Saturday, December 29, 2012

Is Interstellar Travel "Preposterous"?


It occurs to me that a solid statement of the case against the feasibility of interstellar travel is not easily available, and hence is not well-known to the public. Following on my recent posting Is There a Warp Drive in your Future?, which considers the question of what technologies are or are not likely to exist in the future, let us now examine the general question of the feasibility of interstellar travel. In this inquiry, we are not concerned with technological difficulties or breakthroughs, but with fundamental laws of physics. Even if the only limits we faced were those of physics, not technology, what are the prospects of making interstellar travel a reality?

Stanton Friedman, the “Flying Saucer Physicist,” is confident that interstellar travel is not only possible, but likely. In his essay UFO Propulsion Systems, Friedman writes,
a one-way trip of thirty-seven years (the distance to Zeta 1 or 2 Reticuli) at 99.9 percent c would take only twenty months’ crew time; at 99.99 percent c it would take only six months’ crew time. Thus even a trip to a distant galaxy such as Andromeda, two million light-years away, would take under sixty years’ crew time if the intergalactic ship somehow could manage to keep accelerating at one G, using some yet unknown technique.      
various proposals for fusion-powered rockets
Ah, that pesky little “yet unknown technique.” Now this is all perfectly true, but it blithely ignores some very fundamental problems that are not related to any level of technology. A trio of “classic” papers written in the 1960s by physicists examine the fundamental physics involved in proposed interstellar travel, and explain the formidable obstacles: obstacles imposed by fundamental laws of physics, not by limits of technology. Note that nothing here rules out the possibility of travel within our solar system, even to its edges, or rules out non-relativistic interstellar travel, taking thousands of years to reach one's destination. But the notion that we will someday travel between stars the way we now sail between seaports is pure fantasy.

These articles sufficed to convince the scientific community that the concept of interstellar travel is utterly implausible, and explanations for UFO sightings must be sought elsewhere, in psychology and sociology, not in physics. However, in recent years these articles have largely been overlooked, so I think it’s very important to examine each one in some detail and explain its consequences. 

            1. Radioastronomy and Communication Through Space by Edward M. Purcell. (U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Report BNL-658, reprinted in Cameron, A.G.W. (editor), Interstellar Communication. New York: W.A. Benjamin, Inc., 1963.) Purcell (1912-1997) was in the physics department at Harvard University, and shared in the 1952 Nobel Prize for physics. He was a pioneer in radio astronomy, the first to detect the famous 21-cm radio emission line from neutral hydrogen in the galaxy. He also is credited with the discovery of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance.
Edward M. Purcell
            Most of the paper is uncontroversial and explains then-recent discoveries in radio astronomy. But in the section titled Space Travel, Purcell examines claims that someday we will travel to the stars at almost the speed of light. “The performance of a rocket depends almost entirely on the velocity with which the propellant is exhausted,” he notes. Thus, “the elementary laws of mechanics – in this case relativistic mechanics, but still the elementary laws of mechanics – inexorably impose a certain relation between the initial mass and the final mass of the rocket in the ideal case… It follows very simply from conservation of momentum and energy, the mass-energy relation, and nothing else.” (Emphasis in original.)
            “For our vehicle we shall clearly want a propellant with a very high exhaust velocity. Putting all practical questions aside, I propose, in my first design, to use the ideal nuclear fusion propellant… I am going to burn hydrogen to helium with 100 percent efficiency; by means unspecified I shall throw the helium out the back with kinetic energy, as seen from the rocket, equivalent to the entire mass change. You can’t beat that, with fusion. One can easily work out the exhaust velocity; it is about 1/8 the velocity of light. The equation of Figure 13 tells us that to attain a speed 0.99c we need an initial mass which is a little over a billion times the final mass.”
            A billion times the final mass?????!!!!!!! In fact, the exact figure is 1.6 X 10^^9. So in the ideal case, where you had somehow mastered nuclear fusion with 100% efficiency and could control and direct the energy in whatever way you choose, you still will need 1.6 billion tons of fuel for each ton of payload! Surely, such a rocket has never been built, and never will be built, in our solar system, or any other. Thus Purcell has demonstrated, beyond any possibility of doubt, that all proposals to reach near-light speed using nuclear fusion propulsion are complete absurdity.
            But supposing some other, more energetic reaction could be found? Nuclear fission produces an even lower exhaust velocity than fusion, so it’s less plausible still. Is there any reaction more energetic than nuclear fusion? “This is no place for timidity, so let us take the ultimate step and switch to the perfect matter-antimatter propellant…. The resulting energy leaves our rocket with an exhaust velocity of c or thereabouts. This makes the situation very much better. To get up to 99 percent the velocity of light only a ratio of 14 is needed between the initial mass and the final mass.” That sounds very much better. If I can “somehow” procure sufficient antimatter, “somehow” store it, and “somehow” control its reaction with matter, and “somehow” direct the resulting energy where I want it to go, I need only 7 tons of matter, and 7 tons of antimatter for each ton of payload. That sounds almost possible. But Purcell points out that all that buys you is a one-way ticket out of the galaxy: you have no way to slow down and stop when you get where you want to go. So to stop when you reach your destination requires a fuel-to-payload ratio of 196. And if you want to someday return, unless you know of a convenient matter-antimatter fueling station at your destination, you will need to square that again, for a fuel-to-mass ration of almost 40,000.
            And even if you could “somehow” construct such a vehicle, your problems are not over. “If you are moving with 99 per cent the velocity of light through our galaxy, which contains one hydrogen atom per cubic centimeter even in the ‘empty spaces,” each of these hydrogen atoms looks to you like a 6-billion-volt proton, and they are coming at you with a current which is roughly equivalent to 300 cosmotrons per square meter. So you have a minor shielding problem to get over before you start working on the shielding problem connected with the rocket engine.” Also, “In order to achieve the required acceleration our rocket, near the beginning of its journey will have to radiate about 10^^18 watts. This is a little more than the total power the earth receives from the sun. But this isn’t sunshine, it’s gamma rays. So the problem is not to shield the payload, the problem is to shield the earth.”
            “Well, this is preposterous, you are saying. That is exactly my point. It is preposterous. And remember, our conclusions are forced on us by the elementary laws of mechanics.” Nothing else needs to be written about the possibility of relativistic travel – Dr. Purcell has shown it to be completely preposterous. Purcell concludes his paper, however, by demonstrating that interstellar communication using radio waves is perfectly possible. His final words are, “All this stuff about traveling around the universe in space suits – except for local exploration, which I have not discussed – belongs back where it came from, on the cereal box.”

