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Scotland: Aliens' Official Favorite Destination 610

Posted by timothy
from the decent-haggis-hard-to-find dept.
scubacuda writes: "This Reuters article says that Scotland has the highest concentration of UFO sightings--300 per year, the most per square kilometer and per head of population of anywhere in the world. That means 0.004 UFOs for every square kilometer of Scotland -- a rate four times as high as in France or Italy, earth's other UFO hotspots. (In comparison, only 2,000 UFOs are spotted every year in the United States represent, making just 0.0002 sightings per square kilometer. Bonnybridge--30 miles west of Edinburgh--seems to be the Scotland equivalent of Roswell, New Mexico). UFO nuts explain it in terms of aliens being attracted to remote areas. But can anyone say *autosuggestion*?"
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Scotland: Aliens' Official Favorite Destination

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  • by TDScott (260197) on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:30PM (#3757393)
    "The Demon-Haunted World" by Carl Sagan does an excellent job of debunking such myths and mysteries, as does the Skeptic's Dictionary [skepdic.com].

    Funny what people believe, isn't it?

    • I'm about halfway through that book right now.

      My favorite part so far:

      During the 50's, aliens said "nuclear war is bad". During the 80's, "AIDS" is bad. Great - thanks, Mr. Alien. Why couldn't you have fucking told us in the 1970's that AIDS was bad - when we could have done something about it?

      • Sagan's writing style's a little more conservative than that, but I think you got the message across ;)
      • (* During the 50's, aliens said "nuclear war is bad". During the 80's, "AIDS" is bad. Great - thanks, Mr. Alien. Why couldn't you have fucking told us in the 1970's that AIDS was bad - when we could have done something about it? *)

        Whose alien is he quoting? I don't remember reading anything about alien AIDS warnings. Besides, you can paint any picture you want if you find enough quotes to filter as desired.
      • "1970's that AIDS was bad - when we could have done something about it?"

        Like what? Convinced the Hippies not to have "free love"? Or perhaps convinced the country that handing out condoms was a good idea?

        What would have been really helpful is if someone had come to earth and warned us that all our idiotic perversions could cause plagues, sickness and death.

        You know, the interesting thing about Judaism and Christianity is that even if you don't believe any of the "God" stuff the whole bible makes a lot of sense from a societal health point of view.

        All of these ideas were first recorded in the Jewish Torah:

        >Wash with running water
        >Bath at least once a week, especially women after a menstrual cycle.
        >Don't eat shellfish or pork (Revoked in the Christian new testament. Many believe this was in Mosaic law for health reasons.)
        >Adultery and Fornication (premarital sex) forbidden. (Prevents STDs, Illegitimate children)
        >Establishment of a first-cousin rule for prevention of inbreeding

        Something to think about.
        • I have no problem with any religion stating useful health beliefs (hell, those crazy Mormons I live with out here thought that smoking/drinking/eating read meat was bad for you 150 years before doctors figured out the same thing).

          Carl Sagan's point (and well made) is that the message from "aliens" changes with the times. In the 50's "nukes bad", in the 80's "AIDS bad", these days the message is probably "genetic mutation bad".

          It seems that aliens can only tell us things that we already have figured out are bad - instead of telling us this in a clear message well before its a problem. (Like a broadcast in the 1970's from Vega saying "CFCs...bad...". Something like that.
    • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:53PM (#3757623) Homepage Journal
      (* "The Demon-Haunted World" by Carl Sagan does an excellent job of debunking *)

      Sagan is not a very good debunker of this subject. For example, he says things in that book like, "if they are so advanced, why is their medical equipment so thick and bulky?"

      That alone is not enough to dismiss equipment. Perhaps it contains 100,000 different medical functions in it. If it is equal in bulkiness, but does 99,000 more things then our current stuff, that is hardly primitive. IOW, he is being superficial. (I am not necessarily saying that the evidence for alien medical equipment is strong, I am only saying that his debunking is sloppy.)

