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World UFO Day

Happy World UFO Day! Today is an opportunity for people to gather together and watch the skies for unidentified flying objects or ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’ as they are now more commonly called. So what is the history of UFOs and the likelihood that these phenomena are actually evidence of extraterrestrial life?

Allegedly there have been sightings of unexplained aerial phenomena since ancient times, although the number and nature of reports have significantly increased since the second world war. The so-called ‘Modern UFO era’ was established with a sighting near Mount Rainier in 1947 that popularised the name ‘flying saucers’ and began an obsession with flying saucers that lasted a decade. The term ‘Unidentified Flying Objects’ was adopted to better describe more common later sightings of different shapes such as cigars and triangles.

Cerys Willoughby
“Rock On!”

“Arrival,” Listening, and Communicating

I suppose that I’m getting a bit of a reputation around these parts as being the sci-fi/pop culture geek, and today isn’t going to break the cycle.

The best science fiction is a way to look at the world we live in and ask ourselves what it means to be human–I know, it’s a tall order. So, when a movie comes along that fits the bill, I go out of my way to support it.

That movie is Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival.

Arrival is about a linguist who is recruited by the government to help communicate with mysterious aliens who have landed on Earth.

What follows is a beautiful, quiet, and measured reflection on communication and understanding. Not only does the story dive deeply into the science of communication (what elements of speech do you have to teach someone to convey that you are asking a question?), but it also stands as a more reflective metaphor for global society.

Eric Mack
“Rock On!”

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