Anyhow -most- of the photos taken from US Aircraft are clearly balloons, some consumer but most spying; it's a huge intelligence failure that these incidents aren't reported to the higher ups when -most- of it is clearly enemy spying. The War Zone did a few good pieces on this.
As for the super high speed phenomena being observed, I have serious doubts that it is an adversary given US defense spending, so they are either secret projects or something beyond. The article (from NRO) claims the fast objects are distorted by a parallax effect but seem to ignore the radar signature showing similar speed to what is visually observed...not the speed of a bird or a balloon.
The theories in this NRO are pretty laughable to be perfectly honest in regards to some of the cases that are clearly not commercial aircraft, birds, etc as the author claims. Clearly making a joke out of what is possibly a serious national security issue in regards to enemy spying, especially. The Drive (War Zone) write ups take the issue far more seriously, and rightfully so, I'd recommend them.
Go ask a room of random people to go outside and take a video of a bird in flight. You'll see how bad both people and smartphones are at it. Add to that that most UFO phenomenons happen at night, and that people nowadays walk 99% of the time looking down at their phones.
In one example, they were able to fully explain a previously "mysterious" UFO seen in a video taken by a military helicopter in South America. Thanks to the overlaid GPS coordinates and time, they were able to create a 3D model recreating the camera's viewpoint and then overlay the flight tracking data from that day. That along with weather information allowed them to demonstrate that the UFO was in fact an IR reflection from a commercial airliner as seen through a somewhat rare but well-understood atmospheric effect combined with lens blooming. It was impressive sleuthing and very cool to see the flight's 3D track line up exactly with the mysterious blob from the helicopter's POV.
He reminds me of the Condon Comittee. In "The Edge of Reality", Allen Hynek claims that in the first week of the investigations the conclusions were already being written on the boards.
You’d think people would put 2 and 2 together. But many will always see 5. These are the most highly instumented areas of the planet. Just look at google maps of San Nicolas island off San Diego. A Navy range bristling with the most advanced electro-optical and radar sensors on earth.
But like you say, always a fuzzy polaroid. It’s strange when forums of supposed contrarian rationalists are so herdish.
The more highly-sophisticated equipment you have tracking one area, the more likely you are to get false readings in that area, assuming the equipment has any kind of failure rate.
For a comparison, LHC has "seen" many millions of much more impressive events, with much more sensitive equipment. They don't go publishing about new particles every day though, because they know how to account for measurement flukes in their instruments.
It looks a lot more humanoid or ape-like when the bear is far away or the resolution is grainy.
I have no idea what these events are - but I’m suspicious of anyone who feels comfortable to say it absolutely is or is not anything specific
As mentioned in this thread, even with the cameras in a military fighter jet, video is hard to get in good quality at the distances seen in aviation
I'm sure the are aliens out there, but I think jumping to the conclusion that all of these reports are alien technology leaps right over a ton of possible reasonable explanations.
Do you think the military could be developing radar fooling technology to trick the other side?
Why do you doubt that? Also, who exactly is claiming aliens, apart from people hearing "we really couldn't explain it so far" and thinking "they mean aliens!!!"?
No such adversary would likely believe the claim that the US has suddenly developed physics-defying technology thousands of years ahead of what should even be feasible, which they just recently decided to leak like a sieve about. And the only thing the US does with this technology is troll their own military.
If it is a psyop, it's a stupid and obvious one.
Its just an object, that appears to be flying that we have not yet identified.
Nothing even remotely controversial about that.
Fundamentally, it's an annoying topic because it's currently unprovable. If there were really aliens here for as long as consistent phenomena have been observed (at least since the 1940's, but possibly for most of human history), then the ball would be in their court. It doesn't take a lot of creativity to assume that such an advanced civilization would have the capability to keep a low profile if desired, even if they had a significant amount of activity on our planet. And if the types of organizations (militaries of rival superpowers) that could collect interesting data did so, could they and would they really disperse it on a wide scale against the wishes of "the phenomenon?"
