He began by noting that at present, we can only scientifically demonstrate one kind of life: that of earth. But 'extremophile' life abounds on earth, suggesting that life can exist in a wide range of conditions. He described the history of life on earth in terms of "galactic years," the time required for one full rotation of our galaxy (220 million years). Hence "deep time" is important to think about in terms of the prevalence of ETI. Earth has had five major extinction events in the last 2.5 galactic years, and two within the last G.Y. So how long would a civilization last in our galaxy? L, or lifetime, is a term in the famous Drake Equation for estimating ETI, and choosing a longer or shorter value drastically alters the result. Isaac Asimov estimated, using the Drake Equation, that there are only 10 planets in our galaxy now that have advanced civilizations.
If drastic extinction events are common, then an estimated 325 million planets would contain not an actual civilization, but the ruins of one. Hence, Xenoarchaeology, the study of artifacts from extraterrestrial civilizations, which would require different methods than conventional archaeology. He did not explain how we are supposed to get to the places where Xenoarchaeology will be performed, although we may possibly encounter such artifacts in our own solar system, the remains of ancient visitations.
Later in the day I had a chance to speak with Ben (we had already been in contact by email). A woman was excitedly telling him about supposed "orbs" that appear in some of her photos, and he explained to her, with infinite patience, how this was the result of close-up dust particles in the air being illuminated by the flash. I semi-apologized to him for having to write such unkind things about the National Geographic's Chasing UFOs (as did nearly everyone else). He said he was disappointed in the show, too. The show was originally presented to them as a 'sightings investigation' type of program, but different producers took over and made it into a 'ghost hunters' type of loopy action show. I asked him what was he working on now, and he told me about a new series on the Weather Channel called "Forecasting the end," which premieres March 21. It deals with issues in geology, astronomy, and radiation science. It should be interesting.
Fox explained that he had arranged to interview Buzz Aldrin about the UFOs that supposedly followed him to the moon, but Aldrin backed out at the last minute because he feared losing funding from Paul Allen for SETI. Here is a YouTube video where Fox makes this same claim.
I did not realize that former Arizona governor Fife Symington's belated confession that he, too, saw the big V-shaped UFO of the Phoenix lights, ten years after the fact, was made while Fox was interviewing him. Later I had an opportunity to talk to Fox, and told him that there is good reason to believe that Symington is lying about his me-too sighting. (Symington was, after all, convicted on seven felony counts of fraud, overturned on a technicality, then pardoned by the outgoing President Clinton.) The first UFO event of the evening, the V-shaped lights (actually five Air National Guard A-10s flying in formation from Las Vegas to Tucson; Tim Printy has more about this) occurred from just before 8:00 PM until 8:45. The second event, that Fox agreed was a flare drop from different Air National Guard planes, began at 10:00 and lasted at most ten minutes. I reminded Fox that Symington claimed to have seen news coverage of the lights on TV, then went outside to look. He says he walked down to where the news crews had been filming the lights (the flare drop), and then saw the V-shape fly over, big and mysterious. However, there was no news coverage of the sightings before the planes landed about 8:45, and there could have been nobody filming the "lights" prior to 10:00, because the flares had not yet been dropped. Therefore Symington's claimed sighting occurred after 10:00, probably well after, and hence is an obvious fabrication. "No, he saw it at 8:20. It was 8:20," Fox insisted. "How could he have seen news coverage of this by 8:20?", I asked. "Maybe he heard chatter on the radio or something," Fox said. "How could there have been news crews filming this by 8:20?", I asked? Fox was having no more of this conversation. "Why would Symington have made this up?", another man asked me. "Because of the news coverage it gave him, and feature stories in which he talks about his new business ventures. It would have cost a lot to buy the publicity he got for free by claiming a UFO sighting."
Fox announced that his next UFO Crockumentary project was under way: 701 - The Movie. This, he says, is the number that the government does not want you to know - the number of Blue Book "unknowns." What Fox does not realize is that this number has already shrunk upon further analysis, and is set to shrink still further (see Tim Printy's Sunlite for more details).
He termed SETI the "silly effort to investigate." After all, why look all across the cosmos for ETI when they're here right now? Friedman says that as part of a program on a cruise ship he debated two skeptics on the subject of UFOs. Against Seth Shostak, he claims he won the debate according to 58% of the audience, and against Michael Shermer by 80%.
