back to article Nearly 1 in 5 academics admit close encounters of the anomalous kind

A survey of academics has found that nearly one in five reported an experience with unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAPs, previously known as UFOs and unidentified aerial phenomena), which researchers say signals the need to ditch the stigma surrounding sightings and broaden inquiries. In a paper published today in Nature, a …

  1. tiggity Silver badge

    Sigh

    I'm sure a decent percentage of religious people will claim to have had a meaningful religious experience involving some form of mental / physical contact with their god(s) of choice - I'm not about to start taking that very seriously just because people claim its happened (academics or not - I know plenty of "academics", quite a few are not that bright / intellectually curious, for many its just another greasy pole climbing career these days ).

    Strange now that many people have a mobile with a camera (albeit not a great camera in most cases) that we have not been inundated with lots of convincing UAP evidence.

    I like wildlife watching and so likely spend a lot more time than average scanning the skies (including when its varying levels of darkness as enjoy looking for bats and owls). Also enjoy looking at the night sky, be it meteor showers, just IDing planets, constellations, watching ISS "flypasts" / other satellites etc. Despite a well above average time spent sky watching yet to see a UAP... Though maybe it helps that I can ID a plane (stating the obvious but number of mis IDed planes people call as UAP is huge), weather balloon, understand the strange effects sometimes caused by reflections off clouds (& how odd some cloud formations can look) etc.

    I would be delighted to see a (genuine) UAP - but unsurprisingly not seen one as I have been able to explain the "odd" things I have occasionally seen (e.g. been lucky enough to see will o the wisp light effects over wetlands when looking for roving woodcock, sadly never had the luck of seeing more unusual stuff like ball lightning)

    1. Brian 3

      Re: Sigh

      You can't even get a good shot of a deer from 50 feet with a 4k GoPro, what do you think you'll get of something kilometers away in the sky?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sigh

        Anything at all.

      2. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Sigh

        I’m fairly sure that I would get _something_. People used to get alleged pix and video of ‘phenomena’ in the past. Very few people would have been carrying still cameras, even fewer would have had video cameras. Now almost everyone has a camera. There should be vast numbers of stills and video. There isn’t.

        1. Brian 3

          Re: Sigh

          Well, why don't you give it a try then? Go take a random shot of the night sky with your daily carry and see what you get, if it will pick up anything beside the moon if it's available. See how many seconds or minutes to get some semblance of focus?

      3. cookieMonster Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Sigh

        I hear Samsung’s are great at taking shots of the sky, especially things as far away as the moon

      4. ICL1900-G3

        Re: Sigh

        Other cameras are available.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Cellphone Cameras Taking Crappy Pics; and Crappy Pics Not Submitted as "Evidence"

        I've never used a GoPro, but I take your point. See: https://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/film-resolution.htm

        There are plenty of "gotchyas" for film photography (film format, film sensitivity, f-stops and exposure times, lens quality, and whether or not the photographer can hold the camera on target for the required amount of time), but due to the software embedded in cellphone cameras, I can't even take a good shot of a boat of people on a river 100 feet away, on a sunny day, because the damn embedded software munges the image: the wavelets look like grey digital noise, and the boat and people look indistinct. That was using a Samsung A13. I've also had consumer-grade digital camera munge images; in one case, my two-feet-away photo of a flat-panel display was changed from red text on a black background to white text on a blue background.

        When the pics are sufficiently-crappy, they aren't submitted as UFO "evidence", because they could be depicting a UFO, or a traffic light, or Elvis, or ...

        Then, there is the human element, as illustrated in the Fleetwood Mac song, "Hypnotized" [ lyrics at: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-e&q=Fleetwood+Mac+Hypnotized+lyrics ].

        (I am agnostic on the existance of UFOs, etc.)

