Nick Cook, long time writer for the prestigious Jane’s Defense Weekly and author of the book, The Hunt for Zero Point, has written a worthwhile essay on aerospace giant Boeing’s recent admission it is working on anti-gravity. The piece begins:
Boeing, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, has admitted it is working on experimental anti-gravity projects that could overturn a century of conventional aerospace propulsion technology if the science underpinning them can be engineered into hardware.
The effort has become public as a result of a briefing document obtained by Jane’s Defense Weekly. The project is being run out of Boeing’s Phantom Works facility in Seattle. My favorite part of the revelation is that Boeing is “trying to solicit the services of a Russian scientist who claims he has developed anti-gravity devices in Russia and Finland.”
That scientist’s name? Dr. Evgeny Podkletnov. Sound familiar? It will if you’ve read The Facade.
How ’bout that?
Frank Johnson of the Ancient Aliens Debunked (AAD) blog recently posted this lengthy essay concerning alleged DNA evidence that the Starchild Skull was that of a human0alien hybrid child: “A Bone to Pick with the Starchild Skull.”
It’s well worth the read, and you should follow the links that relate to the testing itself. The post not only goes into the selective use (and discarding) of DNA evidence, but also its misinterpretation. The post features comments (which have been public for some time) by Dr. Robert Carter. Carter’s PhD is in marine biology, but he’s knowledgeable about the interpretation of DNA evidence.
I’ve been holding some email comments for years from my own go-to expert in genetics (PhD in biology whose doctoral work was DNA-related) about the Starchild skull’s DNA testing and Carter’s own comments. I was waiting for the Starchild’s keeper, Lloyd Pye, to go through with his promise of further DNA testing. In the wake of Pye’s recent passing, I doubt that will happen.
I’ve decided to post excerpts of the comments below, without identifying the geneticist. There’s no point unless we get further testing. My resource thinks the alien claims for the skull and its DNA defense are bunk. Interestingly, he has bones to pick with Carter’s analysis (my guy is a real geneticist, so he’s bound to see flaws in Carter’s analysis). He also knows Carter. I’ve taken the liberty of inserting a few editorial remarks of my own (MSH) that have a bearing on what my guy says and what the AAD essay says.
I skimmed over the links you sent, and here are my thoughts for what they’re worth:
1. Based on the description of the mtDNA results, the normal skull is not the mother or sibling of the abnormal one. They have different mtDNA types, and mtDNA is (nearly) always maternally inherited. So they cannot be maternally related. Could be father/son though.
[MSH: This strikes me as important since, as the AAD post points out, initial Starchild DNA tests had the child as a male. These results were set aside by Pye because of "contamination" - more likely, because they didn't support his ideas; see the AAD post for that discussion.]
2. The description of the “shotgun” sequencing [in the Starchild report - MSH] is very crude, obviously written by someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Assuming that they’re describing real sequences from the abnormal skull, the conclusions they reach do not follow. In particular, this statement is totally false: “To have recovered a string of base pairs 342 nucleotides long with NO reference in the NIH database is astounding because it means there is NO known earthly corollary for what has been analyzed!”
All it means is that we haven’t encountered that particular nucleotide sequence yet. It happens all the time. Usually, with every genome of a new genus or species that we sequence, some measurable fraction (10-30%) is DNA sequence we’ve never seen before (i.e., has no match in the public database). In the case of the skull, the novel DNA is probably just contamination from bacteria or fungi or some other critter that
participated in the decomposition of the body.
[MSH: Note the contamination issue again - and make sure to zero in on that in the AAD post. Pye's claims of contamination were self-serving. He used that as an excuse when something didn't suit his alien hybrid view, but ignore that possibility in other contexts.]
3. … Yes, the description of the shotgun sequencing is incompetent (for the reasons [Carter] cites), but I see no reason to suspect that the description is intentionally deceptive. Not only that, but from my perusal it looks like Carter entirely missed the issue of contamination, which is the probable source of the novel DNA sequence.
[MSH: In other words, my source chalks this up to incompetence, not deliberate deception. Who knows?]
That’s probably the best way to characterize what’s been going on with Jack Brewer and microbiologist Dr. Tyler Kokjohn. Both have posted recently about the questionable methodology (that’s being kind) of Budd Hopkins, one of the more famous names associated alien abduction phenomenon. Here’s a brief overview.
This past Feb. 5 Jack Brewer posted an interesting piece over at Examiner.com that includes video of Budd Hopkins de-briefing the late Col. Philip Corso in 1998. Colonel Corso wrote the book The Day After Roswell, in which he claimed to have been charged by the U.S. Army with seeding alien technology from the Roswell crash to private industry for reverse engineering.
