Monday, September 30, 2013

Book review--"I, Robot"

by Isaac Asimov

In this collection of semi-connected short stories, Asimov sets out his now famous Three Laws of Robotics.  The robots of the stories run the gamut from the tyrannical to the emotionally conflicted, from the ability to read minds to robots acting as political leaders.

As I have mentioned before, I'm working on a novel that features a robot as a main character.  Therefore, I considered it imperative that I investigate this seminal work on robots in science fiction. That's the pretentious adjective I give this book for through this writing Asimov gave us the Three Laws of Robotics and thereby a proposed guide to robot behavior:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First or Second Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Yeah, I pretty much threw such dogma out the window for my book, but let's proceed with a review of I, Robot, the film version of which, as an aside, has little if anything to do with the book.

I am going to say something that will no doubt make me unpopular.

Asimov was not a great writer.  His characters were two dimensional (at best), his dialogue was pulpy, and he seemed to have little if any interest in anything resembling a literary technique, such as symbolism.
That said, the man had great ideas.  He was able to combine theories on scientific progress and ask the great question of "what if?"  What are the greater implications of such developments on society?  Will there one day really be, as Asimov muses, "robopsychologists?"  That is to say scientists who specialize in analyzing and...if need be...treating robot behavior?  Are the "positronic brains" Asimov postulates even possible?  If not, then why not?  Will technological developments such as robots lead to the instauration or the armageddon of society?

These kinds of questions are the very purpose of science fiction...even if the prose techniques may leave literary critics retching on the floor.

I can live with that.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Art and science fiction: X Rebirth

I have said it before and I'll say it again: I love it when art and science fiction come together.

That is what seems to be happening in the new game X Rebirth.

Upon reading through this article, it seems that "new" is a bit of a misnomer as the game has been in the works for at least a few years now.  At any rate, X Rebirth aims to be a completely immersive and artistic science fiction experience.  The game appears to not only provide the fanboy service of piloting an interstellar spaceship and being involved in battles, but to also allow the player to inhabit the space of the game.  You can "live" within its buildings.  You can walk a ship's corridors and actually feel as if you are there.  This is a game more driven by character than by action.

The writer of the linked article goes on to drool that the detail of the renderings in the game are such as to be on the same level as legendary science fiction artists Chris Foss and Ralph McQuarrie.  I'm tempted to call such comparisons hyperbole, especially in the case of the latter, but I will reserve full judgement until I actually experience the interface.

What I will say is that it certainly looks pretty.  Check out the rendering I posted above and the detail of line, color, and motion.  More intriguing even than the sexy imagery is the proposed concept of a shared eco-system of both the big and the small.  There are whole planets, space stations, and factories the size of moons.  The user can then dock at such structures and experience the environment on the micro scale, on a personal and one-to-one basis.  You can interact and communicate with other characters, both other players and NPCs the game has generated.  This is Second Life but strictly for the science fiction fan.    

The artists, designers, and programmers bringing us X Rebirth promise an indubitably addictive virtual experience, one so gratifying that we may never want to leave.

And maybe that's what I'm most afraid of...and most vigorously enticed by.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Steranko slams "SHIELD"

First, let me make it clear that I have not seen the comic book-based Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

That said, this headline on Newsarama caught my eye.

Jim Steranko has long since earned legendary status in the comic book industry as an artist and writer.  In fact, he is in the realm of artists that can be referred to by a single name and nearly every fan immediately gets a mental image of a trademark style.  Just say "Steranko..."
Steranko is largely to credit for the Marvel Comics identity of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to his work on the series Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Upon seeing the pilot episode of Joss Whedon's NBC series based on the same franchise, Steranko took to the internet to immediately voice his complaints.  He was not happy.

“The pilot assumes the audience is cognizant of the Marvel Universe as it regales viewers with a salvo of references established previously in big-screen efforts,” Steranko writes.  “Granted, Avengers may be the third-highest-grossing flick of all time, but recalling the details of last year's favorite may be too much to expect above the fanboy level.”

Can't fault him there.  Steranko also cites the lamentable absence of the character of Nick Fury.

“Although Fury, like Batman and Bond, has no superpowers, he is clearly suprahuman: irresistible, indomitable, invincible,” the Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. writer/artist explains. “…the [Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.] opener would have benefitted [sic] immensely from a 15-second cameo or even a damn phone call from [Samuel L. Jackson's] Fury.”

