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What Is Going on with UFOs and the Department of Defense? (thedrive.com)
158 points by arto 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 162 comments

My guess is it's the US military projecting. They've almost certainly got covert flying vehicles cruising around so naturally they'd want to know about any sightings of their own craft, or an enemy doing the same thing in the airspace.

What better way to gauge how well the tech is working than by crowdsourcing the sightings?

Soon they’ll be A/B testing stealth designs. “Model AST—12-7 flying over NYC generated 23 reports of UFO sightings, whereas model TYR-X3 generated 5 along the same route; moving forward, we should adopt TYR-X3 for all chemtrail operations...”

With everyone glued to smart phones it is getting easier and easier to be "stealthy"

There's actually schemes to detect stealth aircraft through the changes in signal strength they induce in cell phones below their flight path. Not precise enough for targeting, but good enough to put up a plane to confirm...

I suppose that's plausible, but is it realistic?

What's the range of a cell phone signal? The signals from the cell towers will be aimed parallel with the ground. There is going to be an inverse square relationship with the signal strength and distance. A stealth plane is also more likely to be up way high too. The more signals there, the more populous the area, the more likely that a plane would be even higher. How many signals are needed for a disturbance to be noticed/tracked?

Maybe if the stealth plane was 50,000ft or lower, but considering comercial traffic usually flies up to 39,000ft, and some private traffic at 45,000ft, you probably won't find stealth aircraft below 50,000ft.

> Maybe if the stealth plane was 50,000ft or lower, but considering comercial traffic usually flies up to 39,000ft, and some private traffic at 45,000ft, you probably won't find stealth aircraft below 50,000ft.

F-117 service ceiling was 45,000 ft according to Wikipedia - B-2's is 50,000ft. Ironically, the B-2 has some design compromises to allow it to operate at low altitudes for penetrating strikes, as stealth wasn't quite as trusted when it was being designed - and low altitudes allow operating below the horizon from radar installations. (The B-21 renderings look like they've dropped those compromises - high altitude penetration only)

I'll agree that using cell phones to detect the presence of stealth aircraft is more than a little dubious, though.

Passive Radar IIRC. Though I believe the 1999 F-117A shootdown in Yugoslavia was a result of the bomb-bay door detection.

Assume this only covers stealth planes flying below the height of the base stations?

Cell towers are too low to use them to detect a stealth plane passing in between their antennas and anything on the ground, but satellites could be used. We're surrounded by radio signals originating from the sky, so at least in theory the right equipment could detect a stealth plane not thanks to the radio waves it reflects but the ones it doesn't let pass through itself.

It was a joke :)

Not necessarily, but I still doubt this would be successful in detecting a stealth plane.

It's also a lot easier to get evidence.

Nick Cook wrote a book in 2001 entitled The Hunt for Zero Point: Inside the Classified World of Antigravity. It's notable because Cook was an editor for Jane's Defense Weekly, a legendary and reputable defense publication of the utmost credibility.

A few years ago in a thread similar to this I discussed[0] and dissected[1] the book. My conclusion was that Cook is mistaken, but given incidents like this, and the fact he later uncovered a black UAV program, I always wonder.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10957586

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10971548

That was a fascinating Sunday morning diversion, thanks!

I can easily believe there was a programme researching that. There's been research into all sorts of crackpot ideas, especially in wartime. The film The Men Who Stare at Goats was based on a true story of US military research, and there was WW2 research into death rays after all.

Mistaken, or failed research that was well secreted? It took 30 years for Bletchley Park to leak, despite involving thousands.

Cook now seems to be a defence consultant specialising in climate change.

Another one to add to my impossibly long reading list though. :)

It never hurts to wonder. If we assume the Tic Tac is a man made craft, it doesn't seem a far stretch to also assume it may employ antigravitics. Perhaps it can be traced back to Die Glocke [1]. Your linked HN posts also mention Hutchison, an interesting character who appears repeatedly down the rabbit hole, where you'll also discover Schauberger and Leedskalnin. There's a lot of smoke and mirrors in these topics, which often delve into conspiracy and pseudoscience, making it hard to discuss them without sounding like a crazy person. In any case, it's fascinating to ponder, even if it's all just science fiction.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Glocke

Per your link:

>"Although no evidence of the veracity of Witkowski’s statements has been produced, they reached a wider audience when they were retold by British author Nick Cook, who added his own views to Witkowski’s statements in The Hunt for Zero Point.[4]"

The WW2 "Bell" experiment narrative was actually my largest complaint with Cook's book. While it makes for a fantastic story that's pretty much screenplay material, it's very unlikely to be true.

Yes, Die Glocke / the bell has been embellished beyond all recognition of whatever it really was. I bear some guilt with my comment above; it would have been more appropriate to suggest that the bell's mysticism may have inspired fringe research, e.g. Podkletnov, similar to how Rife may have inspired Hutchison, and Hutchison inspired Bushman, and so on.

A lot of the super cranky claims around the Bell come from Joseph Farrell and others. It could have been any number of things if it did exist. My money is on an enrichment device or something else related to a-bomb R&D. It could also have been a fringe physics experiment, and maybe it just didn't work. The Nazis pursued a lot of odd things.

It's entirely possible that there have been secret R&D programs looking into such things. It's also possible that these programs were fruitless since there may not be such a thing or the energies required to access it may be way past our Kardashev ranking.

There have been reports of UFO sightings for 50+ years. This is not a new phenomenon. There were reports of UFOs during WW2 (so called Foo Fighters).

If this existed during WW2 it means it started development way before that. The implications that such level of technological advancement was available at that time, and is still under active funding and development today doesn't add up.

UFOs aren't all the same. Each sighting could be something different. A UFO just means "unidentified" — what might be flying unidentified today is very different from 50 years ago, given the technological advancement since.

>If this existed during WW2 it means it started development way before that. The implications that such level of technological advancement was available at that time, and is still under active funding and development today doesn't add up.

I tend to agree it doesn't fit, but one way of looking at it is, even if highly improbable: the fundamental physics breakthroughs were made back then, and ever since the craft have been updated with modern avionics and electronics suites.

The problem here is defying the "laws" of physics. Of course, we're probably wrong about them and the universe could very well be a multidimensional place, but so far as we know no plane or drone can fly that way.

