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Newsworthy Extraterrestrials

Newsworthy Extraterrestrials

alien head

It’s been a big week for alien news.

Today, September 20, is the date on which people keen to “see them aliens” were urged to break through the fences of Area 51, a closed military test facility in the southern Nevada desert. Several million folk responded positively to an internet posting calling on them to storm the site and find the little gray guys.

In the end, the storm turned out to be only a squall: Despite the enthusiastic initial response to the internet story, 999 out of 1,000 who raised their hand decided they had more pressing matters on their plate. Perhaps schlepping to the desert – to confront both a lack of lodging and minimal food choices – sounded too off-putting. There’s also the discouraging lack of credible evidence for aliens salted away inside.

It seems (on the afternoon of the 20th) that the Area 51 assault has turned into a flash mob party, and aside from the threat of near-freezing nighttime temperatures, sounds as if the attendees will have a good time at Alienstock.

But also of note this week is the story that the Navy has “confirmed” the videos made by its pilots in 2004 and 2015 showing what look like oddly shaped craft pacing some of their jets. These are the now-famous tic-tac videos, first brought to the attention of the public with a front-page story in the New York Times in mid-December, 2017. For many in the so-called UFO community, this admission may sound as if the government is confessing to having good evidence for alien visitation.

However, all the Navy did was say that the videos were authentic – that they were real. Well, that’s not terribly interesting, and besides their reality was never the issue. What everyone really wants to know is “what are these things?”

Watch Navy UFO Videos on youtube.

The answer to that is … we don’t know the answer to that. The appearance of the imagery, apparently taken with infrared gun sight cameras, suggests a double-lobed, hot object in front of the planes. Heat would produce dark pixels. Maybe this was simply a twin-engine jet a few miles in front of the Navy’s planes, and the cameras were looking up the tailpipes. It has also been suggested that the tic-tacs are some sort of instrumental defect in the cameras.

The truth may be out there, but it’s not here. Neither at Area 51 nor in the ambiguous videos released by the Navy. It will take higher quality data – such as a SETI signal detection – to convince the science community that we’ve finally proven the existence of intelligent beings elsewhere.

-- Seth Shostak

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