Archive for the ‘Theoretical Physics’ Category
Think about the title to this post. It doesn’t assert that all or even most UFO witnesses are liars. It doesn’t say they are cranks, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or otherwise buffoonish. In my experience, people who report UFOs are anything but. What the title does suggest, however, is that reports, even detailed ones, really cannot be deemed as evidence that what is seen is in fact extraterrestrial. In principle that may be the case, but that determination must be made on other grounds.
Why? Because of the high potential for mis-identification and the inclusion of mistaken details. For more, check out this episode of the Exposing PseudoAstronomy podcast!
Exposing PseudoAstronomy is a podcast hosted by Stuart Robbins. (Stuart is a postdoctoral researcher in astronomy whose focus is on planetary geophysics). I highly recommend it. He just posted the latest episode:
It’s not hard to believe there will be other parts. Here’s the blurb on the podcast episode page:
The purpose of this episode is to provide a background into how Sereda went from a UFOlogist to a more generic new-ager with a few specific claims of his own. I then go into two of his main claims (of MANY that I’ll go more into next time) and wrap up with when giving your professional background becomes an argument from authority logical fallacy. Actually, almost everything that Sereda says is a “Name that Logical Fallacy” exercise.
This episode “required” me listening to approximately 40 hours of Coast to Coast AM. I took nearly 10,000 words of notes. I think I may take up drinking …
Wow – that’s a lot of effort to put into a podcast series. I’ve long felt the same way about Sereda’s ideas, having read enough new age cosmology and metaphysics to see that David’s physics are hard to distinguish from that stuff (which is inherently religious). But since I lack a background in the hard sciences, I’m dependent on folks like Stuart who care enough to spend serious time hearing Sereda out (among others) and subjecting their thinking to relevant scientific data. I’m guessing lots of readers out there are like me in that regard.
Cris Putnam sent me a link to his review of Steven Greer’s film. Cris noted in the email:
It’s amazingly incoherent that Greer claims to be in contact with the ETs but at the same time the problem with the world is that government is hiding the ET technology…. If he’s telling the truth ET should just give it to him.
Uh . . . yeah. But that’s Greer. Tell everyone you’re an MD till many are convinced that makes you an authority on issues outside of medicine, make lots of noise on the web, then produce content that’s about as logical as a square bowling ball.
This is the sort of thing that mars Greer’s credibility. On one hand, he deserves credit for gathering important witnesses in the military, government, and intelligence apparati. But on the other he comes up with vapor and misdirection like this.
Thanks to Cris for the review!
Popular Science recently published an article of interest to fans of UFO inquiry (and of course, The Facade). Although it’s dated April 1, it’s an article about a real event and real project. Here’s the opening paragraph of the PopSci piece:
Last September, a few hundred scientists, engineers and space enthusiasts gathered at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Houston for the second public meeting of 100 Year Starship. The group is run by former astronaut Mae Jemison and funded by DARPA. Its mission is to “make the capability of human travel beyond our solar system to another star a reality within the next 100 years.”
The article notes that the program goals follow in the footsteps of physicist Miguel Alcubierre, the scientist credited with developing a mathematical model for warp drive. Another paragraph notes:
Alcubierre envisioned a bubble in space. At the front of the bubble, space-time would contract, while behind the bubble, space-time would expand (somewhat like in the big bang). The deformations would push the craft along smoothly, as if it were surfing on a wave, despite the tumult around it. In principle, a warp bubble could move along arbitrarily quickly; the speed-of-light limitation of Einstein’s theory applies only within space-time, not to distortions of space-time itself. Within the bubble, Alcubierre predicted that space-time would not change, leaving space travelers unharmed.
Not surprisingly, there are problems to be overcome in the model. NASA engineer Harold “Sonny” White says he’s solved them (in theory). You can read the whole piece and find out how physicists and engineers are now using words like “plausible” for warp drive.