True.  Who doesn't want a bit more Nick Fury in their lives?  Steranko goes on to say:

 “Could anyone understand the dialogue delivered by the S.H.I.E.L.D. lab team?” Steranko added. “Did anyone feel punted into P.C.-ville by the Hooded Hero being black? And did we really need the rampant, dueling ideologies at the pilot's denouement? We all understand melodrama has its conveniences, contrivances and coincidences, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to expect a certain transcendence with the kind of creative talent behind the series.”

Okay, here's where he lost me.  I see no problem with a character being cast or recast as African American.  Oh gee, sorry.  Was that term "too PC?"  Oh well.

I like Jim Steranko.  He's talented as all hell and he's a funny guy as many of his tweets attest to.  But I can't help but wonder if a few of his beefs are a bit misguided.  If he's quietly unhappy that the TV series is too unlike what he created, there might be a reason for that...and it has nothing to do with judgements of quality.  Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. had its genesis during the height of the Bond and Man from U.N.C.L.E. craze.  I'm not so certain how well that would translate to today, especially after Austin Powers spent the better part of a decade piercing said sectile material with parody.

Both Marvel and NBC may be looking for a new kind of S.H.I.E.L.D.  That being said, sounds like Steranko's other points may be spot on.

Then again, I haven't seen it.  Yet.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dystopia now...

Our Congress is working hard to earn every point of its less than 20% approval rating.

Politics as usual.  They appear gridlocked once more as yet another deadline over the debt ceiling looms nigh.  This comes fast on the heels of last week's vote in the House of Representatives that cut funding to food stamp programs.  The vote ran almost entirely down party lines with House Republicans voting in block.   

I like science fiction.  That last statement likely strikes you as a) nothing new and b) having nothing to do with the subject of this post.  Stay with me on this.

The science fiction of my youth was filled with Star Trek the original series, films from the 1960s that were godawful but oh-so-fun, and of course Star Wars.  Yes, I had all of the action figures.  The future looked bright.

That is not the science fiction future we ended up getting.  Instead, we live in pre-apocalyptic days that are just on the cusp of dystopia (look it up).  We have a dysfunctional government with two parties unable to see any points but their own and working lock-step in a scorched earth policy to complete their agenda by any means necessary.  The food stamp vote and the Fight Against Obamacare: Round Bazillion are just further evidence of this.

"But there are too damn many people bilking the system to get free things." Of course there are.  One is too many.  But that line of reasoning sacrifices aid to the legitimate for the punishment of the offending...and the latter, I wager, are in the minority.  Sort of reminds me of the sky-is-falling fear over voter fraud.

A "slash and burn" cutting of aid programs will only create desperate and frantic people.  Desperate people easily become violent people.  That means crime.  It might even be easier in this proposed society to get a gun than it would be to get something to eat on a consistent basis.  Dystopia.  It's not the Hollywood kind with the good looking, rebel bad boy action stars.  It's going to be uglier than that.  Much uglier.

Or maybe not.  An article I read today in The Economist argues that the disenfranchised might not even care.   While those on the left (and I must admit that is where I tend to fall most times) fear class disparity and societal polarization will lead to open riots, economist Tyler Cowen thinks otherwise.  Instead, "the have-nots will be too engrossed in video games to light real petrol bombs. An ageing population will be rather conservative, he thinks. There will be lots of Tea-Party sorts among the economically left-behind. Aid for the poor will be slashed but benefits for the old preserved."

Good news for the elderly I guess.

Me?  Let's just say I'm not looking forward to it.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Command and Control

This post comes as a recommendation from a loyal reader.  So...thanks!

There is much I find interesting in this article.

For one thing, we are reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser later this semester.  If you have not read that book, it will likely kill any future desire or craving you might have for fast food.  Now, Schlosser has a new book out called Command and Control.  It takes a look at what is colloquially believed an outdated (or is it?) fear: nuclear war.

Diligent readers of ESE know well my utter fear of/morbid fascination with nuclear war.  I've been that way since I was eight.  So as if Schlosser's writing was not enough of a draw, the subject matter in and of itself would have lured me.  Schlosser, as described by the reviewer from Mother Jones, fairly eviscerates the illusion of "nuclear safety" by detailing two major near-accidents with nuclear weapons on US soil that held the potential to be extraordinary disasters.  One was a B-52 crash over North Carolina in 1961 where failsafes on a hydrogen bomb began to fail one by one.  The other, and perhaps more chilling of the two, took place in 1980.

