What are UFOs?

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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby Access Denied » Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:53 am

Well, given the limitations of the flawed assumptions posed by Ryan in the OP then I really have nothing to say. If however I may be so bold as to cast those aside for the moment then FWIW… :)

The short answer is it depends on the case.

Longer answer?

1. Most, if not all, sightings are misinterpretations, hoaxes, or pink elephants.

2. Some very small percentage of sightings might be of as yet not understood rare atmospheric or other natural, but not necessarily terrestrially sourced, phenomena.

3. No sightings are of “flying saucers” from outer space.

Unidentified doesn’t necessarily mean unidentifiable as in beyond the realm of known science… it just means insufficient data… or in some cases the identifying data has been withheld from you in the necessary and justifiable interest of National Security.

Although I can’t completely rule out the possibility of ET visitation or ET probes, I firmly believe that if and when it occurs, it won’t be what we expect, the evidence will be unambiguous, and no government on Earth could keep it secret for very long, if at all… even if they wanted to.

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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby longhaircowboy » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:31 pm

Yes my sampling does have a geographic element since I focus on reports that are close to where I live to cut down on my expenses. I have a day limit. In other words I can get to the area and back home within a day.

Of course the whole UFO thing could just be the reckless, bored teens that Ford Prefect called Teasers in HGTTG.
His words-"They find some isolated spot with very few people around, then land right by some poor unsuspecting sod whom no one's ever going to believe and then strut up and down in front of him wearing silly antennas on their head and making beep beep noises."
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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby ryguy » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:23 am

Sounds like an episode of Spongebob Squarepants, where he thinks Mr. Crabs has turned into a beeping robot.

Man...I watch way too much TV with my kids...
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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby Mungodave » Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:28 pm

I have twice in my life witnessed lights first hand, on one occasion frighteningly so.

I do not have an explanation for either, nor has anyone come close to explaining them away.

On the last occasion it was witnessed by no less that ten others in my company.

Personally, I tend to speak of these rarely, and only when the subject is broached by others.

If "we" have the technology, then I am staggered it hasn't leaked out by now.

I have four trades, and have done military service in a TS position. I like to think I'm sane but that's for others to decide.

I habitually keep an eye on the sky now and look forward to learning the truth before I pass on.

Mungo

Edited to clarify "twice"
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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby longhaircowboy » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:09 pm

Actually ryguy that was Ford explaining UFOs to Arthur in Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy(sorry if you didn't get the HGTTG)

Mungodave I've had the sightings myself the last being a silent triangle type(I documented my investigation on ATS). The first was when I was about 10 and involved Moving lights in the night sky and the second was of the daylight disk variety. I've never shyed away from relating my experiences to anyone who asks.
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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby Buckwild » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:34 am

Hi A.D,

You said :

Although I can’t completely rule out the possibility of ET visitation or ET probes, I firmly believe that if and when it occurs, it won’t be what we expect, the evidence will be unambiguous, and no government on Earth could keep it secret for very long, if at all… even if they wanted to.


I am ok to say that it might not be what we expect but I don't understand why you say the evidence will be unambigous ? I am asking this question because Scot Stride (S3ETI) said this :

-Proof is not real-time
-A single observation is not good enough
-Scientificaly acceptable proof of robotic probe technology will depend on using statistical methods on a large set of data

Link : http://www.sunstar-solutions.com/SETV/OSETI-3JPL1.PDF


Also, as far as a low prob' but potential ET probe, we do have a good example of our limits in detecting & identifying correctly NEOs with 1991 VG :

A ~ 10-metre object on a heliocentric orbit, now catalogued as 1991 VG, made a close approach to the Earth in 1991 December, and was discovered a month before perigee with the Spacewatch telescope at Kitt Peak. Its very Earth-like orbit and observations of rapid brightness fluctuations argue for it being an artificial body rather than an asteroid. None of the handful of man-made rocket bodies left in heliocentric orbits during the space age have purely gravitational orbits returning to the Earth at that time, and in an3' case the a priori probability of discovery for 1991 VG was very small, of order one in 100,000 per anmun. In addition, the small perigee distance observed might be interpreted as an indicator of a controlled rather than a random encounter with the Earth, and thus it might be argued that 1991 VG is a candidate as an alien probe observed in the vicinity of our planet.

