I found How Washington Got Hooked on
Flying Saucers to be fascinating if somewhat depressing.
“There is nothing new under the sun.”
This is a subject I have been watching from a safe distance for well over half a century, when I first read Martin Gardner’s
Fads and Fallacies
in the Name of Science (Few books have influenced me more than this one).
I met J. Allen Hynek in my last year of high school, 1967-68, when I was a student in the
(Still around although in a different
format) at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. This program was
organized and run by Hynek. Hynek was a pleasant and interesting
speaker, and a good teacher, but he never spoke to us kids about UFOs.
Nathan Taylor, Why Astronomers and Journalists should pay heed to Biologists about ET.
Years ago I wrote something that mentioned similar issues: Extraterrestrial Intelligence: A skeptical view. This was long before the Kepler space probe. However, Taylor seems to be saying the fundamentals of the issue have not changed.
As Taylor points out, there is an ad hominem issue here. Frank Tipler, who was a forceful advocate of the no-ETs view in the early and mid 1980s, subsequently became a “crackpot” (Taylor’s word, but I agree completely). However, this does not invalidate Tipler’s earlier work.
Taylor also points out that for practical (creating life) purposes, the universe is still very young. Star formation will continue for a long time, a necessary condition for life. ETs may yet turn up, but you will need to be very patient.
You Just Brought Back Measles in NYC
From a pediatrician:
It is because I never want patients in my office to contract vaccine-preventable illnesses … that patients whose parents refuse to vaccinate them are not welcome in my practice. I cannot entirely eliminate the potential for disease exposure between children who come to see me, but I can do my best to mitigate it. I never want to know that a child was sickened or killed because I let the recklessness of a vaccine-refusing parent jeopardize their health.
Most Americans reject young-earth creationism. But the share of Republicans who believe that humans evolved fell from 54% in 2009 to 43% last year. Democrats, do not look so smug: your lot are likelier to believe in UFOs, ghosts and astrology. Also, that the moon landings were faked, that the CIA introduced crack to inner cities and that America’s government conspired in the September 11th attacks. It’s enough to make an ape weep.
Also see Majority of young adults think astrology is a science
Well no, actually, it didn’t. But once a myth lurches into life, there’s no stopping it
…the epidemiologist Mark Nelson from the University of Tasmania, Australia, designed a formal trial of the curse based on protocols for testing the effects of drugs. He compared people who were in the tomb at key times with people who were in Egypt but not in the tomb. His report, published in the British Medical Journal in 2002, concluded that being in the tomb did not significantly hasten death. The ‘participants’ in the study lived on average for more than 20 years after the tomb was opened, whether they visited it or not.
…the mummy’s curse as we know it is a product of 19th-century England. Dominic Montserrat, an Egyptologist from the Open University, traced the first mention to a science-fiction book called The Mummy! (1827) by the little-known novelist Jane Webb Loudon, who was inspired after attending a public unwrapping of a mummy near Piccadilly Circus in London. Loudon set her story in the 22nd century and featured an embalmed corpse who threatened to strangle the book’s hero, a young scholar called Edric.
And it IS a spaceship.
UFO widely seen in Middle East skies, linked to Russian missile test has an update from James Oberg, explaining that the spiral does not indicate a failed launch, but is a deliberate feature needed for the trajectory the Russians wanted.