It was an incident I have vague recollections of from TV news at the time.  In Damascus, Arkansas, an explosion occurred in a silo housing a Titan II missile.  While the missile itself was on its way to be outdated, it's warhead was the most powerful nuclear weapon ever placed atop a missile at that time.  Schlosser, a master writer of the literary nonfiction genre, sets the scene this way:

"Day or night, winter or spring, the silo always felt the same. It was eerily quiet, and mercury vapor lights on the walls bathed the missile in a bright white glow. When you opened the door on a lower level and stepped into the launch duct, the Titan II loomed above you like an immense black-tipped silver bullet, loaded in a concrete gun barrel, primed, cocked, ready to go, and pointed at the sky."

Into this environment went two Air Force technicians, ages 21 and 19.  Wearing gear that resembled "space suit[s] from an early-1960s science fiction movie," the young men were charged with providing maintenance on this weapon of mass destruction.  During the course of the procedure, the 19 year-old, unqualified at that time to be doing this kind of maintenance, unscrewed a pressure cap.  The tech watched in a surreal fermata as the cap fell off, dropped down, and bounced off the missile's hide.  Fuel sprayed from an ensuing hole in the missile, prompting the technician to utter the phrase Schlosser chose as the chapter's title: "Oh man.  This is not good."

An explosion later occurred.  An explosion in a silo housing the most devastating weapon known to humans.

An ardent defender of military procedure might argue that, "All turned out well and good.  What's the big deal?" Hoo-boy.

What Schlosser's book examines in detail, the culmination of hours of research and numerous Freedom Of Information Act requests, is how the vaunted structures of command and control (hence the title) can unravel in time of crisis.  And exactly how many times we've come close to the unthinkable on numerous occasions.

Does the public at-large understand this?  We still have thousands of nukes set to "launch on warning." That has not changed one bit since the fall of the Berlin Wall.  On 9/11, our defense posture went to DEFCON-3.  That meant, among other things, that our strategic bombers were loaded with nuclear weapons and placed on the runway.  "To give the president options," as the reasoning goes.  I do not disagree with this policy or procedure.  Not at all.  I'm just trying to underscore that the potential for nuclear combat as not disappeared whatsoever since the end of the Cold War.

Plus, as the MJ article argues, if the US has had such close calls with its nuclear arsenal, do you really have any greater faith in how Pakistan, North Korea, or the former Soviet Union handles and maintains its weapons?  I know I don't.

So look for Eric Schlosser's Command and Control.  You can't fail to find it.  It's got the wonderfully satirical cover that makes the book resemble a 1960s military manual.  More importantly, the writing inside is no doubt top-notch.  I'll be reading it.

And I'll likely lose much sleep as a result.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

Monday, September 23, 2013

1000th post!

It is a blog milestone.  And I'm trying not to give it a pithy, ad-copy name like "ESE1K."

This marks the 1000th post of Esoteric Synaptic Events.

When I started this blog all those years ago in May of 2010, it was meant to be exposure for my science fiction writing.  Scan any of the multitudinous advice blogs and sites for writers and you will see the repeated plea for writers to get their work "out there." I don't mean just to agents and publishers but to establish a name in general. This means engaging in "marketing," "branding," "platforms," "social media," and other noxious terms that I'm too elitist to sully myself with but am really too obscure to afford to ignore.

In time, ESE became more than just a simple writing exercise, creative experiment, or venue for blatant self-promotion.  It saw me being silly.  It saw me in deep depression.  It saw me give vent to what I consider the serious social and political issues of our time.  It saw a complete change in name from its original "Strange Horizons" as I was sent a less-than-humble tweet that there has been a magazine around for ten years of the same moniker. 

More impressive and surprising than any of that, it actually attracted readers.  Okay, maybe not many, but I've been flattered by the number of hits the site has received as well as the positive comments and steady subscribers.  I have even met people whom I now consider to be lifelong friends through the writing of this blog.  That's something I would have never thought possible.  Thank you to you all.  I could not have done it without you.

So what can you expect from ESE in the future?  I am planning for new interviews as well as opening up the blog for reader-submitted subjects (you'll see one of those tomorrow), hopefully guest posts as well, and even a...gasp...podcast that has been recorded and might actually see the light of day!

Stick with me, everybody.  The best is yet to come.  We have many years ahead of "loving the alien." 

As a wise man once said:


Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wave power generator nabs award

EDITORIAL NOTES: First of all, I will be at an academic conference for the next three days.  Therefore, there will be a lull in posting.
Secondly, my next post, which is scheduled for Monday the 23rd, will mark the 1000th post of ESE.  I am currently taking ideas for what to post about, how to celebrate, images to accompany the post, liquor to buy, and pretty much everything.  Now, on with the show...

