Tag Archives: analysis

Billy Cox Bids Ufology Adieu … Again

Bill Cox & The Great Taboo

Ever feel like you’re going crazy?

     For whatever reason, my farewell-to-De Void post from 9/13/16 has vanished. It was titled “A shift in the weather.” Don’t know exactly when or why it was removed … but if only the bewilderment ended there. When I went noodling through some of the earliest blogs that still hadn’t auto-purged, from 2009, it was like getting punted into some parallel universe. The comment threads had been erased and replaced with exchanges in Cyrillic. Seriously, I’m not making this up. There were, ostensibly, Russians having conversations by piggy-backing off my blog. This sounds totally insane, but this actually happened. And why me? My biggest regret

By Billy Cox
De Void / Herald Tribune.com
7-14-17

is I didn’t do a screen grab, because when I revisited the same posts the next day, all reader comments – Cyrillic, English, whatever – had been removed. A clean wipe.

Anyway, I’m reposting a version of that mysteriously spiked September blog because I’m still a little pissed. So don’t be erasing my history, whoever you are, or I’ll rewrite it with even less accuracy.

Due to professional circumstances beyond my control, I have been reassigned to a new job here at the Herald-Tribune, a beat which involves a steep learning curve and my undivided attention. As you know, newspapers are undergoing a radical downsizing transition, and no one is immune to these pressures. So at least for now, and for the foreseeable future, I will step away from De Void, which I started writing in April 2007.

By serving up a combination of reporting, analysis, industry criticism and a few other quirks in between, I had hoped I might be able to make a difference in the way my colleagues in traditional media cover UFOs. And in fact, the last nine years have provided some remarkable opportunities for the MSM to rethink its strategy in the way it approaches The Great Taboo. But that was the flaw – assuming there might actually be a strategy in play. Beyond resorting to requisite clichés (e.g., “This next story is out of this world” and “Is the truth really out there?”), chasing balloons (“Mystery shiny objects floating over Manhattan, spark UFO frenzy” – NY Daily News), and hyping common lens flares for ratings (“UFO or Lens Flare in Google Street View? You Decide” – ABC’s “Good Morning America”), big media falls apart when approaching the gorilla in the room. Even CNN’s Anderson Cooper, maybe the most qualified interviewer on corporate television – even his brains roll around in suntan oil and head for the beach whenever he gets near UFOs. And that’s what’s making the blown opportunity of 2016 so dispiriting.

Contrast where we are today with the 2007 Democratic primary debates. That’s when NBC’s Tim Russert asked longshot pacifist Dennis Kucinich to confirm a report that he was eyewitness to a UFO event. Russert, of course, had no interest in the material, and simply wanted to muscle the fading Ohio congressman off the stage and back to the fringe where he belonged. Remember that? Looking like he didn’t know whether to wet his pants or vomit, Kucinich fell back into the shopworn stance of trying to joke it off. And it didn’t help him a lick. Now fast-forward to 2016 and a scenario that would’ve been unthinkable nine years ago – a presidential frontrunner has not only publicly and repeatedly discussed her curiosity about UFOs, she has even advocated releasing related government documents.

Put aside, as if that’s possible, your emotions, pro or con, about Hillary Clinton. Because this is not about her. Nor is it about veteran Beltway operator John Podesta, whose gamble to encourage the former First Lady to speak rationally and fearlessly about The Great Taboo has provoked negligible media blowback. Think about that for a moment. Whenever a public figure in this country utters something stupid or outrageous, the peanut-gallery microphones are always there to rain torrents of snark and reality-based facts and figures on the offender (not that facts make much difference in this day and age). And yet, although the echo chamber has dutifully regurgitated the quotes Clinton has made on three separate occasions about reassessing UFOs, no significant major news platform has bothered to follow up or ask what the hell she means by that. No debate moderator has raised the subject. Not even Clinton’s myriad foes have chosen to weaponize or even make an issue of her remarks concerning undoubtedly the most unconventional topic ever raised on a campaign trail. They’d rather talk about pneumonia.

