Plain English with Derek Thompson - UFOs and Aliens and Drones and Balloons: Understanding the U.S. Sky Wars

🎁Amazon Prime 📖Kindle Unlimited 🎧Audible Plus 🎵Amazon Music Unlimited 🌿iHerb 💰Binance


When you’re lost in the darkness, look for the Pod.

Specifically, The Prestige TV podcast on the ringer podcast Network where we’re breaking down every new episode of, HBO’s The Last of Us on Sunday nights, grab your battery, and join van lathe, and a Charles Holmes for an instant reaction to the latest episode.


Then, head back to the qz, on Tuesdays, for deep dive with Joanna, Robinson, and Mallory.

Rubin from character arcs to video game adaptation choices.

Story thieves to needle drops, will parse every inch of this cordyceps coated Universe.

Watch out for Mountain rules and follow along.

On Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.


Today why the u.s. keeps shooting stuff out of the sky and a reality check on UFOs.

Ever since the big white Chinese balloon floated across the ocean and into US airspace the United States is now shot down four objects over North American Skies.


The first one that balloon has landed in the waters off the coast of South Carolina.

We are currently harvesting.

It’s exploded remains for information about Chinese surveillance technology as for the other three.

Well we don’t know much the scattered remains are littered in the Arctic Ocean.


The Yukon territories.

Great Lakes and the government has not been entirely forthcoming.

The head of NORAD said the military didn’t fully understand the propulsion system, allowing these objects to stay in the air.

That’s a little weird and into that vacuum of weirdness and uncertainty conspiracy theories are flooding.


What isn’t the government telling us?

What kind of technology is floating around?

American Skies.

Is it American?

Is it Chinese Why is it human?

My personal take on UFOs is a little bit like my position on God.


I know that sounds weird but give me 30 seconds to run weird it.

So I’m an agnostic reform Jew.

I don’t know that I fully believe in God, I’m questioning, but I also don’t think anyone can be reasonably positive.


That God doesn’t exist.

The simple reason that we haven’t looked everywhere, we haven’t explained everything.


Yes, you can go back through time and show that many things that we associated with.

God were eventually explained by science.


He thought God made the sun rise and the moon and the stars.

We thought people could be possessed by angels and demons and then we discovered gravity and telescopes and the solar system and psychosis.

So, as we whittled away at God, claims a certain person could go through history and say what we use science and theories of a deterministic universe to explain the supernatural.


So that’s evidence that there is no higher power, but that’s not rational, just because previous supernatural.

Phenomena, have eventually been explained by science, doesn’t mean that every phenomenon is explainable.


If you find a thousand white swans, you haven’t proved that black swans.

Don’t exist.

And that’s how I feel about UFOs.

We have many, many, many, many historical reasons to be skeptical of UFO claims in our episode.


A few weeks ago on conspiracy theories, we talked about all these government programs, the last 70 years where the government would experiment with Aerial Technology, the public, would either C or recover.

Some of that Arrow Technology.

And the government wouldn’t say much.

And it would allow the public to think this was a UFO.


When, in fact, the government was just serving a geopolitical end.

You’re trying to keep secret projects out of the public eye.

If you think that sounds like a conspiracy theory or tin hatted, look up Project Blue Book.

You take this history of debunking possible UFOs.


And what does it actually add up to?

Like just because previous UFOs have been explained by humans and science doesn’t mean that every unidentified flying object is of our world.

Again, if you find a thousand white swans, you haven’t proved that black swans don’t exist.


Maybe you just haven’t found what’s really out there?

So, to tell the full story here from the balloon to the aerial, shoot out to the UFO freak out from the real story of roswell’s.

Flying saucer to today’s alien Watch Dogs, we’ve got two guests.


Coming up first is former Atlanta correspondent and sub stack writer James, Fallows on the Chinese spy balloon, and it’s aftermath.

I know we’ve got science writer and noted.

Extraterrestrial skeptic Mick.

West talking about UFOs.

You ap’s, aliens and evidence.


I’m Derek Thompson.

This is plain English.


Jim Fallows.

Welcome back to the show a Derek.

It’s always a pleasure and an honor to speak with you.

I want to start by taking us back, a few weeks to the Chinese spy balloon, kicked off, this whole trend of America shooting stuff out of the sky.

You know, as much about about China and Chinese American relations as anybody that I know give me your summary of what you think happened here.


So the reaction on the US side to which I had immediate, and total skepticism was the idea that this was some Chinese provocation.

They were giving the middle finger to the US.

They were showing their greatness etc.


And it seemed to me that much more likely explanation, given everything that seems to be true about China and true about this. - Ariel device is that this was a screw-up and the question was at what level was a screw-up?


Was it something that happened with the winds?

