Scientists and UFOs

A friend sent me a link to a Newsweek story on the recent Texas UFO flap, which apparently discussed what scientists think of UFOs. "How exciting," I thought, wondering which scientists they had talked to...Jacques Vallee, perhaps Bernard Haisch? Umm, no.

Instead we get CSICOP Fellow Bob Park, Skeptic magazine editor Michael Shermer, and Theodore Schick (author of How to Think About Weird Things: Critical thinking for a New Age). Park does a wonderful job of not even understanding what the UFO acronym stands for, which ends up making each of his statements rather ridiculous if you read them correctly. Michael Shermer lets us in on what it really might have been (a Stealth bomber flanked by fighter jets). But wait, the "scientists" are really on the side of "UFO believers":

Scientists defend UFO believers against charges that they're psychologically deranged. People who report UFO sightings and abductions, a 1993 study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology concluded, are just as intelligent, psychologically healthy, and free of fantasies as people without such experiences. People with UFO experiences differed on only one known measure: sleep deprivation.

But really, it's worth wading through the article to get to Bob Park's own UFO encounter, which had a prosaic explanation. Because what did it do for Bob?

With that, Park learned the ultimate lesson for a scientist: humility.

OMG, the eyes are burning.

News Briefs 30-01-2008

Long and bitter, and a touch controversial.

Thanks Greg.

Quote of the Day:

"Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense."

Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, former CIA Director (1960)

News Briefs 29-01-2008

Short and sweet today.

Quote of the Day:

A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them.

P.J. O'Rourke

Bloodline Date Set

The website for Bloodline, the documentary on Rennes-le-Chateau related mysteries, finally has news about a release date. The producers say they have signed a deal with a studio in Los Angeles, and the movie will come out in cinemas this Spring.

Also in the news section are the results of some investigations related to Bloodline: a handwriting analysis of some documents said to be from the hand of Berenger Sauniere, and also an archaeological opinion on artifacts uncovered during the filming of the documentary.

Site Refinements

Addressing a few site matters: I think I'll drop the radio schedules from the site, as I'm not sure anybody uses them. If there is anything of note, I can always create a standalone story to inform readers. At the moment, it's just another drain on my time, which I don't think really benefits readers - please do let me know if I'm wrong.

Also, I am in the process of recruiting some extra site admins (once again, due to TDG taking up so much of my time). We already have one super-quality addition to the team - details soon. If you think you can contribute to the site as well, please drop me an email (my name, @

Tuesday Roundup 29-01-2008

A strange assortment to get you through the week...


New Dan Brown Book 'Close'?

Cross-posting from The Cryptex, my Dan Brown blog: The WSJ has some promising news about The Solomon Key from Doubleday's Stephen Rubin:

Now, the publisher is hinting that a manuscript is close. "Dan Brown has a very specific release date for the publication of his new book, and when the book is published, his readers will see why," says Stephen Rubin, president of Bertelsmann's Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, whose Doubleday imprint publishes Mr. Brown. Mr. Rubin declined further comment.

Rubin seems to be hinting at a specific reason behind the publication date. Is it likely to be a day of importance in American history or politics? July 4th, the start of the election campaign...what do you think?

Of course, for a sneak peek at the likely topics, you can check out my book The Guide to Dan Brown's The Solomon Key (Amazon US and Amazon UK). C'mon, did you think I wouldn't plug the book? I do have to pay the bills y'know...

Weekend Roundup 26-01-2008

A few things to keep you busy over the weekend...


Psi at Google

As Rick pointed out on Wednesday, Dean Radin has noted on his blog that a recent presentation he gave at Google HQ on the evidence for psi abilities has been posted on Youtube under the 'Google Tech Talks' channel. The talk is an hour and a half in length and covers plenty of territory - worth checking out if you have the time. Google haven't given permission to embed the video, so I can't post it here - instead though, I've posted a shorter interview with Dean for those without time to watch the Google presentation (this video is only 22mins).

Treasure Wars

National Geographic have begun a 9-part online video series titled "Treasure Wars: Who Owns the Past?":

For centuries, treasures have been taken from their homelands. Should the artifacts go back? Who should decide?

Looks quite interesting - I'll try and keep you up to date with the latest instalments as they come to hand.