Asteroid Could Threaten Earth in 2182


A large asteroid in space that has a remote chance of slamming into Earth would most likely hit in 2182, if it crashes into our planet at all, a new study suggests.

The asteroid, called 1999 RQ36, has about a 1-in-1,000 chance of actually hitting the Earth, but half of that risk corresponds to potential impacts in the year 2182, said study co-author Mar Eugenia Sansaturio of the Universidad de Valladolid in Spain.

Sansaturio and her colleagues used mathematical models to determine the risk of asteroid 1999 RQ36 impacting Earth through the year 2200. They found two potential opportunities for the asteroid to hit Earth in 2182.

The research is detailed in the science journal Icarus.

The asteroid was discovered in 1999 and is about 1,837 feet (560 meters) across. A space rock this size could cause widespread devastation if it were to hit Earth, based on a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists have tracked 1999 RQ36′s orbit through 290 optical observations and 13 radar surveys, but there is still some uncertainty because of the gentle push it receives from the so-called Yarkovsky effect, researchers said.

The Yarkovsky effect — named after the Russian engineer I.O. Yarkovsky, who proposed the theory behind the effect around 1900 — describes how an asteroid gains momentum from thermal radiation that it emits from its night side. Over hundreds of years, the effect’s influence on an asteroid’s orbit could be substantial.

Sansaturio and her colleagues found that through 2060, the chances of Earth impacts from 1999 RQ36 are remote, but the odds increase by a magnitude of four by 2080 as the asteroid’s orbit brings it closer to Earth.

The odds of impact then dip as the asteroid moves away, and rise again in 2162 and 2182, when it swings back near Earth, the researchers found. It’s a tricky orbital dance that makes it difficult to pin down the odds of impact, they said.

“The consequence of this complex dynamic is not just the likelihood of a comparatively large impact, but also that a realistic deflection procedure (path deviation) could only be made before the impact in 2080, and more easily, before 2060,” Sansaturio said in a statement.

After 2080, she added, it would be more difficult to deflect the asteroid.

“If this object had been discovered after 2080, the deflection would require a technology that is not currently available,” Sansaturio said. “Therefore, this example suggests that impact monitoring, which up to date does not cover more than 80 or 100 years, may need to encompass more than one century.”

By expanding the time frame for potential impacts, researchers would potentially identify the most threatening space rocks with enough time to mount deflection campaigns that are both technologically and financially feasible, Sansaturio said.


Arizona Sheriff Launches 17th Immigration Sweep

Joe Arpaio:  America's Toughest Sheriff

Joe Arpaio: America's Toughest Sheriff

PHOENIX – The showdown over Arizona’s immigration law played out in court and on Phoenix’s sun-splashed streets on Thursday, as the state sought to reinstate key parts of the measure and angry protesters chanted that they refused to “live in fear.” Dozens were arrested.

A federal judge’s decision a day earlier to block the strict law’s most controversial elements didn’t dampen the raging immigration debate.

The judge has been threatened. Protesters rallied in cities from Los Angeles to New York. The sheriff of the state’s most populous county vowed to continue targeting illegal immigrants. Lawmakers or candidates in as many as 18 states say they still want to push similar measures.

Along the U.S.-Mexico border, life continued as before, with officials sending back people who were captured while attempting to cross.

In Phoenix, hundreds of the law’s opponents massed at a downtown jail, beating on the metal door and forcing sheriff’s deputies to call for backup. Officers arrested at least 32 people, and dozens more were detained elsewhere throughout the day.

Activists focused their rage at Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the 78-year-old ex-federal drug agent known for his immigration sweeps.

Outside his downtown office, marchers chanted “Sheriff Joe, we are here. We will not live in fear.” One was dressed in a papier-mache “Sheriff Joe” head and prison garb. Arpaio said he’d continue with a Thursday sweep.

“I’m not going to be intimidated and stopped,” he said. “If I have to go out and get in the car, I’ll do it.”

Activists, armed with video cameras and aided by others listening to police scanners, roamed the county’s neighborhoods, saying they were ready to document any deputies harassing Hispanics.

In Tucson, between 50 and 100 people on both sides of the issue gathered at a street corner. About 200 protesters blocked a busy Los Angeles intersection, with police arrested about a dozen who were linked with plastic pipes and chains.

In New York, about 300 immigrant advocates rallied near the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan.

“It’s one step closer for us, but I think the fight is still ahead,” said Adelfa Lugo, a 56-year-old Mexican-born Brooklyn resident who joined the protest. “If we don’t fight this in Arizona, this anti-immigrant feeling will spread across the country.”

Since Wednesday’s ruling, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton has received thousands of phone calls and e-mails. Some were positive, but others were “from people venting and who have expressed their displeasure in a perverted way,” said David Gonzales, the U.S. Marshal for Arizona.

