Yesterday, my favorite site on the internet, the National UFO Reporting Center, did my favorite thing: it updated its database of self-reported UFO sightings, and the 76 new entries it has added now make for a total of 436 sightings in 2018. The database itself is a fairly bare-bones affair, consisting mostly of anonymous accounts of weird stuff, many of which even the NUFORC thinks are people messing with them. But sometimes, the NUFORC posts something genuinely baffling, such as this video taken by a man in Pasadena featuring small white objects in the sky that don’t really look like planes or birds or anything. Could the man have just been taking a video of floating balloons or something like that? Yeah, probably, but it’s way more fun to just let the strangeness of it all — including the fact witness’s report notes that he took a break from UFO watching to play Pokémon Go — wash over you.
Relatedly, the theoretical physicist and author Michio Kaku — aka one of the pioneers of string theory — has been making the rounds plugging his new book The Future of Humanity, and recently took to Reddit to do an AmA in which he was asked to speculate what might happen if we ever made contact with aliens. In his answer, he wrote that he wouldn’t be surprised if we made “contact” of some sort with an extraterrestrial civilization “within this century.” Kaku’s answer, however, came with the caveats that A) even if we received a radio message from an alien civilization, it takes a really long time for radio waves to travel vast distances in space so if we responded it might take a while for our message and get back to them, and B) any alien civilization capable of “land[ing] on the White House lawn and announc[ing] their existence” probably wouldn’t bother doing so, because in order to travel to Earth they would need to be so much more technologically advanced than we were that they might not even recognize us as intelligent life.
I, personally, find Kaku’s comments fairly comforting — even if one of the NUFORC’s 436 UFO sightings were somehow legit, it’s nice to know that the aliens think we’re too dumb to destroy.