back to article Astroboffins say our Solar System could have – wait, stop, what... the US govt found UFOs?

Our Solar System may have been born from bubbles of material hurled from a colossal Wolf-Rayet-type star, according to a theory published Friday. Scientists studying the origin of our system generally believe – no, wait, sorry. Stop. You know 2017 has been a bonkers year when the New York Times reveals a classified $22m US …

  1. K Silver badge

    Oh go on then..

    You deserve it... $22 Million Zimbabwe dollars have been deposited to your account, as promised!

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "$22 Million Zimbabwe dollars have been deposited to your account, as promised!"

      And that's why contracts with the USG are a 1000 pages long.

    2. Oh Homer Silver badge
      Alien

      The paranoid obsession with extraterrestrials

      The fact that there are other people on this planet, some of whom are allegedly of a different "race", does not somehow send me into hysterical fits of panic. The fact that there are more entire species of living organisms on this planet than there are individual humans in Switzerland, also does not send me into an apoplectic tizzy.

      So why the fuck should it be such a big deal that there are organisms living somewhere other than on this rock?

      Of course there are. Why wouldn't there be?

      Apparently there are people living in China too, which is very far away from me. Should this fact bother me somehow? Should it bother me if they lived even further away, such as 10,000 miles above the surface of the Earth? How about 20,000 miles? How about 1,000,000?

      Seriously, what difference does it make? It's just distance, and the variance between species is just biology. Why the paranoid hysteria? Why the obsession?

      "They" are out there, somewhere, in fact everywhere, where "they" comprises everything from slugs to Germans to some currently undocumented, perhaps humanoid species of life on other planets.

      Deal with it!

      1. daemonoid

        Re: The paranoid obsession with extraterrestrials

        Because if alien food is half as good as Chinese food then I can’t wait for first contact...

        1. Wandering Reader

          Re: The paranoid obsession with extraterrestrials

          "Because if alien food is half as good as Chinese food then I can’t wait for first contact..."

          Alien food tastes a lot like pork, apparently. And the aliens are keen to experience the new ingredients available on Earth.

          1. VultureTX

            Re: The paranoid obsession with extraterrestrials

            "Alien food tastes a lot like pork, apparently. And the aliens are keen to experience the new ingredients available on Earth."

            Well the name of their cookbook translates to " How to serve man", xenophiles are quite encouraged by their willingness to help.

        2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: The paranoid obsession with extraterrestrials

          Because if alien food is half as good as Chinese food then I can’t wait for first contact...

          Make sure they don't try to pawn off any of that half-dead Gagh on you. It needs to be fresh and still wriggling.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The paranoid obsession with extraterrestrials

        With regard to paranoid hysteria, I speculate that it's the socially-conditioned response that is optimal for people in power to stay in power - it's not the fact that it's a different species that frightens those in power, but the fact that the extraterrestrial species might see the pathologically insane way they stay in power. And might have a way to stop it.

        So, continuing with this paranoid notion, pitting humans vs. extraterrestrials means that even if the extraterrestrial species WANTED to help humans, they couldn't do it safely. Fear is a powerful motivator, and people's motivations can be subject to the various tones broadcast by media. Then again, this is speculation presupposing that the extraterrestrials even cared to interact with us.

        On the far end of the paranoid spectrum, and I mean WAY far end, if you have something that looks "alien-ish", like the B-52 Bomber during the Civil War era? It means that you can create a reason to pour TRILLIONS of dollars, like the entire funds of the entire Earth, into a program to defend against things like it.

        Again, all speculation. But, follow the money?

      3. Manu T

        Re: The paranoid obsession with extraterrestrials

        Just as Marvin said: "Incredible.... it's even worse than I thought it would be." :-)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=162&v=Eh-W8QDVA9s

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The paranoid obsession with extraterrestrials

        "The fact that there are other people on this planet, some of whom are allegedly of a different "race", does not somehow send me into hysterical fits of panic."

        But that we apparently have time travellers that still reside in the Middle Ages is more commonly a concern!

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Oh go on then..

      "You deserve it... $22 Million Zimbabwe dollars have been deposited to your account, as promised!"

      Ugandan Dollars, surely?

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Credulous or corrupt?

      Robert Bigelow has said he was absolutely convinced there were alien visitors to Earth. He founded the National Institute for Discovery Science to investigate anomalies. The Deputy Administrator of the institute appears to understand the difference between unidentified and extraterrestrial (the first requires the absence of evidence while the second requires strong evidence - some UFOlogists get this backwards). The institute was disbanded in 2004.

      According to the article the idea for the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program came from within the Defense Intelligence Agency. Pentagon officials went to visit Bigelow presumably because he has money and a desire to believe stories about extraterrestrial visitors. Bigelow took this to Harry Reid (D NV) presumably because he had power and a desire to believe stories about extraterrestrial visitors. Reid went back to the pentagon officials then roped in two more senators: Ted Stevens (R AK) and Daniel Inouye (D HI). The three senators got the funding approved, much of which went to Bigelow. All three senators did not want public discussion of the project or its funding. Pick a reason: embarrassment, to avoid being deluged with crank calls or corruption.

      In Bigelow's place, I would have spent a pittance on evidence of a serious investigation, sent some campaign contributions to the senators and put the rest in my pocket. There is evidence of a serious investigation. Bigelow is the sort of person who would actually spend this money on the reason it was paid to him. I looked for campaign contributions back to the senators, but found nothing related to Bigelow (would not be hard to hide this from me as it is not something I do for a living).

      Funding began in 2007 (I would like to blame Bush but I am sure he knew bugger all about any of this). The project officially ended in 2012 (I would like to blame Obama but I suspect the real reasons are that Stevens died in 2010 and Inouye died in 2012). The project has trundled on without funding for another five years and has hit the news because Luis Elizondo (project leader in the Pentagon) resigned to protest excessive secrecy and internal opposition.

      It is possible the investigation caught evidence of secret aviation research or military aircraft where they were not supposed to be. In Elizondo's place I would welcome the secrecy to hide the fact that my department had nothing to show for $4.4M/year and to fuel support from conspiracy theorists.

      So far, the story is consistent with people spending tax payers' money on a genuine attempt to investigate unidentified flying objects. If you have actual evidence of corruption (or extraterrestrials visiting Earth), please post it.

      1. Paper

        Re: Credulous or corrupt?

        Even if I literally saw aliens waving from a flying saucer, there's no way I think that it warrants spending $4.4 million a year. It's lunacy! If aliens managed to get all the way across the universe to our solar system, they'll likely say hello, Or integrate us into the borg collective.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Paper

          My expectations of what governments do with tax payers' money are so low that I call $4.4M out of the $580G military budget not spent on killing, maiming and making enemies a win.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Credulous or corrupt?

          "If aliens managed to get all the way across the universe to our solar system, they'll likely say hello, Or integrate us into the borg collective."

          The only examples we have even close to that scenario is slightly more advanced human civilizations "discovering" other slightly less advanced human civilizations. The less advanced ones have almost always come off much, much worse than the advanced ones, either through conquest, culture shock or disease, even when the discovers had good intentions.

          I'd like to think that there is a "Federation" out there with a strict non-interference policy and UFOs are just rich kids breaking the rules and buzzing the natives for a laugh.

          1. Tom 64

            Re: Credulous or corrupt?

            > "UFOs are just rich kids breaking the rules and buzzing the natives for a laugh."

            In that case, we're probably doubly screwed if they do decide to make contact.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Credulous or corrupt?

          "Or integrate us into the borg collective."

          Maybe Google are in fact an alien intergalactic advertising organisation?

      2. Shadowmanx2012
        Meh

        Re: Credulous or corrupt?

        So far, the story is consistent with people spending tax payers' money on a genuine attempt to investigate unidentified flying objects. If you have actual evidence of corruption (or extraterrestrials visiting Earth), please post it.

        The problem here of course is what constitutes "evidence"? What exactly are people looking for? If it is evidence of unknown flying objects, then depending on your personal view, there is some evidence to suggest that at least some of the objects seen in the sky are under intelligent, if unusual, control.

        Does this constitute "evidence"? To some yes to others no.

        I do know this, even if there were "real" alien craft moving around and the various governments as many suspect know this, then they (governments) wouldn't admit it.

  3. Mephistro Silver badge
    Pint

    Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

    And Merry Christmas to you and fellow commentards!

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

      I was going to write similar - I liked her writing style here.

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

        Yeah, it was the best article she's written for El Reg. Not just because it was funny but because I think she got the science right.That or I was too distracted by aliens to notice she'd screwed it up.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

          BBC America has been playing a constant marathon of Dr. Who and it is my pleasure to recognize that in many parts of this article, the author did a pretty good impersonation of The Doctor's thought patterns, at least once or twice, or maybe 3 times... it doesn't matter.

          And how many of those UFO pics were of a small blue box that said "Police" on it...

          /me queues up theme song

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

            "/me queues up theme song"

            Cues. <Sticks tongue out>

            (Although, technically, you might be adding it to a queue on a media player, so maybe you're right and I'm wrong - admit it or take the escape clause. It's Christmas and I'm in a generous mood).

            1. Phil W

              Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

              Cueing it into a queue of music to cued?

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

                Cuedos!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

            "BBC America has been playing a constant marathon of Dr. Who"

            Enjoy it while you can. It's been ruined for me by BBC political correctness since the last series (i.e. filling it with as many minority types as possible and then rubbing your face in it - e.g. how many times in one series can a character tell you they don't date a specific sex?! ), and to cap it off now it's become Nurse Who.

            1. Trollslayer Silver badge
              Flame

              Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

              Re. the "Nurse Who" comment.

              You really are scared of women aren't you?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

                >>You really are scared of women aren't you?

                This is like the BBC producing Romeo and Juliet as Juliet and Juliet. It's just ridiculous political correctness for the sake of it. Agree 100% with the OP. There is no shortage of novels with female leads for the BBC to make into a series.

                1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

                  Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

                  is like the BBC producing Romeo and Juliet as Juliet and Juliet

                  They could do an adaptation of the webcomic "Romeo X Julien". I could just see John Barrowman as Julien.

                2. lorisarvendu

                  Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

                  Yeah but "Nurse Who"? Really? 2/10. Can Do Better.

                  Do you not realise that both professions of Doctor and Nurse have practitioners of both sexes, and have had since before the Classic series of your (alleged) favourite TV programme ended? My mum was a senior staff nurse in the 1970s and frequently referred to the many male nurses she worked with jokingly as "brother".

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

              "filling it with as many minority types as possible and then rubbing your face in it - e.g. how many times in one series can a character tell you they don't date a specific sex?!"

              Absolutely agree. Even in the Christmas episode the Doctor's companion finds it necessary to twice make it clear she is a lesbian. I don't remember any character EVER finding it necessary to point out they were not gay. It's completely lefty BBC politics in play. And quite offensive to many as it's broadcast when children might be watching.

              1. lorisarvendu

                Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

                " I don't remember any character EVER finding it necessary to point out they were not gay."

                Well certainly not in Doctor Who, where prior to the new series the subject of romantic or sexual relationships was strictly off-limits, but scenes where a heterosexual character has to continually fight off persistent advances from a stereotypical gay character who won't take no for an answer were 10 a penny on US and UK TV even as late as the 1980s (particularly in comedy shows). Characters like Bill Potts are simply redressing the balance.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

                  "Well certainly not in Doctor Who, where prior to the new series the subject of romantic or sexual relationships was strictly off-limits,"

                  So the OP is correct - this was basically never before mentioned in Doctor Who.

                  "characters like Bill Potter are simply redressing the balance"

                  No because as your own statement makes clear, there was never a balance to redress in Doctor Who. This seems to clearly be a case of pushing an offensive gay leftwing agenda where it doesn't belong.

                  1. Kiwi Silver badge

                    Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

                    This seems to clearly be a case of pushing an offensive gay leftwing agenda where it doesn't belong.

                    I'm both gay and pretty much a lefty at that (left of centre with right-wing traits sure, but mostly lefty).

                    I am quite happy to say such stuff as what has been discussed here does not belong in Dr Who. They started this stuff with Eccleston(sp), continued it to some degree under Tennant, I don't recall much of it under Smith of Capaldi but by the time we got through half of the Capaldi stuff that was it for me+Dr Who. There's the old series around, and I'd rather watch an episode made up from poor quality still pictures where the audio is more hum than speech, where it's been through several VCR's and the early text to describe what was going on has largely lost its definition (and is thus unreadable) than watch the modern versions. I quite liked most of the writing during Tennant's tenure, didn't mind Eccleston or Smith, but the first season with Capaldi was just too much (it's not really him as an actor, though how he portrayed the Dr may've had a bearing - but actors can only do so much with that level of crap writing!).

                    I think it was the one with the monster hatching from the moon and laying another egg that instantly became a new moon that finally stopped us watching.

                    1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

                      Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

                      The problem with todays Doctor Who revival is simply a lack of Tom Baker. And decent plot writing.

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

                      "I am quite happy to say such stuff as what has been discussed here does not belong in Dr Who."

                      Glad to hear that. Forcing that theme on people in utterly unrelated content will just end up alienating people who are otherwise neutral or supportive...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

      "And Merry Christmas to you and fellow commentards!"

      I take it the down votes are from the same type of twits that say the lame "happy holidays"?

      Christmas is the reason for the season. Even if it's not for your particular sky fairy!

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

        "I take it the down votes are from the same type of twits that say the lame "happy holidays"?"

        You mean the established church?

        "Merry Christmas" as a greeting is relatively newfangled and is typically associated with Christmas cards and other commercialism of what was previously a purely religious holiday.

        Not to mention that the root of the word 'holiday' is (fairly obviously) 'holy day', and that for most people Christmas time is a holiday season (in either meaning of the word).

        Anyway, given that the bloody Christmas music and shop displays seems to start in flipping September these days, can you blame people for wanting as little to do with it as possible?

        PS, I won't even start on the pagan origins of Yule, or indeed people celebrating Christ's birth in the winter, despite the information in the bible pointing to a warmer time of year.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nice article, Ms. Quatch!

          "You mean the established church?"

          No, the established church goes along with Merry Christmas since the 19th century as per your own link.

          ""Merry Christmas" as a greeting is relatively new-fangled"

          Since < 1843 isn't relatively new-fangled to most of us. Do you own a Delorian?!

          "can you blame people for wanting as little to do with it as possible?"

          When it's the reason for having Christmas holidays on most of the planet, I think trying to ignore that fact is pretty pedantic and pointless. I don't believe in a Sky Fairy, but it's still Christmas.

  4. HildyJ

    The Booboisie

    The unwashed masses won't read a science story that doesn't reference 'aliens', 'asteroid impact', or 'super volcano'.

  5. mics39

    Aluminum . . .

    That’s certainly alien. But not so exotic.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Aluminum . . .

      Is it transparent?

    2. Pete4000uk

      Re: Aluminum . . .

      What about aloominum?

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Aluminum . . .

        "What about aloominum?"

        When correctly pronounced it rhymes with Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Lithium, Barium, etc. etc. etc.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

    Its disappointing how fast pushing towards 2020 we still know absolutely nothing except conjecture. Where is the 'Wikileaks' for leftover captured pieces of Roswell? Why is every video blurry and lacking detail (despite all the mass sightings and high quality cams we carry around in our pockets).

