Back in September, the Paradigm Research Group, an exopolitical an exopolitical group founded in 1996 by Stephen Bassett, launched an online petition through the 'We the People' White House portal to "urge the President of the United States to formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race and immediately release into the public domain all files from all agencies and military services relevant to this phenomenon."
I was one of the thousands of individuals that (digitally) signed the petition; unlike many of those petitioners however, I had the absolute certainty that it would end up being just another futile initiative to bring about the hypothetical disclosure through normal public channels.
Turns out my pessimism was justified.
I've just received an automatic response mail, likely the same one arriving to the inboxes of the rest of the petitioners. It reads:
Searching for ET, But No Evidence Yet
By Phil Larson who works on space policy and communications at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Thank you for signing the petition asking the Obama Administration to acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence here on Earth.
The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye.
However, that doesn't mean the subject of life outside our planet isn't being discussed or explored. In fact, there are a number of projects working toward the goal of understanding if life can or does exist off Earth. Here are a few examples:
- SETI—the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence—was originally stood up with help from NASA, but has since been moved to other sources of private funding. SETI's main purpose is to act as a giant ear on behalf of the human race, pointing an array of ground-based telescopes towards space to listen for any signal from another world.
- Kepler is a NASA spacecraft in Earth orbit that's main goal is to search for Earth-like planets. Such a planet would be located in the "Goldilocks" zone of a distant solar system—not too hot and not too cold—and could potentially be habitable by life as we know it. The Kepler mission is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover Earth-sized, rocky planets in or near the habitable zone of the star (sun) they orbit.
- The Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity, is an automobile-sized rover that NASA is launching soon. The rover's onboard laboratory will study rocks, soils, and other geology in an effort to detect the chemical building blocks of life (e.g., forms of carbon) on Mars and will assess what the Martian environment was like in the past to see if it could have harbored life.
A last point: Many scientists and mathematicians have looked with a statistical mindset at the question of whether life likely exists beyond Earth and have come to the conclusion that the odds are pretty high that somewhere among the trillions and trillions of stars in the universe there is a planet other than ours that is home to life.
Many have also noted, however, that the odds of us making contact with any of them—especially any intelligent ones—are extremely small, given the distances involved.
But that's all statistics and speculation. The fact is we have no credible evidence of extraterrestrial presence here on Earth.
Good thing nobody wasted any stamps on this one...
So, you might be wondering, does that mean I don't actually believe the US government might be withholding important information concerning trust-worthy UFO cases? Not at all; I actually suspect several US agencies might be sitting on very mind-blowing evidence that would proof the case for a non-human intelligence operating in our world once and for all.
But, like several people interested in this subject, I also think that when it comes to UFOs, an increase in data *does not* necessarily translates into an increase in discernment; as many enthusiasts in the subject learn sooner or later —the more you 'learn', the less you understand.
And let's not forget they —whoever they are and wherever they come from— could end up the cover-up any time they wished. One thing politicians learn very early in their careers is try to anticipate your opponent's next move; and since trying to decipher the intentions of an advanced alien intelligence might be next to impossible, what makes us think any self-respecting public servant would throw his career down the toilet just to appease a few obsessed UFO buffs?
Where's the gain in that, aside from a few meager votes?
On a personal level, recently I've been wondering if the true answer to the UFO mystery will arrive from a completely unrelated and unexpected avenue, even if that prospect depresses most professional Ufologists. Who knows? maybe the Singularity will come, or another paradigm change will occur, and we (or our descendants) will look around and exclaim —without much surprise or amazement— "Oh, so THERE you are!"
And maybe the aliens will respond "What took you guys so long?"
[PS] My buddy Robbie Graham, the one who actually convinced me into signing the petition, has this to say about the White House response:
For me, the goal here was simply to remind the government that "Hey, there are still thousands of people our there who care about this issue!"That message has certainly been received thanks to the petition, but again, expecting a revelatory acknowledgement was always an extreme long shot. But you never know till you try.