      Further, extreme claims do indeed require extreme evidence. However, most rational "fans" of the field say that they simply think that it deserves more study and respect. Deserving more study is NOT the same as a "fantastic claim". Deserving investigation status has a much lower threshold than conclusions (such as ET or whatever). The "extreme claims" mantra has been abused too much.

      About 200 years ago, rank and file scientists rejected the notion that "rocks fall from the sky". They called "falling rock" witnesses superstitious, drunk, etc. IOW, the rank and file have been wrong about similar things. Even a 0.0001 chance that it may be happening again is important enough to look into.

      The evidence from perfectly sober, professional people like pilots and police officers is enough witness power to convict a million OJ's for a million years. Yet skeptics instantly reject it as "media-induced hallucinations". Oddly enough, the more knowledgeable ufo skeptics seem to think that most criminal witness testimony is bogus for similar reasons. Let them all of jail!

      Even if it was "media-induced hallucinations", shouldn't that phenomena itself be closely looked into? Letting pilots and cops hallucinate without finding out why is not a good thing. Either way you look at it, the mystery is far from solved.
      • "About 200 years ago, rank and file scientists rejected the notion that "rocks fall from the sky". They called "falling rock" witnesses superstitious, drunk, etc. IOW, the rank and file have been wrong about similar things. Even a 0.0001 chance that it may be happening again is important enough to look into."

        Yes - and that's what SETI, and other projects, are doing. If, in fifty years' time, aliens do land on the White House lawn and say that, after a hundred years of surreptitious medical trials, they've deemed us worthy to enter the Federation - great!

        If someone finds an alien spaceship, and it's beyond reasonable doubt that it's from elsewhere - let's say, it contains some of the elements from the "island of stability" in the periodic table that we haven't managed to manufacture yet - then yes, I'd be prepared to accept it. But there's just no evidence for it!

        "The evidence from perfectly sober, professional people like pilots and police officers is enough witness power to convict a million OJ's for a million years. Yet skeptics instantly reject it as "media-induced hallucinations". Oddly enough, the more knowledgeable ufo skeptics seem to think that most criminal witness testimony is bogus for similar reasons. Let them all of jail!"

        Uh... no. You're presenting an either/or argument where none exists. On something like the OJ chase, which is being covered by news helicopters in close-up, seen by millions and confirmed by the police, I'm fairly sure that happened.

        A fleeing suspect confirmed by two policemen - or even one? Well, that's up to the jury to decide whether the case is beyond "reasonable doubt" or not.

        An alien spacecraft landing in the middle of nowhere, confirmed by one person? Sure, it'd be great if it were true, but don't expect me to believe it without corroboration.

        There are half a dozen or so UFO reports that do bear looking into, usually because of the number of people that have seen them. The evidence is always inconclusive - and so, I believe that the case for ETs on Earth is well within "reasonable doubt".

        If something a little more concrete comes up, though, I'd be quite happy to change my mind. As of yet, though, it hasn't.

      • by Dirtside (91468) on Monday June 24, 2002 @02:23PM (#3758268) Journal
        I think the main issue is the fact that it's been so long without any real evidence. Every single photo, video, or other piece of hard, physical evidence that's ever been produced, has been too blurry to give any real detail, or an obvious fake, and so on and so forth. And any criminologist will tell you that eyewitness testimony is the most unreliable evidence there is.

        Now don't get me wrong -- I agree that *serious* study of the issue is warranted, and certainly that is going on in a few places. However it is a basic feature of the scientific process that if a reasonable claim is continually made, but there is never any real evidence to support it, eventually science will start treating it as if it's nonsense. Usually, science is right. Occasionally, it's wrong, and when *real* evidence comes up, it's a shock to the system, but almost invariably when it's looked into, science finds that there is something worth examining, and eventually the topic becomes "legitimate".