    Perhaps Occams razor is right as always. Harry Reid just wanted to funnel money to a friend with an expensive hobby. If not, where's the secret alien material hiding in Vegas, that supposedly we can't defend ourselves from?

    Whenever I see Giorgio Tsoukalos' stupid head on the History Channel, plugging ancient astronaut theories, I'm sure we're lost now more than ever.

    1. Big John Silver badge

      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

      The problem with paranormal phenomena is that proponents and skeptics are not playing on a level field.

      One side says that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, which proponents have yet to supply. But proponents say they have many cases that haven't yet been dis-proven by skeptics, and that even a single case that withstands disproof is in effect proof of the case. Naturally the cases now run into the thousands.

      So skeptics are put in the position of having to dis-prove all claims, which is impossible in the real world, and this is put forward as 'evidence' that there is Something Real Going On.

      Thus we are forever doomed to endure half-baked claims about UFO's, bigfeet, ghosts, chemtrails, 20,000 year-old pyramids, faked moon landings, and computer OS'es that don't suck. And once in a very great while, one of those claims will turn out to actually be true! Don't hold your breath tho...

      1. Paper

        Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

        It's not so far fetched if you think about how many people, probably including readers on this very site, who believe in god because of so many circumstantial, hear-say and personal revelations. Yet not one solid scrap of evidence to show that a god exists.

        1. Big John Silver badge

          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

          > "Yet not one solid scrap of evidence to show that a god exists."

          I disagree on principle. Reality is inexplicable. No way it got like that by accident. ;-/

          1. lglethal Silver badge
            Go

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            If i remember correctly the UK had a program like this running for decades. Ostensibly not for UFO research but to keep an eye out for German/Russian/whoever the latest boogeyman for the government was aircraft doing research flights over the UK.

            The number of reported sightings of unidentified phenomenon dropped off a cliff after the advent and proliferation of camera phones, as now people would film what they saw and, after sobering up the next morning, realise it was a plane, a bird, or just a really cool looking cloud. Nothing to report here...

            That's always been the thing with conspiracy theorists despite the proliferation of camera phones and the advent of Youtube, which lets face it is more likely to be the first port of call for any actual footage rather than the local government or plod. Nothing has appeared that shows Alien existence. I think we can take that as writ that at least since camera phones have been around, we most certainly havent had any "visitors".

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              "Nothing has appeared that shows Alien existence."

              The only filmed "evidence" of Nessie or Bigfoot are from the era of pretty poor and clumsy hand held film cameras, when almost no one had access to them. Now we have billions of people carrying HD camera with them at all times and multiple "expeditions" every year looking to find Nessie and Bigfoot, and yet we have no new video evidence. I think that lack of evidence pushes the odds well down towards the big fat zero end of the scale. UFOs could appear almost anywhere, but Nessie and Bigfoot have much smaller and more specific stomping grounds, Nessie especially and as you say, nothing new or compelling in the way of video or photographic evidence.

          2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "I disagree on principle. Reality is inexplicable."

            I disagree on principle. The concept of a god implies a conscious, omnipotent ultimate reality, which is even more inexplicable.

            This is the theologian version of "turtles all the way down"; the concept of a god leads to an infinite regress.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. Kiwi Silver badge
                Angel

                Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                Replying to myself, I just want to point out that demonstrating that the idea that a god is needed to explain the complexity of reality (aka the Divine Watchmaker argument) is self-contradictory as it leads to infinite regress is part of the 1st year syllabus in theology degrees.

                One of the fundamentalists Christians here (sometimes putting the MENTAL in fundamental, I know...).

                Just wondering if you'd mind explaining why you believe it "leads to infinite regress"?

                God created all. God exists outside of time and matter, is without begining or end. That seems pretty simple and doesn't go back any further. One of the many issues with the Big Bang - everything had to come from absolutely NOTHING, no matter no energy nothing - unless (as another poster mentioned) something from another universe did something to create/spawn our universe.

                (I've got to remember to read up on The Big Rip as well - sounds interesting...)

                BTW, I've met people with theology degrees. Seems they should spend some time reading the Bible rather than studying people's views on other people's writings on the words of someone who was the 3rd cousin twice removed from someone who once met someone whose uncle thought he once heard the word "Bible". Seems that those with said degrees are at least that far removed from having actually read the Bible! Some certainly have had great trouble understanding basic concepts!

                1. illiad

                  Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                  I guess you haven't heard of the Torah, which the bible is only a small part of...

                  1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                    Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                    > the Torah, which the bible is only a small part of...

                    _Some_ of the bible is a part of, some is not.

                  2. Kiwi Silver badge
                    Paris Hilton

                    Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                    I guess you haven't heard of the Torah, which the bible is only a small part of...

                    The Torah?

                    You mean the writings of Moses, the first 5 books of the Tanach? The same Tanach that bears an uncanny resemblance to what Christians call the "Old Testament"?

                    What in my post makes you think that I've not heard of it?

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                      "I guess you haven't heard of the Torah, which the bible is only a small part of..."

                      Because a rewrite of the same old stuff on special paper and storing it like a toilet roll makes all the difference...so it must be true!?

                    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                      > You mean the writings of Moses

                      It is unlikely that Moses, even if there was such a person, wrote anything.

                      It is unlikely that any of the Torah was written down before 'First Temple' (~9th century BCE), mainly because there was no written form of Hebrew before then. Then the Torah was revised and 'unified' a few hundred years later from the various different versions.

                      https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/.premium-1.657492

                      But you will believe your dogma regardless.

                      1. Kiwi Silver badge
                        WTF?

                        Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                        It is unlikely that any of the Torah was written down before 'First Temple'...

                        https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/.premium-1.657492

                        Wow. Do you also believe what Abraham Lincoln said about believe quotes on the internet? After all someone published it on the internet so it must be true!

                        But you will believe your dogma regardless.

                        Look who's talking!

                        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          > Do you also believe what Abraham Lincoln said about believe quotes on the internet?

                          I am not sure that Abraham Lincoln said _anything_ about "quotes on the internet", let alone to believe them.

                          But the problem might just be your inability to construct and punctuate a sentence.

                          The proposition that Moses did not _write_ anything is based on the fact that no such written Hebrew language existed at the time.

                          Textural evidence for Moses not being the author is such as:

                          http://www.mesacc.edu/~thoqh49081/handouts/torahclues.html

                          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                            Re: Flat Earth stuff

                            Totally agree that comment sections on Flat Earth video's are scary :)

                            Howver, in my travels through the odd corners of youtube I have seen some stuff that really does bear closer inspection, and in some cases, a good old fashioned experiment or two.

                            Stuff that I found compelling: Evidence of fakery on the part of NASA (astronaughts on wires, blue-screen oddness on the ISS, no genuine photo's of Earth from high orbit etc.) ; gyroscopic anomalies that could indicate The Earth is not rotating.

                            Now, one thing I would really like to do is perform a proper experiment to measure the curvature of the planet, because some people seem to have done experiments that appear to show there is a lot less than one would expect.

                            I'd like to devise an experiment that is as simple as possible and doesn't rely on a large number of inputs, so as to reduce error. I've considered one experiment that, whilst not measuring the curve, would at least provide enough evidence to disprove/prove some limits of what we can see.

                            For example: Find a long lake on a calm day. Set up a laser at one end (as close to the surface as possible, say 20cm). Mount a large white board at the other end, stick a powerful torch on top and aim it at the shore where the laser is. Using the torch as a guide, aim the laser at the board until you can see the laser hitting the board.

                            Then you lower the angle of the laser until it can no longer be seen on the board, measure the height of that point above the water. This, in my opinion, should give you a reasonable indication of how much curvature is present between the laser and the board (after taking the extra 20cm into account).

                            Now, not knowing much about lasers and the effects of the last bit of air above a body of water, can anyone tell me if this would be a valid experiment, and if not what would be?

                            I'm going to assume a total laser-board distance of at least three miles, as I believe curvature to be (miles squared*8 in inches, so 3 miles should be 72", or 6ft). There is a website on the net that can help me calculate the effect of the laser being 20cm above the water.

                            If The Earth is curved as we are informed, then the laser *cannot* appear on the board below 6ft (minus whatever the 20cm height of the laser effects are). If the laser appears to hit the board well below this point is it safe to conclude that The Earth's curvature is a lot less than our current model predicts?

                            I'm serious here, totally prepared to spend money on a laser and getting some people together who can independantly witness the experiment and controls etc. I'd like it to be of sufficient rigour to write a paper on it and have it peer reviewed. You can't go round basing beliefs on youtube video's after all ;)

                            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                              Re: Flat Earth stuff

                              > Stuff that I found compelling: Evidence of fakery on the part of NASA (astronaughts on wires, blue-screen oddness on the ISS, no genuine photo's of Earth from high orbit etc.) ;

                              Certainly there are videos and photos of experiments, training, trials and simulations done by NASA and other agencies. Did you think they just put on a suit and went to space without training ?

                              Many images of Earth are taken from low orbit and are assembled from photo mosaics. These images are intended to show such things as weather patterns, they are not intended to be a representation of what the Earth would look like from, say, the moon, at a particular point in time, but are to convey the progress of clouds and storms. Taking images from low orbit means better resolution but must be assembled because each photo is only of a small area (in the thousands of square km).

                              What _is_ faked is by the Moon landing deniers. There are videos of the Moon lading that have had a rabbit added.

                              > gyroscopic anomalies that could indicate The Earth is not rotating.

                              https://www.metabunk.org/debunked-gyro-experiment-proves-motionless-earth.t7413/

                              > Now, one thing I would really like to do is perform a proper experiment to measure the curvature of the planet, because some people seem to have done experiments that appear to show there is a lot less than one would expect.

                              I live a few minutes walk from a beach and cliffs where there are offshore islands. I could do experiments every day with different sea, tide and atmospheric conditions, but even casual observations and simple calculations show that the Earth, and the sea, is not flat and is entirely in line with what has been known, in terms of size, for over two millennia.

                              As I live in the southern hemisphere and near the sea it is readily apparent from even casual observation that their flat-earth model fails in _every_ claim. This may not be clear to those that are land locked in the northern hemisphere, nor to those determined to believe in biblical 'truth'*.

                              > Now, one thing I would really like to do is perform a proper experiment to measure the curvature of the planet, because some people seem to have done experiments that appear to show there is a lot less than one would expect.

                              It may be useful for you to do that to satisfy your own curiosity, but you won't convince any flat-earther because they will claim that gravity bends light (even though the bending would be a) indistinguishable from none and b) would be in the wrong direction) or 'perspective' (used incompetently because they don't understand it).

                              https://www.physics.smu.edu/pseudo/FlatEarth/

                              * While Kiwi seems to imagine that the Bible presents, or at least hints at, a heliocentric system and a 'ball' earth, flat-earthers claim that the bible _proves_ the universe is geocentric with a flat earth and a domed, impenetrable 'firmament'. This merely demonstrates that the bible can be used to support _anything_ that you want it to, making it completely useless.

                            2. Alistair Silver badge
                              Windows

                              Re: Flat Earth stuff

                              @SRS:

                              I'd suggest either Lake Michigan or lake superior. Canada has some wonderful water. Mind you the torch/laser thing wont make it very well as the LOS part ...... oh well you'll figure it out.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                  "God created all. God exists outside of time and matter, is without begining or end. That seems pretty simple and doesn't go back any further."

                  Ok, I can't believe I'm taking the bait, but here goes:

                  Your reply imagines a situation that avoids the original question; you 'solve' the problem of how everything started by saying there wasn't a start, that the origin was 'without beginning or end'.

                  Aside from being a cop out and also arbitrarily claiming you know that God exists acausally whilst claiming him as a cause, on your terms it could equally be applied to a universe without a god:

                  1. The universe has no beginning or end; it has and will oscillate forever between big bangs and big crunches. Job done.

                  2. The universe was seeded from another universe orthogonal to ours, and so it's time does not flow for us. This one can also imply a vast profusion of universes bring the side effect of quantum effects in parent universes. Again, this can be argued as turtles all the way down. Crisis averted!

                  Ultimately, a slightly asymmetric explosion+the effects of gravity then creating stars and eventually all the rest are a much easier and more believable and more observable thing than the spontaneous existence of a superbeing with the knowledge and ability to create a universe at will; and any fudge you apply to justify him can also be applied to the Big Bang, still making the God proposition seem ridiculous in comparison.

                  There. I've been hooked and reeled in. Must be those beers.

                  1. Kiwi Silver badge
                    Pint

                    Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                    "God created all. God exists outside of time and matter, is without begining or end. That seems pretty simple and doesn't go back any further."

                    [..]

                    Aside from being a cop out and also arbitrarily claiming you know that God exists acausally whilst claiming him as a cause, on your terms it could equally be applied to a universe without a god:

                    Would love to know what makes it a "cop out". Should I disbelieve a basic truth just because it is basic? Lots of other stuff could be called a "cop out" but that doesn't stop them being true.

                    I don't break the speed limit because I don't want any more speeding tickets. I believe the limit of 100km/hr to be arbitrarily set and I believe I can quite safely negotiate most highways and many other sections of road in NZ at speeds up to (and maybe over) 180km/hr, and my still being alive means I have safely travelled at such speeds on NZ roads (not saying I was the driver, not admitting to any such driving). Saying I limit myself to the speed limit or less because I don't want tickets is, to many, what could be called a "cop out" especially when I have been challenged to a race on public roads. It may be a "cop out" but it's also true. So what? Truth is truth.

                    1. The universe has no beginning or end; it has and will oscillate forever between big bangs and big crunches. Job done.

                    The "big crunch" has long ago been debunked. There is no mechanism by which the universe could collapse (short of Mantrid sending all of his arms into the same general area). Current theory (semi-quoting a New Scientist article I haven't seen yet) suggests that the universe is now actually increasing the speed of expansion, and will reach such a point that the very fabric of matter will start to break up (interestingly something else hinted at in the Bible - talk of the very elements breaking up!) in something called the "Big Rip" (and yes, I did just learn of this in the last week or two and long to get to read more on it). So no, no oscillating between bangs and crunches. No crunchbang for you!

                    2. The universe was seeded from another universe orthogonal to ours, and so it's time does not flow for us. This one can also imply a vast profusion of universes bring the side effect of quantum effects in parent universes. Again, this can be argued as turtles all the way down. Crisis averted!

                    Aye, it could be. Does "cop out" of the whole "beginning" thing though (like the "life was seeded from another planet" since all the theories thus far about abiogenesis(sp) on Earth falling flat). I have seen some weird stuff that could suggest a parallel universe or few..

                    Ultimately, a slightly asymmetric explosion+the effects of gravity then creating stars and eventually all the rest are a much easier and more believable and more observable thing than the spontaneous existence of a superbeing with the knowledge and ability to create a universe at will; and any fudge you apply to justify him can also be applied to the Big Bang, still making the God proposition seem ridiculous in comparison.

                    You claim everything came out of nothing. I claim everything came out of something. Mine seems the more logical and sensible. It is your proposition that seems "ridiculous in comparison".

                    Must be those beers.

                    I guess another wouldn't hurt you then... (I have no problem with people drinking alcohol, but I have a different view on beer)

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                      "would love to know what makes it a "cop out". Should I disbelieve a basic truth just because it is basic?"

