UFO Conjecture(s)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A book recommendation from NASA scientist Larry L....

Our friend, NASA scientist Larry L, left this comment, the other day, at my post "UFOs and Time":

"I am slowly picking my way through The Physics of Stargates by Enrico Rodrigo and can heartily recommend this book to you or anyone who is interested in understanding what modern physics says about all the questions you raise, and more. Enrico is a Caltech Physics graduate, who earned his PhD in Physics under John Archibald Wheeler. Wheeler, in turn was the graduate student who was deemed smart enough to be Einstein's student at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and went on to pioneer the wormhole concept. This book is a systematic attempt to deal with the questions that are raised by the existence or non-existence of wormholes, including the various different varieties of time machines. The book is densely packed with ideas but is non-mathematical specifically to be accessible to those who never took the higher math courses which constitute the natural language of--for instance--General Relativity. Because it is so densely packed and I haven't finished it yet, It's impossible to summarize it here in a few sentences; I simply recommend it for your consideration if you want to take your conjecture to the next level."

The book just came today, from Amazon, and it's a killer, one I recommend to readers here, who have a tendency to intellectualize and also have a penchant for mathematics.

I'll be providing excerpts, from the book, and commentary, upcoming

Thank you, Larry, for the suggestion...



  • Wasn't John A. Wheeler the guy who coined the term 'black hole', c 1968? Here is a question for you: Which book was on the best seller lists for some years (many reprints) but probably the one to have the fewest actual readers, meaning from cover to cover?

    Here is my answer: Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time". Can you suggest a better answer? (Yes I did read it from cover to cover).

    By Blogger cda, at Thursday, May 19, 2016  

  • I have, CDA, A Brief History... and provided material, recently, from companion book, A Briefer History of Time, both given cursory shrift by me.

    I'm struggling to comprehend what Rodrigo is offering in the Larry-recommended book noted above.

    When a reader takes on the "theology" of physicists, they are often treading deep, incomprehensible waters.

    And just because physicists use math as their lingua franca, that doesn't mean they are practicing science. It merely means they've swapped Latin for an abstruse system of symbols much as alchemists used arcane terminologies and symbols to change lead into gold.

    Hawking is brilliant and little read; it's the patina of genius that keeps us attuned to his ideas.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 19, 2016  

  • CDA:

    According to Wikipedia the first use of the term "Black Hole" in print was by a journalist in 1964. Wheeler was the first scientist to popularize the term a few years later.

    My candidate for the most popular book that was nevertheless the least read (from cover to cover) is Godel, Escher and Bach, by Doug Hofstadter. It sat on the nightstand by my bed for probably about 3 years, where I would read bits and snatches, seemingly making no headway until I finally realized that one would have to take off probably 2 weeks to a month and make reading that book a full time job. Now that I'm semi-retired my fantasy is that maybe I will rent a villa in the South of France (let's say near Nimes) for a couple of months in the spring and read it.........

    Rich: It is worth noting, I think, that Rodrigo's motivation for taking Stargates or Wormhole seriously is the question of whether Thales was right in believing that the Universe is knowable to an arbitrary high level of approximation. Since 1998, it has been the consensus position of astronomers that the expansion of the universe is speeding up . Taken to its logical conclusion, this means that matter, energy, and information will become continuously more dilute until we get to the point where human like creatures can no longer learn anything more about the physical universe. If, on the other hand, spacetime topology is multiply connected and not simply connected, then different parts of the universe can continue to exchange matter, energy, and information without limit. It is the difference between physically based life being mortal or immortal. John Wheeler's conjecture was that at the instant of physical creation, the spacetime fabric of the universe was multiply connected with quantum scale wormholes and remains so today, after the early inflationary period and the current expansion period. If that conjecture is true, then Rodrigo claims that a sufficiently advanced intelligence/civilization could figure out how to enlarge those primordial wormholes (by enlarging and stabilizing them) to allow communication between all parts of the universe outside the limits of flat spacetime. He systematically examines what modern Physics does and doesn't know that would either support or refute this idea.

    A theoretical Physicist pal of mine (who put me on to this book) refers to this as "low-energy spacetime warping and convinced me a few years ago that most of the bizarre physical phenomena surrounding what Paul Hill refers to as Unconventional Flying Objects can easily be explained by this one assumption (William of Occam would be proud).

