UFO Casebook Magazine Issue 555, Issue date, 04-01-13
What If Extraterrestrials Are Just Ignoring Us?
Published: 2:10 PM 3/29/2013
permanent link: http://www.ufocasebook.com/2013/ignoringus.html
By: Patrick Kiger
Image Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS
Back in 1924, when Mars made its closest approach to the Earth in two centuries, scientists in the U.S. and Europe eagerly tried to establish contact with the extraterrestrial civilization that many thought might exist there.
In Switzerland, astronomers used a heliograph--a giant mirror--to flash Morse code translated into light flashes, in hopes that Martians would notice it and respond.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Chief of Naval Operations, Edward W. Eberly, sent a telegram to Navy radio operators, asking them to monitor the airwaves for "any electrical phenomenon (of) unusual character" that might be a sign of the Red Planet's inhabitants trying to communicate with us by radio.
A New York Times article excitedly pondered what the aliens' opinion of their human cousins might be:
... They are of an order of intelligence much superior to ours... It is reasonable to suppose that the Martian knows much more about us than we know about him or his world, and it is interesting to speculate what he thinks of us, of our feverish struggle for a living, our vanities, our suicidal World War, our little gardens and our big deserts. Perhaps he thinks our deserts are pygmies and envies our gardens, for Mars has deserts far more cruel than we can imagine.
But much to everyone's chagrin, the incredibly wise, but possibly envious Martians never bothered to reply to our entreaties, probably because they existed only in humans' imaginations. (NASA's Curiosity Rover has turned up evidence, found in samples of mudstone rock, of past environmental conditions on Mars that once were "favorable for microbial life," but so far, there's no sign that more complex organisms ever existed there.)
But what about other planets outside the solar system? We've had similarly poor results. Astronomer Frank Drake's famous message transmitted from the Arecibo radio telescope in 1974 went unanswered.
Worse yet, scientists' extensive efforts to spot radio signals from distant extrasolar civilizations over the past few decades have resulted in precisely one possible 72-second transmission--the so-called Wow! Signal, spotted in data from a radio telescope in Ohio in 1977, which came from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.
Subsequent scans of that area with more sensitive equipment, and efforts to beam video messages in response, all came to naught.
Some might take this as a sign that there aren't any extraterrestrial civilizations out there in the cosmos. But there's another, distinct possibility, one that might come as a blow to human pride. What if aliens are indeed out there, and they're deliberately ignoring us?
SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) researchers don't seem to have invented an acronym to describe this concept, so let's call it Manifest Extraterrestrial Heedlessness, or MEH. Cognitive scientist and artificial intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky--one of the brightest minds we have--touched upon one possible explanation for MEH in this 1985 essay.
It could be that Aliens are such much more advanced what we simply bore them, the way Pong or Space Invaders would seem impossibly dumb to my 13-year-old son.
Communication may be infeasible. Our arguments may apply only to those aspects of intelligence which constrain relatively early stages of mental evolution--stages concerned with survival, communication, and expansion of control over the physical world.
In an interview last year with Discovery News, Florida Gulf Coast University mathematician Thomas Hair offered another possible reason why extraterrestrials might choose to ignore us. It could be that there's no payoff in it, because we don't have anything that they need. "Any ancient civilization is probably not biological," he explained. "...They don't need to come here and steal our water."
A third possibility also exists. It could be, as that New York Times writer dreamed back in 1924, that extraterrestrials have been watching us for a while, and that they don't like what they have seen--our alarming self-destructive tendencies to wage war, ravage our environment, wipe out other species, and make seemingly endless dopey "Harlem Shake" parody videos.
Perhaps, in the fashion of Dr.Cornelius dynamiting the ancient human cave at the end of the first Planet of the Apes movie, they figure that the best way to ensure their own survival is to pretend that they never even knew we existed.
source & references:
Blue Orb Seen over Bronx, New York
Published: 11:40 AM 3/26/2013
permanent link: http://www.ufocasebook.com/2013/bronxny032213.html
Bronx, New York - 03-22-13
Last night my wife and I went to our front yard to have our nightly cigarette break together.
We were talking for about 3 minutes or so, when all of a sudden a bright blue orb with a reddish trail, very low altitude flew east to west.
It also continuously reflected a very bright whitish light - like the flash of a camera. It happened for about 6 seconds or so, but I do not think it was a meteor - these lights were unbelievably radiant and long lasting.
