A young woman brings home her fiance to meet her parents. After dinner, her mother tells her father to find out about the young man. The father invites the fiance to his study for a drink.
“So what are your plans?” the father asks the young man.
“I am a Torah scholar.” he replies.
“A Torah scholar? Hmmm,” the father says. “Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in, as she’s accustomed to?”
“I will study,” the young man replies, “and God will provide for us.”
“And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?” asks the father.
“I will concentrate on my studies,” the young man replies, “God will provide for us.”
“And children?” asks the father. “How will you support children?”
“Don’t worry, sir, God will provide,” replies the fiance.
The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the father questions him, the young idealist insists that God will provide.
Later, the mother asks, “How did it go, honey?”
The father answers, “The bad news is, he has no job and no prospects, but the good news is he thinks I’m God.”
Could Avigdor Lieberman Be Startup Nation’s Savior?
Taking on the Haredim over the draft is a start because the brain-drain data shows: Israel can no longer tolerate a growing uneducated, unskilled minority.
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Avigdor Lieberman is an unlikely savior for Israel’s best and brightest, who according to the latest brain-drain data, are leaving the country in droves.
True, he is a Hebrew University graduate and even reputedly aspired to be a poet in his youth, but even by the low standard of Israeli politics, his reputation is as a vulgarian who appeals to his voters’ basest instincts.
The time hasn’t yet arrived to award Lieberman an honorary degree or publish a hagiographic volume of his writings (if there are any), but the fact is, at midnight on Wednesday, he struck a blow for the Israel of skilled and educated people — the denizens of Startup Nation and all those Israelis who have made the country prosperous and powerful — when he forced Netanyahu into calling new elections.
Lieberman probably doesn’t see what he did as more than a tactical political maneuver — and neither do the people who may one day benefit. But it’s bigger than that.
By insisting that he would not join a government that doesn’t support drafting ultra-Orthodox men, he was effectively drawing a line on Haredi political power and its ability to continue doing damage to Israeli society and the economy.
But one of the most serious problems Israel faces is the fact that the Haredim are the fastest-growing segment of society, and their leaders disparage the very knowledge and skills that make Israel prosperous, and subsidize the ultra-Orthodox way of life. The Haredi schools don’t teach core topics badly: they don’t teach them at all.
Drafting the ultra-Orthodox should be part of a multi-pronged effort by the government to change that. Army service not only provides training but could serve as a segue to the non-Haredi world. That explains why rabbis and Haredi politicians are so resolutely opposed to the draft.
In practice, Lieberman was striking a blow against Netanyahu’s long-standing policy of appeasing the Haredim for the sake of coalition politics: by quashing the equal-conscription law, by allowing them to continue ignoring the core curriculum in their schools, and by showering them with government allowances and budgets for their yeshivot.
“I am for the State of Israel, I am for a Jewish state, but I am against a state of halacha,” Lieberman wrote on Facebook a day before the Knesset vote. It may be cynical politics, but Lieberman has found his cause — not out of principle, possibly. But he surely understands that Israel cannot afford to continue to carry the economic burden of supporting the ultra-Orthodox community.
The time has come. For all their achievements and contributions to society, the Israel’s sectoral politics have turned Israel’s educated minority into as second-class citizens.
Going, going, gone
Theoretically, educated Israel is represented by Kahlon Lavan and its predecessors, as well as Labor and Meretz, but these parties don’t think of themselves as representing it and don’t pursue its interests.
Seeing that their votes don’t count at the ballot box, many members of educated Israel have been voting with their feet and are leaving the country.
Coincidentally, that phenomenon is documented in a study by the Shoresh Institution that was published the same day the Knesset was voting. The report, written by Prof. Dan Ben-David of Tel Aviv University, estimates that brainy Israel numbers just 130,000 people out of a population of nine million.
These 130,000 are Israel’s high-tech entrepreneurs and engineers, its doctors and its academics. Theygenerate a disproportionate share of Israel’s exports and attract nearly all its foreign investment inward. They provide its healthcare and make its universities among the world’s leaders. The top 20% of this class pay two thirds of Israeli taxes.
It’s a bad outlook when a national economy is based almost entirely on the skills and knowledge of its population. What’s worse, as the Shoresh report shows, is that many of the very people Israel needs are leaving.
Exactly how many is hard to say. But one telling statistic is that the number of Israelis applying for Green Cards in the United States has risen far faster than Israel’s population.
In absolute terms the brain drain isn’t huge. But because the number of brains in Israel isn’t that big to begin each departing Israeli has an outsized effect.
As the Shoresh report warns: “The fragile size of this group means that emigration by a critical mass out of the total – even if only numbering several tens of thousands – could generate catastrophic consequences for the entire country.”
The bottom line is that Israel needs more educated and skilled people — and the Haredim can’t confine themselves to the yeshiva. They have be part of the increase. Whatever his motivation might have been, let’s hope Lieberman’s political maneuver is the start of the process.
Are you looking to study abroad at a top-notch university; an exciting hub for innovation and technology in a country with a rich and fascinating culture?
As an internationally recognised institution, Tel Aviv University (TAU) offers myriad programmes for international students of all educational backgrounds, regardless of their professional plans. Nestled in the young, vibrant city of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean Sea, TAU is Israel’s largest and most comprehensive university with renowned faculty from around the globe and a strong international network.
The institution boasts approximately 30,000 students yearly and 32,000 international alumni from over 100 countries. Nine faculties, 125 schools and departments and 130 research institutes serve as a testament to TAU’s academic prowess. Consistently ranked in the world top 20 for scientific citations and among Reuters’Top 100 Most Innovative Universities in 2018, TAU is Israel’s first choice for students, and its graduates are the most sought-after by Israeli companies.
International students need not worry about settling into this public research university, as TAU has a long history of working with international students. TAU International School offers the chance to study in English, allowing students to choose from over 60 academic programmes ranging from a semester, summer or year abroad to bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees.
High school graduates or undergraduate students enrolled at accredited higher education institutions outside of Israel can apply for TAU International’s semester or year abroad program, during which students have the chance to complete coursework across numerous disciplines. Many courses have a unique connection with Israel and/or the Middle East and give an unparalleled insight into the subject matter.
Students can also choose to enroll in a Study Abroad Internship Program, tailored according to their experience and interests. This enables them to gain valuable hands-on work experience, explore potential career paths and build a network of contacts and learn from professionals in the field. The university’s Internship Manager works with each candidate to create a customized internship opportunity that caters to his/her needs.
TAU courses combine world-renowned academics with mind-opening cultural experiences in a welcoming, multicultural environment. Students can expect to learn from professors and researchers with years of teaching experience and debate issues with other talented, motivated students from around the world.
