June 7 2001 at 3:12 PM

Response to alright

...but I'm not buying the theory that "we're all interconnected in the universe and something is blocking the connection."

That's a whopper of a conclusion, based on absolutely no evidence. I'm not saying it's not true, but I don't see the slightest reason for supposing it true, either. Sure, it'd be nice if there were some grande scheme, but we really do need to be a bit more discriminating in what we believe. All your anecdotes could easily and quite plausibly be explained by appeals to the simple laws of probability; you're going to have strange coincidences from time to time. Some folks will have more than others. Remember the bell curve, and remember it well. It's the king of the universe.

Now, that having been said, I will voice some modest support for those who have claims of being weirded-out by coincidences, observations, and feelings that seem hard to explain. Everyone's had them, and I suspect that no scientists, logician, or statistician is capable of a perfectly suitable answer to all instances. A perfect example is the feeling of dread -- knowing that, despite any actual sensory input that we could account for, knowledge that something bad is going down somewhere... this happens to everyone. Suspicion that your significant other is about to sleep with someone else, suspicion that one of your parents is sick, suspicion that something you are about to eat has been tampered see it in movies and read about it all the time. This sense is not founded upon reason, nor sensory input, nor facts...yet it is often true. Could be probability, could be some aspect of the brain working behind the scenes with information gathered surreptitiously, using peripheral vision, who the hell knows. Or it could be something else.

Bottom line is this is a topic that merits serious research, if for no other reason that if it turns out to be nothing more than a phenonenon of the brain explainable by science, it will have been fascinating to discover and useful in other ways, no doubt.

As far as UFOs go, until you have seen one, you're gonna poo-pooh the whole thing. "True" stories from "good" witnesses never convinced me of anything. When I was younger, I thought the government was hiding stuff, for sure...after all, all these books and TV shows said so, right? Well, maybe. Learning to think critically, and do it well, is something you can't be have to just grow into it. None of the books I read as a teenager come close to cutting the mustard on this topic now, and nothing I've seen in the interim has had much persuasive power in my mind at all. Conspiracy theories overlook the simple, painful truth that what frequently passes for conspiracy is usually just people who fucked something up and tried to hush up their culpability. Often, their only semi-successful efforts at cover up leaves paper trails and other tracks, which are then often suitably misunderstood or intentionally misused by folks who have some stake in the interpretation of said "evidence" or the outcome of the investigation itself (be that stake emotional, financial, political, etc.). "True Believers" are everywhere, in every field, and of every poltical stripe. They're easy to spot if you know what to watch for.

On the other hand, if you've ever been a stargazer, you've probably seen little white dots slowly traverse the nighttime sky. They're fascinating to watch, and if you get a night of exceptionally clear weather (as we frequently get in the bone-chilling cold of Minnesota winter) you can see half a dozen or more of these little white dots. Some are brighter than others. At first, you may wonder what they are, but most people know instinctively that they're weather sattelites, communications satellites, etc. I even saw Mir one time. Very cool. But they do not deviate from their bee-line courses and show up regularly (hence, I was able to catch Mir and know what it was. There is no way to tell just by looking, of course). An understanding of orbital mechanics makes it clear that is is all but impossible for these sattelites to dramatically alter their course. Few people know or care to know much about space travel, but that's just how it is. In any case, I've seen my share of satellites.

How, then, should one who prides himself as a logical, critical thinker explain a sattellite he saw some yearsa go that began in a straight line, slow and steady, not blinking or flashing, just a steady little white fleck in the sky moving at the assumed speed of an orbit...

...only then proceeded to enter into what could only be called a circular flight path with a radius of what must have been at least several hundred miles (a "foot or two" of "sky space", in the course of say ten or twenty seconds, from my vantage point), then suddenly "level off" and stop moving in a circular path ... proceeding in a new direction entirely as if it had come from a completely different direction in the night sky?

Replicating this sort of manuver using traditional liquid or solid fuel rockets would be impossible -- it would consume vast quantities of fuel far in excess of what a sattelite would ever be capable of carrying, for starters, and would demand incredibly complex computations to simultaenously burn those motors at different rates along multiple vectors for the entire duration of the manuver. If you understand how orbits are achieved and maintained you understand what I mean when I suggest this sort of manuverng is quite beyond us, and is totally without precedent in either manned or unmanned spaceflight.

What this thing was is an absolute mystery, and I'm neither qualified enough nor equipped with enough facts to even speculate, but its movement suggests that it was not a "proper" rocket, in the newtonian sense. Interpret that any way you like. I did see it, and think I'm qualified enough to be rather freaked the hell out by how it acted.

So, I'm not sure what the point of this post was.


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