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sigh

        you just have to ask ChatGPT to enhance the image

    2. pdh

      Re: Sigh

      https://xkcd.com/1235/

      1. James O'Shea

        Re: Sigh

        That's it exactly.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: Sigh

          I've seen a number of things over the years, moving waaaaay too slowly to be a plane ie a single point of light (no other port\starboard flashing lights) from South to NNE taking about 25 mins to cross the late evening summer sky (& reported in the local press) or so fast I barely had time to register it was something weird, this was in my younger days when for better or worse we didnt have cellphones to record everything.

          I confess I've been caught out & confused by aircraft on turning for final approach to YYC on dark mornings as they seemed to move slowly & hang in the sky, until the turn was sufficient to make out the port/startboard lighting.

          However about 3 years ago, I was witness to a fireball\meteor over southern Alberta traversing South to North, first spotted through the passenger side window while stopped at lights, definately a once in a lifetime experience although it wasnt bright enough or fast enough to turn night into day* & comparitively close to the ground (& getting closer) to get an impression of size. Alas I didn't have time to have my windscreen mounted phone camera recording, but have a dashcam now for future events (However unlikely I will get to experience a second).

          * https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-australia-65668065

      2. IceC0ld

        Re: Sigh

        also

        https://xkcd.com/718/

    3. LionelB Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Sigh

      This is what I don't get: the "U" stands for "Unidentified" (or is it "Unexplained" now?) whatever, why can't we leave it at that? Why the leap from unidentified/unexplained to wooooooo?

      Sure I've seen loads of shit I don't have a good explanation for in my life - to which it always seemed the reasonable reaction was Wtf was that all about? Haven't a clue - but maybe someone else does, and there're probably 1000 explanations that fall well short of looneytoon.

      1. PB90210

        Re: Sigh

        ElReg - "classify them as either explainable or extraterrestrial"

        Erm... shouldn't that be explainable or not (currently) explainable... they could be coming from that base hidden under Antarctica ;^)

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Sigh

        "Why the leap from unidentified/unexplained to wooooooo?"

        There was a bloke in Sheffield recently who "identified" a "UFO" and decided to signal it with his laser pen for almost 40 minutes.

        He currently has a 6 month suspended sentence for "using the laser beam to dazzle or distract the pilot [of a police helicopter], contrary to the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Act 2018."

    4. xyz Silver badge

      Re: Sigh

      I'm obviously not a scientist then. 8 bleeding years I've been camped out in the middle of nowhere, in an alledged ufo hotspot, game cameras et al set up and not even a sniff of an alien armpit or even a dodgy light in the sky.

      In me defence I am doing other things, but you would think in 8 years I'd see something that made me go mmmm... Let's hope "they" read El Reg and put on a show for me soon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sigh

        Scotland's 'hotspot' is supposedly Bonnybridge... slap bang between Edinburgh (~25m E) and Glasgow (~25m W) airports

    5. Mishak Silver badge

      Photo quality

      I like the way Elon Musk covered this

  2. Howard Sway Silver badge

    UAPs, previously known as UFOs

    I'm sorry, who has started callng them UAPs instead of UFOs? Anyone you know? Hell, even the spellchecker checking this comment in my browser is happy with UFO but not UAP. Ever seen a headline saying "man claims he was abducted by UAP"?

    It's not even linguistically necessary : the distinction between "flying" and "aerial" is very pernickety, as is that between "object" and "phenomenon". The people pushing for this linguistic change about unexplained sky things are not my cup of tea, indeed they deserve to be softly hit by a flying saucer.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

      If someone is claiming to have been abducted by something, then it's clearly not a UFO - as they have identified it.

    2. LenG

      Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

      There is a very significant difference between the connotations of UAP and UFO. Personally I find the new terminology both more precise and less lumbered with connotations of little green men and alien inteligences.

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

        Well, WAP" sounds better than "Oofoe/Youfoe", I suppose.

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

          WAP? Didn't we move to 3G years ago?

          And have now moved to 5G to activate Bill Gates' vaccines...

    3. A. Coatsworth Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

      The meaning of "UFO" has been tainted with crackpot histories of little green pyramid builders, cow stealers and orifices probers, so it is difficult to take the word (or anyone using it) seriously.