Graduates looking to advance their knowledge and expertise in a particular field can choose from over 15 of TAUs international master’s programs, ranging from MBA, to MScs, MAs and an MFA. Each program combines a rigorous core curriculum with a diverse offering of electives, allowing students to customize their studies to their interests. Learning takes place both in and outside of the classroom, with regular site visits, guest lectures and excursions designed to give you access to cutting-edge research and industry developments.
PhD and Post-Doc students at TAU have the chance to be part of top-notch research led by internationally renowned scientists who’ve made significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge in various fields, from particle physics and cell biology, to the arts and social sciences.
Students can complete a PhD in English in most fields, across all nine faculties and schools: Medical Sciences, Life Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry, Mathematics, Computer Sciences, Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, Engineering, History, Environmental Studies, Cultural Studies, Philosophy, Education, Social Sciences, Management, Arts, Law and Jewish Studies.
Studying at TAU is an enriching experience. As Israel’s “Silicon Valley”, Tel Aviv is a growing, modern city with a strong entrepreneurial character. It is also Israel’s financial and technological capital, which means students will be immersed in a world of innovative culture and trailblazing companies. Stellar academics aside, the city’s diversity, cosmopolitan flair and its role as the hub of the global start-up and hi-tech scene (part of the “Start-Up Nation“), makes it an ideal study destination for international students.
So, if you’re keen to experience a well-rounded education that provides opportunities for personal and professional growth, TAU may just be your perfect fit.
Filling the Void: What Is Dark Matter?
The most mysterious stuff in the universe could hold the very key to understanding it.
For something that’s literally as old as the universe, dark matter doesn’t get much attention outside scientific circles. Maybe that’s because, other than a short-lived SyFy series and a late-period Randy Newman album, this nebulous star stuff has had a tough time breaking the pop-culture barrier.
So what is dark matter, anyway? Why can’t scientists get enough of the stuff, even though they can’t actually find it? What deep, dark secrets does it hold? And could it ultimately shape the future of life as we know it?
Why Is Dark Matter a Mystery?
The XENON1T experiment is deep underground to avoid the effects of electromagnetic radiation.
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The history of dark matter shows just how elusive this star stuff can be.
Physicists first theorized the existence of dark matter in 1933, partly because equations showed that there wasn’t enough observable matter in galaxies to keep them from disintegrating, and observed rotational speeds of galaxies didn’t fit the expected results from standard physics models.
Further research largely waited until the 1970s, when better scientific instruments, from receivers to gamma radiation-detecting space telescopes, let astronomers and physicists confirm the earlier calculations and observations. Powerful radio telescopes also offered clues like gravitational lensing (where matter causes light to bend between its source and the observer) and strongly suggested that there was a kind of matter out there we could detect, but not see.
“Everything you can see, everything you feel, everything you’re made up of, only makes up 5 percent of the universe, and the rest is this dark stuff…and we have no idea what it is,” says Rebecca Leane, a theoretical physicist at MIT. Leane’s Ph.D. dissertation was on the phenomenology of dark matter.
Physicists estimate some 27 percent of the total universe is dark matter and the rest (68 percent) is a similarly shadowy phenomenon called dark energy. What makes dark matter so mysterious?
Everything you can see, everything you feel, everything you’re made up of, only makes up 5 percent of the universe, and the rest is this dark stuff.
“The big thing about it is that we can’t see it; it doesn’t interact with light,” says Ethan Brown, an Assistant Professor of Physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. (The photo at the top of this article is a composite image from optical and x-ray telescopes where the blue shading depicts the likely dark matter, even though it doesn’t show up directly in the images.)
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Broadly, we can measure matter and energy in the universe by observing it in one of four interactions:
With electromagnetic radiation (a.k.a. light)
Through gravitational effects
With other matter through the strong nuclear force, which holds matter together
With the weak nuclear force, or the interaction of subatomic particles that’s responsible for radioactive decay
Dark matter eludes most of those observations because it doesn’t appear to interact with standard matter at all, except through gravity. But that hasn’t stopped physicists from ruling out other methods.
One of Brown’s areas of study is trying to capture dark matter interactions with normal matter in the form of liquid xenon isotopes. Xenon-124 has a half life roughly a trillion times longer than the age of the universe. Massive vats of the stuff are tucked deep into boreholes in the earth’s crust to limit background noise like electromagnetic radiation that could interfere with measurements. Only dark matter and certain subatomic particles like muons and neutrinos can pass through the thousands of feet of dense rock.
This hallway leads to the Jadugoda Underground Science Laboratory in India. Located 1,820 feet below the surface, this lab will search for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPS), which point to the existence of dark matter.
Pallava BaglaGetty Images
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So it’s a very “quiet” room, where—theoretically—only Xenon-124’s exceptionally slow natural radioactive decay, or interactions with muons, neutrinos, or dark matter could cause some kind of change in the isotope. If a subatomic particle of dark matter knocks out an electron from the Xenon-124, the thinking goes, the Xenon1T experiment will see it.
While dark matter scientists haven’t actually detected direct interactions with the elusive subatomic particles yet, they’ve certainly made some other interesting observations—including the decay of xenon-124, only the rarest event ever recorded in human history.
So What Is Dark Matter?
We know more about what dark matter isn’t than what it is. For starters, it isn’t dark energy. That’s some kind of energy for which the evidence is also indirect, but likely exists because the universe is expanding at an increasing rate of speed, which defies the laws of physics of normal matter and energy.
And dark matter isn’t antimatter, either, which is normal matter composed of subatomic particles that have an exact opposite charge to matter. When antimatter and matter collide, the annihilation produces bursts of gamma rays. Dark matter can also produce gamma rays when it and its counterpart, dark antimatter, collide to produce standard matter.
And finally, dark matter isn’t just a different class of the three families of ordinary matter like hadrons, leptons, or bosons, the latter two of which were formerly theoretical, but have finally been directly observed in particle accelerators and don’t behave like we expect.
Leptons and bosons do give us a hint to follow, however. Dark matter appears to be a form of matter made up of an entirely different class or classes of subatomic particle. One of the most promising is called a WIMP: a weakly interacting massive particle.
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WIMPs, despite their puny name, are thought to have a mass as much as a thousand times more than standard matter’s protons. And the way that WIMPs are theorized to work fits neatly with calculations of how much dark matter there must be in the universe, says Leane. This is called the WIMP Miracle.
But WIMPs are far from the only theory in play. There are also primordial black holes, which are essentially small black holes left over from the Big Bang. However, we haven’t observed gravitational microlensing from them, so that rules out some masses of primordial black holes as possible dark matter.
Then there are theorized particles like SIMPs and axions—and countless other potential clues. “There are more theories out there now than I’ll ever understand,” Brown admits.