Just at the very tactical level was it?

Somebody within people’s Liberation Army, who had some big idea that they were going to do something about the you know, to sort of tone the United States?

Was it something?

Was it a miscalculation of the very highest level of Chinese leadership saying?


Okay, we’re going to, you know, show a new thing we can do.

There are instances of all those things and past Chinese history.

But Mainly it seemed to me this was going to make China and up looking clownish as I think it did.

And so at what level did he clownish Nest?


As opposed to the Menace start on the Chinese side.

It’s only possible at the level at which the mistake began is just the direction of winds.

I was fairly persuaded by one of your reports in your sub stack that you look at wind currents and the weather patterns that were present in North America at the time.


Including a little bit of a polar vortex and that might be sufficient to explain how a, Chinese spy balloon that might have been a legitimate, Chinese spy balloon, trying to take pictures of something in Guam, or who knows who I blew off course and ended up in Montana.


Tell us a little bit about how the winds might have played a key role here so there’s a there’s a general point about wins and the way they would affect this us and Chinese surveillance which is that the way the winds blow around the earth, which is almost everywhere In the northern hemisphere west to east, means that it’s very easy for countries on the Pacific like China or Russia to send balloons across the u.s. or Canada because that is where the wind would take them.


And it’s very difficult for the u.s. to do that with China because you’d have to be launching them around Moscow or someplace.

They have the wind blow them over China and get them over Tibet and all the rest.

So it was not surprising that you had this drift Westward from the Montana area, too.


South Carolina across the United States.

The particular anomaly that wasn’t clear on day, one or two, but that lots of weather experts than wrote in was that the time when the balloon made it fateful menacing Crossing starting in Montana coincided with one of the coldest moments in recorded history on the US East Coast Coast when all this cold air from the Canadian from the Arctic and Canada came down.


Much further, south than normal and there’s been a excellent Real reason series of pieces in the Washington Post where they’ve had both security reporters and meteorologists saying that it appears this balloon might have been launched someplace, you know, on the offshore in China and been intended for Guam.


And something kicked at way up far, north towards the Aleutian Islands and then something pushed it way far south down to the us.

And that same thing that brought temperatures of minus 100 degrees or something like that to Mount Washington in.

In New England, may have been the same mass of air that pushed this balloon down to the US.


So to me, that seems the most likely scenario.

Now we shoot down the balloon off the coast of South Carolina and in a matter of days us surveillance goes from seeing one balloon in the sky to seeing suddenly a constellation of crazy, weird flying objects that we start shooting down.


How would you explain what happened?

How did our radar technology surveillance technology.

She go from seeing one thing to suddenly seeing all these things that needed to be taken down.

Well, there is, of course, the possibility that new things are coming from space and so we don’t want to say, that’s that’s impossible.


I once worked for Jimmy Carter who, among his many accomplishments was sort of a UFO interested about person.

It seems to me that much more likely hypothesis.

Is that radar to work?

Has to be tuned.


There is so much stuff that radar could be bouncing off that, it’s, it’s very much.

Like, if you’re driving across country, trying to Find a radio station on your on your car radio back when there were car radios and you would have AC course can button.


It would skip around because there’s so many very weak and Scratchy and non legible stations that it can’t really focus on.

So it finds the ones that are worth looking at radar works very much the same way something that I hadn’t realized until I saw a radar.


You know in airplane cockpits is that if you’re looking at the ground many times it seems like there’s all kinds of of crap in front of you and it can be birds and they can be dust and it can be smoke from a forest fire can be all sorts of things.

So radar has always had to be tuned to be able to separate signal from noise, and generally military Radars that if something is moving at a velocity of 0 KT, relative to the prevailing are and if it’s so small we can hardly see it and it’s made out of plastic.


So there’s nothing bouncing back.

We’re not going to pay attention to that because we’re looking at something. 500 knots and made out of metal as coming from Russia, Etc.

So I think Suddenly It’s recalibrating and you see all these things.

As if you’re bringing a microscope or a telescope or binoculars into focus and seeing things that were always there just hadn’t been looking for them.


It reminds me and this is not a radar analogy, but it reminds me of how after you watch a scary movie that involves a demon in your house, suddenly you become hypersensitive to all of these little creaky.

Ooh, sounds in your house that are just a normal part of the event of living inside of a house.


That’s a bunch of would put on top of more wood houses Creak that is their nature.

But when you are primed to be highly sensitive to those Creeks, suddenly, it feels like there are just demons behind every single closet, and from a sort of radar surveillance perspective, it seems like we were spooked.


We got spooked by a balloon.

We started to retune our Radars to look for more demonic balloons.

And as a result, we have, Finding what and what might very well have been a lot more balloons.

Is it is that the general picture of things?


