Extra-terrestrials are obviously English speakers

Given all the depressing news in the world right now, it is refreshing to read about things that are really silly but taken seriously by people who should know better, like the members of Congress. I am referring of course to the hearings on so-called Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP). On the surface is nothing remarkable about things in the sky that we have not as yet identified. But they have become identified in the minds of true believers with visitations by extra-terrestrials. Furthermore these people are convinced that the US government knows about these things but is hiding it from us.

Three former military officials told Congress Wednesday that they believe the government knows much more about UFOs than it is telling the public.

A House Oversight subcommittee held a hearing on UFOs — officially known as unidentified aerial phenomena or UAPs — and heard mystifying testimony about unexplained object sightings and government possession of “nonhuman” biological matter.

These UAP sightings, experts say, might be attributable to balloons, drones, optical illusions or even the blinking lights of a commercial airliner. The Pentagon has said they have seen no evidence linking UAPs to alien activity, though they have not ruled out that explanation.

David Grusch, a former U.S. intelligence official, told the panel that he is “absolutely” certain that the federal government is in possession of UAPs, citing interviews he said he conducted with 40 witnesses over a four-year period.

Grusch, who underscored that he has not personally spotted a UAP, told the panel that he knows of “multiple colleagues” who were injured by UAPs. He also said he has interviewed individuals who have recovered “nonhuman biologics” from crashed UAPs.

Grusch said he prefers to use the term “nonhuman” rather than alien or extraterrestrial.

Asked by Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., to substantiate the crashed UAPs claim, the former intelligence official said he could not divulge specific details, once again claiming the information was too sensitive to share with the public.

A Pentagon spokesperson told NBC News that Grusch’s claims are false.

David Fravor, a former Navy commander, said he and three fellow military pilots spotted a white Tic-Tac-shaped object in 2004, hovering below their jets and just above the Pacific Ocean.

As he descended to inspect the sighting, he claimed the unidentified aircraft — which he said bore no visible rotors, wings or exhaust — began to ascend and approach his fighter jet.

He claimed that the UAP then vanished, only to reappear a few seconds later, but this time it was spotted 60 miles away.

Fravor told the committee that the technology he and his team encountered defies logical explanation.

“The technology that we faced is far superior to anything that we had,” Fravor claimed. “And there’s nothing we can do about it, nothing.”

These extra-terrestrials are such teases! Instead of landing on (say) the National Mall in Washington DC or similar public location anywhere in the world in a densely populated area so that everyone could see and greet them, they seem to enjoy keeping us in suspense, giving us glimpses that could be mistaken for some mundane optical illusion. Not only that, but since nowadays so many people carry around phones with cameras, it is extraordinary that we do not get clear photos of them. Those ETs are clearly really clever at avoiding being photographed. Where are the paparazzi when you really need them? They seem very adept at catching celebrities who do not want their photos taken and selling those photos to the tabloids. They could make a fortune with a photo of an ET and yet they seem to show no interest.

But one thing that we do know for certain about them is that they must speak English since they have chosen to appear in almost exclusively English-speaking regions of the world.


  1. larpar says

    The aliens have been studying radio and TV broadcasts. They understand English but with a Cuban accent.

  2. steve oberski says

    A bemused Canadian take on the ongoing freak show:

    Of all the planets aliens could have visited, they came here?
    Andrew Coyne

    The lesson I took away from this profoundly unsettling experience: people don’t have to look crazy to be crazy. Or perhaps: people don’t have to be crazy to believe and say crazy things. It is a lesson that has sustained me through the last few years, as much of America and not a small part of Canada surrendered to various kinds of madness.

    Ah, but where were they? Strangely, they seem to have confined their visits, judging by the frequency of the reports, mostly to the United States, mostly to its rural areas, and mostly in the South. And rather than announce their presence in some fashion – it’s not as if they’d have much to fear from us, given their technological superiority – they behave like intergalactic coquettes, never saying a word, always dancing just out of reach.

    All this happened not once, but according to Mr. Grusch, dozens of times. Over many years. And yet not one of these humans, hundreds of them, in the decades this plan has been in effect, thought to tell anyone else of this, the biggest story in the history of humanity. No one, that is, until Mr. Grusch, plus whoever told him.

    I bear him no ill will. I do not think he is lying, in the sense of knowingly uttering untruths, any more than the people at Exopolitics can be said to be lying. I just want to know why anyone is paying him the slightest attention.


  3. steve oberski says

    larpar @1

    “I Love Lucy” ?

    From the movie “Contact”:

    Further analysis reveals information in the polarization modulation of the signal: a retransmission of Adolf Hitler’s opening speech at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, the first television signal powerful enough to escape Earth’s ionosphere.[1]

  4. Matt G says

    I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation a bunch of years ago: the percentage of the galaxy that could have received our EM radiation. I used a sphere around Earth with a radius of 100 light years divided by the volume of the disk of the Milky Way. It was something like 0.000000000002. I’m sure there are tons of advanced civilizations in that bubble. Speaking of being in a bubble….

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    I can’t help wondering whether the featured map is not so much a representation of UFO sightings, but a representation of places where it is easier to report sightings, and collect data.

  6. Holms says

    #5 Matt
    Making matters worse, signal strength is inversely proportional to the distance travelled squared.

  7. Rob Grigjanis says

    Matt G @5: My handy-scrap-of-paper calculation tells me you have five too many zeroes after the decimal. But yeah, a small number.

