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Sci-Fi Channel Looks for LGM in NASA Files 622

Posted by michael
from the weather-balloon dept.
SharkJumper writes "The Sci-Fi channel expects to file a lawsuit within the week against NASA. They are attempting to gain access under the Freedom of Information Act to classified documents concerning a 1965 UFO sighting in Kecksburg, Pennsylvania. The Department of Defense, Army, and Air Force are next on their list. Here's Sci-Fi's account of the story."
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Sci-Fi Channel Looks for LGM in NASA Files

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  • by tintruder (578375) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:21PM (#7274610)
    Interesting how companies with close ties to the DOD came up with advanced integrated circuits so soon afterwards. When was Intel founded?
  • Classified Documents (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cflorio (604840) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:22PM (#7274619) Homepage
    I didn't realize that you could sue to get your hands on classified documents under the freedom of information act. Things are classified for a reason.
    • I'd like to sue you for your social security and credit card numbers under the freedom of information act.
    • The regulations [gsa.gov] have 9 exemptions, and yes, the first is "classified national defense and foreign relations information". Of course the suit will probably attempt to question the merits of the classification.
    • by dachshund (300733) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:34PM (#7274780)
      I didn't realize that you could sue to get your hands on classified documents under the freedom of information act. Things are classified for a reason.

      And what is that reason, exactly? That's what the plaintiff is asking here. Can the government continue to offer a legitimate reason for keeping decades-old documents classified? If so, they'll stay classified.

      Let's face it-- even if those documents contain information about state-of-the-art (at the time) US aircraft, it's somewhat unlikely that there's still a reason to keep them under wraps. If we didn't have mechanisms like FOIA to periodically re-evaluate the need for secrecy on ancient documents, everything would stay classified out of sheer inertia, even when there was clearly no longer a reason for secrecy.

      • IANAAE (I Am Not An Aeronitics Engineer), but from what I know the F-117 was already flying in the 1980s, and wasn't "public knowledge" until quite a while afterwards. Even then, it wasn't until Desert Storm did we really get a glimpse at its capabilities.

        Same deal with the B-2.

        Both planes are (almost) decades old, and still highly classified.

        This is not to say that I don't want to see the disclosed documents. I'm just saying that decades-old documents could still be VERY sensitive and revealing.
      • "Let's face it-- even if those documents contain information about state-of-the-art (at the time) US aircraft, it's somewhat unlikely that there's still a reason to keep them under wraps."

        Unless, the documents don't contain information about state of the art US aircraft and the US has no real idea what the hell it was. That would be a damn good reason to keep it locked up - and quite frankly, I'd agree with them.
        • Public vs. Govmnt (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Tony (765) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @05:57PM (#7275694) Journal
          Unless, the documents don't contain information about state of the art US aircraft and the US has no real idea what the hell it was. That would be a damn good reason to keep it locked up - and quite frankly, I'd agree with them.

          Ahem.

          Am I wrong in my assumption that the government of the USA exists to serve the public in the public interest? (You know, "Government for the people, of the people, and by the people?" Sure, it's bullshit, but it's bullshit worth striving for.)

          In that case, the government has no right to hide information from the public, except in the interest of public safety. (For instance, the deployment of US nuclear submarines might not be good public knowledge.) There is no other good reason for the government to hide information from its people.

          In fact, I'd go as far as to say that the government has a responsibility to keep the public informed of important events. I would go further: I would say it is the public's responsibility to audit the functioning of the government on a regular, intensive basis.

          The FOIA allows this auditing, even if it is 25 years after the fact. The only information that might need to remain classified is some information which has not changed over 25 years.

          The FOIA has revealed some very interesting facts, like the funding by President Kennedy of the longest-running terrorist campaign against any nation (Operation Mongoose, against Cuba, which ran for many years; it may continue to this day). To FOIA is there for us to learn about our government; the government does not have the right to select the information we learn about it.

          That would be like Microsoft choosing which memos are admitted as evidence during its anti-trust trials.

