Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Matter of Statistics

There's a story over at AOL today...over UFOs. The story goes....that a group of Air Force officers (all senior guys) are going to meet early next week and lay out the fact that UFO's have been visiting US military nuclear sites for over forty years.

They will all agree that most of this involves simple surveillance, although....some type of probe occurred during some episodes....and the nuclear weapons were then in a malfunction stage.

Most of the major news organizations will skip this Washington meeting of the Air Force officers, or laugh it off.

Years ago, I worked with a guy who was a security policeman in the mid-70's, assigned to nuclear missile silos in the northern tier of the US. I had known this guy for three years when he discussed this story, and had absolute trust over what he shared.

He'd been in the Air Force for a year...providing guard duty at the various sites....when one evening they had a "visit". There were four of the SP's at the ground site....two inside the fence or station next to the missile silo, and two in a truck outside the site.

The UFO dropped down during the evening hours and they sat there and observed it. They called in the report. My associate, in the truck, eased out and they circled the UFO as it hovered. It was a visit that lasted five to ten minutes. The boys in the truck finally started easing toward the UFO, and then it started to rise up, and eventually took off. All four cops saw this.

The shift ended the next morning, and they were supposed to be off-duty by 7AM. The cop station took their report and then turned the four over to a civilian guy.

The guys were isolated and then their report started to discussed with 'peppered' questions. For a good two hours, they stood by their facts. The guy kept coming back....'are you really sure?'

The civilian guy was trying to convince that they hadn't seen much of anything. The guys had finished a all-night shift....and by 10 AM, were tired. One-by-one, they started to fall back on their report, and changed piece by piece. They were not sure of anything.

My associate? He admitted that by 11 AM, he was dead tired and knew that this had to end....so he just started grinning and said he'd change his entire report to a unknown aircraft in the area.

A week passed. Then came another UFO over the silo. This time....it released a beam of light down into the silo, and the officers down below started calling upstairs and all upset. The missile and the control system was going bonkers. Data was going out....and the officers in charge of the system were watching something that was supposed to be impossible.

The cops all watched the UFO, the beam of light, and listened to the officers. The next morning....all were taken down to the central point. Here was the civilian guy who they'd seen the week before.

The guy asked the four cops what they'd seen. They all grinned and said "nothing". Just unknown aircraft flying in the area. The two guys from deep in the silo wanted to write this extensive report detailing everything.

The civlian guy turned to the four cops and asked again if they'd seen anything.....they just grinned and said "nothing". So the cops were dismissed and went home to sleep off their shift.

My associate didn't know what happened to the two officers but figured they wrote the report, and then the civilian guy played the game of challenging every word. They probably stayed there until noon when they figured out the game (officers are a bit more dense than enlisted guys).

My associate refused to ever report anything of a UFO suspicious nature ever again. In his mind, he knows that the US government knows something beyond whatever has been mentioned in the public. For whatever reason, it's necessary to keep things at this level and never say much of anything else.

I'm a statistical guy. I've come to absolutely believe that one planet can't be a product of one accidental circumstance, or some religious belief which fits awful tidy until you ask a question or two.

The government likely knows more than what you'd suspect. They also know that nukes are no threat against these alien guys.

These Air Force officers will meet and discuss their experience next week. It might be covered by AOL News.....and a couple of newspapers, and that will be it. It'll raise your curiosity, but let's admit it....you'd really prefer not to find out that some alien dudes have enormous power and could pose a potential threat to your life. So it's best to just laugh this off, turn on Ice Road Truckers or WWE Wrestling, and just get back to your simple world.

Political Strategy?

The White House unveiled Operation "Michelle" yesterday. They are setting up the travel schedule and getting the President's wife geared to run through several states to help local politicians in their run.