    Personally, however, I think there is still a "weird" Psychic component of UFO sightings to be explained. In other words, properly applied General Relativity can explain a lot of the phenomenology of genuine UFO sightings but not necessarily all of them.

    By Blogger Larry, at Thursday, May 19, 2016  

  • Larry:

    Gödel, Escher, Bach, and Metamagical Themas are both right next to the desk I’m typing at.

    They are more abstruse than Rodrigo’s book but can take us to a place that allows, in my case, limited conjecture.

    For instance, one can use the Hindu concept of the Creation – The Big Bang if you will – as found in The Manu-Smṛti [1.5—118] which corresponds to many of Rodrigo’s concepts.

    What I find interesting is that when time-travel is invoked, physicists bring up the “grandfather paradox” that presupposes the idea that persons going back in time can’t kill their grandfather or grandmother because they’d destroy their own birth, thus not allowing one to grow up to make the trip back in time.

    But who would go back in time and kill their forebears? It’s ludicrous. Can’t someone go back in time, just to observe, altering nothing?

    There is much to contend with in Rodrigo’s ideas and even a rehash – I’ve done stuff on Hofstadter many times here, in the past – of the Hofstadter material.

    We’ll see if anyone is interested and if any of it pertains, significantly, to UFOs.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, May 19, 2016  

  • RR,

    Paying attention, I caught the" Gödel, Escher, Bach" reference. Thank you. Brother Google led me to a great MIT class into lecture on the book:


    I stuck with it through the whole lecture. Quite interesting.

    Thanks again,


    By Blogger Bryan Daum, at Friday, May 20, 2016  

  • God bless you Bryan....

    I don't think I could make it through that lecture......the content, as Monty Pythons might say, hurts my brain -- the material too deep.

    (Thanks for the link -- I suggest others seek it out; it would be edifying.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 20, 2016  

  • RR,

    FYI the lecture is just about an hour and the presenter makes it interesting and very clear. I wish my CSC prof had that talent, I might have stayed with math a bit longer.

    That was way-back-when when we didn't even have calculators for calculus ugh!


    By Blogger Bryan Daum, at Friday, May 20, 2016  

  • I'd like to hear about even one "genuine UFO sighting," Larry.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, May 20, 2016  

  • Just for the record, as I have said here before:

    I saw one while stationed as a pilot in New Hampshire in the late '70s.

    Never said it was a space ship filled with green aliens. It wasn't a normal thing, it was unidentified.

    I can tell you it was surprise genuine sighting of physical object, something that made no sense to all my training or experience. But there it was. In Air Force terms, that makes it a "UFO" they call such things that because it was an 'unidentified flying object' which is our topic here.


    By Blogger Bryan Daum, at Friday, May 20, 2016  

  • Bryan...

    Zoam has a problem with the rubric UFO; he doesn't get that something odd in the sky that appears to be flying would be, for use in media and communication, called an unidentified (because its odd and unidentified) flying (because it's in the air and has the appearance of flying) object (because most sightings discern something tangible).

    Zoam says we have only reports of something, nothing he can put his hands on or eyes to.

    But we, who've had seen such odd things, assume that others have also, and "report" or describe their observations accordingly. (And these people, like you and me, are not crazy, in the psychiatric sense.)

    It may be an hallucination but that, for me, is real to the observer and when two or more people see (report) seeing something quirky in the air, all at the same time, I think that's not an hallucination, generally.

    What those things are remain an open question, but to shorthand our description of them, UFOs is okay with me.

    Zoam will just to bite his lip and accept the term, in this venue.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, May 20, 2016  

  • Larry wrote: "Personally, however, I think there is still a "weird" Psychic component of UFO sightings to be explained. In other words, properly applied General Relativity can explain a lot of the phenomenology of genuine UFO sightings but not necessarily all of them."

    Bryan wrote: "I can tell you it was surprise genuine sighting of physical object, something that made no sense to all my training or experience. But there it was. In Air Force terms, that makes it a "UFO" they call such things that because it was an 'unidentified flying object' which is our topic here."

    There's nothing "genuine" in any of that, it's all completely disinguenous in fact, all are nothing but phony rationalizations for belief in the "UFO" myth. "Psychics" and GR, an appeal to anecdote and circular definition don't tell us anything about the identity of the stimulus!