        Note that this is distinct from the phenomenon of new ideas that are at first rejected by "mainstream" science because they conflict with the mainstream's view: Galileo's view of the universe, Wegener's theory of plate tectonics, and so on. In these cases, the theory is disdained because it conflicts with an established theory (theory in the scientific sense, not in the sense of, "My theory is that Oswald was an alien."). In the case of UFOs, there is no established theory -- the hypotheses are disdained because there isn't any strong evidence supporting them. UFOlogy is, so far, just an inchoate mass of eyewitness reports and blurry photos. Serious scientists disdain it because there's nothing that you can build a *real* scientific theory on.

        I for one hope that some real evidence *is* found, so that all this harping can be put to rest, but I think it's important to understand that just because an idea is plausible, and there's no evidence to contradict it, does not mean that our time is well-spent researching it in great detail. Look at it this way: How long do all our scientists need to research UFOlogy (to the exclusion of other topics) before they can come to the conclusion that there's nothing to research, and can go back to other things? It's easy enough for someone to say, "Just a little longer, 'til we're REALLY sure," ad infinitum.
        • How long do all our scientists need to research UFOlogy (to the exclusion of other topics) before they can come to the conclusion that there's nothing to research, and can go back to other things? It's easy enough for someone to say, "Just a little longer, 'til we're REALLY sure," ad infinitum.

          Well, most efforts have been half-ess and given to parties that wanted to get out of the limelight on it. Here are some exploration suggestions from my too-easy-to-slashdot "pro-explorationist" website:

          1. Have a national hot-line and address (including web) to collect sighting information. Allow witnesses to leave anonymous reports if they desire. The information should be made public (minus addresses and phone), perhaps with a waiting period to avoid media influence. The government (if involved) should subcontract the data collection rather than be directly involved since they have bungled past UFO projects. Educational institutions and private parties could then use the sighting data for statistical analysis. Some preliminary studies suggest that UFOs are spotted mostly away from population centers and often near power lines. If true, this pattern may reveal something about the nature of UFOs (or the witnesses). There are many other such speculative patterns to investigate.

          2. Allow unfiltered radar returns to be analyzed by experts or by automated custom detectors. As it stands now, radar data is highly filtered to follow the patterns and speeds of only "normal" sky objects. Note that this is not proposing building new radar installations, but rather tapping into and providing alternative processing to existing incoming signals.

          3. Make it a federal crime to hide information that may help solve the mystery. There is some evidence that potential UFO data has been classified, hidden, or destroyed simply because those involved did not want to deal with controversy.

          4. Set up arrays of detectors and cameras at known UFO "hot- spots". This includes magnetometers and spectrometers.

          5. Perform thorough analyses on "landing site" soil and other alleged UFO artifacts. In past cases there was often insufficient follow-up. For example, one soil sample would not grow any plants. A chemical analysis revealed nothing unusual, however, the reason for lack of plant growth was never followed up on. The soil could have been separated via centrifuge to see which component denied growth, for example. Seeds could also have been exposed and then replanted to see if the denier substance stayed. These are just some possible further tests. There are often plenty of leads and open questions to be pursued in the UFO business if only one has the time and money.

          6. Discourage ridicule and encourage open discussion. When Dr. Hynek was an acting consultant for project Bluebook, he stated that the only way he could get access to the "best data" was too hide his natural scientific curiosity, resist stating criticism, and say what the organization wanted to hear. He learned this by watching what happened to others who violated the rules of the game.

          7. Cooperate with foreign organizations and governments.

          8. Try to focus on cases with high credibility instead of cases that make great headlines. The Travis Walton case in Arizona is a good example: it made national headlines, but lacked proof and independent witnesses. Unfortunately, reporting headline-oriented stories are often the only way to fund other research. Perhaps if people recognize this "necessary evil", they won't be disillusioned as easily.

          Even if you disagree with spending tax-money, at least if it was considered a "legitimate topic of study", research would be easier.


      • The evidence from perfectly sober, professional people like pilots and police officers is enough witness power to convict a million OJ's for a million years. Yet skeptics instantly reject it as "media-induced hallucinations". Oddly enough, the more knowledgeable ufo skeptics seem to think that most criminal witness testimony is bogus for similar reasons. Let them all of jail!