Sebastian von Hoerner
            2. The General Limits of Space Travel by Sebastian von Hoerner (Science 137, 18, 1962; reprinted in Cameron 1963). Immediately following Purcell’s paper in the Cameron volume is this related paper by von Hoerner (1919-2003), a German radio astronomer who was influential in early discussions and proposals for SETI. He examines the physical difficulties of propulsion for space travel, including possibilities not covered by Purcell. Von Hoerner considers ion thrust propulsion, but concludes that “nuclear reactors and all the equipment needed to give a strong ion thrust are so complicated and massive, as compared with the relatively simple combustion equipment, that there is no hope at present of reaching, with reactors, the value of P [engine power to mass ratio] already attained with combustion rockets.” He also considers proposals for a huge “scoop” or funnel for a rocket to fuel itself as it goes along, scooping up galactic hydrogen. But he notes that interstellar matter has very low density, and “in order to collect 1000 tons of matter (10 times the fuel of one Atlas rocket) on a trip to a goal 5.6 parsecs away, one would need a funnel 100 km in diameter; we will rule out this possibility.”
            After several pages of equations covering much the same ground as Purcell, Von Hoerner concludes, “there is no way of avoiding these demands [for power], and definitely no hope of fulfilling them…space travel, even in the most distant future, will be confined completely to our own planetary system, and a similar conclusion will hold for any other civilization, no matter how advanced it may be. The only means of communication between different civilizations thus seems to be electro-magnetic signals.”

William Markowitz
3. Physics and Metaphysics of Unidentified Flying Objects by William Markowitz (Science 157, 1274, 1967). Markowitz (1907-1998) was an Austrian-born astronomer who worked at the U.S. Naval Observatory, and also taught astronomy and physics at Pennsylvania State University and Marquette University. He was a pioneer in the use of atomic clocks for astronomy, and specialized in precision time measurement issues. Markowitz wrote, “Aristotle wrote on natural phenomena under the heading ‘physics’ and continued with another section called ‘metaphysics’ or ‘beyond physics.’ I use a similar approach here. First I consider the physics of UFO’s when the laws of physics are obeyed. After that I consider the case where the laws of physics are not obeyed. The specific question to be studied is whether UFO’s are under extraterrestrial control.” By the laws of physics, he is concerned with only the simplest and best-known ones, like those of motion, gravitation, conservation of energy, and the restrictions of special relativity. He points out an obvious but seldom-noted problem: “Apart from propeller and balloon action, a spacecraft can generate thrust only by expelling mass.” And something that uses propellers or balloons is an aircraft, not a spacecraft.
            UFOs are sometimes reported to land, and take off again. “If an extraterrestrial spacecraft is to land nondestructively and then lift off, it must be able to develop a thrust slightly less than its weight on landing… if nuclear energy is used to generate thrust, then searing of the ground at 85,000 deg C should result, and nuclear decay production equivalent in quantity to those produced by an atomic bomb should be detected. This has not happened. Hence, the published reports of landing and lift-offs of UFO’s are not reports of spacecraft controlled by extraterrestrial beings, if the laws of physics are valid.”
            “We can reconcile UFO reports with extraterrestrial control by assigning various magic properties to extraterrestrial beings. These include ‘teleportation’ (the instantaneous movement of material bodies between planets and stars), the creation of ‘force-fields’ to drive space ships, and propulsion without reaction. The last of these would permit a man to lift himself by his bootstraps. Anyone who wishes is free to accept such magic properties, but I cannot.”
            To those who were following the controversy at that time over the proposal championed by J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee for a “scientific study of UFOs,” an ‘ulterior motive’ for the Markowitz article was immediately apparent. The previous year Hynek had a letter published in Science, arguing that UFOs were worthy of scientific study (Science 154, 329, 1966). Markowitz carefully notes several instances where Hynek and his colleagues were contradicting themselves in their statements about UFOs. For example, in his letter in Science, Hynek wrote, “Some of the very best, most coherent reports have come from scientifically trained people.” But Markowitz noted that Hynek had written quite the opposite in his article in the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1964: “It appears unreasonable that spacecraft should announce themselves to casual observers while craftily avoiding detection by trained observers.” Markowitz further noted that Vallee’s 1966 book Challenge to Science presents the “classic” 1948 sighting of pilots Chiles and Whitted, who reported a dramatic close encounter with a huge metallic object while flying a DC-3; “the book fails to mention that Hynek had identified the object as an undoubted meteor in his report of 30 April 1949 to the Air Force… This omission is curious because Hynek wrote a foreword to Challenge to Science.” These and other self-contradictions, carefully noted by Markowitz, showed that the Hynek/Vallee case for the UFO was utterly lacking in intellectual rigor. Markowitz unmasked the real Hynek: disorganized, indecisive, and confused. This revelation, published in the peer-reviewed pages of Science, was fatal to the credibility of Hynek’s proposed “scientific study of UFOs.” There were, and still are, a few scientists who took Hynek’s UFO theorizing seriously, but they have always been a tiny minority.
                                
What About “Wormholes”?

             Some theorists of interstellar travel are quite aware of the extreme difficulties involved in actually traveling to interstellar destinations, in the sense of going from Point A to Point B. So they hypothesize easier ways to reach interstellar destinations, without the pesky problem of traversing every point between them. Maybe we can warp space so that the distance between earth and the Andromeda galaxy is not two million light years, as in ordinary space travel, but far, far less? Suppose there is a wormhole with one end where we now are, and the other where we want to go?
            The “Bohemian physicist” Jack Sarfatti of San Francisco is a colorful figure. He has written papers claiming that wormholes can be used not only to travel through space, but through time as well. (He has also studied Uri Geller.) He suggests that UFOs are real, and travel through wormholes to reach us from some other place or time.

Unfortunately for Sarfatti, according to Wikipedia,
 Wormholes which could actually be crossed, known as traversable wormholes, would only be possible if exotic matter with negative energy density could be used to stabilize them. (Many physicists such as Stephen Hawking, Kip Thorne, and others believe that the Casimir effect is evidence that negative energy densities are possible in nature.) Physicists have not found any natural process which would be predicted to form a wormhole naturally in the context of general relativity, although the quantum foam hypothesis is sometimes used to suggest that tiny wormholes might appear and disappear spontaneously at the Planck scale, and stable versions of such wormholes have been suggested as dark matter candidates. It has also been proposed that if a tiny wormhole held open by a negative-mass cosmic string had appeared around the time of the Big Bang, it could have been inflated to macroscopic size by cosmic inflation.

supposed travel through a wormhole
            So yes, a wormhole is something that might theoretically exist, although their actual existence is frankly extremely dubious. There is no reason to think that they could occur naturally, and no observational evidence that they actually do exist (unlike Black Holes). Even if they do exist, they may exist only on the Planck scale (subatomic quantum size). It seems extremely dubious that traversable wormholes exist in nature, and even if they do, we still have seemingly insurmountable problems. How do we find wormholes? How do we determine whether they are stable? How do we know where their destination is? If we go into one, is it possible to return? There is also the problem of simply getting to the wormhole’s mouth. If a wormhole were near our solar system, we would already detect its disturbing effects of warped space. And if it is far from our solar system, we need to develop interstellar travel simply to travel to the wormhole’s mouth!
            Can we create a wormhole to go from where we are to where we want to be? Perhaps in theory we might, but the reality of a recipe for creating a wormhole will undoubtedly be something like this:
Take 100 solar masses. Bake at one million degrees for ten thousand years. Stir in 100 solar masses of exotic matter with negative energy density. Stretch out the mix from desired source to destination. Let cool for one million years.
             So the idea of using wormholes as a convenient transportation network to wherever in the universe we want to go is, well, fanciful and implausible in the extreme. We can’t proclaim it completely “impossible,” but the person who proclaims it as a reality had better have extraordinarily good evidence that such a thing exists.