  8. Matt G says

    Rob@10- Yeah, it was a long time ago and I just remember a bunch of zeros. It amazes me how few people consider the question “how would they know to investigate Earth”? And then there’s the question “if they did know we were here, how long would it take them to get here”? The nearest star to ours is 4.5 light years away, and aliens don’t have warp drive.

  9. Silentbob says

    @ ^

    Wrong again. The universe is young Juan Ramón. Our little speck of a world 4.6 billion years old and the entire universe a mere 13.7! As for the future:

    Star formation will then cease in about 1-100 trillion years as the supply of gas needed will be exhausted. While there will be some stars around, these will run out of fuel in some 120 trillion years. All that is left at that point is stellar remnants: black holes, neutron stars, white dwarfs being the prime examples. One hundred quintillion years from now, most of these objects will be swallowed up by the supermassive black holes at the heart of galaxies.


    We live at the dawn of time.

  10. Rob Grigjanis says

    Silentbob @13: The earliest possible “life as we know it” (with enough heavy elements around) could have started as much as 12 billion years ago.


    There are stars in our neighbourhood (within a few parsecs) which could have had billions of years head start on us (like Tau Ceti, about 10 billion years old).

    So while the universe is still in its relative infancy, enough time has elapsed for civilizations to have arisen and disappeared long before the solar system was born.

  11. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @12:

    Such certitude!

    Nothing is certain, but in the spacetime we’re stuck with, ‘no FTL’ is as near as you get.

  12. KG says

    If the Pentagon has bits of alien technology and bodies, so must numerous other governments or militaries around the world. And they’ve all kept quiet about it for decades? Pull the other tentacle!

  13. John Morales says

    The universe is more than old enough for von Neumann probes to have done their thing; such an enterprise could reach every star in the galaxy in a few hundred thousand years at no more than 0.1c.

    So, again, there’s no need for warp drives or any other superluminal mode of transport.

  14. John Morales says

    No, Holms. It’s not a replacement, it’s showing one of Matt’s hidden premises is unwarranted.

    Difference is that we know replicators are possible (cf. biological life), so there’s no problem with theoretical impossibilities such as FTL.

  15. Rob Grigjanis says

    John, I thought “hegemonising swarm” was just a more accurate term for Homo sapiens.

  16. jenorafeuer says

    One take I’ve heard is ‘UFO abductions are the modern version of Virgin Mary sightings’. In other words, both are hallucinations based primarily on the cultural milieu of the people seeing them.

    That would be enough to explain why they seem largely confined to the Anglosphere, as that’s where the idea (including several first-person books) has flourished for long enough for it to sink in at a subconscious level.

  17. grahamjones says

    The “hegemonising swarm” is along the right lines, but the scale is too small. The physicist S Jay Olson has done some calculations about “Aggressively Expanding Civilizations”. There are several papers, this is one:
    Also see John Baez’s blog post
    (There’s another blog post where I made some bright comments but I can’t find it.)

    When we meet an alien civilization, it will most likely be several billion years old, expanding at least half the speed of light, and have colonized a sphere a few billion light years in diameter. We can be certain they are headed directly towards Earth as fast as they can go, because they are headed directly towards everywhere as fast as they can go.

    Life doesn’t do etiquette. There are ~10 million species on Earth, and they are all going forth and multiplying as fast as they are able.

  18. John Morales says

    When we meet an alien civilization, it will most likely be several billion years old, expanding at least half the speed of light, and have colonized a sphere a few billion light years in diameter.

    Ah, but here’s the thing: what if there is more than one?

    Then you get the Highlander proposition (“There can be only one”).

    Conflict ensues. Equilibria are reached.

    Life doesn’t do etiquette. There are ~10 million species on Earth, and they are all going forth and multiplying as fast as they are able.

    Exactly. Competition. Conflict ensues. Equilibria are reached.

    “Restoria was the part of Contact charged with taking care of hegemonising swarm outbreaks, when––by accident or design––a set of self-replicating entities ran out of control somewhere and started trying to turn the totality of the galaxy’s matter into nothing but copies of themselves. It was a problem as old as life in the galaxy and arguably hegswarms were just that; another legitimate––if rather over-enthusiastic––galactic life-form type.

    Even the most urbanely sophisticated, scrupulously empathic and excruciatingly polite civilisation, it had been suggested, was just a hegswarm with a sense of proportion. Equally, then, those same sophisticated civilisations could be seen as the galaxy’s way of retaining a sort of balance between raw and refined, between wilderness and complexity, as well as ensuring that there was both always room for new intelligent life to evolve and that there was something wild, unexplored and interesting for it to gaze upon when it did. The Restoria section was the Culture’s current specialist contribution to this age-old struggle.”

    ––Surface Detail, by Iain M. Banks, loc. 3021-30


  19. sonofrojblake says

    @jenorafeuer, 24: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gernsback_Continuum

    “If you want a classier explanation, I’d say you saw a semiotic ghost,” Kihn said. “All these contactee stories, for instance, are framed in a kind of sci-fi imagery that permeates our culture. I could buy aliens, but not aliens that look like Fifties’ comic art.”

  20. Holms says

    When we meet an alien civilization, it will most likely be several billion years old…

    Given that this is speculation piled on speculation, I find the confidence …unwarranted. Especially the bit about expansion speed.

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