More Science and Less Fiction

“You may not see massive UFO exhibits
at your local science museum, but there’s
no dearth of saucer stories infesting my email.
Every day, I receive several reports of alien sightings,
extraterrestrial plans for Earth, and agitated screeds
about the reluctance of scientists to
take the whole subject seriously.”
Seth Shostak

flying_saucer_poster-02

The news report described the sighting of a shiny saucer like object over a small sleepy town in Idaho. The early dusk sighting witnessed by a barber and his customer.

Why is it my fellow Blogaholics, the majority of flying saucer sightings are by Joe Blow from Idaho? Why are sightings rarely seen in large metropolitan areas of the World? Most importantly, when and where did the terror of flying saucer sightings begin?

Apparently, disc-shaped flying objects have been recorded throughout history since the Middle Ages. The first highly publicized sighting was by Kenneth Arnold on June 24, 1947. On that day, Mr. Arnold was flying his small plane near Mount Rainier in Washington State when he saw something unexplainable at the same altitude he was flying. A chain of nine objects shot across the sky, glinting in the sun as they traveled. By his observation, these objects traveled at a speed of 1,700 miles per hour, or three times faster than any manned aircraft of its time.

kenneth-arnold

Kenneth Arnold with a sketch of a disc-shaped flying object.

Mr. Arnold never specifically used the term flying saucer. At the time, he was quoted saying the shape of the objects he saw was like a saucer, disc, or pie-plate, and several years later added he had also said the objects moved like saucers skipping across the water. Both the terms flying saucer and flying disc were used commonly and interchangeably in the media until the early 1950s. Then in 1952 the United States Air Force used a much broader term, unidentified flying objects or UFOs.

As time soon proved, this was just the tip of the iceberg and the era of UFO sighting had begun. It wasn’t long until everyone was looking for these new aircraft, which according to the papers were saucer-like in shape. In just a few short weeks, hundreds of reports of these flying saucers were made across the nation. While people thought they were seeing the same things that Kenneth Arnold saw, there was a major irony that nobody at the time realized. Kenneth Arnold hadn’t reported seeing flying saucers.

Miss Flying Saucer

Today many of the alleged flying saucer sightings of the era are now believed to be hoaxes. Photographs and movies altered by someone wanting to obtain their fifteen minutes of fame. The flying saucer is now considered largely an icon of the 1950s B-movies and is still a popular subject in science fiction.

This obsession with UFOs may have started several decades ago but it still is an area of science that is unable to be explained. Who knows, maybe in the not too distant future the Miss Universe pageant will be replaced by the Miss Flying Saucer pageant and there will be proof that UFOs are more science and less fiction.

Shine On

 

Time Traveling

“Once confined to fantasy and science fiction,
time travel is now simply an engineering problem.”
Michio Kaku

Mr Peabody

Mr. Peabody, his boy Sherman and the “Wayback Machine”

The concept of traveling backward and forward in time has always held my fascination. My interest began as a child. Introduced to the idea of time travel by none other than Mr. Peabody and his Wayback machine.

Conceptually, time travel goes back several centuries. Long before H. G. Wells wrote the book, The Time Machine, Japanese, Hindu, and Buddhist all wrote about time travel. In more recent times, people such as Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku have discussed the possibilities of traveling back and forth in time.

Time travel will forever be one of my favorite genres of novels and movies. Whether I’m reading Stephen King’s novel 11/26/63 or watching, Midnight in Paris, and Back to the Future for the hundredth time, the idea of going back to a time before I existed will always hold my interest in time traveling.

Shine On

Peek-A-Boo

You cannot share your life with a dog, or a cat, and
not know perfectly well that animals
have personalities and minds and feelings.”

Jane Goodall

Peek A Boo

When a two-year old child plays peek-a-boo for the first time, it’s usually the first game they learn from their parents. But who would ever believe that a two-year old child could teach and play this children’s game with a baby gorilla.

Watch how a little boy at the Columbus Zoo actually tires out the baby gorilla playing a simple game of peek-a-boo.

Shine On

Kill Our Negative Cravings

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether
the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.”
Carl Jung

Kill Our Negative Craving

Addiction can come in many forms. It not only encompasses drugs and alcohol but also addiction can include food as well as sex.

All forms of addiction floods the brain with the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. This dopamine effects the regions of the brain that control pleasure and self-control. Over time, the function and structure of the brain change and dopamine receptors are reduced, making drugs, food and other substances less enjoyable but still desperately desired.

Recently, the American Society of Addiction Medicine has made an important breakthrough on the effect all of these substances and behaviors have on the brain. By accident, researchers in Australia and the United Kingdom found that playing the game Tetris for at least three minutes can take up all the mental capability of the brain to the point that is has no more room for imagining other things. This results in having less cravings for food, drugs, sleep and sex

Apparently, Tetris can reduce cravings by simply forgetting about the cravings while engaged in the game. Tetris could potentially be used as a support tool to help people manage cravings throughout their daily lives.

This finding is the first demonstration that cognitive interference can be used outside the lab to reduce cravings for substances and activities. There’s more research to be done, but it’s an interesting beginning to help people with addiction.

Who would ever thought that such a simple thing as playing a game to kill time, could actually be used to kill our negative cravings.

Shine On

#Holy Shade Balls

“Water is life’s matter and matrix,
mother and medium.
There is no life without water.”
Albert Szent-Györgyi de Nagyrápolt

Holy Shade Balls, Batman

Shade balls released into the Los Angeles Reservoir.

Unless you live on another planet, you must know that California is in a serious drought.

To combat the four years of drought, officials have released 96 million plastic balls. These plastic balls, shade balls as they are commonly known, are small black orbs that float atop the water creating shade to keep the water from evaporating.

The shade balls also help block sunlight and UV rays that promote algae growth, which would help keep the city’s drinking water safe. The balls slow the rate of evaporation, which drains California water supply of about 300 million gallons a year.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said the balls are expected to safely float in the water without emitting dangerous chemicals.

Apparently, the black orbs are not new to California. They have been used for almost seven years. But, due to their name they are receiving huge attention from social media users. #Holy Shade Balls.

Shine On