          As far as this UFO thing goes: there has been no plausible evidence or explanaition to support visitation from other planets. Occam's Razor indicates it's nothing more than a fireball, just a regular, crashing-to-earth rock that left a trail of vaporized carbon, ice, and rock.

          But, who knows? Maybe there *was* some sort of alien landing.
      • And what is that reason, exactly? That's what the plaintiff is asking here. Can the government continue to offer a legitimate reason for keeping decades-old documents classified? If so, they'll stay classified.
        It doesn't matter. By law, if the NSA deems something to be classified, it stays that way. There is nothing the public can do to declassify the documentation.

        Yes, documents do have mechanisms to become declassified over time, but they're fairly simple to override. All someone has to say is: keep
    • ...Things are classified for a reason...
      Yeah, an embarrasing reason.
    • True. But certain classified documents do expire... er, the classification expires that is, after a certain number of years. Perhaps, this is one of those cases. I would assume that the Pentagon, or whomever, isn't going to rush out and release everything that could be released, just because the documentations are no longer classified. Hence, a suit might be necessary to get them to go through the trouble.

      IANAL nor did I RTFA, or am I doing anything but just talking out my ass, but as I understand it,
    • No, not everything is classified for a reason. Many things are classified because:

      A) It was classified for a reason in the past, but the reason is gone (i.e. US-Soviet stuff, most of which is now being declassified)

      B) It might hurt the political future of a government employee

      C) It's easier to cover up everything than to explain anything

      Well, I guess those are all reasons, but they are all pretty poor ones.

      The Freedom of Information Act exists because of item C) above, after lengthy court and politica
      • Is there anything from WWII that is still classified?

        Yes, there are documents still classified because certain individuals are still alive or certain policies or relationships are still in effect. A couple of years ago, my Grandmother recieved a visit after the death of my Grandfather asking if there were any "documents" or photographs that he may have had in his possession. (He was in the OSS).

      • Nuclear weapons details from that period are still classified.
    • by BWJones (18351) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:50PM (#7274977) Homepage Journal
      Things are classified for a reason.

      In my limited experience in this arena, oftentimes documents, media etc... are classified for a number of reasons including: 1) That media may contain information that was collected using technologies that may not be disclosed. 2) Alternatively, the "collector" of that media may have been in a place at a time that they should not have been or 3) Often the media may document relationships that are intended to be known as "unrelated" for intelligence, military or political purposes.

    • by soft_guy (534437) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @05:20PM (#7275334)
      There was an interesting interview about the topic of why things are classified on NPR's program This American Life: Secret Government. They had a guy on (forget his name) who was in Clinton's cabinet and he spent time looking through classified documents and declassified things that didn't need to be secret anymore.

      He said the items ranged from "Holy Cow! I can't believe we know this and I can understand why it is classified." to articles cut out of the newspaper and classified.

      Clinton's policy was to try to release as much as possible and spend time/money to make a decision on old documents.

      G.W. Bush's policy is to not release anything unless forced to by a court.
  • WTF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bendebecker (633126) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:23PM (#7274638) Journal
    They have money to blow on stupid shit like this and yet they didn't have enough to keep Farscape going?
    • "They have money to blow on stupid shit like this and yet they didn't have enough to keep Farscape going?"

      They don't provide Farscape as a public service. I know you guys love your Farscape, but Scifi does not owe it to you.

      I'm amazed your comment was modded as 'insightful'. Honestly dudes, Farscape had too high of budget and didn't have a big enough audience. It suffocated. Let it go already.

      And, before you label me as insensitive, consider that I'm a Futurama fan who's had to learn that lesson.
    • by pmz (462998)

      I'd argue that learning about the possibilities of real ET life is much more important than passing time watching fake IT life. Of course, the fake stuff has literary value, but perhaps Heinlein, Herbert, or Asimov could keep people occupied, also.
    • Ditto this for Sliders, and Mystery Science Theater 3000.
      Scifi has gone dramatically down the tubes from a science ficiton perspective since Bonnie Hammer took over the network in 1998. It's a real shame that they are no longer concerned with actual Scifi content, instead, they strive entirely for ratings (Ahem, John Edwards show.)
      It's no longer about fun, its all about the money now.
      Aside from old MST reruns, and the occasional B-Movie, I can't say I've watched much of Scifi in the past few years.
    • I hope that they spend all sorts of money to win the lawsuit only to find that the files are full of the most boring, unimportant stuff imaginable, and that the only reason they're classified is because they were trying out some new radar technology that has now been obsolete for many years. It'll be punishment for them canceling all the good shows.