53 comments:

  1. Friedman has a financial interest in travel over vast distances being possible. When my mother was young, she was taught about the canals on Mars. (she had the last of the bad science teachers!). Now that we know our near by planets are vacant of human like life (that would be capable of travel), explaining how the aliens GET here is of vital importance.

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  2. Skepticus Maximus asks, "Is Interstellar Travel 'Preposterous?'"

    Of course not! All you need is an mid-century truck mirror dangling from telephone wires and a camera, as you well know.

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    1. Zoam,

      Yep, the Photos that Will Not Die! Did you see Bragalia's latest Blog posting about it? http://bragalia.blogspot.ca/2012/12/make-believe-in-mcminnville-famous-1950.html

      I agree with him that it's a hoax, but I don't think his arguments are conclusive. There are a couple other photo investigations currently under way, we'll see what they turn up.

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  3. There is an answer to interstellar travel. It is a bit like Australia invading China (or vice-versa). Apparently there is no need for this as the two countries are gradually moving closer together anyway through natural earth processes. It is merely (!) a matter of time.

    Similarly we have no need for interstellar travel, as the earth (and solar system) is slowly approaching certain distant stars right now. We can sit back and wait for it to happen. One day these stars will be on our doorstep. Simple.
    Of course we cannot say with certainty that our direction of travel will stay the same. Also, it might be a very long wait.

    But you can see how it works.


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  4. Recipe for "UFOlogy Fruitcake":

    Ingredients:
    2 cups of Pseduo-Science
    1 cup of Intellectual Dishonesty
    1 cup Escapism Entertainment
    2 oz Conspiracy Theory
    8 lbs of the "Wishful Thinking" brand nuts
    A pinch of Self-Promotion herbs
    Dash of "Majestic 12" spice

    Mix ingredients in a saucer-shaped dish and
    let bake for 65 years. Bon Appetit! Note: This recipe was handed down to me from my grandmother who lived in Roswell NM.

    TS4072

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  5. Now, Robert, you should know that you can only quote scientists when they make any broad statements that something is "possible" or "theoretical," not when they demonstrate that something is implausible or ridiculously naive - then they become close-minded and ivory-tower eggheads. Don't you know the first rule about using science in UFOlogy? Just like in religion, verisimilitude is judged by how much I want to hear it...

    Markowitz' observations about Hynek being "disorganized, indecisive, and confused" might be overly generous, taking the high road, or simply avoiding accusation, but I doubt that Hynek, Vallee, or Friedman were/are particularly confused. They most likely realized that there is a vast market out there for answers that appease desires; too many people do not seek information, only supplication, and will pay for this. It's also interesting seeing how the trait of daring to accept the negative answers right alongside the positive gets demonized so fiercely - it's almost pathological.

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    1. Al, Markowitz didn't say that Hynek was "disorganized, indecisive, and confused" - those were my words. But somebody might conclude that after reading Markowitz' article.

      There is a very interesting article in the current January/February issue of The Skeptical Inquirer by John Franch, titled "The Secret Life of J. Allen Hynek." In it, he draws upon Vallee's writings and Hynek's papers in the Northwestern University Library to show that, far from being a skeptic, Hynek was dabbling in metaphysical and other mystical stuff since his youth.

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  6. Hi Robert!!!
    Are we seeing you at the UFO Congress this year?!?!
    I will be there!!!
    Happy 2013!

    Hybrid Angel xxx

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  7. I think you are overplaying your hand here, Mr. Shaeffer. Even putting wormholes and all other faster-than-light travel schemes off the table, one would not need a speed of 0.99c to travel to the stars.
    Speeds of 0.1c-0.5c would be perfectly adequate to reach nearby stars within a human lifetime, and these speeds would be attainable by the use of fusion drives, or antimatter reaction drives. A speed of 0.1c could probably be acheived even by advanced fission propulsion systems, like the fission fragment drive.
    The Air Force is already working on the synthesis and confinement of sizable quantities of antimatter, and have apparently achieved some success. Under the circumstances, I think you are sticking your neck way out by saying that interstellar flight is "preposterous", slow and ponderous, perhaps, with known technologies, but certainly not impossible.
    Like the manned Moon missions, or those colonies on Mars you said would take 5000 years, travel to the stars is probably more a matter of having the money and the will to do it, rather than one of overcoming any physical barriers.

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  8. All three papers you've cited presume that ET will be using thrust propulsion technology. The difficulties which are discussed with the fundamental laws of physics arise only in relation to the type of technology considered in these papers -- namely, thrust propulsion. You're a smart guy Sheaffer, I'm sure I don't need to tell you that the fundamental laws break down at the level of particle physics. How do we know that ET would not be light years ahead of us in understanding quantum mechanics, and that therefore they would not be using an highly advanced quantum-based technology?

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  9. Jonas:
    How do we know that ET would not be light years ahead of us in understanding quantum mechanics, and that therefore they would not be using an highly advanced quantum-based technology?

    Maybe we know because we have a good grasp of quantum mechanics ourselves.

    Instead of vague appeals to magic, it would be nice to see some examples of "quantum-based technology" (or even natural phenomena), that would allow objects as big as spaceships to cross interstellar distances over short-ish timescales.

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  10. The previous blog topic was on the UFO physicist Stanton Friedman. It is Stan who tells us, quite seriously, that the USAF is busy now (and for the last 65 years) back-engineering the technology gathered from the Roswell, and maybe the Aztec, crashed saucers. This may well involve "quantum-based technology". Until the USAF topside boys have successfully done this, we will all suffer in two ways:

    1. We (the public) can never be told the truth about these crashes.
    2. We earthlings can never hope to achieve inter-stellar travel.

    I expect it to take a great deal longer than 65 years to complete this back engineering. Frustrating indeed!





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  11. Oh my dog. The amount of bold assertion coupled with abject ignorance is stunning.

    Colbern Steve: "Speeds of 0.1c-0.5c would be perfectly adequate to reach nearby stars within a human lifetime, and these speeds would be attainable by the use of fusion drives,..."