                      But it almost certainly isn't "true" that there is a god. There is no evidence whatsoever. It's just a made up story that you were gullible enough to believe. Just like many of the ~ 2999 other religions on the planet that have some sort of magical sky fairy. The FSM or the IPU are just as credible and likely to be the one true god - and just like your religion they were invented by humans.

                      1. Kiwi Silver badge
                        Boffin

                        Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                        "would love to know what makes it a "cop out". Should I disbelieve a basic truth just because it is basic?"

                        But it almost certainly isn't "true" that there is a god. There is no evidence whatsoever.

                        We exist, despite the odds of it. That's evidence (not proof, but evidence).

                        It's just a made up story that you were gullible enough to believe.

                        You believe that nothing created everything by magic.

                        I believe that someone created everything by the use of knowledge.

                        You believe a bunch of chemical reactions that, despite decades of trying by some extremely intelligent minds, have not been able to be replicated in labs beyond very basic levels (one out of hundreds (if not thousands) of reaction needed) - reactions that are absolutely necessary to happen in life but absolutely cannot occur in nature.

                        I believe someone used knowledge and "tools" to make those necessary reactions.

                        You believe that a bunch of impossible events happened to create stars and planets etc - yet it is now believed by a number of physicists that the forces involved in the spinning of a clump of dust would cause it to fly apart long before it could have the force of gravity needed to draw enough material to itself. And you believe that despite it being utterly impossible for stars to form naturally (at least within our current physics knowledge) that somehow somewhere a single star formed, ignihted, went super-nova, the shockwave of that being the necessary start to cause other stars to ignite which later going nova caused more new stars - despite the initial one being impossible and the shockwaves not actually being big enough.

                        I believe someone used knowledge to work around these issues and build the planets, stars, and other bodies we see (and many we don't).

                        You believe in a pile of magical asteroids that "just magically happened" to hit things in the right way at the right time to create the solar system that we have, doing some pretty neat magical tricks like changing the orbit of planets and their moons.

                        I believe that the reason we see so much evidence of design and creativity in these things is that someone exceptionally creative used their abilities to design and build these things for us.

                        You believe that I can take a 1 byte file, copy it over and over and over, and get a full OS, application suite after a while.

                        I believe that information needs intelligence.

                        Hell, you even believe that dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first man came along despite abundant proof (cave drawings, figurines, carvings, eye witness accounts etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) that man and dinosaurs lived together.

                        I believe that man and dinosaurs lived at the same time.

                        No, the gullible ones are the people who buy all the big bang and evolution nonsense, who believe in lots of impossible reactions and other events that came about by convenient magical asteroids and other such nonsense. The ones who won't take some time to look over the evidence and apply some real thought to such matters, and challenge their beliefs rather than the intellectual equivalent of a child sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting "I can't hear you" (take a look at the language you choose to use if you want evidence of your doing that in your own post). These are the gullible ones.

                        Just like many of the ~ 2999 other religions on the planet that have some sort of magical sky fairy.

                        At least they have the starting point of believing in something as a point of creation, rather than the logical fallacy of believing that absolutely nothing suddenly turned into a vast multi-verse.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          "We exist, despite the odds of it. That's evidence (not proof, but evidence)."

                          That's not evidence of a god at all. Current best estimates are that there are likely at least 10000 advanced civilisations around in the universe at a point in time. However average distances between them are so vast that we are unlikely to ever meet or hear from any of them.

                        2. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          "Hell, you even believe that dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first man came along despite abundant proof (cave drawings, figurines, carvings, eye witness accounts etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) that man and dinosaurs lived together."

                          No such evidence exists. And just LOL at "eye witness accounts" Someone is feeding you bs. I'm guessing you must be an American...or otherwise exceptionally gullible. Or trolling.

                          1. Kiwi Silver badge
                            WTF?

                            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                            "Hell, you even believe that dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first man came along despite abundant proof (cave drawings, figurines, carvings, eye witness accounts etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) that man and dinosaurs lived together."

                            No such evidence exists. And just LOL at "eye witness accounts" Someone is feeding you bs. I'm guessing you must be an American...or otherwise exceptionally gullible. Or trolling.

                            Ah, you must be one of the "They were tripping and drawing monsters they dreamed up" that just happen to bear an uncanny resemblance to dinosaurs?

                            IIRC as recent as the 1950s there were some interesting stuff out of some African and other areas. And of course there's the whole "dragon" thing. A look at many of those and you can see they've taken on all sorts of fanciful things, but there are "dragon" stories that don't involve the creatures breathing fire flying. Many of the descriptions bear an interesting resemblance to known dinosaur forms. The word "Dinosaur" only came to us I believe in the mid 1800's (1860-something?), and the concept of "dragon" does in most respects very closely resemble a "terrible lizard" in most tales. Many IIRC even refer to dragons as "Lizard".

                            Around the world creatures survive very much unchanged since the age of the dinosaurs. There's bacteria that are the same as their forms found in fossils, some fish, and larger creatures such as IIRC crocs and/or gators. An event that wipes out so much of life but leaves such a broad range of life around - creatures that appear not even slightly fazed by the changes to the environment? A large range of cold-blooded creatures at that who'd be among the first to die in an environmental catastrophe?

                            You buy all this stuff and swallow it without even the slightest bit of thought or tiniest application of logic to see that not all the material matches, yet you call me gullible?

                            Then again, your "I'm guessing you must be an American" comment indicates that you may have difficulty seeing even the extremely obvious when it goes against your views.

                        3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          > We exist, despite the odds of it.

                          In what way did you calculate the 'odds'? How many worlds did you examine in order to estimate the probability of life existing? Your assertion about the odds cannot be used as evidence - it is just an assertion.

                          > I believe that someone created everything by the use of knowledge.

                          And you have nothing to offer about how that 'someone' was magically created, nor how he got 'knowledge'. You have simply replaced a complex problem (how did the universe start) with two larger, more complex problems, first: how did 'someone' start?, second: how did he create the universe and from what?.

                          > someone exceptionally creative used their abilities to design and build these things for us.

                          Now there is the ultimate misrepresentation: _NOTHING_ is created, designed, made, or exists _for_us_. We are not, and have not been, the goal of any creation or evolution. The world exists as it happens to exist and life on it has had to evolve to suit the world as we find it and as it has changed. If the conditions had been different we may have been purple cuttlefish discussing how some greater being made the world that so perfectly suits us. This is the flaw in the 'made in our image' (note the plural) that leads biblical literalists to think that evolution _must_ have humans as its goal, and thus the 'odds against it'. There is NO goal. We are here at this time by entirely arbitrary mechanisms, the outcome was never assured.

                          > Hell, you even believe that dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first man came along despite abundant proof (cave drawings, figurines, carvings, eye witness accounts etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) that man and dinosaurs lived together.

                          Complete nonsense, except in the loose meaning that avians are the descendants of early dinosaurs. There is no evidence of living dinosaurs (except avians) in the last 60 million years. You have been conned.

                        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          "Hell, you even believe that dinosaurs died out millions of years before the first man came along despite abundant proof (cave drawings, figurines, carvings, eye witness accounts etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) that man and dinosaurs lived together."

                          Whoa! Verified citations please!

                        5. Alistair Silver badge
                          Windows

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          @ kiwi:

                          I can let you get away with a fair bit of your "faith" but the following are incorrect:

                          " reactions that are absolutely necessary to happen in life but absolutely cannot occur in nature."

                          The above conclusion is an *assumption* not a proof. That we cannot replicate the reactions involved precisely lies on two lines - one that we do not have precise values for the state of the planet at the time it happened and we humans have not existed for the length of time over which that set of reactions happened

                          " yet it is now believed by a number of physicists that the forces involved in the spinning of a clump of dust would cause it to fly apart "

                          I think you might find that the 'number of physicists' involved there are a) from the late 19th century and b) all members of a jesuit order. Oddly, the treatise you reference I used to dismantle a pivot of catholic faith when I was in tenth grade. It looks wonderful if you ignore the misuse of basic energy equations.

                          "magical asteroids that "just magically happened" to hit things in the right way "

                          Oddly, if one steps back just one or two steps, once you look at the numbers, there is no magic here, it becomes inevitable, given the number of available solar systems out there, that the unique set of circumstances were likely to happen, based purely on random chance.

                          "first man came along despite abundant proof (cave drawings, figurines, carvings, eye witness accounts"

                          This depends *absolutely* on what one qualifies as a "dinosaur". According to *some* folks, we here on this forum are seeing a dinosaur called Kiwi. Yes, it is rather quite clear that the pyramids existed (and were likely completed) before the last of the wooly mammoths died off. However I very much doubt there are any cave paintings of a hominid taking down any of the saurians. I can go to my local zoo and observe at least three creatures that are typically referred to as dinosaurs.

                          Oddly, I can substantiate the *reason* for any religion quite simply: Humans need to have things explained to them, and need to have a reason for the order and structure that they will live. Until knowledge and education came along the oral history accompanied by religion was the most effective method of keeping humans organized, and socialized. Otherwise there was no purpose to their lives, and no reason not to take anything they wanted from others, no reason not to rape everything that moved, no reason not to kill off anyone that got in their way. For many the above holds true today.

                          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                            > religion was the most effective method of keeping humans organized, and socialized.

                            Added to which: those who weren't with you were against you. Anyone who didn't worship and pray to the 'dear leader' was banished, or worse. This still happens in many parts of the world: North Korea, 'Islamic State', parts of southern USA ;-), ...

                            While the religious today mostly regard the term 'god' or 'gods' to refer to supernatural beings, there is no reason to think that is what people a few thousand years ago thought. In recent times some religions had 'gods' that they could see in the street: Herohito, Rastas, Phil the Greek, Kim Jong x, Trump, Jesus, ... There is no reason to think that this is not how it was in the past: Exodus 25:8 has Jehovah require that temples be built 'so that I may dwell amongst you'. He wanted palaces in each town so he didn't have to be put up in some shack when he went visiting.

                            'Gods' are either entirely fictional, as some most likely are or were, or are or were just tribal leaders: Pharaohs, Emperors, Kings, Warlords (ie The Lord as in 'House of Lords').

                            Exclude or slaughter those who don't worship and pretty soon they all seem to conform. Do the same to local communities who have a different religion/leader (eg the Midianites, Canaanites, Cathars, Huguenots) and you soon have a majority religion.

                            1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

                              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                              "Exclude or slaughter those who don't worship and pretty soon they all seem to conform."

                              Yep... here's an example. This was the fate of the Babylonians when they refused to accept the "lord".

                              "Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished." (Isaiah 13:15-16)

                    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                      > at speeds up to (and maybe over) 180km/hr, and my still being alive means I have safely travelled at such speeds on NZ roads

                      It means no such thing, it means that you are deluded.

                      Please send me a tweet when you are about to go driving so that I can stay off the roads.

                      While you may have survived so far, what you have failed to notice is that other road users will tend to treat you, in terms of making a prediction as to your future position, as if you were were at the speed limit or slightly above. They will estimate, for example, on seeing you that they have, say, 5 seconds before you arrive at their position. When it only takes 3 seconds they will still be in your way.

                      1. Kiwi Silver badge
                        FAIL

                        Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                        at speeds up to (and maybe over) 180km/hr, and my still being alive means I have safely travelled at such speeds on NZ roads

                        It means no such thing, it means that you are deluded.

                        You have read stuff into the message that was not stated.

                        I said that I have travelled at these speeds, I did not say I was driving.

                        That no one was involved in a crash proves that it was done safely . I know of people who have driven in residential areas legally at speeds over 200km/hr without driving police cars. Remember when we used to have the Mobil 1 (IIRC was a long time ago!) in Wellington? The Hamilton V8 street racing? (and no I am not claiming I was involved in any of these)

                        Please send me a tweet when you are about to go driving so that I can stay off the roads.

                        Ah, you must be one of those who have downvoted me for talking about having done driver training and taking time to know the limits of my vehicle, taking into account things that could influence my driving and so on.

                        Are you one of those people who thinks that "nothing bad will happen if you drive at the speed limit" rather than driving to the conditions? One of those people perhaps who believes they should rely on airbags and other stuff to protect them in a crash rather than using their brain to see a problem coming (eg stopped cars) and to slow down/take action before they run into a bunch of stopped traffic?

                        I keep my vehicle maintained, I practice braking and other emergency manoeuvres (in a safe area, like an empty car park) so if something happens I don't get surprised by how my vehicle reacts, and I keep my eyes on the road and the users around me. What, in all of that, makes me dangerous?

                        Oh. Because I know that our speed limit is arbitrary (that's why the government has just voted to raise it in certain areas!) and because under some unknown-to-you circumstance I have travelled at a speed above that and survived. Perhaps I was involved in some legal street racing, or I could've been a passenger in a cop car or other emergency vehicle in an emergency. Maybe I was in a light plane that landed or took off from a NZ road way (we used to have light planes used as emergency transport and they used to land and take off from nearby roads before we got the Westpac etc helicopters). Maybe I was a passenger in a prime minister's car on the way to a sports event.

                        Travelling at, above, or below the speed limit is no guarantee of what will or won't happen to you, nor is it proof of safe driving. Travelling at a speed appropriate for the conditions is. A well-trained driver taking someone to meet a rescue helicopter at speeds above the posted limit is perfectly fine, especially when the road they are on is in good condition and closed to other traffic.

                        what you have failed to notice

                        What you have failed to notice is that I have not said half of what you imagine.

                        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                          > That no one was involved in a crash proves that it was done safely .

                          No it does not 'prove' that it was done safely at all.

                          > I know of people who have driven in residential areas legally at speeds over 200km/hr without driving police cars. Remember when we used to have the Mobil 1 (IIRC was a long time ago!) in Wellington? The Hamilton V8 street racing? (and no I am not claiming I was involved in any of these)

                          That was in very controlled conditions and only by drivers that were rated for those conditions. That is a very different thing than driving fast where other drivers of variable skill may appear. For those races the road was aligned and resurfaced with a special mix that was rated for the speeds of those cars and it was levelled to ensure safety. No other roads in NZ are made to those standards.

                          > Ah, you must be one of those who have downvoted me

                          Actually, no, I have never downvoted _anyone_, nor upvoted.

                          > Are you one of those people who thinks that "nothing bad will happen ...

                          > One of those people perhaps who believes ...

                          No. No.

                          > Oh. Because I know that our speed limit is arbitrary (that's why the government has just voted to raise it in certain areas!)

                          The speed limit is set based on the state of the road, its surface, its camber, curves, sight lines and many other issues. NO road is New Zealand is safe to be driven on at 180kph, not even by emergency services. You would be hard pressed to find tires that are rated to do 180kph, especially on the road surfaces found in NZ.

                          Two roads have upped the limit to 110kph because they are new roads specifically engineered for faster speeds than has been the practice in the past.

                          > What you have failed to notice is that I have not said half of what you imagine.

                          What you failed to notice is that I haven't imagined anything, I have only responded to exactly what you _said_. It is you that imagines things, such as me down voting, what you think I believe, or you being safe.

                  2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

                    Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                    "Your reply imagines a situation that avoids the original question; you 'solve' the problem of how everything started by saying there wasn't a start, that the origin was 'without beginning or end'."

                    Furthermore, your hypothesis can be defeated by scripture itself...

                    "In the beginning was the word....", So there's a beginning then.

