I'm terribly disappointed with the aliens that crashed into our planet. They avoided every particle to get here and yet smacked right into a large chunk of olivine, garnet, and pyroxene? I hope the cause wasn't the result of an eye poke from the Moe Howard looking alien.

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We live in a time where grifting is viewed as a viable, and even acceptable career path no longer limited to churches and snake oil salesmen.

People have been grifting off off the UFO phenomena for a while now. But recently, politicians and Contractors have identified the UAP as a viable vehicle for acquiring additional funding for their donors, lobbyists, and contractors.

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Dr Mike, I respect ya, and I consider you a brother-in-arms in the fight for scientific literacy (the fight which inspired me to move from research to education). I say this with love: you gotta adapt your writing style for the sake of the general public. Your example about the UFO in the garage was great. It was fun and accessible to all - I was going to assign it to my Astro classes this Fall. When the text shifted to explaining how to reason about such things it became 'academic' (which is off-putting to the general public) and I fear it would turn off many of my students - especially the ones who need to learn how to think about weird things. I will probably only assign it to a select few students who can parse the language.

That is a shame. Your voice needs to be heard especially by those who find Bayesian logic difficult to understand (i.e. most people). Those who know Bayesian logic probably know this stuff already.

A comedian told a joke: I was looking at my wife's bottle of nail polish and it had a warning "Do Not Ingest" and I thought to myself, "Anyone who knows what the word 'ingest' means probably knows not to drink nail polish!"

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JGB, why not just use the narrative part of the essay and ignore the ending? In either case, I didn't provide anything technical regarding Bayesian reasoning, just the terminology, which has long ago filtered out into pop culture. I hear people all the time referencing their "priors" and "credence"

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Yes. That is what I intend to do. I used to use Sagan's but your update is, I think, more appealing to this generation (also Sagan was addressing religion and it's foolish to bring up religion at a University, today). Thank you for this update!

Let me state that my 'criticism' of your writing is more of a commentary of the current state of American college students. I find that today's college first-years do not have the academic skills to read material such as you write. I hate sounding like I am saying that "Today's kids are all idiots." They are not stupid but increasingly they need information & ideas to be predigested for them - like a momma bird regurgitating food into baby bird mouths.

Since the pandemic things have become much worse. For example: I have had to rewrite lab instructions that worked for nearly two decades to simplify the language for today's students - any sentence longer than a tweet leaves them confused. The concern is not merely in reading - there's a decline in math skills, too. In my Physics classes I encounter a depressing number of students who claim to have received an "A" in calculus but cannot do algebra with sufficient facility. Students increasingly cannot keep up with derivations in class. I must pause longer after each step, making it challenging to finish my lectures on time. (If my lectures go over time, many students just walk out).

There is an impending crisis - the folks who most need to learn how to assess the merits of propositions based on available evidence are less and less able to understand the language of Academia. This means the institutions charged with teaching Americans how to think are unable to communicate with them, hence cannot teach them. Americans cannot recognize valid arguments so they are vulnerable to demagoguery.

Dr Mike, it's not you - it is _them_ ... and they outnumber us.

I once worried that America would end up like 1984, when I should have worried about it becoming Idiocracy.

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I disagree with your assessment of Michael's writing. If you use his writing, then you should discuss Bayesian reasoning with your class and assign readings on it.

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If only I had time to fit Bayesian reasoning into my curriculum. Instead, I will take an excerpt (UFO in the garage) and add my own discussion on 'fuzzy logic'.

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That's a pretty good solution, but I still disagree with your original criticism of Michael's essay.

Most of the readers will already know about Bayesian reasoning and those who don't will be motivated to investigate it.

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Your students must be much more advanced than mine. I envy you.

Please refer to the response I wrote to Dr Mike. I think that explains my situation better than what I had originally written here.

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Worthy work! I can think of a few reasons why a government (or department of one) would actively sponsor and foment disinformation regarding UAP. 1). Deterrent to other nations; by allowing the public and the intelligence community to believe that a nation has access to advanced technology competitors can be enticed to build risk models and assessments that may greatly over-estimate actual capabilities, thereby increasing estimates of their own potential losses in a confrontation. 2). Mis-direction and plausible deniability for its own advanced capabilities; whenever a competitor detects an asset with advanced capabilities the story could be put out that we too had seen this "advanced alien technology" but never admitting a role in development nor the extent to which some advanced feature is working or not working. The less any opponent knows about our real capabilities (or limitations) the better. 3). Reverse psychology; putting on public displays of witnesses and "whistle-blowers" who are entirely un-convincing to a rational analyst (such as M. Shermer) could create the impression that something really is being hidden, thus increasing the non-rational ideas in #1 and #2 just above.

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So, there’s this alien spacecraft that travels trillions of miles to our planet, zips around jet planes, appears and disappears at will, but then crashes into the earth? Well somebody on their home planet is surely going to get fired!

I personally believe that the universe is teaming with life both flora and fauna. And maybe even intelligent life like our elephants, ravens, porpoises, octopuses, and even chimps. But it’s a long way from those smart critters to evolve into a life form with the technology to develop a spacecraft that can traverse light years and do so with no detectable means of propulsion. We can’t even detect radio signals from E.T. light years away, much less signals from a UFO flying around the earth.

As Carl Sagan said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” These so-called whistle blowers better have it.

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The correct answer “See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.”

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But this does not keep people from imagining other beings which they think help them bear the emptiness -- gods, angels, and ETs.