    Larry throws out his typical sciency-sounding paranormalist rubbish in the same sentence with "genuine UFO sightings" which sounds as if some failures to identify are more "genuine" than others but whose real import is to assume the answer. Tricky Larry! (g)

    And Bryan, doing his best little naive Internet Believer 101, uses personal testimony and the definition of the acronym as his excuse for belief. He doesn't know what he saw. Gee, so what? In what way is that significant? It's not except as an expression of the "UFO" myth.

    There's nothing about any of those rationalizations that tells us anything about the world or some purported unknown. So what good are they except to pay lip service to the "UFO" myth and for the speakers to testify to their membership in the irrational Believers Club?

    Rich; All claims about the world are not equal. There are ordinary claims and extraordinary claims. Even if not present, there's no reason to doubt a report of seeing a plane fly by; but not being present to witness a "UFO" is very good reason to doubt that report because, like all mythical beasts, genuine "UFOs" don't exist in the world as far as the world knows, judges reality, considers as fact.

    Sure, people see things in the sky they fail to identify, but that failure doesn't mean that they've seen something other than what is known to exist. The human observation, conception, perception and reporting process is notorious fallible under unusual, typically transient circumstances and it's a fact that human beings are naturally fearful, prone to fantasies, false beliefs and can be conditioned and entirely predisposed to popular myths and delusions.

    So to take necessarily extraordinary reports of any kind at face value is foolish; and it is very good reason to dismiss them completely.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Saturday, May 21, 2016  

  • But Zoam, where's the harm in calling a prosaic thing in the sky a UFO?

    It's a short cut. Rather than saying "I saw a weird shiny thing floating overhead" one can say more easily, "I think I saw a UFO."


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, May 21, 2016  

  • Yes, we who have seen an inexpiable something don't have "just reports" we are witnesses seeking answers. Any honest skeptic joins the team the moment he sees one.


    By Blogger Bryan Daum, at Saturday, May 21, 2016  

  • If it was a real "unidentified flying object" it couldn't be a "prosaic thing."

    If we could see real "UFOs" frequently and observe them at length as if they were prosaic things, unexplained natural wonders of various sorts in the sky about Earth, it would be absurd. The world simply isn't like that. "UFOs" suffer from extreme shyness, "UFOs" are elusive, so "UFO" sightings are rare and all we have are--not necessarily very accurate--stories of brief observations. Mere stories.

    Show me "a weird shiny thing floating overhead" and you can call it anything you like! (vbg)

    "I think I saw a UFO" would be the beginning of a "UFO" REPORT, the purported "UFO" being an ambiguous visual stimulus as the subject of the equivalent of a modern ghost story, but nothing more.

    It's bald claims of seeing unambiguous REAL "UFOs" (aka "flying saucers") as a class of physical unknowns haunting the atmosphere that's the sticking point.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Sunday, May 22, 2016  

  • Bryan, all we have is "UFO" reports, just reports since we don't have any "UFOs" to examine. Only stories.

    I think the phrase "witnesses seeking answers" telegraphs both strong belief in the "UFO" myth and conspiracy. But the obvious truth of the matter--since 1947--is that there aren't any REAL "UFOs" of any kind, and there certainly isn't any sort of "UFO" conspiracy to keep secret something that doesn't even exist, never did.

    You've been exposed to the "UFO" myth, the meme. You saw something you failed to identify, and no matter what mundane thing it really was--its true identity--you mistakenly "identified" it as a bogey, a phantom, a ghost and called it a "UFO."

    I doubt any real skeptics join the irrational "UFO" Believers Club, that's just part of your Believer litany that comforts you in your moments of doubt when faced with the fact that there's never been one shred of evidence for "UFOs" of any kind. There are only completely inconsequential stories--"flying saucer" fairy tales.

    ufxxlogy is dead, the "UFO" myth is fossilized, make the "UFO" delusion history.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Sunday, May 22, 2016  

  • I don't see a problem, Zoam, with the hoi polloi calling odd things in the sky UFOs or Flying Saucer or whatever.

    If one wants to determine what someone saw, they'd by-pass the terminology and go after the "ding und sich."

    The claims don't disturb me. As I've noted, people have claimed sightings of gods, virgins, hairy beasts, little people et cetera all over the place for a long time.

    The stories brighten one's every day, mundane experiences.

    One should not get overworked by someone saying they saw a UFO (a Big Foot or anything else). It's merely a matter of subjective ( or perhaps objective) observation that hasn't impacted society in any serious way.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, May 22, 2016  

Post a Comment

<< Home