      -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • Pretty Dumb. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Altima(BoB) (602987) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:27PM (#7274693)
    Like others noted, sounds like publicity to me. Remember when the movie Signs came out, and Disney offered a sweepstakes where the winner would be sent to a "real" crop circle to help investigate it? This is pretty transparent, as the Sci-Fi channel aren't exactly in the documentary business, it would be more dramatic for them to say "We tried to get them to tell us, but Big Brother is keeping UFOs a secret." Imagine if, in response, the DoD declassifies and releases the files and they turn out to be REALLY anticlimactic, and only classified because they were using some new radar recievers at the time or something.
    • as the Sci-Fi channel aren't exactly in the documentary business

      fuck no, look who's hosting the "documentary", Bryant Gumbel!

      I want Angelina Jolie, with her big pouty lips, telling me about fiery penetrating objects on dark stormy nights.

      --
  • Sounds familiar (Score:5, Informative)

    by DeadSea (69598) * on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:28PM (#7274706) Homepage Journal
    I lived in Acme, PA [mapquest.com] just south of Kecksburg for about 9 years. I talked to a couple of the firefighters that went into the woods that night before the Army got there. From what I understand, the object that landed was an acorn shaped about the size of a car. It had strange markings around the rim that did not appear to be any language with which the the firefighters were familiar. They knew English and one of them said he would have recognized Russian.

    In any case, the little down is making the most of it. There isn't much else in the down. The only industry when I was there was a Pepsi bottling plant. That shut down and was converted later into an aluminum camper manufacturing plant. The only other thing in the town center is the firehall where they have linedancing on Friday nights. The firehall has a giant acorn shaped UFO replica on the top now. ;-)

    • The only industry when I was there was a Pepsi bottling plant. That shut down and was converted later into an aluminum camper manufacturing plant.

      Aluminum camper manufacturing plant? Ha! More like cover for an alien observation outpost. The aluminum keeps the Pentagon from using gravity-free laser beams [slashdot.org] on them. Sneaky bastards!

    • The only industry when I was there was a Pepsi bottling plant.

      There you have it! Proof that Pepsi came from aliens!
  • Why are these 'UFO' documents always stricly classified? Shouldn't they be relatively harmless?

    The only thing that I can think of is that they are sightings of actual experimental military aircraft. Or else...

    • not if it was about a crash of new fighter prototype or satellite or spy weather balloon.
      • it could even be the crash of a much more mundane & ordinary craft or dumped cargo/weapons and there could be a hundred reasons why such an event would be classified. I must admit I'm amused that people think an advanced race of beings could manage light years of travel, but make atmospheric vehicles that are so unreliable they fall out of the sky like humans who've only had powered flying machines for 80 years. Pfffft. Face it, we've never been visited or contacted by any other race of creatures. Ge
    • Ever seen MiB? The Government has already made a deal with THEM and doesn't want us to know anything about THEM. All UFO sightings could lead us to the truth... and we're not ready to accept the truth. (like such as The Spoon is Out There)
  • by xintegerx (557455) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:30PM (#7274722) Homepage
    It is standard practice that when submitting a request for public or declassified information from state and federal government agencies under the Freedom of Information Act, the angency must reply within 10 days. (The agency might also request a reasonable fee to accomodate researching and sending the information.) Of course, if 10 days expires, what do you do? Of course you "sue" the agency. Not "sue" in financial terms, but "sue" as in "bring this in front of the court to get a court order to release this information." And the government will not have to pay a penny to Sci-Fi, since all the court order will ask for is the release of the information. Simple as that.

