Who’s in Charge of UFOs and Dehumidifiers?

There’s this great line in the movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” After Roy Neary (played by Richard Dreyfuss) is captured by the military and he has been briefed by scientists, he gets a little upset and says, “Well I got a couple of thousand goddamn questions, you know. I want to speak to someone in charge. I want to lodge a complaint. You have no right to make people crazy!”

I feel like Roy about this UFO thing that’s now being called UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon). The UAP Task Force is supposed to give some kind of report on this sometime this month. Reports of UFOs (I’m going to keep using that term) have been going on for years and they’ve been getting more complicated lately as stuff gets declassified about them.

I don’t know what I’m going to do about the UAP Task Force report. I have trouble understanding small stuff, like dehumidifiers for example. Sena bought one the other day, one with a 40-pint capacity. Sena asked the salesman how many pints there are in a gallon. The guy asked his smartphone the question—and then said “2”.

OK, I admit I’m no whiz kid in math. But even I could get the right answer by duplicating what he did. I asked my smartphone, for the first time, mind you. I had never tried that feature. It clearly and audibly gave the correct answer of 8 pints in a gallon. I’m not sure how that got messed up at the store. Sena also asked if the dehumidifier had a filter. The salesman said he did not think so. There is a very large, flat filter visible to the naked eye on the rear of the unit that just snaps in and out of place.

And don’t get me started about the operating instructions for the timer on it.  I know it’s not a clock. The instructions tell us how to program the timer to turn the thing on and off by using the arrow buttons. They go on at length about how to program it by pressing the Timer OFF or Timer ON, either when the unit is off or on. They tell you to press the arrow buttons left or right to increase or decrease the Timer by 0.5 or 1.0 hour increments up to 24 hours. You set both Timer OFF and Timer ON and the green lights come on, indicating it’s programmed.

What they don’t tell you is that you can’t program multiple time intervals. You can make it come on and go off for one interval. It does that by counting “down the time remaining until start.” What they also don’t tell you is that you need to set both by using time zero as the starting point. If you set Timer ON for 0.5 hours FROM NOW (say time zero is 7:30, meaning you want it to come on at 8:00), and you want the unit to turn itself off after 4 hours, you need to set Timer OFF counting from 7:30, not 8:00.

A clock would have been nice—and clear instructions as well.

So, I want someone with authority to give me the straight story on UFOs. I want to know who’s in charge here. I have my doubts that I’m going to get straight answers if you can’t get them from a guy selling dehumidifiers who doesn’t even known how to use his own smartphone.

Anyway, I found this website called Metabunk and it debunks a fair amount of UFO phenomena. It’s run by Mick West. I can tell it’s fascinating, but I really don’t understand much of what he and others discuss. It’s over my head (of course, since almost everything is). A lot of the language is technical since a lot of what we’re seeing and hearing about UFOs can be misunderstood because, let’s face it, some of this stuff is faked and some of it is ordinary. There are many camera, CGI, and puppet-type tricks which can be applied to give the impression of strange, alien spacecraft. See the extensive post, “How Do You Stage UFO Photos and Videos? Let Us Count the Ways.”

But Metabunk isn’t just about debunking; it’s also about understanding science and technology. When I watch Ancient Aliens or similar TV shows, I really don’t have to do much thinking because they’re mostly speculative. It helps to see something which challenges that view; see West’s article, “The aliens haven’t landed: Why you should be skeptical of recent reports on UFO sightings.”

Maybe he’ll post about dehumidifiers and dehumidifier salesmen. They can’t be from this planet.

Crazy Like a Fox

I finally got a picture of a fox not far from our property—but not close enough to get a good image. That said, it led me to do a little reading on the web about foxes. The most interesting item is the idea foxes might be able to locate prey under deep snow by using some kind of magnetic sense involving a protein in the retina called a cryptochrome. I’m not sure if this has been conclusively proven yet, but some scientists have said that this explains why foxes are able to find mice hiding in deep snowdrifts. They use a comical nose dive leap to catch them. It looks crazy, but it might increase their hunting success rate. Maybe that’s the origin of the expression “crazy like a fox”. Other animals, including bears, might be able to use this magnetic sense. Let’s hope not.

Bears don’t have a comical leap when they hunt. They’re anything but comical when they’re surprised. A land surveyor in Alaska surprised a brown bear recently and got badly mauled. The Associated Press news item title was “10 Seconds of Terror: Alaska man survives bear mauling.”

It’s a harrowing story although the man’s telling of it is almost eerily non-dramatic. He’s pretty matter-of-fact about the whole thing. It turns out he’s lived in Alaska for 40 years. He personally knows five other people who’ve been mauled by bears in Alaska. He even sounds like it would have been all the same to him if he’d been killed rather than injured. He didn’t sound like he was depressed or even unhappy, just calmly matter-of-fact.

That’s exactly how several Alaskans talk about what sounds like an absolute traffic jam of UFOs in the skies over the state. I guess I should call them Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) now that we have a government task force (The U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence) assigned to investigating them. It sounds a little crazy. I sometimes wonder if this might be an attempt to draw attention away from other things happening in the country that’s getting a lot of press. That might be crazy like a fox.

I’ve watched the show Aliens in Alaska a few times. Ordinary, everyday Alaskans tell their stories about the UAP they’ve witnessed. They all describe them in the same way the guy talked about getting mauled by a bear, even the ones who say they’d been abducted by aliens. One guy was pretty frank about his UAP story, and even joked that maybe he was putting himself at risk for getting hustled off to the Alaskan Psychiatric Institute (API). Most of the time, when people are telling these stories on other TV shows, they always seem to be a little hysterical, which makes them a little less convincing. But the way Alaskans tell their stories, it’s like hearing how they got mauled by a bear, no big deal (“…oh, and did I ever tell you how I won 10 straight games of cribbage, all with at least one perfect 29 score?”).

Come to think of it (for no particular reason), I’ve never heard of any episodes of bear mutilations. There are plenty of stories about cattle mutilations, which are often attributed to aliens. How come bears don’t get the same treatment? Maybe because they’d fight back. Getting back to that mauled land surveyor, when I was a land surveyor’s assistant back in the day in Iowa, the only trouble I had with animals was with pesky cows trying to tip our tripods over out in the fields—probably as revenge for cow-tipping. I didn’t tip cows. They never put the salad fork in the right place (rim shot).

Anyway, I saw a commercial recently made by Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, talking up Alaska as a major tourism destination, also touting the state as having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country for COVID-19, although that has been fact-checked. According to the commercial, among the many exhilarating experiences you can have in Alaska is to see the bears.

He didn’t mention the aliens (which I’d rather see than bears), even though it could be one of the biggest draws to the place given the soaring interest in UAP. Crazy like a fox.

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