Gonzales said his agents are taking some of the threats to Bolton seriously. He wouldn’t say how many there were or whether any threats were coming from recognized hate groups. He refused to discuss any extra security measures, which U.S. marshals routinely provide federal judges.

The protests came as Gov. Jan Brewer appealed Bolton’s ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The governor, who hired lawyers to defend the law in court, hopes the court will act quickly, saying illegal immigration remains an ongoing crisis.

Arizona has more than 400,000 illegal immigrants, and its border with Mexico is awash with smugglers who funnel narcotics and immigrants throughout the U.S. The law’s supporters say the influx of illegal migrants drains vast sums of money from hospitals, education and other services.

The Obama administration has decided to send National Guard troops to the border states to help federal agents with security.

Along the U.S.-Mexico border in punishing temperatures of more than 100 degrees Thursday, two immigrants climbed a fence and fled on foot, while a third threw rocks in the direction of Border Patrol agents. The officers arrested them. New deportees congregated around Nogales.

The Arizona National Guard officials say they hope to have 524 troops in place by the end of September. Troops are expected to arrive at the border in New Mexico and Texas by mid-August, and California officials have estimated an Oct. 1 deadline to have troops fully deployed there.

In Phoenix, demonstrators had promised nonviolent civil disobedience, and they gathered in front of the sheriff’s office by the hundreds, blocking traffic and swarming around several cars caught in the protest.

Police moved in to try to allow the drivers to leave, as the crowd shouted, “We will not comply.”

Over the next hour, the crowd surged, chanted, yelled and some protesters forced the arrests. They then moved on the to jail.

As Arpaio held a news conference, he got a telephone call, and he told the caller: “OK, we’re going to divert our deputies down in front of the jail … What you do, anybody that resists, you put ‘em in our jail. We’re going to lock ‘em up.”

Then he turned to reporters: “As I said, we’re not going to allow our jails to be held hostage by these activists, so they’re going to jail.

“And if we have to put 200 in there, that’s where they’re going,” he said, adding that the sweeps would continue.

During the sweeps, deputies usually flood an area of a city — in some cases heavily Latino areas — to seek out traffic violators and arrest other alleged lawbreakers. Sixty percent of the nearly 1,000 people arrested in the sweeps since early 2008 have been illegal immigrants.

Critics say deputies racially profile Hispanics. Arpaio says deputies approach people only when they have probable cause.

The Justice Department launched an investigation of his office nearly 17 months ago over allegations of discrimination and unconstitutional searches and seizures. Although the department has declined to detail its investigation, Arpaio believes it centers on his sweeps.

The agency’s civil rights attorneys and investigators were in Phoenix Thursday as part of their probe, DOJ spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said. She declined to comment on the status of the inquiry or answer any other questions.

In October 2009, when the federal government stripped Arpaio of his power to let 100 deputies make federal immigration arrests, he launched another sweep the next day.

Unable to make arrests under a federal statute, the sheriff instead relied on a nearly 5-year-old state law that prohibits immigrant smuggling.

The elements of the new law that took effect on Thursday will likely aid Arpaio in his immigration efforts.

In her temporary injunction, Bolton delayed the most contentious provisions of the law, including a section that required officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws.

Bolton indicated the federal government’s case has a good chance at succeeding in its argument that federal immigration law trumps state law.

But she allowed police to enforce the law’s bans on blocking vehicle traffic when seeking or offering day-labor services and a revision to the smuggling ban that lets officers stop drivers if they suspect motorists have broken traffic laws.

Bolton also let officers enforce a new prohibition on driving or harboring illegal immigrants in furtherance of their illegal presence.

Opponents of the law said the ruling sends a strong message to other states hoping to replicate the law.

But a Republican lawmaker in Utah said the state will likely take up a similar law anyway when their legislative sessions start up again in 2011.

“The ruling … should not be a reason for Utah to not move forward,” Utah state Rep. Carl Wimmer said.



The 1952 Nash-Fortenberry UFO Sighting


On the evening of July 14,1952, a Pan American World Airways DC-4 was on a routine flight, ferrying from New York to Miami with ten passengers and a crew of three, including, Captain F. V. Koepke, First Officer William B. Nash and Second Officer William H. Fortenberry.
The sun had set an hour before though the coastline was still visible, and the night was clear and almost entirely dark. With the aircraft set on automatic pilot, while cruising at 8000 feet over the Chesapeake Bay approaching Norfolk, Virginia, they were due to over fly the VRF radio range station in six minutes and make a position report.