Link : http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/full ... .115...78S


Weiler's response to Duncan Steel's paper (must read) :
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1998Obs...118..226W

This is also why I asked you the question, it seems to me that besides contact or a landing/crash, all the data we could get is ambigous since we do not even know (besides Scot Stride and a few others) what we are searching for as far as ET probes and their hypothetical observable manifestations.

Cheers,
Buck
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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby nablator » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:04 pm

Everyone has their own biased opinion on what UFOs may be. There is, of course, no way to answer since UFOs are, by definition, unidentified. ;)
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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby Buckwild » Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:27 pm

Hi guys,

Well, I was talking about ambiguity for many reasons, one of them is the statistical methods that could be used on a large set of (hard) data and their possible interpretation(s).

Some ufologists say that ambiguity is the result/or could be explained by mimics, other say that ETs are smart enough to allow us to get used to their presence progressively.

Since I don't really appreciate speculations of this kind, I am trying to use referentials to get a better understanding of the hypothetical ambiguity question with a more down to earth approach. SETI and SETIlike initiatives are a pretty good referential but not the only one.

Atmospheric research and topics related to the so called "Earth lights" which include a great variety of hypothetical "phenomenas" are also a good referential. They all show that gathering unambiguous data is "proportionally inverted" to the lack of rigor displayed by the protocols elaborated by researchers. We have some good examples with the research done in the Hessdalen Valley. Not only that but also, the kind of tools chosen to gather data and how they are used.

Our lack of rigor is probably one of the main problems when it comes to gathering unambiguous data, even with non ETI related phenomenas like BL or transient luminous phenomenas/events of a new kind.


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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby mosfet » Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:00 pm

I think that's a pretty good summation of the current state of affairs. But I would add or submit that the majority of people reporting simply don't know what they've seen even if most of it is probably mundane or military. Nonetheless, I believe, a significant portion remains truly unexplained. I'm sure the military and social scientists will capitalize on this for their various agendas, the military to continue black ops, social scientists to maintain status quo, and likewise the same with most political agendas right or left.

Given the fragile state of our economy the revelation of extraterrestrial life, in particular a technology and intelligence far beyond us, would certainly disrupt an already fragile society. But with so much static in the system, disclosure or any official acknowledgement, not in this life time.
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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby Buckwild » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:26 am

Hi folks,

A few months ago, I opened a thread in a Canadian (Quebec) skeptic forum with the same title.

Defining what a ufo is (and not could be) is all a matter of perspective and intentions.

Let me explain myself, UFO (acronym used by the US military since 1947 until 1974) does not mean anything besides the fact that it is unidentified, who knows if it is an object or not since it could be related to atmospherical phenomenas, biological entities (bugs, birds, etc...), etc...We don't even know if it was flying by it's own means or if it was carried by the wind or else.

Well, out of the UFO acronym, only the "U" seems to stand out, but does it always stand out to in-depth scrutiny ? Not all the times...and sometimes, lack of data, erroneous or tronquated data does not allow us to turn it into an "I"-FO. So even the "U" could be suspicious sort of speak.

UAP as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (PAN in french) was used by the US military before UFO, but hey, who knows if it is a phenomena to start with or if it is aerial as intra-atmospheric since astronomical & astronautical phenomenas/events could account for some of the UAPs.

Then we got the acronyms used by Norad (right ?) and I think that they are slightly more accurate :

UCT : Uncorrelated target (intra-atmospheric)
UER : Uncorrelated Event Reports (in orbit)
UTR : Unknown Track Reports (radar tracks only)

They have 4 categories for each terminology :
Significant, Nonsignificant, Critical, false

Now, you're gonna understand why I said that it all depends on our perspective and on our intentions (agenda).

My favorite acronym by far, comes from the USAF's Air Force Regulation 200-2 (12 August 1954)

UFOB : 2. Definitions:

a. Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOB) relates to any airborne object which by performance, aerodynamic characteristics, or unusual features, does not conform to any presently known aircraft or missile type, or which cannot be positively identified as a familiar object.

b. Familiar Objects - Include balloons, astronomical bodies, birds, and so forth


Imho, the USAF came up with this acronym & definition because during the cold war, they wanted to know what the communists used either to spy on the USA, or either as a direct ² long range & stealthy threat. It was related to their perspective and to their (USAF) intentions.

