Tag Archives: 60 Minutes

Why The Pentagon’s Upcoming Report On UFOs Won’t Change Anything (For Now)

US Intel Report on UFOs Can't Confirm or Deny Link to Aliens | Technology  News

There was a time in my life when I was a true believer in UFOs. I bought into nearly every UFO conspiracy you’ve ever heard and probably a few you haven’t. I really believed that UFOs were real, aliens were real, and the governments of the world were covering it up.

Those beliefs quickly fell apart when I learned how fallible and flawed humans can be, especially at the government level. The idea that a government could keep a secret this big for so long isn’t just laughable. It’s contrary to our nature.

Looking back on it, I feel downright foolish. To all the friends and family I annoyed with these beliefs, I sincerely apologize. I was young, gullible, and ignorant. I understand that’s not a good excuse.

Despite my disillusion with UFOs, I’m still very interested in the possibilities surrounding extraterrestrial life. I also still believe that making contact with an alien civilization would be a huge game-changer for humanity, as a species and a civilization. I believe many die-hard believers in UFOs feel the same way.

I imagine those same believers are excited about the recent resurgence in interest surrounding UFOs. It’s not just coming from fringe areas of the internet or your typical conspiracy websites. The topics is being treated with a rare level of seriousness by both government entities and major news organizations.

Recently, the Pentagon announced that they were releasing a major report on UFOs to Congress and its findings would be made available to the public. It’s a rare act of transparency from a government known for keeping nasty secrets. Some hope that this report will blow the door wide open on the phenomenon, inspiring a new generation of UFO enthusiasts.

I would caution those people to temper their interests. Having been in that mindset before, I can attest how tempting it might be to believe that we’ll finally get the full story we’ve been hoping for. It’s far more likely that the truth will be a lot less fanciful than we wish.

That’s not just me being a downer. That’s built within the news surrounding this report. If you need more context, here’s how ABC News reported on it.

ABC News: Upcoming UFO report to Congress creating lots of buzz

Later this month, U.S. intelligence agencies will present to Congress a highly-anticipated unclassified report about what they know about UFOs, or as the Pentagon now calls them, Unexplained Aerial Phenomena (UAPs).

However, the jury is still out on whether the report will contain the answers that UFO enthusiasts are looking for: that recent military encounters with UAPs may be proof of contacts with extraterrestrial life.

The preparation of the report marks a milestone as interest in UFOs has taken off in recent years following the Navy’s release of once-classified videos of encounters that fighter pilots had in 2004 and 2014 with UAPs.

The videos raised interest not only with UFO enthusiasts, but also among members of Congress eager to learn if the UAPs captured in the videos represent advanced technological threats from foreign adversaries.

Please note the bolded parts. That was my doing. That’s a detail that needs to be emphasized. The simple admission by the Pentagon that there are credible witnesses to unidentified arial phenomena is not an admission that these phenomena are alien spacecrafts. It just means they don’t know what they witnessed, hence the word unidentified.

I don’t mean to belabor the semantics, but it’s a huge leap to go from someone admitting that they don’t know what they saw in the sky to believing what they saw was an alien spacecraft. There are a lot of possibilities in between that are probably more likely.

Even if the witnesses are credible, we’re still dealing with fallible people. Since we’re dealing with experienced fighter pilots and military personnel, I’m inclined to believe that these aren’t crackpots who jump at the chance to label anything a UFO. They’re just honest, sincere people who don’t know what they saw.

It’s just unreasonable to make the leap from an unidentified arial phenomenon to an alien spacecraft. There’s a real possibility that the people involved were just mistaken. There’s also a possibility that there are currently aircraft being tested by the military that are so advanced that they seem alien to us. Remember how alien the F-117 stealth fighter once looked.

Even if that’s the case, it’s very unlikely we’ll know the full truth in this report. At most, it’ll just state what we’ve already heard from the witnesses. Credible people saw something in the sky and they don’t know what it is. That’s it. That’s all we can confirm for now.