Friendly reminder: UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object, not Suspected Alien Aircraft From Another Planet.

Asking "why the hell" the DOD would be interested in Unidentified phenomenon in its territory goes well beyond sensationalism and straight into stupidity.

I thought the same when I saw the article contain the line "related to encounters with what many would call UFOs".

Well what else would they call them if they don't fucking know what they are?!

I think that's why people are wondering why they weren't as officially interested before. Most of the speculation seems pretty far-fetched, though.

Having dealt with some of these systems, let me tell you up front, its entirely possible it's nothing. I've seen tracks like those suggested in the article pass directly overhead support vessels during maneuvers, and theres nothing there. It can happen a few times a day or even hour, and just means your sensor fusion is a bit janky.

tfa: "This, in turn, provides very high fidelity 'tracks' of targets thanks to telemetry from various sensors operating at different bands and looking at the same target from different aspects and at different ranges."

My take from last article: Let me tell you: fast tracks moving at insane speeds with sometimes-faint signatures are the norm. a perfectly calm sea, esp near shore, can create 100s or a 1000 spurious tracks if automated tools are trusted. The incorrect association of signatures to hypothesized contacts can produce "jumps" in their location, altitude that makes it look like inhuman maneuverability.

Second, the proliferation of small aircraft does bias operators (and algorithms) to assume a real contact from small signatures, esp at low altitudes where noise is greatest.

In a well integrated, multi-vehilce sensor network, a small false positive rate for each individual recognition and classication module produces enough bullshit to trick automated trackers into labelling targets. If we cant assume common sense filtering like "aircraft cant go from hover to mach 3 in one sweep", then the possible associations of sensor data to hypotheses is astronomical, and bullshit propegates.

Its a mess when you integrate so many sensors and systems and try to make sense of the resulting noise.

If you watch the videos in the article interviewing crew members, they express great doube that these were sensor anomalies. They mention replacing equipment, doing several re-calibrations, and that the detections were multi-spectral and even corroborated on separate craft and sensor packages.

I'm a former military avionics dude who worked on systems like this, including "black" stuff. I don't believe in extraterrestrials having visited Earth.

Their explanations sound pretty on-target and baffling.

But anyway, they address the concerns you bring up rather well.

Do you think they’re actual anomalies? Ie something actually there that isn’t explainable.

I do think something was there on those occasions and that it was not an anomaly. Again, because this was viewed multi-spectrally (visual, FLIR, video, radar) across multiple vessels.

I’d need to witness it myself to form any stronger opinions. I do believe the crew people being interviewed are stating what happened to the best of their knowledge.

You meant to say that it was not a sensor anomaly no?, in other words that it could have been an actual anomaly (because they were viewed multi-spectrally) as the other commentator asked? Genuinely curious.

Fair enough. I definitely can't comment from an aviators perspective, just that I'm not suprised if system anomalies propegate wrong. Obviously a lot of folks are taking it seriously.

And to be clear, anomalies do occur -- maybe even frequently.

I've seen all sorts of odd stuff on radar that did not actually exist and was some atmospheric backscatter issue or whatever.

Is this case, based on the public information as presented, there is too much correlating data from disparate systems to write it off.

Well they sent up aircraft to check out the tracks and got video of an unidentified object.

This comment seems familiar...

My favorite conspiracy theory (emphasis on theory, this is pure speculation) is they're Chinese drones.

The logic basically goes that 3M accidentally created a force field[1] in a factory[2], factories are mostly in China now, so if "running a factory" leads to antigravity tech, China would be the ones to develop it.

As much as "I want to believe", if it's true they're not American, it's quite possible they're not alien, just foreign.

I've noticed a weird kind of racism in some folks who talk about China: they simultaneously think they'll conquer the world and that they can't invent technology on their own.

It's certainly interesting logic to conclude "If it's not American, it must be alien".

[1] https://www.wired.com/story/the-physics-of-plastic-sheets-an...

[2] http://amasci.com/weird/unusual/e-wall.html

“I've noticed a weird kind of racism in some folks who talk about China: they simultaneously think they'll conquer the world and that they can't invent technology on their own.”

That’s just normal racism. Mexicans are too lazy to work, but come here and steal our jobs. Muslims come here to force Sharia Law on everyone, but fail to integrate and keep to themselves. Illegals are using public services for free, but pay taxes using fake information and are criminals. Obama was incompetent, but also managed to build complex shadow government. You can just keep going.

By using a dichotomous framework of stereotypes you can easily make a case against an entire population because if one negative stereotype doesn’t fit a given individual you simple apply the other one.

Any blanket criticism of millions or billions of people is bound to be highly inaccurate and also have some non zero degree of accuracy just due to the sheer numbers of people and how common these traits are in any population.

Racism is taking the non-zero existence of a complaint and extrapolating it to the broader population without caring to get to know the individual people.

Unfortunately, it was probably an evolutionary survival technique that worked thousands of years ago but has pretty disastrous consequences today.

Why do you think it is a biological trait rather than a politically useful tool? What do we know about racism outside the context of complex mass societies with highly stratified classes of members? Maybe it's an effective con and not a natural instict.

Don't we know that chimps engage in large scale tribal warfare. And that our ancestors killed off the Neanderthals

What's that got to do with racism of the type this thread has been about?

edit, to be clear, what sort of contradictory, no-win steriotypes to chimps have about other chimp groups or did early modern humans have about neanderthals?

It's racism to doubt that China has antigravity ships and that this is the obvious commonsense answer to these sightings?

Prior to the US having a nuclear program there were papers being published on the possibility of fusion reactions that split the atom. These papers then disappeared during the Manhattan project, signaling that research was happening which was being suppressed.

Is there evidence that China had papers on antigravity research and that such papers have recently stopped being published.

Assumption: the military is in control of this narrative and the narrative is meant for the consumption of our adversaries. Conclusion: the intended narrative is that we are testing advanced systems against our own battle groups. Beware. I don’t know what the tech is or if it’s as sensational as being reported by the “witnesses” but the intent is to give the impression that we have highly sophisticated tech waiting in the wings

>the intent is to give the impression that we have highly sophisticated tech waiting in the wings

Interesting theory. Considering all the hubbub I've heard about "anti carrier cruise missiles[1]" lately, it could make sense there's an incentive to project strength.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-ship_ballistic_missile#Ch...