“It’s hard to point out just one solution for how these might have formed,” says Shany Danieli, a doctoral student at Yale who co-authored two of the studies. “At the beginning, we thought maybe it was just some kind of anomaly, but now we found a second galaxy.”
The multi-lens Dragonfly Telephoto Array is used to look for ultra-diffuse galaxies, which may be largely made up of dark matter.
Courtesy Pieter van Dokkum / Yale University
The research points to some fascinating possibilities for how dark matter functions in the universe: that dark matter interacts with normal matter via a mechanism that we don’t yet know—a so-called “dark force,” or fifth force in the universe.
Another idea is that dark matter does interact via more of the known forces than just gravity, but does so at such a tiny interaction strength that we simply don’t have the means yet to reliably detect the signals.
In other words, the science is far from conclusive.
What Dark Matter Means
Why, then, are physicists so focused on unraveling the mystery of dark matter?
“The work of particle physics the past 50 years has been to break down the universe to its smallest components,” says RPI’s Brown.
Right now, dark matter doesn’t fit certain understandings of how the universe works, in particular the standard model of particle physics.
“When we understand what dark matter is, and how it behaves, that’s a huge step to understand the fundamental underpinnings of the universe,” Brown says. “We can answer questions like how did the universe develop to what it is today?”
Plus, fundamental particle physics, including the search for dark matter, has already produced real technological gains. Many of the detection tools used in the field are highly applicable to other areas like medical imaging or nuclear security.
Leane points out that the internet was created in part because particle physicists at CERN wanted to find new ways to share data with each other. GPS, meanwhile, relies in some measure on Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which explains how gravity curves space and time, says Danieli.
We can’t begin to know what might emerge from our study of dark matter, but consider an analogue from the study of conventional matter, which yielded the most fundamental technology that allows us to do practically anything in modern life. Without J.J. Thomson’s discovery of the electron in 1897, we wouldn’t even have electricity, much less computers and an internet powered by it.
So while we still don’t know much about dark matter today, it could very well change the way we live tomorrow.
“Money is the resistor to the amount of the suns energy in human society, and for the first time in human history, we have the power of the sun at our fingertips… in a coffee cup” – Danny Hurley … Add it all up, from every corner of the globe, in every home, factory and power consuming device on the planet… it comes to a grand total of roughly $280 trillion! (and growing) 😀
Cold fusion remains elusive—but these scientists may revive the quest
The first public results from a Google-funded project reveal renewed interest in the long-sought but controversial nuclear energy source.
Thirty years ago, a pair of chemists made headlines around the world with their claim that they had achieved “cold fusion”: the production of energy using the same nuclear reaction that powers the sun, but at room temperature. If confirmed, the discovery could have transformed the global energy landscape overnight—but the chemists’ findings weren’t readily replicated.
Swiftly labeled a lost cause by mainstream physics, attempts to spark cold fusion are now once again heating up, thanks to a stealth effort by the U.S. tech giant Google.
In a review paper published in Nature on Monday, U.S. and Canadian researchers funded by Google publicly unveiled their efforts to reassess cold fusion. Like many other outside researchers, the Google team hasn’t found evidence of the phenomenon as originally described. However, since 2015, their efforts have yielded three preprints and 10 peer-reviewed publications, including the latest review, that are offering new insights into key materials and that have improved measurement techniques at high temperatures and pressures.
With these advances in hand, the team says that there’s much more basic science to do—research that likely hasn’t gotten done because of its relation to cold fusion.
“That is why we got involved, [and] that’s actually the work we are continuing to do,” says team member Yet-Ming Chiang, a materials scientist at MIT. “This project is by no means over. There’s lots of ongoing work we’re interested in doing.”
Though the work may well raise eyebrows, Google was aware of the risks. Two of the review’s coauthors, Google engineers Ross Koningstein and David Fork, have argued that to deliver meaningful innovation in the energy sector, 70 percent of research funding should flow to core technologies, 20 percent should be dedicated to cutting-edge research, and 10 percent should back high-risk ideas that just might work—like cold fusion.
Whether their experiments yield an energy breakthrough, the research team hopes they’ve provided cover for young researchers and government funding agencies to reconsider this area of science with an open mind.
“The timing is really good for this,” says lead author Curtis Berlinguette, a chemist at the University of British Columbia. “I’m just really excited to show the younger generations of scientists it’s okay to take risks—to take the long shots.”
Sparking a controversy
Nuclear fusion occurs when pairs of light nuclei fuse together to form a nucleus of net lighter mass, releasing huge amounts of energy as described by Einstein’s iconic equation E = mc2. Inside the sun, hydrogen atoms fuse to produce helium and energy. If successfully harnessed on Earth, fusion could provide humankind with abundant, emissions-free energy—a huge boon to efforts to combat climate change. (As a byproduct, fusion on Earth might also help to address a global helium shortage.)
But getting fusion to work on Earth is tricky, since it’s hard to get two nuclei close enough to combine; atomic nuclei are positively charged, so they fiercely repel one another, a hurdle known as the Coulomb barrier. Crossing this barrier and realizing fusion power is possible at high densities and temperatures, if the nuclei are confined for a sufficiently long time. But to achieve these conditions, scientists seem to need large, expensive machines and huge amounts of initial power. The interior of ITER, a fusion reactor being built in France, will need to reach 270 million degrees Fahrenheit to ignite fusion—a full ten times hotter than the sun’s core.
“What nature does with the enormous force of gravity in the sun’s core is what mankind has been trying to do under controlled conditions in the laboratory,” says physicist Amitava Bhattacharjee, the head theorist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, one of the leading fusion research groups in the U.S.
“For the last 60 years we’ve been at this, and I think the progress has been enormous,” he adds. “But we still continue to have a challenge to make nuclear fusion power inexpensively available to people.”
But what if cleverly structured materials could somehow lower the energy needed for fusion? That’s what chemists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons at the University of Utah thought they had achieved. The duo ran electricity through a rod of palladium in so-called heavy water, a form of water where the hydrogen atoms are replaced with hydrogen’s heavier sibling deuterium.
At a press conference on March 23, 1989, Fleischmann and Pons announced that their setup emitted hundreds of times more heat than the chemistry could account for. Their interpretation: Deuterium nuclei within the palladium were fusing. The news made headlines around the world. Had humankind’s energy woes been solved once and for all?
“It got us [physicists] all really excited,” Bhattacharjee says. “Imagine if this were true, how wonderful it would be, how simple this would be. This would be a lot of people’s dream.”
See the original ‘cold fusion’ press conference
On March 23, 1989, University of Utah chemists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons announced their “cold fusion” device to the world—sparking a scientific firestorm.