The key words there are “for now.” There may very well be more to the report, but it’s very unlikely that it’ll confirm or even hint at the existence of aliens. The government may be inept at times, but it isn’t stupid. People can see strange things that aren’t there and make wild assumptions based on a misunderstanding of a situation. That’s just how people work.

If aliens really do exist and they’re aware of our presence on Earth, I think it’s doubtful they would make their presence known through something like UFOs. If you have technology that can traverse the stars, then it makes no sense on any level to just show up in ways that only ever emerge in blurred photos and videos. In an era where everyone has an HD camera in their pocket, the aliens have no excuses and neither do we.

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Khan Academy: The (Near) Future Of Education?

Image result for Khan Academy

In talking about education, I’ve highlighted issues that give me fever dreams about my experience in high school and those that give me hope for future students. While I know it’s not a very sexy topic, it does matter a great deal.  A society full of idiots is only good for creating embarrassing YouTube videos and Chuck Lorre sitcoms, but not much else.

Our current method for education people in the western world has a lot of room for improvement. Some, like South Korea and Japan, do it better than others. Others, like the state of Texas, are easy punchlines in jokes about stupidity and I’m not just talking about their laughable record on sexual education.

Let’s not lie to ourselves. Education is hard. Every human being is wired different. Kids are especially tricky. Between puberty and sugar, it’s hard to help them learn, especially if they don’t want to learn. Our brains weren’t wired for assembly line style education that requires memorization, lectures, and standardized tests. They were wired for survival, reproduction, and avoiding hungry bears.

At some point in the future, we may be able to tweak that old wiring to make education easier. Companies like Neuralink are already working on that. However, that kind of brain building is years off. While it is promising, there are many who may lament that they or their children won’t get to benefit from this kind of innovation. They’re stuck using textbooks and number two pencils.

Image result for standardized test

Well, for once, I’m not going to fantasize about an advancement that’s way off in the future, like smart blood or sex robots. There are some amazing advancements in this field and they don’t require a brain implant. They don’t even require a private tutor from South Korea. Big changes to education aren’t just some far-off future fantasy. They’re actually happening.

That brings me to Khan Academy. I’ve mentioned them before, albeit not in great detail. I kind of feel bad about that because it’s doing some amazing work in the field of education. It is, very much, a game-changer to the way we think about education. It has the potential to educate people all over the world at a cost that’s almost negligible.

Image result for standardized test

What is Khan Academy, though? Well, that’s not an unreasonable question because it’s one of those things that is known in some crowds, but not others. It’s also fairly new. Khan Academy started only ten years ago and it started by accident, which happens a lot more than you think.

The story of how it came to be is actually pretty remarkable. The man who created, Salman Khan, didn’t intend to make it into one of the biggest innovations to hit education since the invention of pocket calculators. It just played out that way. Several years ago, 60 Minutes did a story about it and it reveals some pretty amazing insights.

However it came to be, Khan Academy’s mission is as bold as it is important. It seeks, in their own words, “to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere.” At a time when the cost of education is rising frustratingly fast, Khan Academy dares to be bolder.

It doesn’t require big, fancy schools. It doesn’t require an army of trained teachers, some of which may or may not be qualified for their job. It doesn’t even require students to leave the house. It only requires someone with a computer, an internet connection, and an ability to access a website. These days, those are skills that most kids learn to do right out of the womb.

That’s not to say it’s better in every way. There are some things that you can’t just learn by doing exercises online. You wouldn’t want a mechanic, plumber, or gynecologist only learning their trade through online videos. You’d want them to have some kind of training.

Image result for smart kids

Even so, the value of having a cheap, effective way of educating young children cannot be understated. Beyond simply knowing how much to tip at a restaurant, education helps children think and reason for themselves. It helps them make sense of a world where the Kardashians are celebrities and Johnny Depp still makes movies.

We, as a species, need societies of kids and adults who can think. Until we perfect neural implants, education is still going to be a challenge. That’s why innovations like Khan Academy are so valuable.

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