The problem with that is, there are credible sightings from quite a while ago, before drones really took off, not to mention the speed, acceleration and size of the "drones" are far superior to any drone.


Airport employees, pilots and bystanders have all reported seeing it, but it was dismissed. I remember seeing an interview with a retired Air Force officer who said that nothing's being done about the supposed UFOs is because once you start working on something people will demand results, and if you say we can't do a damn thing about these, your career will be in jeopardy.

Pretty big gap between static elec fields and what's being described in the article.

> I've noticed a weird kind of racism in some folks who talk about China: they simultaneously think they'll conquer the world and that they can't invent technology on their own.

China is the new USSR :)

The US - both the general public and the state itself - vastly overestimated the capabilities of the Soviet armed forces.

I don’t think that’s true for China, at least not today.

The Soviets had vast presence in Europe and were credible ideological opponents.

China is contained in South East Asia and poses no ideological threat to the West.

Are you unaware of China's Belt and Road initiative? Confucious Institutes at U.S. universities?

Plus, countries like Korea are nervous with all this talk of closing bases. China is a likely new ally if they feel they can't rely on the US.

Here is Skeptical Inquirer article about 'Tic Tac' incident.


One major problem with sites like the skeptical Enquirer is that they exist to serve their main purpose -to be skeptical. This by itself is fine to an extent and much of their content can and does legitimately debunk nonsensical and unfounded claims. But when your main purpose is skepticism, it can become self serving to the point that you cherry pick arguments, evidence, cases and lots of other things in order to always ensure that a known explanation can be found no matter what, even if it has to be stretched thin. Unknown things do happen, forcing them to conform to a certain easy bracket of the known is its own type of irrationality.

Isn't this most likely just a response to the surge of drones over the last half decade?

I imagine UFO sightings have proportionally increased and thus the number of ad-hoc reported sightings within the Navy finally crossed the threshold.

It could even be a foreign government or spy agency doing amateur reconnaissance with new tech.

As the article states,

> The lack of a structured procedure and classification system, and the nebulous fear of being stigmatized by reporting things like UFOs [is] something that has long plagued the military and private sectors alike

There is also the nebulous fear of people overreacting whenever you finally decide to implement these common-sense policies. You must be hiding something, even if you were ironically just trying to be more transparent.

I don't mean to sound like a denier. The released IR footage from the same observation period [0] is incredible and, if real, proves that high-G maneuvers without exhaust or aerofoils exist and we are still lacking some very fundamental understanding about the nature of gravity.

I also found the article to be well thought-out and that it covered most of the most obvious answers without trying to paint a particular picture. I'll have to pay more attention to Rogoway.

Speculating on the shape of the aircraft, would the round tic-tac shape provide the least average air resistance in every direction provided an aerofoil is not needed for flight?

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9D8dzl4zGk

They are just preparing the public for the shit tons of satallites and drones there are about to be everywhere watching us. "Oh good its not a UFO it is the UberMcDonald's Delivery Drone Mothership."

I have a lot of biases in my vision. Optical illusions are clearly one example of exploiting those biases.

I suspect there are a lot of biases in processing return signals from radar, an expectation of motion like things actually move.

So, if i had the resources of a nation, and some idea of how radar actually works, i could build a device that actually made a steady turn from, say west to north, look like something else.

I know very little about how radar works in the nitty gritty details, but i know a little bit about how our eyes are fooled by optical illusions. dynamically changing color, and maybe some little helper parts that fly away and change color or produce smoke would really mess with my eyes. it's weird how fireworks always fly right toward you no matter where you stand, right?

Extending that to radar and infrared seems totally reasonable. Also, my eyes have a lot of evolution both adding biases, and ensuring those biases don't mess up very often.

Automated systems don't even have 80 years of engineering effort to accurately represent what's happening.

Applying Occam's Razor:

It's an elaborate disinformation campaign to persuade foreign adversaries to spend money on threats that don't exist. Inflatable tanks and planes of WWII taken to the modern era, long-con fakery facilitated and amplified by social media. NORAD could also vector a large white, odd-shaped aircraft with much separation from commercial traffic with their transponder switched off to seem like that rogue UFO. Throw in some CGI deepfakes to bolster the story. Testimonials about radar tracks with outlandish claims of impossible acceleration sans verifiable evidence to reinforce other-worldly mystique.

Santa Claus isn't real and neither are purported robotic ETs reccying Earth's flora and fauna for an invasion.

Perhaps you do not understand what Occam's Razor means when you lead off your explanation by describing it as an 'elaborate' disinformation campaign

US mil folks are having a good laugh behind the scenes. They probably trade X-Files memes.

Since this is recirculating in the public consciousness, I'm going to repeat my pet theory: they're automated Von Neumann probes that have been in the solar system (and probably ~all star systems in the galaxy) for longer than humanity has existed, and are performing reconnaissance now that there are signs of intelligent life on the planet.

I like this theory because it obviates large problems with other theories, ie crossing interstellar distances just to visit us (they were already here), the lack of observed Von Neumann probes when they should be common (now they've been observed), the idea that some earthly nation has managed to develop technology so far beyond all others and keep it secret (nope), etc.

Why would Von Neumann probes make silent, sharp, right angled turns at impossible speeds with no visible thrust, defying the known laws of physics. It can't be evidence of aliens if it isn't even possible.

That makes no sense to me. If something is doing something, then it's automatically possible, which, if lacking another explanation, automatically means it could be evidence of aliens.

And, defying the known laws of physics isn't impossible, either. We can't even know how much we don't know. That leaves a lot of wiggle room.

I don't know "how" they do it, but those kind of motions do remind me of how AI agents move in computer games when unconstrained by the rules of physics.

perhaps some alien in another dimension was moving his mouse a different direction?

It doesn't violate the laws of physics, just of typical human aircraft engineering. The lack of visible thrust could be due to using interaction with the Earth's magnetic field[1] to generate thrust, as one random example.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrodynamic_tether

Several civilian aircraft reported UFOs over Ireland a few months ago - here’s an ATC recording: https://youtu.be/pv7x4dRye3U?t=300

Is this from a confirmed source?