    'Theoretical' means, 'If A, and B, and C, [three paragraphs deleted] and JZ98 and JZ99 can be overcome, then we could do this.' Choosing just one aspect like achieving 0.1c doesn't rule out maintaining that for decades, or powering anything else like life support, or even that you need to figure both deceleration and round trip to prevent the whole process from being completely pointless. And that's where the word "preposterous" comes in.

    Jonas: "You're a smart guy Sheaffer, I'm sure I don't need to tell you that the fundamental laws break down at the level of particle physics."

    Yep. Problem is, everything we do, including information transmission, relies on those physical laws. Break them, and you got bupkiss. Just because there's a different set of rules at the quantum level doesn't mean these can be used for anything else.

    cda: "1. We (the public) can never be told the truth about these crashes.
    2. We earthlings can never hope to achieve inter-stellar travel."

    Ah, yes, "the truth"! I'm glad someone didn't let me down on this badly abused word! So, tell us all how you know Friedman is onto "the truth" and isn't blowing smoke because, let's say, he continues to get paid for vague stories of this kind? Do you have the tiniest fragment of evidence other than hearsay? Because pictures of tinfoil aren't doing it for me, I'm sorry to say.

    But please, all of you - if you're so much more knowledgeable than physicists that, you know, actually make a living in these fields, kindly fill us all in! I would expect there's a lot of money to be made here - you could even start using real names!

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    1. Al,

      I'm sure that cda is joking about "the truth." He is a skeptic, and we have corresponded since the 1980s!

      Steve is correct that it is possible to eventually achieve a speed of at least 0.1c. This would not be easy, but it's something that future technology ought to eventually achieve. To "maintain" that speed is easy; what's difficult is to stop, meaning that you must accelerate the fuel to decelerate the ship as part of your initial payload. And that is just for a one-way trip. Technically you might be able to reach a few of the nearest stars in one human lifetime, assuming that one does not mind spending most of one's life on a ship in interstellar space. And to go a bit further, say to Zeta Reticuli, 37 light years would take at least 370 years. One way. So if any such travel is ever undertaken (and perhaps it might), you are talking about settlers on "arks," great wagon trains on a one-way trip across the interstellar void.

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    2. Robert Sheaffer: "I'm sure that cda is joking about "the truth." He is a skeptic, and we have corresponded since the 1980s!"

      Ah, sorry, I might have picked that up if I had a better memory for posting names! Credit to cda, it sounds like so many I've heard before!

      I go sit in the corner now...

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    3. //Jonas: "You're a smart guy Sheaffer, I'm sure I don't need to tell you that the fundamental laws break down at the level of particle physics."

      Yep. Problem is, everything we do, including information transmission, relies on those physical laws. Break them, and you got bupkiss. Just because there's a different set of rules at the quantum level doesn't mean these can be used for anything else.//


      You're presuming that ET (if they're out there) understand only as much as we currently do about physical laws and quantum mechanics.

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    4. Jonas: "You're presuming that ET (if they're out there) understand only as much as we currently do about physical laws and quantum mechanics."

      Quantum mechanics doesn't even remotely indicate the potential of violating atomic physics, and it's specious to attempt to argue this. The very idea proposes that we could overcome space-time constraints and behave like neutrinos, while at the same time maintaining the coherence of mass. You're not talking just new laws of physics, but the selective application of them while retaining the old where needed. Ignoring, of course, that ginormous collections of energy like neutron stars don't even demonstrate these new laws you want to find. But lo!, evolved organisms with simple survival traits will find the magic switch that opens the reversal of particle physics only as needed, because they're just that special.

      I'm not impressed with appeals to future omniscience and overcoming laws of physics, and I find people who argue from what they'd like to see happen to be emotionally corrupt. You're welcome to go make all the new discoveries you want - maybe then you'd learn why the idea is preposterous - but arguing that anything at all might happen is a misdirection game, a belief that everything we know now will magically disappear to allow some desired outcome later. I'm not going to take that seriously as an argument, and I hope you understand why.

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  12. Since you're still making "vague appeals to magic," Jonas;

    We've all heard the worthless "anything could be true" appeal. Extraordinary claims made without evidence mean nothing; it's just empty talk that has nothing to do with anything we know. And only by compounding "what if" leaps of logic in his mind does the Believer imagine such claims could explain why people make "UFO" reports.

    It amounts to nothing but appealing to ignorance, the same tired phony rationale for believing in the "UFO" myth and collective delusion that we've heard for decades.

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    1. People make UFO reports because they see unconventional craft in the sky; if you would bother to review the evidence, you would know this. UFOs, as in Unconventional Flying Objects, with performance characteristics which cannot be matched by jet aircraft, or chemical rockets are a fact. The only question, at this point, is whether they are alien craft, or top-secret craft made by the Black Military.
      Why does this phenomenon upset you so? Do you have some vested interest in making sure people do not believe UFO reports, or do you just have a bad case of pathological disbelief? It must be terrible to be so negative about everything.

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    2. Colbern Steve:
      People make UFO reports because they see unconventional craft in the sky... [snip!]

      People report UFOs because they see something that they cannot identify.
      That does not mean that they have observed a "craft". It does not even mean that the UFOs reports have a common origin (except the limitations of human senses and memory).


      Colbern Steve:
      Why does this phenomenon upset you so? Do you have some vested interest in making sure people do not believe UFO reports, or do you just have a bad case of pathological disbelief? It must be terrible to be so negative about everything.

      It is sad that "UFO" supporters cannot understand that all their "evidence" boils down to "I do not know what it was!" and "The dog ate my homework!"
      It is not a question of belief or disbelief.

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    3. "no extraordinary stimuli are required to produce the entire array of public UFO perceptions in all their rich variety, wonderment, and terror."

      Steve writes: "People make UFO reports because they see unconventional craft in the sky;"

      You mean you think people don't merely report seeing things they've failed to identify but report that they've seen "flying saucers?" And you believe them?

      "if you would bother to review the evidence, you would know this."

      I've studied over a century's accumulated evidence and there's nothing in any of it that would cause me to conclude there are ET or terrestrial "flying saucers" or any real "UFOs" of any kind--which covers all other extraordinary hypotheses.

      In fact, that very same body of evidence causes me to conclude that there's a much simpler explanation: It's nothing but a mass-media manufactured collective delusion and an antiscientific ego-trip and profit-perpetuated subculture based in false beliefs. While the Null and Psychosocial hypotheses completely explain the origin and history of the "flying saucer" myth and "UFO" collective delusion in real-world truth.

      There is but one set of data, and the simplest explanation--congruent with human behavior and history--is the Null hypothesis for "UFO" reports. There is no need to posit the existence of any unknown stimuli or any extraordinary explanation of any kind to fully explain why people make "UFO" reports. All other explanations have failed and persist only by non-falsifiable ad hocs, the hallmarks of pseudoscience.

