UFO: What does it mean?

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posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 12:07 AM
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I find one of the greatest difficulties discussing UFOs is making sure all participants are using the same definition.
  1. The layman assumes a UFO means "alien spacecraft"
  2. The armchair researcher typically uses Dr. Hartman's definition, "the stimulus for a report made by one or more individuals of something seen in the sky which the observer could not identify as having natural origin..."
  3. A more meaningful definition, often used by professional researchers, like Hynek, is, "A UFO report is a report the contents of which are puzzling not only to the observer but to others who have the technical training the observer may lack."

Reflecting on this I realized we have all these conflicting definitions because every UFO sighting goes through up to four stages over the course of its life.
  1. First the person notices something they can't identify (the Hartman or armchair researchers definition of a UFO).
  2. Then an authority does a bit of analysis and passes judgment (if it can't be identified it's a Hynek UFO).
  3. People read the details in a tabloid and based off their view of the universe form an opinion, which is often times, that the object sighted was an alien UFO (ie/ the average persons definition of a UFO). Cosmologists and ufologists usually refrain from labeling due to the large number of possibilities.
  4. Eventually, we'd like to think, the UFO will be truthfully identified.

It would be nice if we could create a word for each of these stages. The observation stage, the post-analysis UFO, the hypothesis of what the UFO represents, and its eventual identification.

It's also interesting that immediately after a person goes through the observation stage it's common to guess at the objects' origins. Which makes sense. To determine if something's unidentified we have to rule out what's known.

The point, though, is the stages aren't necessarily ordered. People often jump right to the hypothesis stage. However the 2nd stage does depend on the 1st; and the 4th stage (identification) can be immediately done after the 1st stage (for instance imagine a person after a minute of watching a UFO identifying the wing of a plane) or after the 2nd or 3rd stage.

If I had to give these stages names here's what I'd call them.
  1. Visual-UFO – The observation stage or a RADAR-UFO, identifying the UFO based on the mechanism used to observe it. An even better approach would substitute UFO with the close encounter classification. For example, "I had a Radar/Visual CE2" or a R-V/CE2.
  2. Hynek UFO or Confirmed UFO – The post-analysis UFO, abbreviated HUFO (pronounced who-foe) or CUFO (pronounced cue-foe). Alternatively the person could specify I had a "confirmed Radar/Visual CE2" or a C/R-V/CE2?
  3. UFO Position - The hypothesis stage, a UFOP, indicates a persons position on the origins of a UFO.
    1. Alien UFOP - Alien Unidentified Flying Object Position or AUFOP (pronounced hEy-You-Fop
      ), it's still not identified, thus it's the persons position or belief that it's alien in nature.

      The full classification of an unknown sighting would be AUFOP/C/R-V/CE2. It would be nice to identify whose AUFOP the opinion represents. So for instance writing to someone I might pen, "I'm pretty sure I had an AUFOP/C/R-V/CE2, but Hynek classified it as a NM-UFOP/C/R-V/CE2 (not measurable)."

  4. IFO or IAP - The last stage, truthful identification. Identified Flying Object or Identified Aerial Phenomenon. The code for this would be A-IFO/R-V/CE2 (alien identified flying object, radar/visual, CE2).

Obviously this isn't the end all and be-all of classification, but at least it would allow us to know what it is we're specifically debating. There are too many threads on ATS that start out as a discussion of a UFO observation that turn in to a debate on UFO Position and very few people even realize they're changing the subject!

So what say you ATS'ers?

Is it too complicated? Is the word UFO too loaded? Maybe we should use UAP instead of UFO? Are we adult enough to get specific about what is we're referring to?

In my opinion this will only happen if we police ourselves.

If a person says, "I saw a UFO and man those aliens must have been drunk."

We need to cut-in and ask for specifics. "How'd you observe the UFO? Was it a visual UFO or did you see it indirectly on a video? Was it investigated? Did MUFON confirm the UFO? What's your UFO position, do you think it was alien? Why do you think this? Is it because of something the object did or is it based on a previous belief system? What was MUFON's UFO position for your case?"

Until we break UFO sightings down in to stages and more accurately label what it is we're talking about we're going to forever be at each others throats; and we won't even realize we're talking past each other!