> "It came up on our left hand side (rapidly veered) to the north, we saw a bright light and it just disappeared at a very high speed ... we were just wondering. We didn't think it was a likely collision course .. (just wondering) what it could be," she said.

> A pilot on Virgin Flight 76 added that his flight crew had seen "two bright lights at 11 o'clock (which) seemed to bank over to the right and then climb away at speed."

why does this article keep returning anew on hacker news?

The military wants people to feel no stigma for reporting observations they fail to explain on their own? Good, no problem with that, it is their duty to watch out for such contingencies. And they probably don't see it as their duty to explain and share footage of each and every incident, and the internal conclusions, ... because they don't want others to know their level of alertness, the resolution and sensitivity of their systems, ...

Why is thedrive.com so intent on portraying such events as "unexplainable" by a collection of humans? They are re-creating the stigma by conflating UFO's with the seemingly impossible.

I.e. even if it is "just a sensor malfunction" or "just an optical effect", it is important to the military that the human operators report these deficiencies up the chain of command: if accidental situations can fool the systems and operators (UFO sightings) into seeing things that don't exist, or misinterpreting things that do exist, then obviously:

1. such hallucinations could be artificially induced (think chaff, camouflage, ...) and hence it is important to take note of spontaneously arising confusing observations

2. such hallucinations increase the noise floor and distract from potential true invasions of air space: if you can address and learn from UFO sightings to improve sensor systems, then a true violation of air space requires less work to detect than if it is hiding in a stack of illusory UFO reports

They may be US drones. If some stealth technology needs to be field tested, flying around a carrier group on a training mission is a good way to do it.

Something like the XQ-58A Valkyrie combat drone or the BQM-167A target drone. Those are unclassified and have performance beyond what most manned aircraft can do. There are probably others that are still classified.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't "drone" simply refer to an unmanned and remotely controlled aircraft? If so, being a drone doesn't explain how such a craft could defy what (the general public) knows about the physics of flight. Drone or not, how does something descend from 60,000 feet to 500 feet in a few seconds, as the story says?

> is that there is no real way to distinctly classify something like a UFO or USO in such a way that it gets reported and an investigation occurs on an official level within the military.

This is what is all about. A UFO is probably not an alien, it is probably a human mistake, an innocent flyer (weather balloon, etc), or a non-expected craft (civilian, enemy, etc). If the military doesnt know about them, isnt trying to figure out which, and isnt improving its ability to determine which, then it is ignoring data and allowing intel and intel training to lapse.

In other situations it might pay off well to have those skills, practices, and policies established.

It's not mysterious, it's not exciting, it's just just military paying attention where it is boring yet useful to pay attention.

Only useful if it doesn't expose your own projects/secret associations.

The last time this got a lot of publicity in the 80s, it was cover for tomahawk missile testing.

The other possibility is some nut job in the administration has a pet project.

>missile testing

This reminds me of something I saw that I never really talked about. Maybe about 7 years ago, I was out bicycling at around 10pm at night outside of Socorro NM (a small desert college town), and to the west I saw a light appear from behind some mountains steadily heading up and north in a slightly curved path. I thought it was a plane or a helicopter until it suddenly disappeared after about 30 seconds. I assumed it turned off its lights or that I somehow misunderstood what I saw, but a minute later, a new light appeared from the same original spot, followed the path again, and disappeared. This sequence repeated maybe ten times. I assume it was some kind of missile test that I saw. The White Sands Missile Range was 10+ miles to the southeast (the wrong direction), though I think I remember there also being other explosive testing ranges nearby to the west. I would love to know what exactly I saw, though I never knew how to go about finding that out even if the information was published somewhere.

My dad saw something like that a long long time ago and we later found out it was a helicopter or small plane searching for weed grow sites. (Very common in our neck of the woods in the 90s and staggering waste of taxpayer resources)

Some atmospheric phenomenon that I don’t recall made it appear much closer than it actually was. (He was intrigued enough to talk to a friend who was an atmospheric science professor) In his case the repetition was the chopper flying box patterns to search.

Coincidentally, (as in literally, not that I think there's any relationship between what you saw and this), Socorro is the site of one of the more famous UFO incidents of the 20th Century. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonnie_Zamora_incident

Nah it was way after sunset, it was definitely a point light source, the repetitions followed a strict schedule (I had started watching the time after the third one), and it had the steady motion you'd expect of an object with mass propelling itself that an illusion wouldn't necessarily have. It really seemed like a fast plane in the distance at night, and I wouldn't have given it a second thought had it not been for the disappearance or the repetition. I believe I saw a puff of light when it winked out, but it was hard to tell. The mountains it appeared behind were 10 miles away, and it was probably further than that.

The town was surrounded by various explosives testing ranges. Occasionally everyone would hear the loud thump of a bomb being test during the day. Mythbusters was known for using some bomb range nearby. I'm pretty confident it was some kind of military or scientific test I saw, I'm just mainly curious about the specifics.

Or nut jobs (plural), unknown to or untouchable by the administration, have a pet project ;)

I have seen UFO-s twice.

First time in early 1990ies, second time it was about 10 years ago.

First sight looked like a formation of lights that moved in sync across the night sky in a straight line. The formation was long, like a long rectangle or long cylinder made of stars. Not too many stars, maybe a hundred. Moving slowly straight in the direction of it's length. I could not tell how far it was, so I can't really judge for the size of it, but it was "flying" higher than the peak of the nearby mountain (which is 1km high and about 10km away), and the lenght was comparable to 1/2 of the south-west ridge of that mountain which itself is aprox. 5-6km long. So the UFO would have to be at least 1km long if it was closer, but it could be many km long if it was further. My family members saw it, as we were on the balcony at home and had clear unobstructed view. I might exagerate about the size of it, but I really did saw it. It could be easily recorded if someone had a videocamera, but we did not. We always had a photo camera at that period but nobody thought about the possibility of taking a picture. We could have tried if we had film, but I don't remember why we did not try. We didn't even talk about the possibility. When you see something like it, it does not occur to you that you might need proof and that nobody will believe. But I don't care, since I saw what I saw. Of course there can be millions of explanations what it was, but there weren't any gived and nobody else mentioned seeing it when we asked around the next day. It could have easily been a formation of airplanes.

