Understanding the Unknown

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posted on Mar, 31 2009 @ 07:00 PM
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This is a bit of a thought experiment to help people better appreciate the difficulty of studying UFOs.

A few nights ago I found several rice-like pellets on the top of a monitor on the bottom shelf of my computer stand. At first I thought it was dried up rice from a meal that I had eaten the evening before (but they were oblate rather than cylindrical). Then I smelled the pellet and it had the faint odor of the cats litter box. This made me think it was something the cat had gotten caught in his feet which he then tracked in to the bedroom. I couldn't imagine what though, because it was obviously bigger than the odorized rocks, it was bizarre, but since there were just a few of these things I decided it was the best explanation and my thoughts on the matter stopped there. I collected the granules and threw them out.

A bit later I looked down and again there were the same beads on top of the monitor! I looked directly above it and my eyes stopped at the wrist-wrest. I flipped it over and sure enough there was a hole in it.

My point being assumptions, though reasonable, are just guesses. They're not conclusive. Until we know all the characteristics it might not be possible to know where to further investigate to find more clues.

What this tells me:

If the characteristics we do know don't conclusively point to an answer it should behoove us to look for additional properties to better provide a more concrete understanding of the unknown-quantity. I think it's also fair to say that it's easier to deduce an answer from the characteristics we do know than it is from what we don't.

In a way this is somewhat similar to what Donald Rumsfeld said, "There are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns." In this case the beads were a known unknown. The wrist wrest was an unknown unknown.

It also suggests proximity is a way to find a correlation between the known and the unknown. This is a good method to exhaustively eliminate possibilities.

[edit on 1-4-2009 by Xtraeme]




posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 03:59 PM
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What's interesting is if you think about proximity as a way to find a correlation between the known and the unknown you start to understand why there are so many UFO hypotheses (ATS thread).

  1. There's the atmospheric hypothesis (UFOs come from the sky - spatial proximity)
  2. extra-terrestrial hypothesis (they look like vehicles and come from the sky, therefore must be space-borne - spatial proximity)
  3. time-machines (the objects materialize and dematerialize - 4th dimensional / time proximity)
  4. inter-dimensional (dematerialization might suggest adjacent N-th dimensional space / spatial proximity)
  5. deep-water terrestrial species (UFOs are often seen in the water - physical / spatial proximity)
  6. mythological creatures hypothesis (historical or time / transcendent proximity)
  7. biblical angels or demons hypothesis (historical or time / transcendent proximity)
  8. space creatures hypothesis (some of these objects wiggle and writhe, making them look as though they're living, since these things appear in our atmosphere, again spatial proximity)
  9. quantum manifestation hypothesis (knowledge based proximity)
  10. psychological hypothesis (questioning the tool used to interpret the sighting, knowledge based / spatial proximity)

I'd like to think transcendent proximity is incorrect because at its core it suggests the phenomenon is unknowable.

The most interesting category to investigate is knowledge-based proximity. It's easy to look for spatial / dimensional and time-oriented correlation. Whereas knowledge-based proximity requires a functional analysis of that which might be counter-intuitive, but is evidenced through repeated testing.

[edit on 3-4-2009 by Xtraeme]



posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 04:09 PM
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Ufos are still truly unknown unknowables to mua, but I got a powerfull psychic feeling that Donald Rumsfeld is a reptillian ET, like on that movie, 'V'. That, I know.



posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 04:35 PM
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Originally posted by simonecharisse
Ufos are still truly unknown unknowables to mua


So you would argue that whatever UFOs represent that they're transcendent? I would have never thought I'd buy this particular line of thinking, but I'm starting to understand the partially transcendent mythological entity (PT-MYTH-UFOP) mind-set.

Definitely makes me look at Plato's allegory of the cave in an altogether new light



... but I got a powerfull psychic feeling that Donald Rumsfeld is a reptillian ET, like on that movie, 'V'. That, I know.