        A whole lot of witness testimony is garbage. It is a pretty well known to be garbage in police / lawyer circles. It's not taht people are bad or stupid they are just very open to suggestion. Your sub-concious and your experiences effect you judement more than you think.

      • While I agree with you that Sagan's "evidence" about these things is often suspect, I have to take issue with a few of your points...

        About 200 years ago, rank and file scientists rejected the notion that "rocks fall from the sky". They called "falling rock" witnesses superstitious, drunk, etc.

        First of all, can you provide a reference where anyone has ever rejected the notion of "rocks from the sky". I highly doubt this. First of all, "shooting stars" have been widely known since the beginning of time, and "rocks from the sky" very often leave physical evidence: A glowing piece of rock in a crater in the ground.

        On the other hand, we have ZERO physical evidence of aliens, unless you want to count "crop circles" or other obvious hoaxes.

        The evidence from perfectly sober, professional people like pilots and police officers is enough witness power to convict a million OJ's for a million years.

        My understand is that it's often difficult to convict someone totally based on eyewitness accounts, simply because eyewitness accounts are the least reliable evidence.

        Yet skeptics instantly reject it as "media-induced hallucinations".

        I don't think the average skeptic dismisses UFO sightings as "hallucinations". It's much more likely that these people simply see something that they don't understand, but have perfectly reasonable explanations. Weather balloons, strange reflections, even the moon in daylight can fool people under the right circumstances.

        I'm pretty much convinced that we are alone in the galaxy as far as intelligent life goes, so I tend toward the skeptical point of view. But the bottom line point is that the really is very little "hard" evidence to support that there is any "unsolved mystery".

    • You might also try Robert Anton Wilson's "Cosmic Trigger" for an opposite viewpoint, including a critique of Sagan's debunking. Not saying Wilson's viewpoint is true or false, just that there are more ways of looking at this universe than through the beady eyes of rationalism.
    • Bonnybridge Aliens (Score:5, Informative)

      by HappyWithKilts (573874) <forrest@mysterian.com> on Monday June 24, 2002 @01:36PM (#3757933) Homepage
      Unfortunately, Bonnybridge UFOs have nothing to do with whisky distilleries, Scotch Mist or even Crack Haggis.

      I live only a few miles away from Bonnybridge, which is about half way between Scotland's two major cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

      Clue 1. As there is only 50/60 miles or so between these two cities, you can work out that any UFO's would have a chance to be seen in either of these two places if the aliens were visiting Bonnybridge.

      This obviously assumes there is *some* sort of horizontal trajectory in the UFO's travel plans, unless they just come straight out of the sky vertically to visit Bonnybridge, which seems unlikely.

      No, I am afraid that I come bearing bad news. Bonnybridge is the UFO capital of whatever ONLY because of the activities of one local ex-councillor, Billy Buchanan.

      Billy realised a few years ago that by telling news organs including the BBC etc. that he had video of 'mysterious lights in the sky' (see below) they would come and cover his story. Not surprisingly, most of these sightings came around election time.

      He even managed to get some bampot who claimed to be an alien to come and speak at the local town hall! The event was a sell-out believe it or not.

      Mysterious lights? The fact that Bonnybridge is only 5/6 miles away from the petrochemical refinery plant at Grangemouth, one of Europe's largest (visible from the Great Wall of China), would have nothing to do with mysterious lights, would it?

      For those of you haven't seen the Bonnybridge videos - DO NOT DESPAIR. You can recreate your own by taking your video camera (old analogue works best here) outside on an overcast night (Bonnybridge is *always* overcast) and set it to macro so it is as out of focus as possible and point it at a dodgy street lamp. Flickering ones work best. Move the camera about a bit if you want that Blair Witch effect. Bonnybridge didn't have any sound effects, so maybe you could add these to go one better.