      The new term "UAP" tries to cover the original meaning of UFO: something that is observed in the air and cannot be clearly explained.

    4. JimC

      Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

      Dunno, I think there's sense in UAP as a phrase. Flying implies a physical thing, so for that matter does object, Aerial phenomenom covers mirages, optical illusions, and doesn't make the presumption there's actually something there.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

      I think the distinction came about when people on social media started claiming that the plume of a SpaceX rocket was alien. Since they were seeing the plume and not the rocket itself, it can be unhelpful to incorrectly refer to these as unidentified objects which gives unnecessary credence to the claims.

    6. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

      If you use a term for something, and people start misusing that term and sounding like complete lunatics, there are two approaches you can take. The first is to get very pedantic and correct anybody who uses the term, but if your use isn't the most common, you will lose that fight. The second is to make up a new term for your thing and let them have the old one. This is in addition to the correct points others have made about the precision of UAP being higher than UFO.

      Here's a parallel. "Alien" used to mean a person from another country, basically a foreigner. The dictionary still has it now. It's not used that way anymore; sometimes it's used for a foreigner who doesn't have legal permission to be somewhere, but even that use isn't the most common. Since people started using the word to refer to potential extraterrestrial life and science fiction made that usage familiar to most English speakers, it started sounding pretty weird to call people aliens. UFO worked when someone wanted a term for "I saw something in the air and I don't know what it is", but after people turned it into "a thing that's either definitely an alien spacecraft or never existed because someone made it up as a hoax", we needed a new term for "I don't know what it is".

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

        No, no, no...

        Alien is any non-British "person".

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

          "Alien is any non-British "person""

          Or if you are Sting or EU, a British person.

    7. Dom 3

      Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

      It's "unidentified anomalous phenomenon", and therefore covers a $thing observed underwater as well as $things in the air.

      I'm surprised this article hasn't trotted out the infamous Pentagon videos - gofast, gimbal, etc.

      I watched one Youtube video about one of these showing how the HUD info (speed, bank, etc) combined with a bit of maths was more than sufficient to show that the UAP was *entirely* consistent with a weather balloon at lower altitude. I didn't bother with the rest.

      The *real* mystery is how come the Pentagon's boffins couldn't do this and end up getting shown up by some random Youtuber.

      Obvs., lack of mobile phone vids and pics is cos the visitors from Tannhäuser Gate disable electronics in the vicinity. Unsurprising, cars conking out and so on are a common theme in reports of close encounters of the second kind and are in fact part of what classifies it as "second kind".

      I suspect most commentards are like me - would *love* to see something dead weird, but utterly unconvinced that anything's ever happened that couldn't be explained - in normal terrestrial terms - with sufficient data.

      If you want a giggle, find a copy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spaceships_of_Ezekiel, the cover of which is a good example of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge%27s_law_of_headlines

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

        I don't know if it was one of your infamous Pentagon videos but I do recall seeing one sequence shot on film through the starboard side of the canopy from inside an aircraft cockpit. It consisted of a group of lights apparently keeping very exact station from each other and the plane. When the shot was zoomed in the points turned into larger blotches of light.

        Having spent the first half of my working life using microscopy - including helping out at student classes - I know very well the appearance of a grossly unfocussed light source. I could see that the camera lens had a 5-blade diaphragm. I'm quite sure there was a cluster of exactly that number of indicator lights somewhere on the port side of the cockpit.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

          Yes, I well remember the entire second or two I was convinced a UFO was pacing my car as a drove up the motorway at night that I saw out of the corner of my eye. Then I remembered the new cigar-lighter USB adaptor I'd plugged in with it's red LED indicator in the centre console that was now nicely reflecting of the slightly curved side window :-)

    8. sabroni Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: the distinction between "object" and "phenomenon" is very pernickety

      Ha! You think those two words mean the same thing!

      The point is to remove the word "object" which implies physical presence and replace it with "phenomena" which can be just inside your head.

