445561)

      If you think the parent is insightful read this ...

      During the 1942 Battle of Los Angeles the military instituted a mandatory black out of the entire city of LA & fired 1400+ Anti-Aircraft rounds at a single, quoting the military, "unidentified aircraft." This lasted for more than an hour. Despite numerous confirmed hits the craft remained airborne and eventually flew off without ever being identified. (Read the 1942 LA times article [rense.com]).

      In 1948 green fireballs were seen over the south-western skies of the US near nuclear weapons research sites. Famous meteoriticist Dr. Lincoln La Paz declared they weren't normal meteors. In 1949 the USAF started Project Twinkle [wikipedia.org] under the direction of Dr. Anythony Mirachi.

      The study concluded in a now declassified report that cinetheodolites had tracked 4 objects traveling at an "altitude of ~150K ft" (~28.5 miles!), were "30 ft. in diameter", & traveling at an "undeterminable, yet high speed." Mirachi went on to later criticize a Time magazine article that claimed there was no proof to support the existence of UFOs.

      Mirachi wrote, "There was too much evidence in favor of saucers to say they could have all been balloons. 'I was conducting the main investigation. The government had to depend on me or my branch for information.' He said he didn't see how the Navy could say there had been no concrete evidence of the phenomena." (see here [8k.com] for more details)

      Also in 1948 Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a self-proclaimed skeptic, joined Project Blue Book as a scientific adviser. By 1969 when Blue Book was shutdown Hynek did an about face. He wrote several books, particularly, "The Hynek UFO Report" which repeatedly stated that the attitude of Blue Book was, "it can't be therefore it isn't."

      He also gave an interview, available on YouTube [youtube.com], where he said, "I was there at Blue Book and I know the job they had. They were told not to excite the public, don't rock the boat, & I saw it [with] my own eyes. ... The cases that were very difficult to explain they would jump handsprings to keep the media away from that." He later went on to found the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS).

      July 13 - 29th of 1952, over the skies of Washington DC, numerous UFOs were seen by observers on the ground, in the air, & tracked on radar. The situation escalated & General Samford, the Director of Intelligence of the USAF, held an emergency press conference. When asked by a reporters what people were seeing he suggested the lights on the ground may have looked like they were in the air because inversions act like an "air lens" & bend light rays. He added that something similar could have "tricked" radar in to thinking it was tracking aerial targets. (http://ufologie.net/htm/usa1952.htm)

      In 1969 an Air Force scientific report titled "Quantitative Aspects of Mirages [cohenufo.org]" (Menkello, F.G. Report No. 6112, USAF, Environmental Technical Applications Center) made it clear inversion strong enough to create the visual effect described during the 1952 press-conference could not exist in earth's atmosphere.

      1956 at Bentwater/Lakenheath an object was sighted by several military officers on the ground while simultaneously tracked on radar at 2 different stations. The object moved at ~4000 mph and was monitored for several hours during which two planes were scrambled.

      When the 1st DeHavilland Venom locked on to the object the UFO shot to the rear of the plane. The pilot tried evasive maneuvers, couldn't break free & eventually had to return to base to refuel.

      The 2nd plane encountered mechanical difficulties as it flew within range of the object. The US sponsored Condon Report had this to say, "

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Xest (935314)

        "1. that there is something unidentified in our airspace. Project Twinkle definitively proves this."

        Yes, roughly as well as the Bible proves god exists.

        The crux of the problem is this, whilst we have UFO sightings world wide the sheer number reported from the US is entirely disproportionate- especially abduction reports.

        The number of reports from the rest of the world simply don't match up to those from the US, statistically it just doesn't make sense unless someone can suggest a valid reason why visitors f

    • by King_TJ (85913)

      I consider myself kind of a "UFO skeptic", yet not willing to accept that ALL of it is bogus either.

      Given that honestly witnessing such an event would be such an extraordinary thing, it just follows that a multitude of copy-cats would chime in with fake reports after hearing about it.

      Roswell, in particular, interests me because there is so much information out there related to that sighting. It's not just a random case of some farmer in the middle of nowhere claiming he saw "weird lights in the sky" (and p

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jonny_eh (765306)

        Given that honestly witnessing such an event would be such an extraordinary thing, it just follows that a multitude of copy-cats would chime in with fake reports after hearing about it.