The interesting ones are the close encounters. Someone in this thread might scoff at testimony describing unmistakably unidentifiable phenomena that lacks compelling video evidence, while simultaneously reposting "I believe victims" on Twitter. Pick one. Do you think credible witness testimony is admissible, or do you not? Millenia of justice systems are built on this concept. Even "hard evidence" all comes down to trusting the people in the chain of custody, since things can be doctored so easily nowadays. Want to claim crazy or spontaneous mass hallucination? Prove it. Show the mechanism in the brain. Reproduce in a lab. Put a name to the disease. The burden of proof is on you to describe why our justice systems are built on a complete farce.
I personally have sane family members, who, in a group, circa 1970, had a close encounter in broad daylight so unmistakable there is no way it could have been anything but an intelligently controlled flying object with incomprehensible capabilities. And shamefully, being a rational and proud engineer, I did not believe them until the last few years when really interesting data started coming out on the phenomenon and I did a deep dive.
Do I know what these objects are? No. But I'm pretty confident the guys I knew who went on to work in defense couldn't come up with objects being described given 100 years, let alone with the technology available decades ago. Most of the DoD is running on 10-25 year old Windows machines.
In a justice system, testimony is trusted to the extent that we believe those people saw what they did. Their opinions on what it might mean is completely inadmissible even for mundane phenomena. Even then, we test these accounts by asking probing questions, we don't just accept them at face value.
Let's take this example:
> I personally have sane family members, who, in a group, circa 1970, had a close encounter in broad daylight so unmistakable there is no way it could have been anything but an intelligently controlled flying object with incomprehensible capabilities.
In a court of law, their testimony that some light/object visible to humans displayed some behavior they describe could be accepted. Of course, the opposition lawyer would be free to ask probing questions about their mental and physical state at the time, their history of similar claims, their pre-existing beliefs about such phenomena, the extent to which they each personally observed these things versus being influenced by the others etc.
Let's assume that the lawyer didn't successfully cast any doubt in their minds. The next step would be to bring in expert witnesses describing known phenomena that could match the observations that were described, at least to a great extent - flares, parallax, even exotic phenomena like ball lightning or St Elmo's fire could be described, and evidence could be brought that people observing these understood phenomena had previously described them in terms similar to the witness testimony we heard earlier.
In the end, the jury would conclude something based on the preponderence of the evidence or on the beyond reasonable doubt standards - in the latter case, concluding aliens beyond reasonable doubt is impossible, and I believe it would still be extremely unlikely even for the preponderence of the evidence.
Except that eyewitness testimony is never uncritically accepted in any justice system. Ask a group of people who observed an event and invariably there will be a substantial portion who remembered basic facts about the event wrong. This phenomenon is well understood. Furthermore, there is a difference in asking about the phenomena a person observed and a causal event a person was a part of. An eyewitness can be confused about any number of specific details but it is much harder to be confused about an event that had a direct impact on them. In the latter case, we are not blindly trusting their recollection but rejecting alternative explanations as lacking causal power.
Accepting hard evidence doesn't involve trust at all. You don't trust a medical lab not to fabricate evidence; you rationally judge the probability that they went to the effort for no gain whatsoever and risked their reputation and career on something that would be subjected to intense scrutiny in a courtroom on the hope no one would notice something was amiss. Of course, the defense has rights to directly question and propose an alternative explanation. A court doesn't accept evidence blindly.
>> Want to claim crazy or spontaneous mass hallucination? Prove it. Show the mechanism in the brain. Reproduce in a lab. Put a name to the disease. The burden of proof is on you to describe why our justice systems are built on a complete farce.
Nonsense. It is up to the person claiming a radically new phenomena to show evidence and proactively demonstrate that there is no possible alternative explanation. This isn't unfair, if you can't examine the explanatory power of other theories your own theory should probably not be accepted. Do you declare at the end of a magic show that you have just witnessed a supernatural event unless a person can explain to your satisfaction exactly how the tricks were done? Furthermore, you are going further and asking for counter evidence that does not rationally match the standard of evidence you have actually presented. As I just pointed out above, the justice system does not uncritically accept eyewitness testimony.