    9. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

      I think it was the US government's AATIP lads who started calling them UAPs.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UAPs, previously known as UFOs

      While I don;t agree the name change was really needed, light catching a cloud isn't a flying object but it's an aerial phenomenon. It's also an explanation for a lot supposed of UFOs.

  3. WolfFan Silver badge

    Cool

    So… none of these people were carrying their cell phones, or the ‘phenomenon’ got out of sight before the phone could be deployed, eh?

    I find it fascinating that, in an era where just about everyone has an excellent camera, capable of taking high resolution video as well as still images, so few pix/videos of ‘phenomena’ has been taken, and so many of said pix/videos appear to be fake.

    This is over and above the simple question: Why The Fuck Are These Whatever They Are Coming Here?, and the related question: How The Fuck Are They Getting Here?

    Hint: they ain’t coming from anywhere else in the Solar System. Venus is too hot, has an atmosphere totally incompatible with carbon-based life (sulphuric acid. High temps. High pressure.) to the extent that anything that could live there would die if it came here. Mercury has, effectively, no atmosphere, and is even hotter. Mars has a very thin atmosphere, and any life there is really good at hiding out. The gas giants are very cold, totally incompatible with oxygen-breathing life and have high gravity and lots of radiation. The asteroids are right out. This means that any visitors have to come from some other star system. Problem: Faster Than Light appears to be impossible. And if, by some miracle, it can be done, would require lots of power. This would mean Very Large Ships. Slower Than Light would take years to decades to centuries, and require Even Bigger Ships. In either case such ships would be naked eye visible at low orbit. Possibly naked eye visible as far out as the Moon, depending. A STL ship using a reaction drive (a rocket or similar) would be naked eye visible anywhere inside the orbit of Mars!

    So… anyone saying that we have had visitors needs to explain how said visitors weren’t detected on their way in by legions of amateurs with telescopes and even binoculars, much less by professionals with bigger telescopes and radar! And why the visitors bother, and why even one such visitor hasn’t just parked above a major city and got on the radio to announce that the planet is under new management. Just point the main motor down and light it for a few seconds, those outside the city will get the point, those inside the city will be too dead to argue. Or drop a rock or two. Rocks are cheap and plentiful, gravity is free, a nice rock will make a mess when it lands. An alien ship in orbit would _own_ the planet. Period.

    Nah. Show me some data. Until then, it’s considerably easier to assume that anyone seeing ‘phenomena’ is mistaken or faking.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Cool

      The chances of anything coming from Mars

      Are a million to one, he said

      The chances of anything coming from Mars

      Are a million to one, but still, they come

      No one would have believed

      In the last years of the nineteenth century

      That human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space

      No one could have dreamed that we were being scrutinized

      As someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water

      Few men even considered the possibility of life on other planets

      And yet, across the gulf of space

      Minds immeasurably superior to ours

      Regarded this Earth with envious eyes

      And slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Cool

      So… none of these people were carrying their cell phones, or the ‘phenomenon’ got out of sight before the phone could be deployed, eh?

      What kind of pictures you think you're going to get, unless the UFO is hovering 50 feet above you? It would be like taking a cell phone video of a plane flying miles overhead, just a few pixels moving - along with artifacts from the image stabilization function.

      Let's say one floated 50 feet above me and I took a video of it and posted it to social media and it quickly went viral and spread round the globe. Are you going to believe it is real, when a more reasonable conclusion would be that it was faked with CGI or it was a model because I wanted to go viral - or that the video (and me!) was a ChatGPT "hallucination"? If experts look at the video and say "we can't prove it is a fake" will you believe it is real or that I found a way to fake it that fooled the experts?

      Heck if one landed at the White House and aliens got out and spoke to Biden by the rose garden and it was reported on live by all the major news networks there would be tons of people all over the internet claiming it is a psyop with the willing involvement of all the networks, that Biden set it up as a fake to distract from Hunter's laptop, or a million other crazy theories.

      1. James O'Shea

        Re: Cool

        If you have a picture of _something_, well, that pic can be reviewed. However, there aren't a whole lot of pictures.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Cool

          I know of one published picture. It was taken by my cousin's son and published in a UFO magazine.

