Flying Saucers and Other Fairy Tales

I am completely in favor of federal spending on U.F.O. research, an outlay whose existence was revealed to surprisingly little paranoid excitement by this newspaper last week. It is a sign of civilizational health to devote excess dollars to the scientific fringe, and to hope that bizarre secrets still await discovery even in our satellite-surveilled world. So good for Harry Reid and his little-green-men-obsessed billionaire pal for keeping the flame of weird curiosity alive.

But I also doubt that such research will ever prove that the strange lights and vessels filmed by human pilots actually belong to a starfaring species that’s come to our planet to study, experiment and eventually offer us a hand up or else ruthlessly invade. Other sapient species may indeed be out there, but the most parsimonious explanation for all the U.F.O. encounters since Roswell is not that our nuclear testing or space program finally inspired the galaxy to come see what humanity is all about.

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Protesters claimed that a U.F.O. appeared in Roswell,…

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