I think Rummy was a piss poor Defense Secretary (for a long while I was petitioning for his removal from office), but I'm fairly certain he's human.

[edit on 3-4-2009 by Xtraeme]



posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 05:06 PM
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Ever heard a stone land on the floor in your close proximity ?

A very metalic sounding stone ?

A black volcanic stone ?

Take care.

Regards
Lee




posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 05:28 PM
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Well, I was not familiar with Plato's allegory of the cave, but I -was- familiar with that one 'Far Side' < I think) cartoon where cave-men are looking up at a ufo made of wood sticks tied together. It's an excellent allegory of how (at least -some-) ufos are seemingly able to be anything they want to, whether it's 'airships' of the 19th century, or that colossal slice of swiss cheese look'in thing that Ricky Sorrels witnessed. For me, it just boils down to the fact that ufos leave me dismayed, like Rummy would. Like that one old movie, entitled, 'It's a mad, mad, world!' But to B. more Sirius, Plato was really ahead of his time, I can see. Dude! call me a Dummy, if I'm wrong, but the concept of seeing the truth of the world(s) intellectually, rather than trusting our senses, is something modern physicists, (especially quantum ones) would say.



posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 05:37 PM
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Originally posted by h3akalee
Ever heard a stone land on the floor in your close proximity ?

A very metalic sounding stone ?

A black volcanic stone ?


If I read you right, you're saying the initial observation can mislead a person to assume incorrect spatial proximity if all the properties about the object resulting in the observation aren't known? Would it be correct to assume you're a MIL-UFOP?


This touches on the idea of secrecy surrounding UFOs. Especially as it relates to psychological warfare and counter-intelligence. I think there are two points to be made about this.
  1. It's possible that people are intentionally constructing false-positives for the purpose of throwing the scent (to hide another agenda).
  2. the means by which we're observing the phenomenon are inherently misleading (which perhaps suggests transcendence) and we're not properly interpreting the proximity correctly.


[edit on 3-4-2009 by Xtraeme]



posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 06:02 PM
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And let us also not forget, that a volcanic metallic stone is the description of a meteor. I.e. something extraterrestrial from outer space. And is what abductee implants consist of. ( See YouTube, & put Dr. Roger Lier)
It's Spooky, Mulder!



posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 05:25 AM
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reply to post by Xtraeme
 


What's a MIL-UFOP sound's like it belong's on the front of a XXX movie cover.



No honestly i think you should lay off the coffee.

Take care.

Regards
Lee




posted on Apr, 5 2009 @ 08:10 PM
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Originally posted by Xtraeme
The most interesting category to investigate is knowledge-based proximity. It's easy to look for spatial / dimensional and time-oriented correlation. Whereas knowledge-based proximity requires a functional analysis of that which might be counter-intuitive, but is evidenced through repeated testing.

Interesting approach. Very interesting. I'm not sure I understand what it means. I have looked for correlations in many cases without much success.

You have started this wonderful wiki project to explore the implications and semantic links between all the known and unknown facets of the UFO mystery. Very good. The most difficult problem in ufology is methodology. Applying the scientific method to ufology is very difficult. What is the best way to make progress, and not fall into the many traps that so many ufologists have fallen into?

- How to get uncontaminated data. Statistic analysis has failed due to 1. the huge number of sightings that cannot be confirmed or dismissed as hoaxes. Discriminating between the real unidentified, the misidentifications and delusions is nearly impossible. 2. the socio-psychologic aspect of UFO flaps.

- How to verify a hypothesis. Fortean phenomena are not subject to repeated testing. Every instance is different, and could have a different cause.

- How to stay objective in data interpretation, how to avoid ignoring or over-analyzing evidence? Confirmation bias is very common. Sooner or later, in desperation, most investigators develop a strong attachment to one hypothesis, making them blind to evidence pointing away from it.