In the mean time, since this was Fortenberry’s first run on this course, Nash, in the left pilot’s seat, was orientating Fortenberry by pointing out landmarks and the distant lights of the cities along the route.

Nash had just pointed out the city of Newport News and Cumberland, ahead and to the right of the plane, when unexpectedly a red-orange brilliance appeared near the ground, beyond and slightly east of Newport News. The brilliance seemed to have appeared all of a sudden and both pilots witnessed the startling appearance at practically the same moment. In the excitement someone blurted out, “What the hell is that?”

Captain Nash later described their initial observations…

“Almost immediately we perceived that it consisted of six bright objects streaking toward us at tremendous speed, and obviously well below us. They had the fiery aspect of hot coals, but of much greater glow, perhaps twenty times more brilliant than any of the scattered ground lights over which they passed or the city lights to the right. Their shape was clearly outlined and evidently circular; the edges were well defined, not phosphorescent or fuzzy in the least and the red-orange color was uniform over the upper surface of each craft.”

“Within the few seconds that it took the six objects to come half the distance from where we had first seen them, we could observe that they were holding a narrow echelon formation, a stepped-up line tilted slightly to our right with the leader at the lowest point, and each following craft slightly higher.

At about the halfway point, the leader appeared to attempt a sudden slowing. We received this impression because the second and third wavered slightly and seemed almost to overrun the leader, so that for a brief moment during the remainder of their approach the positions of these three varied.

It looked very much as if an element of “human” or “intelligence” error had been introduced, in so far as the following two did not react soon enough when the leader began to slow down and so almost overran him.”

What occurred next utterly astonished the pilots. The procession shot forward like a stream of tracer bullets, out over the Chesapeake Bay to within a half-mile of the plane. Realizing that the line was going to pass under the nose of the plane and to the right of the copilot, Nash quickly unfastened his seat belt so that he could move to the window on that side. During this interval, Nash briefly lost sight of the objects, though Fortenberry kept them in view below the plane and both would later recollect…

“All together, they flipped on edge, the sides to the left going up and the glowing surface facing right. Though the bottom surfaces did not become clearly visible, we had the impression that they were unlighted. The exposed edges, also unlighted, appeared to be about 15 feet thick, and the top surface, at least, seemed flat.

In shape and proportion, they were much like coins. While all were in the edgewise position, the last five slid over and past the leader so that the echelon was now tail-foremost, so to speak, the top or last craft now being nearest to our position.”

This shift had taken only a brief second and was completed by the time Nash reached the window. Both pilots then observed the discs flip back from on-edge to the flat position and the entire line dart off to the West in a direction that formed a sharp angle with their initial course, holding the new formation.

The pilots had noticed that the objects seemed to dim slightly just prior to the abrupt angular turn and had brightened considerably after making it. Attempting to describe the objects extreme actions, Nash proposed, “The only descriptive comparison we can offer is a ball ricocheting off a wall.”

An instant later, two more identical objects darted out past the right wing, from behind and under the airplane at the same altitude as the others and quickly fell in behind the receding procession. They observed that these two seemed to glow considerably brighter than the others, as though applying power to catch up.

As they stared after them dumbfounded, suddenly the lights of all of the objects blinked out, only to reappear a moment later, maintaining low altitude out across the blackness of the bay, until about 10 miles beyond Newport News when they began climbing in a graceful arc that carried them well above the plane’s altitude. Sweeping upward they randomly blinked out and finally vanished in the dark night sky. Describing the disappearance of the objects some years later, Nash wrote,

“As they climbed, they oscillated up and down behind one another in a irregular fashion, as though they were extremely sensitive to control. In doing this, they went vertically past one another, bobbing up and down, (just as the front three went horizontally past one another, as the initial six approached us. This appeared to be an intelligence error, ‘lousing up the formation’)—they disappeared by blinking out in a mixed-up fashion, in no particular order.”

Their bewildered initial reaction is best affirmed in the words of Nash…

“We stared after them, dumbfounded and probably open-mouthed. We looked around at the sky, half expecting something else to appear, though nothing did. There were flying saucers, and we had seen them. What we had witnessed was so stunning and incredible that we could readily believe that if either of us had seen it alone, he would have hesitated to report it. But here we were, face to face. We couldn’t both be mistaken about such a striking spectacle.”

At “A”, during approach, six UFOs held a stepped-up echelon formation. Flipping on edge at “B”, folloers overrode the leader until, in reverse order at the V-point, they flipped flat again and the echelon darted in a new direction, appearing aligned from the the observers’ point of view. At “C”, after a brief blink-out, the six were joined by two from behind the airliner.

The time was 8:12 Eastern Standard Time. As the reality of their experience dawned on them the first question which came to mind was whether anybody else onboard had seen the spectacle. Fortenberry went through the small forward passenger compartment, where the captain was intent on paper work. In the main cabin a cautious inquiry whether anyone had seen anything unusual produced no results.

