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The Real British X-Files

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the welcome-to-june-people-of-england dept.

Space 239

blakeharris snips from a site called The X-Journals: "Nick Pope used to work for the British Ministry of Defense and for 3 years headed up their UFO project. His remit was to investigate UFO sightings reported to the British government, looking for evidence of any potential threat, or anything judged to be of any 'defence significance.'" Some very interesting anecdotes in here, as well as some background on how certain files about these sightings came to be preserved in the first place.

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239 comments

British English (4, Informative)

linuxci (3530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165083)

Britain definitely does not have a Ministry of Defense and we also don't have a TV License either.

Re:British English (2, Funny)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165105)

And where would you like us to put all of your fences when we are done removing them? ;)

Re:British English (1, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165117)

Britain "definitely does not have a Ministry of Defense"??? How about a "Ministry of Defence", then? You're either spectacularly ignorant, or a nitpicking pedant. In either case, you're full of meadow muffins.

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/home [www.mod.uk]

Re:British English (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165139)

And I'll add "My Bad" if you actually do have TV licenses over there, and were being sarcastic.

Re:British English (3, Informative)

linuxci (3530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165327)

And I'll add "My Bad" if you actually do have TV licenses over there, and were being sarcastic.

We do, it's used to (mostly) fund the BBC. I think it provides decent value for what we get, but it does seem wrong that even those who don't watch the BBC or use any of there services still have to pay it if they want to own a TV in the UK.

Re:British English (4, Insightful)

jedrek (79264) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165581)

We do, it's used to (mostly) fund the BBC. I think it provides decent value for what we get, but it does seem wrong that even those who don't watch the BBC or use any of there services still have to pay it if they want to own a TV in the UK.

That's why it's a TV license and not a BBC license.

Re:British English (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165711)

There is definitely no honor and no pajamas in the UK.

Re:British English (5, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165165)

Whoooch

Re:British English (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165375)

Was that a UFO flying overhead? ;)

Re:British English (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165617)

It's a grey area. Let's not labour the point.

Re:British English (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165433)

Listen: The British don't have much in the way of technology; hot women (at least not when they smile or have sex); they've only managed to make a few good meals that aren't Indian food -- and that's been limited to the last ten years or so; and despite being renowned for wit, all of their laughs since Churchill died has revolved around stupid people -- even the good stuff, like The Office or Red Dwarf or Monty Python, will never adventure into actual wit.

Really all Britain has is some good music, goofy looking people with titles and Nazi halloween costumes, and silly spelling differences from American English. Don't let take away a third of their cultural heritage. I mean, these are people who are desperate enough to pick on the Welsh in order to feel good about themselves. That's like if Obama declared a national policy of mandatory insult humor against toddlers.

Re:British English (2, Informative)

aj50 (789101) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165775)

In case you haven't got it yet, we have a Ministry of Defence and a TV Licence

Re:British English (0)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165135)

Britain definitely does not have a Ministry of Defense and we also don't have a TV License either.

What do you have, then? Ministry of Peace?

Re:British English (3, Funny)

117 (1013655) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165395)

We have the Ministry of Silly Walks [youtube.com]

Re:British English (2, Funny)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165727)

We have the Ministry of Silly Walks

Tends to get overlooked as it's next to the much bigger Ministry of Fiddling Expenses and Wasting Taxpayers' Money

Re:British English (0, Offtopic)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165179)

Britain definitely does not have a Ministry of Defense

Well that explains why your crops keep getting attacked by artistic aliens.

Re:British English (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165743)

Well that explains why your crops keep getting attacked by artistic aliens.

As opposed to drunks kicked out of the pub too early :)

Re:British English (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165493)

Britain definitely does not have a Ministry of Defense and we also don't have a TV License either.

What about smug Englishmen?

Re:British English (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165605)

But you do have a Ministry of Sound!

Re:British English (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165719)

Britain definitely does not have a Ministry of Defense and we also don't have a TV License either.

Except presumably in the same reality where the US has a "World Trade Centre" in New Your and "The Pentagon" is operated by the "Department of Defence". (Both of which were attacked on 119.) For that matter a "meter" is a measuring device, not a unit of measurement.

Re:British English (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165867)

For that matter a "meter" is a measuring device, not a unit of measurement.

Quite right. The unit of measurement is the 'metre'.

Uh-huh. (4, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165099)

Nick Pope used to work for the British Ministry of Defense and for 3 years headed up their UFO project.

And then, in 2002, they transferred him over to the MOD Iraq Intelligence Gathering Service...