          It was a ban lin suspended on a fishing line. The magazine took the bait.

      2. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Cool

        I would expect to get a picture. And some video.

        There are vast numbers of mouth-breathing Fox viewers out there; this does not alter the fact that if a ‘phenomenon’ landed on the White House lawn, the entire world who are not mouth-breathing Fox viewers would know about very quickly.

        And it does not alter the fact that an interstellar capable craft would be naked eye visible in orbit. Even mouth-breathing Fox viewers could see it.

        Video and stills can be examined for fakes; that’s how certain ‘phenomena’ were confirmed to be fake. And there would be physical evidence; the exhaust of the motor would leave traces. Unless it’s a reactionless drive, which causes more problems with physics than FTL, but hey, maybe they can build one. Proving it will be interesting.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cool

          "And it does not alter the fact that an interstellar capable craft would be naked eye visible in orbit."

          Even mouth-breathing Fox viewers (whatever they are) would know that such a spacecraft would be cloaked. They've all seen Star Trek.

          The landing motor could be a fuel cell powered fan, or even a nuclear-powered fan. Yes, you could measure the exhaust as it went past, but not afterwards.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Cool

            "Even mouth-breathing Fox viewers (whatever they are)"

            Me too. If a mouth isn't for breathing, why is it connected to ones airway? If the poster thinks only the nose is for breathing, why can't I eat and drink at the same time via my mouth? He used the phrase at least three times, so I suppose it must have sort of cultural or religious significance in his locality :-)

            I'm currently suffering from hay-fever and very grateful for the fact I can be a "mouth breather". The other option would be being dead.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cool

          > And it does not alter the fact that an interstellar capable craft would be naked eye visible in orbit.

          I love how people who so quickly deny the possibility of extraterrestrial craft are also so confident in knowing how such craft are constructed.

          1. James O'Shea

            Re: Cool

            Physics says how they must be constructed. If you have the very best reaction motor, a photon rocket, with an exhaust velocity of c, it is trivial to work out what the mass ratio must be to get to any delta vee you need. Mission delta vee is the total change in velocity required to complete the mission: gas to get there and back, that is. Delta vee is equal to exhaust velocity times the natural log of mass ratio.You plug in the value of your delta vee and your exhaust vee, you have your natural log of the mass ratio. And then you know what size ship you have to have. You can't get a better rocket than a photon rocket. (There are a few problems with thrust, but that's engineering. Fixable, with enough magic tech.) Now, if you have really magic tech and have a reactionless drive, you don't care about mass ratios. You do still care about power levels. Straight Newtonian physics, you don't even need to pay attention to Einstein, again dictates what size ship you need. If you're slower than life, you need life support for decades or centuries of travel. If you're fast than light, you still need life support for your trip time. That means space to park stuff. Again, it is trivial to work out what you need.

            No, the classic small craft ain't big enough. They could be landers, sent down from a mothership in orbit, but the mothership is going to be quite large.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Cool

              Physics says that alligators are ornery because they got all them teeth and no toothbrush...

              Science is done. All facts discovered. All new discoveries moot.

              Seriously though, "physics" is what we *currently* understand them to be. Things do and should change... that used to be the ethos of scientific work.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Cool

              Yeabut, I built my rocket engine from Dark Matter and powered it with Dark Energy. And I have my handy dandy worm-hole opener too. Plug them numbers into your calculator matey!

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cool

        What kind of pictures you think you're going to get, unless the UFO is hovering 50 feet above you? It would be like taking a cell phone video of a plane flying miles overhead, just a few pixels moving - along with artifacts from the image stabilization function.

        Well, unless what you've seen is very unusual and genuinely unexplainable, then your claim of it being a UFO is questionable in the first place. Any such phenomena should be relatively easy to capture on camera.

        The question is, with nearly 7 billion smartphones on the planet, where are the pictures?