I’ve seen meteors before - this in my opinion - was not one.
My wife panicked and went upstairs to make sure the kids were ok. I stayed outside and 3 women who happened to be walking by - I stopped and asked them if they had just seen that blue light in the sky.
They had - and were in shock just as we were.
We looked up to see if it would reappear but it was gone. It definitely wasn’t any kind of plane - as I’m currently a student pilot and know about planes.
And I don’t think it was a meteor - cause aside from the way it looked - cause nothing could go that fast, that low, without making noise.
I’m still shocked today, and neither my wife nor I got a good night’s rest cause of it. Of course I didn’t get any pictures, as this was the last thing I expected to see last light and also it happened so fast.
source & references:
graphic - www.ufocasebook.com
Marysville Woman Confirms South Whidbey Sighting
Published: 2:01 PM 3/29/2013
permanent link: http://www.ufocasebook.com/2013/whidbeysighting.html
By JUSTIN BURNETT, Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
PHOTO COURTESY OF KATIE KINMAN
Strange orange lights that appeared over South Whidbey Saturday may also have been seen in Marysville. Katie Kinman took this photograph at the intersection of Shoultes Road from 142nd Street at 10:30 p.m.
A Marysville woman has stepped forward, claiming that she too witnessed strange lights in the sky last weekend.
Katie Kinman, 59, contacted the Whidbey News-Times after reading a story published Wednesday about Dick and Carol Johnson's account of unexplainable lights over their Bush Point home this past Saturday.
According to Kinman, she also witnessed strange lighted objects that evening but these were in Marysville at 10:30 p.m., about two hours after the reported phenomenon on South Whidbey.
"I was pretty happy someone else saw it because I was feeling pretty alone," Kinman said.
Kinman was able to record video footage of the event. Shaky and with hard-to-discern details, the footage shows at least one orange light similar to those described by the Johnsons.
Kinman said she was driving with her 6-year-old stepson and had just merged onto Shoultes Road from 142nd Street when she saw two bright objects low in the sky nearby.
The distance was hard to gauge, she said, but they were stationary and about the height of a streetlight. Pulling over, Kinman began recording the object when she felt a "strange sensation."
"As I held my arms up shooting this video, I got a strange feeling something was above me, so I looked up directly above me to my left; that's why I accidentally filmed the ground," she said.
One of the objects was just above her and the experience turned from one of apprehensive wonder to one of terror because the "long and oval shaped" craft began moving toward them.
"My stepson began screaming and pounding on the window for me to get back in the car," she said. "It scared me so bad I stopped recording and jumped in the car. I shook so bad I could hardly drive. Then it just vanished."
Kinman drove home and immediately called a television news station to report the incident but she said they only laughed at her frantic claims.
They said, "We're going on the air in three minutes and don't have time for this' and then they hung up," she said.
Kinman said she realizes "this sounds crazy" and was extremely relieved to have read the Johnsons' account because it not only occurred on the same night but there were some similarities.
"It had no sound," she said.
Since the Johnsons' account was published Wednesday, several people have called the newspaper to report experiences of their own. One was Jerry Shimek, a Bush Point resident who lives across the street from the Johnsons.
Shimek said he also saw two lights Saturday night, at about the same time. They were low in the sky and traveling east but he believes they were nothing more than what are commonly referred to as "Chinese lanterns."
"They looked to me like hot air balloons released just for fun," Shimek said.
Others Whidbey Island residents who called in offered their support for the Johnsons and asked for their contact information so they could share unexplainable experiences of their own.
As for Kinman, she believes she witnessed some type of secret military aircraft, as opposed to something extraterrestrial in nature. All she knows for sure, however, is that they were no hot air balloons.
"Like Dick Johnson, I don't drink, I don't smoke pot and I'm not crazy," she said.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Justin Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5054.
source & references:
SKA Will Look for Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Fanaroff
Published: 2:16 PM 3/29/2013
permanent link: http://www.ufocasebook.com/2013/ska.html
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope will be looking for signs of life on other planets, project director Bernie Fanaroff said on Tuesday.
“We want to look for organic molecules, the molecules of life out in space and, of course, we want to look for extraterrestrial intelligence,” he told delegates at a New Age breakfast in Johannesburg.