    Actually, many times agencies are not smart enough to even know about the FIA, and thus can easily use the incompetence excuse or "I never got it" even though you sent your request and have a proof of receipt that they did get it. Geez...
    • This is not a request for "public or declassified" information - Sci-Fi is requesting that classified information be de-classified. How they think suing the gov't will help, I don't know.
      • This is not a request for "public or declassified" information - Sci-Fi is requesting that classified information be de-classified. How they think suing the gov't will help, I don't know.

        Because one of the reasons for the FOIA is to allow people to bring the government to court and have the legitimacy of the classification verified by the courts. Is a UFO sighting from 1965 legitimately still a matter of national security?

        Government agencies can rarely be trusted to make these judgements themselves. Se
  • by mseeger (40923) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:30PM (#7274737)
    Fine! This keeps NASA, Pentagon and investigative journalists busy while i work on mind controlling the remaining earthlings....

    Sending mental command: Mod up!

  • typical (Score:3, Interesting)

    by VAXGeek (3443) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:30PM (#7274739) Homepage
    You want to know why you are not allowed to know?

    Fuck you, that's why.

    The government doesn't care that we want to know. There is no REASON for them to tell us. Sure, we elect them and all, but until you get at least 51% to vote to make a law to make the processes of government more open, it will never happen. Most likely, this issue will remain forever closed (or at least withheld) forever from us. It was probably missle testing or something that the public does not "need to know". If you want to find out what was/is inside Area 51 or who really killed JFK, you are better off inventing a time machine and reading about all of this later in the history books. Either that, or run for president and divulge all this information to the public (not likely).
    • Loomking at all classified stuff that has been releases, I'd say you're wrong.

      Plenty of things that 'the gevernment' would want to stay underwraps have been released.

    • The big secret of classification is that there really is no secret.

      The difference is details. We already know what happened there. The details are classified. So they release them under FOIA, and the conspiracy minded will continue to believe something is being withheld.

      You attribute too much group mentality or single-minded leadership to the government. It's a multiheaded hydra and the ass doesn't know what the elbow is doing. If there was any big secret concerning UFOs, the material would have leak
  • by ScorpiusFan (651257) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:32PM (#7274754)
    Is it trying to improve ratings by becoming something like the "hoax investigation" channel?

    Instead of dumping money into lawyers pockets, why don't they instead go back to exploring Science Fiction history, or trends in current science fiction development on an international level?

    Maybe they will try to hire off Geraldo Rivera from Fox News next. Or maybe Rush Limbaugh.

    They should put that lawsuit money back into funding good shows, like Farscape (I'm a little biased. Sorry).
    • Is it trying to improve ratings by becoming something like the "hoax investigation" channel?

      Sci Fi's UFO "documentaries" are generally better than some of the other ones, IMO. They dispense with just enough of the fuzzy blob UFO footage and show just enough "seen by dozens" footage to make the show much more entertaining. As far as Fox News goes, all we can expect from them is "When Aliens Attack XXVIII, Ripley Returns From Hell...Again."

  • Deja-Vu (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dwm (151474) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:32PM (#7274756)
    Quoting the story:

    The results of Sci-Fi's new investigation into the incident will air Friday in a documentary hosted by Bryant Gumbel called "The New Roswell: Kecksburg Exposed."

    Gumbel seems to be following the well-worn path of fallen journalists blazed so spectacularly by Geraldo Rivera... kind of sad, really.
    • Wait, Geraldo Rivera is a *fallen* journalist? Where'd he fall from, Mars?
    • Gumbel seems to be following the well-worn path of fallen journalists blazed so spectacularly by Geraldo Rivera... kind of sad, really.

      Does that mean Gumbel will be hosting the unveiling of Frankie Yale's secret vault?

  • This doesn't bother me - it's right in character for Sci-Fi, considering the audience they are going after. What's gonna cheese me off is when I see this in a documentary on The Discovery Channel, or (God forbid) THE HISTORY NETWORK. (shudder).

