I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Office for Outer Space Affairs

If you've been watching the news, you'll find that it's getting harder and harder to deny the possibility of extraterrestrial life. The first time I was really astounded by the new wave of interest in aliens was when my friend Emily reported that she was watching reports of UFOs on FOX NEWS. The fair and balanced network (devoted to reporting on all sides of the anti-Obama propaganda) took time away from smearing democrats and setting up straw enemies (Have you ever seen Glenn Beck? Now, have you ever heard Glenn Beck use anything remotely resembling logic?) to report on mass UFO sightings. I haven't seen anything like it in years.

Many residents of Tucson, Arizona reported some strange UFOs in their vicinity in late September (Tucson UFO Sighting: Event witnessed by many remains a mystery). Only one video surfaced (Tucson UFO sighting: UFO enthusiast captures object on video), but massive audiences reported objects in the sky that they could not explain. I'm sure you've also heard the news of mass UFO reports in China (UFOs frequently appear over Taiyuan, Shanxi). It's getting harder and harder to deny the existence of extraterrestrial life now that the evidence is not just coming from oddball ufologists like Dan Aykroyd; the evidence is coming from the population, educated and uneducated alike, of entire cities and provinces.

If I'm not asking you to read the Wired article about the new Cowboys Stadium (Cowboy Upgrade: Welcome to the NFL's Next Flagship Arena) then I'm asking you to read the Wired article about Gleise 581g, the first habitable planet we've been able to find outside of our solar system (A Habitable Exoplanet - for Real This Time). Add to this the fact that scientists have been dealing with a strange laser-like signal from the general vicinity of Gleise 581g for two years (Strange Signal Comes From Alien Planet, Scientist Says), long before Gleise 581g was reported to be capable of sustaining life, and you're dealing with another significant piece of data regarding extraterrestrial life.

A decent amount of the public and some scientists here and there seem convinced that extraterrestrial life is possible, but does that mean that there's any significant reason for anyone else to believe? Perhaps not. But there are certainly some people in very high places who believe that we need to be ready for the possibility that reports we could encounter alien intelligence within my lifetime. About the same time as the massive alien sightings and the discovery of a habitable exoplanet, the UN appointed Malaysian astrophysicist Mazlan Othman as the head of the UN's Office for Outer Space Affairs (Alien diplomacy: The UN's secretive alien ambassador). Before I read this article, I was going to jokingly title this blog "Office of Alien Affairs," only to find that the actual office has a much better early-20th-century science fiction vibe to it. This means that the people who represent all humanity on our planet (well, most) have decided that despite worldwide economic turmoil it is necessary to pay for a group of people to deal with possible extraterrestrial encounters.

What does this mean? Is the UN privy to secret information on the existence of extraterrestrial life? Is the scientific community putting together the pieces? Is this all a massive conspiracy of viral marketing for the upcoming film Skyline? I don't have enough evidence to know one way or another. I can conclude that it's a great time to look to the skies, that America needs a kick start to its collective imagination after all of the economic troubles we've faced. And what better impetus than evidence that the things we imagine may really exist

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