Excellent article from Nature:
In 1980′s we were still the middle of the cold war. A number of RAF bases in the UK were leased to the USA. Two of these were RAF Woodbridge and RAF Bentwaters which are a couple of miles apart near Ipswich in Suffolk. The 81st Fighter-Bomber Wing were based there and were equipped with both conventional and nuclear weapons.
In the early hours of December 26th 1980 (some accounts say 27th) two security guards at the East Gate spotted lights in Rendlesham Forest and thought they might come from a downed plane. The received permission to investigate but despite seeing more lights they could not find anything.
The next day the forest was checked again and some unexplained marks on trees and depressions in the ground were found. Two nights later USAF personnel went back out to investigate and again saw unidentified lights. They also measured radiation ten times the background level. The lights were chased through the forest and some report say they found an actual craft and that one of the commanders communicated with the occupants. There is an audio recording of the chase through the forest so there is no doubt that the USAF personnel saw something they could not explain that night.
This is the basics of the story however now some 33 years later the bits have been added, exaggerated, forgotten and confused. The incident has been investigated many times and all of the things seen have been explained as satellite debris re-entering the atmosphere, Orford Ness lighthouse, animal markings and a meteor.
Now, as you can see there is a walk around the area and it was interesting to go to somewhere you have read about it and has prompted me to do some more reading up on the case. When I have done so I will post some more thoughts on the case.
If you wondered what today’s google doodle was about. Rosalind Franklin, DNA scientist, celebrated by Google doodle | Technology | guardian.co.uk.
Amazon have been told off by the ASA for ‘Melanie’s Marvelous Measles’ book description!
QED…. Question Explore Discover
I have not posted as much as I do sometime cos I have been trying to catch up on book 3 after a weekend away. With my wife and my best mate I went to Manchester for the 3rd QED Convention (www.qedcon.org). When the tickets become available I would highly recommend it to everyone. The weekend is a conference for skeptical and critical thinking and always has a lot of science speakers. You might not agree with everyone that speaks but they are always fascinating. This year the line up was….
Stevyn is a former member of the Met Police Problem Solving Unit, which developed creative and innovative approaches issues that did not respond to traditional policing methods. He is an expert on problem-oriented policing has lectured extensively throughout the UK and US. Stevyn is also an artist, writer and contributor to the popular TV series QI.
Helen is a physicist and oceanographer. She regularly gives talks around the country as well as working on several projects for television and radio, most recently appearing on Dara Ó Briain’s Science Club. She has also appeared in several documentaries for the BBC including Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey, Operation Icebergand The Transit of Venus part of the Horizon strand.
She is currently working on her own series on bubbles to be broadcast on BBC4 in 2013. Helen is also Honorary President of Winchester Skeptics.
Richard is a household name in science, with best-selling books likeThe Greatest Show on Earth and The Selfish Gene firmly establishing him as one of the most recognisable evolutionary biologists and science writers in the world. Never afraid to be seen as outspoken or controversial, Richard has made it his mission to teach evolution to the masses and root out religious dogma or magical thinking.
Rachael is a full time researcher in heart disease and a Vice President of the Australian Skeptics. Working alongside past QED speaker Richard Saunders as part of the Mystery Investigators, Rachael has brought critical thinking to classrooms across Australia. With a primary interest in pseudomedicine and quackery, Rachael has regularly spoken out in the media against the anti-vaccination movement in Australia.
Natalie Haynes is an English comedian and writer, having performed stand-up comedy since 1994. Her book The Ancient Guide To Modern Life examines what lessons the civilisations of Rome and Greece can teach society today. Natalie has written for The Guardian, The Timesand The Independent, as well as having contributed essays to The Atheist Guide To Christmas and Serenity Found – a book about Joss Whedon’s cult sci-fi show Firefly.
Recently described by Daniel Dennett as deserving to be included in the original Four Horsemen grouping, Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist and Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration. He is also director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, a leading centre for research and outreach on origins issues, from the beginnings of the universe, to human origins, to the origins of consciousness and culture.
He is the author of several bestselling books, including The Physics of Star Trek and A Universe from Nothing.
Mark is an environmental activist and author, whose books Six Degrees and The God Species detail the effect of man-made climate change on the global ecosystem. In 2009 he was appointed advisor on climate change to the President of the Maldives and was involved in the Maldives’ effort to be the first carbon neutral country on Earth. He is a frequent speaker around the world on climate change science and policy.
Brooke is a scientist and author, whose book The Sex Myth examines sociological research in the effects of adult entertainment and sex work. Perhaps best known for her alternate persona Belle De Jour, Brooke is a popular public speaker on the themes of biometric and forensic science, sexualisation and popular culture, and internet anonymity and identity.
Carrie is an actress and performer whose podcast Oh No! Ross and Carrie investigates fringe claims from within, to meet with believers and proponents on their own terms. Past investigations have seen Carrie convert to Mormonism and Raelianism, as well as engaging in numerous pseudomedical practices.
Adam is a science broadcaster, author, and in his own words ‘professional geek’.
Adam has presented several documentaries for the BBC; In The Gene Code he explored the decoding of the human genome while The Cellinvestigated the scientific quest to discover the secrets of the cell. He has also presented the episode Playing God as part of the Horizonseries, and several programmes on BBC Radio 4.
Adam writes for The Guardian as well a being a full time editor at the science journal Nature.
His new book Creation: The Story of Life on Earth and How We Are About to Start It Again will be published in 2013.
Richard Saunders is one of the stars of the Australian ‘psychic’ TV game show The One. He is best know to UK audiences as presenter of the popular Skeptic Zone podcast, and as president of the Australian Skeptics NSW. You might also have seen him in Home and Away
Rose Shapiro is a writer and journalist, whose became interested in alternative medicine while working as a health writer for women’s magazines. Her interest led to the book Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools Of Us All, which details the harm done by a wide range alternative medicine practitioners and the dangers posed by pseudomedicine.
Difficult to pick out highlights but for those with a scientific view rather than a skeptical view I would say Adam Rutherford (fascinating talk on evolution), Lawrence Krauss (his talk was on how we decide the shape of the universe), Helen Czerski (science toys, eating jelly beans when holding your nose, spinning raw eggs and hard boiled eggs to identify which is which) and Mark Lynas (how he changed from an anti-gm food person to pro-gm food). Natalie Haynes can put more words into 45 mintes than anyone else I have ever heard and Brooke Magnanti thinks Billie Piper did a brilliant job playing her in ‘Secret Diary Of A Call Girl’. If anyone wants more info on a specific speaker (and please check the QED website as I have not included all the people involved), if I saw them and can remember I will elaborate!