Back in the cockpit, the pilots radioed Norfolk and gave their position according to schedule, and upon receiving confirmation added a second message to be forwarded to the military: “Two pilots of this flight observed eight unidentified objects vicinity Langley Field; estimate speed in excess of 1,000 mph; altitude estimated 2,000 feet.” At this point, Captain Koepke came forward and took over control of the DC-4 while Nash and Fortenberry went to work reconstructing the sighting.

With a Dalton Mark 7 computer they determined the objects’ angle of approach and the same for the angle of departure. The difference between the two was about 30 degrees; therefore, the objects had made a 150-degree change of course almost instantaneously.

They were able to accurately determine their position visually and by reference to their position to the VHF range at Norfolk. The objects first appeared beyond and to the east of Newport News and came toward the DC-4 in a straight line, changed direction beneath the plane and departed in a straight line to the West once again passing a suburban edge of Newport News and seemed to travel out over a dark area before they began to climb steeply into the night sky.

They determined that Newport News was 25 miles away and added the additional 10 and 30 miles that they estimated the objects had traveled in each direction, arriving at a total distance of 90 miles. To be conservative they decided to use 50 miles, since they had seen them travel at least that distance. Determining the time duration of the sighting was not so straightforward.

Wanting to be accurate, they reenacted the exact sequence of events seven times, and using the panel stopwatch clocks determined that the time period did not exceed 12 seconds each time. Again, to be conservative they adopted 15 seconds in the final computation, which meant that the objects were flying at the rate of 200 miles per minute, or 12,000 miles per hour!

They estimated that the objects were slightly more than a mile below the plane, or about 2000 feet above ground level, and by mentally comparing their appearance with the wingspread of a DC-3 at that distance, judged the size to be approximately 100 feet diameter and 15 feet thick.

Determinations of distance, size and speed are always open to question by the fact that the objects observed were unidentified phenomena. However, this particular incident was especially unique in the sense that the pilots observed the objects between the ground and the plane.

Most sightings occur against an empty sky without any standard of comparison to known objects or distance, but in this case the planes altitude of 8000 feet established a finite distance for reference. Nash later qualified his ability to estimate the altitude of the objects in a letter to astrophysicist, Dr. Donald H. Menzel.

“We both had flown many thousands of hours at either 7000 or 8000 feet, because these altitudes were high enough to avoid most turbulence but not so high as to starve us for oxygen. Hence, a sort-of “instinct-judgment” about the height of objects gradually developed.

If after 10,000 hours of flying at the same altitude a pilot cannot judge if something (even an unfamiliar something) is halfway between his plane and the ground, and split that in half again, he best quit. Our judgment, after seeing these things travel nearly a hundred miles, and observing them both from a distance and almost directly beneath us, was that they were holding 2000 feet for most of the observed time.”

Further, both Nash and Fortenberry had served in the Navy during the war in which Nash flew patrol bombers for the Naval Air Transport Service patrolling between the African and South American coastlines in search of German submarines. Fortenberry served in the U.S. Navy Air experimental wing for two years and was well aware of aeronautical developments for the time. In naval training, both pilots had received intensive instruction in aircraft identification and had learned to identify every ship in the German Navy.

While Nash and Fortenberry were still discussing the matter, the lights of a northbound airliner came into view on a course about 1,000 feet above. Ordinarily the head-on approach of two airliners at 500 mph seems fairly rapid. But in this instance, compared to the streaking speed of the discs, the oncoming plane seemed to be standing still. If any normal happening could have increased the effect of the night’s experience, it was just such a commonplace event.

They landed at Miami International Airport shortly after midnight. Upon entering the operations office, they found a copy of the message they had transmitted to the military through Norfolk, with an addition: “Advise crew five jets were in area at the time.” This didn’t exactly apply since the things they had seen were eight in number, and they were dead sure they were not jets.

At 7 A.M. Air Force investigators telephoned and an appointment was set for an interview later that morning. USAF Wing Intelligence officer Major John H. Sharpe and four officers from the 7th District Office of Special Investigations met Nash and Fortenberry at the airport. In separate rooms, the pilots were questioned for one hour and forty-five minutes and following that, for a half-hour together.

The pilots were duly impressed by the skill and thoroughness of their interrogators. Questions had been prepared in advance and posed individually to the two pilots in order to evaluate their recall. Map overlays were compared and they had a complete weather report for the area, which coincided with the previous night’s flight plan.

It stated; 3/8 Cirrus clouds about 20,000 feet. No inversion and a sharply clear night, probably unstable air. Visibility was unusually good. Following the interview, the investigators advised the pilots that they had already received seven additional reports from persons who had witnessed similar incidents within 30 minutes, in the same area.