I looked over this list, which is a rather odd group. No southern states. Mostly all stops for Democratic senators in serious trouble and likely not to win:

Wisconsin: Sen. Russ Feingold
Illinois: Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias,
Colorado: Sen. Michael Bennet
Washington state: Sen. Patty Murray
California: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Barbara Boxer

The problem is that the economy tricks people into asking questions...which the Democratic senators can't readily answer.

Things are fairly screwed up and folks ask about how & why the Democratic machine prioritized a bunch of things that had nothing to do with the economy in 2009 and 2010. Now? The best strategy is to bring Operation "Michelle" to shift gears?

This is kinda like when your mechanic keeps telling you about the repair job to keep your 15-year old car running, but avoiding the cost factor. When he finally admits it's $3k...then you go home, drink two six-packs of Pabst to forget your woes and the next day...you junk the old car and smile at the mechanic who kept hinting of better days ahead.

The Best Friend

There's a great article out of USA Today that went into an emotional moment with the death of pets. It laid out this modern change in society that has occurred over the past couple of decades. Pets aren't pets anymore. They are our immortal friends that we can't mention to husbands, wives, co-workers, sons, daughters, parents, neighbors or our best associates.

There are people today that have developed this bond for their dog or cat....and frankly, it's the only true relationship that is balanced (all in favor of the cat or dog).

I had an associate once point out that when older relatives come to visit for weeks or months....you start to have issues. Your bonding to that older relative isn't quiet the same. When you do special things for them....you really don't put significant regard to the quality.

My associate then pointed out that as our pets grow older and fall into this same category....we readily volunteer to drive five miles to pick up special dog bones for our 10-year old collie. Or we spend an hour combing the ten-year old cat because it's the right thing to do.

When the older cat begs for attention, we readily provide it because they've given something in return that isn't measurable. When the old dog begs for a walk in the middle of snow, we get up and do it without thinking.

Our pet is more than a pet. They've become a friend that we can't imagine being without. We won't admit that to anyone.

So enjoy a good five minute read with USA Today and this article.

Out of Silver Bullets?

In the past six months...there's been five or six 2-star speeches by the President. I can't remember that many in the first year...but there are rather odd phrases given to fit into his strategy of the audience:

"Long before America was even an idea, this land of plenty was home to many peoples. The British and French, the Dutch and Spanish, to Mexicans, to countless Indian tribes. We all shared the same land."

I paused over this speech given in the last couple of days by the President to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

In terms of facts...Mexico (16 Sep 1810) came about over thirty years after the Declaration of Independence. It was a comical mention which kinda hints that the speech writers don't know much American history (or Mexican). If it sounds good....write it.

Then came this idea of the "shared land". You have to remember that it's one notion....one concept....one dream....and you fall into line with everyone else. You can claim some ethnic background, but at the end of the day....you are American, and nothing else.

As for the other players?

Well....they come from alot of places: Afghanistan, Akrotiri, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bassas da India, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bouvet Island, Brazil, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Christmas Island, Clipperton Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dhekelia, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Europa Island, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Gabon, Gambia, Gaza Strip, Georgia, Gemany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Glorioso Islands, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guernsey, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Holy See (Vatican City), Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jan Mayen, Japan, Jersey, Jordan, Juan de Nova Island, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, North Korea, South Korea, Kuwait, Krgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico, Micronesia, Federated States of Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Navassa Island, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paracel Islands, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn Islands, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reunion, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Spain, Spratly Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Svalbard, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tromelin Island, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Virgin Islands, Wake Island, Wallis and Futuna, West Bank, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia, & Zimbabwe.

The key feature here is that we've got alot of special folks and we tend not to give out that many special waivers or favors. If we started doing that, then we'd need to raise up the Tonga flag on 8 November, or the Sao Tome flag on 21 December.

As for the poor speech decline? I would speculate that the bucket of great speech material has been mostly used up by the President. At this point....he probably has five or six four-star speeches left between now and November of 2012. I'd probably lessen my engagement plan and try to save up....because every speech that folks find in a humorous way....it's a strike against you.