Archive for February, 2011

UFOs: Myths, . . .

Book Review:

UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities by John B. Alexander, Ph.D.

The Long of It

I would hazard a guess that no one has made as extensive an effort to find a center for hidden UFO activities within the US Government/Military complex as the author of this book. This is especially true when one considers the kind of access that was made available to him. His knowledge of the inner workings of government, military and international organizations is quite complete. Once I got past the organizational alphabet soup and acronyms (a glossary of these would have been helpful) I found his conclusion quite convincing — no such deep black budget center exists. In addition he casts serious doubts on the long rumored existence of artifacts retrieved from cashed alien spacecraft, not to mention the reverse engineering of such artifacts to produce an alien reproduction vehicle.

Of course, many with near religious convictions, will find these these conclusions hard to swallow.

The Short of It

The book is not as thorough when it comes to science


First it needs to be acknowledged that UFOs exist. They exist by definition. However, the denotation of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) or, perhaps more accurately, Unidentified Ariel Phenomena (UAPs), is often contaminated with the connotation of alien spacecraft which makes for much misunderstanding, and this book is not entirely devoid of that confusion.

The author is listed as John B. Alexander, Ph.D. on the dust cover. He was employed for a period at Los Alamos National Laboratory as a project manager and that would seem to imply a scientific background.

Most of the evidence listed by the author is anecdotal in nature and really doesn’t qualify as scientific. Such evidence cannot be obtained at will and is not reproducible. Some photos, radar contacts, and physical trace evidence exist, but that kind of evidence, although recordable, cannot be replicated at will.

Any hypothesis that is created to cover the 5-10 % of reports that are not easily explained must be empirically verifiable or falsifiable. A metaphysical hypothesis is not acceptable as science. (to be fair, the author did not suggest any such hypothesis, in fact, no hypothesis at all). The presence of alien spacecraft is a valid hypothesis, also valid is the possibility of natural phenomena or domestic technologies that are not known to those doing the identifying.

There is, however, room for theoretical science, and speculation as to how it might apply to the observations listed in the book. The kind of information provided by Carol Rainey in the book Sight Unseen which she co-authored with Budd Hopkins would have been a nice addition.

An example of the kind of scientific speculation that could have been made applies to the sighting described at the bottom of page 30:

“He reported seeing an object moving across the dark sky with a stream of light trailing behind it. According to him the object abruptly stopped and the light seemed to be sucked into the source, much like a string of spaghetti might be vacuumed into one’s mouth. The light did not go out, but it seemed to withdraw into the UFO; something that lights don’t do.”

It is my understanding that a particle beam sent into the atmosphere can produce a ball of plasma which when maneuvered can produce this kind of effect. In fact, such a beam can produce many of the observed maneuvering characteristics of UFOs that would be impossible for a nuts and bolts craft. For more on this, search on “Particle Beams and Saucer Dreams” by Tom Mahood. Of course, even if this is true it still leaves open the question of whether the beam came from above or below and who sent it.

In the Epilogue the author states:

“There is little doubt that some unidentified flying objects are real, three-dimensional solid objects, which are physically present and observable.”

Some may indeed be real, but my “guess” is that they are a some kind of interactive, holographic projection whose purpose is long range remote sensing. This fits better with the way their movements are usually described. For more on this, search on “Alien Spacecraft: Real, Physical or Virtual?” by yours truly. Or go to The UFO Experience Reconsidered: Science and Speculation

Having said all that I nevertheless highly recommend this book on the strength of the parts which are the author’s long suit.

Robert L. Mason

Mendocino, CA


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Monday, February 28th, 2011 UFOs: Myths . . . No Comments

Painting by Albert Robbins

Worcester Cathedral

Worcester Cathedral

Albert Robbins was Uncle Rob’s first cousin twice removed. The painting shown here is of Worcester Cathedral and was  completed in 1888. It measures about 12″ x 16″ and was accomplished in oils. Albert Robbins was a trained architect.

Third cousin Andrew Smith sends the following coments:

“The subject was chosen . . . because the de Bordes had been living in Worcester around 1850, when the photo of Joseph was taken and our gt granmothers were young.

He [gt uncle Bert] like my Gran was a first cousin of your gran Miriam, I imagine they would have known each other.

Gt uncle Bert was in Mexico lookin for work in 1909, I have an interesting collection of post cards from him, sent back to my Gran and great aunt Nell telling the story of this trip.

According to  family notes written in 1990 by uncle Arnold (the 1900 baby), Gt uncle Bert who had been apprenticed with Rennie & Co ( where gt gt grandfather Joseph worked in the 1860’s ) Rennies were by this time Civil Engineers, Architects and Bridge Builders.

Uncle Bert found work  in Mexico and would have stayed but for a revolution. He later went to South Africa, became the City of Durban’s chief engineer, putting in the City’s first Cold Store, first Shark Net and the Tramway System. Upon retirement he went to Natal, often staying at the National Park hotel, remaining unmarried he died around 1945 aged 90+.”

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Saturday, February 12th, 2011 Painting by Albert Robbins 2 Comments

On Being Good

Be good my child and let those who will be clever”

There is something about this saying that has always grated against my basic instincts. I have heard it quoted on various occasions throughout the course of my life and now, with the perspective of old age, I believe I have finally come to a decision in its regard.

In my humble opinion the words “good” and “clever,” should be switched. If you are sufficiently clever you will realize that being good is distinctly to your advantage. In other words, it’s clever to be good and it’s good to be clever. I am, of course, using the word “clever” as a synonym for “smart” or “intelligent.” Those are the broad terms, and they include being good within their scope.

Human beings did not become the dominant species on planet Earth by being good, they did it by being clever. “Good” and “evil” are terms which only apply within the realm of human civilization. Civilization is a bit of cleverness devised by human beings to increase the probability of their survival. Thus, anything that aids civilization is “good” and anything that harms civilization is “evil.” To apply these terms to Mother Nature is inappropriate — an anthropomorphism. She simply does not operate in that manner, survival of the fittest is her mode.

In the past, and right up to the present, morals and ethics (being good) have often been taught to our youth as something for which they will receive reward or punishment depending on their degree of adherence to the cultural mores. The reward or punishment will be administered here on Earth or, should they escape that, in a heaven or hell thereafter. This is short sighted and a disservice to the young — an insult to their intelligence. Many of them will see through it far too easily and be left without a moral compass. It is much better to teach them morals and ethics as pragmatic and the result of intelligent deliberation by their peers. An appeal to their intelligence is more effective and permanent than threat of punishment or promise of reward. When an individual develops a personal precept that runs counter to the mores of their particular culture and he or she is forced to abandon actions based on that precept by the threat of punishment, most likely the precept will still be retained.

“A person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

However, if they are persuaded to abandon their precept by an appeal to their intelligence then they are truly changed. I believe the best moral guide for civilization is The Golden Rule.

There is another aspect of the saying at the beginning of this essay that I find odious. I suspect it has served as a sop to dissuade some people, primarily women, from attempting to be clever. Those with the traditional dominate position, primarily men, did not want to be challenged by those whom they felt should remain subservient. Considerable progress has been made recently in the West at overcoming this basic male insecurity. There remains some residual, but it is increasingly subtle. However, it is still glaringly obvious in other regions of the world, particularly in the Middle East. In Saudi Arabia even allowing a women to drive a car is somehow seen as a threat to male supremacy. Any society that systematically suppresses the intellectual expression of half their people is its own worst enemy.

“Be clever my child and let those who will be good”

Robert L. Mason

Mendocino, California


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Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 On Being Good No Comments