Obama on UFOs: "We don't know exactly what they are"

Originally published at: Obama on UFOs: "We don't know exactly what they are" | Boing Boing


That last sentence kills it. You just can’t know what a UFO is :smile:



I’ve never been happy with the “UFO” moniker. “Unidentified Flying Objects”. Because there are several very HUGE assumptions being made in that moniker.

1st. In many cases, for those sightings which finally were identified, they turned out not to be “Objects” at all, but instead were things like artifacts of video processing, or radar glitches, or sun-glare, or optical illusions caused by atmospheric conditions, etc. It’s a very huge assumption to claim the sighting was an actual object.

2nd, In many other cases they were objects that were not “Flying”, (flying implies something which is being held aloft by it’s own agency) such as strange cloud formations, meteors, etc. It’s also a huge assumption to claim the sighting was something that was actually flying.

I’ve also never understood how “UFO” came to mean “Aliens”. Because if we’ve identified it as being “Aliens”, then it is not unidentified.


Can’t believe he’s finally revealing that the U stands for Unidentified.


Hence the more recent term “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” or UAP. Still not perfect, but includes the more ephemeral events, and acknowledges that “flying” implies intent. It seems a better term for something that appears to be in the sky, but for which we have no current explanation. As to why UFO = aliens, I can only conclude that the vast array of popular culture that has drawn that connection has completely overridden the original purpose of the UFO moniker. UFO is now a word, not an abbreviation. For instance, I can’t think of another abbreviation for which the people involved have become nouned, like “ufologists” have been.


Yeah. For me, most supposed UFOs are just misidentification of known aircraft with a tiny sliver being legit unknowns (possibly classified aircraft or just some exotic phenomena). I use to be deep into the whole “UFOlogy” thing as a kid it was a good ghost story stuff but nothing that should get as much attention that it got.


For the most part, the UFO discussion has been background noise for me, but we are now probably into a period where figuring out what a UAP / UFO really is will become VERY important, and I don’t mean aliens. So i’m wondering if we really are going to discover something disturbing about the current state of the art from this information.


Would have been more funny if he had trolled us and said “you don’t know exactly what they are”.

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That’s what the U stands for unidentified. So duh?

comedy aliens GIF by People of Earth TBS

ancient aliens GIF

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Wait, is that what the “unidentified” part means?

I like how Obama deflected by saying that Reggie was deflecting. Boss move.

Tacitly: “But we mostly know.”

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“I think you’ll find that our contract…”

“…mentions nothing about subcontracting your services to another company,” he counters smartly. “I know - I had the company solicitors give your contract the once-over. As impressed as they were about the numerous strange clauses in your contract - their favourite being the extortionate penalty payment for remaining at work after a UFO sighting in the vicinity of the building - they believe that there’s nothing to stop us using you to provide services to other companies.”


“Well, I have to say that I’m both pleased and surprised,” the Boss says cheerfully. “You appear to have done a thorough job of it.”

“We are professionals, and after all, we were getting PAID to do it,” the PFY says, handing this month’s invoices to the head of IT.

“Who was it?” the head of IT sighs sadly.

“Him,” the PFY says, pointing at the Boss.

“What?” the Boss asks.

“When?” the head of IT asks, ignoring the Boss.

“Moments after we got the word that we had to write up a spec,” the PFY adds happily.

“WHAT?” the Boss asks.

“You would have been standing by a window,” the head of IT says bitterly, a painful memory of his first week in the company rising to the surface. “And one of these two would have said something like ‘look at that, is it an Airbus 320 or an Airbus 340’?”

“The actual question was ‘is that a 747-200F or a 747-200C’?” the PFY says.

“Yes?” the Boss says.

“And you said something like ‘I dunno’ didn’t you?” the head asks.

“Well, I don’t know anything about planes,” he replies defensively.

“And what do we call a flying object that you can’t identify?” the PFY asks.

“Oh…” the Boss says. “I’ll get me coat…”



I don’t know if any of you had a chance to see the latest 60 minutes, but the subject is being brought up…

Also on CNN :

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We are not interested in the “many cases” though.

We are interested in the very few rare cases, where the object was detected by various instruments and people, and clearly presented capabilities that are outside the scope of known technologies.

Capabilities like the so-called 5 observables:

As to your question why UFO are often conflated with aliens;

Let’s say there’s a UFO, and for the sake of argument, it could only be one of the following possibilities:

  1. A plane, jet, drone, or any know flying technology of US or foreign origin
  2. A secret flying technology of US origin
  3. A secret flying technology of foreign origin
  4. A meteorological phenoma, animal or other natural phenomena
  5. An optical anomaly, lens reflection, glare or other visual illusion
  6. An instrument malfunction, manipulation error, human reading error, perception error, confusion, or other human or technological mistake
  7. A non-human flying technology

And then a defense intelligence officer says, that after rigorous investigation and review of instrument readings and corroborative testimonies, the UFO remains classified as ‘unknown’. Not because of lack of intelligence, but because the available intelligence could refute, to his and his department’s assessment, 6 of the 7 possibilities.

Even if we leave a margin of possible error for each of the 6 eliminated classifications; the remaining “alien” explanation becomes far more probable than any other prosaic explanation.

This is just a process of elimination; and it’s grossly summarized as UFO = aliens in the heads of some, for some of the more mystifying cases…

How to Talk About the Pentagon’s UFO Report Without Sounding Like a Conspiracy Theorist

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In defense of lesser evil voting, though, can you name some time the USA has even tried it for more than two presidents in a row? It’s frustrating to see all this fighting over lesser-evil versus third parties, when the biggest problem is people who don’t do either and keep voting in the greater evil more than half the time.

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You do know that the History Channel’s coverage of aliens and UFOs is widely considered a running joke rather than a credible source of data or thoughtful analysis, right?