      Good on you Billy! (Other small town mayors/politicos take note)

      Cheers

      Forrest.
  • UFU (Score:5, Funny)

    by starling (26204) <strayling20@gmail.com> on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:30PM (#3757399)
    UFU : abbr. Unidentified Flying Unidentifiable.

    from the Dept. of Redundancy Dept. Dictionary

  • Just curious, maybe breathing all the vapors from those scotch distilleries may be contributing to the mass hallucinations... Along those lines, sightings are more frequent in the US where moonshine is more likely to be around...
  • by pogle (71293) on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:32PM (#3757416) Homepage
    This is simply because all the immortals in the world are aliens, banished here from far far away. Their teleporter thingie musta broken, so they drop them off the old fashioned way now...
  • by SpankTech3000 (194420) on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:32PM (#3757422)
    going to see the Loch Ness Monster.
    • I thought it was for the golf.

      Although, the golf in the US much better than the golf in Scotland. Well, no one says Aliens have taste.

    • I don't know, I would think the popular spot for alien tourist is up for grabs. This report is based on reported sightings...I mean could you really tell the difference between aliens and locals in places like London, Berlin, Las Vegas, NY or Hollywood? For that matter, aliens could visit Tehran...if they keep a scarf wrapped around the upper part of their body and stay silent, then they could pass for one of the local babes. I mean, this whole thing is based on reporting...I mean, I am pretty sure my last boss was an alien...but I figured, hey, that's cool-live and let slither-and just never reported it.
  • by Watts Martin (3616) <layotl&gmail,com> on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:33PM (#3757432) Homepage

    Can anyone say *autosuggestion?*

    Sure: "Autosuggestion."

  • I'd say it's most certainly the sheep that attract aliens.
  • by Codex The Sloth (93427) on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:34PM (#3757440)
    ''...I have crippling arthritis in my index fingers. I got it in 1979 from Space Invaders.''-Groundskeeper Willie

    ''Yeah, that was a pretty addictive video game.''-Chief Wiggum

    ''Video game?''-Groundskeeper Willie

  • Unfortunately the report fails to mention that many of those alleged abductions were actually made by sheep, who tell tails of being abducted from their pens and rectally probed.

  • ...If it's not Scottish, It's CRAP!

  • I think that most of these sightings were actually Americans...

    Strange creatures in strange garb, from a faraway place, speaking a strange language (the accent gets deep enough...) and with no apparent knowledge of human (or at least local) customs.
    and they're always trying to 'probe' the local women (not to mention the sheep)!

  • in related news, Scotland also leads the world in Lochness Monster sightings per capita...
    1. Aliens have finally realized that New Mexico is not a great vacation spot
    2. Aliens watch way to much Highlander and SciFi Channel
    3. Aliens drifted off-course on their way from Cuba to Miami (or the Coast Guard keeps driving them away)
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:37PM (#3757485)
    UFO sitings may be higher in remote areas, but I think the frequency of sightings can be more closely correlated to the alcohol consumption rate in a given area.

    -ted
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:38PM (#3757491) Homepage Journal
    It's probably just a bunch of Thermians visiting the birthplace of Mr. Scott.
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:40PM (#3757505) Homepage Journal
    Come for the Haggis, stay for the anal probes.

  • Hmm... Scottland, Italy, France - has anyone done a study to correlate the average number of UFOs sighted with the average number of alcoholic beverages imbibed?
    • Sorry, Ireland and Russia weren't mentioned in the article. However, there may be a place on the inebriation scale between comical (Irish) and dead (Russian) where UFO sightings would fit.

  • Unidentified Flying Udders?

    And from the sky shall rain forth the sheep or cows.
  • by ajs (35943)
    Well, if you lived in Scottland, you'd be looking up in the skies for some excitement. Heck, these are the people who throw rocks and logs around for fun!

    Ok, relax... it's just a joke. Here in the U.S. we need to wear pads and have time-outs to play rugby, so what do ya want? :-)
  • I mean, didn't anyone else automatically make this connection?

