Tomorrow is Here

The Outer Limits

When Galaxy’s Collide

by on Jun.27, 2012, under Deep Space, The Far Future

The Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy will collide in about 2.3 billion years. If any of us were around it would look something like this.

See details on New Scientist TV.

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The Lost City of Atlantis is Still Lost

by on Feb.22, 2009, under Lost Civilizations

Bernie Bamford, a 38-year-old aeronautical engineer from Chester in England caused a stir last week with his claim to have found the fabled lost City of Atlantis. Mr Bamford spotted a grid pattern on the sea bad 620 miles off the coast of Africa.

Atlantis?

Atlantis?

 

On Google Maps

The first mention of Atlantis is by Plato in 360 BC. According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power lying, “in front of the Pillars of Hercules” or the Straights of Gibraltar.

He claimed Atlantis conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa about 9600 BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean, “in a single day and night of misfortune.”

The legend of Atlantis has grown since then. The Nazis thought Atlanteans were the ancestors of their master race. New Age legend has Atlanteans with psychic powers responsible for building everything from the Pyramids to Stonehenge. Popular culture places Atlantis in another Galaxy.

So, the discovery what looks like a street pattern on the sea bed caused quite a stir. However, there are a few problems with the picture. The first is scale. The area covered by the grid is 20 times as big as Greater London. The second is that the lines do not actually appear on the seabed but are an artifact of the way the map making process.

In a statement Google said:

It’s true that many amazing discoveries have been made in Google Earth — a pristine forest in Mozambique that is home to previously unknown species, a fringing coral reef off the coast of Australia, and the remains of an Ancient Roman villa, to name just a few.

In this case, however, what users are seeing is an artefact of the data collection process.

Bathymetric (or seafloor terrain) data is often collected from boats using sonar to take measurements of the seafloor. The lines reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data.

So the fabled Lost City of Atlantis Remains lost, who knows it could be in another Galaxy.

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The 2008 Alien Invasion of the UK

by on Sep.02, 2008, under UFOs and Close Encounters

The summer of 2008 will go down as, “The Summer Aliens (Almost) Invaded the UK.”

AlienIt started in May, when the British Government released previously secret UFO files to the National Archives. The files included corroborated reports from reputable sources of UFOs hovering over British cities.

In one amazing incident from 1984, air-traffic controllers describe a, “brilliant solid ball of light, bright silvery in colour,” land on a runway in front of them, then takeoff in a near vertical climb. These stories appearing in both the national press and on TV caused quite a stir.

What happened next depends on your point of view. In one narrative, worried by their pubic exposure, the UFOs decided to step up their invasion plans, with the UK the center of the attack.

Another point of view has it that once UFOs became newsworthy, UFO stories multiplied. When people saw these reports, things they once dismissed as mundane they now perceived as UFOs. With more sightings publicized, people become more likely to report their own experiences, as they were no longer are worried about being labelled as “weird.” It was a self-reinforcing process.

Whatever the reason, by mid-summer, UFO sightings had rocketed (excuse the pun). Malcolm Robinson, the founder member of Strange Phenomena Investigations, told the normally staid Daily Telegraph, “Something very bizarre is happening in the skies over the UK.”

The national press ran stories on a “glowing” disc spotted above the M5 motorway, on fleets of objects hanging in the sky above an army barracks and of a police helicopter chasing a UFO.

In one famous story, a man calls the police to report a mysterious light hovering above his house, only to have the Police identify it as the moon when they arrived at the scene.

My hometown, Stevenage, has not been immune. A sighting in August was the first UFO sighting in the town in 32 years. The local Comet reported multiple-sightings of between two and seven orange spheres, travelling silently in a parallel course to the local airport’s flight path. One group of 10 people at a barbecue took photos, which also appeared in the paper.

A week later, the paper provided the explanation. Someone had been letting off Chinese lanterns in the town. Chinese lanterns are baby hot air balloons about the size of a dustbin liner. The local airport was not amused. Pointing out that anyone releasing such objects needs to get clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority first.

Not everyone I know accepts this explanation, conspiracy and cover-up are suspected. “I believe,” and, “the truth is out there,” they mutter.

Now September has arrived, the new soccer season has started and UFO reports have died down. With a new cold war looming and the UK facing its worse recession in 60 years, we may be looking back with fondness to the summer of 08. When all we had to worry about was ET stopping by for some barbecue chicken.

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