  • The Sci-Fi Channel has disappointed me so much to the point that I've stopped watching it, on principle. They've canceled good sci-fi shows like Babylon 5 and Farscape, only to replace them with pseudoscientific crap that costs pennies to make: Sightings, Jon Edwards, UFO "documentaries", and crop circle "documentaries", amongst others. They've even declared their intention to stop producing science fiction shows and focus more on fantasy shows. WTF?! This is the Sci-Fi Channel!

    I'm hoping for a good science fiction channel that won't give in to spreading pseudoscientific bullcrap just because it might get them better ratings. I'm looking for a station with integrity to throw my support behind, and the Sci-Fi Channel is not that station.
    • "WTF?! This is the Sci-Fi Channel!"

      Oh come on now, surely you've noticed that a channel's name and what they show don't necessarily have anything to do with each other. My case in point, MTV hasn't had anything to do with music in over a decade.

      Hopefully they will realize that an audience composed solely of UFO conspiracy nuts isn't very profitable.

      I also love how they produce their "documentaries". They consist of 59 minutes of the pro-whatever folks going on about how they have proof, if only the gov
    • The Sci-Fi channel didn't cancel Babylon 5. The show had already came to it's natural conclusion before Sci-Fi got it. They didn't even end Crusade, that was TNT.

      But they did definitly kill Farscape, which never made sense to me as they (in the UK at least) still show it quite a bit on TV and even those repeats are very popular.

      Not to mention it was only *one* year from ending...

      Ah well! Here's hoping the movie goes ahead.
    • The SF Channel had . . . well, not a great start. But along with reruns of hoary old TV series they ran shows about space exploration, and even had some coverage about written science fiction (remember the review show where they let Harlan Ellison rant about stuff?).

      That stuff is gone now, because it didn't rate all that well with the demographics that advertisers want the most.

      Put another way: It's all about money. Every time slot has to earn its keep. Dumb-ass sensationalist documentaries are cheap to m
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:34PM (#7274778) Homepage Journal
    Imagine if you will ..the leader of the fifth invader force speaking to the commander in chief...

    "They're made out of meat."
    "Meat?"
    "Meat. They're made out of meat."
    "Meat?"
    "There's no doubt about it. We picked several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."
    "That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?"
    "They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."
    "So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."
    "They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."
    "That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

    "I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they're made out of meat."

    "Maybe they're like the Orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

    "Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take too long. Do you have any idea the life span of meat?"

    "Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the Weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."

    "Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads like the Weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."

    "No brain?"

    "Oh, there is a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat!"

    "So... what does the thinking?"

    "You're not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat."

    "Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

    "Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?"

    "Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

    "Finally, Yes. They are indeed made out meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."

    "So what does the meat have in mind?"

    "First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the universe, contact other sentients, swap ideas and information. The usual."

    "We're supposed to talk to meat?"

    "That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there? Anyone home?' That sort of thing."

    "They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"

    "Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."

    "I thought you just told me they used radio."

    "They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

    "Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"

    "Officially or unofficially?"

    "Both."

    "Officially, we are required to contact, welcome, and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in the quadrant, without prejudice, fear, or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."

    "I was hoping you would say that."

    "It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"

    "I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say?" `Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"

    "Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."

    "So we just pretend there's no one home in the universe."

    "That's it."

    "Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have
  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:36PM (#7274808) Journal
    I whole-heartedly support the Sci-Fi channel's efforts. It will finally settle the question, "Are the people obsessed with UFOs a bunch of paranoid pseudoscientific jackasses?"
  • by moehoward (668736) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:36PM (#7274813)
    What if they find something? Will they have to change their network name to the SciFact channel? Seems like they're digging their own grave!
  • by Kaimelar (121741) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:39PM (#7274859) Homepage
    I feel compelled to add a link to Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit to this discussion:

    http://www.skeptics.com.au/journal/baloney.htm [skeptics.com.au]

    And if this interests you, read Sagan's book, A Demon-Haunted World [amazon.com].

    Alien invasions, abductions, etc. are great topics for movies, comic books, video games, and other forms of entertainment -- and the domain of the Sci-Fi Channel is, in fact, entertainment. But it saddens me to know that people are going to see stunts like this and begin to confuse fact with fiction -- you know, the "Fi" in Sci-Fi. :-)

    People of the world, I beg you: please, please, don't take anything as fact without bothering to examine it rationally and critically.

