Friday, October 28, 2011

"Destroyed" Frederick Valentich file turns up in National Archives

Hi all

In 2004, in response to a Freedom of Information request which I submitted to the federal government Department of Transport, I was advised that the air safety investigation report on Frederick Valentich had been destroyed.

In fact, it is actually in the National Archives of Australia. For details see

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Does the multiverse really exist?

Dear readers,

I have mentioned in previous posts, that some UFO researchers suggest that the origins of the UFO phenomenon lie in the concept of a 'multiverse.' This is the idea that there is more than one universe in existence.

I came across an article by George F R Ellis in the August 2011 issue of Scientific American (pages 18-23), put it aside to read later, and have only just come across it again.

Ellis argues that there are in fact two types of multiverse being discussed, which he calls level 1 and level 2.

Level 1. "The most straightforward assumption is that our volume of space is a representative sample of the whole. Distant alien beings see different volumes, but all of these look basically alike, apart from random variations in the distribution of matter. Together, these regions, seen and unseen, form the basic type of multiverse."

Level 2. "Many cosmologists go further and speculate that, sufficiently far away, things look quite different from what we see. Our environs may be one of many bubbles floating in an otherwise empty background. The laws of physics would differ from bubble to bubble leading to an almost inconceivable variety of outcomes. These other bubbles may be impossible to observe even in principle. The author and other sceptics feel dubious about this type of multiverse."

Ellis provides examples of a range of multiverse thinking.

1. "They may be sitting in regions of space far beyond our own." (Guth, Linde and others.) The chaotic inflation model.

2. "They might exist at different epochs of time." (Steinhardt and Turok.)

3. "They might exist in the same space as we do but in a different branch of the quantum wave function." (Deutsch.)

4. "They might not have a location, being completely disconnected from our spacetime." (Tegmark and Sciama.)

"For a cosmologist, the basic problems with all multiverse proposals is the presence of a cosmic visual horizon. The horizon is the limit to how far away we can see, because signals travelling toward us at the speed of light (which is finite) have not had time since the beginning of the universe to reach us from further out."

"All the parallel universes lie outside our horizon and remain beyond our capacity to see...That is why none of the claims made by multiverse enthusiasts can be directly substantiated."

Ellis concludes that "All in all, the case for the multiverse is inconclusive. The basic reason is the extreme flexibility of the proposal..."

"As skeptical as I am, I think the contemplation of the multiverse is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the nature of science and on the ultimate nature of existence: why we are here."

"A systematic science of UFOs"

Dear readers

A delightful Spring day in Adelaide today, mild temperatures and blue skies.

Following my recent post asking if the study of UFOs was a pseudoscience, I was re-reading part of Leslie Kean's book "UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record." (Harmony Books. New York. 2010. ISBN 978-0-307-71684-2.)

Chapter 27 is titled "Militant Agnosticism and the UFO Taboo" written by Dr Alexander Wendt and Dr Raymond Duvall. In this chapter, among other things, they discuss, the need for a 'systematic science of UFOs' )p.280.)

"To go beyond the minimal scientific research that has already been done and make new breakthroughs, such a science will have to do three things.

"First, it will need to focus on aggregate patterns rather than individual cases. Given our inability to manipulate or predict UFO phenomena, there are inherent limits to what case studies can show.

"Second, a science of UFOs will need to focus on finding new reports rather than analyzing old ones. This is because existing high-quality reports are relatively few in number and were collected by accident and through a variety of means, making it almost impossible to find patterns.

"Finally, a science will need to focus on collecting objective, physical evidence rather than subjective eyewitness accounts, for only the former will convince the authorities that UFOs 'exist'..."

Wendt and Duvall go on to say "Any serious attempt to satisfy these requirements will require considerable technological infrastructure...and large amounts of money." (p.281.)

Kean herself argues for the need for a new US government agency to study UFOs. "With the launching of a new US government agency and the liberation of new resources, science could talk to its rightful place in the study of UFOs by claiming the subject as its own and beginning a new inquiry." (p.285.)


Given the experiences of non-US government agencies which have studied the UFO phenomenon, Kean's argument for a new US UFO agency seems to me to be naive. Despite the vast numbers who debate the UFO topic on the Internet, many within the US, there has been no sign to date of significant political will from any US source, to study UFOs. No political will, equates to no state funding of any proposed US UFO agency.

My own view, based on my reading of various material, is that funding for a new US government UFO agency will not be forthcoming.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Anomalous sea sighting - Jenny Randles

Jenny Randles' "UFO Casebook" column in issue 278, September 2011, of the Fortean Times magazine (p.29) looks at a report coming from a commercial vessel off the west coast of Scotland.

On 22 October 2010 at 1945hrs two crew members noted an object "...over the water, glowing bright but moving in an extraordinary manner - diagonally to them at speed...Its speed was equal to the fastest aeroplane but more maneuverable than a helicopter. In total it was "...present for about ten minutes before vanishing."

In looking first for a conventional explanation to account for the sighting, Jenny found that a Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute was stranded on shingle banks off the West coast of Scotland at the time of the UFO sighting. "The sub had secret stealth technology aboard which was under sea trail." "Any surveillance craft - either from our own military or from some foreign power - would have had good reason to be crossing this part of the ocean heading for the location of the stricken sub."

What is pseudoscience?

Science as a whole, often states that UFOlogy is a "pseudoscience."

An article in the September 2011 issue of Scientific American (Volume 305 number 3 p.77) about this topic, caught my eye. Written by Michael Shermer (click here) , it looks at the question of pseudoscience. It opens with "Climate deniers are accused of practicing pseudoscience, as are intelligent design creationists, astrologers, UFOlogists..."