Folks, this is flat-out freaky. And it begs the question of just how far watchdog journalism has strayed from the public interest. Even badly worded polls show nearly half of Americans believe UFOs are all about ET activity in our own atmosphere. Into this vacuum of empty space comes Hollywood, advertisers, cable television, tabloids, etc., all of whom are far more astute about engaging sustainable numbers than the press. The entertainment industry has also enabled conspiracy paranoia, stoked delusional hopes and unreasonable fears, and made loads of cash off a growth market that shows no signs of dissipating. And for reasons likely best summarized in a groundbreaking 2008 essay appearing in the journal Political Theory, America’s most influential institutions have proven incapable of leading us out of the woods. They remain stubbornly, willfully, perhaps even aggressively, uninformed.

For more than nine years, De Void attempted to bridge that gap, at least on the journalism frontier. With the discoveries of extrasolar Earth-like planets becoming so common they rarely make headlines anymore, with millions of research dollars being dumped into radioscope dishes trolling for alien signals, and given innovations in portable technology designed to track anomalies in our skies, there would appear to be no better moment for the media to snatch the permission slips extended by Clinton/Podesta this year and start asking truly skeptical questions. But that hasn’t happened. Maybe it can’t. Denial and avoidance are the results of faltering attention spans, national and global. We don’t read anymore. We want shortcuts. We think in bumper stickers. Glossy campaign pamphlets are called literature. We want our Cliff Notes rationed in 30-second video bites. We want our favorite colors back, black and white.

Despite the gloom, however, De Void has actually been a lot of gun. It’s forced me to become more discerning and (hopefully) a more careful thinker. It’s given me a deeper appreciation for those who’ve chosen the thankless tasks of attempting to rescue history buried in forgotten archives, for those who pressure bureaucracies for radar records, and the researchers giving voice to veterans whose stories have been disregarded, mocked or repressed for half a century or more.

Most of all, in this era of anonymity and internet cowardice, I have appreciated the civil, thoughtful and provocative tones that often characterize these comment threads. We don’t always agree – in fact, we may rarely agree – but I appreciate the level of sophistication you guys have been bringing to the table. And who knows, we may, in fact, have future discussions here on De Void. If, for instance, Stephen Hawking’s projected ET conquistadors do something as callous and disrespectful as zapping the Kremlin or the newly refurbished Capitol Dome, I’ll probably make time to weigh in as soon as I get through cheering.

And I’ll remain keenly interested in whatever comes next.

Read more »

Read More

Unusual Structures on the Far Side of the Moon | Image Analysis

Bookmark and Sharevar addthis_config = {“data_track_clickback”:true};

Unusual structures in Crater Paracelsus C

Abstract

     The authors present an analysis of Apollo 15 and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images of two unusual features in the crater Paracelsus C on the far side of the moon. At first glance these structures appear to be walls or towers on the lunar surface. By combining multiple images, we show the larger feature, oriented in a northeast/southwest direction, is not simply a wall but two walls on either side of a narrow valley or “passageway”. Using single image shape from shading and 3D terrain visualization we show in a
By Mark J Carlotto
, Francis L Ridge and Ananda L Sirisena
Journal of Space Exploration
9-30-16

computer-generated perspective view looking northeast that the southwest end appears to be the entrance to the passageway. A reverse angle view looking southwest shows the passageway ending at a rise of terrain at the other end, possibly leading underground. The terrain surrounding the two structures is not flat but appears “excavated” by some unknown mechanism, natural or artificial. It is shown that these objects are visually different from the lunar background because their underlying structure is different.

Introduction

The search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI) began in the 1960s with radio-telescopes and has, to date, produced no positive evidence of its existence. During these early years of SETI, Sagan [1] spoke about the possibility of extraterrestrial visitation, “It is not out of the question that artifacts of these visits still exist, or even that some kind of base is maintained
(possibly automatically) within the solar system to provide continuity for successive expeditions. Because of weathering and the possibility of detection and interference by the inhabitants of the Earth, it would be preferable not to erect such a base on the Earth’s surface. The Moon seems one reasonable alternative. Forthcoming high resolution photographic reconnaissance of the Moon from space vehicles – particularly of the back side – might bear these possibilities in mind.”