    I'm sure we'll find out that there's been a bunch of sightings in the Himalayas as well due to Nessie picking up the Yeti in the UFO.
  • If you remove all of the United States except for the trailer parks where most sightings occur, I think the US ratio would make Scotland's look like EuroDisney!

    -Ben
  • Yup a few times! They always seem to come after I've drunken large quantities of whiskey in a remote place in the wilderness. In fact it seems that the both the frequency of the sightings and the degree of the encounter are directly proportional to the amount of alcohol I've consumed I wonder why...

    Ah! the aliens must be studying complex carbon chain based beverages.
  • "Well, lad, I don't know where you've been,
    but the aliens gave you first prize."

  • Oh dear (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:50PM (#3757588) Homepage

    I live not far from Bonnybridge. I wouldn't call it the arsehole of the universe, because arseholes have a use. Bonnybridge is a classic oversized-small-town, i.e. crammed full of disillusioned young people with nothing to do. UFO spotting is pretty much the only thing to do there of an evening that doesn't involve pointy implements or GTA (the Live Action version).

    Note the military airlanes, note the undulating foggy roads, note that UFO sighting go up after firework displays. It's pretty much a local game now, with people playing along and making up more and more outrageous claims. And note also the ulterior commercial motive: a (dear god) theme park [dunoon-observer.co.uk].

    I'm picturing the pitch now: "Come to Bonnybridge, home of surly teenagers and desparate hollow eyed single mothers. Taste the delights of warm Irn Bru [irn-bru.co.uk] and soggy chippies [bway.net]. A free stabbing with every ticket!"

    Shudder. Nothing to see here. Move along. For your own good, move along.

  • The Scottish predilection for whisky, beer and falling down drunk has nothing to do with the hard, scientific fact that they're seeing things. Nothing whatsoever. Especially not that weird floaty feeling that they're about to fall off the world as they're actually beamed up to the mothership.

    Just wanted to make sure that was absolutely clear. We'll have no dispersions cast here!

  • Sounds like they have good taste! Scotch, spaghetti and wine sounds like a winner to me!

    CMB
  • scot 1: 'Agh, I've stepped on something!'

    scot 2: 'Bloody hell Angus, I think that's 0.004 of a UFO!!'

  • that watches monty python...
    and now for the bonus question:

    which nation's people are the worst tennis players in theuniverse. The answer will appear on your tv screen. If you do not want to see the answer please turn your tv upside down.

  • According to Nessie on the Net [google.ca].

    UFOs have already been seen elsewhere in Scotland and could help explain how prehistoric creatures like the Loch Ness Monster have managed to survive for thousands of years.

    So obviously aliens abducted Nessie(s) thousands of years ago and because their planet is thousands of light years away (and their UFOs travel at light speed) it only relatively recently returned her to the lock. This also means that Nessie didn't age because she was traveling at light speed.

    I'm also sure that the reason there are so many UFO sighting in Scotland is because everytime some research expeditions sets out to try and find Nessie the aliens come back and help her hide. If people would just stop trying to find Nessie there wouldn't be any where near as many UFO sightings in Scotland.

  • So... Scotland... you say you've seen tons and tons of UFOs, huh? How's that monster in the lake coming?
  • Actually... (Score:3, Funny)

    by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john.oylerNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Monday June 24, 2002 @01:04PM (#3757705) Journal
    If it's true (*laugh*), then it is because of a higher population density... simply more people there to see them. Too many rural areas in the US for us to catch em all.

    But since I find it hard to buy that aliens go for an interstellar joyride in Scotland all the time, this means it's obviously the supersecret british skunkworks aerospace base causing these sightings. They have stuff 60 yrs ahead of anything we have, after all. (*ROFLMAO*)
  • Anyone seen that movie SciFi had on a week ago? Dog Soldiers? UFOs are weak compared to that shit.
  • I wonder what the relation of UFO sightings to whisky drinking might be...

    It is mentioned that the number is three times larger than in France. That is to be expected, since whisky has three to four times more alcohol in it than the equivalent quantity of wine. The same rationale may be used for Italy, also an established wine producer.