        What about a third, more reasonable, explanation for UFO reports? People see things in the sky they don't understand. i.e. it's something natural, not an alien, yet because they think it's an alien, it becomes an extraordinary experience.

        Every case that has enough data, ends up having a mundane explanation.

      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:49PM (#25446041)

        The U.S. Air Force in 1947 (at that time still party of the Army) had just begun the first two of many programs (Project Mogul [wikipedia.org] and Project Moby Dick [wikipedia.org]) that would involve floating high altitude balloons over the Soviet Union to listen to and photograph military and industrial facilities (remember, this was before satellites and high altitude reconnaissance aircraft like the U-2), mostly to keep an eye on Soviet atomic aspirations. If the Soviets caught wind of this, so soon after WWII, it would have caused a major international incident and ratcheted up Cold war tensions (which were already high enough in the face of the establishment of the iron curtain). So when one of these things went down in Roswell, you bet your ass they wanted to shut people up about it.

        Little did they realize that their efforts to shut people up about what they saw would ultimately provide the perfect cover (leading people to assume they were covering up aliens rather than the secret spy programs they were REALLY covering up).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by olclops (591840)

      I'd recommend reading the book by the Air Force's first head of project blue book, Edward J. Ruppelt, before you make such general claims. It's available free online, here [nicap.org], and it's a refreshingly candid look at the sighting reports from the early 50's. He makes it very clear that he had access to all the pentagon experts and that a surprising percentage of cases were clearly not anything we had made. After reading this book, I have stopped mocking true UFO believers. Their case really isn't as shoddy as it

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jonny_eh (765306)

        What about the possibility that sightings were of natural phenomena? i.e. not made by the pentagon, or humans?

        What about lights in the skies created by civilians?

        Don't commit the false dichotomy fallacy of assuming there are two options, and if one is false, the other is automatically true. There can be other options!

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Where F-94s and F-86Ds.
      The ADC would practice night intercepts on airliners. Those two aircraft where some of the first to have afterburners. The pilots would often light the burner and pull up. Then shut down the burner.
      Strange light making unusual maneuvers then is gone...

  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:31PM (#25444995) Homepage Journal

    Do you really think the MoD (or the CIA, NSA, etc.) are going to provide us with the real deal? Of course it's a whitewa.....NO, NO NOT THE ANAL PROBE AGAIN!!!

  • Cause & Effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:33PM (#25445033) Journal

    it is career suicide to have your name associated with UFOs

    Not career suicide, just a hilariously pointless hobby like squirrel eating ... or Warcraft.

    Something that's always bothered me about Alien sightings and 'abductions' is that the sightings really didn't kick off until 1897 [wikipedia.org] which coincides closely with the release of the War of the Worlds [wikipedia.org]. And, interestingly enough, alien abductions didn't really take off until the 1960s [wikipedia.org] when movies about abductions had been in circulation [thetriangle.org] since the 50s (as any devout MST3K fan knows).

    Aside from a few odd reportings [ufoevidence.org] (and maybe a few religions) the above holds true.

    We are human beings, we have awesome imaginations and a multitude of chemicals that effect them. I don't know what it's like to be coked out in an opium den or suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning [wikipedia.org] but I think a lot of UFO stuff is pretty much a direct result of the human psyche, not extraterrestrials.

    • Re:Cause & Effect (Score:5, Interesting)

      by geogob (569250) on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:48PM (#25445247)

      Not career suicide, just a hilariously pointless hobby like squirrel eating ... or Warcraft.

      A career suicide indeed it is. We have had a good example here, in Canada. A scientist for the Defence Research and Development Canada, a DND department responsible for military research projects in Canada, lost his job a few years back.

      During his free time, that scientist worked on the active SETI project [active-seti.org]. He was always meticulous about keeping is work separate from his hobby, but Radio-Canada was not. During a prime time interview, they captioned his name with the title "scientist for the Canadian defense" or something like that.

      From what I heard, his career as a military scientist was promptly ended following that media "incident".

    • by Sta7ic (819090)

      Hey now, squirrel eating is a perfectly good past time. In fact, I saw someone eating a squirrel just last week!