Fanaroff said the telescope would be so sensitive that if a person was sitting with the SKA on a star 50 light years away from Earth, and they looked back at the planet, they would see “all the airport radars, TV transmitters and SABC programmes”.
“So, if we have it on Earth and we are looking out at all these stars and new planets which are being discovered, we hope to be able to see if there is a civilisation out there that is broadcasting.”
The SKA project would be the most powerful radio astronomy telescope in the world upon completion. Construction was set to start in 2017.
The majority of the project, the full dish array and the dense aperture array, will be built in Africa. The sparse aperture (or low frequency) array will be built in Western Australia.
Fanaroff said the global project had 10 member countries and four guest countries.
The “very substantial” costs would be shared by all countries. He said that for the pre-construction stage, a total of Euro 110 million (about R1.3-billion) was committed for the four years leading up to 2016.
“We are still waiting to hear for contributions from Germany and India.”
He said the design for the first phase of the telescope would be sent to the SKA board in July for costing, and a decision would be made whether to cap costs or build to design.
Still under negotiation was the amount each country would contribute.
“Every country wants to be able to say we are investing in it and what are we getting back from it?” Fanaroff said.
He hoped to get the United States of America on board from 2020 onwards.
In the meantime, South Africa had signed an agreement with IBM and the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy to research the vast high-performance technology needed to read, store, and analyse raw data.
“We are [also] playing a leading role in the international SKA organisation in many of these [wireless technology] projects and are doing some really nice work on digital signal processing,” Fanaroff said.
A team in Cape Town, together with institutions in the US and other countries, had developed very fast computing boards that digitised signals and converted them into something that could be understood.
The US had apparently completed the first-generation design.
Fanaroff said it was encouraging that South Africa had completed the second and third generation designs and was selling them back to the US and other countries.
“That’s a really nice example of the fact that we can do it in South Africa,” he said.
source & references:
Archived Case of the Week
Alien Encounter in Cisco County, 1964
On September 4, 1964, 28 year old Donald Shrum and his friends were bow and arrow hunting at
Cisco Grove, Placer County, California.
Before very long, the avid hunter would have an encounter
with the unknown; an encounter that would make this the most memorable hunting trip of his life.
During the afternoon of hunting, Shrum had become separated from the rest of the group, and with
nightfall fast approaching, he decided to sleep the night away in a tree for safety. His attention
was soon drawn, however, to the sight of a white light which zig-zagged through the trees at low altitude.
At first, he thought
it was a helicopter, so Shrum jumped down from the safety of the tree, and began lighting flares to attract
attention to himself. He thought that his friends had launched a rescue party to locate their
missing companion. Finally the white light turned in his direction, coming to a stop some fifty yards from
He soon discovered that the object was not a helicopter at all, but a strange-looking object,
different from anything he had seen before. Now frightened, he climbed back up into the safety of
After a short period of time, he was shocked to see three beings approaching the tree. Two of
them seemed to be a humanoid-type of being, while the third was more robot-like. Shock became utter
panic now, as the three began to shake the tree in an attempt to dislodge him. He vividly recalls a
white vapor being shot from the robot's mouth; which rendered him unconcious.
When he came to, he was nauseous, but began throwing lighted matches toward the beings, which caused
them to back away from the tree momentarily.
Soon the assault continued. Finally, Shrum managed to load and shoot an arrow
at the invaders, hitting the robot. The direct hit caused a spark to fly, indicating that the arrow
had hit a metallic surface. He managed to shoot two more arrows at the beings, each time causing to
the group to scatter.
Soon, a second robot joined the group, and again Shrum was rendered unconscious by the strange, white
vapor coming from the entity's mouth.
When he awoke again, the two humanoid beings were now climbing
the tree! He mananged to thwart the attack by throwing different objects at them, and shaking the
This scenario continued off and on for most of the night.
As dawn approached, more beings arrived, and this time a large volume of smoke caused him to black
When he awoke, he was barely hanging from the tree by his belt. The aliens were finally gone. Shrum was soon rescued, and
reunited with the other hunters. Corroborating at least part of his story, one of the other men who had
also become lost, had seen the UFO. What exactly were these humanoid-like creatures that Shrum
encountered that fearful night in California?
Unfortunately, Donald Shrum was the only witness to
these other worldly beings.
(B J Booth)
Source: Strange Effects From UFOs (NICAP 1969) page.17
Other Sources: The Hynek UFO Report (1977) pages 210-212.