The article and the video brought the questionable methods of Hopkins with respect to alien abductions back into discussion. In regard to Hopkins, Brewer notes:
“Hopkins rose to ufology prominence due to his controversial work in the alien abduction genre. His work has been greatly criticized for such reasons as the use of hypnotic regression as a memory retrieval tool and clearly demonstrated circumstances of researcher bias. Passionate followers have nonetheless adamantly defended Hopkins’ conclusions and actions, refusing to be swayed in their opinions by virtually any evidence of his sometimes poor research practices.”
The video was filmed by Carol Rainey, a film-maker and Hopkins’ ex-wife. Rainey has been critical of her former husband’s hypnotic regression technique for eliciting information from alleged abductees. Her article entitled, Priests of High Strangeness in a 2011 issue of the Paratopia webzine noteworthy in that regard. Dr. Kokjohn also wrote an article in that same Paratopia issue entitled, Tainted, Toxic and Taboo: A Scientist’s assessment of Alien Abduction Research. Both articles are available in PDF on Rainey’s website.
It’s of course impossible to discuss flawed alien abduction methodology without tripping over David Jacobs and the Emma Woods (a pseudonym) travesty. For anyone interested in the alien abduction phenomenon this tale is must reading. Woods has of course been attacked by supporters of Dr. Jacobs.
Three days after his Examiner.com piece, Jack Brewer posted “The Woods/Jacobs Tapes and the ‘Oral History’ Falsehood.” The essay contained Jack’s thoughts on the topic as discussed on Jeff Ritzmann’s Paranormal Waypoint radio show. Specifically, the episode just prior to Jack’s post
. . . was a special three-hour finale to Ritzmann’s multi-episode exploration of research of alleged alien abduction. Focus was upon the case of Emma Woods and its mishandling by the now retired Temple University historian Dr. David Jacobs. Fellow guests were microbiologist Dr. Tyler Kokjohn and author Jeremy Vaeni.
Reitzmann has interviewed Emma Woods, Dr. Kokjohn, and Carol Rainey. Files of interviews and hypnotic regression sessions are available here. Jack Brewer posted his thoughts on the Paranormal Waypoint interview series here.
The methodology of David Jacobs was the subject of an earlier series at Jack Brewer’s UFO Trail. For those who are interested (and you ought to be), here are the links to the series, “The Bizarre World of David Jacobs”: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Lastly for this round-up, Dr. Kokjohn uploaded a YouTube video entitled Alien Abduction Research – The Time Factor. The video discusses how new scientific advancements have made certain alien abduction claims testable, resulting in the exposure of both poor methods and unsustainable claims.
A couple weeks ago I was sent a link to the image below. The sender wanted to know my thoughts.
I sent the photo on to Antoine Cousyn, an imaging analyst who devotes considerable to to analyzing alleged UFO photographs. He is part of what I believe is a company (IPACO) which develops software for image analysis. Antoine replied back and told me that, while the image did not appear in any way tampered with or hoaxed, he speculated the following:
From a meteorologic POV, lenticular clouds can have a large range of shapes/colors/position within other clouds and comparatively to the sun position. As far as I know and in some rare cases, they can indeed be associated with a cumulo-nimbus or cumulus congestus cloud. The opinion of a professional weather forecaster could be interesting though.
It turns out that Atoine’s suspicion was correct. Other photos of the same (non) object have since surfaced, from different angles and slightly different times of day, showing that what we have is an unusual lenticular cloud formation, embedded within other clouds.
Here is a link to the Google group discussion of the other evidence. (I’m not sure if you have to have a Gmail or Google account to view it). It has some amazing pictures of similar lenticular clouds, along with the new shots of the alleged UFO. Here is a screenshot. You can click on the link to go to the same Google group discussion and download the individual photos if you like.
I’ve been getting emails about these “structures” on the moon.
As you can see, the image is courtesy of NASA and Google Earth software. It comes from the second link noted below.
Sorry, folks, these are not artificial structures. There is no alien moon base.
This discussion from the Discover Magazine blog goes through what they are and why, with lots of illustrations. They digital imaging artifacts (i.e., the objects are created are residual effects from the camera, light, imaging process, etc.).
As good as that link is, this one is even better (it’s referenced within the first one). It takes you step-by-step as to how these images happened. It even has motion gifs illustrating how the are recreated and manipulated. Really cool stuff.