      'course, cats like fresh meat, and squirrels are rodents.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:59PM (#25445391) Homepage Journal

      Something that's always bothered me about Alien sightings and 'abductions' is that the sightings really didn't kick off until 1897

      That's wrong. They were happening before 1897, but instead of "aliens" they were blamed on "angels" "demons" or simply "the gods".

      There are highly detailed accounts of "otherworldly" abductions going back to the Sumerians, who sort of invented language. That's a pretty long time ago.

      I'm not saying that there have ever been real "otherworldly" abductions alien or otherwise, but to say that they started in 1897 is just plain wrong.

      It's amazing that it's taken as obvious that there's no such thing as UFOs (which as many as 80% of Americans believe in) but you'll get modded as flamebait if you suggest that there's no such thing as God (in which about the same number of Americans believe).

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The Sumerians invented the first writing that we know of, not language. Language almost certainly came thousands of years earlier. Aside from that you're correct.

      • by bogjobber (880402) on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:33PM (#25445815)

        I really recommend Carl Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World. A decent amount of the book is focused on this phenomenon, with several scientific explanations for why people have abduction dreams. There are the obvious ones (a traumatic event that damages your mind, unconsciously covering up abuse, plain old lying) but the mind is capable of some crazy things.

        What many abduction believers are conscious of, but don't really take into account, is that normal people hallucinate all the time. Most people do it every day, although not very vividly. It can be triggered by anything, but it is especially common when you are waking or doing something monotonous and repetitive (such as driving while tired). Everything from tiny daydreams to full out trips are possible if your brain is in a certain state.

        Some people can have vivid hallucinations quite regularly without drugs or anything unusual in their body. When that happens their mind goes to extraordinary things (no one hallucinates about doing their laundry). Little kids see monsters. If you watch sci-fi movies, maybe you'll see aliens. If you spend your time at a hellfire and brimstone church maybe you'll see demons. How many times have you woken up from a dream and it took you a long time to realize that you were awake?

        The scientific method is the only way to examine these things in a neutral way. There's nothing wrong with believing that there might be UFO's. But until there is proof you can't claim that anything extraordinary like that exists. Right now there isn't even crappy evidence, let alone enough to prove something that incredible.

        • Re:Cause & Effect (Score:5, Interesting)

          by inviolet (797804) <slashdot@ideasmatt e r .org> on Monday October 20, 2008 @06:03PM (#25446817) Journal

          Some people can have vivid hallucinations quite regularly without drugs or anything unusual in their body. When that happens their mind goes to extraordinary things (no one hallucinates about doing their laundry). Little kids see monsters. If you watch sci-fi movies, maybe you'll see aliens. If you spend your time at a hellfire and brimstone church maybe you'll see demons. How many times have you woken up from a dream and it took you a long time to realize that you were awake?

          Yes... and what's more, there is a documented psychological disorder in which people cannot tell the difference between past imaginings versus past events. I forget the name of the disorder now, but it is serious business and common enough to be responsible for all of the abduction stories and a great many criminal accusations. Let this be yet another compelling reason to never ever convict a person based on the testimony of a single witness.

          Treatment for the disorder is palliative, at least for now. People who have the disorder are taught to frame their mental picture with a colored border so that later on, when they recall the memory, they'll see the border and know it wasn't real.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gnick (1211984)

        It's amazing that it's taken as obvious that there's no such thing as UFOs

        They do exist - I can testify to it personally. I see maybe 2-3 very strange flying things in the sky around Los Alamos, NM per year. Definitely not planes/helicopters and their shape & flight patterns make balloons a strange guess.

        They're flying objects that, at least for me and most (possibly all) of the town, they're unidentified. Now, whether or not they're extraterrestrial as opposed to some weird LANL experiment or hobby object is up for debate. (Los Alamos is full of nerdy hobbyists - LANL/ho

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ihmhi (1206036)

          You see strange things really close to a military base where they work on experimental aircraft? Color me shocked.

          I'm a skeptic with most things - even UFOs - but I believe in the possibility very much. I really don't think the conditions for life are so stringent that we are the only sentient beings anywhere in the entire universe, much less the entire galaxy. That's arrogant and ignorant when you consider the full scope of outer space.