      When there are no longer any professional "flying saucer" scientists, journalists, generals and former government officials writing junky books composed of lies and out on the lecture circuit promoting the myth and collective delusion as real, then the "media reportage of them and their nonsense, of 'UFO' sightings and the forcefully sustained public interest in the subject" feedback loop will diminish. It's all but over.

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    4. There are reams of testimony from reliable people, including pilots and military officers, clear video and still images of UFOs, which show craft of some sort which outperform anything which uses known technology. The evidence that these craft exist and are flying around our skies is overwhelming.
      If you do not know this, then it seems you have not studied this subject very thoroughly. The govt also considers this subject to be very sensitive and highly classified; why the high level of classification if there is nothing to it?
      You can believe what you like, but this phenomenon is real, and is not going away. You seem to be on some sort of crusade against UFO researchers here; ever heard of free speech? If you can get out there and spread your point of view, then so can I. The difference is that you seem to be trying to tell everyone what to think; people can either believe my information or not, and I do not waste a lot of time going back and forth with people whose minds are made up.
      You are obviously not engaged in Science, Sir, but in some type of agenda-driven propaganda campaign.

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    5. Steve continues: "UFOs, as in Unconventional Flying Objects, with performance characteristics which cannot be matched by jet aircraft, or chemical rockets are a fact."

      You may believe that but it is certainly not a fact. There are only "UFO" reports, over a century of innumerable, insubstantial and utterly inconsequential "UFO" reports but not one real "UFO" of any kind--much less an ET or terrestrial black "flying saucer."

      "The only question, at this point, is whether they are alien craft, or top-secret craft made by the Black Military." (Petitio principii, assuming the answer, the fallacy on which belief in the "UFO" myth subsists, that and ignore the obvious brute facts.)

      Steve, there are only utterly inconsequential reports. Over a century of the "UFO" delusion, and it hasn't changed one bit. You should seriously consider that fact.

      There is no Shuttle replacement; we flew decades-old U-2s over Iraq. Where are the antique airships, all the old black "flying saucers?" They never existed! There is no "UFO" studies department at Caltec, no "UFO" research going on at NASA, no "UFO" departments in the President's cabinet or at the Pentagon. And the reason is very simple: there are no real "UFOs" of any kind and there never were. Get it now?

      "Why does this phenomenon upset you so? Do you have some vested interest in making sure people do not believe UFO reports, or do you just have a bad case of pathological disbelief? It must be terrible to be so negative about everything."

      There is no "phenomenon;" and it's not my beliefs that are contrary to the world.
      Steve, it's sad to see so many less fortunate suffering under a wishful delusion and ingrained irrational thinking and so poor decision making; it keeps them stupid and error prone, and it makes them susceptible to exploitation by sleazebag charlatans.

      Based in fin-de-siecle futurist illustrated literature, all of this nonsense was never anything more than silly-season newspaper filler that was deliberately transformed by a hoax into sensationalist "reality" fodder for selling trashy magazines to boys.

      All it was or ever will be, the last stall in the sideshow, right after the Monkey Boy.

      Delete
    6. On the contrary, Sir, I consider myself much more fortunate than you.
      You are now resorting to the favored debunker tactic of saying your opinions are true because you say so; it is really pathetic and sad. If you are finished with your dazzling display of stupidity and propaganda, I will let you get back to your last stall with the monkey boys.

      Delete
    7. What's the matter, Steve, afraid of a little criticism? Is the evidence for belief in the "UFO" delusion and its dependent alien-implant bamboozle so incredibly lacking it can't stand up to critical examination? You bet it is!

      Just last week we were talking about the laughably goofy Trent photos, a pure expression of the "flying saucer" as the symbol of antiscience as there ever was; and so very appropriately it's hanging by a thread--a perfect metaphor for the precarious unreality of the "UFO" delusion.

      "Belief in UFOs is also an undeniably attractive 'ego trip', a posturing of inside information and secret lore, the possession of which puts its intimates apart from and above the rest of the unimaginative world. Such speculations demand more scientific attention of sociologists."

      JimO's words are as true now as in 1979. Are you getting it, Steve? Belief in "flying saucer" conspiracies, imaginary aliens and "alien implants" only subsists inside a bizarre subculture, and are utterly divorced from reality.

      Delete
    8. No, I am not afraid of criticism; if I were I would not be in this controversial field. Are you afraid to actually address the points I bring up, and argue the evidence, rather than simply engaging in this nasty, mindless, rhetoric of yours? It seems to me that you are the one who is afraid. Have you ever actually investigated any UFO cases, or are you just speaking from ignorance? There is no evidence, by the way, for the existence of "mass media delusion" as a phenomenon that makes people see things; that's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard! You people will make up and say anything!
      We have more than enough evidence to prove, in an unbiased court of law, at the very least that UFOs exist. The evidence is out there, and readily obtainable in this electronic age. If you have not seen the evidence, it is because you have not looked for it, or you already know I am correct and have some agenda to keep the masses from hearing about it; just another armchair bigmouth.
      I have seen UFOs for myself, several times, and know many other people who have. Pilots see them all the time, and more than one has told me that there is an NSA form to report sightings. Again, why the high level of classification if there is nothing to it?
      You can call names all you want, and continue to pretend to MUCH more knowledge and training than you actually have, but it will not make your dreaded UFOs go away.
      What qualifications DO you have to be pontificating on this subject, by the way? If you really have any, I will be surprised.
      You, sir, are the one engaged in magical thinking, here! You seem to be saying that everything is the way you say, just because you say so, with no evidence, or even a logical argument given. Sounds like the illogic of a delusional mind, to me!

      Delete
    9. Gosh, go away for a couple of days and the comments take off...

      Colbern Steve: "There are reams of testimony from reliable people, including pilots and military officers, clear video and still images of UFOs, which show craft of some sort which outperform anything which uses known technology. The evidence that these craft exist and are flying around our skies is overwhelming."

      The problem here is, this can only be said if you make the broad assumption that a) what has been reported is accurate, and b) that your 'special witnesses' have superhuman powers of observation and judgment.

      Someone saying they observed a craft of unknown design at a distance of 1000 meters traveling at 2000 kph is, bluntly, talking out of their ass. They saw a shape, at a distance beyond effective depth perception, moving at a certain angular momentum. Everything else is assumption.

      There have been studies upon studies regarding the limitations of perception - this is a well-known subject. Look them up.

      Add to this the idea that people are truly rotten at estimating, and ridiculously prone to exaggeration - this has also been studied ad nauseum. How big is the moon in the sky? How long is your forefinger? Measure them both, and if you were off by more than 15%, you know why some people won't take such reports at face value.

      Then add in how many are simply lies. Oh, you don't know how many there are? Neither do I, which is why any given personal account isn't worth the oxygen expelled. Any one of them may be perfectly honest, or it may not, and without a way to tell, you're left with only guessing.