This phenomenon is not well understood at all, only observed. But if not one, but a half dozen unrelated people with no conflicts of interest testify that they saw a specific person shoot another person, despite slightly different details from each perspective and individual perception of time, that is as good as fact in a court of law (what type of criminal charge the shooting constituted becomes the rest of the case) . It often takes only one if the person is "credible" (e.g. a police officer).
So why is it that a half dozen highly trained (much more so than a police officer) and credible people aboard the USS Nimitz or Princeton do not get the same treatment? Even the official press release going laterally and vertically through the chain of command corroborates key aspects of these incidents.
> Accepting hard evidence doesn't involve trust at all. You don't trust a medical lab not to fabricate evidence
You really walked into this one. Read this example completely contradicting your claim . The world is built on trust amigo.
> Nonsense. It is up to the person claiming a radically new phenomena to show evidence and proactively demonstrate that there is no possible alternative explanation.
I'm not going to reiterate my whole comment above, but no. Determining the existence of some intelligence greater than our own that is keeping a low profile is less of a scientific method endeavor than an intelligence gathering one. Intelligence is gathered, and then it's up to people to evaluate. It is ridiculous to expect people to prove the infinite set of everything that it is not. People invested in not changing their worldview (of whom there are many) will attempt to assign explanations, and that enters the pool of material to consider. Not that anything changes if everybody all of a sudden agrees on the general nature of the phenomenon, if the phenomenon isn't trying to make contact. Maybe more interest in research into spacecraft that don't spew gas out the back, or more people majoring in physics to try to improve our current primitive models.
This line hit home for me
> Lots of psychological barriers are preventing people from examining this topic with an open mind (on both sides of the debate, mind you
I was really hoping they were hiding aliens though.
That really shows evidence for a completely different conspiracy theory going back at least 2000 years. Simple bread and circuses. And this is part of the latter.
There is some sort of reason that the US military has been oddly open about all this. My thought would be that it's some sort of disinformation campaign, though it's hard to tell who it's directed at and what the exact purpose would be. But if the US military was seeing stuff they can't explain and they thought it might be an adversary (or aliens, who would fall into the category of "potential adversary until proved otherwise"), the last thing they'd do is publicly admit to being bamboozled. My thoughts on what this might be are, in descending order of probability:
- An attempt to convince US adversaries that we have developed some sort of advanced capability (see the various odd patents filed by the Navy and Salvatore Pais), and that we're falsely claiming we're seeing these things as part of a disinformation campaign to draw attention away from it. "No, we definitely don't have any secret glowing, non-ballistic hypersonic drones we're going to defeat you with in the next conflict. You definitely shouldn't spend billions of dollars trying to counter something like that".
- An attempt to convince US adversaries, who have developed some sort of advanced drone which we have been able to identify and counter, that we have not in fact identified and countered it, and are completely incompetent and clueless. "Oh no, what is that terrifying and confusing thing that we keep seeing? Definitely not that new advanced Chinese drone that we stole the plans for in 2016 and can shut down remotely with the press of a button. Nope, no idea. Please don't improve it, since we clearly have no idea what it is".
- An attempt to draw attention away from actual aircraft we've developed whose capabilities are similar to (but probably more in line with established physics) the aircraft seen in the released videos. "Yeah, we're seeing those things too. No idea what they could be. Let us know if you figure anything out"
I guess there's still a possibility that it's actual aliens, and they're trickling the information out to avoid a panic, but that would be so far down the list that it's not really part of the same list anymore. But even in that situation, it would only happen after there was contact and they were reasonably sure of their motivations; if they were still unknown, then this information would be classified at the highest level, and we would probably not know about it.
I cannot believe how poor most of these comments are. It’s unbelievable.
HN used to be a place where educated, well though out discussions occurred.
Now there’s barely an ounce of critical thought.
It’s horrible and sad.
Why? I can only surmise. HN perhaps has gotten more popular, more cool, so has had in influx of more people?
Either that or I’m getting older and the newer generation has lost even more critical thought ability than I’d imagined.