All ideas, thoughts, and suggestions are welcome!

[edit on 20-3-2009 by Xtraeme]




posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 12:30 AM
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Nice post!

I agree, that many people jump straight to the conclusion that a UFO is an alien piloted vehicle without systematically investigating and eliminating the prosaic explanations first.

Misidentification combined with some wishful thinking is one of the biggest sources of UFO reports around the globe. I can understand how this can happen though. Some people desperately want to witness an alien craft and when they see something in the sky they can't initially explain, it becomes tainted by their desire to see the real thing.

"This is my sighting and no one's going to take that away from me".

I saw a similar reaction on the Sirius thread where the OP tried very hard initially to make the UFO not be explainable as Sirius. However, once the evidence supplied by Phage became irrefutable, the OP was forced to reconsider. I can understand that this can be disappointing when you may believe you've just witnessed something fantastic - but at the end of the day, the truth should be everyones prime motive.

IRM



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 01:33 AM
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reply to post by Xtraeme
 

For me, it simply means Unidentified Flying Object. Flying saucer or flying disk is another related term, but has a different meaning than UFO. Because it describes something very specific.. metallic and disk shaped looking craft. UFO could be to describe something more unusual and unspecific to the observer, like a glowing oval-shaped object hovering then zipping off, as one example..

Problem is, that most people think that it translates into 'alien'.. and although the term is related.. it is not the same thing..

On a more conspiratorial aspect, I wonder what the governments secretly use as a codeword.. IFO (Identified Flying Object) perhaps?.. or like Steven Greer says; ARV(Alien Reproduction Vehicle).. somehow, I think he probably came up with that himself


Peace



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 01:35 AM
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This is something that bugs me a lot.

People say things like, "Do you BELIEVE in UFOs?"

How could you not believe in an unidentified flying object? If it's something flying and can't be identified then it's a UFO.

Obviously what they mean to say is "Do you believe in alien spacecrafts?"

UFO does not mean alien spaceship, plain and simple.

[edit on 20-3-2009 by Diplomat]



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 01:54 AM
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reply to post by InfaRedMan
 



Originally posted by InfaRedMan
Nice post!


Glad you enjoyed it. I was kind of worried I was getting a wee-bit too pedantic



I agree, that many people jump straight to the conclusion that a UFO is an alien piloted vehicle without systematically investigating and eliminating the prosaic explanations first.


We have to expect that most people aren't going to know the night sky. The same way we have to assume not everyone remembers their earth science class and the various types of clouds (especially the more exotic ones like lenticular clouds).


In a way ATS acts as a quasi-official source for investigating UFOs. If ATSers can't come up with a simple explanation it's passed a bar. Not as high a bar as what would be expected from MUFON, but a bar showing that people of all walks of life (meteorologists, pilots, astronomers, engineers, ufologists, etc) weren't able to easily explain away the sighting. So in a way we could refer to that as an ATS Confirmed UFO.

So if ATS can't explain an eye-visual along with a video-recording of nocturnal lights, it would get the following rating: [ATS C/V-Vid/DE1].

As a sighting progresses through additional organizations for study it would build up additional tags (ie/ [MUFON,ATS C/V-Vid/DE1] )


Misidentification combined with some wishful thinking is one of the biggest sources of UFO reports around the globe. I can understand how this can happen though. Some people desperately want to witness an alien craft and when they see something in the sky they can't initially explain, it becomes tainted by their desire to see the real thing.

"This is my sighting and no one's going to take that away from me".


This is one of the reasons I like giving a name to each of these stages.

For people that are too tangled up in what it is they want versus what it is that actually happened, people in the thread can simply state, "Look, it's obvious to us that your UFO position is 'alien.' You haven't supplied any additional evidence to convince those of us who weren't there that this was the case."

This suggests something that's rather interesting. A person can have a UFO position for a specific case and an overall UFO position.