                    "I am the Alpha and the Omega...", So, that's a beginning AND an end.

                    Therefore, using the same data source as your argument, your theory is invalidated.

            2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
              Alien

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              "This is the theologian version of "turtles all the way down"; the concept of a god leads to an infinite regress."

              Unless, of course, God is an atheist. After all, surely he doesn't believe that anyone created him, right?

          3. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            I disagree on principle. Reality is inexplicable. No way it got like that by accident. ;-/

            Careful, that line of thought can only end with tragedy at a zebra crossing,.,

          4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Alien UFO's are Real - and AIMenace to Perverted Script Vehicles

            Reality is inexplicable. No way it got like that by accident. ;-/ .... Big John

            Hmmmm? That is conflicted, Big John, and contradictory.

            Would you like reality explained? Even if it blows minds ... and immediately practically fcuks up all existing status quo systems?

            And would that be classified terrorism?

            RSVP .... GCHQ/NSA/FSB/AQ/Titanic Rain Makers/GIP/just where do you stop when so many imagine they have answers which question the nature of existence?

            Do you like making snowballs for others to fire, Big John?

            2018 is going to be a spectacularly year .... Happy New Year Everyone ... Worthy and Deserving of Such Cheer.

            1. Big John Silver badge
              Meh

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - and AIMenace to Perverted Script Vehicles

              amanfromMars1 asks:

              "Do you like making snowballs for others to fire, Big John?"

              Yes, yes I do. It's a form of meta-commenting. Trouble is, I'm having difficulty controlling it.

          5. GrapeBunch
            Thumb Down

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            We are sorry. That Deity is no longer available. He / she / it was downvoted by the wultures. Please choose another myth.

            1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              I pick Shinto!

              1. Dagg
                Devil

                Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                If I had to have a god it would be Loki

          6. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "Reality is inexplicable. No way it got like that by accident. ;-/"

            Correlation does not ensure causation.

            Not to mention that there are plenty of gullible suckers on the planet...

          7. Alistair Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            " Reality is inexplicable. No way it got like that by accident. "

            And yet Big John, here you are.....

        2. nagyeger

          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

          Not a solid scrap of evidence to say that no god exists either. Of course there's lots and lots of circumstantial, hear-say and personal non-revelations, not to mention fingers-in-ears 'I can't hear you' arguments that get repeated often enough that they're assumed to be incontrovertible fact.

          Which God don't you believe in? There are an awful lot of awful ones, and a lot of awful people who use their awful misconception that 'My friend says we're doing it for God so God must approve' as an excuse to do awful things. Politics-dressed-as-religion and hatred-dressed-as-religion and ambition-dressed-as-religion, etc. just tell us that religion is a powerful social force.

          My own opinion is they tell us quite a lot about human nature (<sarcasm>deep down there's good in everyone, yeah, it shows</sarcasm>) and basically nothing about why the one who keeps the electrons spinning would decide to get born in a stigmatised way into a despised minority group with a well-proven history of rejecting him. Oh yeah, it was so that he could spend about 3 years as preaching to people who mostly didn't listen and then get tortured to death, that explains it.

          Have a very happy Christmas everyone. Don't get so merry you get stupid.

          1. GrapeBunch
            Angel

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            We are sorry. The Great Mouse you clicked has already been chosen by another user. Please select another large mouse.

            We are sorry. The large mouse you selected has been eaten by an ancient Egyptian cat Deity. Please consult your Anubis. Your après vie has been truncated.

            We are very sorry. There's cakes in the oven, there's cheese on the shelf. If you want any more, you can sing it yourself.

          2. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "Not a solid scrap of evidence to say that no god exists either. Of course there's lots and lots of circumstantial, hear-say and personal non-revelations, not to mention fingers-in-ears 'I can't hear you' arguments that get repeated often enough that they're assumed to be incontrovertible fact."

            I'm not sure what you are trying to say at this point. You cannot prove that unicorns don't exist either.

            So, there are a few different categories of noun:

            1) Elephants. Lots of physical evidence, many people say they have seen them, I have seen them.

            2) Dreams. No physical evidence, many people say they have seen them, I have seen them. (Dots on an MRI is proof of something, not proof of dreams.)

            3) Tigers. Lots of physical evidence, many people say they have seen them, I have not seen them.

            4) Bigfoot. No physical evidence, many people say they have seen them, I have not seen them.

            5) Unicorns. No physical evidence, many people do not say they have seen them, I have not seen them.

            So in this sort of classification, God fits somewhere between dreams and bigfoot, which is fair enough.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              > "Not a solid scrap of evidence to say that no god exists either. ..."

              Many so called 'gods' most likely did exist. "Rastas" (Ras Tafari), the god of the rastafarians, certainly did exist - I have a photograph of him sitting next to my grandfather. Of course, like most 'gods', he was a powerful tribal leader, in fact he was later Emperor of Ethiopia. Many other 'gods' were the result of ancestor worship.

              There is no reason to suppose that Jehovah, the god of the Jews and of the Bible, was any different. Forget Genesis, which is just a collection of stories, fables and myths adapted from other, earlier, religions and you are left with this tribal leader who met Moses up on a hill somewhere and granted him and his followers some land as long as they followed the rules, including only following him. They then went and slaughtered a few neighbouring cities because he was a warlord.

              Usually, ancestral gods are replaced every few generations by later tribal leaders, but in the case of Jehovah there was a contract, the Covenant, that would grant the Jews their promised land. Changing to a later 'god' would break that.

              In fact the previous generation of 'gods' in that part of the world was El, the god of the Canaanites and most likely the 'God of Abraham'. El had many sons or princes that were named Bael (or Baal) and often had the territory they ruled as part of their name, eg Bael-Zebub. In fact the Bible refers to the Elohim. This is a plural term that is usually taken to refer to 'gods' but may specifically refer to 'the family of El' indicating that Jehovah was another descendant of El*.

              So, yes, 'gods' existed and, in some communities may still exist (as living people)**, but there is no reason to believe that any of them were supernatural.

              * Israel is usually taken to mean 'God prevails' but in fact refers directly to the god El, Jehovah's predecessor.

              ** Phil the Greek, for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Philip_Movement

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                >>Forget Genesis, which is just a collection of stories, fables and myths adapted from other, earlier, religions

                And ditto Christianity which is largely built on those foundations - and then Islam - which was basically a straight rip-off of early Christianity plus a bit of spicing up to suit.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "Not a solid scrap of evidence to say that no god exists either"

            But there is overwhelming observable evidence to disprove many core beliefs of most religions. For instance evolution over creationism.

          4. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "Which God don't you believe in?"

            The imaginary ones. So all of them.

        3. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

          @Paper

          It's not so far fetched if you think about how many people, probably including readers on this very site, who believe in god because of so many circumstantial, hear-say and personal revelations. Yet not one solid scrap of evidence to show that a god exists.

          The existence of God can only be deduced. If for example you believe in the Big Bang theory you must hold contradictory beliefs. Every other quantum fluctuation that we know of results in the particles annihilating each other very quickly. So the Big Bang was either a miracle or perhaps the universe willed itself into existence. Prior to the BB, spacetime did not exist. So how could there be any quantum fluctuations in the first place? Did some being poke a hole through from some other dimension? If so, that being must be our god.

          Merry Christmas to the ElReg staff and all the commentards :)

          1. tfb Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            You are confused about what 'believing in the big bang' entails. What it entails is believing two things: firstly the universe was, long ago, much hotter and denser than it is now, and secondly that the density & temperature increased very rapidly & without apparent bound as we go further back towards some limiting time. Both of these beliefs are strongly justified both by experimental evidence and by our theoretical model of the evolution of the universe. There is nothing inconsistent about these beliefs.

            What we definitely don't understand is the 'without bound' bit: as the density and temperature increase we know that we do not have theories which work any more. So we can predict things backwards only to the point where the theories we have fail: beyond that point we must wait for a theory which works.

            In particular any talk about 'quantum fluctuations' giving rise to the universe is just speculation: we don't have a theory that works at that point and so there is not very much we can usefully say.

          2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            > Prior to the BB, spacetime did not exist.

            It is impossible to say anything about "prior to the BB". Space-Time may have existed, or it may have been something quite different, or there may have been no 'prior'. Making a claim, as you have done, requires evidence - and there is none and there may never be.

            > If so, that being must be our god.

            Why _must_ it be your 'god' ? (it certainly isn't mine). Why must it be any 'god' ? The universe is not limited by your lack of imagination.

          3. King Jack
            Holmes

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            @ Mystic Megabyte

            A True story/s

            When I was a child I didn't know what made night and day. So to fill the gap in my knowledge, I invented a sun god. Some mighty being that moves the sun across the sky. I felt smart. No gaps, I know everything. Later I looked up at the moon and thought, 'What makes it change shape and vanish at times?'. So I invented a moon god. I felt so clever, no gaps in my knowledge. Years later I wondered how the telly, fridge and radio worked. I noticed they only worked when plugged into the wall socket. I prodded around and felt the force of god. The god of power! I felt so clever, no gaps in my knowledge. I then wondered how the earth/universe began and the answer jumped out at me. Because I didn't know for sure, I invented a god that must have made everything. I am so clever, no gaps in my knowledge. The question is who made god? So I invented another being.... Every time I don't know the answer to something I invent a god. What is wrong with just saying you don't know? Then researching to find out the real reasons. No supernatural beings needed.

            Ignorant folk have been doing that nonsense for centuries and still that thinking is practised today.

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              Has anyone managed to debunk that invisible balloon that was filmed in Cornwall?

              1. Tom Paine Silver badge
                Joke

                Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                Invisible balloon, you say? Did it look anything like this?

                http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3kri4zzN01qe26gv.jpg

                1. Adelio

                  Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                  The question is not "is there a higher being", maybe one that created the universe.

                  BUT whether that "being" really cares about people (or any being from any plant) praying to it?

                  Why would it care?

                  surely it has better things to do.

                  I can readily believe that there might be other beings of a higher intelligence that the humans on earth. How many and how much more intelligent that us. Who knows. As i say, I find it hard to believe that they require people to "pray" to them and that they would respond to then "prayers". (Unless of course you believe in the Ori from Stargate Atlantis)

                  1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                    Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                    Adelio

                    Yes, this is why I can't believe in the god of religions. I can accept the idea that there may be a god. But not a god who is so needy that it needs us to worship and pray all the time, or follow all sorts of petty rules, beyond the basic level of decent behaviour. God may not be a mere human invention, but god the High Bureaucrat certainly has been made in our own image.

                    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                      > I can accept the idea that there may be a god. But not a god who is so needy that it needs us to worship and pray all the time, or follow all sorts of petty rules,

                      And yet that describes Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump and several others quite well. I can see that a warlord Jehovah (ie non-supernatural) could easily be the same.

                    2. Kiwi Silver badge
                      Pint

                      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                      Yes, this is why I can't believe in the god of religions. I can accept the idea that there may be a god. But not a god who is so needy that it needs us to worship and pray all the time, or follow all sorts of petty rules, beyond the basic level of decent behaviour. God may not be a mere human invention, but god the High Bureaucrat certainly has been made in our own image.

                      Many do follow a god of their own design (and yes try as I might I have done that myself).

                      God does not need us to pray, however like any Father He does want us to have a personal relationship with Him, and of course a relationship involves communication.

                      The rules we should follow are just as you said, basic decent behaviour. Jesus phrased it as "Love God, and love your neighbour as your self" and that sums up the 10 commandments. Things like not stealing from people, not cheating on your partner nor taking your friend's partner, not murdering someone, not stressing yourself over what your neighbours own that you don't etc etc.

                      Most countries laws are based around the last 6 commandments.

                      And no, I have no idea why God chose the rituals the Israelites were expected to follow. That He hasn't told me :)

                      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                        Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                        > Most countries laws are based around the last 6 commandments.

                        And were _before_ there was a Moses (even if there was).

              2. TheVogon Silver badge

                Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                "Has anyone managed to debunk that invisible balloon that was filmed in Cornwall?"

                If it was invisible how did they film it?

                1. Alistair Silver badge
                  Windows

                  Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                  "If it was invisible how did they film it?"

                  Perhaps they got a good layer of melted butter on it?

          4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False... @Mystic Megabyte

            So the Big Bang was either a miracle or perhaps the universe willed itself into existence. Prior to the BB, spacetime did not exist. ..... Mystic Megabyte

            Prior to anything, does everything rather than nothing exist just waiting patiently to be patently discovered and uncovered, or does anything and everything and nothing all evolve and grow peculiarly from nowhere too in particular?

            And, in the great scheme of present things and current thinking does it really matter a jot to any of us, other than to be as a permanent distraction from action able to deliver an advanced future with infinite funding provided by considerably smarter beings ...... for such appears to be the main, if not only, criteria by which everything is nowadays supplied to both the masses and the few playing with elitism?

          5. Dagg
            Boffin

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            If for example you believe in the Big Bang theory you must hold contradictory beliefs.

            Ok, there is a fundamental problem with that statement. First the Big Bang theory is just that it is a THEORY. The concept of a theory is an untested idea as an explanation of something that has been observed.

            You do not believe in a theory you challenge and test a theory, there is no belief.

            The current (note term current) Big Bang Theory arose to explain some things that had been observed the current theory will make predictions and it is these predictions that can be tested and if they fail the theory needs to be revisited revised or thrown away.

            There is no blind belief in science it is not like religion where the same "theory" is in place for 2,000 years and where you are not allowed to test or challenge it.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Angel

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              There is no blind belief in science it is not like religion where the same "theory" is in place for 2,000 years and where you are not allowed to test or challenge it.

              The Bible says "Prove that which is good", and also has several passages relating to testing and defending the faith.

              A part of that is studying God's Creation and how it works. A great many early scientists were Christian and could trust experimental data because unlike many of the eg Greek gods, the Creator is not petty and does not change the laws of physics on a whim - you can trust that things will work according to the laws He laid down.

              My faith is not blind. Parts of it especially in the earlier days have been, but all of it has always been subject to testing, proving, and if apparently in error re-thinking and perhaps removing. That God exists, created the universe etc - in that I have no doubt. The HOW and WHY of parts of that may have changed.

              I count physicists and biologists among my friends, and in these I mean people of note.

              And sadly yes, some Christians are quite rigid in their beliefs, especially on certain subjects. You can't imagine the number I've come across who would condemn me to some mythical "eternal punishment" because the circumstances of my life led me to being gay long before they led me to the Love and Forgiveness of Jesus - hence Romans 14:4 and 1 John 1:8-10 being amount my favourite verses (8&10 for them, 9 for me :) ).

              You can test and challenge my faith. Sometimes I will bend (eg my nastier comments here), sometimes I will break (eg some of my moderated comments here), but I will heal and grow stronger in my faith. I welcome the challenge!

              1. TheVogon Silver badge

                Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                "That God exists, created the universe etc - in that I have no doubt."

                So believers in the other 2999 religions on the planet are the gullible idiots and yours is the one true religion?!

                1. Kiwi Silver badge
                  Trollface

                  Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                  ...gullible idiots...

                  Sorry, didn't think this was a thread about MS users?

              2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

                Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                "That God exists, created the universe etc - in that I have no doubt."

                Then he should be charged with crimes against humanity immediately, as he is clearly not a benevolent deity.