Lameduck release. RTFA carefully (2, Interesting)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165113)

After reading the article carefully it is clear:
1) All UFO related files from 1950s and early 1960s were destroyed, deliberately.
2) All UFO related files from 1967 (when it peaked) have been "deemed" classified and the Eurocrats in collusion with MoD has voted NEVER to release those details.
What has been released are a few harmless sightings which can be/has been proven as false sightings.
All the perfectly good material, from 1950s onwards have been either wiped or still kept hidden from public eye.
As one modern philosopher said: "Statistics are like Bikinis. They reveal what is known and hide what is vital."
Same here.

Re:Lameduck release. RTFA carefully (-1, Flamebait)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165127)

Except the bikini hides a penis, and we don't really want to see _that_.

Re:Lameduck release. RTFA carefully (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165183)

Except the bikini hides a penis, and we don't really want to see _that_.

Speak for yourself my friend.

Re:Lameduck release. RTFA carefully (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165345)

Don't come here if you want to see a penis.

Parent wears a Tinfoil hat to work (0, Troll)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165215)

Remember to wear your tinfoil hat when you go outdoors, and don't forget to tell everyone that we never landed on the moon. Paranoia and distrust of the Government should only be taken so far.

Paranoia and scientific caution are separate (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165321)

Paranoia and distrust of the Government should only be taken so far.

Wrong. Paranoia and distrust of the Government should be unlimited, both on principle and for very good reasons of precedent.

That is separate from one's level of confidence in the data though.

You can totally distrust government while still having a rational head on your shoulders when dealing with evidence. A scientific approach to analysing UFO reports (and only stating what you know, not what you imagine) isn't optional, except to those who are more interested in fiction than in reality.

Re:Lameduck release. RTFA carefully (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165255)

Reading the article carefully? Amazing, your brain turns off at all the sections that would counter your conspiracy-theories.

Some quotes:
"I never authorized the destruction of a UFO file and following the 1967 ruling, nobody should."

"The introduction of the Freedom of Information Act (passed in November 2000 and coming fully into force in January 2005) effectively reversed the default position and the presumption now is that information is released, unless any of the formal exemptions apply."

Another interesting tidbit: they are so busy with FOI requests, they can't spare the time to investigate new incidents.

You also say "What has been released are sightings that can be/have been proven to be false sightings". Now we could presume a huge conspiracy and alien underground bases dominating the British government, OR we could presume there really isn't much to see here... Occam's razor makes this an easy one. And that is if you consider that your statement is correct in the first place, which it isn't. Unless you can prove the following sightings to be false sightings (as stated in the article, which you "read so carefully")

"Some of the more interesting incidents included: 26th April 1984: Members of the public report a UFO in Stanmore. Two police officers attend the scene, witness the craft and sketch it.
13th October 1984: a saucer-shaped UFO is seen from Waterloo Bridge in London by numerous witnesses.
11th September 1985: 2 UFOs tracked on a military radar system travelling 10 nautical miles in 12 seconds.
4th September 1986: a UFO passes an estimated 1.5 nautical miles from the port side of a commercial aircraft.
"

Apparently you can prove them to be false sightings - I'd recommend you contact the British MoD and tell them the good news.

Don't bother (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165821)

The UFO conspiracy nuts will NEVER be happy. It isn't a matter of finding the truth, it is a matter of religion for them. They want to believe there are aliens visiting the Earth so they'll just keep on making up reasons why it could be happening. They'll ignore contradictory evidence, etc, etc. It is an argument you can't win. It is like the Creationists or any other nutty group like that. They have a view point they wish to be true, and so they'll only pay attention to things that would show that. They ignore or dismiss anything they don't like. There is no reasoning with the because it isn't a position based on reason.

Goes double since I imagine the truth is real boring. For example I'd personally bet on the high speed radar UFOs being glitches. As good as military radar is, it isn't perfect. It can get confused and display false positives. That is actually the idea behind active radar jamming. You send out strong signals that cause all sorts of false readings, so they can't tell where the real aircraft are.

Well that's not very exciting at all. Much more exciting to think it is some kind of alien craft that is so amazing it can travel at FTL speeds across the galaxy, yet can't even avoid primitive radar, something human planes can do.

Re:Lameduck release. RTFA carefully (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165259)

A really good pratical joke takes a lot of effort and planning, just ask the crop circle guys.

Re:Lameduck release. RTFA carefully (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165335)

As one modern philosopher said: "Statistics are like Bikinis. They reveal what is known and hide what is vital."

Actually Aaron Levenstein's qualifications were in law, the same proffession that legislated pi=3.