Good luck in your research!



posted on Apr, 5 2009 @ 10:47 PM
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Originally posted by nablator

Originally posted by Xtraeme
The most interesting category to investigate is knowledge-based proximity. It's easy to look for spatial / dimensional and time-oriented correlation. Whereas knowledge-based proximity requires a functional analysis of that which might be counter-intuitive, but is evidenced through repeated testing.

Interesting approach. Very interesting. I'm not sure I understand what it means. I have looked for correlations in many cases without much success.


I'd say the study of UFOs isn't much different from how a cosmologist goes about probing the fabric of the universe. On the high-level there's physical cosmology and meta-physical cosmology.

We already have something that resembles this. For instance, physical ufology, uses mathematics and observation in the analysis of the UFO phenomenon. On the flip-side of the coin we have something perhaps less structured than metaphysical ufology (oh alright lets be honest it's unorganized off-the-wall speculation), but certain people try to ground themselves in a historical or mythological context.

Vallee is a good example of what I would call a metaphysical ufologist and Brad Sparks is a wonderful example of a physical ufologist.

In my mind knowledge-based proximity (or nonlocal correlation) is any association that is not evidenced by directly observing physical space, n-th dimensional space, time, and where there is verifiable evidence supporting causality.

For example, the psychological hypothesis is based on the idea that we as humans can misinterpret sensory input. This is something we learn. Thus it's an example of knowledge-based proximity. However it does partially take on the properties of spatial proximity in the sense that we observe the world through our bodies. So the spatial distance is specifically the sensory organ / brain to the object.

Quantum entanglement, or "spooky action at a distance," is another great example because if it weren't for repeated tests demonstrating the relationship between one particle and another we would have never made the link that two disparate objects could be linked together over an arbitrary distance.

To get even more abstract math is a fantastic example of knowledge-based proximity. Humanity created simple rules using physically observable reality (spatial / time-based proximity). Now imagine trying to prove something like the associative property for addition using all real numbers without mathematical notation and human understanding (knowledge-based proximity). There is nothing physically observable in the world that demonstrates (-1 + -2) + -3 = -1 + (-2 + -3). However using physically grouped objects (spatial proximity) we can show (1 + 2) + 3 = 1 + (2 + 3). Performing arithmetic we know both statements are true, but the former is not observable (other than as a vector on the Cartesian plane). Using induction (knowledge-based proximity) and the fact that the numbers balance we trust that the associative property holds.

Transcendent proximity is very similar. The only difference is transcendence implies, "there is no verifiable evidence supporting causality and never can be verifiable evidence supporting causality."


You have started this wonderful wiki project to explore the implications and semantic links between all the known and unknown facets of the UFO mystery. Very good.


Why thank you Nab
. I hope it turns in to a useful resource.


The most difficult problem in ufology is methodology. Applying the scientific method to ufology is very difficult. What is the best way to make progress, and not fall into the many traps that so many ufologists have fallen into?

- How to get uncontaminated data. Statistic analysis has failed due to 1. the huge number of sightings that cannot be confirmed or dismissed as hoaxes. Discriminating between the real unidentified, the misidentifications and delusions is nearly impossible. 2. the socio-psychologic aspect of UFO flaps.


You nailed the problem on the head. However I think this is solvable. Bluntly, the problem is the mechanism used to capture the report.

My current area of interest is computational and distributed tracking of UAPs using widely available technology (i.e./ GPS-enabled camera phones /w tilt-sensors). I'm currently developing a distributed mobile UFO detection, analysis, identification, and reporting platform for the iPhone that I later intend to port to the RIM BlackBerry Storm and Palm PRE.

The idea is simple, use the iPhone location services to notify other users within a certain radius of a persons UAP sighting to distribute the workload of recording numerous angles of photographic data and to rapidly deploy people with additional sensory equipment to the location.

Not only would this software package increase public awareness it maximizes the number of people recording data (more first-hand reports); decreases the lag between a sighting and the time it takes experts with equipment to analyze the event; and gives investigative reporters access to up-to-the-second sightings which may have the happy side-effect of a professional camera crew recording a UAP live, up-close and personal.

One thing I'd like the application to do is attempt to automatically identify various obvious UAPs. For instance if a person is observing the night sky and they see a bright object that isn't moving on the horizon I would want this application to use the accelerometer and the GPS device to determine heading (ie/ have the person walk in the direction of the object thus determining N-E-S-W orientation) and then using the tilt-sensor (oriented with the horizon transposed to the position of the object in the night-sky) to calculate azimuthal position.

With that kind of data I can quickly search a starmap database to quickly locate night-sky objects with a negative magnitude. Likewise I can query against meteorological databases to check for weather balloon releases to try and auto-rule out obvious explainable sightings.

I've tried to contact some of the bigger names in the field, with the hopes that I can get a little funding, so I can properly execute on the application.

[edit on 6-4-2009 by Xtraeme]



posted on Apr, 5 2009 @ 10:48 PM
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- How to verify a hypothesis. Fortean phenomena are not subject to repeated testing.


This is another reason I like the idea of such an application. If I open-source it and use a platform-independent programming language it can be connected to any kind of sensory equipment. Thus as we start to formulate falsifiable hypotheses we can test them with all the devices deployed in the field using this software package.


Every instance is different, and could have a different cause.


I entirely agree with you. Not long back Nohup said something extremely insightful,


I like to imagine the above aliens meeting with our leaders and being shown photos of other UFOs, and them saying to us, "You got those things flying around, too? We don't have the foggiest notion what they are, either!


Which is to say while any unrealized UFO hypothesis exists there's the chance it might occur. Thus until all UFO hypotheses are proven or disproven (brute force exhaustion) they're still valuable to the greater understanding of what is to come.

This is why it's imperative there be some sort of tool to help eliminate easily identified objects. One of the reasons I participated in analyzing Michael's "Diamond shaped UFO" was to see how much could be deduced from degraded footage and to go through the steps to get a feel for how the process could be automated to come to a conclusion.


- How to stay objective in data interpretation, how to avoid ignoring or over-analyzing evidence? Confirmation bias is very common. Sooner or later, in desperation, most investigators develop a strong attachment to one hypothesis, making them blind to evidence pointing away from it.


Sadly this is a human failing. I think the only solution for human failing is replace the human with something that doesn't care about the outcome.

However there are steps that can be taken to limit personal investment.

For example it's beneficial to go through a list of all possibilities ruling them out one by one for every incident. When you explicitly enumerate the list it makes it harder for a logical person to ignore that they're artificially ruling out other legitimate possibilities.

To quote Dr. McDonald's notes from the '68 UFO Symposium case study,


Hynek has a very happy phrase for this very typical pattern of witness-response: he terms it "escalation of explanation" , to denote the often rapid succession of increasingly more involved attempts to account for and to assimilate what is passing before the witness' eyes, almost invariably starting with an everyday interpretation, _not_ with a spaceship hypothesis.


This process is required for every case. No if, and's, or buts about it! If this process is followed in the strictest manner possible it eliminates people getting their hopes up.


Good luck in your research!


With the insight and help of people like yourself hopefully we'll make some headway


Cheers Nab.

[edit on 6-4-2009 by Xtraeme]



posted on Apr, 5 2009 @ 10:53 PM
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I gave it my best effort to read your post, but I was so distracted by that damned cat that I just couldn't get through it. Made me so dizzy I damn near hurled on my keyboard. Just thought you should know



posted on Apr, 5 2009 @ 11:04 PM
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Originally posted by Albertarocks
I gave it my best effort to read your post, but I was so distracted by that damned cat that I just couldn't get through it. Made me so dizzy I damn near hurled on my keyboard. Just thought you should know


Heh, whenever I see a particularly dizzying gif animation I pull out my trusty sticky pad and adhere it to the side of the screen to occlude the annoyance.


