Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When aliens attack...we'll get completely underwhelmed

Recently, The National Geographic Channel aired a two-hour documentary entitled, When Aliens Attack Given a title like that, would you expect me not to watch? 

The show walks the viewer through a hypothetical scenario where an alien invasion fleet arrives and attacks Earth.  Experts in both science fact and fiction lend their views as to how such a thing might happen, what the results would be, and how humanity could best respond.
Hoo-boy, where to start?  First of all, you can forget any kind of innovation of the kind that say, District 9 provides.  What the “experts” come up with is really nothing new.  If you’ve seen Independence Day or War of the Worlds, you can pretty much storyboard this all out for yourself.  Any civilization with the technology for interstellar travel, blah blah, our military doesn’t stand a chance, blah blah, we’re in the soup blah.  In fact, the best advice the pundits give for humanity is to “run and hide.” 
This program fails on a number of levels.  For one thing, why weren’t actual UFO encounters cited or utilized as a foundation?  There are several that are solid, credible accounts of what UFO technology is likely capable of undertaking and the sightings directly involve military personnel.  Incidents such as Rendelsham Forest in 1980, Tehran in 1976, and Belgium in 1990 immediately spring to mind (even though I believe that the latter case involves clandestine terrestrial technology, not alien.)  Why not draw upon something with actual evidence behind it as opposed to movies?  Another shortcoming is that the program fails to provide a solid rationale as to why aliens would invade in the first place.  There are plenty of eliminations of motives and rightfully so.  It is correctly pointed out that there is very little on Earth that cannot be found elsewhere in the universe.  We have no ores that could just as easily be mined from an asteroid.  Water is
really rather plentiful, whether in the form of ice or deep inside rocky strata.  One of the only other conclusions you could come up with is plant or animal life as they mention, but…still, why?
Lastly, the program fails to consider the easiest method of eliminating humans from the planet, one that Bill Birnes of UFO Hunters pointed out long ago.  Just release a virus.  No muss.  No fuss.  No drawn out military engagements.  Nothing more than a tiny organism to which humans have no defense but one that the aliens could likely inoculate themselves against with relative ease.  Guess that doesn’t play out with as many expensive, dramatic, visceral scenes as an invasion does.
There were a few bright spots.  A valid point was made about the dubious correlation between technological advancement and pacifism.  In 1938, the most advanced nation in the world, one that had the greatest concentration of scientific minds, was Germany.  We all know how that turned out.  Granted that’s an evaluation based purely in human nature and history, but we have little else to go on. 
I expected much more from such a respected institution as National Geographic.  I mean, I understand that everybody these days needs to do certain things just to pay the rent and I’m also a sucker for alien invasion movies, but I guess I held National Geographic, a publication that deals so much with fact, to a different standard.

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