In any case, the petition is not entirely without historical significance - it elicited a formal response from the White House explicitly denying not only ANY evidence of ET visitation, but also ANY evidence that would indicate a cover-up of the UFO phenomenon. That last part is going land them in very hot water very soon, in my opinion. Even from a cursory glance at its own UFO documentation it's abundantly clear that the US gov has indeed been engaged in a large-scale cover-up (of something, at least) for decades - telling the public one thing ("UFOs are of no significance!"), while doing another (monitoring the phenomenon both at home and abroad and drawing-up thousands of Secret and Top Secret documents). The testimony of Gordon Cooper alone with his description of a filmed UFO-landing at Edwards AFB and the disappearance of said film into a murky Pentagon vault is in itself a smoking gun for a UFO cover-up. It would convince any jury in a court of law. As we know, there are many more retired military and intelligence folk with stories similar to Cooper's.
So, the White House's denial is easily rebuffed: "There is plenty of evidence Mr. President, you've simply chosen to ignore it." When the ET s%#t hits the fan, as it inevitably will do (probably sooner rather than later), Obama's outright denial of a UFO cover-up will come back to haunt him.
Definitely the right attitude to take.
I can't stop listening to this song. I heard it yesterday on the radio while driving & thought it would make a great news briefs opener.
Not only do I find the lyrics intriguing; but the video itself seems to have been inspired by Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.
And when I noticed that it was uploaded on Youtube on exactly Oct 3rd —My birthday!— well, then... that pretty much sealed the deal.
Besides, have I ever told you I have a 'thing' for red-headed girls ;)
I love Steven Spielberg's Artificial Intelligence. In retrospect it kind of marks the beginning of his dark period as a film-maker --though obviously the movie would have been even darker had it been directed by Kubrick-- yet it still follows the classic fairy-tale tone of Spielberg's classics, like Close Encounters --where he first used Pinocchio's simbology, which becomes an integral part in A.I.
[Spoiler Alert] In this post I want to bring to your attention the scene where David --the robot child superbly interpreted by Haley Joel Osment-- finds himself in some sort of recreation of his home developed by the super A.I.s from the future; in there he finally meets the Blue Fairy, the one he sought out to find in order to become 'a real live boy'.
But the fairy is nothing but a projection extracted from his own mind so that the A.I.s --which have a peculiarly 'alien' physiognomy-- can safely interact with David without alarming him. I believe this is a great allegory of the way real aliens might be interacting with the human race, by way of using our own subconscious as a suitable interface.
Is this the answer to why so many DMT experiencers report meeting entities that closely resemble alien beings? Could it be that the aliens choose to take advantage of the human mind's inherent capacity to 'unbound' itself (albeit partially) from its Time & Space-constrictions --via psychotropics or other means-- as a way to 'meet us half-way'?
For how else would an alien intelligence --whose mental processes and rationality are by definition beyond our wildest comprehension-- be able to make itself slightly comprehensible to us, if not by hacking our very minds and translating the message to codes and symbols familiar to us?
Wouldn't we try to do the same in our attempts to communicate with other species that co-habit our planet, like dolphins and whales?
Although these ideas are surely not going to be taken seriously by the mainstream attempt to communicate with other sentient beings in the Universe --imagine if instead of investing in ginormous radio telescopes, SETI started growing huge crops of mushrooms!-- this hypothesis is in tandem with the guidelines the UFO phenomenon has been following so far: not behaving like sensible aliens should, by following the rational protocols of meeting with our leaders in order to establish diplomatic relations.
No, the aliens don't seem to give a damn about our pedestrian political structures, and seem to be busily active in developing a 'grassroots' contact with ordinary folks from all walks of life. Furthermore the contact is often heavily charged with meaning of a very intimate nature for the recipient, which makes it highly subjective-- much to the chagrin of 'nuts & bolts' Ufologists, we might add...
In his book Transformation, Whitley Strieber tells how his little son --or someone else communicating through his son--gives him an enigmatic message:
The unconscious mind is like the universe out beyond the quasars. It's a place we want to go to find out what's there
So who knows? you and I might get a chance to meet the Blue Fairy one of these nights, too. A chance to further advance our own evolution, just like David did.