Seriously I cannot believe that almost all comments here are conspiracy minded comments arguing against an article that is simply clear and critical thinking.
I beg and implore anyone reading this to read the following book. Even if one person does and learns better critical thinking abilities, it’d be a win.
For the time being, I feel like I need to step away from HN comments altogether. It ends up being the most depressing part of my day.
First of all, the only theory of curved space-time that we have doesn't allow 'at will' curving, by simple conservation laws. Second of all, the amount of curvature needed to achieve the apparent acceleration is proportional to that acceleration, and so is the mass-energy required to produce that curvature. If it were possible to curve space time so much that you appear to accelerate at 12000g, you should also be able to accelerate to 12000g. I haven't done the math, but I would expect the amount of mass required to be well above the Schwartzschild limit, meaning that whatever the UAP was before attempting such a maneuver, it would quickly become an easily-identified black hole afterwards.
Obviously, the explanation that is far more in line with current physics than the article's exotic space-curvature drive would be various glitches in the instruments used to assess the speed of the 'objects'.
So, if the observed object was less than 212m across, it could not have appeared to accelerate at 12000g by curving space-time without collapsing into a black hole.
It reflects most of all how successful the US's long-term project to inculcate dismissive ridicule around UAP has been,
but fails to yet understand that there is a pronounced pivot in tone in how official sources are discussing these things.
That pivot is much more interesting and significant than any particular video, regardless of the weakness of Follett's criticisms.
Part of that pivot which is significant is the change in terminology, from UFO to UAP. This may be simple bureaucratic bike shedding. It is also consistent with a change of framing motivated by aspects of the phenomenon which have not been reconciled with the conventional equation of them with "flying saucers" aka spaceships containing extraterrestrials.
Those of us who watch these things over time are genuinely astonished at the rapid and comprehensive change in tone here, and the tea leaf reading going on is sometimes quite interesting. It is plausible that the decision to found a Space Force was one more childish impulse by Trump. It is also plausible that that founding and its continued build out under Biden is not unrelated to this pivot.
As with much of the secret history of our times, those of us on the outside can only watch the outlines of the blacked out and redacted spaces, and infer what we can from their changes.
This dismissal is understandable in a historical moment offering no shortage of profound quotidian crises.
It also partakes of a world-weary cynicism which was taught, not learned; and IMO it misses the real story here.
Note that Obama added comments to this fire this week. If this is disinformation and long con, e.g. by a spooked aerospace industry and military industrial complex looking for a new line of revenue, it is a very long con and one with a scale of duplicity, or complicity, inconsistent with the professionalism and careers and understood integrity of a lot of increasingly highly ranked people.
That doesn't mean it's not a disinformation campaign. It does mean that if it is, it's unprecedented in potential impact in a way we haven't seen since the days of yellow cake Uranium.
Either it's a story to be watched closely, not scoffed at because that's what you have always done in "serious" company.
Perhaps its time to start doubting the integrity and/or professionalism of these people, rather than basic physics.
Even if conspiracy theories/government long-cons are not extremely likely (though the government, military and intelligence agencies have a huge documented record of intentionally bold-faced lying to the public, such as the fabricated WMD Irak claims), they are still far and away more likely than physics defying alien spacecraft.
Furthermore, even in the most captivating readings of these events, its obvious that these people have no clue what these phenomena actually are, so there is still no reason to actually follow the story other than morbid curiosity.
Whatever these phenomena are, sharing all of the information that's available about them can only help us to understand them. If all of that information can be accounted for by physics we know, that's fine. At least we'll know for sure. And if it can't, then we need to work on learning some new physics, as we've been doing for centuries.
There's no such thing as physics defying phenomena that actually happened. But there are lots of phenomena which don't happen that would be physics defying if they did. For example, a device I claim to produce energy out of nothing is physics defying: it doesn't happen.
And more data is not in itself a good thing. If you have low quality data, then sometimes the most scientifically honest thing to do is to throw it away - we don't have infinite energy to explore every shred of information and ascertain it's trustworthiness. For the same reason physicists or doctors don't go investigating every claim of a miracle or faith healing, they shouldn't investigate every blip on the radar.