But for many, excitement quickly gave way to skepticism. Early outside attempts to replicate the results didn’t turn up massive amounts of heat, nor did the setup appear to yield many high-energy neutrons, a signature of conventional nuclear fusion.
“In March 1989, everybody jumped on this topic, even serious fusion physicists (like me),” Hans-Stephan Bosch, the head of the Wendelstein 7-X fusion experiment at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, writes in an email. “However, we didn’t find any positive result confirming their claims. Therefore we finished our work, published it, and closed the topic. My impression is that most physicists and chemists did the same, regarding cold fusion as an ‘interesting’ episode.”
“It was never all the way gone, but also never quite developing the way other scientific fields typically do,” says David Kaiser, a science historian at MIT who has written on the cold-fusion community. “I found that interesting; it was a kind of shadow community with different communal characteristics, let alone intellectual claims.”
For a time, Matt Trevithick was part of the club. He had first heard of cold fusion while a student at MIT, and from 2004 to 2005, Trevithick worked for Spindletop, a company that helped with LENR research. So when Trevithick eventually ended up on Google’s research team as a program manager, he resolved to revisit the nagging question.
“The story [of cold fusion] was decided in a matter of months, and nothing in science is decided that quickly,” he says. “That’s what stayed in my craw for all these years.”
Battery of tests
By April 2015, Trevithick had identified candidate researchers for the project and invited them to Google’s California campus. None of the researchers knew each other well; it became a day-long guessing game for each to decipher why they had been invited.
“I’m not gonna lie, there were awkward moments,” Trevithick says.
The researchers then had several months to brainstorm experiments, which they collectively whittled down to three priorities. From the beginning, the researchers agreed to rigorously check their work and publish all their results—even when the work came up empty.
The first major experiment aimed to address a key claim within the cold fusion community: If enough deuterium atoms are electrically crammed into a piece of palladium—at least seven for every eight palladium atoms—the device gives off excess heat. But as the researchers soon realized, packing palladium full of deuterium is extremely difficult, and so is measuring it.
In the past, researchers had measured palladium’s deuterium content by tracking changes in its electrical resistance. But when the Google team tried the technique, they noticed errors. So they came up with a new measurement technique: shining x-rays through the palladium to directly see how much the loaded metal had swelled.
The team’s second agenda tested whether heating hydrogen with various powdered metals triggers fusion, yielding heat and fusion byproducts. Italian cold-fusion proponents have made the claim since the 1990s, including Andrea Rossi, the colorful inventor of the E-Cat, a device that Rossi claims is a LENR reactor.
But when researchers tried to replicate Rossi’s claims, they realized their tools could easily give inaccurate results at the required temperatures and pressures. So Berlinguette and his students built four of the world’s most precise calorimeters, devices that measure the heat given off by reactions taking place within them. They then ran 420 separate trials of the experiments—and none of them clearly yielded excess heat. The team will detail their tests in a forthcoming arXiv preprint, Trevithick says in an email.
The third experiment followed up on results reported by Los Alamos National Laboratory in the 1990s: that an electrified palladium wire surrounded by a cloud of electrically charged deuterium made certain fusion byproducts, specifically an excess of a heavy, radioactive sibling of hydrogen called tritium.
When Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory physicist Thomas Schenkel and his team tested the claim, they didn’t find a spike of excess tritium. But while fusion reactions are still extremely rare at low energies, they found that fusion occurred a hundred to 160 times more frequently in their experiment than they expected. Schenkel’s team describes the early results in a preprint posted to the arXiv.
“When I see a factor of a hundred discrepancy between my data [and] established theory, that usually means it’s interesting,” he says. “I feel I’d like to poke into that.”
In store for the future
Now that the team has publicly unveiled its efforts, Chiang says that the team wants to couple his lab’s work with Schenkel’s device, with the goal of creating a “reference experiment” for other labs to also advance research into lower-energy nuclear physics.
So far, Trevithick says, Google has spent $10 million on the effort since 2015, and funding persists through the end of 2019. Trevithick stresses that cold fusion represents just one sliver of Google’s energy research, which includes working with the traditional fusion company TAE Technologies. Regardless of Google’s future investments, the researchers it has supported say they’re interested in continuing the work on its basic scientific merits.
And if they or others eventually make new, disruptive discoveries in science and engineering by pursuing less conventional avenues, Bhattacharjee would welcome the effort.
“I’m not addressing in particular whether [cold fusion] is one such candidate, but I generally am for trying out different things,” he says. “And that was the really exciting part of the Pons-Fleischmann experiment. It’s really interesting that they dared.”
Then again, Bhattacharjee is a veteran of the effort to bring the sun to earth—and he knows how hard it is to play the role of Prometheus.
“A lot of intelligent people have been at it for a while, and the reason why they have made a lot of progress and still haven’t solved it is because it is a very, very hard problem,” he adds. “It may very well be the hardest science and engineering problem we have ever undertaken.”
“served in both Iraq and Afghanistan… has the stature as a multilingual former military-intelligence officer—fluent in French, Italian, and Arabic—and as a foreign-affairs expert… the son of a retired high-court judge and his French wife, he is a dual British French citizen. His wife is a member of France’s supreme court for administration and his father-in-law is a former senior French diplomat.”
“he wrote convincingly in the Spectator in January of his belief that Israel is actually not the source of every problem in the region. He understands Israel’s importance as an ally of Britain and believes this country should “be prepared to stand against consensus” to support it.”
“This week, the Foreign Affairs Committee held a panel discussion in Parliament to mark the 40th anniversary of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. The event was chaired by Tom Tugendhat MBE MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and speakers included H.E. Mark Regev, Israel’s Ambassador to the UK,”
“Tom Tugendhat warns that Iran’s proxy conflicts have damaged the relationship that forged the 2015 nuclear agreement”
He beefs with Russia, has a plan for Brexit, and thinks the UK should stand up to Iran… WE LIKE HIM! 😀
What does The Godfather Kissinger make of him? 😉
Step aside knob clowns! Tom Tugendhat is the best the UK has. After decades of absolute fucking mincers… we have someone with balls!
Hey Tom! 😀 My problem is their an island of absolute fucking mincers mate! The UK is really going to shit, by the day. I don’t really have a problem with MI6 (do I Sawers!)… Alex Younger is a whopper (let’s not go there)… not really on good terms with Parker and MI5 (how long has he been in the job for now?)… GCHQ? Yeah whatever… … look it is what it is, no-one can change the past. The CIA don’t really have a problem… but I want apiece of their pie, I want to give it to Israel, and maybe share a little with the UK 😀 … BUT IT’S MY FUCKING PIECE OF THE PIE! 😀
The Man Who Thinks He Can Save Brexit
With Britain’s Conservatives looking fragile and disunited, a plausible successor to Theresa May waits offstage—and it isn’t Boris Johnson.Ben Judah Oct 4, 2018
Theresa May managed to survive. Boris Johnson delivered his usual bombast. But at Britain’s Conservative Party conference this week, both Tory giants came across as almost doomed figures: Neither looked like they had a real long-term future in ruling the United Kingdom.