The other sight, was when I was by the nearby river with my partner, who did not see the UFO. It was a regular summer night, and something flew across the sky, at extreme velocity, just like a meteorite does. But suddenly right before going out of sight, it changed direction nearly 90 degrees and continued with the same high velocity. It all happened in a blink of an eye, of course it would be very hard to have it recorded.

The point of my stories is that you don't always have a chance to make a recording when you see something strange.

Exactly. I believe I saw one or more UFOs when I was kid, maybe 10 or 11 years old, while riding my bike to a local park. Three or four stationary white lights in the sky, equidistant from each other. Of note, this was in an early afternoon mid-summer day without a cloud in the sky. And they weren't drones, this was in the late 70s.

>first situation

I wonder if it's possible that you saw multiple satellites at once moving in the sky?

>second situation

I wonder if a meteor could bounce when it hits a denser part of the atmosphere and change direction a bit, and maybe it was only the angle you were seeing it from that made the change in direction look as extreme as 90 degrees?

I think that for each situation there could be many explanations, and one would have to assess the probability of all of them happening and then decide based upon such an assessment - finally choose the most probable and easily achievable.

>>first situation

> I wonder if it's possible that you saw multiple satellites at once moving in the sky?

I have a sketch of what I saw from that period, but it does not have enough details to investigate it now. I would not like to discuss based on false personal memory after such a long time.

Still, I could add (out of my memory of what I saw) is that the lights (stars) were in a long rectangular (or cylindrical) formation, were brighter than the rest of the lights in the night sky (brighter than the rest of the stars). They all moved together in sync (imagine looking at a train painted nonreflective black with randomly dispersed luminiscent dots all over it, they will all move in the same direction and with same speed). I was in central Europe and was looking towards south-west, the objects were moving from the south-west part of the sky towards the south part of the sky.

I don't think that there is big enough probability of having that many satellites in a rather narrow patch of the sky (they can't be on the same orbit, so they would have to be on 100 different orbits and still look to be in the same place and appear as to being part of a big formation).

I think that some optical phenomena would be a better explanation of what I saw. Maybe we were looking at a projection of many starts - but projected from where and how.

Most simple and believable explanation is many airplanes flying in a formation.

>>second situation

>I wonder if a meteor could bounce when it hits a denser part of the atmosphere and change direction a bit, and maybe it was only the angle you were seeing it from that made the change in direction look as extreme as 90 degrees?

Optics (refraction, reflection and parallax effects) can explain such a thing if there was some barrier which was met by the object or was introduced on the line of sight between me and the object.

If if was a meteor (which most of the time you don't see until it hits the atmosphere and starts burning) then it would lightup even more upon hitting something. Plus meteors usually have a trail, which i did not see.

The speed must have been immense, since it crossed the sky in a mere instant. I would expect an even bigger flame and trail with such speed.

I can't recall if it was completely dark at that moment or shortly after sunset, but it was in the evening and I was looking to north - northwest, and the object appeared from the west part of the sky, and exit on the north part of the sky, after changing direction (so it was moving from west to north in the begining and then changed north). This are all aprox directions, just to have it illustrated.

It is a tactic within itself to report on your own operations as "something unidentified that moves in ways we don't understand" just in case it is seen by the naked eye.

Bad UFOs also covers this ongoing story from a skeptical perspective.


So, what if the US Airforce.. or CIA.. have technology that can bugger around with the cockpits and instruments of US Navy fighters? Or arbitrary other aircraft cockpits.

Now, they don't want to say that they have this, but they want other people (like the Russians and Chinese and French) to know that they do have it.

Or at least to make them think that they would like them to think that they have it.

Would you see films like this?

How does fudging instrument displays explain the visual sightings by humans? No agenda here, but I do think those must be assessed on their own merits or lack thereof.

Could they be projections onto HUD's? Could the visual systems have been hijacked as well?

I'm referring to seeing things with your eyes, which several of these people did.

Regardless of whether any of it is real, it's a win-win for TicTac!

It's obviously some viral marketing campaign where they've developed advanced propulsion systems purely to get in the media.

I'm not really one for compilation videos, but I stumbled across this one when looking for info on the tic tac incident and it's pretty interesting - 4 Most Compelling Videos Of UFOs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7pgMfzTEZc

The thing I don't understand is where did they get the footage of the F-18's chasing it? And why did they only get/release a few seconds and not the entire video? If it's this important, then why only release a sneak peek?

this is probably military needing new legal framework to operate according to now that china plans to land and stay on the moon, India has tested satellite shooting weapons and russia has been investing in its 'space force'

Efficient Anti-satellite weapons are low-tech if we are talking about space-to-space combat.

Heck, I read an article in Russian that argued that bows+arrows or catapults/ballistae could be efficient weapons when compared to lasers that you see in SciFi.

claiming to be able to shoot down a satellite with a catapult is not the craziest argument a russian may have made.

I'm surprised the article doesn't reference the recent Bob Lazar documentary which deals with this alleged tech from a first-hand perspective (Bob was a whistleblower in a lab that worked on a kind of gravity drive, according to him.)

It's quite well-produced, and it's probably the only UFO-related film I consider worth watching: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/bob-lazar-area-51-flying-s...


I don’t think anyone serious takes Bob Lazar seriously!

My favorite speculation about Lazar is that they subjected him to some kind of giant put on (basically a black project version of the "big store" con) as some kind of disinformation campaign aimed at foreign intelligence or even just some kind of social engineering experiment. Lazar saw what he saw, but it was fake.

Why not?

His story is full of holes. He claims that he has a master’a degree in physics, but cannot produce a diploma, his master’s thesis of the names of any classmates or professors. Furthermore, he has never demonstrated that level of knowledge of physics and the things that he does say are bizarre at best.

There’s no evidence that The facility that he allegedly worked exists. There isn’t any trace of roads or any infrastructure for it. The location that he gives is right on the edge of the restricted airspace surrounding Area 51, which seems odd for a super secret facility.

There are a bunch of little things. In one interview he mentions seeing an alien through a window in a door. His escort guard tells him not to look. Somehow the government is able to secretly reverse engineer alien technology, but can’t spring for some curtains?