    (Yes, France makes cognac and Italy makes grappa, but these are mostly export products ;) )

    Does anyone know what the number of UFO sightings is like in Lynchburg, Tennessee?

  • Guinness
  • "Looka that great heead! It's a virtual planitoid, 'tis! Got its own weather system!"

  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Monday June 24, 2002 @01:16PM (#3757789) Homepage Journal
    The reason that extraterrestrials visit Scotland so often is that Scottish men wear kilts. That makes the anal probes much easier to perform. No fumbling with belts, zippers, etc.

  • In other news, Angus Podgorney just received an order for 48,000,000 kilts [slightlywarped.com] from the planet Skyron.
  • I seem to remember a skit of beings from outerspace turning everyone into Scottsmen. Quite scary!
  • Yes, thousands of kilts as the aliens (who look like giant blancmanges) plan to turn everyone on earth into a Scotsman and win doubles at Wimbledon.

    Of course this was all documented earlier by Monty Python [montypython.net]
  • That just means they drink too much Guinness in Scotland.

    They should drink Negra Modelo instead. Then, maybe the aliens would stop by and have some with them, and they'd get to talk to the aliens and figure out where the hell they're from. But aliens obviously don't like Guinness. Oooooooooh well.

  • by stereoroid (234317) on Monday June 24, 2002 @01:59PM (#3758086) Homepage Journal
    1. "I'll tell you, too, that's starting to depress me about UFO's, about the fact that they cross galaxies or wherever they come from to visit us and always end up in places like Fife, Alabama. " (maybe that should read "Fife, Scotland"?)
    2. "With a five-minute UFO experience I got a taste of holiness I never got in 20 years of religion."
    3. "Would you let the aliens land, please? They might be here to pick me up."
    Is there anything that The Great One didn't have an opinion on?
  • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Monday June 24, 2002 @03:04PM (#3758524)
    I have a hard time believing Scotland would lead in UFO sightings. It doesn't strike me as an area of the world with the right popluation center. After all, do they even HAVE trailer parks there?
  • by Ogerman (136333) on Monday June 24, 2002 @05:51PM (#3759427)
    It's funny how anytime "UFO's" come up in discussion, people quickly move to talking about crazy / drunk people. It's amusing, although in contrast, I know enough ordinary, sane people who have seen so-called "UFO's" at fairly close range that a level-headed inquiry is in order. So anyhow, to make a long story short, after a little bit of research, it is my conclusion that most UFO sightings are nothing more than a type of ball lightning. Granted, "ball lightning" itself is not fully understood, but all indication suggests that it is some form of low temperature plasma that can form under certain atmospheric conditions or more often after a lightning groundstrike due to some sort of back-EMF effect. Ball lightning can apparently take various shapes, sometimes as a disk-like form (ie. the classic glowing UFO saucer). So, lets look at the known characteristics of ball lightning plasma and see how they compare to descriptions of UFO sightings:

    1.) It can 'levitate' and pass through some solids.
    2.) It tends to lose mass as the plasma breaks down, causing it to rise into the air before disintegrating or occasionally bursting with a loud pop.
    3.) It often accelerates at an extremely high rate, likely due to electromagnetic fields. This typically occurs near the end of the plasma's 'life' and often after rising back into the air.
    4.) It is often attracted to nearby metal objects and has been known to follow automobiles and perhaps airplanes.
    5.) The plasma, depending on its makeup, often releases noxious gasses readily identifyable by their odor or color. Some of these gasses cause dizzyness, hallucinations, and loss of consciousness at high enough concentrations.
    6.) It seems to form most often in flat terrain. (such as farmland!) Large formations may be of sufficient temperature to burn away grass or crops after descending.
    7.) It sometimes rotates visibly on an axis.
    8.) It usually emits a high pitched or even wavering sound.

    Sound anything like the typical UFO encounter? I'd say so. Granted, many distant sightings are probably just aircraft or weather balloons. So sorry to burst your bubble X-Files fans. The truth IS out there but it's not that exciting.

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