One of my new favorite discoveries on the Internet is Robbie Graham's blog Silver Screen Saucers. Robbie —a doctoral candidate at the University of Bristol— is interested in the huge cultural impact Hollywood had in the shaping of the social beliefs around the UFO phenomenon, as well as the (many) times the US government and its soup-letter agencies have used their influence among the studio moguls for propaganda purposes; something that has intersected more than once with the UFO mystery, we might add.
Recently Robbie asked me to make a contribution to his blog —after reminding him of my lack of credencials, he simply answered that I knew my movies, and I knew my saucers, and that was enough for him. I decided then to review a movie that due to the language barrier has unfortunately passed under the radar of English-speaking Ufologists: the film Platillos Volantes.
I find this film interesting for many reasons, including the fact that it deals with a topic largely ignored in the history of Cinema: the Contactist movement.
Enjoy the review. And don't forget to Bookmark Robbie's blog —you won't regret it.
"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."
Famine is the real 'F' word.
Part of the UN's Millennium Development Goals aimed for the year 2015 is 'halve the amount of population who suffer from hunger.'
It not only looks like the goal will not be reached. It looks like we're actually going backward. And every time I hear politicians justifying why those goals are so hard to accomplish, I feel a certain stiffness in my middle finger...
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines terrorism as "the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion."
Nowadays it's not difficult to think of acts that can be defined as terrorism: the media is constantly bombarding us with images of car bombs, hijacked airplanes, explosions in market places, etc. But now a Mexican government has added Twitter to the list:
A man and a woman are facing 30-year prison terms in Mexico for allegedly using Twitter to spread panic over a series of child kidnappings.
Gilberto Martinez Vera, 48, a private school teacher, and Maria de Jesus Bravo Pagola, a radio presenter, were accused of spreading false reports that gunmen were attacking schools in the south-eastern city of Veracruz.
The resulting panic caused dozens of car crashes after parents rushed to save their children from schools across the city and jammed emergency telephone lines, which "totally collapsed" under the pressure.
Gerardo Buganza, the interior secretary for Veracruz state, compared the ensuing chaos to Orson Welles's spoof news broadcast War of the Worlds in 1938. The two are facing charges under terrorism laws.
"There were 26 car accidents, or people left their cars in the middle of the streets to run and pick up their children, because they thought these things were occurring at their kids' schools," Buganza said.
The charges, which said that phone lines "totally collapsed because people were terrified" are the most serious charges to come from using Twitter to incite violence or chaos.
(Via The Guardian)
The incident occurred in the state of Veracruz. The governor of this state, Javier Duarte, is a fine example of the new generation of politicians coming out from the PRI, the political party that controlled the nation for over 70 years: authoritary, intransigent, and nostalgic about the good ole days when no one dared to question the decisions of the government.
This sort of news just illustrate the complete lack of preparedness governments show when dealing with the communication technologies of the XXIst century. I mean sure, I hate Internet trolls as much as anyone, and to use Twitter as a prank to disseminate false information is reprehensible. But does that deserve a conviction of 30 years? in a country where a Cartel hitman that has killed innocent civilians can walk out due to 'insufficient proof', where corrupt politicians can rest assured they will never be held accountable for all the frauds and abuses they commit? I mean, really!
The news provoked a justified outrage among online activists and human rights group. Being so close to the presidential election in 2012, which promises to become a 3-ring circus of accusations and public smear, who's to say some other governor or mayor won't be tempted to enforce the same measures against 'dissident' Twitter users?
In any case, it is very likely that the charges against Martínez and Bravo will be dropped, specially since it transpired that the panic allegedly caused by their prank had in fact started 2 hour before they sent the Tweets:
A story in the local newspaper Imagen (link in Spanish) from a Boca del Rio neighborhood noted that one stampede of parents started about two hours before the day's first tweet from Martinez. By 9 a.m. on Aug. 25, a Thursday, witnesses told the paper, parents were already rushing to the Luis Pasteur primary school after word somehow spread that kids were being kidnapped from campuses.