It has been expensive and unreliable.

That's what most energy experts have said about power generation via sea waves.  The wave power generators currently in use tend to work best when struck by waves traveling in one direction.  They also get overwhelmed in turbulent seas.  I know that seems counter-intuitive.  You'd think the stronger and more frequent the waves, the more power you would generate, but that's not so.

But now a UK engineer has designed a wave power generator that finds ways around said limitations...and he's won a James Dyson (yeah, that guy with the vacuum cleaners) award for it.

Sam Etherington said he got the idea for his new design while kite surfing on the Cumbria Sea and considering how ocean waves rarely move in a predictable fashion as current wave generators require.  As the BBC reports:

"To harness the energy that abounds in such restless waters, Mr Etherington came up with a design that uses a long chain of loosely linked enclosed pistons. Energy is generated as the chain of generators flexes in the peaks and troughs of each wave.
The wave power generator was partly inspired by its designer's time spent kite surfing
"The ocean is a harsh and unpredictable environment," said Mr Etherington. "It is better to work with the forces than to repel them."
He added that the hard part of the development work was finding ways to replicate the chaotic seas that the generator can make best use of. Data taken from buoys moored in the Orkney Islands was used to make waves in a water tank at Lancaster University and prove the prototypes could generate power in such conditions."

Money from the Dyson award will allow Etherington to fully develop the device and run tests.

Good thing, I say.  The need for Green energy sources is self-apparent.  True, there is debate as to whether this new design will overcome the hurdle of expense.  That's been commonly fleered against renewable energy, right?  It's too expensive compared to the energy generated?  As they say in 'Murica, "The juice on that ain't worth the squeeze?"

Well, we need to do something.  The world's power needs will continue to increase exponentially.  If we value our future and our world, said power will need to be efficient, affordable, and most of all clean.  That's a tall order, I know.

The only way to make it happen is by encouraging research and development such as Etherington's.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

Monday, September 16, 2013

Psychedelic Furs--Chicago, 9/14

 Would have liked to have focused this shot on the band,'s an iPhone.

They still got it.

For my money, nobody better encapsulates the definition of "1980s Alternative Sound" than The Psychedelic Furs.  I know that music critics and wankers can endlessly debate those terms.  So I'll let them.  This review is from my personal point of view, so I'm sticking with that quoted phrase.

I don't know anybody that sounds like this band.  Richard Butler has absolutely one of the most distinctive voices in all of rock music.  He evokes a bit of Bowie, but with more of a Cockney lilt and certainly a coarser and huskier sound (that's a good thing.)  Combine that with a droning (again a good thing) post-punk sensibility and a nigh-constant saxophone that somehow never seems out of place, well...shake and serve and you have a winner.

I saw the Furs last Saturday night at House of Blues in Chicago.  It symbolized the breaking of a curse of sorts.  I have never seen The Psychedelic Furs before, having missed them several times over the years due to schedule conflicts or being out of town.  One time I actually made it to a show with Armando and we ended up needing to leave as Mrs. Armando took ill.  Well those folks totally made up for it by getting me to a Furs show this past weekend.

Well worth it, I'd say.  The Psychedelic Furs have retained their sound and show no signs of letting up.  Richard Butler sings as well or better than ever.  Would have been nice, however, if the sound crew had gotten his vocals to a level up above the rest of the band so he could be better heard. Butler can also still make with those prancy dance moves from their 1980s videos.  Just thought you should know.

The set list was an almost perfect combination of deep cuts for the faithful and all the hits for fans of John Hughes films.

To the best of my recollection, these were the songs:

Highwire Days
Ghost in You
Wedding Song
Heartbreak Beat
Soap Commercial
Little Miss World
Here Come Cowboys
No Easy Street
All of This and Nothing
Love My Way
Heaven (Butler mimed his "orbiting in the rain" bit from the video on this one.)

Pretty in Pink
President Gas
Sleep Comes Down

I'm a bit disappointed that they didn't play "All That Money Wants," but you can't have it all now can you?

A few bits of trivia I learned from online:

Mars Williams, the band's saxophone player and an integral part of the Furs' unique sound, is local to Chicago and attended my grad school, DePaul University.

Amanda Kramer, keyboard player, used to be in Information Society.

Pure energy.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

Friday, September 13, 2013

No toys in Syria

It did not come to pass.
At least not yet.