Now, I do like the UFOB acronym & definition because it allows us to establish probationary criterions. These are necessary to come up with a refutable hypothesis.

Research (again, perspective and intentions) has to construct/build an object limited to certain criterions (i.e : observable manifestations). Once done, one can follow a demontrative method which relies & depends on a correlation criteria called empirical feasability.

So if you ask me what I want ufos (perspective and intentions) to be, I'll say that I want them to fit/match the UFOB description. Not because we lack data or else, but the exact opposite, because all the data we gathered with an instrumental platform leads us to identify it as a UFOB (nice paradox isn't it ? :wink: )

It would not prove by any means that it is ETI related but it would be a good start and could probably end the controversy by demonstrating that UFOB exist because we already do know that UFOs exist but it does not mean anything relevant or scientifically interpretable.

Enough talking, I want to have your take on that and please, do not hesitate to tell me if you don't understand something I wrote.

Cheers,
Buck
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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby Access Denied » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:49 pm

Buckwild wrote:I am ok to say that it might not be what we expect but I don't understand why you say the evidence will be unambigous ?

I say that because the nature of the “evidence” used by ETH proponents is highly ambiguous and I find the post hoc rationalizations for this incredibly disingenuous. As you appear to agree, a properly designed (rigorous) experiment could easily (unambiguously) settle the question once and for all “Are ETs flying around in our atmosphere in UFOs?” for those in doubt.

Buckwild wrote:This is also why I asked you the question, it seems to me that besides contact or a landing/crash, all the data we could get is ambigous since we do not even know (besides Scot Stride and a few others) what we are searching for as far as ET probes and their hypothetical observable manifestations.

Well, I wasn’t necessarily referring to exoatmospheric probes (the Stride presentation is excellent) but I see now it looks like you answered your own question. All we can do in the absence of a “meet and greet” or the chance discovery of an ET artifact is test for what we might expect (being careful not to limit ourselves too much with anthromorphic bias) in the case of various SETI type efforts and perform other experiments as necessary to test various hypotheses put forth to explain any anomalous observations.

In that respect 1991 VG is a perfect example of the latter. Pending repeated observation (only numbering 63 as of this writing) and additional analysis we have systematically rejected terrestrial (human) origin, ET origin, and finally Earth-Moon origin as unlikely as follows…

An Asteroid in a Earth-like Orbit
Tancredi, G.
Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, v. 69, Issue 1/2, p. 119-132 (1997).
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1997CeMDA..69..119T

The dynamical evolution of an asteroid with orbital elements strikingly similar to the Earth is analysed. The object, 1991 VG, was discovered by the Spacewatch telescope during a particular encounter with the planet. 1991 VG experienced a temporary satellite capture by the Earth, a phenomena that is recurrent in its dynamical history. The possible origin of this puzzling object is discussed, including the suggestion that 1991 VG could be a piece of lunar ejecta after a great impact.

I can’t link you to the full text but here’s some key excerpts from it…

3. The Possible Origins

Three different origins have been proposed for this unusual object: a straggling Near-Earth Asteroid, a returning human-made spacecraft and in case the previous hypothesis were too unlikely, an alien spacecraft (Steel, 1995). We have analysed the previous alternatives and included a fourth one that makes the alien hypothesis unnecessary.

[...]

4. An Origin in the Earth-Moon System

If 1991 VG is not originated in an heliocentric orbit, it must come from the Earth-Moon system and then be transferred to an heliocentric orbit. Two alternatives are then possible: an artificial human-made object or a piece of rock coming from the Earth or Moon.

Tancredi then goes on to cite Steel's low probability of detection argument against the former and presents his case for the latter however this too has since been rejected...

Asteroids on Earth-like orbits and their origin
Brasser, R.; Wiegert, P.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 386, Issue 4, pp. 2031-2038 (2008).
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2008MNRAS.386.2031B

The orbit of 1991 VG and a set of other asteroids whose orbits are very similar to that of the Earth have been examined. Its origin has been speculated to be a returning spacecraft, lunar ejecta or a low-inclination Amor- or Apollo-class object. The latter is arguably the more likely source, which has been investigated here. The impact probability for these objects has been calculated, and while it is larger than that of a typical near-Earth asteroid (NEA), it is still less than 1:200000 over the next 5000 yr. In addition, the probability of an NEA ever ending up on an Earth-like orbit has been obtained from numerical simulations and turned out to be about 1:20000, making this a rare class of objects. The typical time spent in this state is about 10000 yr, much less than the typical NEA lifetime of 10 Myr.