Here's a list of several popular UFOPs:

  1. DE-UFOP – UFOs Don't Exist. Denying that people have ever seen anything out of the ordinary.
  2. AP-UFOP – Atmospheric Phenomena. Confirmed UFOs are likely unknown aspects of our atmosphere.
  3. PSY-UFOP – PSYchological phenomena. Confirmed UFOs are likely psychological in nature. Either induced by drugs, chemicals, or relate to issues with the specific individual.
  4. MIL-UFOP – Advanced secret MILilitary crafts.
  5. NM-UFOP – Not Measurable, not enough information to know what confirmed UFOs represent.
  6. AV-UFOP – Alien / Vehicular devices.
  7. FHT-UFOP – Future Humans Time-travellers.
  8. IV-UFOP – Interdimensional / Vehicular craft.

And really there are a ton of other possibilities.


It would be incredibly useful if people would self-label themselves. Imagine going in to a thread and immediately knowing, "Okay that guy doesn't believe in UFOs. Oh wow, that guy thinks UFOs are space creatures, crazy." It would allow readers to immediately understand peoples biases.


I saw a similar reaction on the Sirius thread where the OP tried very hard initially to make the UFO not be explainable as Sirius. However, once the evidence supplied by Phage became irrefutable, the OP was forced to reconsider. I can understand that this can be disappointing when you may believe you've just witnessed something fantastic - but at the end of the day, the truth should be everyones prime motive.


If there's anything I've learned it's that the truth, especially as it relates to UFOs, is a hard thing to get at.

For instance imagine I managed to abduct an alien (kind of a funny thought
) and I brought it to a medical facility. Lets say the doctor has a MIL-UFOP. An hour later military men quarantine the building and the doctor comes out to tell me, "Look son, this creature is the result of a top-secret government experiment. I've been lead to believe by the commander in charge, that if you talk, they'll arrest and confine you till the project is declassified."

Maybe this is true, maybe it it isn't, but based on my UFOP I'd either agree or disagree about the true origins of the creature.

[edit on 20-3-2009 by Xtraeme]



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 02:12 AM
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reply to post by Diplomat
 


Yes, that is the most common mistake, and it's part of the reasons that brought discredit to UFOlogy and, more in general, to the research on unexplained aerial phenomena.

In my humble opinion UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object, but something deserves this definition after serious assessments, after everything, mundane or celestial body (not to mention hoaxes) has been ruled out:
in 2008 we had the negative example of The Sun, which i know is not to take seriously but since some people buy it, some people believe in what they publish. The 99,3% of what they published turned out to be of mundane origin, and after this process, of the duration of one year, the result that we got is that those who buy The Sun believe that UFOs are chinese lanterns. THe best way to define an UFO is to start saying what it was NOT:
it wasn't a weather balloon
it wasn't a balloon
it wasn't a kite
it wasn't a blimp
it wasn't an helicopter
it wasn't a plane
it wasn't a contrail
it wasn't a cloud
it wasn't a satellite
it wasn't the ISS
it wasn't a bug
it wasn't a LTPA
it wasn't a meteor

etc..

After assessing in some serious way that it was not anything of the known stuff, then you get an UFO, which means that what you saw couldn't be explained, not that it was some alien spacecraft.

A very very nice OP



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 02:16 AM
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reply to post by internos
 


not bad , couple more


it wasn't a ice particle

it wasn't snowy prop fuel

it wasn't space debris

it wasn't lens anonamly

it wasn't swamp gas

it wasn't sun blooming

it wasn't flares

[edit on 20-3-2009 by Seany]



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 02:18 AM
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It wasn't birds

It wasn't swamp gas




posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 02:23 AM
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Whats this. This is taken from Iraq. Night vission camera.

IS this a a formation of fighter jets!

www.liveleak.com...



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 02:32 AM
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reply to post by Xtraeme
 
Very nice post. I've flagged it because some people in this section desperately need to read it. How many threads per month involve people clinging to ideas that a video or photo is a UFO? There's no shame or loss of pride involved in being mistaken. It's all part of the process, as you point out


You've hit a rich vein of form lately, I've read a few of your posts that were well thought out and interesting to read. They've stood out



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 02:37 AM
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Originally posted by spy66
Whats this. This is taken from Iraq. Night vission camera.

IS this a a formation of fighter jets!

www.liveleak.com...

I didn't know that fremont, CA was in Iraq.
www.youtube.com...