Beyond the prime minister’s loyalists and the hardest of Brexiteers, talk of tomorrow was elsewhere. Among members of parliament at the conference in Birmingham opposed to breaking all ties with the European Union, there were hopes for a future leader, unburdened by baggage from the 2016 Brexit campaign, should May fall. Only four in 10 Tory voters support the prime minister in her wish to stay on to fight in the next general election, according to a recent Ipsos MORI survey.
In a crisis, one possible way forward for the business-minded MPs who backed “Remain” would be someone like Tom Tugendhat, 45, the chair of the foreign-affairs select committee of the House of Commons. Many MPs I spoke to were surprisingly open and enthusiastic about his “leadership potential.”
One reason for this: MPs who voted for the U.K. to remain in the EU see Brexit Britain as adrift in the world and are worried about its foreign policy. Tugendhat, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, his supporters told me, has the stature as a multilingual former military-intelligence officer—fluent in French, Italian, and Arabic—and as a foreign-affairs expert to set it right. Europe is in the family for Tugendhat: the son of a retired high-court judge and his French wife, he is a dual British French citizen. His wife is a member of France’s supreme court for administration and his father-in-law is a former senior French diplomat.
Supporters in parliament see him as offering a credible plan to salvage Britain’s stricken international position. Tugendhat revealed the most eye-catching details of that plan to The Atlantic for the first time—in the corner of a Pizza Express restaurant right as Johnson, who has emerged as May’s key rival, was trying to fatally wound her with a speech in the main hall. With the Conservative Party conference showcasing a fragile government, Tugendhat could quickly ascend to the cabinet should May suddenly fall, making his plan a serious proposition. Were it to be implemented, it would represent a serious shake-up in how British foreign policy is run.
Tugendhat is a former Remainer who now supports “some variant” of May’s plan for Brexit—which basically entails the U.K. remaining semi-attached to Europe’s single market. But he laments that Britain “lacks the foreign-policy tools to make leaving the European Union a success.” So he advocates a dramatic centralization of power into the hands of a foreign-affairs “super ministry.” And he calls for Prince Harry to be installed as the ambassador to Washington, D.C., to “cut through” American politics for what may be a desperately needed trade deal.
“This is the redesign we need to make global Britain work,” he told me.
Since he was elected in 2015, the ambitious MP in the London commuter belt has risen dramatically in parliament. He has evoked comparisons to David Cameron, who was elected leader after a mere four years in parliament. Formerly Remain Tories portray him as a standard bearer. “He is seen as having leadership potential,” said Dominic Grieve, a Conservative MP who has led calls for a softer Brexit. Tugendhat and Grieve were two of 15 MPs branded “Brexit mutineers” by the ardently anti-European newspaper The Telegraph.
And as the chair of the foreign-affairs select committee of the House of Commons, Tugendhat has positioned himself as one of the most respected U.K. lawmakers on foreign policy. “Tom is definitely one of the most influential political figures on foreign affairs,” said Mike Gapes, an opposition Labour MP from the committee.
Conservatives who see Cameron’s government as having been derailed look at Tugendhat as a potential liberal reviver. Daniel Korski, a former special adviser to Cameron, described Tugendhat as the “leading light” of a “new generation of British soldier-politicians” promoted by his former boss before Cameron’s abrupt ejection from office in 2016. “If they play their cards right,” Korski said, “they could transform the fortunes of a crisis-stricken and Brexit-obsessed Tory front bench in the not-too-distant future.”
Meanwhile, betting markets in the U.K. give him 25-to-1 odds to succeed May as the next permanent Conservative leader. “For my generation of MPs, who see themselves as the children of David Cameron and Ruth Davidson [the moderate leader of the Scottish Conservative Party], we see Tom as the kind of figure we need to win a majority again,” said Paul Masterton, a Conservative MP and fellow so-called Brexit mutineer.
Tugendhat, however, also has fans among the Brexiteers. “He has the ability to bring formerly Remain and Brexit MPs together,” said Anne-Marie Trevelyan, a Conservative MP and ardent Brexiteer.
The “super ministry” Tugendhat wants would bring all the foreign activities of the United Kingdom under the purview of the foreign secretary—including the Department for International Trade, the Department for International Development, the Department for Exiting the European Union, and the Ministry of Defense. This vision is praised by Brexiteer MPs such as Trevelyan.
Tugendhat said this isn’t just about rearranging Britain’s bureaucracy. The existing civil servants and government machinery would stay put. “Simply what it means is the strategic direction of all Britain’s activities abroad are held by a single department,” he said. “So that when your ministry—aid, trade, defense—acts, it goes through a single strategic authority.”
This would dramatically centralize power in the hands of the foreign secretary, turning the office holder into a supremo with the say over the U.K.’s diplomats, trade negotiators, aid projects, and soldiers. The role of Britain’s foreign secretaries is today a shadow of their former self, with aid, trade, and European affairs hived off to other ministries.
“Restoring the role of the foreign secretary like this would fix one of our great failings,” said Peter Ricketts, the former national-security adviser and permanent secretary to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. “The British government has been really bad at strategy, with each government department running its own foreign relationship and its own foreign units.”
This would would reverse a decades-long trend that has seen Europe’s foreign ministers lose influence to finance ministers and interior ministers. It would also change the balance of power in the British cabinet. “You would have to go back to Anthony Eden after the war to find a foreign secretary who was coordinating all foreign policy,” Ricketts said, referring to the postwar prime minister who served as Winston Churchill’s foreign secretary.
One of the future projects Tugendhat wants Britain to work on is achieving “close to free movement” with Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. But his plan would crucially break convention by making the minister of defense and the armed forces junior to diplomacy.
Tugendhat argues that this is because “most of what the armed forces do abroad is influence. This is hard-nosed diplomacy.” And the U.K. needs to “reconceptualize defense” more broadly, he said, especially the threat posed by Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin threat is not “that Russian tanks land at Dover,” he said, but that through “shady money” Western democracies are “ripped apart by corruption.”
As for why he’d send Prince Harry to D.C., it’s part of Tugendhat’s plan to send higher-profile ambassadors to the world’s major powers, including, perhaps, David Cameron in Beijing. In Harry’s case, “you are looking for someone who has cut through into the U.S. political scene,” said Tugendhat, who like the prince served in the British Army in Afghanistan. “You are looking for someone who can do the politics and who can engage”—especially given the U.K.’s urgent need for new trade deals in the wake of Brexit.
