May 20, 2010

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

With So Many More Cameras Looking, Shouldn't We Have Proof Of Flying Saucers By Now?

Here's one for any physics PhDs with time on their hands.

If you watch the documentary on the Blu Ray extras for Close Encounters, Steven Spielberg makes a good argument for why he stopped believing in flying saucers. In the 21st century, high quality still and video cameras are so ubiquitous that surely by now someone would have captured the definitive image of an alien spacecraft if they were regularly visiting us. The fact that all we seem to get is shaky, pixellated footage of ballons, birds, planes and other convential objects, along with very obvious CGI fakes (and some sophisticated and less obvious fakes, as the technology and now-how becomes more commonplace), suggests we're not being visited. Certainly, not often.

But this is all a bit handwavy. Someone should be able to crunch some numbers on this. There could be figures out there for camera ownership (including mobile phones and so on), right? And camera "reach", in terms of resolution, optical zoom, light sensitivity and so on.

Match that against reported UFO sightings in certain areas (e.g., United States, UK) and see how many more pictures and videos we should expect to be getting compared to, say, 1960 in the same geographical areas. If UFO reports are roughly the same in number this decade as they were in the 60's, for the sake or argument, but 10 times as many people are carrying cameras that are at least as good as a handheld consumer camera from the 60's, should we not expect 10 times as many decent UFO pictures in the same elapsed time? And if cameras are better today - higher quality images with bigger resolutions, better zooms, wider lenses and do so on, then should we not be able to estimate how much clearer the UFOs in the pictures ought to be?

It should be possible to estimate our increased likelihood of getting that photo or video of a UFO that everyone's been waiting for, assuming they're real, of course.

Posted 10 years, 10 months ago on May 20, 2010