Anyway, migratory birds flying in classic "V" formation, if you ask me



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 03:05 AM
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Originally posted by internos

Originally posted by spy66
Whats this. This is taken from Iraq. Night vission camera.

IS this a a formation of fighter jets!

www.liveleak.com...

I didn't know that fremont, CA was in Iraq.
www.youtube.com...

Anyway, migratory birds flying in classic "V" formation, if you ask me



OKay



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 07:43 AM
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Originally posted by Majorion
reply to post by Xtraeme
 

For me, it simply means Unidentified Flying Object.


But unidentified to who? If I'm a debunker and I like to promote my status as an amateur astronomer and I claim you saw Venus. Does that mean what you saw is no longer an Unidentified Flying Object?

I hope you said no to that
.

Clearly it's unidentified to you the observer (Dr. Hartman's definition). It's identified to me the debunker because I've made it my life's goal to give an identification, no matter how preposterous, to every sighting (DE-UFOP). So my point here is you have to understand the persons UFOP to determine the trustworthiness of the evaluator and therefore the truth-index of their conclusion.

Dr. J. Allen Hynek for the first several years of his career as a scientific adviser to Blue Book had a DE/PSY/MIL/AP-UFOP. The fact that he changed his mind to a NM-UFOP after investigating a number of cases is what makes him appear to be a reasonably objective observer. This isn't to say Hynek is more likely correct than me the debunker. It just means he's more willing to let the evidence take him wherever it leads him (implying a higher truth index). Which is hugely different from me the debunker trying to fit the evidence into my belief that everything must have a down-to-earth explanation.

As humans we all know people have bias.

This is why people flock to Hynek. We get the warm-fuzzies because the man spent many years of his life coming up with explanations to rationalize away UFO sightings (they don't call him Mr. Swamp Gas for nothing
). Clearly if such a person can change his mind, whatever the evidence is that influenced him must be of the highest caliber, right? (again high truth-index)

This is what I like to call social calculus. If a person leans in the direction of ETH (AV-UFOP), but for the most part is objective and doesn't reach outside what the evidence suggests, they're still subconsciously labeled a believer (and therefore get a lower truth-index rating). Dr. James E. McDonald is a prime example.

This brings me to a very important point. People not only give themselves a UFOP rating, others, based off reading another persons research, hearing them talk, etc, come to their own conclusion about the persons UFOP classification. Take Phillip Klass, Klass considered himself a "scientific skeptic" (AP/PSY/MIL-UFOP) but in reality anyone who sits down and reads his work realizes he's a debunker (DE-UFOP).

Jacques Vallee wrote the foreword for Ann Druffel's book 'Firestorm' and I think he very neatly sums all of this up,


The lesson Jim McDonald taught us is an important one, and it should not be forgotten: Science is made up of mysteries and of challenges that require more than good work.

...

The notion of academic purity is nothing but a charming myth.(1)


So after going through certain accepted channels (UFO Hunters, MUFON, AIAA, etc) a UFO can attain a status as a "confirmed" UFO. The perceived-respectability (or truth-index) of the organization or person directly relates to the standing of the "confirmed" UFO rating.


Flying saucer or flying disk is another related term, but has a different meaning than UFO. Because it describes something very specific.. metallic and disk shaped looking craft.


I agree people are more likely to assume that "flying saucer" means alien craft, but this is still a bad assumption. Saucer is simply a shape. If I said I saw a "flying teardrop" does that tell you I saw a craft? Does it tell you it's metallic? Of course not. It just tells you a shape.

There are a number of UFO reports that state things to the affect of, "I saw a flying saucer shaped object that was glowing like a light-bulb." Using just that description the person might have actually seen some sort of atmospheric phenomena.

We need to do away with these old notions of what shape and 'unidentified' imply. We need to be more explicit about our meaning.


On a more conspiratorial aspect, I wonder what the governments secretly use as a codeword.. IFO (Identified Flying Object) perhaps?.. or like Steven Greer says; ARV(Alien Reproduction Vehicle).. somehow, I think he probably came up with that himself


During Vietnam the military supposedly referred to UFOs as helicopters since the Vietnamese didn't have any
. I wouldn't be surprised if the US military of today used a similar cover system. Perhaps they refer to them as Canadian scramjets / ramjets?