To put it simply, there’s no evidence to support it. He has never been able to produce a sample of any extraterrestrial material nor has he shown that he has any knowledge that is beyond current physics.

Personally, I’m fond of [this idea](http://www.otherhand.org/home-page/area-51-and-other-strange...). Basically that Bob Lazar schmoozed his way into a job at Area 51 due to a chance meeting with Edward Teller. He brought people to watch a classified test (of experimental, but completely terrestrial technology) and got into deep shit over it.

Oh, lord. Bob has been thoroughly discredited. Like utterly and completely. His credentials do not check out. Nothing he says checks out. Nothing he says even makes sense when you apply the most basic understanding of physics or even simple logic to his claims. But the guy is amazing to listen to, and I really think he believes every word he says. And that's a bit scary — to be that deluded.

Thank for sharing this. Always wondered what happened to Bob Lazar and they did a good job re-telling the original story and interviewing his friends/wife. Took me a moment to realize that his ‘United Nuclear’ was the very company where I ordered some radioactive ore a few years ago to test my electronic kit Geiger counter that we put together with the kids as a science project.

I find it funny that people still believe that any alien object reaching us (just remember the engineering work necessary to do that and how many hundreds of years if not more we are away from reaching distant planets or galaxies) could be observed in the visual range or even with any kind of technology we have. And if they do, then it is on purpose. What purpose is that? Doesn't earth look tasty to them? It's much more likely that these are some military prototypes or spy equipment, unmanned drones, etc. or just pure imagination.

If were talking about aliens, I think it's more plausible that these things live somewhere on the ocean floor rather than on an another planet.

This article seems to imply it must be a craft of some kind, but I'm not convinced natural phenomena can be ruled out. As an example, ball lightning is still not particularly well understood and behaves in rather peculiar seeming ways. The speed that this 'object' moved at makes much more sense if it's entirely electromagnetic in nature.

I think this class of UFO (the floating tic tac) is the result of secret rail gun testing projects, with novel inertial guidance packages inside them. Hence the lack of any obvious propulsion. They’re a new kind of guided ballistic penetrator, maybe with aerogel exteriors, and steerable internals.

How does an object fired from a rail gun ascend from the ocean floor or hover over it?

"Someone or something has crossed the technological Rubicon and has obtained what some would call the Holy Grail of aerospace engineering."

Hyperbole much?

Surely military planes are equipped with enough cameras that they don't have to rely on verbal pilot eye witness stories for these things?

I don’t think there’s a real scientific problem here that needs solving, it’s mostly appeasing the pilots so they have some bureaucratic black hole to write down their concerns and management can just say “okay we have a record of it, we’ll let you know if anything comes up”.

That's a big part of this article, it talks about a network of censors. Since stealth crafts are typically only stealthly at certain angles, the combination of multiple view points would highlight any stealth objects, and that merged picture could be broadcast to all assets in the area. It also happens that experimental network was the place the incident occured, and it seeminly recorded everything. Shortly after the incident uniformed officers came and confiscated the recordings.

"Let me underline this again for you, the Nimitz encounter with the Tic Tac proved that exotic technology that is widely thought of as the domain of science fiction actually exists. It is real."

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. A blurry video and some eyewitness reports are not extraordinary evidence. Humans lie all the time, but very rarely discover new physics.

With the proliferation of mobile devices, you'd expect there to be an increase in footage of such sightings with an equivalent increase in quality. Yet virtually everything available is low quality, grainy rubbish. On the other hand, the accessibility of video editing software makes such claims dubious at best regardless of quality or presentation.

I agree with others who've suggested this is either a counter intelligence effort or the military is doing something and wants to involve others in "sightings," probably to gauge the success of certain programs. If it's not some sort of clever projection, those UFOs probably have US markings on them. Otherwise, the belief it has something to do with aliens is probably wishful thinking.

I'd recommend listening to John Michael Godier's top 10 lists regarding alien messages, first contact, or SETI [1] if you want a healthy dose of realism. In particular, his "10 SETI messages that we may not want to receive" [2] is especially good, even if the first part is rather depressing.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEszlI8-W79IsU8LSAiRbDg/vid...

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKVpHTMj3XM

> With the proliferation of mobile devices, you'd expect there to be an increase in footage of such sightings with an equivalent increase in quality.

Phones have lenses with wide focal lengths and tiny sensors. You need a very different device to capture small objects far away from you with high resolution.

I recently had a wildfire close to home, and had airplanes flying at very low altitude. The sight of the belly of those airplanes flying the whole day on top of my home along with the noise was spectacular so I thought I might capture a snap to share with my remote coworkers. The result was not even mediocre; my phone captured a tiny insignificant object in the sky, not that awe inspiring machine that I just felt grazed my head IRL

Well, true, but when was the last time you heard of an alien abduction?

Seemed like everyone was getting kidnapped a generation ago.

That is true, but it doesn't exclude the possibility that if a particularly noteworthy event occurred, there should be at least one or more observers attempting to film it along with commentary.

Of course, your comment raises another interesting prospect. Anything of decent quality that claims to be a UFO sighting should be immediately suspect as it may be a professional production.

I’ve personally seen what some would call a UFO, and was too awestruck to even consider recording the event. I’m not saying it was an alien craft, but it was being chased by military jets and lost their trail when it started flashing a row of rainbow lights and rose from above the trees to disappearing like a satellite in the sky. I’ve never really spoken about it and who knows what it was. All I know is it didn’t follow any propulsion rules I’ve ever seen, and didn’t even think about the chance to record it until much later.

Try photographing a bird with a phone camera. Then try it with no advance notice, whipping it out and shooting as fast as you can. You'll get a blur, just like the crappy phone camera photos of "UFOs" all over the Internet.

It's an extraordinary claim, sure, but it isn't impossible that some fraction of UFOs are someone else. "They are here but are not making overt contact" is one potential Fermi paradox answer. The apparent abundance of possibly habitable planets demands some answer here I think.

There are many rational reasons an alien intelligence would avoid overt contact with some being altruistic (prime directive type thinking), some neutral (same reason we decontaminate space probes), and some selfish (we are aggressive and capable of rapid technological progress).