People say that if the government had UFO secrets, they would have leaked out by now. Freidman claims that governments can keep secrets, and for his example he cites the Corona spy satellite program of the early 1960s, that supposedly was unknown until it was declassified in 1995. BZZZZT! Wrong-o, Stanton. In 1971 your good buddy Philip J. Klass, drawing upon what he learned in his work as Senior Avionics Editor at Aviation Leak magazine, wrote Secret Sentries in Space (Random House), which contains a detailed description of the then top-secret classified Corona program, explaining exactly what it is and how it works. Aviation Week magazine was the original Wikileaks. Klass always insisted that, if there were any government secrets about UFOs, he would have picked up on them long ago through his extensive network of sources. Friedman says that at least three out of over 100 supposedly leaked MJ-12 government UFO documents are authentic, meaning he concedes that some energetic hoaxer has produced the other 97%. I say it's 100%. We almost agree.
Interestingly, Friedman did not mention the Fish Map (a supposed extraterrestrial star map sketched by Betty Hill), but did go on about Zeta1 and Zeta2 Reticuli, the supposed home stars of the UFOnauts, according to that map. It was good to see that he seems to have finally capitulated to the facts, and abandoned, at least in part, the famous Fish Map. However, for reasons that make no sense, he still clings to Zeta1 and Zeta2 as stars allegedly being the home base of the UFOnauts. Of course, once you concede that the Fish Map pattern means nothing, then the Zetas mean nothing, as well. So we should applaud Friedman for having taken little baby steps in the direction of truth. Not surprisingly, in view of the above Friedman was not exactly happy to see me.
Here is more bad news for Friedman from astronomers: Far-infrared observations have revealed "A flattened, disk-like structure with a semi-major axis of~ 100 AU in size is detected around zeta^2 Ret. The resolved structure suggests the presence of an eccentric dust ring, which we interpret as an exo-Kuiper belt." Which suggests that there are no planets around Zeta2, or they would have swept away this dust ring through constant collisions with its particles. But wait, there's more: Zeta 1 and Zeta 2 are not Main Sequence stars at all, but sub-dwarf stars, Class VI (Main Sequence stars are Class V). The Fish Map was supposed to exclude all non Main Sequence stars. If you don't understand all these terms, don't worry. It just means that the two Zetas are not really solar-type stars, and should have been excluded from the Fish Map. Goodbye, Zeta Reticuli.
The next talk, by Alain Boudier, was potentially the most significant and newsworthy of the entire Congress. It is the only one that promises genuinely new and historically significant information. Boudier said that the 3AF is the most prestigious organization of its kind in France. It is an aerospace organization, not a government body, equivalent to the American AIAA (which had its own flirtation wqith UFOs over forty years ago, and thankfully not since). The UFO report of the 3AF Sigma Commission is set to be released in a few months. Until then, he said, he cannot discuss it, and then he proceeded to do just that.
This report, he promised, will be different than the “official” history of UFOs. It appears that the intent of the report is to push the entire UFO chronology back, before Arnold, to include the World War II era. He talked about foo fighters, the Battle of Los Angeles, and some pre-Arnold sightings in the Pacific before moving on to Roswell, which he accepts as a genuine alien crash.
The report’s conclusions were that the U.S. military made its first UFO crash retrievals in 1941 (by the Navy, off the coast of San Deigo), and on Feb. 26, 1942 (by the Army, in the San Bernardino mountains). Supposedly a document from FDR mentions the retrievals. The U.S. formed an “Interplanetary Phenomena Unit” to manage these retrievals. This allowed the development of otherwise-unknown technology, which he suggested was used to defeat Japan. You heard it right, folks: reverse-engineered alien technology was used to build the atomic bomb.
|Alain Boudier and Antonio Huneeus|
A lot of people at the conference seem to have missed this bombshell announcement. Boudier was speaking in French, with Antonio Huneeus translating (who did extremely well considering that his native language was neither French nor English, but Spanish). Still, with the inevitable delays the talk was difficult to listen to, and many people left the auditorium. Based on what Boudier told us, when the 3AF UFO report is finally released, the 3AF will no longer be considered “prestigious,” but a laughingstock.
|David Hatcher Childress|
The final speaker of Saturday was David Hatcher Childress, whose talk was titled “Tesla, UFOs, and Atlantean Technology.” He was described as a “co-star” of Ancient Aliens on the History Channel, and a “real-life Indiana Jones.” It looked to me like he had the biggest audience of any speaker, which tells you a lot about who is attending this conference.
He started talking about the ancients’ apparent levitation of heavy stones, and the use of power tools. At this point I left, having heard such stuff many times before on Ancient Aliens. I didn’t stay to find out if Tesla stole his discoveries from the Atlanteans, or vice versa.