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Identified Flying Objects PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Belief is a powerful and frightening force. It defies evidence, logic, and reason. It is not to be trusted. A prime example of that was brought to my attention by the site weirdthings.com, which offers many such ponderances.

An hour south of Washington, DC, mysterious rings have been observed floating above the King's Dominion amusement park. Visible for up to 15 minutes, they seem to hover in place and then move on their own accord. They're unlike any aircraft built by man. They're so unique, that they've been reported by CNN. One witness, Deena Smith, wondered if it was the end of the world. A UFO investigator says that it's similar to a UFO seen in the 50's.

And yet, we have everything we need to solve this mystery. It's popular in American culture to consider all opinions as equally valid. This is actually not true... the right to have an opinion is allowed to all, but not all opinions are informed or should be weighed evenly.

In this case, we have a ring, floating above a ride that features an artificial volcano. Inside the volcano is a mechanism for creating smoke rings. Park officials have confirmed this. People have observed smoke rings emanating from the ride. We understand the laws of physics well enough to be able to describe and predict smoke ring behavior, especially on the apparently windless day shown in the video.

And yet despite this, people still believe this object is an alien craft or a sign from "God." And of course the media, in the interest of covering "both sides," gives equal weight to opinions that are uninformed, illogical, and based on emotion.

There are no two sides here. This is a completely explained phenomenon, well understood, and made by human intent. Why believe anything different?

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written by Skeptigirl, June 21, 2009
That is so cool. I want one. I want to create a hoax for my town too. smilies/grin.gif
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Word’s End?
written by ConTester, June 21, 2009
“One witness, Deena Smith, wondered if it was the end of the word.”
(Emphasis added.) Would that it was the end of the word. Then perhaps we could get some respite from such nonsense and the credulous dupes who seek to “re-enchant” the world by flavouring it with essence de baloney at the expense of real knowledge.
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written by MadScientist, June 22, 2009
@Skeptigirl: over the years I've found that LIDARs make great UFO's. Just get one second-hand but working diode-pumped frequency-doubled Nd:YAG laser (green light), an ancient and not necessarily all that good camera lens (to broaden the laser beam), project the beam into the air and listen to your closest radio station. With the Nd:YAG you'll impart a nice green color to overhead clouds. As an alternative you can use much lower power pen-sized green lasers; they still make a visible line in the air but are not visible from as far off as a high-power doubled Nd:YAG.
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On a small scale.
written by BillyJoe, June 22, 2009
My brother-in-law blows perfect circles with cigarette smoke and can shoot them across and ten foot space in a matter of seconds.

I could be wrong but I don't think he was sent by God
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annoying news
written by Son of Rea, June 22, 2009
The most annoying thing about this story, is how it was presented on the news. They used this lame "story" to get people to go to their website. Nothing more.
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Hoax suggestion
written by Dr.Sid, June 22, 2009
Thai balloons (google, youtube it) are cheap, cool, and always start ufo-mania.
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Depressing...
written by GusGus, June 22, 2009

This is really depressing. Even when there is an OBVIOUS logical explanation, some people prefer the paranormal one. The human race is doomed.
.
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written by Alan3354, June 22, 2009
I don't get the nostra20000 thing ???
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Nostra20000 ..
written by Dr.Sid, June 22, 2009
Yeah .. then you get it right. It's just a lunatic who spams every thread here.
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written by Squid, June 22, 2009
Again, eventually, Nostra will say something that will cross the line from free speech to actionable... when he does, I hope someone does something about it.

Squid
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written by Alan3354, June 22, 2009
Nostra20000 ..
written by Dr.Sid, June 22, 2009

Yeah .. then you get it right. It's just a lunatic who spams every thread here.

He does a poor job of it. He's incoherent.
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written by Alan3354, June 22, 2009
Again, eventually, Nostra will say something that will cross the line from free speech to actionable... when he does, I hope someone does something about it.

Squid


He sent a link to a Depeche Mode video, but there was no sound. Maybe he's not good at computer ops.
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Not enough meds...
written by CasaRojo, June 22, 2009
"I don't get the nostra20000 thing ??? "