Read more »

Read More

Canadian Air Force Pilot Snaps A Pic Of A UFO

By Arjun Walia
www.collective-evolution.com
12-29-15

     […] Peter Andrew Sturrock, a British Scientist, and an Emeritus Professor of Applied Physics at Stanford University. Sturrock and a number of other notable scientists around the world came together during the 1990’s in order to examine the physical evidence that is commonly associated with the UFO phenomenon. One example used by Sturrock in his analysis, was a photo taken by two Royal Canadian Air Force pilots on August 27th, 1956, in McCleod, Alberta, Canada. […]

The pilots were flying in a formation of four F86 Sabre jet aircraft. One of the pilots described the phenomenon as a “bright light which was sharply defined as disk-shaped,” that looked like “a shiny silver dollar sitting horizontal.” Another pilot managed to photograph the object, as you can see above.

The sighting lasted for a couple of minutes, and this specific case was analyzed by Dr. Bruce Maccabee, who estimated (from available data) that the luminosity of the object (the power output within the spectral range of the film) to be many megawatts. The Sturrock Panel also found it to be the case that a strong magnetic field surrounding the phenomenon or object was a common occurrence. […]

Read more »

Read More

Gospel of Jesus’ Wife Forgery Subject of Latest NTS Journal – Free Access

Thanks to Mark Goodacre for the the notice on this. The latest issue of the scholarly journal New Testament Studies is dedicated to exposing the fraudulent nature of the so-called “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” The editors have granted free access to the articles. No telling how long that will last, so you’d better download the material pronto. You can find the issue on Goodacre’s NT blog. The links work – jut tried them. Click the article title and then where it says PDF on the journal page. Then download the resulting PDF file.

Read More

Recent Loch Ness UFO Photo Analyzed and Debunked in Detail

Yes, you heard that correctly — “Loch Ness” and “UFO” in the same sentence.

The photograph is below, with a close-up (both via the Huff Post):

lochnessufo

lochnessufocloseup

 

Here’s the analysis — someone with obvious experience in photography and these sorts of “effects” on photos. Quite interesting.

This is the sort of thing the UFO community should be endorsing and doing — it would demonstrate seriousness with respect to separating the mistakes from the truly anomalous. Here’s the “About” page to this debunking site. It’s not about blind zealotry.

Read More

Chile UFO: “Humans Could Not Have Manufactured It,” Claim Government Experts?

Chile UFO: "Humans Could Not Have Manufactured It," Claim Government Experts

Did A UFO ‘Not Made By Man’ Hover Over Chile?

Lee Speigel By Lee Speigel
The Huffington Post
5-13-15

     There’s a story going around that Chile supposedly revealed remarkable UFO photographs of an aerial object so advanced that government experts are claiming that humans could not have manufactured it.

According to several news accounts, that allegation comes from a renowned Chilean government-funded UFO research group. And if one quote in particular is true, it might be the news UFO researchers have been eagerly awaiting — proof of an extraterrestrial visitation. . . .

Read more »

Read More

Mysterious Object is NOT ‘Made By Man’ | Chile UFO

Official Study On 'UFO Photos' Released By Chile

By Mirror .co.uk
4-16-15

Authorities revealed that they do not recognise the strange object which was captured hovering in the skies

      A UFO that was sighted in Chile is ‘not a known object made by man’, according to the country’s government.

Officials released the footage after completing a thorough investigation and have announced in a report that the mysterious object is not one they recognise.

They confirmed that the silver disc seen in the clip was approximately 10 metres in diameter and performed with vertical and horizontal movements that no other aircraft can do, according to Chilean media reports. . . .

Read more »

Read More

The Map Behind the Piri Reis Map

That’s the title of this intriguing essay on the Piri Reis map — an early 16th century map that allegedly shows the coastline of Antarctica not covered by ice.

pirireis-r

The image above of the Piri Reis map comes from this much longer and more detailed analysis, the effort of art historian Diego Cuoghi. It’s quite a piece of art-historical detective work. Honestly, anything Cuoghi produces is worth your time. He’s the fellow that has thoroughly debunked (I’d use the word “bludgeoned”) the “UFOs in medieval art” nonsense in a truly remarkable series of essays.

Read More

Scientific Ufology – the Way To Go

By Keith Basterfield
ufos-scientificresearch.blogspot.com
2-27-15

     Eddie Bullard

In his 2010 book, “The Myth and Mystery of UFOs,” US researcher Eddie Bullard listed his thoughts on categories of people who study UAP. Among his categories were “skeptics,” “activists,” and “scientific ufologists.”