There's also other solutions to the Fermi Paradox that don't require alien contact but likewise don't exclude the possibility for life. For one, it's possible FTL (or FTL-ish) travel isn't something that can be done in our universe. The other is to reflect on what we've done as a species. Consider the last time we sent manned probes to another world--then consider how many unmanned probes. I'm of the mind to believe that if we do encounter anything alien, it'll likely be autonomous or intelligent probes. It'll catalog us and move along.

I still stand by my point with cameras. Mobile devices, dash cams, etc., are all vastly prolific. While it's true they don't capture anything far away particularly well, the shear number of these devices ought to suggest that multiple sightings by large groups of people could be corroborated--even if the footage isn't particularly great. But, we're not seeing that.

It may not be impossible these UFOs are other intelligences, but it's exceedingly unlikely. More so when you consider that a non-trivial fraction of those same habitable worlds you mention are, at present, speculative at best and around stars that are unfriendly to life at worst. TRAPPIST-1 comes to mind as an example of worlds directly measured via the transit method: A large number of worlds in a habitable zone surrounding a red dwarf known to be a flare star.

Then there's another consideration. If life is common in our galaxy (or in the universe), far more intelligent beings may simply be uninterested in us--a relatively pedestrian world around a fairly ordinary star with intelligent primates that haven't yet figured out how to leave their home world with any degree of consistency.

See also Hitchens' razor: "That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

Check the original source. Note that these videos are pushed by "To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences".

On other parts of The Internet it's known as a UFO organisations and other “mysteries of the universe", plus there is the $37.4 million of debt; https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/10/all-the-dumb-things-...

Interesting. So there's both ability and motive.

It doesn't surprise me to be truthful. I believe the plurality of so-called "UFO researchers" are selling something. Be it books or speaking engagements.

I confess my opinion may be colored by the fact that I live not far from the Roswell UFO museum.

Have you considered Kitchen's sink? "I wash my hands of this matter."

The Tic Tac thing is insane. As far as I understand, its evidence was:

- At least two radar systems (boat and then plane) registering it

- At least two IR/thermal imaging systems (the two planes') registering it

- At least four eye-witnesses registering something when looking for it (two people on each plane, seeing something large near the water's surface with the Tic Tac coming out and flying around)

- The ship radar registering it again, later, at a location it told the planes to go as procedure (but the planes didn't see it when they got there)

That's not bad. But here are the two extremes of interpretation:

1. Alien visitors are real, and it was an alien craft

2. By a probabilistic lottery, all of these systems happened to fail at the same time (the radar was defective; the IR was defective; the humans' brains were defective, sharing a hallucination), and there was absolutely nothing

I actually think #2 is likelier than #1, which is pretty hilarious. #1 is such a fantastic assertion, especially with our not seeing aliens in space (leading to the Fermi paradox), firmly outside the bounds of our experience. Extremely unlikely combinations of ordinary things happening (tech failure, hallucinations) is within our experience though.

And with there being room inbetween for "maybe there was a whale surfacing at the same time", "maybe it's elite government tech", etc., I have to err on the alien visitor-skeptic side.

from the article, a description of "Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC)" system:

>What most don't realize is that the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group wasn't just equipped with some of the most advanced sensors the world had to offer, but that it also had hands-down the most advanced networking and computer processing capability of any such system. Dubbed Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), this integrated air defense system architecture was just being fielded on a Strike Group level for the first time aboard Nimitz and the rest of its flotilla.

>Our readers are familiar with CEC and the follow-on iterations that have come since, as we talk about the concepts behind them often. At its very basic level, it uses the Strike Group's diverse and powerful surveillance sensors, including the SPY-1 radars on Aegis Combat System-equipped cruisers and destroyers, as well as the E-2C Hawkeye's radar picture from on high, and fuses that information into a common 'picture' via data-links and advanced computer processing. This, in turn, provides very high fidelity 'tracks' of targets thanks to telemetry from various sensors operating at different bands and looking at the same target from different aspects and at different ranges.

>Whereas a stealthy aircraft or one employing electronic warfare may start to disappear on a cruiser's radar as it is viewing the aircraft from the surface of the Earth and from one angle, it may still be very solid on the E-2 Hawkeye's radar that is orbiting at 25,000 feet and a hundred miles away from the cruiser. With CEC, the target will remain steady on both platform's CEC enabled screens as they are seeing fused data from both sources and likely many others as well.

So these 3 paragraphs state:

1. Instead of each platform (plane, boat, ...) relying on only it's own sensors, the platform sensors (radar, IR ...) are automatically sharing their observations across platforms by data links, fusing them into one scene, such that each platform has the eyes and ears of all platforms combined. Obviously only 1 sensor needs to malfunction or misinterpret signals such that they are gossiped across platforms where the operators seemingly "independently" observe the imagination, i.e. data fusion potentially triggers common hallucinations. Regarding the pilots, navigators: I speculate for example this could have been the augmented reality HUD overlay showing the IR feed...

2. the system was "just being fielded", increasing the odds of initial wrinkles in the data fusion system.

3. again the system was "just being fielded", increasing the odds of human operators misinterpreting their display systems as depicting what the sensors of their platform are sensing, since before introduction of sensor fusion this would have always been the case. Human operators would thus more easily fail to realize that their "independent observations" were not in fact independent at all.

Interesting thought. I don't know any details of how that data fusion system works. But I can easily think of combinations of bad input and filters that result in phantoms with seemingly omposdible characteristics. But the fact remains that the information is still vague and contradictory, so it probably not possible to get close to the truth. Almost everything is neccesarily speculation, on either side.

An excellent point which no one else has brought up. Like the old programming saying goes, "GIGO," garbage in, garbage out.

Since the author didn't give many details of the Tic Tac Incident, I googled it and came up with this:


Also see here for a less breathless article on the event: https://skepticalinquirer.org/2018/05/navy_pilots_2004_ufo_a...

>Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

No, it doesn't require extraordinary evidence.


The appears to be an argument about semantics, enabled by Sagan's failure to precisely define "extraordinary". For the sake of argument, I'll define it here as "breaking the laws of thermodynamics". A reactionless thruster, which is one of the "scifi" technologies alluded to by the article, breaks the first law of thermodynamics.