The best was from a Lt. Commander and his wife who described a formation of red discs traveling at high-speed and making immediate directional changes without a turning radius. Being told that their particular experience was by no means unique surprised the pilots.

None of these reports appear in the official Blue Book files, though three reports requested by ATIC in August describe multiple objects cavorting over Washington D.C. at 9:00 A.M., the morning of the sighting. Fortunately, NICAP retained copies of some of the confirmatory reports for the evening of July 14, which were published in the Norfolk newspapers.

Although none of the reported sightings appear to describe the identical maneuvers that the pilots witnessed, a couple are sufficiently similar to be taken as reasonable substantiations. For example, one witness stated that,

“She and a friend were sitting on a bench in Stockley Gardens when they saw what appeared to be flying saucers ‘circling overhead and then going north.’ She said they saw seven or eight altogether ‘the first three white and the others were yellow and red.’”

In a letter to the editor of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, the naval officer from the cruiser Roanoke, apparently mentioned to Nash and Fortenberry during the OSI investigation, reported that he had sighted eight red lights in the direction of Point Comfort that proceeded in a straight line and then disappeared. He saw the objects at about 8:55 P.M. Eastern Daylight-Saving Time, approximately 15 minutes before the pilot’s sighting, as he was driving towards the Naval base for a 9:00 P.M. appointment.

Especially interesting is that as a result of the press coverage of the Pan American pilots sighting the following day, Paul R. Hill, an aerodynamicist at the NASA-Langley facility, decided to watch the sky for UFOs on the evening of July 16. Expecting “conformance to pattern” he parked at the waterfront a little before 8:00 P.M. and soon observed two amber-colored objects approach from the South and turn West taking them directly overhead.

At this point, the objects curiously appeared to be alternatively jumping forward of each other slightly. Then after passing zenith, they made an astounding maneuver. They began to revolve around a common center, and after a few revolutions, switched to the vertical plane! Within a few more seconds two more similar objects joined the first two before all four headed south. Hill later wrote,

“Up to that point I had been just a fascinated spectator. Now they had convinced me. At that moment, I realized that here were visitors from another world. There is a lot of truth in the old saying, ‘It’s different when it happens to you.’ It was within my line of business to know that no Earthcraft could remotely approach those maneuvers.”

This sighting prompted Paul Hill to a life-long study collecting and analyzing sightings’ reports for physical properties and propulsion possibilities in an attempt to make technological sense of the unconventional objects. The study was eventually published posthumously, under the title, Unconventional Flying Objects: A Scientific Analysis (Hampton Roads, 1995), in which Hill presents his thesis that UFOs “obey, not defy, the laws of physics.”

At the time of these sightings flying saucers had been big news for many weeks and the staff of nine at Project Blue Book were swamped with sighting reports, far more than they could properly deal with. By mid-July they were getting about twenty reports a day and frantic calls from intelligence officers at every Air Force base in the U.S.

The reports they were getting were good ones and could not be easily explained. In fact, the unexplained sightings were running at about 40 percent. All this was leading inexorably to the following weekend when UFOs were picked up by radar at Washington National Airport in restricted air space over the nation’s capitol, and would become one of the most highly publicized sightings of UFO history.

For those reasons, the Nash/Fortenberry sighting received a less than adequate investigation. Project Blue Book quickly determined that the five jets flying out of Langley, AFB could not have possibly been responsible for the sighting, and the case was dropped and filed as an “Unknown.”

It was not until 1962 that the case would be reexamined by the Director of the Harvard College Observatory, astrophysicist Donald H. Menzel, and published in his book, The World of Flying Saucers: A Scientific Examination of a Major Myth of the Space Age (Doubleday, 1963).

At the time, Professor Charles A. Maney, a physicist at Defiance College, had been engaged in a rather lengthy correspondence with Menzel, and when the Nash/Fortenberry sighting came up, Maney forwarded copies of the correspondence to Nash, then an advisor to NICAP. This led to a series of lengthy correspondences over a six-month period between Nash and Menzel providing considerable insight into the process by which Menzel arrived at his eventual solution to the inexplicable sighting.

Based on the meager data contained in the official report, Menzel assumed that the sighting could be reasonably explained as a reflection in the cockpit windows, especially considering the nearly instantaneous reversal, which seems to defy the laws of physics pertaining to inertia. In support of this explanation he underscored the apparent failure of the crew and Air Force investigators to make any tests for possible reflections, and generally called into question the credibility of the pilots. In a fairly scathing letter, Nash remonstrated Menzel on this critical point:

“Dr. Menzel, regardless of your figures the western horizon was not quite bright, and regarding your “reflection theory,” in the first place the objects were between us and the West.