Such a move is highly unlikely, but it’s not unprecedented for members of the royal family to take on diplomatic roles. The Queen’s son Prince Andrew served as a special representative for international trade and investment. However, it would meet serious resistance from those concerned it might undermine the prince. “I see no virtue for either Prince Harry or the government in sending him over,” said Sir Andrew Wood, the former British ambassador to Moscow and Belgrade. “In fact, it risks politicizing him.” Kensington Palace declined to comment.
But it’s not just the great powers that concern Tugendhat. It’s also Ireland, which he said can answer the conundrum threatening to derail Brexit. Brussels has committed to reject any Brexit deal that would see customs posts installed on the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. That border is the only land border between the U.K., which includes Northern Ireland, and the EU, of which the Republic of Ireland is a part. The Good Friday peace agreement that ended decades of sectarian fighting in Northern Ireland mandates an open border between the two countries. “We need to be talking to each other,” Tugendhat said. “One gets the impression the relationship with Ireland is either done through the EU or the Northern Irish Office. We need a very regular conversation. We have to both be sensitive to the needs of the other. The U.K. cannot opt out of the relationship with Ireland.” Tugendhat is proposing a joint session of both parliaments.
With the conference in Birmingham dominated by aggressive speeches from the likes of Boris Johnson denouncing the European Union, perhaps the most distinctive aspect of what Tugendhat called his “strategic reset” for Brexit was its tone. “What is important,” he said, “is to calm the whole thing down. The obvious thing to calm down is the rhetoric. Nobody is anybody else’s enemy here.”
Though Tugendhat’s proposals seemed far afield from the nerve center of the Tory conference—the survival of May and the challenge posed by Johnson—should the government’s Brexit plans go bust, there are now emerging figures seeking to steady the creaking ship of state.
Influential MPs to look out for
The outcome of the contests to elect new chairs of nearly 30 Commons select committees is revealing.
As MPs pack their sun-cream and swimming costumes and jet off on their summer breaks, those of us left behind in Westminster are trying to make sense of the past few months.
Two of the most popular talking points among journalists and aides are the future leaderships of the main parties.
Which individuals — either veteran figures or up-and-coming, fresh-faced MPs — can command the backing of their colleagues now and over the coming months to propel them into a position to run for their party’s top job?
Before the general election brought a halt to his committee’s work, Mr Blunt had been overseeing the gathering of evidence for a report on the Middle East peace process, which was also considering, “the way that foreign states and interested parties seek to influence UK policy” following the Al Jazeera-triggered controversy on lobbying earlier this year. Needless to say, pro-Israel campaigners were concerned about what would be in the final report.
Mr Tugendhat, meanwhile, takes a rather different approach. An Arabic-speaking lieutenant-colonel who served alongside the Royal Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq, he wrote convincingly in the Spectator in January of his belief that — shock, horror! — Israel is actually not the source of every problem in the region.
He understands Israel’s importance as an ally of Britain and believes this country should “be prepared to stand against consensus” to support it.
Elsewhere, there was further good news for Israel supporters and Jewish politicians.
Robert Halfon, the Jewish Harlow MP sacked from the government by Theresa May after the election, won the contest for the Education committee — a role which will allow him the chance to set his career back on track with the possibility of occupying another cabinet position in the future.
Rachel Reeves, an officer of Labour Friends of Israel, takes the helm at the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee.
Two more leading LFI supporters, Mary Creagh and Lilian Greenwood, will lead the Environmental Audit group and Transport committee. Tory Julian Lewis will lead the Defence group.
Gateshead MP Ian Mearns, whose constituency includes the town’s substantial Strictly Orthodox community, has a key role on the committee, which helps decide which topics backbenchers will be given time to debate in the Commons’ chamber.
These roles and committees may seem peripheral or obscure, but they indicate the healthy position the community finds itself in at Westminster.
For all the doom and gloom felt by many British Jews following the relative success of Mr Corbyn in last month’s election, the realities in Parliament are in fact rather different.
Admittedly, most of these politicians are not household names, and some of them may never rise higher than the posts they now occupy.
But in the tea rooms and the bars, these select committee chairs wield power and hold influence among their colleagues.
As Margaret Hodge showed in her time chairing the Public Accounts Committee during the coalition government, a hard-working chair, supported by tenacious members asking the right questions, can earn plenty of high-profile media coverage while holding senior ministers to account.
So remember to keep your eyes on these often under-acknowledged figures when they return from their deck-chairs in September — they could very well hold the key to a far brighter political future than many observers imagine.
40 years of Israel-Egypt peace treaty marked in Parliament
This week, the Foreign Affairs Committee held a panel discussion in Parliament to mark the 40th anniversary of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.
The event was chaired by Tom Tugendhat MBE MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and speakers included H.E. Mark Regev, Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, H.E. Tarek Adel Egypt’s Ambassador to the UK, and Jane Kinninmont, Head of Programmes at The Elders.
Jordan’s Ambassador to the UK, H.E. Omar Al-Nahar, was also present.
The speakers discussed the pressures that this treaty has faced and why it continues to hold to this day, why similar treaties have not been successful and what other countries can learn from this success.
Israeli Ambassador Regev said that the treaty was a “profound moment for the people of Israel” and “an example of what can be done and what is possible”.
Egyptian Ambassador Adel said that the treaty “laid the foundation of a new reality in the region”, and underlined that today Egypt and Israel must “renew our dedication to pursue a peace for the region”.
Britain troubled by the threat from Iran, says UK foreign affairs chairman
Tom Tugendhat warns that Iran’s proxy conflicts have damaged the relationship that forged the 2015 nuclear agreement
It is end of term in the Palace of Westminster and the London landmark has lost much of its conspiratorial buzz.
Time for Tom Tugendhat, the influential chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, to look beyond collegial obsessions over Brexit to the Gulf region, where Britain has a “long history” of “fruitful co-operation”.
It is a view troubled by the threat from Iran, which he says is fuelling proxy conflicts across its neighbours and by such actions should have forfeited the goodwill for wholesale sanctions relief after the 2015 nuclear agreement.
“The actions of Iran not just in the region but in many other parts of the world as well has been extremely distressing to see and it’s a great shame,” he told The National. “The reality is that the lifting of sanctions that the Iranians are now claiming should have happened was based on goodwill and when the Iranian government is testing missiles and then actively firing missiles into Riyadh, it’s very hard for any goodwill to arise.
“So I think the Iranian government needs to think very hard about what sort of future it seeks because the route it is on is seeing its people suffer, its prosperity diminished and it is not seeing an end to the sanctions because they rely on goodwill.”
