WikiLeaks: Preparing Us for ET Disclosure

December 17, 2010

Let me be clear, I am not yet convinced that UFOs have ever had extra-terrestrial origins.  Neither do I necessarily deny the very honestly believed and very hard to dismiss accounts of the many credible people (including family and friends) whose encounters, experiences defy my ability to offer alternative explanations.  My problem is simply that I find myself presented with two seemingly equally implausible scenarios and asked to choose. It feels more a matter of faith than a matter of reason. Do I believe:

1) ETs are interacting with our planet and its people in ways which seem to make little sense to me (widely varied interactions, widely varied interactors).

2) Sane, healthy, right-functioning individuals are having imagined experiences which are generally considered only possible among those who are insane, unhealthy, dysfunctional.

I have neither the knowledge/evidence to confirm the first option nor the theoretical/clinical psychology background to venture more than a guess about the second option.

But, if we take the first option as a working hypothesis, that there are ETs who interact with planet Earth and its people, and if we include in that hypothesis the fairly small leap that if such a thing were truth the governments of the world would likely have the resources to have become aware of it, then in this new age of WikiLeaks I can easily see how disclosure could come any day. I can imagine people suggesting there is a disclosure agenda underway would point to the massive disclosure of secret government documents as proof that the mechanism for UFO disclosure has now been established. The
pump has been primed, the people and the press have been taught to accept WikiLeaks as a true, reliable source for leaked information. The government has not seriously denied the authenticity of the leaked documents, the media has not denied the authenticity of the leaked documents, the public has not seriously denied the authenticity of the leaked documents. Had the first caches of documents released by WikiLeaks pertained to a UFO agenda you can easily imagine the response, complete and total denial of authenticity, no matter the actual content; the mainstream media and public would not be willing to give the contents a serious look. If there is to be a UFO disclosure it’s easy to see how WikiLeaks would be ideal for that purpose. Perhaps the documents Julian Assange threatens to release if he is made to face US prosecution are not merely a continuation of the USA’s terrestrial turmoils but something quite different.

If I were to allow myself faith enough to presume ETs were here then my prediction for the new year (or the new years which follow) would be that the government will disclosure their existence via this new international vehicle of disclosure, WikiLeaks. Of course whether that disclosure is the result of individuals with conscience or a global elite manipulating our perceptions for their ends is a matter for a separate leap of faith.


The Big Lie of Weird Life

December 3, 2010

Much is being made today about NASA’s impending ‘weird life’ announcement, the discovery of a life form that isn’t built from the same stuff as everything else. Unfortunately out of ignorance and a desire to get hits and boost advertising revenue most of the reportage has the facts or at least the spirit of the discovery wrong.

While mildly interesting, the discovery is largely academic, and not all that surprising. Sure, it could suggest life existing elsewhere could more easily adapt to available chemistry, but I doubt few exobiologists would have supposed otherwise.

All that was announced was that a known bacteria was able to thrive in an environment where one of the fundamental building blocks of life (phosphorous) was in short supply, and another, arsenic, was offered in the environment as a substitute. Arsenic is a similar molecule, same column on the period chart, which means it bonds similarly. And a scientist discovered that this bacteria was able to use arsenic instead of phosphorous to build its cells, DNA, etc.

The life is still Earth-like, still very familiar cells building themselves from very familiar DNA. This discovery is the equivalent of a car designer proving you can build a car body out of fiberglass instead of steel. Interesting, useful, good to know, but at the end of the day it’s still a car, it hasn’t become a space ship.

Exobiologists inside and outside of NASA have long theorized, and most likely expect, that life evolving on other worlds would be fundamentally different. And no doubt we will one day find such life, even if we don’t immediately recognize it.  Perhaps it is already here, perhaps it us, or perhaps it hides within us or within this particular bacterial.  The proof of extraterrestrial origins may lie in the used or unused portions of the DNA we’re only just beginning to map and understand.  (For those who wish their mind blown, I suggest reading about non-coding regions of DNA, formerly known as “junk DNA”, which are thought to include remnants of ancient viruses, abandoned biological abilities, and more.  It is in these non-coding regions we may ultimately find the best proof of our origins.)

The announcement from my former employer was a disappointment to the many who misunderstood it to be something more. To my mind it certainly paled in comparison to the far more significant announcement made in 1996 when we found evidence of life in a Martian meteorite that fell to Earth. I well remember when my colleague “Bernie” came into my office and excitedly told me that they’d scheduled a press conference to announce possible ancient life on Mars and that Goldin was behind it.  You don’t forget a moment like that!  (I think Bernie was wearing a red tie and tan pants, and I was wearing a tie my dad had gotten me a few years before for job interviews, it had paisleys on it.)  I jumped on my terminal and sure enough I found the notice by Goldin and the scientists, and an abstract for the research.  I kept waiting to hear Goldin or someone from PA back off the announcement which was still a few days off, add a few more caveats to what was being disclosed.  To my surprise the press conference went off just as planned.  We were all excited, newly emboldened for the missions to Mars which would follow.  It was all the talk around our center for days if not weeks, and I doubt this recent announcement is having that sort of impact.