      Right now, you're going to whine that this typical debunker's tactics, and I could say the exact same thing about the comments you made right here (you realize that the 'expert witness' trope says volumes, right?) Except that I can point you to hard science that supports my standpoint - how about you?

      I don't dismiss anything 'automatically' (nor do I receive any money for this jazz, more's the pity,) but what I do exercise, every time, is the recognition that reports have numerous ways to be inaccurate, and without any effort whatsoever expended in an attempt to derive greater accuracy, they are nothing more than fishing stories. Might be true, might not - but in the face of half a century of such reports, the 'evidence' hasn't changed one smidgen.

      Delete
    10. Colbern Steve: "Are you afraid to actually address the points I bring up, and argue the evidence,..."

      You haven't brought up any evidence - not even remotely. All you've done is assert that it exists.

      "There is no evidence, by the way, for the existence of "mass media delusion" as a phenomenon that makes people see things; that's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard!"

      Now, you tell me: how should I treat your disparaging terms here when you cannot even perform a simple web search?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_hysteria

      http://www.csicop.org/si/show/mass_delusions_and_hysterias_highlights_from_the_past_millennium/

      http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/Fear-of-Floating.html

      Add in my own personal experience, in this case regarding beaver damage when I worked in wildlife management. One lousy newspaper article had people finding beaver damage throughout the town, and I was a busy little... anyway, it was a busy year. Next year, not a damn thing, even though I was well aware the beaver numbers had not changed significantly. Mass hysteria isn't about everybody seeing the same thing, it's about the power of suggestion and how this affects their interpretations (and yes indeed, their 'bandwagon' tales as well.)

      "We have more than enough evidence to prove, in an unbiased court of law, at the very least that UFOs exist."

      Insofar as that includes the term, "unidentified," then you're not exactly saying something profound. If you're actually implying that we can prove interstellar craft, feel free to trot it out. I guarantee you I can produce "reasonable doubt" from any set of jurors selected, and I'm not even a lawyer. Based on your statement, neither are you.

      "Pilots see them all the time, and more than one has told me that there is an NSA form to report sightings. Again, why the high level of classification if there is nothing to it?"

      What makes you think this is either a) classified, or b) unwarranted? Unidentified aircraft in anyone's airspace is of definite interest to any agency tasked with protecting a country, but that has to do with incursions from other countries (which happened constantly during the Cold War, a bit less so now.)

      But please, tell us all about how a pilot knowing of a "form" even remotely counts as "classified." I guess his special training in maintaining state secrets failed when he told you about it, didn't it? And until you produce even this form, I'm going to treat this as every other inconsistent statement of government interest that I hear, but only from UFObees.

      You see, coming in here and ripping anyone for not seeing things as you do is both arrogant and ignorant, implying that you've seen it all and everyone else is stupid. It's a common trait from UFObees, and suggests to me that insecurity issues have a lot to do with it. Any reasonable adult, however, would have the humility to ask in what way anyone else has a different experience or perspective on the whole affair, realizing that maybe, just maybe, they haven't heard everything there is to know about the subject.

      So when you're treated like an ass, it's because you're acting like an ass - and in fact, you've been given far more respect here than you deserve. If you want to discuss something, start with details. But if you're just trying to validate yourself through pomposity, no one has the slightest reason to care.

      Delete
    11. Colbern Steve:
      "We have more than enough evidence to prove, in an unbiased court of law, at the very least that UFOs exist."

      Of course we have evidence that people see things they cannot identify. Indeed, scientists have studied the limitations of human perception, interpretation and memory, and showed the limitations of eyewitness testimony.
      But that is not evidence that there are crafts "of some sort which outperform anything which uses known technology".
      That is not even evidence that UFO reports have all the same origin. Some reports are due to planets, some to conventional aircrafts, some to flares, and some remain unidentified because of the lack of information. There is a large variety of mundane phenomena that have caused and can cause UFO reports. And yet many UFOlogists want us to believe that the UFOs have all the same origin, and that it is certainly impossible that an eyewitness might be mistaken!

      And why are you talking about "unbiased court of law"?
      I thought UFOlogists wanted to be taken seriously as scientists.
      And what do you mean with "unbiased"?

      Delete
  13. Faster than light speed is possible, but what happens is that the velocity equation flips. So, instead of v = s/t, we have inverse v = t/s. The resultant motion is in time, not space. The atoms of any object which has speeds above c will disintegrate to conform to the new environment, the cosmic sector--which is like our material sector, but with space and time interchanged. See my Reciprocal System Blog at transpower.wordpress.com for numerious free technical papers.

    ReplyDelete
  14. transpower:
    See my Reciprocal System Blog at transpower.wordpress.com for numerious free technical papers.

    So, you are only here to advertise your crackpot theory?

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Jonas:
    You're presuming that ET (if they're out there) understand only as much as we currently do about physical laws and quantum mechanics.

    Can you provide examples of natural phenomena that would allow objects of the size of a spaceship to cross interstellar distances over humanly short timespans?

    Or is your only answer: "We don't know everything! *mumble* *mumble* quantum *mumble* *mumble*" ?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Papageno: You believe in the crackpot theories of modern physics, I don't. The Reciprocal System is vastly superior to the crap you teach.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Robert:
    You requested people to keep their comments civil. They are fast approaching uncivility, don't you think?

    ReplyDelete
  17. This a skeptic's Web site, and I'm a skeptic of "modern physics." Singularities cannot exist in the real world--this means that so-called "black holes" and the "Big Bang" theory are bogus. There is also no real evidence that space or time can be "warped." Hence, "warp drive" is purely fictional. Speeds faster than light are possible, but these are speeds in time, not space; the velocity equation flips, as I stated above. Solar systems are numerous in our galaxy, but they are very, very far apart. Therefore I'm very dubious of alien visitation....

    ReplyDelete
  18. transpower:
    "You believe in the crackpot theories of modern physics, I don't. The Reciprocal System is vastly superior to the crap you teach."

    It is not a matter of belief.
    The very technology (including capacitors) you are using to make your "theory" known to the whole world, has been designed by engineers based on modern physics.



    transpower:
    "This a skeptic's Web site, and I'm a skeptic of "modern physics.""

    Skeptics follow the evidence.
    The evidence points to the correctness of modern physics. It also points to the incorrectness of your "theory".
    This was made abundantly clear on the Bad Astronomy and Universe Today forum.

    ReplyDelete
  19. No, what engineers mostly do is use classical physics; they certainly don't use Quantum Mechanics. As for capacitors, I've verified by experiment that there is energy conservation, not charge conservation, in the two-capacitor problem. That "modern physics" points to charge conservation in this instance disproves it. Scientists should never doubt energy conservation. The voltage drop in the two-capacitor problem is not nearly as great as that predicted by conventional theory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. transpower:
      "No, what engineers mostly do is use classical physics; they certainly don't use Quantum Mechanics."

