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Archive for the ‘UFO alien misidentification’ Category

Robert Sheaffer over at the Bad UFOs blog has written MUFON’s epitaph: “MUFON Jumps the Shark.”

I don’t know of any other conclusion in the wake of the PA MUFON State Director claimed that missing Malaysia Airline flight 370 was abducted by aliens. This is the sort of hailstorm of idiocy we’ve come to expect from internet trolls or YouTubers who do UFO stuff. But not MUFON.

That “courtesy doubt” has now been withdrawn. Robert’s piece includes commentary on MUFON’s new TV series, Hangar 1 (the name for MUFON’s collection of UFO stories that the show will pretend are data). The show airs on History Channel 2 (I guess one fantasy channel wasn’t enough). Unfortunately, it’s not hard to show that MUFON’s credibility has been compromised for some time now. He writes of the show: “And what exactly does MUFON serve up from its precious archives? Some of the most preposterous, unsubstantiated stories in the UFO literature.”

Read it and weep (or laugh).

 

 

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Nah.

I had occasion to troll around on the PseudoAstronomy blog a couple days ago and found Episode 99: The Saga of the Lunar Ziggurat. Astronomer Stuart Robbins exposes the (pseudo)astronomical crapulence like only he can. Enjoy! (If that’s the right word).

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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.

Mike,

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?]

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A couple weeks ago I was sent a link to the image below. The sender wanted to know my thoughts.

 ufobrazilcloud

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.

 cloudscreenshot

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I’ve been getting emails about these “structures” on the moon.

 Google_Earth_20140118_124736

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.

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