Friday, September 24, 2010

Nuclear Weapons, Space Aliens, Conspiracy Theories, and Getting a Grip

"Aliens Are Monitoring Our Nukes, Worry Ex-Air Force Officers"
FOXNews (September 23, 2010)

"Captain Robert Salas was on duty in Montana in 1967 when a UFO shut down the nuclear missiles on his base. And he's hardly the only one to make such a claim.

"On Monday, six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man will break their silence about similar events at the National Press Club, all centering around unidentified flying objects and nuclear missiles. They plan to urge the government to publicly confirm the incidents, stating that they were ordered never to discuss the events.

" 'We're talking about unidentified flying objects, as simple as that, Salas told They're often known as UFOs, you could call them that, he added. Salas, a former U.S. Air Force nuclear missile launch officer, will host the event along with researcher Robert Hastings, author of UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites.'..."


Captain Salas could be right: about spaceships hovering over USAF and other military bases.

It's not that I "believe in" flying saucers.

It's possible that we're the only people in the entire universe. Given the scale of the place, I'd be mildly surprised if we were.

On the other hand, saucer enthusiasts notwithstanding, there's precious little evidence that space aliens have been here recently. If 'they' really exist, and have been here, I'd expect us to be hip-deep in the space-alien equivalent of six-pack rings and oil drums, selling souvenirs to non-human tourists.

Still, it's possible that we're not alone. We live in a big universe, one that's been around for quite a long time. Maybe somebody else got a head start on us. Right now, cosmologists think that the universe is very roughly 13,750,000,000 years old; and the planet we're on formed about 4,500,000,000 years back.

Nuclear Weapons, Space Aliens, and Time

4,500,000,000 years. That's a pretty big number. Let's compare it to something more 'our size.' Imagine that the (roughly) four and a half billion years that Earth has been around is mapped on a 24 timeline: one day.

If we call the moment Earth got started "midnight," we're at the first midnight after that. There are (24 x 60 x 60 =) 86,400 seconds in 24 hours. 1/86,400 of 4,500,000,000 is about 52,083, so one second on our 24 hour timeline is equivalent to roughly 52,000 years.

Now, let's say that folks who live on another planet in this part of the Milky Way galaxy started building spaceships a little earlier than we did, but not by much. Let's say that they started building spaceships at 23:59:59, one second before midnight.

At a ratio of 4.5 billion years to 24 hours, one second is 1/86,400 of 4,500,000,000: If I did the math right, that's only a little over 52,000 years ago. By then, our ancestors had been making flint tools and weapons for a very long time: but the invention of that ultimate (for a while) super-weapon, the bow and arrow, was almost 40,000 years in the future.

Let's get back to those hypothetical space aliens who started building spaceships 52,000 years ago: a mere moment before we started doing the same thing. They come to the Solar system. They notice activity on Earth. They discovered that there are people here! And the Earthers are using nuclear energy!!

Oh, wow.

One can scarcely imagine the concern those space aliens might have, learning that humans had nuclear weapons!!

Maybe we can.

Comparison time again.

Threat From Boogabooga!

Let's say that there's an island called Boogabooga, that's so far off the beaten track that the folks living there don't even have satellite television. A military reconnaissance team from the Pentagon has flown over several of Boogabooga's larger centers of activity.

Top brass of the United States' army, navy, air force, coast guard, and marines are gathered in a heavily-guarded room in the Pentagon, tensely awaiting a report from Project Boogabooga.

Captain Smith, head of Project Boogabooga, stumbles into the room: ashen-faced, the report clutched in his hand. "Our worst fears are realized" he gasps. "The boogaboogans not only have flint tools: They have BOWS AND ARROWS!!"

Make no mistake: the bow and arrow is a deadly weapon. Particularly if flint arrowheads are used. Those Boogaboogans are a potential threat to anybody landing on their island.

And if they decided to invade, say, New York City, there's a good chance that they might get on the national news that day.

On the other hand, flint warheads on bows and arrows, even if the Boogaboogans advanced to the next level and had composite bows, probably wouldn't strain the defensive capabilities of the United States military. Too much.

Actually, my guess is that the Boogaboogans would be lucky if they were captured by the armed forces: instead of tangling with a street gang or meeting rush-hour traffic on an expressway.

Back to Captain Salas and the Space Aliens

Maybe there are space aliens. Really, really nervous space aliens.

Or, maybe, space aliens who like to scare the natives.

Or, maybe, your standard-issue benevolent and highly-evolved space aliens who are determined to help us. Whether we want it or not.

If the armed forces of the world really are hushing up what the X Files called "The Truth:" Well, somehow I think that the world can handle knowing that we're not alone.

If this is another flying saucer story: that's interesting, too.

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