[edit on 20-3-2009 by Xtraeme]



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 10:06 AM
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UFO is easier (and more acceptable) to say and explain than "alien spacecraft" or even "flying saucer", so it's used by the general public as a substitute for this.

There's no way anyone will change common parlance that's been in use for over 60 years...

Technically, any object you see in the sky but can't explain is a U.F.O., but that won't change the common mental substitution for "spaceship"....



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 11:35 AM
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Originally posted by internos

Originally posted by spy66
Whats this. This is taken from Iraq. Night vission camera.

IS this a a formation of fighter jets!

www.liveleak.com...

I didn't know that fremont, CA was in Iraq.
www.youtube.com...

Anyway, migratory birds flying in classic "V" formation, if you ask me



Since your the expert what Birds migrate at night ?

I thought it was only very small birds that migrate at night at low altitude.

[edit on 27.06.08 by spy66]



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 12:49 PM
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How many times have we heard the Military/Gov. state, "The Military does not investigate "UFO's" Seems to me that I've heard that excuse whenever the Mil/Gov. is confronted or questioned about a sighting and apparent lack of response. It's like a play on words or something, an excuse they use to blow off the sighting.
So I applaud the OP for trying to reclassify the subject into a more precise definition of each occurance. The broad use of the term UFO does need clarified on a case by case basis. There has to be a classification system used by the PTB for each individual type of craft seen. I can imagine that if a report comes in on particular sighting whether it be shape, circumstance, or location; protocols are in place regarding the type of response warranted. That would definately be useful info for all of us.



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 12:56 PM
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UFO...Ultimate Fringe Objections

2nd line


Cheers!!!!



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 01:11 PM
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Originally posted by spy66
Since your the expert what Birds migrate at night ?

I thought it was only very small birds that migrate at night at low altitude.


Most birds do/can fly at night:


Do birds fly at night?

Most birds can fly at night, but will only do so if necessary. The reason for this is that their eyes, like human eyes, are not designed to see in nighttime conditions. If a bird cannot see well, it risks injury by flying at night. Unless startled into flight by a predator, most birds will avoid leaving their nighttime roost.

Other species, such as owls and nightjars (nighthawks and whippoor-wills) fly primarily at night, their most active time, and sleep during the day. Songbirds, such as warblers and tanagers, which are active during daylight hours, do fly at night during migration, when they must travel long distances. It is thought that these migrants fly at night because the air is cooler, so there is less chance of their overheating during the long, strenuous periods of flight.


Geese too:

Geese do fly at night. I live in the Finger Lakes area of New York state and in the early spring, we often see and/or hear them in the very early morning hours, just before dawn, arriving from the south. These geese pass overhead and settle in to the lake here after flying much, if not most, of the night.

Source

[edit on 20-3-2009 by C.H.U.D.]



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 01:52 PM
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Xtreame, if the wiki @ razing.net is yours, you've been doing some interesting work. However, intellectual arguments don't always work very well with people.

What worked for me personally, was when I started to make some "technological sense" out of UFO reports. When I realized that people like the famous physicist R. Feyman was wrong when he said:

"If we come to the case of flying saucers, for example, we have the difficulty that almost everybody who observes flying saucers sees something different, unless they were previously informed of what they were supposed to see. So the history of flying saucers consists of orange balls of light, blue spheres which bounce on the floor, gray fogs which disappear, gossamer-like streams which evaporate into the thin air, tin, round flat things out of which objects come with funny shapes that are something like a human being."

i.e. that everyone is describing something different, i.e. that Feynman claimed there was no pattern to the reports.

Have a look at Paul Hill's book, or (since it's mostly unavaible from bookstores) read UFO technical overview (in particular sections #7 - #9 on Propulsion, Radiation and Illumination)



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 02:53 PM
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reply to post by Xtraeme
 


Excellent post!

I have often become frustrated with individual interpretations of the term UFO. Originally defined as Unidentified Flying Object, it amuses me that it has been and remains the generally accepted descriptive term for an alien spacecraft or flying saucer etc.

Good to see that this issue has been so comprehensively addressed on ATS at last.

S + F





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