          It is very likely that those are just experimental U.S. aircraft, but I

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by plasmacutter (901737)

      Something that's always bothered me about Alien sightings and 'abductions' is that the sightings really didn't kick off until 1897 [wikipedia.org] which coincides closely with the release of the War of the Worlds [wikipedia.org]. And, interestingly enough, alien abductions didn't really take off until the 1960s [wikipedia.org] when movies about abductions had been in circulation [thetriangle.org] since the 50s (as any devout MST3K fan knows).

      Let's not mention the historic accounts of people meeting "gods" and going away with them, ezekiel's wheels within wheels, vimana's, the presence of UFO's in renaissance paintings, etc etc.

      This is called a cargo cult, and similar cults centered around aircraft have been encountered among previously undiscovered tribes in central south america.

    • by frankie (91710)

      1897? Bah, silly kids. Those of us who were watching television in 1978 remember that Ezekiel saw the wheel [wikipedia.org]...

    • Re:Cause & Effect (Score:5, Interesting)

      by timholman (71886) on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:09PM (#25445549)

      We are human beings, we have awesome imaginations and a multitude of chemicals that effect them. I don't know what it's like to be coked out in an opium den or suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning but I think a lot of UFO stuff is pretty much a direct result of the human psyche, not extraterrestrials.

      The older you get, the more you realize just how fallible human perception and memory truly are, and how amazingly easy it is to fall prey to self-delusion. That pretty much describes every UFO believer I've ever met.

      What is actually very fascinating is to learn about (and sometime experience!) the psychological manifestations that have been attributed to alien visitation. True story: several years ago, my mother called me on the phone to tell me that she had experienced an episode of sleep paralysis. She had the classic symptoms: an inability to move coupled with hallucinations of someone (or something) being in the bedroom with her. She didn't know what had happened to her until I told her about the phenomenon, and how throughout history people had attributed sleep paralysis episodes to supernatural or extraterrestrial visitation.

      What was truly bizarre is that I experienced my own episode of sleep paralysis just a few nights later. I awoke in a panic, unable to move and absolutely certain that something was in the room with me. After about 30 seconds I broke out of it and jumped out of bed. Even though I intellectually knew what had happened to me, I didn't go back to sleep until I had checked the house for intruders. The feeling of another presence in the room with me was that strong.

      I knew what had happened to me by the next morning: my mother's description of her experience, coupled with the power of suggestion, had induced a similar experience in my own mind. Since then, neither my mother or I have suffered a second episode. It was a very sobering reminder to me that even rigorous education and scientific training are not always proof against the psychological tricks of one's own brain.

    • by Molochi (555357)

      Before 1897 it was called demonic possession, being turned into a newt by a witch, deific (not sure that's a word) visitation, etc...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)

      I've always wondered (and I honestly don't know, I'm not old enough) if the moon landing hoaxers were inspired by the movie "Capricorn One." The movie was released in 1978 about a mission to Mars which is faked from a desolate sound stage after NASA learns that the life support system on the capsule would break down halfway there.

      Can anybody older than I, and with a good memory, tell me if the moon landing hoax people were around before this movie came out? Or if they're a result of the movie, similar to th

  • Choice of words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dr. Grabow (949057) on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:34PM (#25445041)
    "charlatans and lunatics" - what an exquisitely perfect choice of words ...
    • by Tablizer (95088)

      "charlatans and lunatics" - what an exquisitely perfect choice of words ...

      If you think about it, if you were put in charge of a coverup and had sufficient resources, then planting some "colorful" lunatics into the public scene would be an ideal way to downplay the issue. Aliens may be out-Roving even Rove. (Although I suspect he is one ;-)
                   

  • Great! Maybe it's time to have another chat with Edgar Mitchell [kerrangradio.co.uk]...

  • Proves nothing! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by snarfies (115214)

    The government is still holding onto the REAL paperwork that shows what they've been hiding all these years! This stuff they're declassifying is just a distraction. ...or so the kooks will be saying shortly, if not already.

  • Why not (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tsa (15680)

    Sorry as long as there aren't good and verified explanations for all the UFO sightings out there we can't rule out the existence of alien craft visiting our planet. Having said that, the chances of aliens visiting us is really very small. The first reported UFO sightings are much [socyberty.com] older [wikipedia.org] than 1897, BTW.

    • Re:Why not (Score:4, Interesting)

      by thermian (1267986) on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:08PM (#25445527)

      Oh please... "The Egyptian papyrus described a fleet of flying saucers darting through the sky?"

