Friday, February 15, 2008

The Real Men in the Great Airship Wave

The Wunderkabinett and Michael Busby have done some research on the names of reported airship pilots during the 1897 Airship Wave (adopted by some as an early UFO wave). To my surprise, some of these men existed, in fact quite a few did. Doesn't mean they were actually involved in any aero-experiments, and some of the most famous airship cases (including Aurora) have been shown as hoaxes. This is all being dredged up in part due to the Stephensville UFO flap.

I'm starting to see the appeal airships have on the Steampunk community. Or perhaps I'm seeing the results of that interest. Anyway, nifty stuff.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Indiana Jones Trailer: Roswell and Mayas

The trailer for the new Indiana Jones movie is out (you can watch it here).

As I expected, it has Area 51, Roswell, and Maya ruins (though I didn't expect actual Maya warriors).

I'll be curious to see if they hire any "experts" to flack for this.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Reporter that Kicked Off Stephenville UFO Flap - Unemployed

I haven't seen confirmation from someone outside of UFO enthusiasts, but apparently Angelia Joiner, whose reporting was at the core of the Stephensville UFO flap, is now unemployed. According to what is apparently her accounting of events, her newspaper decided they didn't want any more UFO stories. She suggests this was influenced by community leaders that found the intense interest embarassing.

So, she quit, but was told to leave the paper faster than two weeks.

UPDATE February 13, 2008: It appeas that Angelia Joiner has decided to keep reporting on UFOs being seen in Texas, employed or not. If this website is actually hers.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Inside the Science Fiction Event Horizon: Implications for Other Cultural Ideas

I really like this essay.

It points out the spiral in science fiction, of how entertaining stories using dodgy science in the 1930s then created a genre with tropes that increasingly made no sense. But because they were initially allowed to stand as tropes, they became time-honored, to the point where much science fiction, once seen as real speculation on science and society, became ever more like magical fantasy.

I think it speaks volumes about how once tropes in a genre, or a subculture, become widespread and popular, they don't go away, regardless of outside stimuli.

My first original post in this blog (the first two were a welcome and reposting of a review I had previously written) was about this very issue. How transhumanists were picking fights with the UFO community, because the UFO ideas were badly out of date in regards to technology and biology (though as I note, I think the transhumanists are generally clueless when it comes to human behavior). Likewise, Cameron Mcormick suggests a similar problem with the cryptozoological focus on big "monsters," and the regular invocation of colonial "discoveries" in the early 20th century as models for the hunt in the early 21st century. Pamela McElwee voiced a similar concern over the label of "lost world" being applied to populated areas in Vietnam, in turn spurring interest in hunting mystery wild men. And I can tell you from personal experience that many ideas in alternative archaeology have roots in very old ideas long since discarded by those doing professional academic research.

I don't know when, but I want to develop this point more. But I think it is a crackerjack way of thinking about the development of ideas outside of the realm of falsifiability.