      Wrong. Band-structure engineering, LEDs and lasers are not possible without Quantum Mechanics.


      transpower:
      "As for capacitors... [snip!]"

      There are millions of them in circuits designed by engineers based on the conventional theory.
      The fact alone that your computer (and the whole Internet, and the telecommunications and power production businesses) works as designed, is support for the conventional theory of capacitors.


      transpower:
      "...I've verified by experiment that there is energy conservation, not charge conservation, in the two-capacitor problem. [snip!]"

      The flaws in your "experiment" have been explained already on the Bad Astronomy and Universe Today forum.

      Delete
    2. transpower:
      "No, what engineers mostly do is use classical physics; they certainly don't use Quantum Mechanics."

      Wrong. Band-structure engineering, LEDs and lasers are not possible without Quantum Mechanics.

      [Engineers use empirical data. Band structure theory is based on "hole" theory; it's about as silly a theory as has ever been proposed. No one using conventional theory has been able to calculate the resistivities of conductors and semiconductors; but I have, using the Reciprocal System.]


      transpower:
      "As for capacitors... [snip!]"

      There are millions of them in circuits designed by engineers based on the conventional theory.
      The fact alone that your computer (and the whole Internet, and the telecommunications and power production businesses) works as designed, is support for the conventional theory of capacitors.

      [The circuit theory of capacitors is discussed in Sir James Jeans' treatise on electricity and magnetism in 1911--it predates Quantum Mechanics; he, too, has the same faulty understanding of the two-capacitor problem.]

      transpower:
      "...I've verified by experiment that there is energy conservation, not charge conservation, in the two-capacitor problem. [snip!]"

      The flaws in your "experiment" have been explained already on the Bad Astronomy and Universe Today forum.

      [I have refuted those comments thoroughly. I have verified over a 100 times that the voltage drop is much less than that predicted by conventional theory, and so I have verified the Reciprocal System.]

      My theoretical physics Web site, http://transpower.wordpress.com, has all of my current papers arranged into a mini-course of the Reciprocal System. Conventional theory is completely dead.

      Delete
    3. transpower:
      "Engineers use empirical data. Band structure theory is based on "hole" theory; it's about as silly a theory as has ever been proposed."

      Band-structure in solid state physics is based on Quantum Mechanics.
      Nowadays, we can build semiconducting materials with tailored band gaps. That is why I mentioned LEDs and lasers.



      transpower:
      "No one using conventional theory has been able to calculate the resistivities of conductors and semiconductors; but I have, using the Reciprocal System."

      They build computers that work as designed, based on the conventional theory



      transpower:
      "The circuit theory of capacitors is discussed in Sir James Jeans' treatise on electricity and magnetism in 1911--it predates Quantum Mechanics; he, too, has the same faulty understanding of the two-capacitor problem."

      Who said that the conventional theory of capacitors as used by engineers, is based on Quantum Mechanics?
      The fact that you can publish this nonsense, using computers and telecommunications infrastructure that works just as designed using conventional theory, soundly and clearly refutes your claims.

      Conventional theory has a very good understanding of what happens in the two-capacitor problem, taking into account both charge conservation and energy conservation. That is why the milions of circuits designed by engineers actually work.



      transpower:
      "I have refuted those comments thoroughly. I have verified over a 100 times that the voltage drop is much less than that predicted by conventional theory, and so I have verified the Reciprocal System."


      I will let the readers decide:

      http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php/136625-Exper-Confirm-of-Energy-Cons-not-Charge-Cons-in-Two-Capacitor-Problem


      transpower:
      "My theoretical physics Web site, http://transpower.wordpress.com, has all of my current papers arranged into a mini-course of the Reciprocal System. Conventional theory is completely dead."

      Then how did you manage to publish your nonsense?
      If conventional theory was not correct, computers would not work.

      Delete
    4. My work is 100% rational (as can be seen by reading my papers at http://transpower.wordpress.com), unlike conventional physics. A group of fruits and nuts have been in charge of "modern physics" since 1911--that's what is nonsense. As for the two capacitor problem, the second capacitor loses voltage very quickly after the peak is reached; it is therefore necessary to set the oscilloscope to measure peak voltage. If you do that, you'll verify that the measured voltage is considerably higher than that predicted by conventional theory and in harmony with the prediction of the Reciprocal System.

      Delete
    5. transpower:
      "My work is 100% rational (as can be seen by reading my papers at http://transpower.wordpress.com), unlike conventional physics."

      And yet engineers use conventional physics to build machines that work as designed.
      Why is that, if conventional physics is so wrong? Why aren't the engineers using you "theory"? After all, it has been around for a while.


      transpower:
      "A group of fruits and nuts have been in charge of "modern physics" since 1911--that's what is nonsense."

      So, instead of providing evidence, you resort to a conspiracy theory...


      transpower:
      "As for the two capacitor problem, the second capacitor loses voltage very quickly after the peak is reached; it is therefore necessary to set the oscilloscope to measure peak voltage. If you do that, you'll verify that the measured voltage is considerably higher than that predicted by conventional theory and in harmony with the prediction of the Reciprocal System."

      http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php/136625-Exper-Confirm-of-Energy-Cons-not-Charge-Cons-in-Two-Capacitor-Problem

      Delete
    6. Please, let's not have any more discussion here of Transpower's unorthodox theories of physics, as it is not really relevant to the main subject at hand. We all know how would-be Newtons and Einsteins have an answer to every objection, but not one that physicists find convincing, and will go on endlessly about it. I don't want this Blog to turn into an extended debate involving home-grown Galileos, who seize every opportunity to persuade the world of their crank theories.

      I will delete any further postings on this subject. The URLs of relevant discussions of this subject have already been posted here. Anyone who wishes to discuss this subject further should go to those forums.

      Delete
    7. Robert, this is a discussion of UFO's and physics. Therefore it is perfectly appropriate to apply the Reciprocal System to this situation. This is not a "crank theory"--it is a legitimate unified, general physical theory based on space-time. My papers at http://transpower.wordpress.com provide overwhelming empirical support for the theory.

      Delete
  20. This UFO was witnessed by thousands of people in Turkey. This is only one example of the evidence available.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BEM-ObMXJY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This video, filmed with a zoom lens, is a cruise ship's top structure peeking over the ocean horizon. The "aliens" are people milling around the observation deck. The straight line on the bottom is the ocean horizon. The analysis can be found here:
      http://www.alcione.org/FRAUDES/00TURQUIA/
      TS4072

      Delete
    2. That's a negative, good buddy. Also, nothing came up on your so-called refutation page. I think you are just upset because you were wrong. Besides the abundance of video footage, I could produce many witnesses to this event to testify that it occurred. None of the witnesses said it was a ship's observation deck; that is absurd; sounds like the old "swamp gas" snowjob. Sounds like whoever wrote your page thought so too, and withdrew it.
      Anyway, none of you have said anything here worth listening to; all I see here is a lot of twisted facts and negativity.
      For the record, I would be happy to debate any of you "skeptics" in an environment where personal attacks and refusing to address your opponent's points are not allowed.