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What would Carl say? Was Carl as skeptical about government and media as about UFOs?

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UFO sighting are just like when Christian apologists cite personal testimony to "prove" the resurrection. Unfortunately, humans are more swayed by their loved ones than any actual evidence.

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You write, "The answer to these questions is no, but the burden of proof is not on the skeptic of the claim; the burden of proof is on the claimant."

Apologies, but this is the kind of sloppy, self serving, sorta sarcastic logic which undermines the credibility of skepticism.

A claim is a claim is a claim. The burden is on anyone making ANY claim. Nobody wins by default.

Burden shifting games are very unpersuasive.

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More proven UFOs.

UFO TV news report:

“Muan 'UFO report' one after another... ‘There is no flight at this time’ (2021.07.22/News Desk/MBC)” —

Published: 22 July 2021

(MBC News, Seoul, South Korea).

Video text (translation by Google Translate):

“A report was received that an unidentified flying object, a UFO, was clearly photographed in Muan-gun, Jeollanam-do [South Korea]. As you can see, it is an elliptical flying object.

A nearby airport said there were no planes flying at the time.

Experts believe it is likely an artificial celestial body.”


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Aug 14, 2023·edited Aug 14, 2023

This one is over Tokyo, Japan.

UFO Video: 
One of the World’s Best UFO Videos 
(Aerial Footage) – 
Tokyo, Japan – Unknown Date 
(Recorded by NHK, Japan’s State Broadcaster)

Source: TV UFO Footage.

This is one of the world’s best UFO videos, in my opinion.

The unknown object (white light) which flies slowly over Tokyo – is first seen in the upper left corner of the screen.

When the UFO is closest to the helicopter camera, one can see the body of the large elongated (or circular) UFO, and that it has large red and white pulsating lights (4 lights). The colours of the three blinking/pulsating lights varies between white and red. The largest light (white) does not pulsate.

The UFO seems to stop near the Tokyo Tower for a short while. It appears that the NHK camera operator notices the UFO, because the camera follows the UFO for a short while.

The fact that the video comes from Japan’s state broadcaster means that it is unimpeachable.

The footage comes from NHK World TV’s Aerial Tokyo channel, aired on 13 April 2022, at approximately 7:00 p.m. CET. This channel can be found in the German TV app, TV PRO.

Original video:


Zoomed video:


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Everyone seems to forget since 1928, we've been putting a cacophony of radio and television, and radar and microwave and satellite signals or into the universe.

Sagan himself spoke about this rather famously on Johnny Carson one evening.

Those signals could identify us to the universe to to 70 light years away already.

Very weakly I'll admit.

But c'mon, if they had even the most basic of technologies to detect, as we think we have for them they would know we are here.

But presume in advance civilization who can travel light years and all the rest of it is going to use radio signals to communicate is rather ridiculous in my thinking so everything about them advances but the way they communicate? Really?

Maybe I should have gone to college it seems like I could have cleaned up?

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( 1 ) Witnesses can lie under oath.

( 2 ) Many of those officials may be dead by now.

( 3 ) If they are military careerists they will say they cannot reveal classified information even to Congress.

( 4 ) Some of the living ones would now be retired and no longer have access to military bases.

( 5 ) There would be plenty of time for the military bases to remove the evidence to someplace else.

( 6 ) Many military personel are sincere fanatics who would be willing to go to prison to protect military secrets.

No legal means of investigation will do because the ones under investigation are the ones who write the laws. The only way to investigate them is to treat them as an army of an enemy nation and investigate them the way they investigate their enemies, using thhe methods of espinionage, not a Congressional Hearing.

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Probs the spaceship was briefly visible in Biden's garage when he hid the nuclear codes and all the other mission critical classified docs in there. How was he to know the spaceship would disguise itself as a vintage corvette, making the docs more visible. Not his fault: he should get a plea deal on that on the Hunter plea model... well... At least bringing up the existence of cloaked alien space vehicles lurking around all over the place is taking our eye off of pending nuclear war, censorship, the disenfranchisement of U.S. citizens from their inalienable rights obscured by aliens, etc. I bet Trump wishes there was an uncloaked alien spacecraft in Melania's underwear drawer/ file repository (though I'm still trying to unsee Trump and his noted sweaty weird hands feverishly stuffing stuff in Melania's underwear drawer. Better yet, I want aliens and all their equipment to become corporeal in between my Manson Lamps and any printed sentence that simultaneously contains the words "Trump" and "underwear".)

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Jul 27, 2023·edited Jul 27, 2023

Man, you are obsessed with this. Last year I had a short conversation with you about the Roswell ballon (spy balloon ?) that we were told was a alien craft by the army. I have no idea what it was but why would they say that? You didn’t believe them but, Then they said it was a balloon and you completely believed them. The people who just lied to you. That doesn’t sound like critical thinking to me. It sounds like confirmation bias, doesn’t it.

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The UFO debunkers have lost!

The U.S. Navy FLIR1 UFO video and the rest of the UFO evidence prove that UFOs are real.

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The point is, that you seemed to miss, is just how ridiculous it was. That pic of of the guy holding a piece of “balloon “ was hysterical. How in the world (your bear or Bigfoot) could Anyone think that was an alien spacecraft, let alone the military? Why say it was a spacecraft? Why not just say it was a balloon from the beginning? Maybe because they were so shocked they weren’t thinking of the repercussions? If you think that whole thing was normal and believable, I’m at a loss. Let me reiterate, I don’t know what it was, I’m not claiming it was anything except laughable.

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