One reader of this blog alerted me to Richard C. Hoagland’s recent statements about the announcement where he apparently suggested this was a step in a secret agenda of “disclosure”.  Given the reduced significance of this new announcement, relative to the one 15 years ago, I just can’t see it that way.


Unwinding a Sean O’Keefe Assassination Plot

August 10, 2010

This morning I was saddened to wake up and learn of the crash of a floatplane in Alaska carrying former NASA head Sean O’Keefe (and former Senator Ted Stevens). It was initially feared that O’Keefe was among those killed, but I am glad to learn he and his son were among the survivors.

In thinking about Sean O’Keefe, I am reminded of what a controversial figure he was at NASA, felt by most I worked with to be far too willing to leave vital and exciting science back on the ground in order to meet or slash budgets and impress the political machine that put him in power, andthat he hoped had plans for him beyond his NASA post.  The worst offense came when he  decided to let Hubble die unserviced back in ’04, using as a scapegoat the foam strike issue which suddenly came onto everyone’s radar with Columbia’s destruction.  I was part of many discussions which looked unkindly at the sudden cost and risk aversion, at a time when the same administration sitting on top was willing to risk vastly greater sums and vastly greater numbers of lives prosecuting wars of dubious value.  O’Keefe’s ultimate legacy and the fondness I’ve heard expressed in more recent years has come somewhat undeservedly from the inarguable success of the twin Mars Explorer Rover (MER) programs, and O’Keefe’s pursuit of FBC (Faster Better Cheaper), ISS not withstanding.  MER succeeded not because of O’Keefe but in spite of the cost cuts associated with him.  I think O’Keefe is remembered favorably as Reagan has been, their policies may have been flawed, their methods may have been meritless, but no one can argue with the outcomes, and neither do people have a stomach for deeply questioning them.  I remember a quote from my high school Latin I class that went something like, “Victories are never questioned by the victors.”

What many do not know is that O’Keefe was a member of the elitist, secretive Bohemian Club, and participant in their Bohemian Grove rituals; his participation has been an open secret within space circles.  Much has been suggested about the roles these players have in remaking the world, our America, and the space which surrounds us all.

While it is too soon to meaningfully speculate on whether the plane crash qualifies as a tragic accident or a devious plot, it’s not too soon to remember O’Keefe’s impact on NASA, not too soon to look at his still early role in leading the American branch of the increasingly important European Aeronautic, Defence, and Space Company (EADS), not too soon to wonder what conspiratorial filaments might manifest in these upcoming days, and whether they will join together to support the weight of larger truths.  I hope, as I always do, that the world is simpler than that, that what we see is what there is, but more intelligent people than me think differently and who am I to say they are wrong.

On a personal note, I am truly glad Sean O’Keefe has survived, and sad to learn that Mr. Stevens and five others did not. But we must live with what the facts are, and the tragedy that exists because of them.


Cover-Up on the ISS?

August 9, 2010

I got an email yesterday from someone I used to know slightly at NASA Lewis. He ended up retiring a decade after I moved on. He did some contract work on shuttle and ISS systems. We were never close but a thermodynamics buddy of mine who was also briefly at Lewis would mention this guy now and again as they crossed paths, and more so when they consulted on the same project about five years ago. My friend was no fan of this guy, not because of his work, which was solid as far as I ever heard, but because this guy had an extremely abrasive personality and was given to some pretty off-color humor.

I’m not sure how I ended up being on the receiving end of this guy’s email, the email itself was sent with the recipients hidden in the BCC field. I have no idea to how many people this was sent, but presumably quite a few if I ended up on the list.

I’ve been following the reported PVTCS issues on the ISS and they’re peddling a load of crap. They knew this wasn’t a simple PFCS failure before they did the first EVA. The timetable and procedures are all wrong for a normal PFCS replacement. My best guess is a micrometeorite strike of the PVR, causing coolant pressure loss and contamination, overworking the PFCS until it failed, or a direct PFCS strike with coolant contamination. It’d hardly be the first time they covered up a strike of the ISS. You heard from Jack? I haven’t spoken to him since the fall conference, wonder if he knows something.

Some Googling identified the PVTCS as the entire cooling system, the PFCS appears to be the pump module, and the PVR is the radiator.

I’m not sure I buy the validity of what this guy is saying, I am not at all familiar with the ISS systems. I forwarded it to my friend to see what he thought and got a one line response, “That asshole is just pissed off he lost his fat shuttle contract.” There’s no love lost between the two of them, and my friend’s a pretty toe-the-line sort of guy, so he isn’t likely to go against what NASA reports.

I am not aware of NASA covering up any significant micrometeorite strikes. I remember reports of a few serious ones to the shuttle, found as part of the stepped up imaging after the tragedy following the foam strikes, and those were hardly kept from the public. Something as large as the ISS is bound to be routinely hit, given its many years in orbit, and thus such strikes would hardly be news worthy, unless perhaps the risks to astronaut safety are greater than is widely known. I can imagine NASA might be motivated to keep such a danger quiet at a time when it’s being forced to mothball the shuttle fleet and terminate its plans to return to the moon. The ISS is NASA’s last stand in space, and they would not be expected to give it up without a fight. But are they covering up the nature of the PVTCS failure on the ISS? I’m not yet convinced.