Cambrian: Opinion

John Brannon: Where have all the UFOs gone?

Almost every civilization that has kept a written history has recorded the sightings of strange objects and lights in the skies. Today, unexplained aerial phenomena are generally referred to as UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects).

One of the first well-documented UFO sightings occurred in 1561 in Nuremburg, Germany. Eventually, more than 80,000 pages of information and 12,618 sightings have been reported. But I don’t recall any recent sightings mentioned in the media.

In 1947, a pilot flying a private plane told reporters he saw a formation of nine objects flying over Mount Rainier in Washington at a speed of more than 1,600 miles an hour. He described the objects as moving like “a saucer skipping across the water.” It soon became popular to call all UFOs “flying saucers.”

But what happened to them? I must admit that I began losing confidence in the reports of such mysterious craft when a farmer in Iowa provided a photograph he took of a silvery metallic disc hovering over his corn field with “UFO” emblazoned on its surface. Many people accepted this as proof of their existence.

I would imagine these peculiar spaceships were/are from another solar system and had come to study the human race. That concept in itself is very difficult to believe. The next nearest star is Alpha Centauri; it is 4.3 light years away. That means that light — traveling at 186,000 miles per second— has taken 4.3 years to get here. With the greatest speed achieved in our space program (157,077 mph), it would take us 40,000 years to reach that system.

These scientists must be of superior intelligence; after all, they came here, we didn’t go there.

• During four of its final five years in existence, Enron Corp. paid no taxes, in spite of the company’s profit during that time of $1.8 billion. Not only that, they received a tax rebate of $381 million for that period.

CEO Ken Lay is reported to have owned around a dozen homes at the end, including four in Aspen, Colo.— he said he wasn’t quite sure how many he had.

• The 88-nation International Whaling Commission is fighting efforts by Japan, Norway and Iceland to reduce restrictions against killing whales. These three countries have exploited loopholes in an international treaty that aims to preserve the endangered mammals. California gray whales have been hunted to the brink of extinction on two occasions. Blue whales declined by 96 percent before strict laws were enforced. Last year, 1,700 whales were slaughtered; they have a value of $100,000 each in Japanese fish markets. Whale meat is valued in restaurants and in the production of dog and cat food.

• The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Goldman Sachs & Co. and one of its executives with fraud in a scam that cost investors more than $1 billion. The company also received $10 billion in bailout funds. Realizing the deal would fail, Wall Street hedge fund Paulson & Co. bought insurance against the transaction and made $1 billion. Paulson reaped $3.7 billion by betting against the housing market in 2006 and 2007. As a result of Goldman & Sachs failing so badly for investors, the executive’s bonus check was for only $9 million, far below the $67.9 million he received in 2007.

• The world is due to run out of oil within 50 to 70 years (according to some). Rather than focusing on other sources of energy and cornering the market on those alternatives, we are considering drilling for more oil. A better choice would be to make our discoveries and have the world come to us, rather than us invade and occupy other countries for a product that is eventually coming to an end.

But after all the years of research and observation, I think the celestial visitors finally decided to cease their activities. One of the scientists probably declared in their unique language (or by mental telepathy), “These creatures are crazy –it’s time to get the hell out of here and go home.”

Seems a reasonable conclusion when one ponders some of these recent news reports.

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