            2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              A theory is an explanation. An hypothesis is the untested idea. Once you have tested and, from its resuls, formulated an explanation, and others have re-tested and confirmed your explanation, then you are in business, until new evidence or anomalies make people create a new hypothesis, which is tested, which results in an explanation = theory.

              The theory of gravity is not an untested idea.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

          You think there's no evidence God exists ? Then take some chemicals and go make me a simple cell. The show me how to do it in the hostile conditions of early earth. There is no shred of evidence this is possible by natural causes - and so far its not even possible in the lab. Yes the people who believe in abiogenesis are the ones who are deluded.

          1. Martin
            FAIL

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            Oh, dear, dear, dear.

            I can't explain it, and neither can anyone else. Therefore goddidit.

            Come on - that was a reasonable argument in prehistoric days, but it's just tripe nowadays.

            The real issue about abiogenesis is that we're trying to understand something that happened perhaps only once in a totally different environment about three point eight billion years ago, and something that clearly doesn't happen easily (or it would presumably have happened again, probably multiple times). Of COURSE it's likely that we can't explain it. It's very likely we'll never have a really convincing explanation. But that doesn't mean that, therefore, there is a god.

            1. Captain DaFt

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              I can't explain it, and neither can anyone else. Therefore goddidit.

              You left out a very important word in that line of reasoning:

              "I can't explain it, and therefore neither can anyone else. Therefore goddidit."

              The more ignorant a person is, the more likely they are to assume that they know everything knowable.

            2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              > something that clearly doesn't happen easily (or it would presumably have happened again, probably multiple times).

              It may well have happened millions of times, but once it had happened the times that came afterwards merely produced food for the earlier organisms.

          2. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "You think there's no evidence God exists ? Then take some chemicals and go make me a simple cell. "

            That's not evidence of god. That's evidence that we don't know everything about everything. Yet.

            "The show me how to do it in the hostile conditions of early earth. There is no shred of evidence this is possible by natural causes "

            Well actually we can already get most of the way there in the lab. For instance creating amino acids, creating self replicating ribozymes, creating chromosomes. etc, etc. See for instance: http://biology-pages.info/A/AbioticSynthesis.html and even Charality is no longer challenging without a "god" - https://www.livescience.com/7480-life-left-handed.html - so sorry if that's your argument for god, but it's rapidly disintegrating as science advances.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              "The show me how to do it in the hostile conditions of early earth. There is no shred of evidence this is possible by natural causes "

              Well actually we can already get most of the way there in the lab. For instance creating amino acids, creating self replicating ribozymes, creating chromosomes.

              The trick is.. NOT doing it in the lab but doing it outside. Try using a lightning strike to supply the energy and see if anything is left afterwards. Try going against the natural chemical reactions to create the un-natural ones so important to life.

              When it can be worked out how to provide the energy needed to kick-start the reactions without over-cooking and how to get the reactions to work in the right fashion without creating an abundance of chemicals hostile to life at the same time.

              Then when you have your chemicals, you also have to find a way to combine them in the correct one out of ~ 1x10^56,000 (iirc) possible combinations.

              Making a tyre does not give you a car. Making a bonnet does not give you a car. Making a door does not give you a car. Making a wooden block that almost looks like an engine if you squint at it funny does not make a car.

              This is not rocket science. In fact, rocket science and making extremely "exotic" materials and fuels is bloody simple compared to this stuff!

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                "When it can be worked out how to provide the energy needed to kick-start the reactions without over-cooking and how to get the reactions to work in the right fashion without creating an abundance of chemicals hostile to life at the same time."

                ...and repeat, billions upon billions of times in billions of combinations across a billion years. That's "billions". Get your head around that order of magnitude and "random" become statistics. Life, or the building blocks, may have been created billions of times, but it only takes one time, in the right conditions, to survive through all the other "experiments" and not get blasted back to the elements in another lightning strike.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              "Well actually we can already get most of the way there in the lab. For instance creating amino acids, creating self replicating ribozymes, creating chromosomes."

              So what you are saying is that to synthesize even the most basic building blocks of life (not even a living organism) it takes a lot of very smart people a long time to figure out - it doesn't just happen by accident. And this is supposedly proof against a higher being?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                Actually you've misunderstood the process.....

                The very intelligent people are trying to replicate the environment in which life could have been created, by generating an environment where those building blocks can appear is a strengthening of the theory that life could have spontaneously appeared in the primordial soup of a hot, supercharged electrical atmosphere world.

                I do find in amusing and boring in equal measure that you both seem to want to continue this debate on the mistaken premise that either of you would actually accept the others argument.

                Of course I could be wrong in which case strike me dead.

          3. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "Then take some chemicals and go make me a simple cell."

            Do try to keep up with science....

            http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/dna-life-form-new-a-t-c-g-x-y-scripps-research-institute-synthetic-semi-a7544056.html

        5. agatum

          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

          Yet not one solid scrap of evidence to show that a god exists.

          But it does exist. As anybody who has been truly in pain for long time (mine was thoroughly inflamed colon) knows: god is a painkiller.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            > (mine was thoroughly inflamed colon) knows: god is a painkiller.

            What are you saying here?: God people are a pain in the arse?

      2. King Jack
        Facepalm

        Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

        'Sceptics are put in the position of having to dis-prove all claims' No they are not. If I claim a fantastic thing like, I own a yellow invisible unicorn. It is up to me to prove it and show the evidence. Not for everyone else to disprove it. Taking your logic it means that every god, fairy, leprechaun, orc, bigfoot sighting must be given credence. Stop giving fuel to nutters.

        1. itzman

          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

          The only proposition more absurd than the big bang is creationism.

          We are of course simply in a Matrix...

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Alien

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "The only proposition more absurd than the big bang is creationism."

            We were NOT created by UFO aliens then? What about the Anunaki? "Ancient Astronaut Theorists" believe yotta yotta yotta and I saw it all on the History Channel! (that makes it true)

            heh.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            "We are of course simply in a Matrix..."

            But who, I hear you ask, created the beings that created the matrix? Well, obviously, it's matrices all the way down!

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              >> it's matrices all the way down!

              But, but, but... I am a free man! I am not an eigenvalue!

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

        "And once in a very great while, one of those claims will turn out to actually be true"

        I suspect it's at least somewhat more often than 'once in a very great while'. But as you pointed out, the burden of proof for ANY kind of paranormal activity is VERY high. Otherwise, claiming Randi's million would be easy.

        And yet, sometimes just being able to consistently observe or do things outside of the bell curve of probability may be enough to call it "success", like an unusually lucky gambler that seems to win more often than not... or an unusually UNlucky gambler on the opposite end of the spectrum. Events falling outside of the normal range of expected probabilities, and having THAT sort of thing happen consistently, MIGHT indicate "something else is going on".

        And you'd have a hard time proving it with science, using experiments.

        So 'paranormal' may be happening around all of us, all of the time, but we hardly notice, because it doesn't deviate that much from the expected normal. Or, perhaps we do not notice because it DOES deviate TOO MUCH from the expected normal, and so our minds filter it out. "It didn't happen" "I did not see that" "That couldn't possibly be what I saw".

    2. SMITCH79

      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

      I remember watching that years ago after getting interested in pyramids (particularly the idea of a pyramid power station) then that numbnut just made me think no way. He is someone who just picked up the ball and ran with it. Can't believe they're still showing this stuff.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

        "He is someone who just picked up the ball and ran with it."

        He's a protégé of von Däniken, which explains a lot :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

      Why is every video blurry and lacking detail (despite all the mass sightings and high quality cams we carry around in our pockets).

      I can only speak of still photography, as I'm not a big fan of video (though 'broadcast quality' cameras and lenses are nice to play with...), Despite having high resolution sensors, phones have pretty poxy lenses (no matter who make them) as far as size and focal lengths are concerned.

      My main phone has a primary 12 Megapixel camera with a massive 2mm aperture lens, it's FOV is just slightly less than that of the vision of a normal human being, despite the approximate 1.1x magnification of any object that this gives, despite the 12 megapixel sensor, small objects in the sky will remain just that to my phone, small objects in the sky..and they'll be eternally fuzzy no matter how much you digitally zoom the buggers thanks to poor resolving power of the (not atypical) small lens that my phone has.

      Even with a decent large aperture 'long' lens on a DSLR, unless you've got a camera capable of better than 80 megapixels, then you'll still get images fuzzier than the equivalents taken using the same lens on a film camera loaded with a decent film, digital photography has not only made it easier to take pictures of fuzzy blobs in the sky, it's also made the blobs fuzzier...

      In short, Mobile phones are ok if all you want to capture is something that approximates an unaided eye's view of a subject, if you want to optically zoom in on a remote object, then phones are out. Regarding zoom and magnification, I did a quick and dirty test of the bridge camera that I normally lug around with me (12x Zoom range it claims), the range of magnification over the unaided eye for this beastie goes from approx 0.25x at the wide end, to approximate 3x at the Tele end of the zoom. A similar quick and dirty test with my DSLR fitted with the 75-300mm lens I normally have in the bag gives an approximate maximum 4x magnified view of an object over the unaided eye, the fun part is that the lens that is normally keep on the camera gives you (at max zoom) approximately 0.75x magnification, if I did see an OSF and grabbed this camera, without changing the lens I'd capture a smaller image of the thing than I could see with my naked eye, so even if you are lugging around a DSLR, you'd have to have an indecently large long lens fitted to the camera at all times to stand a fighting chance of obtaining a better than fuzzy blob shot of your typical OVNI.

      Whenever I see Giorgio Tsoukalos' stupid head on the History Channel, plugging ancient astronaut theories, I'm sure we're lost now more than ever.

      Ah, he serves a useful function in my household, I've told relatives that the first time they hear me say 'actually, he has a point...' instead of my usual sweary rants about asininity when he's on and spouting the usual garbage then they've my permission to take me out the back and shoot me, as I've no wish to suffer the long and drawn out effects of the obvious senility I'm slipping into.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

      Sightings/reports of things that have all-but stopped entirely since HD cameras and video cameras became ubiquitous items that just about everyone carries at all times: bigfoot, UFOs, the beast of bodmin

      Sightings/reports of things that have increased since HD cameras and video cameras became ubiquitous items that everyone carries at all times: police violence

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

        It's like the way that crashed cars always burst into flames after the invention of technicolour.

    5. Captain DaFt

      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

      Why is every video blurry and lacking detail (despite all the mass sightings and high quality cams we carry around in our pockets).

      Got to realise there are probably a total of 300,000 - 400,000 excellent photographers out of a population of about 8 billion out there. Put the best camera on the market in the hands of the average klutz, and you get crappy pictures.

      That said, Although the probability that intelligent life is somewhere out there*, The odds of them stumbling across our little backwater system out between the arms of the galaxy are virtually nil.

      So all those pictures? Dust, or scratches on the lens catching light, or odd clouds, or weather balloons, random atmospheric phenomena, aircraft, both regular and secret, rocket launches, kites, lost party balloons, whatever, are all open to misinterpretation, especially if the viewer wants to see UFOs from space.

      *Obligatory, "'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth."

    6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

      "despite all the mass sightings and high quality cams we carry around in our pockets)."

      Have you ever browsed YouTube? Having an HD video camera in your pocket doesn't automatically confer the skills to use it without causing motion sickness induced projectile vomiting on the audience. Not to mention that everything is filmed in portrait mode because the camera doesn't come with instructions on how to turn it sideways while making a video, despite the user watching properly done videos in landscape mode.

    7. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

      Whenever I see Giorgio Tsoukalos' stupid head on the History Channel, plugging ancient astronaut theories, I'm sure we're lost now more than ever.

      He must be an alien himself. He even has the Centari hairdoo.

      1. King Jack
        Unhappy

        Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

        'Whenever I see Giorgio Tsoukalos' stupid head on the History Channel...'

        Sadly I have a brother who believes all that crap. I asked him why and he told me it was because it was on the History channel and they were talking about things that happened long ago. It also makes him an expert (in his eyes) at something as he is as thick as two short planks.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

          I've recently been exploring some of the evidence put forth to suggest that The Earth is flat. There are some very awkward observations being made, lots of bunkum too, but definitely worth digging for the nuggets that will stretch your mind.

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            > but definitely worth digging for the nuggets that will stretch your mind.

            Why would you want your mind stretched any thinner ?

            Some commentators have suggested that the flat earth youtube videos are there purely as click bait to get ad revenue. The 'evidence' is very flawed and some is obviously faked. No one with two clues is going to be convinced, except maybe biblical literalists (because they lack or suppress critical skills).

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              No one with two clues is going to be convinced, except maybe biblical literalists (because they lack or suppress critical skills).

              Wow, you really need to upgrade your own skillset some.

              Almost looks as if you're taking some of this stuff quite personally!

          2. Kiwi Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

            I've recently been exploring some of the evidence put forth to suggest that The Earth is flat. There are some very awkward observations being made, lots of bunkum too, but definitely worth digging for the nuggets that will stretch your mind.

            Yup, in some of the ones I've watched there's some interesting stuff. Some can be the result of optical effects with the air between two points refracting the light, some is clearly deliberately misleading (eg they claim something can be seen from a place where it would be impossible if the earth was curved, but if you look into it what they claim can be seen cannot be seen)

            Just don't ever read the comments. There's depths of weirdness in there you don't ever want to look into! Even the worst of us here in El Reg don't plumb those depths!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

              "I've recently been exploring some of the evidence put forth to suggest that The Earth is flat."

              So how do they explain satellites in orbit, how GPS works, how compasses work, that we can measure our rotation relative to the moon, sun and planets, and more to the point how otherwise could you sail or fly round the planet?!

              Sounds like the same sort of pseudo-science rubbish they feed the gullible Americans that still don't believe in anthropomorphic global warming..

              1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                Re: Alien UFO's are Real - True / False...

                > So how do they explain satellites in orbit, how GPS works, how compasses work, that we can measure our rotation relative to the moon, sun and planets, and more to the point how otherwise could you sail or fly round the planet?!

                They don't. They don't explain. They just claim that _everyone_: the whole world, every government, every agency, every airline, shipping company, space agency, everyone; is in a conspiracy to 'hide the truth' that the world is flat (as allegedly stated in the Bible).

  8. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Grainy videos of possibly alien spacecraft

    "complete with grainy videos of possibly alien spacecraft"

    Do you mean this video, if so how does the plane manage to bank to the left and point in the same direction at the same time?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Grainy videos of possibly alien spacecraft

      Anyone got any videos of one of these things in IR mode actually functioning correctly?

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Grainy videos of possibly alien spacecraft

        @AC "where's the secret alien material hiding in Vegas, that supposedly we can't defend ourselves from?"

        Have you ever pondered where the Blue Man Group came from and why they are so popular on The Strip?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Grainy videos of possibly alien spacecraft

      Amazing how no matter what the Hornet does, the UFO remains EXACTLY ON TARGET as if it were attached to the plane...

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Grainy videos of possibly alien spacecraft

        But it doesn't; are you being confused by the recon camera locking in to the 'target' and bracketing it, or the operator apparently switching back and forth between various imaging modes?

        Finally, a (lepidoptera) bug in the optical sensors wouldn't explain the aircraft being vectored to intercept on the basis of ship-based radar.