In the second place, they would have had to be damned persistent, consistent and impossible reflections to have manifested in three cockpit windows in exactly the same way. We first observed them through the front window. As they approached and I moved across the cockpit, I kept my eyes on the objects and saw them through the curved window of the windshield, and we both finished our observations looking through the right side window.

That is why there is no evidence (as you complain to Dr. Maney) that the pilots considered that what they saw was a reflection; and you state that we were too excited by what we saw to make the most elementary scientific tests. Again, Doctor, pilots do not excite easily or they would not be airline pilots—please—a little respect for us?”

Dr. Menzel’s next line of inquiry concerned whether the reflection could have been caused by an illumination within the cockpit, or possibly a “hostess taking a drag of a cigarette.” Dr. Maney’s rather sardonic response to this possibility was, “Quite a long drag, wouldn’t you say?” But, nevertheless, the pilots weren’t smoking, the cockpit door was closed, there were no hostesses on the flight and the pilot’s observed the object’s reversal out of the right window below the plane.

This pretty well convinced Menzel that an internal reflection was unlikely to explain the phenomenon and what Captain Nash had seen was something outside the plane.

Still, Menzel concluded that Nash’s observations “… are completely consistent with the theory that the discs were immaterial images made of light.”

Therefore, to explain the sighting he theorized that,

“…a temperature inversion can lead to a sharp concentration of haze, ice crystals, smoke or other particles in a relatively thin layer. The layer is often invisible until the plane actually goes through it, when it appears as a thin, bright, hazy line that disappears a moment later when the plane breaks through it.

Multiple layers of such haze are not unknown, stacked one on top of the other. Now, a sharply focused searchlight, shining at night through a series of such hazy layers, will show up as a series of discs. As the searchlight moves, the discs will appear to spread out, exhibit perspective, and, as the searchlight turns around, the discs will appear to ricochet.”

The soundness of his theory depended on the prevailing weather conditions. Since the official weather reports for that evening indicated that there were no temperature inversions present, Dr. Menzel carefully constructed a scenario in which inversions (albeit in meteorological parlance, a sub refractive condition) could have been present though undetectable by the weather service.

“In the summer of 1952 all the eastern states were suffering from a intense heat wave and drought, and the ground cooled rapidly after sunset, because of the lack of cloud cover during the day. In a period of heat and drought, the nightly cooling produces marked inversions favorable to extreme refraction and reflection. Small in extent, existing only briefly in one place, constantly changing location, such inversions may not be detectable by radiosonde observations.”

Dr. Menzel admitted that his solution does not identify the particular beacon or searchlight responsible for the sightings, though he suggests that, “A light on the Virginia coast, shining northeast toward the plane, could easily have been spread out into a series of images like those observed.” Apparently, the location of the light is assumed to be at the point of the pilot’s initial sighting of the red-glow, beyond and to the East of Newport News.

This begs the question why experienced pilots could not identify an apparently fixed high-intensity (red!) light source if it were emanating from a position 25 miles in front and below and directed toward their aircraft. Since the discs were organized in a stepped-up echelon, with the leading disc at the lowest point, one would deduce that the source of the light must have been from behind the aircraft.

Had the light source been in front of the aircraft, as Dr. Menzel postulates, the leading disc would have appeared in the highest position in the echelon.

Further, a searchlight reflecting off a horizontal cloud layer at an oblique angle to the observer would produce a gradual elongation of the disc as it moves relative to the observer. Nor does the theory account for the two discs that darted out from under the plane and conjoined the original six before disappearing into the night sky.

Or the mechanism that would need to be in effect to make the discs appear to flip vertically on edge, reverse position in formation while maintaining relative distances, and then flip back to the horizontal plane (while executing a 150-degree course change at, well, in the words of investigating officer, Major John Sharpe, “…a speed fantastic to contemplate.” Incidentally, 90 miles in 12 seconds equals 27,000 mph!)

In his book, Dr. Menzel asserts that his solution offers, “a highly probable explanation that is consistent with all observations and does not depend on the presence of an extraterrestrial spacecraft.”

I have to agree with the later part of the statement, but have no doubt that readers will find further inconsistencies in Dr. Menzel’s impracticable solution.

Some years later, in early 1957, Bill Fortenberry was lost in a Boeing B-377 Stratocruiser crash in the Pacific Ocean, with all onboard. In the early sixties, Captain Nash transferred to Germany, and for the next 15 years flew the Berlin corridors before retiring from Pan American. In a recent interview for the Sign Oral History Project, a still vivacious Captain Nash provided their concluding supposition…

“Looking at the thing shook us up. We stared at each other, and all of a sudden there was this realization that our world is not alone in the universe. Because, nothing could have advanced to that degree of scientific progress without some of the intermediate steps having become public knowledge, or, at least known to the people who were flying.