After a ride along an anfractuous path, the military action President Obama had threatened against Syria has been postponed indefinitely if not tabled altogether.  This has come about in a way that the Washington Post accurately calls "political science over scare tactics."  I think that's mostly true.  Rather than pander to jingoistic flag-waving that typically raises a president's approval rating, Obama seems to have gone for a political solution, even if Russia is currently getting much of the spotlight (although Obama is not off the hook.  It was dingbattery such as "drawing a red line" that got us into the mess in the first place.)

There is, however, a certain sect within the military that may be outright disappointed at the seeming end to the threat of military strikes.  This let-down does not come from any sort of machismo or bloodthirstiness. Not at all.

They just want to see if the new toys work.

Military engagements, especially low-intensity and short-term operations as Syria certainly was planned to be, are ideal for field testing new weapons systems.  Do these things actually fulfill their intended roles and are we getting our money's worth?  Here's what I mean:

Cyber weapons--we have new computer viruses and malware.  Can we bring down systems of infrastructure such as power grids and financial markets?  Perhaps more importantly, an entire sophisticated air defense system such as the one Syria has?

Agent defeat weapons--these are weapons with the sole intent of taking out weapons of mass destruction.  If you hit a storage dump of chemical weapons with a Tomahawk missile, you'll likely send the deadly stuff spewing everywhere.  Weapons systems such as the CBU-Passive Attack Weapon consist of thousands of metal rods that disperse over the target and penetrate it, allowing the WMD material to spill to the ground.  Another bomb system includes white phosphorous to incinerate it.  The flash from WP can also blind people for days, maybe even permanently.  Neat, huh?

F-22 Raptor--this beautiful fighter aircraft is boasted as being the stealthiest and most highly-maneuverable jet in military history.  But it has not been without its share of problems.  If the F-22 saw combat over Syria, a nation with a top of the line Russian air defense, and came out victorious, it would certainly erase a great many doubts...not mention justify its hefty price tag.

Being as war-weary as most sane Americans, I was not at all eager to launch strikes against Syria...even if I've thought Syria has needed its ass kicked since 1983.  At the same time, national defense is a sad necessity and there is unfortunately no way to fully test a weapon without deploying it.

Let's hope that the test cases are as few and far between as possible.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Flash Gordon and friends return in Kings Watch

Remember Defenders of the Earth?

It's okay if you don't.  It was a short-lived cartoon in the mid to late 1980s featuring Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, and The Phantom.  And of course...their teenage progeny.  The combination of me being older than the show's target audience, the "get 'em, teen gang!" angle, and the really awful stories kept me from being a regular viewer, but I always loved the idea of getting these classic 1930s characters together in a sort of supergroup.

Now, Dynamite Comics is publishing a comic book mini series called Kings Watch that will gather the same characters together...minus the teenie boppers.

You may be apprehensive.  Maybe you've seen that lackluster movie version of The Phantom starring Billy Zane or the campy but not without appeal film adaptation of Flash Gordon.  Worse yet, maybe you subjected yourself to the Flash Gordon series done by the SyFy Channel a few years back (shudder).  If so, take heart.  Marc Laming and Jeff Parker, the creators of this comic book have pledged to keep these characters and the subsequent storyline true to the 1930s style and origins.

The plot is being kept rather quiet.  We've seen neither bordereau nor precis.  We do know it will feature catastrophe on a worldwide scale (natch), nightmares, monsters, and strange phenomena in the skies.  No word yet if the orchestrator of the crisis is Ming the Merciless, but here's to hoping.  You can check out a few preview pages here at Comic Book Resources.

What I like best about these three characters, aside from their purity and nostalgia for "better times," is that they had to confront problems with regular human strength and intelligence.  Sure Mandrake could work magic (after a fashion) and each of them had their own specialties, but when it came down to brass tacks, they were reliant on ingenuity and their fists.  So I'll definitely be checking this comic out in a few weeks.

Also, if you want a version of Flash Gordon that is surprisingly entertaining, I'd recommend tracking down the Filmmation cartoon from the late 70s.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

You are the good way

The above is art by Adam Novagen found on

"But it's just science fiction."

Spoiler alert: that's the title of an upcoming lecture I'm giving on transhumanism.  I'll be attempting to impress upon college students that the concepts of transhumanism that one finds in fiction (such as cybernetics) are very much realities in many ways.

That's one reason why I was happy to see the cover story for this month's Smithsonian magazine: "Creating the New Human." I'd give you a link, but all I'm getting is a subscription pitch when I try to go to the site.  Great magazine, but I find that perturbing.  So I'll give you a rundown.