    • In support of this, I thought that this article [post-gazette.com] was rather enlightening, with a russian spacecraft expert saying that he did initially rule out the possibility of Kosmos 96, but that after further research determined that the Canadian impact could have been the booster, and this the actual satelite.

      "A famous UFO case may actually involve a real U.S. government cover-up, but UFO buffs are on the wrong side. Instead of exposing the truth, they may be unwitting pawns in deception."

  • Official report:

    On xx/xx/xxxx at approximately xxxx hours, a xxxxx was sighted near xxxx xxxxxx. Our analisys is as follows...

    Conclusion:
    xxxxx xxx xxxxxxxx xxxxx xx xxxxx at this time. Although, please be advised that xxxx xxxxxx xx xxxxx.

    Boy, I'd love to be the person who gets to filter out all the classified stuff!
  • by the_mad_poster (640772) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:43PM (#7274897) Homepage Journal

    I live in the general vicinity of Kecksburg, PA. I can tell you with all certainty that any "UFO" sighting was certainly brought on by a combination of swamp gases, moonshine, and unchecked, rampant coitus among close family members named "Clem" and "Darlita" through several generations...

  • by crazyphilman (609923) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:43PM (#7274899) Journal
    If only people would apply Occam's razor and just THINK about a few of these huge "UFO cover ups", they could relax.

    Think about the whole Area 51 and Roswell thing for example. Ok, something weird crashed out of the sky, there were some bodies, and the government covered everything up. But it happened shortly after WWII, during a period where we were employing ex-Nazi rocket scientists to build us more advanced airplanes, didn't it? And, a more reasonable explanation of the Roswell crash would be that an experimental, top secret craft had a malfunction and bit the dust.

    Consider that that whole Southwest is used for the testing of advanced aircraft. Groom Lake (in Nevada), another mecca for the tinfoil hat crowd, is an aircraft test facility. The stealth fighter, for example, was developed during the early 1970's, and was tested extensively there. OF COURSE there were lots of UFO sightings. They were testing their planes! Naturally SOMEONE would see them. We can't make 'em invisible (yet).

    Now, fast forward to the Pennsylvania crash. SOMETHING crashed, and the government seems to want to keep it quiet. Does this mean there were little green men? Nope. It means that something failed on another one of the government's experimental toys (the operative word being "experimental"), a few unlucky test pilots probably bit the dust crashing it into a forest, and it's unfortunate and sad but NOT a sci-fi mystery.

    We'll probably see whatever aircraft it is in twenty years or so when it's declassified and they use it to blow someone up in a future war. We'll go "Holy cow, that's a cool airplane, I wonder when they built that thing!" and check out the TechTV show about it after getting our anime fix...

    • Even without the aerospace testing out west and the desire to keep "oopses" from the public for PR and national security reasons, UFOs stop being believable for a whole number of reasons related to the known physics of space travel, the immense distances involved, and so on.

      We haven't yet found any habitable planets AT ALL that I'm aware of, let alone of any within a close distance like under a 100 light years. Travel from beyond those distances is an engineering marvel evidencing a vastly superior life f
  • by Teahouse (267087) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:43PM (#7274901)
    Reality is relatively! I am convinced most UFO sightings are just government "projects" gone wrong. No one travels at the speed of light or faster to visit earth just to crash into the ground. "I can do light-speed but I can't figure out aerodynamic flight!" What a bunch of crap. There are no aliens except for the little brown men that keep crossing our border from Mexico. Get over it.

    IF (a big if) there are LGM's visiting us, they obviously have done a good job of hiding it. Sci-Fi is not the paragon of virtue to sniff this one out.

  • What stops the governemnt from just making stuff up? "Sure, we'll release douments to you." "Hey, why are they all dated yesterday?"
  • by Uhlek (71945) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:45PM (#7274923)
    WHEREAS,
    We cancelled the critically acclaimed FARSCAPE.