Bill had just come out of the Navy and was fully acquainted with their latest developments. We just knew that they were not from this planet. I know to this day, that it was nothing from this planet.”



NEW YORK — President Obama waded into the national race debate in an unlikely setting and with an unusual choice of words: telling daytime talk show hosts that African-Americans are “sort of a mongrel people.”

The president appeared on ABC’s morning talk show “The View” Thursday, where he talked about the forced resignation of Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod, his experience with race and his roots.

When asked about his background, which includes a black father and white mother, Obama said of African-Americans: “We are sort of a mongrel people.”

“I mean we’re all kinds of mixed up,” Obama said. “That’s actually true of white people as well, but we just know more about it.”

The president’s remarks were directed at the roots of all Americans. The definition of mongrel as an adjective is defined as “of mixed breed, nature, or origin,” according to

Obama did not appear to be making an inflammatory remark with his statement and the audience appeared to receive it in the light-hearted manner that often accompanies interviews on morning talk shows.

The race debate was reignited after Sherrod’s firing. Obama also addressed the issue in his speech to the National Urban League 100th Anniversary Convention in Washington on Thursday morning.

But in his interview on “The View,” which was taped Wednesday but aired Thursday, the president said the Sherrod story was prompted when the media “generated a phony controversy.”

“A lot of people overreacted, including people in my administration,” he said.

Obama called Sherrod last week after Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack apologized for her firing.

Obama noted “there’s still a reptilian side of our brain” that leads people to not trust others “if somebody sounds different or looks different.”

The president stressed that what’s “important is how you treat people.”

Obama discussed a wide range of issues as the first sitting president to appear on a daytime talk show.

He was challenged by Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the conservative voice on the all-women panel, about his claim to have saved 2.5 million jobs with his recovery act and his inability to unite the country.

On the latter, Obama said that “right after the election there was a sense of hopefulness and unity,” but “the politics of the economic recovery” and steps he took to save the auto companies created a partisan divide.

“My hope is that I’ve tried to set a tone in the debate that says, ‘Look, we can disagree without being disagreeable,’” Obama said.

On the economy, Obama told Hasselbeck that she was “absolutely right” that enough jobs have not returned, but he brushed her back on her assertion that saving jobs is not as important as adding jobs.

“Well, it makes a difference, though, if your job was one that was saved,” Obama said.

While the president conceded that “we are not bouncing back as quick as we need to,” he said he does think the American economy will get its “mojo back over the next several months.”

“Don’t bet against American workers,” Obama said. “Don’t bet against American ingenuity.”

Obama responded to questions from Barbara Walters and Joy Behar about his tough critics in the conservative media by saying he is more worried about the American people than himself.

“You said it’s been tough for me, but the truth is it’s not tough for me,” Obama said. “I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about me. I spend a lot of time worrying about them.”

Behar, a vocal liberal, teed up the president to talk about his critics on the right, asking Obama “where’s your attack dog?”

But Obama didn’t take the bait, responding “we shouldn’t be campaigning all the time. There’s a time to campaign, and there’s a time to govern.”

“I’m not perfect. My administration’s not perfect,” Obama said. “A lot of this criticism I listen to, and it’s fair, I try to correct it.”

Obama taped the interview Wednesday when he was in New York City for two Democratic National Committee fundraisers. He also spent Wednesday in New Jersey talking about the economy.


At least one bear rampaged through a heavily occupied campground near Yellowstone National Park early Wednesday morning, killing one person and injuring two others.

Check out the video below.



Charlottesville resident Leslie Macko was once employed at ACAC in the Albemarle Square Shopping Center. In April 2009, she lost her job as an aesthetician in the spa at ACAC.

President Barack Obama called on Congress last week to extend unemployment insurance. Macko stood next to the President of the United States as his example of the need to extend jobless benefits.

CBS19′s Jessica Jaglois has learned that Macko was found guilty of prescription drug fraud in March 2009, one month before Macko lost her job at ACAC. She served a one year probationary sentence.

Macko joined two other unemployed people and President Obama at the podium for a speech designed to encourage lawmakers to extend jobless benefits.

“We need to extend unemployment compensation benefits for women like Leslie Macko, who lost her job at a fitness center last year, and has been looking for work ever since. Because she’s eligible for only a few more weeks of unemployment, she’s doing what she never thought she’d have to do. Not at this point, anyway. She’s turning to her father for financial support,” Obama said in his speech.

ACAC owner Phil Wendel was unable to tell CBS19 if Macko was terminated because of the conviction. There’s also no indication from the court file that Macko lost her job because of the court case, or that she has received unemployment benefits improperly.