      Delete
    3. Colbern Steve:
      "That's a negative, good buddy. Also, nothing came up on your so-called refutation page."

      I found it here after 3 seconds:
      http://www.alcione.org/FRAUDES/00TURQUIA/


      Colbern Steve:
      "TI think you are just upset because you were wrong. Besides the abundance of video footage, I could produce many witnesses to this event to testify that it occurred. None of the witnesses said it was a ship's observation deck; that is absurd; sounds like the old "swamp gas" snowjob.
      Sounds like whoever wrote your page thought so too, and withdrew it.
      "

      The page is still there...

      Now, if it is not part of a ship, what is it?
      What research has been done to explain the sighting in the five years since it has been recorded?
      Just saying "We don't know what it is!" is not enough.


      Colbern Steve:
      "Anyway, none of you have said anything here worth listening to; all I see here is a lot of twisted facts and negativity. "

      What facts about the limitations and flaws of human perception and memory have been twisted?
      What facts about the utter lack of evidence and progress in UFOlogy have been twisted?

      If there is negativity, it is the result of the refusal or inability of UFOlogists to perform rigorous research and investigation.
      It is the result of people pointing at shaky and blurry videos shot in the dark, claiming that they are evidence of crafts "of some sort which outperform anything which uses known technology", completely ignoring the problems in interpreting videos and photographs, and refusing to test alternative hypotheses.


      Colbern Steve:
      "For the record, I would be happy to debate any of you "skeptics" in an environment where personal attacks and refusing to address your opponent's points are not allowed."

      Unfortunately, this sounds just like an excuse to avoid challenges to your beliefs. It's like the little boy taking the ball and running home because he is losing the game.

      How do you expect UFOlogists to be taken seriously as scientists, if they refuse to face challenges to their claims?

      Delete
    4. "This UFO was witnessed by thousands of people in Turkey."

      Thousands were looking through the viewfinder? Like so many "UFOs," it's the only virtual place they exist. Even if some people made "UFO" reports around the same time, how can we know they were observing the same ambiguous visual stimulus? Some people report seeing bright lights, so others fake photos.... It's an old story.

      There's nothing extraordinary about the video or even very interesting, and certainly nothing the least bit "ufoish." It's just a bit of video, like several others shot by the same person in the very same location over several years; and then it's presented in a "UFO" context for the consumption of people who believe in imaginary "UFOs."

      Are you seeing the problem with this sort of purported "UFO" evidence? No one who didn't already believe in "Unicorns From Outer Space" is likely to be influenced, much less convinced by this typically crummy offering from a hoaxster and a "UFO" group acting as advocates for the "UFO" delusion. With this video, they're pretty poor advocates.

      http://forgetomori.com/2010/ufos/kumburgaz-turkey-ufo-yacht-window-reflections/

      "This is only one example of the evidence available."

      Exactly, and all the purported evidence for the existence of real "UFOs" of any kind is just as crummy! But if you really think you've got something, why not take this video down to the "UFO" Research Department at Caltech? But no, there isn't a "UFO" research department there or anywhere that real scientists work because no one in the real world--outside of "UFO" subculture--takes this nonsense seriously.

      ufoolery is history; make popular belief in the "UFO" delusion history as well.

      Delete
    5. Steve, that video was definitely not the one to use to bolster your case. If that's at all indicative of the "evidence" available, a fresh perspective may be in order. Question each new photo, each new eye-witness report. See if they hold up under skeptical scrutiny on your own. If you can honestly say they do, then move forward with them. If not, hey it's not a bad thing to come to a realization about long-cherished beliefs.

      Delete
  21. Folks, let me just remind you that some postings are getting to the edge of incivility here. It's fine to disagree, but let's refrain from the name-calling.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi!
    Interesting debate (well, some of it anyway..) :)
    I'd like only to point out two things. Knowing more physics isn't going to enable anyone to break the good old laws. But perhaps we will be able to do certain new things, like manipulate spacetime. Wait for quantum gravity. Check out Alcubierre drive for ideas on how spacetime manipulation might work - space itself can travel faster than light. Then there is dark matter and dark energy. Not to mention 7 extra dimensions, if string theory is correct.
    Then there is the most likely way of spacetravel - biology and nanotech is going to make it a piece of cake to live 10.000 years. Or make machines centimeters in size, meaning a microprobe weighing 100 grams could be propelled by 5 kilograms of antimatter across the universe. We might never know what happened to the probes but perhaps that's not the point. The point is to proliferate across the galaxy.
    Getting energy is another problem, but we have our Sun, we have Jupiter that is quite a large store of hydrogen. We can create machinery that will produce the antimatter.
    There are even possibilities that antimatter exists in our galaxy, even in our solar system, if you know where to look.

    Remember, in 1895 people thought we know everything about this world there is to know.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think the debate gets a little side-tracked. It assumes that the goal would be 1) round-trip 2) must happen in the roughly the single life-span of a human and 3) for the purpose of transporting some sort of occupants (I guess to illustrate impractically of an "Extraterrestrial Hypothesis").

    What if we don't make all those assumptions? Take the length of time it takes to travel between stars at non-relativistic speeds, this is only a problem for a single human point of view, but wouldn't be for a generational project that covers many lifespans of humans living on a ship. Or why even take a human life-span as a baseline? Even on Earth various organisms live longer, such as a giant tortoise in captivity (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18324645.000-the-origin-of-harriet.html?full=true). We know of tree species being considerably longer lived. Another possibility could be whatever is making this trip has some biological (or artificial) mechanism to prolong life, such as surviving being frozen or otherwise in a dormant state. Finally, it could just be a mechanical robot making the trip which is never "alive" anymore than Voyager 2 or Curiosity are.

    As far as some things like producing large amounts of anti-matter or 100 km wide scoops. Maybe after several thousand (or a million) years of interplanetary experience and technological advancement in physics and microgravity construction might make those things more practical to those sorts of civilizations.

    Obviously the question is not "can 21st century humans make a trip to another star?" but could -anything- make such a trip assuming the laws of physics as we know it?



    ReplyDelete
  24. By the way, for those who haven't read the article that was linked to by Stanton Friedman 'UFO PROPULSION SYSTEMS' near the start of this post, I think it is taking that quote out of context. The paragraph that was quoted in this post actually starts with" "The extent of the time slowdown depends on how close one approaches c, the speed of light. For example a one-way trip of thirty-seven years...". This part of the article was illustrating the effects of time-dilation. No where else does he reference that speed of 0.99c or does it make major part of the article which spends most of the time discussing high-G acceleration and nuclear rocket technology.

    ReplyDelete

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