Is there room in the Para/Crypto/Fortean world for a gun-toting, paranoid, bipolar, opinionated bastard? A lonely romantic in search of his lost soul? A knight, Samurai, gunslinger, born in the wrong century? A self-destructive, doom-driven survivor seeking redemption? A heavy drinking gonzo outlaw cryptozoologist whose ego is exceeded only by his libido?
No, there isn't. That's why I'm here...

24 March 2010

You'll Never Get Me Up In One Of Those Things!

(well, it's possible to "get me up" anywhere, but that's not what I mean...)

Today, in the USA in 2010, it's no biggie to pick up a new, or good used car on one coast and drive it all the way across the country without one major mechanical problem. Today's cars have more computer power and electronic systems than the early NASA spacecraft.
Such wasn't always the case, however. There was a time when, if you were taking any kind of extended drive, a mechanical problem along the way was a given. A flat tire, a thrown or broken fan belt, a busted radiator hose, and the ubiquitous dead battery.
But, an advanced civilization, with sufficient technological superiority to travel the universe in violation of all known laws of physics, would produce craft of impeccable safety and reliability, right?
So, how come they keep crashing? In the 50's and 60's, when Americans were becoming increasingly mobile, taking to the highways in greater numbers than ever before, UFO sightings also increased dramatically. And it would seem that just like our primitve automobiles, these intersteller travellers had their share of mechanical difficulties. Witnesses reported UFOs sputtering along, emitting smoke, sparks, bits of metal, or exploding. There were encounters with "alien beings" performing the equivalent of a roadside repair to their spacecraft. (even crawling underneath them with tools in hand, just like Daddy working in the driveway!) Again, this seems to be an example of us "projecting" our own understanding and experiences onto an unknown phenomenon. We have to pull over every now and then, so it makes sense that they would, too, right? Well, wrong. If the UFOs were really spacecraft from an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, they would most certainly be more reliable that grandpa's Packard.
And why do they keep crashing? Anyone with a minimum of exposure to UFO lore can recount a few UFO crashes.
The Roswell Incident and Area 51 have become part of American culture. Ufologists can tick off the Aurora crash, the Kecksburg crash, the Chihuahua/Brownsville crash, and any number of others. One particular website I visited lists over 150 purported UFO crashes from 10,000 BC to 2008 (although the site does state that some of those listed have been proven hoaxes, or lack any background or supporting material). A less grandiose site lists approx 23 UFO crashes, from 1884-2008.
Again, given humanity's "baby steps" into space, our record compared to theirs puts the advanced alien technology's accomplishments in doubt. While we've had tragic losses of life, considering the difficulties, the unknowns, all the complicating factors mankind has to deal with in our space exploration efforts, we're pretty much kicking their ass when it comes to our safety record!
To me, this points to some problems with the whole "alien spacecraft" explanation. First, it presents yet another example of our projecting our understanding onto the phenomenon. Second, if all these repair/crash reports are to be believed, these alien craft appear to be the intergalactic equivalent of a leaky lifeboat.
I'm not sure I'd be too keen on accepting a ride from the Space Brothers, myself.


Autumnforest said...

I admit that I've always considered the majority of "burning crashing" UFOs with meteorites, but I wouldn't be surprised if you take the concept that UFOs somehow use the earth's magnetic fields to help navigate, there would be good times and bad times to fly. The way the magnetic field moves around the earth, that would probably make the Van Allen Belt the most likely unstable area--which is pretty much in the center of the earth. I think I'd want to look up crash sites in correlation with the Van Allen Belt and then perhaps if you can check out the geomagnetic archives for the past 13 years or so they've been archiving, you could see if there might have been things happening that could have screwed with them. That's just the angle I'd take if I were looking for UFOs to be aliens. I'm totally up in the air about that concept. I'd actually be much more likely to believe they're visitors from our future time travelling to their history and getting some of our old DNA... But, my first choice is still government vehicles.

Gummerfan said...

I have no doubt that most UFO sightings are more than likely some kind of top-secret aircraft. But then there are those that defy description. If we have aircraft in our arsenal that can perform some of the feats exhibited by certain UFOs, why aren't we using them?
The same goes for other alleged super-secret technology. If "The Government" has the technology and know-how some people attribute to it, why can't they find a certain terrorist squatting in a cave in Pakistan?

Jeff said...

To bad we don't have a ratio of how many UFOs there are versus how many UFOs have allegedly crashed.

Gummerfan said...

Just think about what that might reveal:
Are the UFOs barely making it here?
Do they zip past us all the time, unnoticed and undetected?
In "Messengers Of Deception", Jacques Vallee took the 200 reported, unexplained UFO landing reports from 1058-1978. He factored in such things as time of the sightings (usually late at night when there are fewer potential witnesses), locations (typically sparsely populated areas) and the liklihood of other sightings which would have gone unreported.(estimate 9 out of 10)
Statiscally, this translated to three million landings in the same time period.