        Now I haven't a clue what those things are, and whilst the odds of it being an extraterrestrial vehicle are extremely low, it's definitely a very interesting event.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Grainy videos of possibly alien spacecraft

          As someone pointed out, you can see the angle the camera is at compared to 'dead ahead' on the plane is constantly changing, even though the object is still central, therefore it is tracking the object.

          Eventually the angle decreases to the point that the plane is pointing straight at it.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Grainy videos of possibly alien spacecraft

        "Amazing how no matter what the Hornet does, the UFO remains EXACTLY ON TARGET as if it were attached to the plane..."

        Not really. It's exactly how target tracking systems are supposed to work. They even carefully explain all that before the video starts, along with what all the numbers on the screen mean.

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Grainy videos of possibly alien spacecraft

      "if so how does the plane manage to bank to the left and point in the same direction at the same time?"

      Thrust vectoring?

  9. John Savard Silver badge

    I know that the government tried to research UFOs back in the 50s or 60s, but after a while it gave up on the whole thing as nonsense. Project Blue Book, it was called. And then there was the Condon Report.

    That they were studying them again in 2012 does look like news, but not because there might be something to those flying saucers. No, it's a right proper scandal about government money going out the wrong way, and hopefully it will be investigated.

  10. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

    The oddities of this solar system just continue to accrue. Small rocky planets, instead of gas giants, close to the sun with the gas giants farther out. Now, theoretically, the origin for the solar system is attributable to a Wolf-Rayet star. All grist for the mill when examining the Fermi paradox.

  11. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Coat

    Why the aluminum isotope and not the iron isotope?

    Simple--the aliens space mined all the iron before our piddly backward solar system formed. See? That was easy! Don't any of our boffins actually read science fiction? How about the SyFy channel--don't you eggheads get cable?

    (Mine is the chainmail anti-shark diving suit, in case of Sharknado.)

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Why the aluminum isotope and not the iron isotope?

      "Simple--the aliens space mined all the iron before our piddly backward solar system formed. "

      No, that was the sauropod civilisation from Earth. They were mining asteroids and sending them back to Earth orbit for smelting, 'till they screwed up the caclulations with a big one....

  12. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Alien

    Guys!

    We already had Project Blue Book and Project Sign before that. Not sure what they cost though, AFAIK, it was an understaffed office of people classifying reports and possibly sometimes taking a plane to check out Encounters of the First or Second Kind (back then 3rd Kind Encounters were rather rare, whereas back in the late 20th one had to progress to Encounters of the 4th Kind. Today, we have Boris and stuff).

    1. Big John Silver badge

      Re: Guys!

      You make a good point about these beliefs. Any unusual and unprovable belief (UFO's, Bigfoot) that attracts followers will start out with everyone trying to convince the unimpressed (and themselves) that it's all true. Then years go by while they do convince themselves, to their own satisfaction at least.

      Once that happens it's all over. An entire subculture will spring up manifesting a life of its own. It just ceases to be important to "prove" the belief. Post-proof, the adherents are freed to go wherever their imaginations take them, much nicer that way.

      Thus are born the narratives of the future, with no telling what forms they will eventually take. Wish I could be there to see...

      1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: Guys!

        @Big John, yes, and as those sub-cultures harden, they become relf-referencing systems, where evidence that on the face of it contradicts their inner belief system is made to fit that inner belief system, sometimes by falsifying the fact, sometimes by expanding the inner belief system to be able to swallow it. An example of this is Christianity when the facts of the solar system were discovered. First, denial, then, their belief system was adjusted so that a heliocentric solar system was of course God's handiwork. Conspiracies operate in the same way. A fact that would negate their beliefs becomes 'that's what they want you to think'. And so on.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: Guys!

          An example of this is Christianity when the facts of the solar system were discovered. First, denial, then, their belief system was adjusted so that a heliocentric solar system was of course God's handiwork.

          Actually, it wasn't Christianity that was denying a heliocentric solar system. There were some involved with another group who claims to follow Christ that denied this, but the Bible makes mention of things hateful to those (and to flat-earthers) eg referring to the Earth as a "ball" and also some stuff that could be hinting at orbital mechanics. But people here don't want to know that the Bible was talking of the "Big Rip" thousands of years ago, that thousands of years ago the expansion of the universe was mentioned in the Bible, and so much other stuff that science is "discovering" now that people who've been reading their Bible's could've told you hundreds of years ago (not that there was much reading of it back then but you get the idea).

          Why do I continue to believe? Because I see scientific proof of God being discovered and reported in the likes of New Scientist on a very regular basis. That may not be their intent but when I see stuff that reinforces theories that Christians have come up with long past now being published in such places, I cannot help but smile, thank God for yet another bit of proof, and continue enjoying my day.

          A few hundred years ago some Christians were claiming that the earth went around the sun as did the other planets, but the scientists of the day were telling the so-called "church leaders" that it was just not so and to claim the earth went around the sun was to somehow deny God.

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Guys!

            > but the Bible makes mention of things hateful to those (and to flat-earthers)

            The Bible makes geocentric and flat-earth references:

            https://hypertextbook.com/eworld/geocentric/

            Of course you, like everyone else, likes to be highly selective about what bits they use to support whatever various things they want to believe.

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    Of course there are aliens

    They come across the border from Mexico every day.

    What's that?

    Oh...

  14. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Something for the New Year, Katyanna

    A Beta HeAIdline, with more truth in it than in that from which it is phormed and phished ..... Forget the supernovae, what's this about alien allies? :-)

    And when you know it makes sense, is all the nonsense currently being presented to peasants with arrogant media collusion/ignorant media propagation in deep shit trouble, and in rapid need of a fundamental makeover ....... which also results in what is widely known as IT taking over the future reins and reigns ‽ .

    Simple Words Create, Command and Control and Destroy Complex Worlds, both Real and Virtual. Share them wisely.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Something More Extra ESPecial for the New Year, Katyanna

      Well, well, well ..... what came/comes first, the Easter egg above for Brave New Worlds in the New Year making over and taking over the future with IT reins and reigns, or the chicken squawking below, for both provide for novel multi-interdimensional travel in parallel planes with the one in Live Operational Virtual Environments a more truly honest broker with practically real and virtually life-changing Greater IntelAIgent Games to Play for Pay with Play than the other ......

      The basic premise of the game is that AI robots, designed to usher in an economic golden age for humanity, try to take over the world. To respond to the crisis, the United Nations forms Overwatch, a team of fighters and adventurers recruited to quash the robot rebellion. The Overwatch forces defeat the robots, and then end up battling each other. ..... The Overwatch Videogame League Aims to Become the New NFL

      ....... with the more powerful one of them easily able to enable SMARTR AId Virtual Terrain Team Players to become the New NSA?

      And a question mark to end that AImuse for all Doubting Thomases and any Raging against the Machine Thomasinas to abuse.

      Merry Xmas, El Regers.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Our system has an abundance of aluminum-26 because we need it to make hats.

    I thought this would be obvious?

  16. arctic_haze Silver badge

    Oh, the UFOs are absolutely real

    Donal Trump talks to the Plan 9 UFO crews every day:

    Trump: "Why is it so important that you want to contact the governments of our Earth?"

    Eros: "Because of death. Because all you of Earth are idiots!"

  17. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    OK I read the associated article, and having looked at the images (which for some reason list dimensions in cm!) although there a little blurry so maybe im looking at them wrong (i think its saying 1,44E20 cm on the bottom scale), but it would seem to imply that our solar system was in the order of 10000 light years away from this massive star. That seems a hell of a long way away to have an effect on our proto solar system. I mean thats 10% of the way to the galactic core.

    Maybe the scale is logarithmic? I like the idea, and its a good way to explain the discrpancy but something seems off in their numbers. And why in hell would you operate in cm when your talking dimensions in space! Thats just daft!

    1. tfb Silver badge

      1.44E20cm (not 144E20cm: they're using standard scientific notation for numbers) is about 150ly.

      I have no idea why they're using cm however: do astronomers tend to work in cgs units rather than mks when they don't work in some more suitable ones?

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Yes, astrophysicists are a bunch of erg-heads who prefer cgs.

      2. lglethal Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Cheers tfb, I thought something must have been off in my calcs! I rounded down to 1E20 because from the pictures it looked like the bubbles they talk about forming solar systems in happened about 2/3 distance from the star so maybe 100 ly away doesnt sound unreasonable...

        Still using cgs on galactic scales is just daft! ;)

  18. Christoph Silver badge

    Of course there's Aliens!

    It's obvious. Just look at the evidence. The closer you examine it all, the less actual evidence there is. The more detail you look at, the less there's any sign of them.

    So that Proves they exist!!!! Haven't you heard of Homeopathy????

  19. Dr. G. Freeman

    "The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us."

    Bill Watterson

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's just lightning balls dammit

    ...all this fuss over ball lightning is getting waaay out of hand...

  21. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Trollface

    Looking at it with both eyes

    It is spelled aluminium.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Looking at it with both eyes

      Spelled or Spelt?

      1. Duffy Moon

        Re: Looking at it with both eyes

        I made some lovely bread with spelt flour.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Looking at it with both eyes

          I trumped before and it really spelled.

          I don't think I'm doing this right.

  22. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    I have to say it

    That was a really well written as well as funny and informative article.

  23. arctic_haze Silver badge

    America had already one alien invasion

    The aliens had strange pale skin, used dangerous long range weapons and brought alien viruses which decimated the Americans.

    It was about 500 years ago.

  24. Muscleguy Silver badge
    Boffin

    I think the object in the grainy video is much more likely to be a part collapsed weather balloon. That explains it's radar detected plummet and if the collapse partly plugged the hole it would then settle at a lower level and be blown by the wind. If a weather balloon wrapped around its payload it would present a figure much like the one in the video, including the attitude change.

    The crumpled, rippling mylar may confuse radar as to the size and distance to the object, get those wrong and its apparent speed alters too. IOW it was smaller, closer and not moving as fast as thought. Had the fighters riddled it with canon fire it may well have fallen further.

    In the Central Pacific you have a string of island nations with Meteorological Offices as well the navies of many nations and researchers all releasing weather balloons and not notifying the USN of the fact.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      You do raise some valid points, but these were fighter jets seeming not getting any closer to said object while having it in visual range. Even it the wind was at their backs, it was reported as being 126knots, significantly slower than the normal cruise speed of these jets. It's an interesting encounter, but I don't think it's a free flying weather balloon in this case. I think I'll stick with "unidentified".

      1. Muscleguy Silver badge

        I'm not saying that was it a weather balloon. I'm only offering a non extraterrestrial and more down to earth suggestion of what it might have been rather than jumping to the conclusion that it had to be an alien spacecraft.

        We do not know everything happening or possible on this planet, we need to have that and exclude them all before leaping to the exponentially unlikely suggestion that it must therefore be aliens.

        Especially since it would have been a scout ship and where was/is the mothership? With all our telescopes and satellites in all the wavelengths including gravity we would have almost certainly detected its presence up there. Remember India and China have and had satellites going around the moon so it cannot have been hiding behind Luna, not to mention the problem of hiding a scout ship scooting out from behind and returning.

        Note we also have satellites up there with extremely sensitive gravity detectors on them to detect things like ice cap thickness and denser parts of the planet. If a large mothership type ship went anywhere near such a satellite the fact would show up. It would also occlude stars even if it was otherwise 'dark'. We have telescopes scanning the sky for asteroids using star occlusion.

  25. illiad

    STOP looking for UFOs, develop a better camera!

    Then we can get proper pictures of whatever it really is...

    sooo many frauds and mistaken IDs...

    I will bet earth is like some violent towns, you tread carefully, trying not to attract attention, if you happen to find yourself there.. But then there are the youngsters, who know they are faster, so dare to freak out the poor earthers...

  26. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Bowie beat them to it ...

    We're painting our faces and dressing in thoughts from the skies, from paradise

    But they think that we're holding a secretive ball

    Won't someone invite them. they're just taller children that's all, after all

    1. MrT

      Re: Bowie beat them to it ...

      Mobi too...

  27. Milton Silver badge

    Where's the mass panic?

    "A fucking wing fallen off the back of an intergalactic lorry. No way. Where's the mass panic?"

    Figure it out.

    If the aliens had come along even five years ago and blown the White House to smithereens, there'd have been mass panic.

    Now it's 2017: the Year of Lunatics Taking Over the Asylum. There's more likely to be panic if the aliens *don't* blow up the White House.

    Once again, humanity has shown—with Trump, and Brexit—that it is unfit to govern itself. So if the aliens want to have a go at running things, let 'em. (Unless they're also a bunch of fat old greedy lying white men, that is.)

    1. Carpet Deal 'em
      Trollface

      Re: Where's the mass panic?

      So it's fine if they're also a bunch of fat old greedy lying Chinese men?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where's the mass panic?

      "Unless they're also a bunch of fat old greedy lying white men, that is.)"

      That was the attitude in South Africa after apartheid. Fast forward 25 years. The complaint now is that the white fat cat elite have merely been joined by fat cats of other colours - who if anything are more corrupt. It was always likely to be so. People in the western countries tend to forget that in many other countries the ancient rule is "winner takes all". That is now suffusing into western society too.

      I became disenchanted with "liberation" politics many years ago. It seemed that every oppressed body that finally acquired power - then behaved much the same as their oppressors had. The lesson the oppressed learn from their oppressors is "how to do it that way" - rather than the beneficent "how not to do it that way".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Where's the mass panic?

        --->I became disenchanted with "liberation" politics many years ago. It seemed that every oppressed body that finally acquired power - then behaved much the same as their oppressors had. The lesson the oppressed learn from their oppressors is "how to do it that way" - rather than the beneficent "how not to do it that way".

        I take it you never got round to reading Animal Farm then?

      2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: Where's the mass panic?

        Turns out that all humans are like all humans. The problem with Marx and his friends is he and they thought that, once oppressed, the workers would live a sharing, caring culture, where no one would oppress or be oppressed. But as soon as any European proletariat were freed up, they instantly tried to be liek their oppressor class: they bought house, nice furniture, better clothes, etc. They did not create communal kitchens and childcare etc.

        Those without power will always seek power. If we abhore oppression, we have to think of a way of giving people enough without their needing to oppress, in their own turn. Our problem is that we have to try to make people be happy with enough. Not surplus, not grotesque heaps of cash and goos, but enough.

        I don't think we can do that. All we can do is to keep moving the oppressions along, a sort of 'change partners and dance.'

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "So if the aliens want to have a go at running things, let 'em. "

      Wasn't that the whole point of Brexit, that slightly more than 1/2 of the people who voted though they were already run by aliens and didn't want to be run by aliens?

      Or something.

      I tried to ask some British people I know who voted Leave why they did it but but the strings of words that came out with bore no connection any objective reality I could recognize.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: "So if the aliens want to have a go at running things, let 'em. "

        no thanks at letting "the aliens" run things. They'd be worse than the elitist control freaks that typically rise to positions of power in our current gummints, advocating policies that literally "keep us in our place" so that we don't become a threat to "them" any time soon...

        At least, that's the way HUMANS would do things. Our best and brightest held down, while the biggest takers and leeches are held up as if they're "special" or somehow MORE entitled to the fruits of the labors made by people who are FAR more worthwhile to society than THEY are, while achievement and desire for personal gain are berated and treated as if they're "evil". Nature itself competes for everything, and the STRONG survive, and then breed to make even STRONGER offspring. Whereas an oppressive controlling force would elevate ITSELF at the expense of the rest, twisting the concept of 'fairness' and DISCOURAGING competition...