Careful on using "deliberately" (5, Informative)

aepervius (535155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165615)

Somebody might think it was a conspiracy or soemthing sinister to destroy proof or something. Actually as the article wrote :


QUOTE:What this meant was that prior to 1967, few UFO files had survived this process and with a few exceptions, UFO files from the Fifties and early Sixties had been destroyed.There was nothing sinister about this and such decisions were made all the time on a wide range of subjects


emphasis mine. Furthermore the reading of your post make it sound as if there was something to read that it is intentionnaly kept from eye as something sinister. but the conclusion of the author is different :

QUOTE: I am always reluctant to use the word disclosure, because in ufology the word is often associated with the work of Dr Steven Greer, whose Disclosure Project has become something resembling a political campaign (as has Exopolitics) aimed at ending the UFO cover-up in which many conspiracy theorists believe. But I do use the word (with a small d and not a capital letter!) because in a very real sense, disclosure is precisely what the MoD is doing in relation to documents and files. Much has already been released and there's more to come. These are exciting times.


Emphasis mine. You sound more like thos conspiracy theorist he speaks of in his conclusion than somebody open to all possibilities, including the very highly probable possibility that there is indeed NOTHING really important to be disclosed, except data for a sociologic/psychologic study.

Re:Lameduck release. RTFA carefully (2, Interesting)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165801)

2) All UFO related files from 1967 (when it peaked) have been "deemed" classified and the Eurocrats in collusion with MoD has voted NEVER to release those details.

This, ladies and gents, is fascinating. Ordinarily, to varying degrees, governments use fear to keep the populace in check and maintain the status quo. This is every government, to an extent. To state that doesn't make me a conspiracy nut, does it? Even honourable causes [independent.co.uk] use fear as a motivator. So. Why surpress this?

There is a school of thought which says "In order for people to set aside their differences, they need a common enemy". E.g. If France started saturation bombing Northern Ireland tomorrow, you can bet they'd pull together. It works to a global scale. Movie metaphors: Watchmen [wikipedia.org] or, more alieny but cheesy example, Independence Day [wikipedia.org] .

My point (I have one) is: Surpressed forever... is it us they really fear?

Re:Lameduck release. RTFA carefully (1)

ufoolme (1111815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165817)

1) All UFO related files from 1950s and early 1960s were destroyed, deliberately.

Probably cuz they didn't want the embarrassment, of such a crappy investigation. I would imagine, if you worked in the MOD in the 1950's had to deal with psychologically disturbed people on a daily basis your report might included some derogatory remarks. I'm not saying everyone's a crank etc, but it would be more than the usually MOD officer could handle.

Re:Lameduck release. RTFA carefully (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165909)

Respect for the righteous analogy m8, Statistics are like bikini's. Spot on.

UFO stories from airline pilots (4, Interesting)

Alaska Jack (679307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165125)

I've heard that lots of airline pilots have UFO stories they won't talk about, since questions about their psychological stability would be the kiss of death in that particular career field.

I don't know if that's true or not. It sounds like a good book opportunity would be to go around and interview a bunch of *retired* airline pilots.

    - AJ

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165157)

Nice. Tinfoil hats for everyone!

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165189)

You be surprised to find out how many of those pilots that have seen / chased planets for example, when they swear that something was maneuvering in great speed around their craft. Having read most on the subject, I'm not optimistic about finding a real solid case that could include something that would look like hard evidence.

The only good "evidences" that have been in the past are photos and movies, which in these days are almost worthless due to technological advancements.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165293)

Sorry but how would one conclude with certainty that a pilot claiming that "something was maneuvering in great speed around their craft" was actually a precise star-like fixed point in the sky? And more importantly, how mad would a pilot have to be to think that a star is flying circles around his airplane?

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165419)

Try this: fly a large multi-engine jet at night in a high stress situation with say 100+ passengers on board and a perceived threat to your craft (and by extension the passengers). That human beings can handle situations like this with a remote degree of competency is pretty amazing, but it's also entirely possible that they make (hopefully non lethal) mistakes or suffer from sensory illusions/tunnel vision/loss of situational awareness, etc. There's a reason that night/instrument flying is typically yet another (big) step beyond just a plain flight license.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165465)

No no, that argument is pure fucking bullshit. We're talking about phenomenons observed simultaneously by several pilots in different planes, ground personal, and detected both on airplane radars and ground radars.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165527)

What? Cause you saw it on the History Channel?

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (-1, Flamebait)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165633)

What the hell are you drivelling about, bitch. Just read some military UFO reports on Wikipedia and shut the fuck up!

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165843)

you have polluted whole thread with your useless ranting/trolling. please, stop.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165905)

Read things on Wikipedia? I hardly think so. No, that was your "shit or get off the pot" moment. You called bullshit based on fuck-all, someone came back at you for verification, you failed to provide any.

TFP, HAND.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (4, Interesting)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165213)

There's a plethora of UFO reports out there from civil and military pilots, as well as air traffic control staff, radar operators, military base personel, and yes, even astronauts who went to the Moon.

That's the irony of the UFO vs SETI situation, we as a whole just sit on a shitload of easily available information and better yet easy oppotunities to find out more about what could possibly be alien life artifacts flying in our own atmosphere, yet we insist to ignore it all, throw it in the loony bin and rather look for radioscopic needles in the haystack of the stars that are tens of light years away from us.

Methinks rather than pointing radio telescopes at the stars we should point more modest telescopes at whatever's flying in our sky. A few automated stations around the world that would observe the sky for moving objects automatically and record anything about the unidentified ones would offer great insight on the nature and characteristics of whatever those unidentified objects are, but no, no one cares, most shockingly not even scientists, who obviously have no interest in explaining the unexplained that occurs frequently in our atmosphere.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165303)

Do you inspect each and every case where a person thinks they saw something "unexplainable"? People think they see weird shit all the time, be it UFO's, their dead relatives, Elvis or God. Yes, we basically should subject any such sightings to rigorous scientific investigation. In practice, though, if there's nothing other than the testimony of a superstitious kook to suggest that what they saw is real, there's no real incentive to waste resources on investigating such things.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (3, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165341)

Are you a moron? I believe you are. I just said that UFOs were reported by pilots and NASA astronauts. Seriously, guys who actually went and walked on the Moon and otherwise have been high ranking USAF pilots have seen UFOs, and you want to dismiss it as superstitious kook BS? How many pilots must report something they can't explain before you deem the reported phenomenons worthy of scientific and methodological investigation?

Now that's a bit off topic, but the real reason is that "sceptics" like you have settled on a frozen idea of what's possible and what's not, and what you deemed permanently impossible you'll just ignore even if presented with most compelling reports or even if you see it with your own eyes. People like you just keep trying to find justifications for what they permanently consider impossible, without considering for a minute that maybe they're wrong about what's possible and what's not. It's called denial.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (2, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165385)

Seriously, guys who actually went and walked on the Moon

Does that give you magic power to detect alien spacecraft or immunity from mistaking something you see? Your appeal to authority [wikipedia.org] just isn't a very good argument.

Now that's a bit off topic, but the real reason is that "sceptics" like you have settled on a frozen idea of what's possible and what's not,

No, they are skeptic because they haven't seen good evidence.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (0, Troll)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165427)

No, they are skeptic because they haven't seen good evidence.

More like because they don't want to see it and quickly dismiss what they accidentally see anyways. But they tend to focus on average Joe's UFO sightings rather than the well documented and really hard to explain ones.

And my appeal to authority is justified in that you'd think that a highly trained elite pilot who's flown for years and even been to space would know what he's looking at when he looks in the sky around him.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (4, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165567)

But they tend to focus on average Joe's UFO sightings rather than the well documented and really hard to explain ones.

You miss the point. If you want to prove the existence of alien spacecraft you don't have to find hard to explain cases, you have to find the opposite, well explained ones. You need clear pictures and well observed objects, not anomalies in the sky that you couldn't identify.

And my appeal to authority is justified in that you'd think that a highly trained elite pilot who's flown for years and even been to space would know what he's looking at when he looks in the sky around him.

The human visual system is build to measure distances and velocities at small scales. When you fly high up in the air you have the exact opposite, huge velocities, great distances and worst of all nothing to use as reference. No amount of experience will help you when you encounter an unexpected thing in the sky, as it becomes nearly impossible to judge size or velocity just by sight.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (-1, Troll)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165629)

You miss the point. If you want to prove the existence of alien spacecraft

No, you're the one who's missing the point, it's not about proving alien life, it's about getting ANYONE to get off their ass and investigate that whole shit, because it's obviously worth investigating, but it won't happen because the world is full of self concious pussies who are scared to come off as loonies.

The human visual system is build to measure distances and velocities at small scales.

Oh yeah? How about when it flies around you, can't you tell that when something is on your left side and 10 seconds later it's on your right side? How about when radars confirm what you saw? Yeah, thought so..

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (2, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165725)

No, you're the one who's missing the point, it's not about proving alien life, it's about getting ANYONE to get off their ass and investigate that whole shit, because it's obviously worth investigating,

What do you want to investigate? We don't have a crashes spacecraft to poke around in and neither do we have any idea when or why an UFO might pop up. So you literally have to sit around and wait for something to happen, as people are watching the sky already anyway, be it birdwatchers, astronomers, air traffic controllers, military or just random guy with mobile phone. If you want to investigate something you need something to investigate, random events at random times that happen only every few years in the world and don't leave any trace evidence are just a little troublesome to investigate properly.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165935)

As a scientist, something that is unexplained is intrinsically interesting. Astronauts have to undergo a lot of psychological testing and are familiar with most of the things that might be visible. If they are seeing things that they can't explain then it means one of the following is true:
  • Some aspect of their environment is affecting the human visual system in a way that we have not studied.
  • They are seeing something real, but we don't know what.

Even knowing which of these is the case would be interesting. Beyond that, knowing exactly what they are seeing, or why they are seeing it, is worth knowing.

Precisely (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165881)

I think many people forget that in science, and really in all facets of life the burden of proof is on the claimant. You make a claim that extraterrestrial craft are visiting Earth, it is then incumbent on YOU to provide good evidence of that fact. You don't get to say "Well here's something that isn't explained, thus it must be an ET UFO." No, if it isn't explained it isn't explained. That isn't evidence. You have to provide some real concrete evidence to back up your theory.

The "Well you can't explain it so I must be right," crap is the same thing the religious fundies pull. "Oh evolution doesn't explain everything about the state of organisms on this planet, so god must have created us." "Oh the big bang doesn't explain where the universe came form so god must have created it."

Those are not legit arguments and neither is "You can't explain what this is so it must be an ET UFO." Nope, I don't have to provide an explanation or evidence. You do. If you are sure it is of extraterrestrial origin, then you need to furnish the proof of that fact. Otherwise, in the absence of sufficient evidence we have to write it off as a "Don't know."

That is actually what UFO means: Unidentified Flying Object. It simply means an object seen in the sky, that the observer(s) were not able to positively identify. That does NOT mean it is an alien craft. The nutjob movement has co-opted the term and has tried to twist it in to "Anything in the sky we can't immediately explain is an alien craft."

So for all you UFO nuts out there: Put up or shut up. Let's see proof, and not the kind of BS fake proof the creationists trot out. Let's see some real, valid, empirical proof, not wild speculations. If you can't provide that, then shut your yap.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (4, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165347)

There's a plethora of UFO reports out there from civil and military pilots, as well as air traffic control staff, radar operators, military base personel, and yes, even astronauts who went to the Moon.

That is well and true, it however has a little problem: Those are UFOs in the literal sense, they are "unidentified flying object", not extra terrestrial spacecrafts. When you can't tell what something is, it simply means you don't know, it doesn't confirm that aliens are involved.

When it comes to hard evidence, there is simply nothing that points to E.T. Blobs of light in the sky can be lots of things, clouds, planets, satellites, floating lanterns, lense flare, insects and tons of more stuff. How many clear non-blurry pictures are there of alien space crafts? None. You'd guess in a time where every mobile has camera people would come up with some good pictures, but that hasn't happened.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (3, Interesting)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165389)

When you can't tell what something is, you should look for an explanation for it

Fixed it for you. Contrarily to a popular myth, not all UFO reports are easily dismissable. What do you do when you have pilots reporting chasing an object flying past Mach 10 and that it's backed by ground radar? Do you try to look for an explanation, whatever it may be, or do you sit on it? Well you're gonna like this, cause what we do is just sit on it, and make sure to not tell anyone.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165471)

Devil's advocate: Being that humans were building and deploying rockets capable of Mach 4 in the 1960's (deployment as in multiple launch sites with working missiles) and intercepting (within 200 meters) a ballistic missile on re-entry (aka a stupidly fast moving object) it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that someone has built something capable of sustained Mach 10 flight. Google "Nike Zeus" for some amazing engineering. Google "Project Pluto" for some seriously insane engineering (as in Dr. Strangelove levels of insane).

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165497)

Sure, but the thing is, in the truly unexplained well documented military UFO reports, no single known man-made machine matches, cause it's not just about top speed, it's also about acceleration, agility, glowing, electromagnetic effects in our own aircrafts, and so on. Even the technology we publicly know we have as of 2009 can compete with those UFO reports from the 1950s.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165515)

Of course the MoD wants to find an explanation. Something flying past at mach 10 could be a new type of missile or experimental aircraft.

The MoD was never looking for aliens, they were looking for new weapons that could be used to attack the UK.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (0, Troll)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165665)

Yeah, you see, that in my opinion is the problem with scientists. The defence guys actually try and investigate these reports and obviously it's not the Russians or the Chinese who spent the last 60 years flying those things above our heads. Which means at least SOME scientists should wonder what's up with these phenomenons and try to find out. Because that's a scientist's job to explain the world around us.

Which is what annoys me about scientists in general these days, they're more interested in dicking around with bullshit ass string theory and its 26 space dimensions straight pulled from their arse cause that's where the grant money is at, and no one's left to study the green elephant in the room that everyone tries to sweep under the rug.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165763)

"The defence guys actually try and investigate these reports and obviously it's not the Russians or the Chinese who spent the last 60 years flying those things above our heads."

+1 Irony for doing exactly exactly what you accuse those silly scientists of doing.

I'm not normally a charitable guy but since you so desprately need a clue; "The defence guys" ARE scientists.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165809)

So what's the site of the Green Elephant Foundation so I can apply for some grant money to feed my family (my current milk and bread comes from the 26th dimension of string theory)

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165595)

Do you try to look for an explanation, whatever it may be, or do you sit on it?

You sit on it, because the evidence isn't enough to explain it. The point of an explanation is understanding the true cause of something, not filling unknown details with UFO nonsense. If you don't have enough evidence, you are simply out of luck, you just can't explain everything. We don't lock up random people in jails just because we can't find the real murderer either, if evidence isn't enough we simply "sit on it" too.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165697)

You sit on it, because the evidence isn't enough to explain it.

That's right. But it's compelling enough to warrant a systematic scientific and methodological investigation, and by this I mean, not explaining reports, but actively looking at the skies with a whole bunch of instruments.

I mean seriously, consider this : we have all these huge radiotelescopes to look for a radio signal from space when we've never seen one before, we're looking very hard hoping to find one and interpret something out of it, but we have those weird unexplained things literally flying circles above us, and we can't create a single program to actively try to observe any?? Why can't we do the same when we, from experience, obviously have a much higher chance of observing something unexplained in our atmosphere than around some distant star? Don't you see the problem there?

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165893)

"we have those weird unexplained things literally flying circles above us"

They're vultures, they can sense your argument is dying [google.com.au] .

The answer is : (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165673)

The answer is : "I don't know" and without more data this is all you can say, the only things I can say is that only of such sighting I know of there was a glitch in the hardware used (yeah even vaccuum bulb can glitch). And routinely human sees things going at tremendous speed, but in reality are trick of shadow/light. Was it the case here ? I don't know. No data available. And this is the only SANE proposal when data is not avialabe...

But from the tone of your post, you seem to have reached a conclusion. Care to share it ? Andby which methodological path you used to come to that conclusion, with which data, and what tolerance in the data ?

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (2, Funny)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165705)

You'd guess in a time where every mobile has camera people would come up with some good pictures, but that hasn't happened.

The answer is clear, then... the aliens must be using advanced computers with scanner technology to detect camera and recording devices, and only show up where those devices aren't present! That way they can remain undetected to continue conducting their nefarious experiments on us!

But the cows know when the aliens are coming, and get real apprehensive about it! If you keep a pet cow in your house, it'll wake you up at night before you can be abducted!

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165885)

That is well and true, it however has a little problem: Those are UFOs in the literal sense, they are "unidentified flying object", not extra terrestrial spacecrafts. When you can't tell what something is, it simply means you don't know, it doesn't confirm that aliens are involved.

Indeed the whole "don't know what it is, so it must be aliens" idea is rather irrational. It's not unlike our ancestors saying "can't explain that, a god did it"...

When it comes to hard evidence, there is simply nothing that points to E.T. Blobs of light in the sky can be lots of things, clouds, planets, satellites, floating lanterns, lense flare, insects and tons of more stuff.

All of which are a lot more likely than "aliens".

How many clear non-blurry pictures are there of alien space crafts? None. You'd guess in a time where every mobile has camera people would come up with some good pictures, but that hasn't happened.


Most likely non blurry pictures would equate to less things which can't be identified. However camera in phones is likely to mean more blurry pictures and vidoes which could be just about anything.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165353)

In fact, every strange sighting is recorded and studied and, in most of the cases, totally explained. I have watched a lot of movies and pictures of UFOs. The number of insects, weather balloons, clouds, or even moon shots is staggering.

A professional astronomer was making the following remark : "it is our job to observe the sky and find uncommon things. Occasionally we do, but it is impressive to see how a professional with good tools is less likely to observe UFOs than an amateur with bad tools is."

UFO = Unindentified Flying/Floating Object. It does not mean "Alien spaceship". When an astronaut says "hey, I saw something passig by there !" it is classified as a UFO because no one wants to take the time to find the identification of the debris he observed.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1, Interesting)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165373)

Yes, let me break down what you're doing here: you're dismissing all UFO reports because the majority are dismissable. Sure, reports from people who say they saw moving lights in the sky after a couple of beers in their backyard don't sound very compelling, but among all these worthless reports you have military reports such as these [wikipedia.org] . What are you gonna do with those? Are you going to "totally explain it" or are you just going to dismiss it as "that probably was just a seagull and the F-4 pilots were out of their mind".