Shermer notes that in Massimo Pigliucci's (click here) 2010 book 'Nonsense on stilts' (click here) he writes "...the boundaries separating science, nonscience and pseudoscience are much fuzzier and more permeable than Popper (or, for that matter, most scientists) would have us believe." Popper (click here) famously declared 'falsifiability' as the ultimate criterion of demarcation."

"The problem is that many sciences are nonfalsifible such as...the extraterrestrial hypothesis (click here)  On the last short of searching every planet around every star in every galaxy int he cosmos, can we ever say with certainty that ET's do not exist?"

"Sherman suggests a new test? "...does the revolutionary new idea generate any interest on the part of working scientists for adoption in their research programs, produce any new idea of research, lead to any new discoveries, or influence any existing hypotheses, models, paradigms or worldviews. If not, chances are its a pseudoscience."

Do reader's think that UFOlogy is a pseudoscience?

Faster than light?

Dear readers

A delightful spring day in Adelaide. Down to 8 degrees C overnight, and a lovely forecast maximum of 23 degrees today, with blue skies and fluffy cumulus clouds.

Today's post is about the possibility that we have discovered something which travels faster than light (click here for information on the speed of light.)

With UFO skeptics pointing out that it is impossible for a physical object to travel faster than the speed of light, the latest science news about possible faster than light neutrinos is intriguing.

"On 23 September, physicists with the OPERA (click here) experiment in Italy said they had caught neutrinos arriving from the CERN (click here) particle physics lab in Switzerland 60 nanoseconds sooner than light. That seemed to violate Einstein's theory of special relativity." (New Scientists no 2833 8 Oct 2011 p.10.)

The article continues by noting that numerous papers have been submitted "...suggesting numerous ways to account for the extraordinary claim...As well as several proposing short cuts through extra dimensions, explanations include neutrinos that move faster through the earth than through space, the notion that neutrinos might slice through dark matter while photons of light are slowed by the interaction, and the idea that a neutrino's speed depends on its direction and the time of day.

All in all, a fascinating possibility, which time will elaborate upon.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cold case investigation - further comments on the 10 January 1954 Morgan event


For some reason all my comments failed to be published in my last post on the 10 January 1954 event. Here are a few more;

5. The Sun set to the WSW.

6. Unlike Zanthus, there was only one object reported.

7. Morgan is located some 150 kms NE of Adelaide.

8. The aircraft would have been heading roughly SW at the time.

9. As shown in The Advertiser date 11 January 1954, the weather details for the 10 January were:

There was a high pressure south of Adelaide at the time.
The Adelaide temperature readings for 10 January were a maximum of 73.6 F; minimum 57.5 F.
The Adelaide barometer readings were 30.14 inches at 3pm and 30.21 inches at 9pm on the 10th.
The Adelaide relative humidity readings were 38% at 3pm and 67% at 9pm. on the 10th.
It was stated that the state was rainless on the 10th.
Winds were light and from the South to South-east over the Morgan area on the 10th.

What do readers think about a possible mirage explanation for the observation?

Cold case investigation - 10 January 1954 - Morgan, South Australia

Hi all

After studying the details of the Zanthus 1968 case and the 1954 BOAC case, I was pleasantly surprised to come across a local 1954 newspaper article, involving another aircraft, which seems to me, suggestive of a possible mirage explanation.

Plane crew sees sky object.

The article appeared in The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia) dated Monday 11 January 1954, on page 1. The headline was "Plane crew sees sky object." The text reads:

"The crew of an ANA airliner reported last night having seen what appeared to be a strange object in the sky about 15 miles north of Morgan.

Captain W Booth, pilot of a DC3 which left Broken Hill for Adelaide at 6.25pm, said the object appeared on and off for about six minutes.

His co-pilot, First Officer Furness said the object seemed to move back and forth across their line of flight as though circling, but they could not catch up with it.

Both the men said the object must have been an optical illusion but could not explain how it occurred.

Capt. Booth said he probably would not have noticed the object at all had he not been watching out for a north-bound plane which was due to pass at 7.40pm.

At exactly that time he saw an object which he first thought was the other aircraft, but as it appeared to manoeuvre he thought it might be an RAAF plane.

The Sun had just set and the object which was practically dead ahead of the DC3 appeared to move quite fast from side to side and slightly from east to west.

Capt. Booth then learned from the Parafield control room that there were no other aircraft in the area and assumed that the sight was caused by refraction rays from the Sun.

After about six minutes it became too dark to see the object.

Capt. Booth said he had been flying for 14 years but had never seen a similar sight before.

First officer Furness said the object remained in view for about 10 minutes. It appeared to be circling slowly and resembled the silhouette of an aircraft at a distance of 40-50 miles.

"We sighted it at about 7.40pm 15 miles north of Morgan when we were flying at 8000 ft," he said.

:At first I thought it was another aircraft and wondered that it was flying at the same altitude as we were.

"We spoke to Parafield and were told that the nearest aircraft was a DC4 at Tailem Bend.

"I thought that it was an eagle flying unusually high, but we didn't seem to get any closer to it.

"It disappeared several times in the haze and cloud layer while it was circling."

First officer Furness said he felt the object must have been an optical illusion of some sort but he could not explain how it might have occurred."

My comments:

1. Interestingly, as with Zanthus, the Morgan observation was from an aircraft flying at 8000 feet altitude.

2. As with Zanthus, a check revealed there were no other aircraft in the area at the time.

3. As with Zanthus, the Sun had just set. A check with an astronomical software program confirmed this.

4. As with Zanthus, the object appeared to be at the same altitude as the aircraft,