Thermodynamics is so fundamental to physics that it is "extraordinary" that anything violating it is correct, i.e. the prior probability of the supposed violation being correct is extremely low, and low enough that we have to consider unlikely alternative explanations, e.g. failures of the research process itself. For non-extraordinary claims, we can assume that the scientists are not lying or insane, but when the prior probability is low enough, these possibilities are no longer ignorable.

The mere mention of the word "extraordinary" is presumptive and asserts a line of reasoning that must be defended if one requires claims to be interpreted through it.

I appreciate you providing a link, but am hoping for a tl;dr after realizing just how long that article is.

You may acquaint yourself with the concept of an abstract: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_(summary).

The one in question has 1326 characters, which is, I dare say, quite manageable.

Thanks for the snark. I read the abstract and found it uninformative, but I guess I should've mentioned that.

I like TL;DRs, too and sometimes post them myself, but not every subject can be reduced to that. Sometimes you just have to read or write long form documents.

What's the TL;DR for WWII? What's the TL;DR for the taxonomy of animal species, or how to run a nuke plant?

always amazed here at hackernews.

If these incidents were aliens, I would expect a lot more reactions from the military, politic, and financial markets. All reactions seem muted.

Secondly, why would aliens reveal themselves in such a way? Either land on the White House lawn or stay out of sight. This 50 year UFO appearances, with some but not really a lot of witnesses, don't make sense for me.

You're trying to reason about 'alien' intelligence in terms of human traits. What makes you think they are even interested in us at all? Maybe they just came here to re-up on potassium.

You really can't reason about alien intelligence at all. Look at how hard it is for, say, a typical American to reason about a devout Muslim in Iran or vice versa. In that case we are talking about two beings of the same damn species with a lot of common history.

If aliens are coming here their motives could be anything including irrational or just non-rational.

I've speculated for a while that a "post-singularity" post-scarcity intelligence would get... bizarre... due to lack of hard scarcity constraints. It would just fan out across state space. It would be less Star Trek and more Lexx. Maybe they do make crop circles as interactive art. Maybe they do strange stuff to us to slowly convert us to their religion. Who knows? We can't know.

The planet could have been seeded with life to free bound oxygen or concentrate certain elements on the surface for easy retrieval at a later date. Semi intelligent life could have been an accident. It is probably not the case but fun to think about.

> Secondly, why would aliens reveal themselves in such a way?

It is a possibility if those “aliens” are biological humans in possession of technology far superior to anything we have now. Then you’d want to keep it a secret.

Why keep it a secret? If we somehow where able to meet humans with a technology level below ours, wouldn't it make sense to give them technology to better themselves?

Why would you give powerful and highly advanced technology to a race that is constantly fighting itself and doesn't value its native environment enough to protect it?

At least we recognize it? If there are other sentient races like ours, who's to say we aren't the best off? There's a lot of ways that races like ours can fall off the deep end (such as an actual all-out nuclear war), but it could also be possible that we're the worst off, too. Some people care about the environment, but it's hard to get started and become civilized without pollution and deforestation and all the other things that come with needing fuel- England could very well have run out of trees at some point had they not gone "oh, this is bad, let's fix this". One cannot expect the first version of an air conditioner to be 100% efficient and not leak refrigerant into the atmosphere, but over time, because of it, we have the basis for being able to send food across the entire world and populate it (at a cost [1]). We, as a race, also have the basis for very efficient power generation, in the form of nuclear reactors (my favorite kind, uranium salt, can run for a long time and are much more efficient than light water ones are, not to mention less polluting, and its failure mode is much less spectacular- they just didn’t get developed, unfortunately). As far as it goes, we’ve done pretty well, but there is, as always, room for improvement.

[1] Such as Hawaii, where everything is slightly more expensive.

When has the human instinct ever been to give away an advantage over others?

Judging by the number of times people have tried and failed to prevent knowledge of "advanced weapons" from leaking... pretty much all of human history.

leaking != giving away

No, that doesn't make sense at all. When we discover a hidden tribe in the Amazon, we don't give them iPhones and Camrys.

It could be the alien equivalent of anthropology or zoological grad students trying to study indigenous life on our planet. Encounters could be explained as them pulling drunk pranks on the natives.

I think we have so many expert people with professional equipment looking at the sky daily yet we never get any sight from them with verifiable data. It's always personal anecdotes from amateurs.

> we never get any sight from them with verifiable data

This is false. In the above example of the Nimitz, we have sighting by two professional pilots, and radar/scanner readings. This is not a lone example.

Check out this documentary Sirius:


I'm quite familiar with S. Greer's work and I would recommend taking all his documentaries and videos not with one but multiple grains of salt.

More like those huge salt licks for horses.

There are graduate studies programs shorter than that article.

So, take this for what it's worth. I have known a few individuals who have been involved in various areas of the military. One was an aircraft engineer working on black projects. One was in COMSEC. One was a nuclear engineer.

One of them walked into the wrong hanger once and was face-to-face with a disc type something-or-other that he was not supposed to see, and was basically told "You didn't see that, and don't ever say you did."

One told of several incidents, and one in particular that was rather startling, tracking objects across North America that were going at seemingly impossible speeds and changing vectors in ways that would tear any convention craft apart. They were picked up on multiple instrument arrays across the country.

One was working on advanced propulsion, real science fiction type stuff, but was moved to other projects when he started asking the wrong questions. I'm being deliberately obtuse here.

There are reliable individuals. They aren't crazy, and they aren't conspiracy nuts.

I am convinced that these things are not anomalies, and that they are terrestrial in origin. All but one of my afore-mentioned friends disagree with me. They think they are alien, but this is only their opinion. None of them had any "inside" knowledge that the military is aware of alien craft. But when you are an engineer, and know what's physically possible given our current level of technology and materials science, I suppose I cannot fault them for jumping to that conclusion.

The thing is, calling it "alien" doesn't solve that particular difficulty. If you assume that the things are real, then what they are doing is physically possible. And if it is physically possible, then it is theoretically possible for us to do it. So applying occam's razor, you don't need to invoke aliens. It is far more likely that someone figured it out, especially someones with multi-billion dollar black budgets working over decades with the brightest minds on the planet.

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