        1. Stephen Wilkinson

          Re: Cool

          The same goes for the photo's of wild big cats in the UK, they always seem to be blurry pictures of a domestic cat!

      4. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Cool

        "If experts look at the video and say "we can't prove it is a fake" will you believe it is real or that I found a way to fake it that fooled the experts?"

        Neither. I will believe that we don't know what happened. However, there's a major difference between "can't prove fake" and "can prove real", and I will apply Occam's Razor; if you saw something hanging above you and nobody else saw it, it's more likely that it was created for the shot rather than that some craft appeared near you then instantly disappeared again. I'd also point out that experts don't just say "I can't prove that doesn't exist". They provide a lot of data which I can verify which explains what factors make it more likely to be real or not. People know a lot about cameras, lighting, movement, and trickery, so they'll analyze it under a lot of conditions and summarize all those findings.

        The reason I find this more logical is that it's what's happened every time a famous UFO has come along. People have demonstrated gaping holes in the stories, and in some cases they've gotten the evidence of deliberate creation. Even when they haven't, they are able to point to clear problems with the story which make it unlikely to be true even though they can't prove it false. An expert's conclusion of "I can't prove this false, but there are a bunch of red flags that make the story implausible" is more common than "I can't prove it true, but everybody's analysis says that it probably is".

    3. BOFH in Training

      Re: Cool

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. So yeah, any claims of UFO or little green men need alot of proof.

      With that said, we are hardly the experts to say what forms life in other planets/asteroids/moons can take, just cos we know of carbon based oxygen breathing life in our home planet. And even on earth we got some very unusual life in very surprising places - such as at the vents of underwater volcanoes, with all the heat and pollution (and you did mention sulphuric acid), etc. Some of the life in such areas dont even need oxygen.

      And even now there is debate as to are virus alive. After all they don't even have the traditional machinery we expect in a cell.

      So there is even a chance that we may not even recognise life when we see it sometimes cos it is so different from our current experiences and expectations.

      We are barely able to get stuff flying around our solar system, and its been decades since we even managed to send a human to our moon. I think that qualifies us as the clueless newbies when it comes to possibilities of space flight and life in space.

      No doubt from our limited knowledge and perspective, light speed is a huge problem. Let's wait a couple of centuries till we can actually confidently move humans around the solar system before we claim that there is nothing out there and there is nothing we/anyone/anything can do.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

        No. Extraordinary claims require proof. Your version sounds clever but simply means "I believe in the status quo".

        1. BOFH in Training

          Re: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

          Problem is, 40 years ago, a photo or video may have been considered as sufficient proof.

          Now, almost any image or video can be manipulated or even created from scratch. So yeah, proof has to be extraordinary enough so that most people will not claim it was faked.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

            40 years ago it was Reagan's era, just before Photoshop became available :-)

            It has been possible to doctor photos since the beginning of that technology...

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Cool

        @BOFH in Training

        "Some of the life in such areas don't even need oxygen."

        Many people speculate that the great oxidation event a couple of billion years ago (when available oxygen started to get "common", probably due to cyanobacteria or similar "early" oxygen producer organisms) likely wiped out swathes of anaerobic organisms, who knows how evolution of life on earth would have changed without the early oxygen producers

    4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Cool

      Or even a basic DSLR camera... ok if its on auto any bright night image blurs out.... but if on the right night setting it will snap the UFO

      The problem comes in "What do they come here for?" an ordinary G2 star with a some rock planets and a couple of gas giants ? naww... intelligent life? wow... we've made nukes and spaceships and managed to land 12 men on the moon. impressive when they've just come 1500 light years in 30 minutes(or less).

      The only reason to come here would be resources, and the last thing they'd want is us lot getting in the way .. hence the thing about space rocks and giving it 10 years for the dust(and remains of humanity) to settle out of the atmosphere.

      Of course I could be wrong and they come here to say hello to another lifeform....... in which case why dont they just land on Buckingham palace and say "Hi humanity"?

