A secret Pentagon program studied UFOs until at least 2012. Here's one encounter they couldn't explain.
"There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy," Hamlet says in Act I of Shakespeare's famous tragedy. For U.S. Navy Cmdr. David Fravor, the unknown thing from the heavens he saw in 2004 looked like "a white Tic Tac, about the same size as a Hornet [fighter jet], 40 feet long with no wings," he told The Washington Post on Monday, two days after the Pentagon confirmed the existence of a secret program that searched for alien spacecraft and other potentially dangerous aircraft. "It was a real object, it exists, and I saw it," Fravor said, and it was clearly "something not from the Earth."
Fravor told the Post that on Nov. 14, 2004, he was ordered to lead his Navy strike fighter squadron, the A-41 Black Aces, off the California coast to check out some fast-dropping unidentified flying objects officials had been tracking for a few weeks. When they arrived, he saw the oblong object "just hanging close to the water," and "as I get closer, as my nose is starting to pull back up, it accelerates, and it's gone," Fravor told the Post. "Faster than I'd ever seen anything in my life."
A separate squadron of planes arriving as Fravor's crew left shot the following video of the "anomalous aerial vehicle". A private company, To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences, annotated the video after one of its consultants, Luis Elizondo, got the Pentagon to declassify and release it and two other cockpit videos before he left the government. Elizondo led the UFO-seeking Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP).
Fravor retired in 2006 and mostly kept quiet about what he saw until 2009, when an unidentified government official approached and put him in touch with Elizondo. The AATIP started in 2007 and officially closed in 2012, though some of its research reportedly continues. You can read more about Fravor's experience at The Washington Post. Peter Weber
A 1992 law set a deadline of Oct. 26, 2017, for the president to decide whether or not to unseal the 3,600 top-secret files about the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. The decision, then, falls on President Trump to determine if the documents should be made public. Alternately, he could seal them away if he certifies that they would cause "an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations [that] outweighs the public interest in disclosure," BuzzFeed News reports.
Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) has introduced a House bill urging Trump to allow the documents about the 1963 assassination to be released. "Obviously it's hard for me to believe that there wasn't a certain amount of complicity in all this development," said Jones. "I don't know about the second shooter, I still have questions about whether there was a second shooter or not, I think maybe there could have been, I don't know. This might help me find out. But I do think there were people behind [shooter Lee Harvey] Oswald, I have no question about that."
In the Senate, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sponsored a bill that mirrored Jones'. It is cosponsored by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) who said: "Americans have the right to know what our government knows."
In the spring, Judge John R. Tunheim, the former chairman of the Assassination Records Review Board, said he knew of "no bombshells" in the papers. Murphy added: "I will say this: This collection is really interesting as a snapshot of the Cold War." Read more about Congress' effort to make the papers public at BuzzFeed News and more about what could be in the documents at The Dallas Morning News. Jeva Lange
Trump's nominee for chief scientist of the USDA once claimed a UFO charged him at 5,000 miles per hour
President Trump's nominee for chief scientist of the Department of Agriculture might seem like an odd pick for the job. After all, the position requires a "distinguished [scientist] with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics," and Trump's pick — radio host Sam Clovis — might not make the cut, The Daily Beast reports.
Plus there is the fact that Clovis once claimed he was charged by a UFO, as The Des Moines Register recounts:
[WHO Radio host Simon] Conway asked [Clovis] if he'd ever seen a UFO. Clovis started to say yeah, but then said, it's not that he actually saw it, but he knew it was there.
His radar locked on it, and it was doing things our technology couldn't do, he explained. The UFO was traveling toward him at 5,000 mph — and we've got nothing that does that. It came to a complete stop, he said, then reversed away at 5,000 mph.
Clovis said he handed over the radar track to officials.
Spokesman Derek Dufresne noted later that his boss is "a veteran fighter pilot who has served his country with distinction, and he saw an unidentified object that was outside the norm and reported it to appropriate individuals." [The Des Moines Register]
Speaking with The Daily Beast, Conway said his question to Clovis "was jokey … something to laugh at" and "it was a very non-serious thing I was doing, it wasn't him."
The oldest known fossil on Earth could be the key to discovering alien life, researchers believe. The newfound microscopic bacteria unearthed in a rock formation in Quebec, Canada, would have lived in hot ocean vents 4.2 billion years ago — vents that also existed during the same period in the oceans of Mars.
The bacteria is "the strongest evidence yet that similar organisms could also have evolved on Mars, which at the time still had oceans and an atmosphere, and was being bombarded by comets which probably brought the building blocks of life to Earth," The Telegraph writes.