If you go to the JPL Small-Body Database Browser page now we see in fact it has been provisionally classified as an Apollo [NEO] object…

(1991 VG)
http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=1991%20VG;orb=1

Of course it should also be noted the fact the possibility it may have been of ET origin was openly discussed in the literature is evidence that my argument that no government on Earth could keep the discovery of ET secret is correct… :)

Buckwild wrote:So if you ask me what I want ufos (perspective and intentions) to be, I'll say that I want them to fit/match the UFOB description. Not because we lack data or else, but the exact opposite, because all the data we gathered with an instrumental platform leads us to identify it as a UFOB (nice paradox isn't it ? :wink: )

Well, first of all, it should be noted the AF stopped using that silly UFOBject acronym and revised that naïve definition of a UFO…

AFR 200-2, 20 Jul 62
http://www.foia.af.mil/shared/media/doc ... 03-004.pdf

b. Unidentified Flying Objects Any aerial phenomena, airborne object or objects which are unknown or appear out of the ordinary to the observer because of performance, aerodynamic characteristics, or unusual features.

And fortunately it didn’t take the Air Force too long (20 years) to discover the “instrumental platform” being used to gather the data (humans) was unreliable…

Unidentified Flying Objects and Air Force Project Blue Book
http://www.af.mil/information/factsheet ... asp?id=188

No UFO reported, investigated and evaluated by the Air Force was ever an indication of threat to our national security;

There was no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as "unidentified" represented technological developments or principles beyond the range of modern scientific knowledge; and

There was no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as "unidentified" were extraterrestrial vehicles.

It seems what you want UFOs to be is EFOs (Extraordinary Flying Objects) but why assume ET craft would necessarily exhibit extraordinary performance or aerodynamic characteristics in our atmosphere? ;)

[the law of physics don’t change just because you’re from another planet]
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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby longhaircowboy » Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:48 pm

mosfet wrote:
Nonetheless, I believe, a significant portion remains truly unexplained.
Not even close. The truly unexplained cases amount to less than 10%. Hardly a significant amount. Thats from Blue Book and in my case I only have 2 as yet explained sightings and thats out of hundreds that I've personally investigated(heck it could be over a thousand I lost count long ago). Again hardly a significant amount. The vast majority of sightings can be explained by mundane means. I should know I do it all the time. Not tryin to pick a fight with ya mosfet just wanted to clear up a misconception.
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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby mosfet » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:51 pm

Significant in meaning not statistics.

One alien artifact could be the most important artifact ever, yet statistically irrelevant.
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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby ryguy » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:39 pm

mosfet wrote:Significant in meaning not statistics.

One alien artifact could be the most important artifact ever, yet statistically irrelevant.


But one alien artifact is not an "unexplained case." I believe that would fall into the "explained" category, and as far as I understand that particular category (explained by the ET evidence) stands at 0%.

It would also be statistically irrelevant if I ignored all odds and chose to dig for gold in my back yard and, against all odds, discovered some....despite the fact that no evidence for gold at that location currently exists. But how smart is it for me to continue believing in, and digging for, gold in my back yard? :-)

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Re: What are UFOs?

Postby mosfet » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:10 pm

It is used by scientists to support a hypothesis. Also logistical argument plays a significant role at the 99% confidence level plus or minus one sigma,(one standard deviation) too many years since my oral defense of thesis using statistical analysis. A non sequitur, this means crap if only one artifact is a genuine alien artifact no other argument applies. What happens next is the real conundrum.

The FACT remains UFOs cannot be predicted, much less reproduced, much less be subjected to the scientific method, much less statistically analyzed. No matter how much data mufon or anyone else purports to acquire, such data is inherently FLAWED, in other words not suitable for statistical analyses to any degree of confidence. We are left with subjective objectivity.
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Last edited by mosfet on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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