    WHEREAS,
    We cancelled the critically acclaimed INVISIBLE MAN.

    WHEREAS,
    We cancelled the fan-adored THE CHRONICLE

    WHEREAS,
    We turned STARGATE SG-1 into total crap.

    WHEREAS,
    We did a crappy, low-budget version of DUNE.

    WHEREAS
    We replaced these shows with classics like TREMORS: THE SERIES and JOHN EDWARDS

    WHEREAS,
    We are about to rape the collective memories of classic sci-fi fans with our re-imaginging of BATTLESTAR: GALACTICA.

    WE HEREBY
    Attempt a really lame publicity stunt to try and appeal to the lowest common denominator of sci-fi fans there are: the UFO nuts.
  • by Murmer (96505) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:46PM (#7274927) Homepage
    I do believe in UFOs, as in "things in the sky which haven't been identified". It's a long stretch from that to aliens, of course.

    One of my favorite lines from an old conspiracy show about aliens was a backlit, voice-modified guy saying "Look, it's not aliens; it's military research. The fastest non-rocket-powered vehicle in the air right now that the public knows about is Lockheed-Martin's Blackbird, the SR-71, and that was designed forty years ago. Forty years before that, the fastest thing in the air was a biplane, a Sopwith Camel. Forty years before that, the fastest thing in the air was a balloon."

    "That hasn't stopped happening."

  • ... when NASA has to waste time dealing with crap like this. Anyone living in the US ought to be pissed at the SciFi channel for wasting government money on frivilous lawsuits. The SciFi channel will no doubt spin the lawsuit into some insipid UFO program, blurring the line between fact and fantasy and peddling this silly myth to yet another credulous, drooling generation of Americans.

    One small step for the SciFi channel.
    One giant leap for the ignorance of mankind.
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:50PM (#7274972)

    This finally lends UFO researchers that much-needed air of respectability they've been missing - to be championed by the same people who brought you John Edwards and Cleopatra 2525.

    Weaselmancer

  • by GeneralEmergency (240687) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:53PM (#7275012) Journal


    It's LGP you sexist insensitive clod!

    .
  • by StefanJ (88986) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @04:55PM (#7275030) Homepage Journal
    "Why would the military cover up something that would let them double their budget if it was revealed?"

    Stefan
  • Just what NASA needs.... a law suit.

    C'mon guys, that's going against the entire REASON the Sci-Fi channel was created (other than to make money, of course). Hurting NASA over something this stupid is a classic cutting off your nose to spite your face trick.

    Go sue the DoD... they have lots of money from the White House. Let NASA keep what little bit they get so they can take some real photos of flying saucers that aren't on grainy black-and-white polaroids...
  • by praedor (218403) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @05:55PM (#7275675) Homepage

    My take is that something DID occur in Kecksburg, but it wasn't alien-based. More likely this was some form of military test vehicle or satellite. There was some suggestion that it might have been a crashed Soviet COSMOS satellite (nuc powered) but there were no such satellites in orbit and over the area at the correct time for an errant crash.


    This was what, 1965? Height of the Cold-War, also at the height of the Apollo program. It could have been a NASA test vehicle, complete with simian occupants (to explain the so-called scream/screech some reported after the military arrived).


    It would be invalid, as far as I'm concerned, for there to be continued secrecy about ANY vehicles tested by NASA or the military at any point up to at least the 1970s. NOTHING that predates this is worthy of secrecy as any and all technology associated with it is pathetically outdated by now. There may be ethical/public health-related reasons why the military might be interested in keeping a lock on anything like an old black project (radiation leakage/exposure to the general public, etc) but even this is illegitimate, unethical (take your freakin' medicine for endangering citizens), and indefensible.


    I hope the Sci-Fi Channel comes out with something for their troubles. It wont be extraterrestrial in origin but it will likely be interesting. And perhaps damning to those who deserve to be damned.

  • shit people. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by abolith (204863) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @06:28PM (#7275957) Homepage
    It doesn't matter if they do release the documents, all kinds of different depts and agencies get thier chance to "black-line" the varies documents to the point you can read one or two words per paragraph.

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