Yes, we are "creating the new human." The article profiles a few individuals who are already transhuman in that they have had limbs replaced by cybernetic components: arms with flesh-like covering over mechanical endoskeleton, legs with fully articulated ankles (a major advancement), and bionic hands that are controlled by an iPhone app, giving the user a menu choice of 24 different grips.  Bionics have indeed come a long way, but what people might not realize is just how much of the body is now or soon will be replaceable.  The Smithsonian issue had a two-page photo of a "million dollar man" construct made of these "robotic" body parts.  A few of the more astonishing ones to my reckoning were:

-Spleen.  Blood goes through a device that uses microscopic beads coated with proteins.  As blood is processed by the device, bacteria and fungi are removed.

-Pancreas.  There is a prototype now of what is essentially a gelatinous blob filled with glucose.  As the material senses rises or drops in blood sugar level, the gelatin either thickens or grows more porous accordingly.

-Blood.  Why not control blood composition altogether?  Inventors are close to coming up with "designer molecules" that are combinations of synthetic polymers and organics that will hold on to iron atoms and then distribute oxygen throughout the body.  Nanotech may make this process even more effective.

In light of all of this, it's no surprise that a few technologists are gushing that disabilities...of any kind...may be a thing of the past by the end of the 21st Century.

The other reason I was glad to read this cover story was not just for my lecture.  Or even for the benefit of the college kids (even though that is my primary commitment in this case.)  I'm just glad to see transhumanism out in front of people.  The mantra of "but it's just science fiction" is not confined to any one population.  These changes are coming and it's time to dispel the irrational fears.  We're not just creating a new human, we're creating a new definition of "human."

Replacing body parts is not a destruction of humanity.  It's using human intelligence to either correct a problem or enhance the original version.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

UFO: the Roswell-Wright Field connection

The above art is the copyright of

Please mind the gap in posting.

An edition of Coast to Coast AM last month demonstrates that the multitude of questions surrounding the Roswell UFO crash have not gone anywhere.

Don Schmitt and Thomas Carey of the site Roswell Investigator discussed their research into the case.  I found their take intriguing as they focused not on the actual UFO crash site and the events surrounding it, but on the location of the aftermath: namely, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.  I have blogged about Wright-Pat before in terms of it being the Air Force's headquarters for R&D and how it might relate to a UFO sighted by a family member.  One reason that the base is cemented within UFO lore is that it is said to be one of the end destinations for material...and perhaps bodies...collected from the Roswell crash.

"Whatever was recovered at Roswell, its initial destination was indeed Wright Field," Schmitt says.

Sure.  WPAFB had the facilities, the security, and even the medical staff to examine and evaluate recovered foreign material.  An alien spacecraft (if indeed that's what it was) and its dead occupants (ditto) are about as foreign as you can get.  None of that is up for debate.  So what happened after all the sophisticated baubles and ET cadavers got there?

Schmitt and Carey cite the testimony of one General Arthur Exon who was in the Foreign Technology Division at the base at that time in 1947.  Exon claims that he was involved with laboratory tests and "top level engineers" who agreed that "the materials [found at Roswell] had to come from space."  The investigators also offer the story of actor Gordon MacRae.  You may remember him from the big screen version of Oklahoma! and television shows such as McCloud.  Yeah, I don't either but I thought you might.  Anyway, MacRae was supposedly serving at WPAFB at the time and claimed that he got the duty of guarding the cargo pallets from Roswell.  Despite being ordered not to, MacRae lifted up a protective tarp and saw dead entities with small bodies and large heads. 

All stories of course.  But really, what else is there to go on?  An actual document or record isn't just going to surface unless it's leaked Edward Snowden-style.  The oft mentioned "broken off piece of a UFO" that skeptics and debunkers clamor for is even more difficult...if not altogether come by.  What's more, the people originally involved with the Roswell incident are being lost to time.  We recently lost Jesse Marcel Jr, son of Maj. Jesse Marcel who served as an intelligence officer at Roswell Army Airfield on that fateful day in 1947.  Marcel Jr. even handled fragments from the debris field when he was a child.  Due to the sad facts of life and age, we don't have many more eye witnesses left...if any.

So I'm glad there are researchers like Schmitt and Carey who are still on the case.  For as I've said many times, I'm willing to believe that Roswell has a prosaic explanation...but so far none of the "official" reasons we've been given make any damn sense.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets