2156: "Ufo"

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Moose Anus
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2156: "Ufo"

Postby Moose Anus » Wed May 29, 2019 2:18 pm UTC

Image
Title text: "It's a little low for a weather balloon; it might be some other kind." "Yeah. Besides, I know I'm the alien conspiracy guy, but come on--the idea that the government would care about hiding something so mundane as atmospheric temperature measurement is too ridiculous even for me."

Ok but what about the other two videos?
Lemonade? ...Aww, ok.

rmsgrey
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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed May 29, 2019 2:37 pm UTC

Maybe the government still misses the good old days of the cold war, when people were a lot happier to go along with government secrecy and intrusive surveillance.

After all, it's much easier to get away with unpopular legislation if you can blame it on an outside force (as in an episode of Crusade).

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cellocgw
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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby cellocgw » Wed May 29, 2019 2:45 pm UTC

The gov't ain't gonna hide meteorology balloons -- they'll either shoot them down, or, more likely, just do what they've been doing since Jan 2017, i.e. deny any of the data collected is valid.
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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby Sableagle » Wed May 29, 2019 3:11 pm UTC

So, an unidentified ... floating ... object?

Oh, great. Ellipsis followed by "float" is enough to remind me of IT now. Great.

"Would you like a weather balloon, Georgie? They float. They float, Georgie. They FLOAT. Everything floats if you hang it from a big enough airship, and when you have your own personal helium-filled dirigible, moonshine-burning turboshaft engine and backpack-mounted, ducted fan, you'll float too!

How awesome would that be?

This little beauty generates 10g of thrust? Interesting! 110 N ought to be plenty for a neutrally-buoyant aircraft without a windscreen, anyway, and there isn't much mass in that. Even if you keep the total mass of passenger and craft to 100 kg, you still need to displace 120 m^3 of air, though, and that's assuming you have variable-pitch wings to compensate for buoyancy excess or shortage included in that 100 kg. Probably better to go for 200 m^3 and carry ballast if necessary, eh?

4 m cones front and rear, 2 m radius and 13.25 m cylindrical centre part totals 200 m^3 displaced. That's longer than a standard city bus and wider than an M1 Abrams, so not something you could casually pull out of your suitcase, but it'd be groovy, wouldn't it?
If you got the buoyancy exactly right, you could get into a wind blowing the right direction, switch off and just float for a while. I wonder whether wildlife would object to the use of such a thing for filming. It wouldn't be hawk-shaped, so shouldn't freak things out.
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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed May 29, 2019 5:28 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:Maybe the government still misses the good old days of the cold war, when people were a lot happier to go along with government secrecy and intrusive surveillance.

There was actually a subtle plot point in a late episode of The X-Files where CSM and some other government goons are in a dark room watching the Berlin Wall come down on TV and talking about how without a Cold War anymore they need a new boogeyman, and it's implied that the alien conspiracy thing was concocted to fill that void.
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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby Heimhenge » Wed May 29, 2019 5:36 pm UTC

I looked at the video I think Scully is referring to here:

https://www.space.com/ufo-sightings-us-pilots.html

And it you watch the sensor direction at the top of the HUD you can see it's indeed slewing (panning) to follow the object, but you can also see the water (or maybe it's hilly terrain?) moving rapidly relative to the UFO. So I don't think its motion is an "illusion" as suggested.

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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby sotanaht » Wed May 29, 2019 6:40 pm UTC

It's a reverse coverup/plausible deniability. By insisting that a weather balloon is a UFO, they add credence to the cover story that actual UFOs are simply weather balloons.

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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby DanD » Wed May 29, 2019 7:11 pm UTC

Heimhenge wrote:I looked at the video I think Scully is referring to here:

https://www.space.com/ufo-sightings-us-pilots.html

And it you watch the sensor direction at the top of the HUD you can see it's indeed slewing (panning) to follow the object, but you can also see the water (or maybe it's hilly terrain?) moving rapidly relative to the UFO. So I don't think its motion is an "illusion" as suggested.


Remember that the aircraft is moving, and the target is 4.1 nm from the aircraft. on a 22 degree down angle. Which means the water behind the target is approximately 3x as far away. Therefore, the background is going to appear to move in the opposite direction as the camera slew by a factor of 3ish. Which accounts for the background motion.

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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby Heimhenge » Wed May 29, 2019 7:21 pm UTC

DanD wrote:
Heimhenge wrote:I looked at the video I think Scully is referring to here:

https://www.space.com/ufo-sightings-us-pilots.html

And it you watch the sensor direction at the top of the HUD you can see it's indeed slewing (panning) to follow the object, but you can also see the water (or maybe it's hilly terrain?) moving rapidly relative to the UFO. So I don't think its motion is an "illusion" as suggested.


Remember that the aircraft is moving, and the target is 4.1 nm from the aircraft. on a 22 degree down angle. Which means the water behind the target is approximately 3x as far away. Therefore, the background is going to appear to move in the opposite direction as the camera slew by a factor of 3ish. Which accounts for the background motion.


I get that geometry, but the background is moving way too fast if you look at how fast the sensor angle is changing. Despite the distance. And you have to respect the assessment of the pilots who are trained to recognize motion (or not) in a potential target. From their exclamations they obviously believe it's moving. Unless they're also in on the coverup. :wink:

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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby DanD » Wed May 29, 2019 10:22 pm UTC

Heimhenge wrote:
DanD wrote:
Remember that the aircraft is moving, and the target is 4.1 nm from the aircraft. on a 22 degree down angle. Which means the water behind the target is approximately 3x as far away. Therefore, the background is going to appear to move in the opposite direction as the camera slew by a factor of 3ish. Which accounts for the background motion.


I get that geometry, but the background is moving way too fast if you look at how fast the sensor angle is changing. Despite the distance. And you have to respect the assessment of the pilots who are trained to recognize motion (or not) in a potential target. From their exclamations they obviously believe it's moving. Unless they're also in on the coverup. :wink:


No, I don't have to respect the assessment of the pilots, who are trained to recognize motion of identifiable objects, not unknown ones. Trained or not, the human eye is absolutely horrible at recognizing relative size and distance (and thus relative speed), without something to measure it against. Having an object of unknown size at a (visually) uncertain distance against a relatively uniform background, and there is no one on the planet you can give you size and relative motion.

And when you have a background where you don't know if those were 1 foot ripples or 50 ft waves, any visual estimates of relative motion are completely worthless.

The numbers are better, but since the aircraft was banking and aircraft heading isn't provided, incomplete at best.

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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby qvxb » Wed May 29, 2019 10:51 pm UTC

Agent Trump has repeatedly warned us about fake news. MAGA! (Make aliens germane again.)

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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby Heimhenge » Wed May 29, 2019 11:11 pm UTC

DanD wrote:
Heimhenge wrote:
DanD wrote:
Remember that the aircraft is moving, and the target is 4.1 nm from the aircraft. on a 22 degree down angle. Which means the water behind the target is approximately 3x as far away. Therefore, the background is going to appear to move in the opposite direction as the camera slew by a factor of 3ish. Which accounts for the background motion.


I get that geometry, but the background is moving way too fast if you look at how fast the sensor angle is changing. Despite the distance. And you have to respect the assessment of the pilots who are trained to recognize motion (or not) in a potential target. From their exclamations they obviously believe it's moving. Unless they're also in on the coverup. :wink:


No, I don't have to respect the assessment of the pilots, who are trained to recognize motion of identifiable objects, not unknown ones. Trained or not, the human eye is absolutely horrible at recognizing relative size and distance (and thus relative speed), without something to measure it against. Having an object of unknown size at a (visually) uncertain distance against a relatively uniform background, and there is no one on the planet you can give you size and relative motion.

And when you have a background where you don't know if those were 1 foot ripples or 50 ft waves, any visual estimates of relative motion are completely worthless.

The numbers are better, but since the aircraft was banking and aircraft heading isn't provided, incomplete at best.


Well, since I'm not that busy today, I'll keep this discussion going ...

I would agree that the "average" human eye sucks at estimating relative size and speed, but in the spectrum of human abilities, pilots (especially military combat pilots) are very good at this.

You make a good point about the scale of the background ... my first thought was those were waves, since these sightings happened off the east coast. The more I look, the less it looks like hilly terrain. Either way, it's hard to judge the relative speed w/o more context ... especially with the aircraft banking and turning, and the camera slewing. But the HUD gives an altitude of 25,000 ft, and I've seen the ocean from that altitude, so my eye-brain just perceived it as a fast moving background against the locked-on UFO. I have a hard time seeing it any other way. And don't get me wrong ... ain't sayin' it's extraterrestrial, only that it's unidentified.

And then I keep going back to: If this UFO was indeed a stationary object, and the pilots were tricked by an illusion, why did the Navy release this video w/o any disclaimers about the pilots' comments?

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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby wumpus » Thu May 30, 2019 1:24 pm UTC

How do you hide your NSA domestic spying balloon? Put it in plain sight, and when anybody suspicious sees it have one person say "UFO" and the other say "weather balloon". Nobody will ask if the balloon is really there for weather.

https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryl ... story.html
https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryl ... story.html

I think the second story was fairly public and officially canceled after the crash. Of course after something so public, they might want to hide the balloons in the middle of nowhere.

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Flumble
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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby Flumble » Thu May 30, 2019 10:08 pm UTC

Why of course it's a weather balloon. All previous UFOs have been deemed weather balloons, so it'd be highly unusual to call this one a spying balloon.
weather balloon.png

(source)

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ObsessoMom
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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby ObsessoMom » Fri May 31, 2019 5:47 am UTC

I lack the skills to do a mash-up between this comic and 2128:

Image

Perhaps someone else could do the honors over in the "ITT: We make xkcd slightly worse." thread.

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NumberFourtyThree
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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby NumberFourtyThree » Fri May 31, 2019 9:28 am UTC

Um, actually, in the 90's, declassified reports revealed that the whole Roswell incident, and the changing government story, was actually due to them wanting to cover up a balloon. Not a weather balloon, but a top secret high altitude spy balloon designed to detect evidence of Soviet nuclear tests.
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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby ijuin » Fri May 31, 2019 2:57 pm UTC

Yup. Many UFOs are top-secret government stuff. For example, the B-2 stealth bomber was being secretly tested at Groom Lake (Area 51), and was sighted in flight by a number of civilians who had no idea what to make of a boomerang-shaped aircraft with no tail that also didn’t show up on radar or infrared sensors.

Also, during the Cold War, there were attempts to develop actual flying saucers—see the VZ-9 Avrocar and the Mollers M200G Volantor as examples.

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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby xtifr » Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:30 pm UTC

As far as pilot's eyes go, I think the number of incidents where experienced pilots have made emergency maneuvers in order to avoid colliding with...Venus tells us all we need to know about their ability to judge distances. :mrgreen:
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Re: 2156: "Ufo"

Postby SuicideJunkie » Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:53 pm UTC

xtifr wrote:As far as pilot's eyes go, I think the number of incidents where experienced pilots have made emergency maneuvers in order to avoid colliding with...Venus tells us all we need to know about their ability to judge distances. :mrgreen:

While the odds of actually hitting Venus are low, the consequences of hitting it would be quite dire, so better safe than sorry.


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