The list of countries facing internal conflict that Iran orchestrates stretches far and wide, including Bahrain, Iraq, Syria and southern Lebanon. President Donald Trump is now reflecting the concerns over the 2015 agreement that Mr Tugendhat and many in the Gulf have long aired that Tehran has been unshackled and needs to bear responsibility for its activity. “Its not just Donald Trump, in fact Saudi Arabia and the UAE are well aware of it from the start,” he said.
A scholar of Arabic who studied the language in Yemen, Mr Tugendhat believes Iran’s role there must be confronted. “The international community has a role at the UN in talking to the Iranian government about their sponsoring of attacks on Saudi Arabia through, effectively, a proxy militia,” he said. “Those actions are unacceptable and they must stop.”
The former army officer hopes that the conflict can be part of the focus when Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman visits Britain next month. The concerns of British politicians, who had consistently put the conflict at the top of the agenda when dealing with regional leaders, is, he reflects, grounded in a real public sympathy for the country’s plight.
“Is there any point in trying to articulate myself on this one? I was told by MI5 that UFOs are not only real, but that “their walking amongst us”(I.e. extra-terrestrials). I’ve seen UFO’s for myself on multiple occasions… take it further than that… I FUCKING MET ONE! In a restaurant at Hotel Rixos, Borovue, Kazakhstan! Why would I make that up? What would possibly be the motivation for saying… “I know that I just had a telepathic encounter with an extra-terrestrial being of unfathomable intelligence and intellect, whilst eating my lunch in the hotel restaurant” WHAT WOULD I POSSIBLY HAVE TO GAIN FOR MAKING SUCH A BIZARRE CLAIM?
An alien species, millions of years advanced than us (homo sapiens are maybe 200,000 years old… maybe a bit older), what would be their motivation in trying to communicate with us on our level? It would be like us trying to communicate with an insect! They’ve mastered interstellar travel. They’ve unlocked abundant energy, the secrets of the atom and cosmos. They’ve developed their society or civilisation in ways that we cannot fathom… … their fucking with us all! Every military, Government and Intel agency… THEY’RE FUCKING WITH US! Their own amusement? Trying to teach us something? Monitoring us like we’re in a zoo?… … I mean seriously!
AND THERE’S A ‘SPIRITUAL’ ASPECT TO ALL THIS! Most approach the subject from a ‘nuts and bolts’, metallic UFO travelling through space… but it is so much more than that! The abduction phenomena… you’re talking about human consciousness and perception… this is why it ties in so closely with shamanism and psychedelic experiences when you look into it. IT IS FUCKING MINDBLOWING! They’ve been fucking with us since the beginning in every way possible! (The chances of DNA arising by chance is one to the power two hundred eighty zeros! WAKE THE FUCK UP!)
UFOs are not the same thing as extraterrestrial life. But we should start thinking about that possibility.
Footage shows encounter between U.S. navy jet and unknown aircraft
Footage from 2004 shows an encounter between a U.S. fighter jet and “anomalous aerial vehicles,” which is military jargon for UFOs.
(To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science)
By Daniel W. Drezner Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a regular contributor to PostEverything. May 28
The term “UFO” automatically triggers derision in most quarters of polite society. One of Christopher Buckley’s better satires, “Little Green Men,” is premised on a George F. Will-type pundit thinking that he has been abducted by aliens, with amusing results. UFOs have historically been associated with crackpot ideas like Big Foot or conspiracy theories involving crop circles.
The obvious reason for this is that the term “UFO” is usually assumed to be a synonym for “extraterrestrial life.” If you think about it, this is odd. UFO literally stands for “unidentified flying object.” A UFO is not necessarily an alien from another planet. It is simply a flying object that cannot be explained away through conventional means. Because UFOs are usually brought up only to crack jokes, however, they have been dismissed for decades.
One of the gutsiest working paper presentations I have witnessed was Alexander Wendt and Raymond Duvall presenting a draft version of “Sovereignty and the UFO.” In that paper, eventually published in the journal Political Theory, Wendt and Duvall argued that state sovereignty as we understand it is anthropocentric, or “constituted and organized by reference to human beings alone.” They argued that the real reason UFOs have been dismissed is because of the existential challenge that they pose for a worldview in which human beings are the most technologically advanced life-forms:
UFOs have never been systematically investigated by science or the state, because it is assumed to be known that none are extraterrestrial. Yet in fact this is not known, which makes the UFO taboo puzzling given the ET possibility…. The puzzle is explained by the functional imperatives of anthropocentric sovereignty, which cannot decide a UFO exception to anthropocentrism while preserving the ability to make such a decision. The UFO can be “known” only by not asking what it is.
When Wendt and Duvall made this argument, there were a lot of titters in the audience. I chuckled, too. Nonetheless, their paper makes a persuasive case that UFOs certainly exist, even if they are not necessarily ETs. For them, the key is that no official authority takes seriously the idea that UFOs can be extraterrestrials. As they note, “considerable work goes into ignoring UFOs, constituting them as objects only of ridicule and scorn.”
In recent years, however, there has been a subtle shift that poses some interesting questions for their argument. For one thing, discussion of actual UFOs has been the topic of some serious mainstream media coverage. There was the December 2017 New York Times story by Helene Cooper, Ralph Blumenthal and Leslie Kean about the Defense Department’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which was tasked with cataloguing UFOs recorded by military pilots. DoD officials confirmed its existence. Though this story generated some justified skepticism, it represented the first time the U.S. government acknowledged the existence of such a program.
What we know — and don’t know — about aliens and UFOs
The Post’s Cleve R. Wootson Jr. explains why a recent admission from the government is like pouring kerosene on UFO conspiracy theories.
(Video: Monica Akhtar/Photo: Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)
The strange objects, one of them like a spinning top moving against the wind, appeared almost daily from the summer of 2014 to March 2015, high in the skies over the East Coast. Navy pilots reported to their superiors that the objects had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes, but that they could reach 30,000 feet and hypersonic speeds.
“These things would be out there all day,” said Lt. Ryan Graves, an F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot who has been with the Navy for 10 years, and who reported his sightings to the Pentagon and Congress. “Keeping an aircraft in the air requires a significant amount of energy. With the speeds we observed, 12 hours in the air is 11 hours longer than we’d expect.”….
No one in the Defense Department is saying that the objects were extraterrestrial, and experts emphasize that earthly explanations can generally be found for such incidents. Lieutenant Graves and four other Navy pilots, who said in interviews with The New York Times that they saw the objects in 2014 and 2015 in training maneuvers from Virginia to Florida off the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, make no assertions of their provenance.