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (3, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165499)

What are you gonna do with those?

Sort them into the "unexplained" folder and move on. Just because you can't explain something doesn't mean it was an alien spacecraft. That case, as all the others, doesn't give you hard evidence for anything. Do we have now a clear picture of a space craft? Nope. Any idea how its propulsion system works? Nope. Who piloted it? Nope. Any idea about anything at all? Not really.

If you want to demonstrate that alien spacecrafts are real, you have to come up with some good evidence, not just an single unexplained anomaly. Find multiple anomalies that follow the same pattern and you might be getting somewhere, but a single one off doesn't really help you much with anything, especially not when you fill in the lack of facts with random UFO fiction.

When it comes to weird things happening in the air I like the story of British Airways Flight 9 [wikipedia.org] , full of mystery and suspense and it also happens to be fully explained in the end.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165593)

Sort them into the "unexplained" folder and move on.

What the hell is wrong with you?? Why wouldn't you want to learn more, whatever it is. Well you're obviously not a scientist, otherwise you'd want to know.

You want a clear picture? How about a clear video, complete with radar distance readings, raw on-screen radar return, and radar operator comments? [youtube.com] . The propulsion system? If you had read a few military UFO reports you'd know that most seem to have a ionisation glow, if that can be any indication of what it does. Of course we don't know who piloted it, that wouldn't be a UFO if we knew that, what kind of moron would even ask that?

I'm not even saying that alien spacecrafts are out there, I'm saying, something unexplained is definitely out there.

Find multiple anomalies that follow the same pattern and you might be getting somewhere

Okay seriously now you're just pulling my leg. Just fucking read military UFO reports and you'll see lots of patterns, namely glowing, fast accelerations, sudden changes of speed, close following of aircrafts, effects on the avionics when coming close, and an uncanny ability to get away when being fired at. Seriously, read some of these reports, start with the one I linked in my previous post.

And no, seriously, wtf does your link have to do with anything we're talking about? How let's see, you're arguing that some mysterious things are ultimately explained with a mundane explanation, therefore all mysterious things are explainable with something not extraordinary at all?

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165699)

You want a clear picture? How about a clear video, complete with radar distance readings, raw on-screen radar return, and radar operator comments? [youtube.com] . The propulsion system?

This goes into the 'unwatchable grainy blurbs' category as far as I am concerned. Mysteries are always directly proportional to the camera suckage level.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165915)

First UFO on the movie : can't tell, just a stationary dot (a flare ?)

Second one : My bets are on weather balloon. It moves at a constant speed, and has the shape.

The UFO pattern you describe is known as foo fighter [wikipedia.org] . Known, recognized, unexplained, unlikely to be of alien origin, it looks more like an atmospheric phenomenon.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165869)

We lack data about this one. No pictures, no recordings... It is not something to dismiss, it is an interesting anomaly, but attributing it to an alien spaceship seems unreasonable before you eliminate all the other possibilities : ball-lightning, magnetic storms, are both explanations that can only be ruled out by the original bias "I want to believe". We just have insufficient data. Scientists can live with unexplained phenomenons. There are tons of UFOs with assorted hypothesis, and still no alien spaceship.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165359)

It's because it does belongs in the loony bin. There are no aliens that have ever visited Earth and there probably never will be. All of these sightings are simply natural phenomena, misidentified aircraft or top secret government aircraft.

I do believe that there are aliens out there, possibly a great many of them, but to suggest that any of them have both the ability AND interest to travel here is ridiculous.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165459)

There are no aliens that have ever visited Earth and there probably never will be.

Oh yeah? And tell me this genius, how on Earth do you know that?? Is this report [wikipedia.org] easily explained by natural phenomena? Do you think that military UFO reports from 60 years ago about objects flying at speeds and accelerations still unattainable today could be top secret government technology that would be kept under the wraps still 60 years after it's been implemented? Do you think you can misidentify an aircraft when what you see and detect has characteristics impossible to our technology? Even if a natural phenomena can fly circles around fighter jets and easily outpace and distance them when they're being fired, don't you think it'd be worth a serious scientific investigation to determine the nature and mechanism of that natural phenomena?

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165773)

Military aircraft have many types of recording instruments and so do ground based installations and yet you can't provide a single shred of evidence besides "some dude said".

Videos? Pictures? ANY kind of visual or auditory records of the UFO itself, the malfunctioning equipment or the radar?

No? Then it's all bullshit.