A more technical way to solve the problem is to use Ad Block Plus. You can manually put in this URL to hide my funny, though I'll admit, distracting avatar.


files.abovetopsecret.com...


Or after the plugin is active right click on the image and select "Adblock Image ..."

The simplest way to address this problem is to log out and then reload the thread. Non-logged in users don't see avatars.

[edit on 6-4-2009 by Xtraeme]



posted on Apr, 6 2009 @ 12:54 AM
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Originally posted by h3akalee
 

What's a MIL-UFOP sound's like it belong's on the front of a XXX movie cover.



My bad, I'm getting too wrapped up in my own terminology; though for a second there I thought mistyped MIL-UFOP as MILF-UFOP.


MIL-UFOP stands for 'Advanced secret MILitary craft Position.' Yes, I'm crazy enough that I've created acronyms for all the various UFO positions. If you want to see all the other possible UFO hypotheses and positions follow this link. If you're interested in the ATS thread on the subject, go here.


No honestly i think you should lay off the coffee.


You don't want to know what happened to the last guy who took away my coffee.


[edit on 6-4-2009 by Xtraeme]



posted on Apr, 6 2009 @ 04:55 AM
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Originally posted by Xtraeme
My point being assumptions, though reasonable, are just guesses. They're not conclusive. Until we know all the characteristics it might not be possible to know where to further investigate to find more clues.

Your thought experiment is a very good illustration of the two thought processes that take place in any problem solving situation: induction and deduction. I agree 100% with your views, you understand perfectly the issues. Some people on ATS often insist in the skeptic bashing threads that proof can be reached by induction alone. They don't understand the basics of logic, obviously.
Inductive and deductive logic



posted on Apr, 6 2009 @ 04:58 AM
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Originally posted by Albertarocks
I gave it my best effort to read your post, but I was so distracted by that damned cat that I just couldn't get through it. Made me so dizzy I damn near hurled on my keyboard. Just thought you should know

I can't stand the cat either. Adblock Plus for Firefox works great, but maybe you could make it rotate more slowly?



posted on Apr, 6 2009 @ 05:24 AM
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Originally posted by nablatorI can't stand the cat either. Adblock Plus for Firefox works great, but maybe you could make it rotate more slowly?


I've actually got another avatar all lined up:



But the cat is hugely popular (it's kind of scary how many people send U2U's saying they love it). I figure there's a 50/50 split and since I'm really tired of people's lazy thinking, especially when it comes to UFOs, the cat stays. Sorry Nab and Albertarocks.


Maybe I'll add a howto in my signature explaining how to disable the animated gif through Adblock Plus? I have it disabled myself.



posted on Apr, 6 2009 @ 07:38 AM
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Originally posted by Xtraeme
In a way this is somewhat similar to what Donald Rumsfeld said, "There are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns." In this case the beads were a known unknown. The wrist wrest was an unknown unknown.

It also suggests proximity is a way to find a correlation between the known and the unknown. This is a good method to exhaustively eliminate possibilities.


Something I should have pointed out in the original post is that we can often times determine the number of "unknown unknowns" by the characteristics of the "known unknowns." For instance in my example there were many beads, but only one type of pellet. Therefore, had I thought about it more, I would have concluded there was likely just one source producing the pellets.

[edit on 6-4-2009 by Xtraeme]



posted on Jul, 29 2009 @ 02:07 AM
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On the subject of knowledge-based proximity, I think people would be well served to read Zachary Alach's treatise on security system models. Though this may not sound relevant, it discusses the aspects of qualitative versus quantitative measurements and how to build knowledge based proximity graphs where "[c]ausal mapping helps to frame strategic problems by speeding up the convergence of ideas."

Very interesting and abstract enough to be applicable to the UFO problem:

adt.ecu.edu.au...

[edit on 29-7-2009 by Xtraeme]





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