      Seriously....

      The Egyptians said NO SUCH THING, that is by way of being utter nonsense.
      There have been lots of fascinating reports of strange events and objects in the sky in ancient time, most notably by the chinese. These are interesting because they reveal that early civilizations felt such things were worth recording, but most of the time information is scant, sufficient only to allow us to speculate as to causes, such as meteors or ball lightening.

      They are not, in any way at all, indicating that there were people sitting around pondering alien spaceships in the ancient world. Ever...

      • Re:Why not (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday October 20, 2008 @06:12PM (#25446893) Homepage Journal

        They are not, in any way at all, indicating that there were people sitting around pondering alien spaceships in the ancient world. Ever...

        It would be hard to expect an ancient people to say, "we saw an aerodynamic craft of strange configuration approach at mach 12, capable of extreme delta-V acceleration, flying in formation with a mothership and several smaller ships, each with thrust powered by some sort of engine producing multi-spectral visible radiation," but we might hear things like:

        Ezekiel:

        4. And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.

        16. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.

        17. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.

        18. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.

        19. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.

        20. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.

        27. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.

        28. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

        2 Kings 2:

        11. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

        Isaiah 66:

        15. For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.

        Jeremiah 4:

        13. Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.

        Zechariah 6:

        1. And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.

        One might consider something like this [engadget.com] a modern re-imagining of Ezekiel's wheels.

  • to hide the fact they have been spending the defence budget on giant Nerf guns.

  • by Itninja (937614) on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:05PM (#25445465) Homepage
    Say it with me folks.... UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object. Of course UFO's exist! If a flaming dead cat is dropped from an airplane at night, and no one can identify it, it's a UFO. Anything that cannot readily be identified, and that flies, is a UFO. Now, whether some of these UFOs are alien spacecraft is an entirely different matter. Of course, once a UFO is identified as an alien spacecraft, it would then cease to be a UFO at all.
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:25PM (#25445735) Homepage

    Interestingly, the US has had, for several decades, a system which can detect UFOs - GEODSS [fas.org], the Ground Based-Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System. Each GEODSS site (there are three currently active, plus a mobile unit) has a pair of 40-inch telescopes. These were the first fully computerized telescopes, working since the 1980s. The telescopes scan the sky every night. They can detect moving bright objects as streaks, but there's more capability than that. They have a star atlas, and know what should be in each image, so anything that shouldn't be there is detected. If a known star is missing, that's interesting too; it may indicate a dark object. There are two telescopes, so for low-orbit objects, they can get parallax. Multiple sites can be coupled together to get parallax on more distant objects. They can even use one telescope with a laser to illuminate satellites while taking a picture with the other. This is how the USAF finds new satellites, near-earth asteroids, and nonmetallic space junk. The system was recnelty upgraded [mitre.org] to use CCD imagers (it used to be tube camera based) and to use better alignment algorithms, so it's now both more sensitive and more accurate.

    This is all tied to NORAD in Colorado Springs. GEODSS knows what an incoming ICBM trajectory looks like, and if it ever sees one, NORAD gets notified, without any action from the GEODSS site operators.

    GEODSS is a real, live, functional UFO detection system that's been running for decades. If anything big enough to be interesting was anywhere near the planet for more than a few hours, it would be noticed. Even the target didn't reflect radar or light, it could be detected because it would occasionally occult a star.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BobMcD (601576)

      If anything big enough to be interesting was anywhere near the planet for more than a few hours, it would be noticed.

      And it would probably get written into a classified report, filed away for twenty or thirty years, then released to the public, yes?

  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:30PM (#25445787) Homepage

    ... seem to be centred around Bonnybridge. Now, without wanting to sound like a UFO skeptic (I'm not) I do find myself wondering if "strange lights in the east" might have something to do with the flare stacks at the oil refinery in Grangemouth, the very bright strobes on a nearby pair of *immense* electricity pylons (couple of hundred metres tall) and a very tall power station chimney with strobes. Couple all that up with a bit of low cloud and you get some very odd effects. I used to drive through this area every day - at night in the winter you got some really odd glare off the clouds.

  • by D4C5CE (578304) on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:46PM (#25445991)
    ...good for, when you've got genuine castles with even more genuine ghosts, and then again Nessie if Scottish summer gets all too boring?