      The only solution is that UFOs are exactly that, unidentified, and as for being from a star far far away.... a very very very very very small chance

      1. BOFH in Training

        Re: Cool

        Doubt they will come here for resources since I doubt we have any special unobtainium resources that you can't get elsewhere easily.

        If you can travel even a couple of light years at a reasonable speed(not even necessarily at light speed), you can probably grab all the resources you need peacefully, assuming you don't have a way to convert energy into whatever material you need in the first place. Something like a very partial dyson swarm will probably give you enough energy to do alot of energy to matter conversion. no matter how inefficient it may be.

        Why do we explore our world? Why do we send probes and humans to the deepest parts of our world? It's unlikely we can extract any resources from 11km below sea level in the mariana trench anytime soon, yet we explore.

        Why is that not enough reason for some other being wanting to visit here? And if they visited, they may be just like us, observing indigenous peoples with limited or no contact.

        At least until we have proven that we have outgrown our predilection for greed and aggressive behaviour.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Cool

          We certainly do explore, but we haven't bothered exploring a lot of places. The deepest part of the ocean? Yes, we've been there. The other parts of the ocean that are not as deep? Most of them are untouched by humans, and those that aren't are touched because we ended up dropping broken ships on them, not because we deliberately went there. There are even parts of land that have had relatively little exploration, and I'm not only limiting that to Antarctica.

          It's always possible that alien life exists somewhere, but if they're coming here, they probably live pretty close to us. We aren't interesting enough to visit otherwise. Our planet isn't particularly interesting from afar, so unless they're coming just to look at life, they won't be attracted. However, if there's one civilization elsewhere, it's likely there are more, and they may have seen enough alien life that they don't really need to see more. That's assuming that any life that may or may not exist has travel technology that we don't have and may not be possible to build, something we won't know for a few more centuries.

    5. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Cool

      And why the visitors bother

      Or for that matter, WTF the visitors are obsessed with mutilating cows and probing red-necks' anuses.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. A. Coatsworth Silver badge

    >> with slightly less than a quarter saying UAPs were caused by natural events (my emphasis)

    Shirley, if they offered an explanation, the U in UAP is rendered moot and it was simply some natural event?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "caused by a natural event" is a still a belief not a fact if they don't what the event was that caused it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's your left foot called?

    Wish they'd done a parallel survey - how many perfectly normal phenomena can you identify?

    I realized the... limitations... of people one day when a perfectly intelligent and degreed friend had no idea which side of the moon brightens first. Gentle probes of others revealed several similarly 'vague' about that brightest object in the night sky.

    Looked out my front door for a package the other day, caught a glance at the sky, and got my SO to come outside to look. The neighbors were like "is it the apocalypse?" Mammatus clouds, I say. "Errr?", they say. I see them about twice a year. They've never seen them.

    "Aahhh, a bee!!" he screams. It's a fly, I say. "It's a bee!!" No, look at how it flies, they're completely different. Other person runs away, I stop and watch. Then again, I've sat on the ground for 20 minutes watching a solitary bee come out of its natal burrow, climb vegetation, dry out and fly off.

    "Eeek, what's that sound? It's spooky, I'm leaving!" It's a roadrunner. Granted, to me they do sound like a puppy loudly whining through a paper tube.

    If you are observant, you appreciate what you see. Lovely things. Too many others are just startled by 'normal'.

    1. Slipoch

      Re: What's your left foot called?

      foxes sound like a woman or young girl screaming.

      1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        Interpretations of Natural Things

        When we lived in the country, some neighbours 1/4 mile away kept peacocks, and one day some escaped. My four-year-old brother came running into the kitchen, eyes wide, and said, "Mom, there's a turkey outside and it's calling for help!"

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Interpretations of Natural Things

          Was it Christmas?

    2. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: It's a roadrunner. Granted, to me they do sound like a puppy...

      According to a documentary I once saw (possibly produced by the ACME corporation, they certainly had a lot of product placement in it), the sound is more like a "meep! meep!"