(Via Los Angeles Times)
The events unfolded during the Arab Spring of this year are sure to have caused a lot of concern among all the governments the world. They realized that social networks have the potential to empower citizens who were usually easy to control if you dominated the traditional channels of information: TV, radio and the newspapers. For an authoritarian regime, a blackberry has become more dangerous than a grenade.
This is particularly true for Mexico, where the government has forced the media to moderate their reports related to the violence caused by the War against the organized crime. Many newspapers and TV networks signed a national agreement in order to 'responsibly' inform about the violence --so if you want to learn what's really going on, one has to consult online sites like blog del narco.
The Internet has proven to be one of the more disruptive technologies in the history of civilization. No one could have predicted the vastness of its transformative power in such a small fraction of time. Even visionaries like Arthur C. Clarke, who could imagine manned space trips to the outer reaches of the Solar System to the last detail, turned out to be incredibly naive when it came to the ease of information access --on-line searches, he wrote in his novel 2061, would be incredibly expensive; so any time you complain about the lack of lunar stations, think of Google & Wikipedia to comfort you.
It is a very good thing powerful men are usually short-sighted. Had they foreseen the impact of social networks, it's very likely you would actually need to apply for a license in order to have a Twitter or Facebook account, Think about it.
Also think about the world we're living now today: a world in which someone like Orson Welles would probably end up in Guantanamo for having caused panic about Martians attacking New Jersey.
With each passing year, it's becoming clearer to me that there will come a day when traditional institutions and the brave new digital world will face each other on a final confrontation. Governments and personal computers are inherently incompatible; which one will prevail, it is up to us.
It's official --Industrial Light & Magic is the new Ministry of Truth:
When, WHEN is it going to stop? Probably by 2030, when all lightsabers are changed into puppies --you see, that was George's original concept all along!
53 lives lost in the attack --the media mentions 52, yet I'm counting the unborn baby carried by his pregnant mother; old (Catholic) habits die hard I guess...
President Calderón has been quick in lay responsibility of this tragedy to the Americans, both the authorities that can't (or won't) control the flow of weapons to Mexico, and to the public that refuse to quit the drugs provided by the cartels.
It wasn't the drug-trafficking what killed those 53 people. It was corruption.
The newspapers report a gang was blackmailing the casino owners, demanding 100 thousand pesos a week for 'protection'; the owners refused to pay. But why didn't he turn to the authorities and report the extorsion?
They didn't go to the authorities because the casino was illegal; it lacked the proper permits to operate. In fact, of all the gambling centers and bingos established in Mexico, most of them are not 100% legal, exploiting shady technicalities and the support of dirty judges who grant restraining orders called amparos, a legal immunity shield that makes you untouchable... if you have enough money and the proper connections, that is.
Did the gangsters choose this particular casino by mere chance, or were they 'tipped' about its legal situation, which made it a perfect blackmail opportunity? and if that was the case, who gave them the tip?
The brave firefighters that fought tirelessly to save as many victims as they could were so desperate they ended up making a hole in a wall. The reason? the emergency exits in the building were blocked. And where were the inspectors in charge of ensuring entertainment centers comply with all the safety regulations? fires are not the exclusive result of a terrorist attack after all --something Mexico likes to remember one tragedy at a time.
Not 200 meters away of the attack there were a group of policemen, as can be attested by the video-recordings of the security cameras. Why did they do nothing? why didn't they try to pursue the attackers?
Calderón wants to clean the police forces from the bottom up, while He vows to redouble his efforts to fight the organized crime. The philosopher Santayana wrote:
“Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.”
Calderón has it all wrong. If he were serious about fighting corruption, then he should start from the top to the bottom. He should incarcerate all the corrupt governors that robbed millions of dollars from their state budgets, along with all the dirty judges who have supported criminals and let them walk free. And let's not forget all the union leaders that use their position as a means to syphon out obscene amounts of money to their personal bank accounts, while they leave their union members without pension after a lifetime of work.
He should do all this, yet he won't. And the reason is simple: he wouldn't have become president in the first place, if it weren't for the help of those people.
Meanwhile he'll keep playing Russian roulette with our lives. And why wouldn't he? no matter the outcome, the house always wins.