The Times reporters broke new ground by getting pilots on record. What is interesting about this latest news cycle, however, is that DoD officials are not behaving as Wendt and Duvall would predict. Indeed, Politico’s Bryan Bender reported last month that, “The U.S. Navy is drafting new guidelines for pilots and other personnel to report encounters with ‘unidentified aircraft,’ a significant new step in creating a formal process to collect and analyze the unexplained sightings — and destigmatize them.” My Post colleague Deanna Paul followed up by reporting that “Luis Elizondo, a former senior intelligence officer, told The Post that the new Navy guidelines formalized the reporting process, facilitating data-driven analysis while removing the stigma from talking about UFOs, calling it ‘the single greatest decision the Navy has made in decades.’ ”
What appears to be happening is that official organs of the state are now acknowledging that UFOs exist, even if they are not literally using the term. They are doing so because enough pilots are reporting UFOs and near-air collisions so as to warrant better record-keeping. They are not saying that these UFOs are extraterrestrials, but they are trying to destigmatize the reporting of a UFO.
Still, the very fact that this step has been taken somewhat weakens the Wendt and Duvall thesis. This was always a two-step process: (a) Acknowledge that UFOs exist; and (b) Consider that the UFOs might be ETs.
In recent years, the U.S. national security bureaucracy has met the first criterion. What happens to our understanding of the universe if great powers meet that second one?
The former leader of the U.S. government’s top-secret UFO program has stories to tell, and he is sharing some of them for the first time in a new documentary.
Intelligence officer Luis Elizondo served as the former director of the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), an initiative launched in 2007 to study reports of UFO encounters. Elizondo departed the agency in 2011; in 2017, he spoke with reporters at The New York Times, confirming the existence of the shadowy agency and describing its mission.
No, there isn’t a big reveal that UFOs were alien spacecraft all along. But delving into long-hidden accounts of UFO investigations will hopefully encourage people — and authorities — to overcome long-standing stigmas and talk more openly about these mysterious aircraft, some of which may pose a bigger threat than we realize, Elizondo told Live Science.
UFOs have perplexed and fascinated people for decades; they also pose a unique challenge to federal agents trying to determine if they represent a threat to national security. Before AATIP, the U.S. Air Force had launched Project Blue Book, which investigated more than 12,000 purported UFO sightings from 1952 to 1969.
During Elizondo’s tenure at AATIP, observers reported UFOs flying at hypersonic speeds — more than five times the speed of sound. Yet there were none of the signatures that usually accompany aircraft flying at such fantastic speeds, such as sonic booms, he said.
The UFOs were also unexpectedly mobile, traveling so fast that they would have experienced gravitational forces, or G-forces, that far exceed the limits of endurance for both humans and aircraft. The F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, one of the most maneuverable in the U.S.’s arsenal, reaches its limit at around 16 to 18 G’s, while the human body can withstand about 9 G’s “for a very short time” before a person would start to black out, Elizondo said.
“These things that we were observing were pulling 400 to 500 G’s,” he said. “They don’t have engines or even wings, and they are able to seemingly defy the natural effects of Earth’s gravitational pull.”
Some of the UFO sightings reported to AATIP were eventually resolved, as aerial drones or test firings of new types of missiles that were spotted from an unusual angle. But while many astonishing UFOs still defied explanation, there simply isn’t enough evidence to suggest they belonged to extraterrestrials, Elizondo added.
However, another possibility is even more unsettling than the prospect of an alien invasion: that a foreign adversary had secretly developed technologies that are “strategic game-changers,” unlike anything ever seen before, he said. Addressing that potential threat is a necessary step that government officials — even those that supported AATIP — don’t take seriously enough, according to Elizondo.
What’s more, the entrenched secrecy shrouding official UFO investigations only reinforces the association of UFOs with “tinfoil hats and ridiculous stories.”
“We trust the American people to know that North Korea has nuclear warheads pointed at Los Angeles, yet we don’t trust them with the knowledge that there’s something in our skies and we don’t know what it is? That seems counterproductive to me,” Elizondo said.
‘Giant Tic Tac’ and Other Hypersonic UFOs Spotted by Navy Pilots | Space
‘Giant Tic Tac’ and Other Hypersonic UFOs Spotted by Navy Pilots
Between 2014 and 2015, seasoned pilots in the U.S. Navy experienced a number of harrowing encounters with UFOs during training missions in the U.S. While pilots were mid-flight, their aircraft cameras and radar detected seemingly impossible objects flying at hypersonic speeds at altitudes up to 30,00 feet (9,144 meters); these mysterious UFOs did so with no visible means of propulsion, The New York Times reported on May 26.
However, none of the pilots suggest that these perplexing UFOs represent an extraterrestrial invasion, according to The Times, which previously wrote about Navy pilots encountering UFOs in 2004.
In total, six pilots who were stationed on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt between 2014 and 2015 told The Times about spotting UFOs during flights along the southeastern coast of the U.S., extending from Virginia to Florida. [7 Things Most Often Mistaken for UFOs] Declassified Video: Navy Pilots See ‘UFO’ Off East Coast.
Video of two aerial encounters appears in the series, showing clips of UFOs: one tiny white speck and one large, dark blob. These UFOs later came to be known respectively as “Go Fast” and “Gimbal.”
The objects had “no distinct wing, no distinct tail, no distinct exhaust plume,” Lt. Danny Accoin, one of the Navy pilots who reported UFO sightings beginning in 2014, said in the documentary.
“It seemed like they were aware of our presence, because they would actively move around us,” Lt. Accoin said.
According to Lt. Accoin, when a strange reading shows up on radar for the first time, it’s possible to interpret it as a false alarm, “but then when you start to get multiple sensors reading the exact same thing, and then you get to see a display, that solidifies it for me.”.
Accoin told The Times he encountered UFOs twice, during flights that were a few days apart. He also said that though tracking equipment, radar and infrared cameras on his aircraft detected UFOs both times, he was unable to capture them on his helmet camera.
Lt. Ryan Graves, an F-18 pilot, said in the documentary that a squadron of UFOs followed his Navy strike group up and down the eastern coast of the U.S. for months. And in March, 2015, after the Roosevelt was deployed to the Arabian Gulf, Graves said the UFOs reappeared.
“We did have issues with them when we went out to the Middle East,” Lt. Graves said.
Pilots who spotted the UFOs speculated among themselves that the unnerving objects may have belonged to a highly classified drone program using unknown technology, and they did not consider them to be extraterrestrial in origin, The Times reported. T
Lt. Graves and others are speaking out now because what they saw raised concerns for them about their comrades and national security, Christopher Mellon, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, told the History Channel.
In 2015, following this spate of UFO sightings, the U.S. Navy issued official guidelines for personnel to report and investigate aerial objects, according to The Times. Those Navy protocols were updated earlier this year; all data will be classified information and will not be made available to the general public, Live Science previously reported.
“Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation” airs on the History Channel on May 31 at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT.