UFO Conjecture(s)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Trent Photos -- French Style

Gilles Fernandez has provided the promised French IPACO Team analysis of the famous Trent UFO pictures:

IPACO analysis of the Trent pictures is available in English :
 http://www.ipaco.fr/page62.html 

or directly :
http://www.ipaco.fr/ReportMcMinnville.pdf

20 Comments:

  • I just posted a critique of the IPACO photo analysis on their website. For those who are not familiar with the analysis, I will post a brief summary and riposte, here.

    Basically, if you compare the first Trent photo with the second Trent photo, it is clear that the discoid object has moved farther away from the camera, has moved higher in elevation, and has tipped toward the camera by about 25 degrees. The IPACO analysis conjectures that all these changes can be explained by a model about 5 to 6 inches in diameter hanging from a single string that is about 3 feet long and tied at its upper end to the lower of the two power lines visible in the photos, IF the model has swung directly away from the camera by the action of the wind, in the second photo, as compared to the first. They also compare the Trent photos with the LIFE magazine photo taken about a month later and note that the lower power line from which the putative model would have been suspended is sagging lower in the Trent photos than it is in the LIFE magazine photos. They conjecture that this sag is caused by the weight of the putative model.

    I retrieved historical weather data and pointed out that the wind at the time was blowing directly from the West. The Trent camera was pointed approximately NorthWest. Therefore, in the second Trent photo the wind should actually have blown the model toward the camera, not away from it, should have tipped it away from the camera, not toward it, and should have displaced the model to the right compared to its position in the first Trent photo. In other words, the actual object, whatever it was, moved against the wind between the two photos, and the actual changes observed in the photos are exactly opposite to what would have been predicted.

    I also point out that the most common reason that power lines sag from one time to another is because they heat up. Metallic power conducting wires possess a characteristic known as the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion. When they heat up, they lengthen, when they cool off, they contract. If the power line in question were carrying more electrical power when Trent photographed it than when LIFE magazine photographed it, the sag of the power line could be explained, without the presence of a suspended model.

    By Blogger Larry, at Friday, March 22, 2013  

  • "All the king's horses and all the kings men..." Another unverifiable anomaly of rational logic is pinned to a map coauthored by our supposedly primitive forebears. It cannot be dislodged for the ages. It reminds me of those rigged carnival games, where a fellow takes several dollars out of his pocket in exchange for what he thinks is more than enough ample turns at bat, only to walk away flummoxed and irked. At some point he asked, what are the odds of hitting this thing smack dab in the sweet spot? Maybe he looks back wistfully, and then glances at his watch. It was later than he thought. Its best to move on.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Friday, March 22, 2013  

  • Hello Larry...
    I mention, for the readers of this blog, the link where you submitted your comment, because some replies were existing or are incoming :
    http://ipaco.xooit.com/t60-The-McMinnville-case.htm#p70
    Gilles

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Friday, March 22, 2013  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Saturday, March 23, 2013  

  • Hello Larry & All,
    I copy/paste the short comment I did in the IPACO Forum :
    1. As already stated by ElevenAugust, wind data from airports are general directions: we can't exclude local differences.
    2. Whatever the direction of the wind was, winds are never constant in force: if it blows rather towards the photographer & MM1 and MM2 were shoot in this order, the same as the negatives roll (obviously we have not absolute proof of that order, it is based on Mister Trent's testimony, as Bruce Maccabee noticed "the negatives were cropped - cut off - at some time after the newspaper publication and before he got them", so no absolute proof of the photos order), this does not exclude a pendulum back and forth motion - to be short - :
    For example, if the wind stops or becomes weaker between the two shoots, and that it first "pushed" the suspended object rather towards the photographer, the object will go "back" in pendulum motion, and therefore "against" the wind. This is imho true whatever the wind direction was. So we can't exclude a pendulum motion, as we can't expect imho a second shoot with a model closer the photographer than in the first one.

    3. Besides, if that was a suspended object, we do not know its properties, its weight in particular. According to the weight of it and what caused the light motion (ie: induced voluntarily or involuntarily cause motion during attachment), the force of the wind may have no (or a very low) impact on the movement (the "gravity force" exerted by the weight of the object can be much stronger than the force of the wind or the impact of the wind to this object).

    Regards,

    Gilles Fernandez

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Saturday, March 23, 2013  

  • Bruce's comment strikes a chord. Here we have a 60+ year old photo (2 of them) that continue to defy all analysis. They provoke first one side then the other - without any firm conclusion likely now or at any time.

    People will always be able to offer alternatives, such as this could be, or might be, due to so-and-so. Each side can always suggest alternatives and we are reduced to stalemate.

    I guess Paul Trent did fake the photos, and yes he did deceive the Condon Committee, meaning he fooled the one analyst who studied them, William Hartmann. But once this had official endorsement, by virtue of appearing so in an official report, the die was cast. In no circumstances would he or his wife ever admit to the trickery. It was there in black & white, it was official - the photos were, most probably, genuine. And that was that.

    Moreover, it was receding into history and better pictures were becoming available elsewhere. So he kept his mouth shut. And why not?

    The same applies to Stephen Darbishire's photos (with his Adamski look-alikes). He was invited to Buckingham Palace soon afterwards. Hardly an encouragement for him to later admit they were clever fakes, was it?! After all, how can a 13-year old possibly fool the Duke of Edinburgh and a few other 'experts' who examined them? It might cause some raised eyebrows in high places! So again, he kept his mouth shut.

    The boot is on the other foot now. With all the modern wizardry and technological expertise available, where are the genuine UFO photos? Where are the genuine UFO movies?
    The reason none appear is that if they did appear nobody would accept them as genuine. Fakery is so simple nowadays.

    By Blogger cda, at Saturday, March 23, 2013  

  • The existence of UFOs will never be proved by an image capture. These were easy to fake back in the day, and they're exponentially easier to fake now. So these images are essentially irrelevant. Their analysis is a harmless and entertaining mental exercise that proves nothing about the real nature of the UFO phenomenon.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Saturday, March 23, 2013  

  • Part 1
    Gilles Said:
    “…As already stated by ElevenAugust, wind data from airports are general directions: we can't exclude local differences.”

    True, we can’t exclude local differences, however it is clear that on the day and time in question the predominant surface wind was blowing at about 10 mph (plus or minus a few mph) and from due West (plus or minus a few degrees) from the northern border of Oregon (Portland) to the southern border (Medford). I would refer to this as the large-scale, or global pattern.

    I agree, that there can be small-scale variations in wind direction and velocity, particularly in the immediate vicinity of surface obstacles, such as buildings. Normally, this would take the form of eddies or trailing edge vortices that would occur on the lee side of the obstacles. It is theoretically possible to estimate the location, size, and power spectral density of such vortices based on the Reynolds number of the buildings. I have not done so, yet. Overall, however, it should be kept in mind that local turbulence patterns must be compatible with the global momentum flow from West to East.

    “…we have not absolute proof of that order [in which the photos were taken], it is based on Mister Trent's testimony… so no absolute proof of the photos order)…”

    I suppose it’s true that we have no independent evidence for the order in which the photos were taken, but we also have no independent evidence that Mr. Trent’s testimony was false, and no apparent motivation for him to have lied. Certainly he would not have lied for the purpose of confounding the photoanalyis that was to occur 63 years in his future...

    “…this does not exclude a pendulum back and forth … This is imho true whatever the wind direction was. So we can't exclude a pendulum motion, as we can't expect imho a second shoot with a model closer the photographer than in the first one…”

    I agree completely. The IPACO analysis was done as though they were treating a static system. In reality, a small discoid model suspended on a slender thread being blown by the wind—which is what they conjecture—would be a dynamic system consisting of a compound, spherical pendulum, subject to a temporal-and-spatially varying forcing function. When I think about the equations of motion of such a system, I would model it with at least 5 degrees of freedom, all of which would be coupled together with kinematic and aerodynamic constraint equations. Once such a system were set in motion, it is almost inevitable that all degrees of freedom would take on non-zero values that would evolve with time.

    The IPACO analysis already seems to show that that did not occur. In particular, they showed that the relative motion between the two photos (regardless of the order in which they were taken) consists of displacement along one axis only and rotation about one axis only. To me, as an Aerospace Engineer, that sounds much more like the motion of a 3-axis-controlled, free-flying object than the open loop, free-and forced motion of a spherical compound pendulum.

    By Blogger Larry, at Saturday, March 23, 2013  

  • Part 2
    Gilles said:
    “…Besides, if that was a suspended object, we do not know its properties, its weight in particular. …the "gravity force" exerted by the weight of the object can be much stronger than the force of the wind or the impact of the wind to this object.”

    True. We also don’t know the moment of inertia of the object, which would figure in to the equations of motion. But all those factors can be estimated (within reasonable error bounds) based on a few reasonable conjectures. For example, it has been conjectured that the model was a metallic object (such a the rear-view mirror of a 1940’s Ford pickup truck) that Mr. Trent might easily have had access to. We could find one and weigh it. Alternatively, we could conjecture that the model might have been manufactured by Mr. Trent out of some easily available material (such as Douglas Fir).

    I have been thinking about constructing such a model, putting it on the end of a 3-ft string, and subjecting it to a 10 mph wind, just to see what it actually does. Sometimes it’s actually easier and faster to build a real physical analog of a system than to code up the equations of motion in software.

    By Blogger Larry, at Saturday, March 23, 2013  

  • CDA said...
    “…Bruce's comment strikes a chord. Here we have a 60+ year old photo (2 of them) that continue to defy all analysis. They provoke first one side then the other - without any firm conclusion likely now or at any time.”

    CDA, are you aware that you have strong Nihilist tendencies? Regardless of the specifics of the case, more often than not you end up concluding that knowledge is not possible.

    You remind me of the line appearing in some translations of Nietzsche’s, Also Sprach Zarathustra: [from memory] “I cannot stand the philosophers; they muddy their water so that it appears deep.”

    By Blogger Larry, at Saturday, March 23, 2013  

  • "...but we also have no independent evidence that Mr. Trent’s testimony was false, and no apparent motivation for him to have lied."

    Apparent motivation? A bit of publicity perhaps, with his name in the newspapers. It need be nothing more than that. We are in no position to say what motivates people to do odd things.

    By Blogger cda, at Saturday, March 23, 2013  

  • Purrlgurl said...
    “The existence of UFOs will never be proved by an image capture.”

    Unfortunately, this statement is probably true, but not because photographs are meaningless as physical evidence—in other fields of endeavor, they are considered to be persuasive evidence, all the time.

    The problem is psychological. Fundamentally, UFO photographs purport to show a phenomenon whose existence does not have a conventional basis in theory. Science is supposed to be driven by evidence and empiricism, where seeing is believing. But the opposite condition is often the reality.

    One of my favorite examples is the supposed detection of the Neutrino. I remember several decades ago reading about the first experiment to detect this subatomic particle. For those who are not high-energy physicists, the Neutrino is a particle that is as close to undetectable as imaginable. It has no electrical charge, it has no detectable gravitational mass, and it is so unlikely to interact with other particles, that it could hypothetically travel through something like 50 light-years of solid lead without hitting a single other atom.

    The experiment in question involved filling an immense tank, located underground in an abandoned lead mine, with the liquid Carbon Tetrachloride of high purity. The tank was sealed from external lights and sensitive photodetectors were installed inside. According to theory, when Neutrinos passed through the liquid, every so often, one of them would collide with a Carbon Tetrachloride atom and emit a flash of light of a particular wave length. As stated above, however, the probability of collision was so low that you would only expect one flash of light every month or so. You would also expect a large number of false signals from other noise sources.

    So they ran the experiment for more than a year and in that time collected a couple dozen or so “real” flashes of light. They then published a paper and claimed to have detected Neutrinos, and everyone accepted the results.

    Nobody accused the science team of hoaxing the results in order to be able to sell books or advance their professional careers (even though the discovery had exactly those results). Nobody accused the science team of hallucinating. Nobody suggested that the science team had “fantasy-prone” personalities. Nobody suggested that the science team suffered from “time-compression” in which they confused their experimental results with events that happened before or after. Nobody suggested that the science team were so highly suggestible that they were unconsciously led to collectively fabricate the story by a highly persuasive personality (the “Stanton Friedman effect”). In short, nobody reacted to the team in the way skeptics react when someone says they have detected a UFO.

    Why the difference? Because there is a conventional theory (no matter how obscure, arcane, and difficult to understand) that explains the existence of Neutrinos. Accepting the results of the experiment as true did not cause cognitive dissonance for anyone. If we accepted the same level of evidence for the existence of UFOs as we do for Neutrinos, the debate would have been over, decades ago.

    By Blogger Larry, at Saturday, March 23, 2013  

  • CDA said:

    "...but we also have no independent evidence that Mr. Trent’s testimony was false, and no apparent motivation for him to have lied."

