"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." — Carl Sagan.
Wired has a new feature called Tinfoil Tuesdays. Okay, I'll put my hat on.
This week's story is UFOs Neutered Nukes, Officers Claim. Seven retired Air Force officers called a news conference to say they encountered UFOs that rendered U.S. nukes temporarily inoperable during the Cold War.
Obviously, these extraterrestrials are concerned about the survival of the human race and want us to abandon our nuclear arsenals... or so it would seem.
Every generation tries to imagine the motives of other-worldly beings. I recently read The Eerie Silence, and author Paul Davies points out that each generation projects their own fears and priorities onto the invading aliens. H.G Wells popularized the notion that aliens would value real-estate and mineral resources; wealth in Victorian times meant physical stuff. But a century later, we found ourselves in the middle of "the information age," so we reasoned that aliens would place no value on gold and diamonds, but instead their source of wealth would be knowledge.
Unsurprisingly, our benevolent Cold War visitors wanted us to disarm, but I have to wonder what the concerns of year 2010 aliens would be? If they're still worried about nuclear missiles, they might want to invade Iran or North Korea and save us the work. Better yet, use that nuke neutering device to permanently switch off all nukes, not just a handful.
Or maybe a modern alien fable would be about taxes. Imagine the aliens as teabaggers -- scary thought.
Or maybe the alien civilization would be organized as a giant corporation looking to suppress individual freedoms, bribe politicians, and get billion dollar bailouts...
Space aliens should be the least of our worries right now.
"Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea is quite staggering." — Arthur C. Clarke.