Re:UFO stories from airline pilots (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165765)

To judge from comments by former F-117 maintainers when it stopped being a "black" program, plenty of UFO sightings were 117s. Reasonable, since the public has no need (not to be confused with desire) to know about
classified aircraft missions. Long before those days, it was common to build and test unusual aircraft because
there was no way to computer model them.

1967 (4, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165167)

The UFO sightings in the 1960s were most likely stealth aircraft (such as the Lockheed A-12 [wikipedia.org] , the deployment of which matches the dates in the article very conveniently)

No word on why an A-12 would be in Britain, although odds are that any Cold War era UFO sightings were experimental aircraft that the government didn't want anybody (read: the Soviets) to know about.

Re:1967 (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165261)

Nice way to talk out of your arse, considered that very few UFO reports could be explained by a A-12/SR-71, which only two distinctive characteristics are a very distinct shape and the ability to fly very fast in a straight line, and as you said yourself, there's no reasons for such planes to go fly circles above Britain.

Re:1967 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165571)

Since WWII there's been a huge American military and intelligence presence in the UK, including numerous air bases. I can't see a reason why any aircraft, even the experimental ones, wouldn't have been present in the UK, or been tested over there.

Re:1967 (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165609)

That's still a completely baseless claim to make anyways to say that "The UFO sightings (over Britain) in the 1960s were most likely stealth aircraft (such as the Lockheed A-12)".

A complete fraud... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165175)

The article makes no mention of either black oil or sexy redheads, both known to endanger world security. :P

As they used to say at the Mod... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165195)

"We don't believe in Martians, but we do believe in Russians"

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165197)

My dad flew commercial passenger aircraft for 30 years. In his youth he was walking home one night, in the suburbs, and saw a UFO i.e bright light traveling very quickly, came to complete stop then zoomed off again. That's the only UFO he has ever mentioned seeing. He's a hardcore athiest, non-spiritualist etc.
I'd actually question his psychological stability now, but that's another story.

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165221)

Finally it will turn out that Torchwood is for real.

tl;dr (1)

cdfh (1323079) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165241)

TFA repeats itself a lot, and doesn't really contain any interesting information, other than a few brief outlines of UFO encounters, none of which contain any more details than the summarised eye-witness reports.

tis sucks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165257)

why is this fucking slash-dot-crap bogging down my laptops cpu so fuckingmuch????

Re:tis sucks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165365)

Because you spent all your money on hard disk space to fill with warez and pr0n [goatse.fr] , and so only have a 333MHz celeron to execute slashdot's 2.3 million lines of javascript.

You can find the documents here (3, Informative)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165279)

The third batch are at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ufos/ [nationalarchives.gov.uk] and then there's a link on the right two the first two batches.

It's fairly interesting that as with the US documents there's no smoking guns here but there are a lot of 'yeah that was experimental or military but we couldn't admit it at the time' and the rest is 'we have no idea what that was.' So either they're playing a meta-game here or there really is nothing but 'man that unidentified thing sure was... unidentified.' I think it's unlikely that two such incompetent entities could do such a brilliant job of covering up something as huge as decades (or millenia) long alien visitations, but this won't prove it either way.

In a completely unrelated note: (4, Interesting)

kms_one (1272174) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165317)

My favorite UFO tales are the paintings and carvings of spaceships that have appeared across the millenia. Like these: http://www.alien-ufo-pictures.com/alien_photos5.html [alien-ufo-pictures.com]

More nfo here (4, Interesting)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28165403)

Interestingly, they decided to release the files due to the sheer workload of responding to individual requests for information. The article states that they got more requests for info about UFOs than about Iraq for Afghanistan...anyway, you can get to the files here:

"All these files and more besides are now available on the MoD website, www.mod.uk. Go to the Freedom of Information section and search the Publication Scheme and the Disclosure Log, using keywords such as UFO and UAP and itâ(TM)s all there, alongside documents and files on a vast range of other fascinating subjects including MoDâ(TM)s 2001 remote viewing study."

actually (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165539)

shitnews
aside from the topic why the heck when i hit "reply" nothing happens whilst when you hit preview it goes to posting?
 

Faker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165613)

I thought this Nick Pope character had been long since exposed as a fantasist who doesn't have the credentials he claims.

For reasons of defense?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165623)

They spend defense money on this?!

If some sentient being has the technology to fly light years and to poke around the our globe, what is the chance that any earthly defensive measure is going to matter against agreesion? Looks like too many in Parliament are watching Torchwood.

OT: What's going on?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28165875)

All connections via the RSS Feed are rejected...? Conspiracy to commit advertisments? Broken Server??

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