— Peter Hoskins (@PeterHoskinsTV) March 1, 2017
Notably, scientists now have an idea of what to be looking for on the Red Planet. "Early Mars and early Earth are very similar places, so we may expect to find life on both planets at this time," said Matthew Dodd, who is working on the study that is being co-funded by NASA. "We know that life managed to get a foothold and evolve rapidly on Earth. So if we have life evolving in hydrothermal vent systems maybe even 4.2 billion years ago when both planets had liquid water on their surface, then we would expect both planets to develop early life."
Before the primordial tube-like bacteria was discovered in Canada, the oldest known fossil on Earth was 3.4 billion years old, and with it scientists estimated that life started on our planet 3.7 billion years ago. The Quebec discovery pushes that date further back, with life now estimated to have begun as early as 4.5 billion years ago — a mere 100 million years after the Earth was formed.
"It's indeed possible that life started on Mars as well as the Earth, but then fizzled out — maybe leaving some traces that we will discover from future probes," said Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees. Read more about the exciting discovery at The Telegraph. Jeva Lange
Sasha Obama was noticeably absent from her father's farewell address Tuesday night in Chicago, and people have theories about why the she wasn't in attendance.
The boring folks of the world think there is a simple explanation:
Where is Sasha you ask? That child is in her bed sleeping, she has school in the morning. Y'all know Michelle doesn't play lol
— Itsloudinsidemyhead (@itsShirleyBIH) January 11, 2017
Others are convinced she had more nefarious plans:
— CB Imprintz (@CBImprintz) January 11, 2017
Some say the decision to leave the First Daughter in Washington, D.C., was a matter of national security:
Anyone else wondering if #sashaobama is the designated survivor?
— Jaime Allentuck (@JAllentuck) January 11, 2017
Could it be that she just didn't make the cut?
— Marisol Dorantes (@dorantesmarisol) January 11, 2017
It turns out there was an important reason why she stayed behind:
— Kenneth Moton (@KennethMoton) January 11, 2017
Good luck, Sasha! Glad that one's been solved — now on to the Russian hacks. Catherine Garcia
Search crews have found the flight-data recorder of the Russian military plane that crashed Sunday in the Black Sea, killing all 92 people on board, Russia's Defense Ministry said Tuesday. Divers on Monday found several pieces of the jet in about 80 feet of water a mile from shore. The plane crashed shortly taking off from the Russian city of Sochi, carrying military personnel and journalists. Among the people on board were members of a famed Russian army choir heading to Syria to perform for Russian troops.
Russia has said early evidence indicates human or mechanical error, not terrorism, probably caused the crash. Harold Maass
Hillary Clinton has promised that, as president, she will address serious and pressing issues like campus sexual assault, immigration reform, and gun violence prevention. However, if she really wants to win the election she might want to start reminding voters that she has also promised to investigate UFOs.
Longtime UFO truther and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta told CNN's Jake Tapper Thursday that, "What I've talked to the secretary about, and what she said now in public is that if she's elected president, when she gets into office she'll ask for as many records as the U.S. government has to be declassified. And I think that's a commitment she intends to keep and that I hold her to."
Podesta is entirely serious, too: While serving in the Obama administration, he once said that his biggest failure of 2014 was "once again not securing the disclosure of the UFO files," which, to be fair, is a totally acceptable thing to regret.
"The U.S. government could do a much better job in answering the quite legitimate questions that people have about what's going on with unidentified aerial phenomena," Podesta continued, adding that "the American people can handle the truth."
The American people can handle the truth, and we demand it. If Bernie Sanders wants to stay competitive, it's his turn to make a move. Might we suggest he promise to declassify the government records on Bigfoot? Jeva Lange
Unicorns might have actually walked the earth with humans, according to new fossils discovered and reported in the American Journal of Applied Sciences. The so-called "Siberian unicorn" fossils discovered in Kazakhstan are 29,000 years old; the first Homo sapiens evolved nearly 200,000 years ago, according to scientists.
Previously paleontologists believed that horned horse-like animals had all died out over 350,000 years ago, before people were ever around. Now a new Elasmotherium sibiricum skull fossil discovered in Kazakhstan has them reconsidering.
However, SF Gate warns that these unicorns weren't pure white with sparkling manes. The Siberian unicorn "was a terrifying beast, 6-feet-6 inches tall, 15 feet long, and weighing four tons. Basically, it was an enormous rhino with a death stick on its forehead."
— TreeHugger.com (@TreeHugger) March 29, 2016
The Elasmotherium sibiricum likely outlasted other horned mammals because Western Siberia could have provided isolation from unknown environmental factors that wiped out "unicorns" elsewhere. "Most likely, the south of Western Siberia was a [refuge], where this rhino had preserved the longest in comparison with the rest of the range," the study's author, Tomsk State University scientist Andrei Shpansky, said. Jeva Lange