    Apparent motivation? A bit of publicity perhaps, with his name in the newspapers. It need be nothing more than that. We are in no position to say what motivates people to do odd things."

    I don't think you read or comprehended the context of the original comment.

    I was referring to his testimony regarding the order in which he took the two photos. The issue is not whether Trent may or may not have lied about seeing a UFO. The question is--regardless of whether the photos are of a small model or a real, free-flying UFO--did he lie about the order in which the photos were taken?

    I can't think of a good reason why he would have done so, back in 1950.

    By Blogger Larry, at Saturday, March 23, 2013  

  • This is a prime example of The Uncertainty Principle. An attempt to replicate a significant quotient of human behavior in this with mechanical or statistical models that cannot replicate any aspect of this except tilt the wind gauge this way or that in terms of a consensus being formed in terms of probability. If you except probability as close as one can get to a verifiable solution to a sixty year old case, you still lack any definitive and repeatable evidence for the existence of a alien craft. It's not that complicated or nihilist to recognize one one's ambitions have met their match. At best it's a tale only made cogent by continual retelling navigating between positivist belief before the facts ( which are foggy) or outright dismissal on the same path of probability that fits into a measurable pattern. It is akin to debating the quality of fog.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, March 25, 2013  

  • BTW..There are several cases that have occurred within the last year whose witnesses are alive and whose environmental context remains for the most part unchanged. So, I have to question this retrogression of fascination with ambivalent data from an irretrievable past. This is a rut so worn in a circular path, one has to file this under a lack of any awareness of a more pragmatic approach. A sort of retro nostalgia that is as safe as mother's milk, free of any disentanglement that might remotely approach an actual investigation.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, March 25, 2013  

  • Bruce, Michael Swords has a strong opinion about the very poor quality of Internet-based UFO case reporting expressed at his Web site. The main thrust of his thesis is that most of the more recent, online UFO case reports are worthless as far as containing any hard data for further, in-depth study, and he suggests that only investigating historical cases will be a fertile ground for serious investigators.

    You might agree or not, but those of us who've looked at online case reports (and you likely have) are very aware of how paltry and useless most of them are.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Monday, March 25, 2013  

  • Does this lack of online evidence not provide the very proof that we are getting nowhere in establishing UFO reality.

    At least nowhere as far as photographic proof is concerned. There ought by now to be literally hundreds if not thousands of genuine photos/films ready to produce as the final 'gold standard' for ET existence. Camcorders, cellphones etc abound everywhere. Even the space station has zilch to show. (Aha! people say - it is all being officially withheld. Of course, what do you expect?).

    Here we are - 65 years on, and we are still debating debating 1950s black & white prints.

    And no, Larry, I too cannot conceive of any reason for Trent to reverse the order of his photos. However, I CAN think of a very good reason for a 13-year old to accept an invitation to Buck Palace.

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, March 25, 2013  

  • PG
    I agree with your comment as well of that of CD. Full speed in reverse with tissue paper quality of the motivating evidence as an impetus to do so which is an interesting case for a qualified psychologist. Of course all this is harmless, toothless and overly wordy in relation to what it has produced. More of the same for over one half of one century extending to the next. If even a fifth of the pretense that surrounds this fumbling around in the dark were dropped by all parties, we might gain a toe hold. I can easily see how clueless our current means are simply by the fact some of us are moving in reverse into some kind of silly cartoonish intellectual niggling over long dead irretrievable minutia.
    Does anyone think this is productive, except as a worn out place holder?

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, March 27, 2013  

  • Bruce...

    I, as you, would like to see new probes into the UFO phenomenon, but as PG and Michael Swords suggest the current data and reportage is almost niggardly.

    Looking at old UFO reports, photos, and data, is not very unlike trying to determine if the Jesus story was or is true, or if Troy actually existed.

    If Trent's photos are authentic, we are on to something.

    If they are fakes, all we've lost is time and effort -- hefty commodities for UFO mavens.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, March 27, 2013  

  • CDA wrote: Does this lack of online evidence not provide the very proof that we are getting nowhere in establishing UFO reality.

    Dear Kevin Randle, himself wrote in his book titled "The October Scenario" (1988):

    [...] there have been no extraterrestrial spacecraft in our atmosphere except for the brief period of October 1973. Prior to that time, there were misidentifications, hoaxes and lies.

    That's ufology...

    Gilles

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Wednesday, March 27, 2013  

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