What did Bullard write about “scientific ufologists?” In part he wrote:

“For this group UFOs are a phenomenon accessible to rational inquiry. These people pursue in-depth case investigations, critical examination of the evidence, comparison of collected data and rigorous research projects to determine if any UFO reports describe an unknown phenomenon…Exemplified by Hynek and McDonald, professed by the leading UFO organisations, this scientific approach represents ufology in the purist sense of a scientific or scholarly discipline.” (p.15.)

My own approach

In looking at my own approach to the subject, I clearly fit into being a “scientific ufologist.” I have conducted in-depth case investigations, and equally as important in my view, I have extensively published my research findings. Readers of my blog will be aware of my numerous “cold case” reviews (for a listing and links to these, click here.) I also have published in-depth reports on current cases I have been involved in, e.g. the 19 March 2014 Perth, Western Australia aircraft near-miss with an “unknown object” (click here to read the NARCAP technical report.) or the 29 May 2014 very unusual incident on the south coast of New South Wales (click here.)

Each of my “cold case” reviews involved a critical re-examination of the evidence, almost always drawn from tracking down and closely looking at original documentation, some of which no-one else had seen before.

“Hot air”

The opposite of my scientific approach to the subject, is to be seen in the work of some “investigators” who also claim to be researching the subject using a “scientific” approach. Here, in my opinion, there is much “hot air,” and little or no substance.

Recently, I have tried to locate any written, detailed case reports published by three individuals who claim to be following a “scientific” approach. Two are Australian and one is American. I failed to find a single published, detailed case report of theirs on the Internet, or in UAP Magazines/Newsletters/Journals. This is suggestive that, despite their claim to follow a “scientific” approach, they fail to live up to this approach.

My process

Attracting raw reports via electronic Internet forms on websites, is simply the first step in the process. It is too easy these days for anyone to submit an electronic report to UAP groups. A look at the types of reports being made to various electronic databases, reveals the questionable nature of some of them, e.g. how many are straight out hoaxes?

Once reported to an electronic system, or indeed via telephone, the old fashioned letter, or any other means, the next stage in the process should be to conduct an investigation by contacting the witness. Some raw reports are made anonymously and therefore no follow up is possible. In my opinion, an un-investigated anonymous report has little value.

When contact details are given, it is then necessary to speak to the witness in person. Reporting by someone in Australia, to an overseas database may mean no local interview is performed by anyone.
This face to face interview is critical. Besides taking note of the details of the reported occurrence, an experienced investigator will also gain a “feel” for the genuineness of the reporter and hence the report. My preference is to conduct this face to face interview at the site of the incident, wherever possible.

Analysis

Once details of the event are recorded, the next step is to critically examine of these details. A check for aircraft movements; planets; stars; satellites needs to be made. The weather at the time should be investigated. For a full list of investigative tools, click here. By this analysis, I am looking to see if a mundane explanation could explain the observation. My experience, and that of others, is that 95% of incoming raw reports have conventional explanations.

Publication

As I mentioned above, I rate publishing the details of investigations and research, equally as important as carrying out a detailed investigation. This allows for a scientific “peer review” of both your data and your conclusions, a very important part of the scientific process.

Sometimes, this also attracts the attention of members of the mass media. An example of this are remarks I made at the 2014 Melbourne, VUFOA conference, about the need for an Australian quick response team. The following morning, newspaper and radio items appeared about my remarks. I did not seek this publicity, it simply followed me presenting a conference paper. As a result I was asked to go on a number of radio shows to be interviewed about my thoughts. I carefully selected those on which to appear, and turned other requests down.

Similarly, the mass media picked up on aspects of the research conducted by myself about the 19 March 2014 Perth near-miss, between an aircraft and an unknown object. I did not seek out this publicity, it simply followed publication of my research. I turned down a number of requests to be interviewed about the case. I find it odd, therefore, that an Australian researcher recently has suggested that I am “seeking publicity.” This is not so. I reject something like 9 out of 10 mass media requests for interviews, including one recent approach from Channel 9 television to discuss pilot observations.

My process

So, my process is, collect incoming raw reports; conduct a personal interview (on site if possible); document the evidence presented by the witness; followed by an analysis; then preparing a detailed, written case report, and finally publishing it for peer review. This process produces a small, but screened, number of examples of the “core” UAP each year.

The above is how I believe that a scientific investigation of UAP should be conducted. Looking around, both overseas and here in Australia, I see far too many people who state they are following a “scientific” approach, who fall short of the standards I expect of my own research. I realise that this is not something that some people will like to hear, but I tell it as I see it.

Read more »

Read More

Project Core, the UFO Community and Professional Research

Jack Brewer By Jack Brewer
The UFO Trail
12-16-14

      Reports from Project Core were recently published at projectcore.net. The project was a professionally conducted research endeavor in which written testimonies of paranormal experiences from over 200 individuals were obtained via surveys and considered at length. Questions were posed to respondents in which trends in responses could be analyzed. Several avenues for potentially productive future research were subsequently identified.

Project Core team members included self-described experiencers of paranormal phenomena Jeff Ritzmann and Jeremy Vaeni. Working on the project were also Dr. Tyler A. Kokjohn, Dr. D. Ellen K. Tarr and Dr. Kimbal E. Cooper.

I have read all material posted on the Project Core website. After having revisited the reports and commentaries a few times, and feeling that I have reasonably processed the data and observations contained therein, I feel there are some important points.

Aristotle
Science pioneer Aristotle

Among the more relevant observations, in my opinion, is that such a project is most certainly possible within the UFO and paranormal communities. Not only does Project Core contradict popularly held assumptions that science is unable to systematically and competently address reported paranormal phenomena, but it also demonstrates that self-described experiencers and professional researchers can collaborate on such ventures.

That leads us to another important point I considered as a byproduct of reviewing Project Core: Extreme opposite camps within ufology, which I will for the time being label “unquestioning believers” and “stubborn debunkers”, share responsibilities for collective tire-spinning. Futility rests on the shoulders of both demographics, not just one or the other.

Unquestioning Believers

Obviously, unquestioning belief is unattractive to critical thinkers. It is easy to see how claims of vacuum cleaner nozzles on the surface of Mars might lower public interest in the UFO genre, at least among those some of us might prefer be drawn to it.

David Jacobs
Retired historian David Jacobs

In addition to those who consistently try to direct our attention to interpretations of photos at craptastic dot com, the unquestioning believer side of the scale also includes individuals and organizations which manipulate and shape those poorly conceived beliefs. That would include alien-hunting hypnotists that sell their clients’ data without consent, historians that recommend chastity belts to their research subjects, and the organizations that provide them venues to promote their unsupported claims while prospecting for more people to exploit.

There is even much more to it than that, though. Among the additional harmful social dynamics is a cultism that quickly embraces newcomers seeking credible information. In return for courageous open-mindedness, newcomers are often bombarded with assurances that everyone abducted by aliens had difficulty accepting it at first. The pseudo recovery might include suggestions to attend meetings purported to provide emotional support which, in actuality, serve to spread such beliefs inherent to the genre as big news about an alien presence will be released any day by the White House. One might also get indoctrinated with a lot of material that will assure future hypnosis sessions would go as hoped.

If one is fortunate enough to get out of a recon mission into the UFO community without landing in front of a rogue hypnotist and author masquerading as a therapist, they can cut their losses and return to a life where they keep relatively quiet about those ‘something weird happened one time’ stories. If not that fortunate, well, then they have a whole lot more emotional baggage to carry and healing to do than they started with – and that’s if they’re wise and brave enough to consider that many of those “helpful” UFO people have no idea whatsoever what the hell they’re talking about.

So the unquestioning believer demographic has many detrimental aspects. One of the most damaging is that its members are prone to interpreting the experiences of others and thinking themselves qualified to explain them in outrageously assumptive detail. The bottom line is that people of higher intelligence and emotional availability don’t want other people trying to tell them what happened to them who have no idea and don’t even know they don’t.

Stubborn Debunkers

The stubborn debunkers conduct a different, but nonetheless detrimental, brand of bait and switch. They often try to lead newcomers to believe they promote skepticism and rationality when, in actuality, they can be among the most opinionated, dogmatic demographics one might ever encounter. Healthy skepticism is a very good thing – I would confidently say entirely necessary – but it is nowhere to be found among stubborn debunkers and despite their claims to the contrary.

They make fun of people who hold ideas and beliefs different than their own, employ sarcasm as a preferred mode of expressing themselves, and, by and large, do not even conduct research – they just criticize and make light of others who do, unless it happens to support their preferred perspective. They virtually never address a topic of which they are unwilling to offer speculative conclusions, and they fail miserably at asking the right, productive questions.

James Randi
Self-described skeptic James Randi

In his 1992 paper, ‘CSICOP and the Skeptics: An Overview’, writer/researcher George P. Hansen observed that facets of the organized skeptical movement opted to employ an extended public relations campaign rather than conduct research. “These activities display more parallels with political campaigns than with scientific endeavors,” Hansen wrote. His paper frequently came to mind while reading Project Core and considering how the project embodied what professional research conducted by competent and qualified individuals actually looks like and is capable of producing.

Stubborn debunkers typically attempt to minimize reported experiences of high strangeness or conspiratorial implications by employing any number of explanations that might indeed be applicable in some circumstances, but do not necessarily apply to a case at hand. While the burden of proof indeed falls upon one asserting a claim, the fact of the matter is that a more discerning group of experiencers and researchers do not assert claims, but simply question. The bottom line – again – is that people of higher intelligence and emotional availability don’t want other people trying to tell them what happened to them who have no idea and don’t even know they don’t. Same as with the unquestioning believers. Whether one’s field of interest includes psychic phenomena, entities, the intelligence community or most anything else, they should prefer to allow facts lead them to conclusions, not lobbying techniques.

Professional Research

So to tie this together, the UFO community consists of demographics with virtually polar opposite beliefs but each detrimentally effecting the paranormal genre in similar manners: They try to lead others to believe they are able to explain things to them of which they actually have little idea, are frequently unfamiliar with relevant material and are often not even qualified to venture an intelligent guess. People therefore become very reluctant to share their ideas and experiences for various different reasons, not just the well known fear of ridicule invoked by stubborn debunkers, but also because they don’t want unquestioning believers saddling their reputations with wild and disturbing rumors based upon little more than questionable interpretations of reality.

And that is what’s different about Project Core. I could tell you a lot of things it’s not, but here’s what it is: An objective and professional assessment of experiences reported by over 200 individuals, as well as assessments of answers provided to a series of specific questions. The only stipulations for reporting experiences were to provide sincere accounts, no matter how bizarre the perceived events, and to not submit any information obtained via hypnosis.

Researchers demonstrated a full awareness that surveys obtained did not necessarily contain accurate information, but might at times be more representative of what respondents interpreted, such as in the cases of reported physiological circumstances and perceived experiences. Data was professionally organized and presented, with much careful consideration given to patterns and correlations that seemed to emerge.

About a third of those surveyed indicated multiple witnesses were present during the events. Taking into consideration that many respondents reported multiple experiences, researchers suggested that future events might be accurately anticipated. A number of additional avenues for future research were also identified, including the implementation of cost effective technological advances.

It was also apparent that researchers of alleged alien abduction have largely failed to explore the cases of witnesses who have unaided conscious recall of events. Pursuing such witnesses, while ceasing to rely upon regressive hypnosis as an investigative tool, was strongly suggested.

Yet another emerging point was that respondents largely felt their experiences have not been portrayed accurately in media. Researchers considered that assertion might be due to the more bizarre aspects of the reports being frequently omitted by those portraying the experiences to the public. Readers were additionally free to surmise that ill advised use of regressive hypnosis, and leading of witnesses by biased hypnotists and investigators, likely play major roles in such inaccurate media portrayal. While reading Project Core reports, it seemed entirely possible to me that the common abduction narrative is, in reality, a rather small percentage of reported experiences, if not largely inaccurate and unreported. At the least, it appeared reasonable to question if the stereotypical alien abduction narrative is a very poor representation of what people perceive themselves to be experiencing.

I recommend reading the material posted at Project Core. There are several intriguing points and interesting insights.

But mostly I recommend it because it serves as a model of what professional research of reported paranormal experiences looks like. Pro research is pro research. Everything else is not.

Read more »

Read More