He's in the top 10 local JREF idiots/lunatics. He makes it really hard to feel sorry for him. It's too bad 'cause he could really use the sympathy I'm sure. And way more meds.
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written by Alan3354, June 22, 2009
Some crazy people are smart, but not all of them.
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Unidentified Flying Signs from God
written by scuno, June 22, 2009
It would appear that God's ability to communicate has diminished.
In Noah's day, God was specific. (For the sake of argument, lets resist challenging the historicity of Noah. And of God.) He told Noah about the coming rain: when it would start, how long it would last, what its effects would be, why he was doing it, and what Noah needed to do to spare his family.
Today, it appears, God can't give specifics. He produces signs without telling people what they mean. Believers must wait for events to unfold, and then, in hindsight, choose which event they think the sign foretold.
This is not a very useful approach for a God who wants to warn and prepare his people. Imagine what would have happened had Noah only been able to tell his family, "The darkening sky is a sign from God. I don't know what it means. But sooner or later we'll look back and know what he was trying to tell us." The Noahs and their animals would have drowned.
Funny how the ancient God could predict things in clear terms before they happened. Today he is reduced to saying, post hoc, "Yeah, that's what I was trying to get across."
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written by daveg703, June 22, 2009
Yes, the current "God" is really a poor excuse for an omniscient being, unless he's just testing us to see which of us are smart enough to be worth saving. Unfortunately, he/she/it doesn't work like the Sudoku & Crossword puzzles, where the answer is given with the next challenge. That way we actually learn something, whereas the current system leaves us perennially in the dark as to meaning or intention. (What? Oh, that's right "He" works in mysterious ways.)
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written by Alan3354, June 22, 2009
God might not be smart, but he's insane and cruel.
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written by daveg703, June 22, 2009
@Alan3354
Well, those must be the redeeming social values we hear about as compensation for being obnoxious otherwise. smilies/smiley.gif
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written by Alan3354, June 22, 2009
Those are his good points.
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written by Bill Henry, June 22, 2009
No offense meant - but the woman they were interviewing didn't look to bright. Like the ladies you find at Walmart - very fat, lots of words, nothing to say.

(yes there is a certain irony to my remarks, what was I doing there?)
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Yes, there are two sides
written by That Guy, June 22, 2009
There are no two sides here. This is a completely explained phenomenon, well understood, and made by human intent. Why believe anything different?
There are two sides. It just makes "better news" to present one side as "or is it something else..." This draws more attention than "Amusement park creates huge smoke rings" which is pretty lame because smoke rings are so damn cool. And they only get cooler the bigger they get.
And "Amusement park creates huge smoke rings, fools think it be UFOs or God" just would not get the same views.
No, wait. I would totally watch that story. Still two sides. In this case, both would be presented realistically. That is a news organization I would trust!
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written by Lee, June 23, 2009
I would go with the 'there are not two sides' school of thought in this matter, as the nature of the puzzle can be verified as fact, rather than opinion.

Consider:
"I think Vegemite tastes great" is an opinion as it is a statement of purely personal preference. It is not verifiable by any means other than asking me. I could be lying, but then, only I would know. Asking me to eat some to see if I grimace will not prove anything. On the other hand...

"I think the world is flat", while phrased as an opinion, is not even remotely valid because it is in flat disagreement to observable reality. Saying something erroneous, with the caveat 'it's an opinion, it has equal merit' is simply incorrect. In the debate between flat Earthers and the rest of us, one simply is simply wrong and that is that.
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written by Alan3354, June 23, 2009
Another possibility has been overlooked.
The devil made them (the amusement park) do it.
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written by Kuroyume, June 23, 2009
This all boils down to the difference between subjectivity and objectivity. "I think Vegemite tastes great" is subjective in the same way as "I think heavy metal is the best music" or "Lou Reed is the best guitarist who ever lived". There is also 'accepted subjectivity' wherein a notion achieves acceptance simply because many people agree or believe it or it has been deemed by a methodical application of reason or experience by a trusted authority. That Aristotle explained many observations using reason alone did not make his explanations objective since he did not go further and verify them. People still mistake this accepted subjectivity for objectivity in various ways such as "seeing is believing" (my explanation for what I saw is the correct explanation - please, let's not muddle it with verification) or "everyone knows it was this" (because people blindly accept a seemingly plausible explanation once it is introduced). If I go to Loch Ness in Scotland and proclaim that I saw the monster (when it was a dead log floating in the lake), how many people would dispute the claim? How many would be supportive and add me to their clique? Who would request evidence or investigate?

IDers and some religious groups want less science in schools (to provide 'fair and balanced' ideas - yeah, okay). I say we need much more science in schools. Critical thinking, investigation, experimentation should be as fundamental to healthy intelligence as learning basic maths.
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Facts, Reality & Truth
written by ConTester, June 23, 2009
You say that fact = reality = truth. Wrong.
...and in the same breath...
to see ... a little demonstration of REAL CRITICAL THINKING...
Consistency, mate, consistency please.
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written by BillyJoe, June 23, 2009
Hell, I can't report him for abuse this time. smilies/sad.gif
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