Releasing dumps of such data and insinuating that it's meaningful (while actually saying the truth, that it's simply unexplained, which is the default state of data) is generally against the public interest.
You don't need to doubt basic physics, since they allow this to happen. Spacetime warping has been theorized for more than a century.
> So why hasn’t the military given any of these explanations?
> Well, the Department of Defense’s policy is to report even “incursions that are initially reported as UAP [Unidentified Aerial Phenomena] when the observer cannot immediately [emphasis added] identify what he or she is observing.” It is entirely possible that these examples were all identified after the initial report, but still bureaucratically classified as UAPs. The Pentagon has confirmed the footage is real, but has said nothing about the content of the footage.
It most probably is just a failure of imagination.
Of course, no amount of data will put this to rest. When other instruments will have failed to register the same event, people will not accept the obvious conclusion (the one instrument that "caught" it was malfunctioning/misinterpreted one way or another), they will start claiming that not only are the objects special, they are also invisible to radar/infrared/[...].
Furthermore, even if it is absolutely true that the military has a huge host of UAP that they have worked hard to identify and failed, and they are briefing the senators on the details, that does not mean that there is no explanation, it just means that trying to accurately explain a phenomenon that happened once or twice is extremely hard.
I have a backlog of dozens of bugs in my product that a customer has seen once or twice, with logs that show me they are right, that make no sense given the code and that we have been unable to reproduce. Should I conclude that alien devices interfered with my software to deceive my customer? Obviously not: complex systems are complex and have many corner case behaviors that we may never have a completely satisfying explanation for.
Debunking this stuff is not as exciting as believing in aliens, which is why it’s a never ending battle. But the problem is when people who can make policy get duped.
Again, we need better science education and should demand such for those we elect.
Also, this thread: https://twitter.com/4Eridani/status/1387157151232167936
Triangles show up as triangular bokeh... therefore... must be aliens?? Im sorry that Twitter user thought it was denigrating those in the military.. but that’s a red herring argument and nothing to do with anything.
This is a much better read than Twitter...
What country exactly?
> Triangles show up as triangular bokeh... therefore... must be aliens??
No. But, "Triangles show up as triangular bokeh" completely disproves the sentence "it's just bokeh, not a pyramid". Additionally, when people talk about UFOs, they don't imply it must be aliens (even though it's the most probable explanation for several top members of the US government).
> This is a much better read than Twitter...
Agreed. Most reads are better than Twitter. But let me recommend you to read something on the UFO phenomenon, so that you get a better understanding of it. For example something from Jacques Vallée, who has been applying data science to it since the 70s.
His thinking is marked by significant logical errors including but not least..
Observational selection: basically ignoring the large body of observational evidence against UFO as paranormal or alien
Appeal to ignorance: Saying since we can’t 100% disprove ufos are alien or paranormal, they must be
Straw man: Blaming hard to explain data on some “invisible entity” attempting to deceive mankind
Special pleading: He can’t explain why crop circles exist. So “watch out. It is probably psychological warfare”
If you read Carl Sagan’s book, you’ll quickly realize that the “science” of Vallée is not that at all. And it’s not just Carl Sagan, the vast 99% of scientist with a firm understanding of the scientific method would concur.
Ultimately, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and that is precisely what UFO phenomena fail to generate in regards to alien or paranormal explanations.
It is the entire reason the original role of government was essentially to protect your liberties. Not decide how you should live your life or what is true or false in the realm of deep fields of knowledge.
Take climate change. Ultimately we need elected officials to enforce regulations. If we limit their ability to do so, then you’ll have a power vacuum, and those with the most money power and influence will be making the rules... again with science losing.
I don’t think we need to expect them to have expertise in every field. Instead even basic critical thinking skills, basic ability to asses scientific method vs pseudoscience. I feel like that should be a low bar to hit.
So then how do you combat climate change? Why would those making billions to pollute the environment care about science if we don’t elect officials who can enforce regulation. At least now we have some pull and some percentage of elected officials making rational decisions. Without even that, what do we have?