  7. Zenubi

    Astronomy 101 - How to identify that light in the sky

    https://www.leagueoflostcauses.com/blog/2013/08/astronomy-101.html

  8. Sparkus

    As with so much in these Troubled Times...

    Stop Normalizing Mental Illness.......

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: As with so much in these Troubled Times...

      As time goes on, I find myself becoming more and more certain that Neurotypicals are a myth made up to make us all angry at each other.

    2. cmdrklarg

      Re: As with so much in these Troubled Times...

      Normal is what everyone else is, and you are not.

  9. aerogems Silver badge
    Alien

    I'm on board with the idea. Just because most of them probably won't turn out to be aliens or time travelers doesn't mean we couldn't learn something useful from them. And if any of them ARE aliens or time travelers, then we could potentially learn even more.

  10. Slipoch

    One way of creating a UAP event is to grab two sticks of balsa in a cross and tie one of those thin black garbage bags to the 4 endpoints, on the balsa you put a bunch of birthday candles.

    Light them all up, and a soft glowing spherical thing will rise into the sky.

    Due to the way the light manifests through the bag, size and distance are really hard for an observer to determine, then you will get a bunch of people claiming UAP/UFO evidence off it. (some will claim it was moving super fast, others super slow).

    This has been done since the 70's that I know of.

    (Never do this in spring/summer in Australia please, we get enough bushfires from lightening strikes and fuckwits)

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      If phenomena are unexplained there's no reason to believe they are all the same thing. They cannot, then, form a coherent field of study unless it be the psychology of those attempting to explain them.

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      I've always wanted to do this

      but I couldn't bring myself to do something that risky in Australia at any time.

  11. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
    Joke

    Why a Cellphone Camera will NEVER Capture a Picture of a UFO

    1. Random Person looks up, sees a UFO or a UFO-like thing. "OMG! It's a UFO, or a UFO-like thing! I gotta get a picture of this!!!"

    2. RP pulls cellphone out of their pocket, and presses the wake-up button on the side of the phone.

    3. Enter PIN: "Okay, 3, 3, 8, 1 ... oh, no, wait, it's '3-3-7-1'!" [Backspace] [backspace] 7, 1, [OK]. "Dammit!" [OK] [OK] [OK]. No response from phone. RP carefully wipes off phone screen, then very lightly touches [OK], and phone unlocks.

    4."Okay, 'camera' ... 'camera' ... looking for 'camera' ..." RP scrolls to and fro through pages of apps, which are not alphebetized.

    5. "Got it!" RP taps 'Camera' app icon.

    6. Camera: intializing ...

    7. Camera: Preparing ...

    8. Camera: Getting ready ... (A spinning circle appears)

    9. Camera: Almost there ...

    10. Camera: Oops, something went wrong. Re-initializing ...

    11. Screen goes blank, but with a large spinning circle in the middle, and no screen-buttons for user to touch.

    12. Camera: Done.

    13. Screen clears. Touch [OK] to continue. RP touches [OK].

    14. Screen shows camera-view. RP aims camera at UFO (or UFO-like thing) in sky and touches the 'shutter' button.

    15. Camera auto-focus-with-no-manual-override locks on to its target. FLASH!

    16. RP has a beautiful, hi-res photo of a leaf on a tree. The background of the sky looks completely black.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Why a Cellphone Camera will NEVER Capture a Picture of a UFO

      The last few items might be right, but you can replace items 3-5 with tapping the camera icon on the lock screen. On all IOS devices, you can access the camera without unlocking with a swipe, and most Android devices I've seen have put a method of accessing the camera on the lock screen which can be changed in the settings but people don't bother. People who take a lot of pictures with their phones are probably pretty familiar with doing that quickly, and even I who very rarely use the camera know it's possible.

      You can also replace steps 6-13 with nothing, because you made that up. Have you used your phone's camera and gotten a startup crash every time? I have used it, as I said, on occasion and it doesn't take forever to open or crash.

  12. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "unidentified anomalous phenomena"

    So UAPs don't have to fly?

    That sure should expand the amount of observations.

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