        And THAT is what I'd expect from any kind of "Alien overlord". Because our OWN gummints ALREADY do that to us, ALL OF THE TIME.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Coat

          "Our best and brightest held down, while..biggest takers..leeches are held up as.."special""

          The cognitive disconnect is strong in this one.

        2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          Re: "So if the aliens want to have a go at running things, let 'em. "

          Evolution is not about the strong, but about the fittest. Often, 'fittest' does not mean the ability to dominate, but the ability to fit in. Althuism appears to be an evolutionary trait in many animal species, including humans. Breeding doesn't really work to make species stronger, as evolution is at the mercy of random terrestrial events and of mutations. The species as a whole has to be flexible enough to mutate in a life-ward direction if it is to be the fittest.

        3. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          Re: "So if the aliens want to have a go at running things, let 'em. "

          @B. Bob, on another note, how do you know that the brightest and the best are held down? Can you give some examples?

          1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: examples of the best and brightest being held down

            Why, for starters it would be all the mean downvotes poor bob receives for his exceptional posts.

            (Mine's the one with the extra large box of Kleenex in the pocket.)

  28. jonfr

    Aliens don't come to Earth

    Aliens don't come to Earth as humans are primitive and not as smart they think they are (some automatic robots might go by every few decades on average). There is plenty of aliens out there, but none of them are going to talk to the human race until we at least get sub-light able engine. There is no way to cross light-speed so other methods are used to travel long distances in deep space (it involves large worm holes and gates connected to them).

    People (humans) act like they are the centre of the universe. This can be seen in science fiction (mainstream at least) and in other works of writing. That has spread into the culture. I do suspect that the universe does not agree with the human race self assessment.

    The most likely outcome of the human race in the future is to go extinct and nearby civilization won't even notice (at all).

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Aliens don't come to Earth

      "The most likely outcome of the human race in the future is to go extinct and nearby civilization won't even notice (at all)."

      It woulds explain the Fermi paradox if almost all planets have only enough readily available energy to get to our present level, and then the energy required for serious spaceflight is simply not available.

      From a cosmic point of view we may be like a fungus on a decaying bit of wood. We're going to run out of food before we get to the next decaying bit of wood because, unlike a dead tree stump, the bits of wood are lightyears apart.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Aliens don't come to Earth

      It's like us building a time machine and going back in time, all you are going to learn is that we will throw shit at ourselves. The aliens know this and don't want shit thrown at them so they are waiting for us to evolve past shit throwing. I give us a good 400 years before this happens and the shit is no longer thrown.

      World history and evolution can be traced by the levels of thrown shit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Aliens don't come to Earth

        --->It's like us building a time machine and going back in time, all you are going to learn is that we will throw shit at ourselves. The aliens know this and don't want shit thrown at them so they are waiting for us to evolve past shit throwing. I give us a good 400 years before this happens and the shit is no longer thrown.

        World history and evolution can be traced by the levels of thrown shit.

        and here's the film to prove your theory..

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtYU87QNjPw

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Aliens don't come to Earth

      jonfr

      Tut tut. The aliens must have been on Earth. How else could they all have learnt to speak English?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You have no right to know..

    Let us just suppose someone told you "Hey human, you are not alone, you never have been!" What are you going to do with that information? What if 'they' told you some of your favourite bits of religious text were actually down to them?..and showed you proof? What would happen to humans urge for innovation and discovery if someone suddenly gave them a copy of Encyclopedia Galatica?

    Are 'they' going to want to talk to you, help you ..or just observe? Do you think you will get nice new technology when you clearly cannot manage the technology you have now?

    Can you explain all of the underlying science that enables your TV receiver to display sound and pictures? Okay, now explain that to your dog. Now imagine you are the dog.

    Don't you have a mortgage to pay, a president to impeach, oceans to clean? Move along now, nothing to see; it was a weather balloon.

  30. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Nothing to see here, move along.

    The military is the perfect outfit to have a UFO team. They are testing new types of aircraft, spacecraft and other technologies where they will want to know if anybody detects them and they'd also like to have reports of anything that somebody else might be testing. It also puts them in the best position to create plausible cover stories. Knowing the truth makes it easier to come up with a good lie.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. alien metals

    Intriguingly, the original "alien metal" was BiMgZn aka "Arts Parts".

    A lot of people tried to duplicate it but either the metals turned out to be incompatible or whatever process generated those incredibly thin layers (ion beam epitaxy?) was not feasible for such large pieces.

    I tried to make some using a microwave oven and silicon carbide susceptor but all that happened is it made a small piece of very brittle "ceramic" metalloid which showed no anomalous properties whatsoever.

    Later research showed that sodium bismuthate is a very good conductor comparable to graphene but alas not a superconductor.

    Or at least not in its current form, ceramic superconductors generally have poor conductivity outside a very limited range of Tc and Jc and metallic ones have Tc less than 12K due to the Fermi levels being very sensitive to temperature.

    Someone should try substituting K in place of Na just to see what happens.

  32. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    A Fardel of Presents

    He's not off to button moon. He's a very naughty boy. :-) X

  33. Adair

    Depending on your understanding of 'God' that particular viewpoint may indicate a complete misunderstanding of the nature of 'God'. OTOH, it may also indicate how wilfully blind human beings can be even, or especially, when 'evidence' is staring them in the face, it just happens to not be the 'evidence' they want to see.

    Lets add to the mix by asking, assuming there was 'evidence' that satisfied you as to the presence fo 'God', what would that actually mean to you. Two possibilities come to mind (no doubt there are others): one is a loss of agency and freedom that could be psychologically crushing, the other is 'well fuck you God', I'm going to carry on as though you aren't there because my life belongs to me, and no one, not even 'God' is going to change that.

    So, maybe there is a very good reason why God's presence is not 'provable' in any meaningful empirical sense -- true love set the beloved free, it does not compel.

    We are also free to decide that God is not. Either way we get to be responsible for our choices and the consequences that flow from them -- no scapegoating or whiny excuses for why we live the way we choose to.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      The no true Scotsman argument

      @Adair, 'complete misunderstanding of the nature of God' -- well, we have all sorts of ideas of God, but if God keeps handily being unable to be explained or proven to exist by humans, then what does it matter if he exists or not? I thought the whole point of God, any god (or gods) was that they interacted with humans. Indeed, were vitally necessary for humans. It also seems, humans were necessary, or gave motive, to God (if only as sources of praise).

      If God is like a 'brane that never touches our own 'brane, then He could exist or not exist, but what would it matter. If He does not exist for us, if we can never interact, our beliefs about God remain our own fanciful inventions.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: The no true Scotsman argument

        @Adair, 'complete misunderstanding of the nature of God' -- well, we have all sorts of ideas of God, but if God keeps handily being unable to be explained or proven to exist by humans, then what does it matter if he exists or not?

        I had a neighbour I once accidentally offended. They went out of their way to effectively deny my existance. When I would give them a cheery greeting I'd be ignored. Try to help them, I'd be told (very impolitely) where to go. They made up some nasty false rumours about me.

        In the end, I gave them what they wanted and made no more attempts to be nice to them.

        It is much the same for those who refuse to acknowledge the abundant proof of God around them. He has given you many opportunities to see what is real, but you do not wish to do that. So for a time you will get your wish.

        But He is patient and loving, and when you're ready, you will meet with Him, and He will be there for you!

        (will this be my most downvoted post yet? Come on guys, trying to crack 1,000 downvotes here! :) )

      2. Adair

        Re: The no true Scotsman argument

        Hollerithevo, interestingly you have omitted to engage with any of the points on my actual post, i.e. the impact of a verifiable 'proof' of 'God' (even though many would argue very persuasive evidence already exists, for those who wish to interpret it that way); and the trruth about real 'Love' as an indicator of why things are the way they are. But, you are certainly free to make your own choice, and to live with the consequences, as we all do.

  34. unwarranted triumphalism

    I didn't know the Register was now doing science fiction.

    Less of the idle speculation if you don't mind.

  35. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    The most likely outcome..is to go extinct and nearby civilization won't even notice (at all).

    That's just not true.

    They'll notice the disappearance of broadcast TV signals.

    And conclude (correctly) that another planetary civilization nearly made it but didn't.

    So not worth visiting after all.

    1. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: The most likely outcome..is to go extinct and nearby civilization won't even notice (at all).

      "And conclude (correctly) that another planetary civilization nearly made it but didn't.

      So not worth visiting after all."

      Very likely that they will fire up the pickup trucks and come collect all the scrap metal .....

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So our Sun, is actually Son of Sun?

    If the Kardashians announced they'd found alien items how many people would panic then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So our Sun, is actually Son of Sun?

      "If the Kardashians announced they'd found alien items how many people would panic then?"

      I thought the Kardashians were alien items?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So our Sun, is actually Son of Sun?

        "I thought the Kardashians were alien items?"

        I thought they were mostly items with aliens!

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Modern rocketry is amazing

    TOP LEL: SpaceX launch stirs alien UFO fears in California, Arizona (VIDEOS)

    Also, directly from Adam Curtis' "Hypernormalizaton": The Truth is Out There

    Happy Nikki Haley, err, Nikki Alien, err I mean Happy X-Mas!

  38. questanota

    ET Policy

    Extraterrestrial beings visit earth periodically to see how we mere low carbon life forms are faring.

    Recent events over the past century have them disturbed, and concerned about the viability of the homo sapiens sample.

    Each newly elected President is ushered into a room to receive the current message from the ET minders.

    Earth policies are being pushed by them toward being nicer to one another before it is too late and we destroy the ability to sustain life, whether through genocide, climateicide or variations on a theme. Why else would nations give away their patrimony like the US has to China, or various EU states have by inviting in hordes of refugees that overwhelm and destroy the fabric of civilization?

  39. VicMortimer
    Mushroom

    Seriously, the god stuff?

    Ok, so here's the deal. Can you disprove the existence of a god, of any kind, of any description, with 100% certainty? No, not yet.

    Can you disprove the existence of the christian/jewish/islamic god with 100% certainty? Yes, of course, it's already been done hundreds of thousands, if not millions of times. That god isn't real. it utterly fails every test. it does not exist.

    And that has exactly zero to do with the existence of life in other places than earth. The chances that life exists somewhere else are incredibly large, approaching 100%. The chances that that life has ever been to earth or will ever come to earth are infinitesimally small, approaching 0%.

    The universe is a big place, with big being an understatement that the vast majority of humans cannot even begin to comprehend the magnitude of. Unless we figure out how to warp space, we're not going to get very far off this planet before the sun goes supernova. And to the universe, that's not even slightly relevant.

    But hey, somebody wins the lottery, so maybe, just maybe, somebody will come visit us and not annihilate us to make way for a hyperspace bypass. But probably not.

    And particles will keep coming, from other places, because that's what they do.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Seriously, the god stuff?

      Can you disprove the existence of the christian/jewish/islamic god with 100% certainty? Yes, of course, it's already been done hundreds of thousands, if not millions of times. That god isn't real. it utterly fails every test. it does not exist.

      Really? Then this should be a very simple challenge for you.

      Name one bit of scientific proof that the God I follow does not exist. Just one, but it does have to be able to prove that He does not exist, as you yourself used the word "prove" in your statement.

      Just one. Not much to ask if there are "hundreds of thousands" of examples out there for you to pick from.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seriously, the god stuff?

        "Name one bit of scientific proof that the God I follow does not exist"

        The utterly overwhelming observable evidence for evolution over creationism for a start.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Seriously, the god stuff?

          "Name one bit of scientific proof that the God I follow does not exist"

          The utterly overwhelming observable evidence for evolution over creationism for a start.

          And yet there's a great many respected scientists who'll tell you that creationism fits the evidence far better than this evolution nonsense.

          How could life have started accidentally in a random pool of chemicls when even under controlled laboratory conditions our best minds cannot get the right mix of chemicals necessary to life? They can create a few amino acids but not in a form that supports life.

          How could the chemicals form in the right order to make even the most basic chain of DNA that could allow for a simple organism that could reproduce? What about all the "machinery" needed to interpret DNA and make proteins etc after that? Remember, all this has to work right first time. Microbes that cannot reproduce cannot be a starting point, they have to be able to survive long enough to reach a reproductive stage even if it is "simple" splitting. And even that has proved to be far more complex than Darwin imagined in his worst nightmares.

          Maybe you're one of those ones who believe life couldn't have evolved on earth, and the earth was seeded by aliens? How did they get their start? The same problem, just a different planet.

          As yet there is not one observable proof of evolution. The "evidence" you claim is also used by Creationists to show that evolution is NOT something realistic.

          So you've failed. I asked for something that is scientific proof, and you toss in something that has failed time and again? Surely with all those quoted "hundreds of thousands" of bits of proof you can come up with something much much better? No?

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Seriously, the god stuff?

            > And yet there's a great many respected scientists who'll tell you that creationism fits the evidence far better than this evolution nonsense.

            Except a) they are not 'scientists', they don't practice 'science*' and b) they are not 'respected', not by the actual scientific community.

            * Science is a process that examines the evidence and comes up with a model that matches the evidence. That model is then tested by making predictions and then evaluating against actual results. 'Creationism' has no mechanism that can be tested, thus it is not, and cannot be, science.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              WTF?

              Re: Seriously, the god stuff?

              > And yet there's a great many respected scientists who'll tell you that creationism fits the evidence far better than this evolution nonsense.

              Except a) they are not 'scientists',

              Really? Biologists are not scientists? Physists are not scientists? I guess that explains a lot about your posts.

              I'd forgotten the likes of Einstein, Newton, Kepler, Faraday to name a very small few were not scientists and did not have the respect of the scientific community. There's that guy Francis Collins as well, but he's some unknown wannabe who has no standing or respect whatsoever in the scientific community. There's that guy Kelvin as well, but then he was forgotten - not like he had a temperature scale named after him or anything. Max Planck was, of course, as thick as 2 planks when it comes to quantum theory. Nope, you're right, not one of these people were scientists or in any way respected.

              Oh, and tell me how you can test evolution? Can you present me with a copy of the dinosaur DNA that birds evolved from? It should be easy if it can be tested like you claim? Can you present one proven example of changes necessary for microbe-man evolution? Just one? there's supposed to have been millions of them, so just one verifiable change shouldn't be much to ask?

              Just one? One teency tiny wee proven change?

              No? Guess that means evolution is un-testable then.

              1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                Re: Seriously, the god stuff?

                > Can you present one proven example of changes necessary for microbe-man evolution? Just one?

                Yes. The change from our common ancestor with chimpanzees to humans required that the number of chromosomes change from 48 to 46, that 24 pairs to 23 pairs. They went looking for a telomere in the middle of a chromosome and eventually found it in chromosome 2. This showed that 2 chromosomes had fused together giving humans 23 pairs.

                Can you show your so called god's signature, or indeed any of the thousands of gods'. on anything he 'designed' ?

              2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                Re: Seriously, the god stuff?

                > Really? Biologists are not scientists?

                Name one _respected_ biologist that says that evolution is nonsense.

                1. Kiwi Silver badge
                  Boffin

                  Re: Seriously, the god stuff?

                  Really? Biologists are not scientists?

                  Name one _respected_ biologist that says that evolution is nonsense.

                  I'll get to your other stuff later, just dropping this one here for now.

                  Would Raymond Damadian do for a start?

                  Of course, I also mentioned Francis Collins in the post you were replying to, or do geneticists not count in your books?

                  There's a couple. Or do you believe that the man credited with inventing the MRI and one of the leading physicians in the USA aren't exactly "respected scientists" - or despite their work being within the field of biology will you claim they're not biologists?

                  And I'm pretty sure I did not say that any of them claimed evolution was nonsense (they may have done but I am not currently aware of such claims). I was the one making that statement.

                  1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                    Re: Seriously, the god stuff?

                    > Would Raymond Damadian do for a start?

                    He is not a biologist. He is a "physician, medical practitioner", that is not a biologist.

                    > I also mentioned Francis Collins

                    Accordig to Wikipedia, he "advocates the perspective that belief in Christianity can be reconciled with acceptance of evolution and science". So he certainly does not think that evolution is nonsense.

                    That is 2 failures.

                    > And I'm pretty sure I did not say that any of them claimed evolution was nonsense

                    >>> who'll tell you that creationism fits the evidence far better than this evolution nonsense.

                    Your message had it that they would tell me it is nonsense.

                  2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                    Re: Seriously, the god stuff?

                    > evolution was nonsense ... . I was the one making that statement.

                    That you cannot make sense of evolution tells me more about you than it does of evolution.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Seriously, the god stuff?

      "The universe is a big place, with big being an understatement that the vast majority of humans cannot even begin to comprehend the magnitude of."

      Oh yes! We thought the universe was am incomprehensibly big place and then we got the Hubble deep field images to blow our minds even more.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry we missed you

    We called by, in what was your time 10,000,000 BCE, but you hadn't evolved sufficiently.

    Hope to catch you on the return leg in 54,003 CE.

    PS: Brexit may not be a great idea.

    Crew of HKLUTVC - Zork Minor

  41. Shaha Alam

    first contact

    normal human sensory range is pretty piss poor when even compared to other species on earth. imagine what differences there're likely to be with alien creatures. they could be communicating with us right now but we just wouldnt know it because our senses aren't tuned in to it. what if they could only 'see' in the extreme ultra-violet? what if they could only hear dog whistles?

  42. Kleykenb

    ET's back?!

    I thought E.T. went home in the '80s?!?

  43. Hans 1 Silver badge

    Alloys in Vegas

    If they have physical evidence, then they should have a bunch of physicists analyze it, video IS NOT evidence, eye-witness testimony IS NOT evidence, a waste of time.

  44. wayne 8

    iron-56?

    What did iron-56 have to do with the research?

  45. wayne 8

    Small Change

    22 million USD is small change to the US DOD. They easily lose track of 6.5 Trillion USD.

    There are currently 40,000 troops that have "Unknown" as their location in the DOD system.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Small Change

      "There are currently 40,000 troops that have "Unknown" as their location in the DOD system."

      That's code for "deployed to Moonbase Freedom-1"

  46. snovotny
    Linux

    Aluminum and Iron creation hypothesis

    In nuclear fusion if you take two(2) Aluminum 26 atoms and fuse em together you almost get Iron 59. Seven(7) protons short and a whole bunch of energy. Explains why the Fe shortage. Alternatively, fission (eg. split) an Iron 59 and you can get two(2) Aluminum 26 atoms plus a few protons neutrons photons, gluons, quarks and electrons and double aluminum flying around making pretty lights and fireworks for alien astronomers (us) in the form of interstellar gas and auroras. No thanks needed for the remedial nuclear physics. note: no need to control nuclear reactions. If you want creation energy, forget about control rods and moderators and let er rip. Caveat : Do not try to create nuclear fusion at home. Your neighbors will notice the crater where your house used to be.

  47. Kiwi Silver badge

    That no one was involved in a crash proves that it was done safely .

    No it does not 'prove' that it was done safely at all.

    Really? Everyone came out ok; no accidents, near-misses, surprises or anything like that, but it wasn't safe? No "pucker moments", no evasive braking or steering, nothing. Not safe?

    I know of people who have driven in residential areas legally at speeds over 200km/hr without driving police cars. Remember when we used to have the Mobil 1 (IIRC was a long time ago!) in Wellington? The Hamilton V8 street racing? (and no I am not claiming I was involved in any of these)

    That was in very controlled conditions and only by drivers that were rated for those conditions. That is a very different thing than driving fast where other drivers of variable skill may appear. For those races the road was aligned and resurfaced with a special mix that was rated for the speeds of those cars and it was levelled to ensure safety. No other roads in NZ are made to those standards.

    Seriously? WOW! I didn't know they could do that! Re-align several Wellington streets, re-surface them with a "special mix", re-level them (taking out the camber which on many corners actually helps drivers), then put in some replica road markings and even fire-hydrants (see the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIGREJAw8kU, at around the 10-minute mark (that yellow thing in the middle of the road is a NZ fire hydrant) (video is just the Nissan Mobil 500 so they probably don't reach the 200k mark in that "clip") - they do all that re-aligning and surfacing and changing the road markings etc etc, all in a day or so as not to upset the locals (especially the port, businesses etc etc for cargo handling and commerce), and then they undo it all to take the roads back to exactly as they were before suffice for a few replica skid marks?

    (For something more recent, there's a clip of the Hamilton (NZ) V8 races at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qP8HikAT_wI in which you can clearly see the replica road markings they must put down (if what you say about resurfacing with "special mix" etc is true).

    This is done all over the world; Isle of Man, Monaco, IIRC some of the V8 stuff in Oz (etc etc where they have street racing).

    As to "driver ratings" - what of the many "open" races, including the many rallies on some of our wonderful gravel roads? We have races here on a variety of roads, often with drivers who've barely learnt how to use "big boy pants" let alone how to handle a car.

    Ah, you must be one of those who have downvoted me

    Actually, no, I have never downvoted _anyone_, nor upvoted.

    My apologies then.

    Are you one of those people who thinks that "nothing bad will happen ...

    > One of those people perhaps who believes ...

    No. No.

    Thank God for that! Those people scare the hell out of me!

    Oh. Because I know that our speed limit is arbitrary (that's why the government has just voted to raise it in certain areas!)

    The speed limit is set based on the state of the road, its surface, its camber, curves, sight lines and many other issues. NO road is New Zealand is safe to be driven on at 180kph, not even by emergency services.

    And yet, again, we have street races that top those speeds. We've had that done by emergency services as well. Admittedly this is for stretches rather than the whole road, but yes. The Auckland motorway with all onramps closed? Not a problem. In fact you could do over 300k on most stretches of that without issue (and no, I've not experienced those speeds in a stock road vehicle). The waikato expressway is able to support those speeds, and even the Kapiti expressway and SH1 through the Wellington motorway would easily be above 200 (for stretches under controlled conditions). SH2 via the Hutt Valley not so much, but there are stretches that'd be OK.

    But explain the Ngarunga gorge road - a 6-lane motorway with a legal limit of 80Kph down most of it. However, before the corner at the bottom with a 75Kph advisory speed, it becomes 100Kph. Near the speed camera (the most profitable in NZ, which BTW cannot get photos of people speeding in the fast lane on the uphill side (where the most crashes occur) giving the lie to the "protecting people" vs revenue gathering line!). The only reason for the 80k limit is the camera, and when you're around the curve out of sight of the camera it becomes 100k. However, we have many tight, winding gravel roads that have a posted limit of 100k. Set on the condition of the road? Try driving on NZ roads and see if you can honestly say that!

    You would be hard pressed to find tires that are rated to do 180kph, especially on the road surfaces found in NZ.

    You are kidding, right? My bike has ultra-cheap ultra-crap ultra-nasty hard-rubber tyres. I don't drive in a way that needs higher grip tyres, I'm not really interested in pushing the bike hard (and I like gravel roads so soft-compound tyres aren't an advantage). Same for my car's tyres (both vehicles are "H" - rated for 210K).

    I've checked a couple of friend's cars, both V rated, as in 240Km/hr.

    H-rating is very common for bikes. Many bikes I know have V and W ratings, and one has a Z rating (but the tyre itself only lasts a few hundred K, that guy has way more dollars than cents!). These are not special order tyres but over-the-counter stuff. I'd love to show you sites that cover it but as always NZ businesses don't like to have their products readily listed on their websites. You can see the ratings if you visit https://www.franksmc.co.nz/Tyres-Oils#ROADTYRES and hover over the pictures of tyres - no one else locally lists ratings.

    Or you can go in/phone any motorbike store and ask any about them if you want. For my car's tyres (170x70R13) I can only find H(210K) or T(190K) rated tyres locally - ie the only options for my car are over 180, so I'm "hard pressed to find" a tyre LOWER rated.

    The road surface can be another issue, but safe driving takes that into account anyway. Many roads can handle the speed fine on straights and gentle curves, but the volcanic chip can be interesting if you push things. Fastest I've been on gravel on a bike IIRC is only about 130K, but that was on a private track, with the right tools for the job.

    https://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-tire-information/, http://www.weeksmotorcycle.com/tire-speed-rating.html and https://www.blackcircles.com/general/speedrating are some options for checking speed ratings.

    Two roads have upped the limit to 110kph because they are new roads specifically engineered for faster speeds than has been the practice in the past.

    7 by my count (though after much hunting (not much in the way of reliable sources) only 2 may currently have that limit), them being :

    • Waikato Expressway: Longswamp, Rangiriri, Huntly, Hamilton, Cambridge, Ohinewai, Ngaruawahia, Te Rapa, Pokeno to Hampton Downs.

    • Tauranga Eastern Link

    • Upper Harbour Motorway

    • Northern Motorway (Johnstones Hill tunnels to Lonely Track Rd)

    • Southern Motorway (Bombay to Takanini)

    • Kapiti Expressway (Mackays to Peka Peka)

    (NZTA source)

    However not all may be at that limit yet (I thought it was to be by the end of the year, which is yesterday, but ICBW). The southern motorway certainly is not new. Not unless you count 1970s as "new" (by which definition I am quite young despite well past the wrong side of 40 :( ) - see this wikipedia article for more info, maybe. (I was only doing a quick check there because I'm pretty sure the southern motorway fails any definition of "new").

    What you have failed to notice is that I have not said half of what you imagine.

    What you failed to notice is that I haven't imagined anything, I have only responded to exactly what you _said_. It is you that imagines things, such as me down voting, what you think I believe, or you being safe.

    I've been an advanced safety instructor in the past. I've had training above most road users and keep my hand in. I have a much better idea of what is safe than most people, and I know my vehicles limits better than most people. You somehow think I have travelled at over 180k in unsafe and uncontrolled conditions. I've not opted to tell you what the conditions were but have given you many possibilities (some or all of which may or may not be what I experienced). You've written 'interesting' stuff about re-surfacing roads with "special mixes" for street races, and the speed rating of tyres, yet claim I don't know my stuff.

    I made an assumption about your voting record which I got wrong, you have made assumptions about my driving experience and history which you got wrong. But you also went on to make up stuff (if not out of your own head where did you get the garbage about "special mix" and re-alignments etc being used on the Wellington and Hamilton roads?) to support your arguments.

    I'm sure you can do better. If you try. Meanwhile, please tweet if you're ever driving on NZ roads because I'm concerned you may be putting to much of your mental resources into fabricating tales of miraculous road transformations being done in a few hours and not enough resources on the road around you.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      > Really? Everyone came out ok; no accidents, near-misses, surprises or anything like that, but it wasn't safe? No "pucker moments", no evasive braking or steering, nothing. Not safe?

      That you survived is not proof that it was 'safe'.

      > And yet, again, we have street races that top those speeds.

      And the crashes indicate that these are not 'safe'.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXAqCBYgAbM

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/news/85423069/it-got-away-on-me--driver-tells-of-surviving-167kmh-crash-during-targa-rally

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doLRUWNvJZs

      https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=targa+rally+crash&client=firefox-b&dcr=0&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjZ25vr6LXYAhXEjZQKHbA-DmUQsAQIQw&biw=1147&bih=632

      > You somehow think I have travelled at over 180k in unsafe and uncontrolled conditions.

      I have not speculated on what conditions you have travelled in, I stated that 180kph is unsafe on NZ roads.

      > However, we have many tight, winding gravel roads that have a posted limit of 100k.

      No they do not have "posted limit of 100kph". That would be done with a disk with 100 in in. What they may have is a white disk with a diagonal black stripe which is the end of the current posted speed limit, the so called 'open road limit'. It is true that the maximum speed that can be driven is 100kph, but just because there is no 'posted limit' does not mean it is rated for 100kph.

      http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/roadcode/about-limits/speed-limits/

      > Set on the condition of the road? Try driving on NZ roads and see if you can honestly say that!

      Does the last 50 years count?

      > Re-align several Wellington streets, re-surface them

      Actually that was in reference to the Hamilton race. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXAqCBYgAbM at the one minute mark, do you think that striped line is a normal road marking? Are the barriers usually there ?

      > 7 by my count (though after much hunting (not much in the way of reliable sources) only 2 may currently have that limit), them being :

      You are imagining things again. There are _2_ with that new limit only just come into force. There are several other areas being _considered_, but none announced. Most of these are new sections, some not yet completed, some only planned.

      > Southern Motorway (Bombay to Takanini) > Not unless you count 1970s as "new"

      The section under consideration for 110kph will be available after around 2020.

      "2018–2019 – Planning and design work to enable construction"

      http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/sh1-papakura-to-bombay

      You didn't search very hard.

      > you have made assumptions about my driving experience and history which you got wrong.

      You are imagining things again. Show me _anywhere_ that I made an assumption about your driving experience.

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      > they do all that re-aligning and surfacing and changing the road markings etc etc, all in a day or so

      I am not sure why you think it had to be done in a day*. They had months to prepare the course a section at a time, just like they do for normal road maintenance. The could remove traffic islands, realign curbs, resurface, design and build the required barriers (which also realign the road) and pits. Of course they needed to repaint the road markings - they were still being used as roads before the race day. The day before they only needed to install the pre-built barriers.

      * Perhaps it is because of your belief in late bronze age myths.

    3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      > and then they undo it all to take the roads back to exactly as they were before

      Did they do that? No, I think they left it pretty much alone except they did remove the barriers and the pits. Certainly they took away the chicane and the racing curbs. Maybe they put the traffic islands back at some point later. After all they may have wanted another race the next year.

  48. Delbert Grady

    declining scale related to $$

    I'd rather they 'wasted' their (our) money on chasing UFOs rather than designing ever easier ways to kill and hurt other humans..

    Then again.. i'd rather they spent their (our) money on health and education..

    and yet again .. i'd rather they gave a infinitesimal fraction and let me move to Nevada, lovely place, and i promise to buy a really big pair of binoculars & report any strange goings-on to the relevant authorities (obviously)

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So when we have proof that Aliens have been here......

    .......does that mean that current understanding of the limitations of the Speed of Light have to change?

    1. illiad

      Re: So when we have proof that Aliens have been here...... FTL

      Note it is not 'speed of light' , it is 'how do we Curve space (or make a 'stargate') easily, with a realistic amount of energy needed, and with the advanced navigation needed...' :)

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