And back to the article at hand. Elected officials need to be at least in charge of military response I would assume you would agree. Is it not best that they can understand it’s not an alien or “commy” conspiracy when they make decisions?
In effect, regulations have only outsourced the creation of pollution to elsewhere. How much better have we actually gotten vs just making the optics look better?
However, ironically if politics weren't involved, there might actually be more universal public opposition and pressure on companies as before political involvement in climate change the belief in climate change was about equal among left and right.
Military response should require an act of congress which requires debate and discussion which should also involve the public.
Congress has given up its role in this endeavor to the executive branch, but that is how it is supposed to be. With more open debate and discussion at least your more likely to stay within the realm of rational.
The world has also become too global, property rights for instance, are no longer simple issues. Also relying on them simply pushes the requirements for understanding science onto the judiciary branch.
Does 5G for instance trample my rights to have an EM free property zone? If it does, does that mean regulation allows 5G EM pollution along with air pollution? The rational voice says of course not since 5G is not pollution and yet we have a wave of people believing it also caused Covid.
Ultimately I’d argue still that better science education for all is a must in an increasingly complicated and connected world. I don’t think anyone could argue against that. We can fix whatever government issues we might have without also having to battle poor thinking and irrationality.
BTW, thanks for the insightful comments. Even if we disagree on some points it’s refreshingly not another conspiracy theory or idiocy, but actually well thought and articulated. So thanks!
"as a very imperfect solution since it doesn’t deal effectively with parasitic elements in our society"
I think this is a very deep subject specifically and probably would require substantial dialog.
In brief, I somewhat agree, but at the same time would suggest that almost all alternatives are not "effective" either and they only result in moving the problem from one domain to another.
I look at such issues as whether they are even meant to be solved. As a frame of reference for my perspective. If you are familiar with waterfall method of software engineering. It was an attempt to solve the problem of planning and software design. However, it turns out that it was an unsolvable problem. Agile was essentially the answer, but not the solution as it didn't solve the problem of planning and designing a large project upfront. It accepted that can't be done, and therefore it led to a completely different method which avoids solving that problem.
So, where I'm going with this is that maybe parasitic elements will always exist, eliminating them is fraught with problems just as regulation results in regulatory capture. Maybe we need to think about this differently.
The suggestion that "physics has already explained this" is unscientific wishful thinking when applied to more obscure phenomena with less available data.
What part of physics specifically? The one where there are billions of planets in out galaxy alone? Or the one where FTL travel is possible with warp drives?
> The real question is therefore not whether a space-time solves Einstein’s equations, but whether the distribution of mass and energy required to make it a solution to the equations is physically reasonable.
> And for the Alcubierre drive the answer is multiple no’s. First, as I already said, it requires negative energy. Second, it requires a huge amount of that. Third, the energy is not conserved.
> [...] Bobrick and Martire explain that if you want superluminal motion, you need negative energy densities [in their new paper about slower than light, physically realizable warp drives]. If you want acceleration, you need to feed energy and momentum into the system. And the only reason the Alcubierre Drive moves faster than the speed of light is that one simply assumed it does. Suddenly it all makes sense!
Also, even if it were, the amounts of mass/energy required to achieve the motions that are being claimed would make these ships extraordinarily easy to detect (for some of the claimed accelerations, they would likely turn into black holes before actually accelerating that fast!).
Also note that the number of planets in the galaxy is irrelevant as long as we have no idea about the likelihood of abiogenesis (and we don't).
Not anymore. 
> Second, it requires a huge amount of that.
That's a matter of scientific and technological advancement. All engines gets improved over time, needing less energy. There are already some proposals that lower the energy required to that of an alkaline battery. 
> Third, the energy is not conserved
This escapes my knowledge.
What do you think they're going to say? Do you think they try to reassure people that there isn't a reason to fear inflation?
If the government wanted to use the news to influence people's perception of the economy, even through deception, they would do so through news about the economy, not by hoping for second or third order effects from reporting on something completely different.