CBS19 contacted Leslie Macko about the conviction, and she declined to comment until she speaks with her attorney. We have also reached out to the White House to see if they know the full story behind the woman they chose to stand next to President Obama, but have not received comment from them either.

Do you really think this president and his handlers have any idea what they are doing now? They can’t even properly vet a convicted criminal and instead she ends up on stage during one of his events in Virginia.

No wonder these buffoons haven’t any idea how to turn the economy around.



Shoebill Bird

The Shoebill, Balaeniceps rex, also known as Whalehead, is a very large stork-like bird. It derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill.

The adult bird is 115-150 cm (45-60 in) tall, 100-140 cm (40-55 in) long, 230-260 cm (91-125 in) across the wings and weighs 4 to 7 kg (8.8-15.5 lbs).[2][3] The adult is mainly grey while the juveniles are browner. It lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia.

A Shoebill at Ueno Zoo in Japan.This species was only classified in the 19th century when some skins were brought to Europe. It was not until years later that live specimens reached the scientific community. However, the bird was known to both ancient Egyptians and Arabs. There are Egyptian images depicting the Shoebill, while the Arabs referred to the bird as abu markub, which means one with a shoe, a reference to the bird’s distinctive bill.[citation needed]

Shoebills feed in muddy waters, preying on fish, frogs, reptiles such as baby crocodiles, and small mammals. They nest on the ground and lay 2 eggs.

The population is estimated at between 5,000 and 8,000 individuals, the majority of which live in Sudan. BirdLife International have classified it as Vulnerable with the main threats being habitat destruction, disturbance and hunting.

The Shoebill is one of the bird taxa whose taxonomic treatment is murky. Traditionally allied with the storks (Ciconiiformes), it was retained there in the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy which lumped a massive number of unrelated taxa into their “Ciconiiformes”. More recently, the shoebill has been considered to be closer to the pelicans (based on anatomical comparisons; Mayr, 2003) or the herons (based on biochemical evidence; Hagey et al., 2002). A recent DNA study suggests they are part of the Pelecaniformes.[4]

But actually, the dispute has turned out to be mainly one of where to draw the boundary between Ciconiiformes and Pelecaniformes, or whether to draw it at all. Since cormorants and relatives are probably not actually Pelecaniformes, a solution adopted by some modern authors is to merge the “core” Pelecaniformes with the Ciconiiformes. The Shoebill and the Hammerkop (Scopus umbretta) are the “missing links” that connect pelicans and storks, and including the pelican lineage in the Ciconiiformes expresses this more adequately than other treatments do.

So far, two fossil relatives of the shoebill have been described: Goliathia from the early Oligocene of Egypt and Paludavis from the Early Miocene of the same country. It has been suggested that the enigmatic African fossil bird Eremopezus was a relative too, but the evidence for that is very spurious indeed. All that is known of Eremopezus is that it was a very large, probably flightless bird with a flexible foot, allowing it to handle either vegetation or prey.


Jack Roush Bloodied

Jack Roush Bloodied

NASCAR team owner Jack Roush is in serious but stable condition after walking away from a plane crash in a jet he was piloting in Wisconsin on Tuesday.

“There are injuries. Possible surgery,” Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith said in a text message to The Associated Press. “But he walked out of the plane.”

Video taken in the immediate aftermath of the crash shows a fireman spraying foam around the plane, then opening the forward door and peering in. A few moments later, Roush, his face bloodied and blood stains covering his shirt and pants, gingerly walks through the opening.

A backboard is brought up as Roush lies down next to the plane. Meanwhile, his lone passenger, identified as Brenda Strickland, also gingerly makes her way out of the plane on her feet, assisted by rescuers.

Roush, an aviation buff, was expected to attend the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., this week.

The aviation website reported that Roush’s Premier Beechcraft jet pancaked the runway with a loud bang while landing at Oshkosh, but that Roush and a passenger were out of the plane and standing after the crash.

The website said a pilot who witnessed the incident said the plane was coming in for a landing when it appeared to initiate a go-around and in the process one wing dropped and the jet fell toward the ground.

“The right wing tip hit the right side of the grass to the right of the runway, and then immediately after, the nose hit and it cartwheeled, tail over the nose, and then skidded to a stop,” eyewitness Roger Florkiewicz told WFRV-TV 5 in Green Bay.

A dramatic YouTube video of Roush emerging from the plane also suggests the crash was witnessed by many people already at the airport for the AirVenture show. The video was shot by someone standing among a group of spectators watching the frightening scene and they react with relief and even some applause as Roush emerges from his broken jet on his feet. Sexy Lingerie

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