    If anything, Her Majesty's extraterrestrials, keen to avoid any interference with the Royal Air Force (or, heaven forfend, the Home Secretary's wrath), stay orderly well grounded, and are kept busy making corn circles to lure Japanese tourists or those from insubordinate colonies to the fields of Devon!
  • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:56PM (#25446131)
    There are literally tens-of-millions (if not hundreds of millions) more cameras in the hands of the residents of the planet earth than there were even 15 years ago. Cameras in phones, cameras in purses, cameras in trunks of cars, cameras in PDAs, the list goes on. Most of the cameras also shoot video.

    As a consequence we have many more pictures of police misconduct and celebrity's privates than we ever have in the past, but we have no noticeable increases in the numbers of good UFO pictures (or good sasquatch pics for that matter).

    If the number of UFOs are constant, and there are many more cameras, why aren't we seeing many more pictures flooding the intertubes?
    • If the number of UFOs are constant, and there are many more cameras, why aren't we seeing many more pictures flooding the intertubes?

      You must look in order to see. --This is always the case when it comes to subjects which do not bear the stamp of, "Official Truth".

      There are actually quite a lot of phone camera UFO pictures. Videos, too. --Many tend to be poorly shot and of low resolution, but that's to be expected given that the objects are photographed with crappy cameras at great distances by untrained

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday October 20, 2008 @06:35PM (#25447081) Homepage Journal

      Cameras in phones, cameras in purses, cameras in trunks of cars, cameras in PDAs, the list goes on. Most of the cameras also shoot video.

      I have a Motorola flip phone made in the past few years and its camera (1.6 megapixel) is complete crap. I've actually tried taking a picture of a low-flying airplane at dusk, and it's all a blur.

      Have a look at this one [mcgonigle.us]. It's taken in broad daylight, a slow-moving target, nearly overhead, with an actual 5 megapixel camera. It's point-and-shoot, but was fully extended with its 5X optical zoom. It's really hard to get more than a few pixels out of an object flying only about 5000-7000 ft.

      Yeah, if I had my SLR with a good long, big lens and good low-light film, or a $1000-ish DSLR, I could probably take some good pictures like you describe. Fortunately, Moore's Law should put those kinds of sensors in cell phones within a decade, then maybe we'll see something like you describe.

  • by FriendSite.com (1208220) on Monday October 20, 2008 @04:57PM (#25446149) Homepage
    There's obviously a lot of skepticism on this site.. however a few years ago I was having a bbq and, before you ask no one had started drinking or smoking anything, but a couple of us saw these silver globes traveling EXTREMELY fast around the clear sky, they (and there was about 8 of them) sped over the horizon and then shot upwards twirling around each other. DEFINITELY not a bird, plane.. photos are: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3251/2959668832_e5abe840d1_b.jpg [flickr.com] http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3208/2959668228_778ac7d3d9_o.jpg [flickr.com] After seeing these, I'm convinced we're not alone..
    • Party balloons (Score:5, Informative)

      by mangu (126918) on Monday October 20, 2008 @05:44PM (#25446641)

      I once saw something exactly like you describe and your pictures show. I got my telescope and saw an aluminum foil balloon. It was much smaller and nearer than it seemed before I recognized it. It's really funny, how something that seemed like a huge metallic spacecraft flying extremely fast miles away was suddenly diminished to a small child's toy floating at a hundred yards distance.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by GrahamCox (741991)
        Similar thing happened to me once. I am very much a UFO skeptic (at least skeptical of the 'alien' explanation anyway), but one day I was driving along around dusk and saw what looked like a classic UFO in the sky - cigar shaped, silvery, glowing. It was hovering rather than moving at high speed but its position did change slowly. As I was moving myself and the object held its nominal position, it could only be something large at a distance. I could only get glimpses due to terrain, but I *HAD* to know what
  • Think again (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Trailer Trash (60756) on Monday October 20, 2008 @06:28PM (#25447011) Homepage

    with the most notable being a sighting in 1991 with a US Air Force pilot's first-hand account. Not that this lends an air of credibility to anything, just more papers with more words.

    Sorry, having an Air Force captain (pilot) describe seeing this *does* lend an air of credibility. The Air Force doesn't let Jim from the trailer park fly their planes.

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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