Yes, I think that’s an excellent way to put it in.

Plain language as one might say in plain English.

So yes, there’s a things that have always been there.

It was all sorts of things in our ambient environment that we just our senses to tune out because we know they’re always there then they’re not worth paying attention to.


Here’s another sort of data point for people to Bear In Mind One.

Reason that weather forecasting has become as accurate as it is is that the u.s. is putting up.

These weather balloons all over the place.

There are hundreds or thousands of them per day.

So if you’re flying around a little planes as I’ve done, you see these things and you just know they’re part of the landscape.


They go up, they come down, suddenly they are these ominous threats and we had a couple of days in the u.s. of oh oh the Chinese are coming with their balloons and the Chinese actually I’ll just mention they went through an interesting sort of political.


In the cycle on their own and nationally.

When the u.s. is saying oh the Chinese is are coming, they’re threatening us.

The Chinese were saying sort of forelock tugging.

We didn’t mean this as with mistake you can see that the wind currents they have recently shifted in two ways.


One is to say oh the u.s. is really beating up on us.

You know, they’re becoming so mean and aggressive.

And now they’ve gone back to sort of the Marco Rubio position which is yes, the u.s. is showing its weakness by over.

Reacting to these balloons.

So it’s been, there’s been sort of Dynamics on the politics are both sides.


I want to keep a couple of ideas in the air one.

Is that in the air, we just had a very strange meteorological event.

That blew a balloon into Montana.

There was a national freak out.

Republicans got on Biden.

He felt like he had to shoot a lot more balloons out of the sky Americans, and the absence of information about what exactly these things were started.


Freaking out about aliens.

And we’ve just spooked ourselves into believing that we are surrounded by alien aircraft.

That is one.


It is also the case though that we are entering a generation of warfare of military technology where these kind of aerial Technologies.


Unmanned aerial Technologies.

Things like drones are going to be a bigger part of the picture and it’s conceivable that around the u.s. off the coast of California.

Maybe potentially 60,000 feet 70,000 feet in the air.

It’s possible.


There are drones.

Jones and balloon type devices that are spying on us.

I mean, we know satellites are spying on us and in low orbit but it might also be the case that that the drones and these kind of balloons, just going to be a part of our of our existence.


The next few years is that right?

Well, I very much agree with that and I think it’s worth distinguishing in the scenario you present, which I think is entirely plausible nation’s spy on each other.

All the time, everything you were sort of putting into digital.


Warm, somebody is likely to intercept at some point for aerial surveillance.

There are different altitudes of significance.

There is very high altitude, surveillance from satellites, which are extremely precise and sophisticated for some things, for for photography, and all the rest.

And for heat signatures, there are things that are very close to the ground, for example, at zero feet of elevation, where you have actual spies or people driving around at a couple thousand feet, a couple hundred to a couple thousand feet where drones can fly.


It’s It’s difficult for quote.

Enemy unquote, drones to operate in the u.s. right now because they are pretty easy to, to detect for the FAA and the rest.

So, the question is, what at this intermediate altitude from say, 40,000 feet to 60,000 feet, where these balloons go, what else they might get.


And so at face value, it doesn’t seem that there is that much more they might get from that altitude.

But conceivably, you know, there is.

And that’s presumably, what the u.s. is now looking for, with what?

For it is fishing out of the waters out of this off South Carolina, right?

Yeah, exactly.


I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater here and say that even though there are aspects of this story that are kind of ridiculous and the u.s. may have overreacted and we might be having a freakout about balloons that are not in fact alien technology, it still is the case that there’s people who are worried might be directionally accurate about the idea.


These aerial objects are going to play a larger part of our future, especially if relations between China, And America continue to be this chilly, Jim Fallows.

Thank you very, very much Derek.

It’s a pleasure, thanks so much.

Thanks to you.

That was former Atlanta correspondent and sub stack writer James Fallows.


Next up.

We’ve got the science writer and noted.

Extraterrestrial skeptic, Mick West, Nick West.

Welcome to the show.

Thank you.

Very glad to be here.

Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Well, I’m an investigator of UFO videos is my main interest of the moment, but my background is that, I used to be a video game programmer about nearly 20 years ago now and after Tired from that industry.


I just got interested in investigating all kinds of strange, claims things like conspiracy theories, the Supernatural and UFOs and now here I am I want to situate the story of the last week in the broader history of UFOs in America, which I guess we now have to call you AP is unidentified aerial phenomena.


Let’s go back to perhaps the first most famous incident in US history.

July 8 1947 Roswell Army, Airfield issues, a press release stating, they have recovered a flying disk which is sometimes reported as a flying saucer this Roswell incident lives on in pop culture.



It has become synonymous with aliens and UFOs.

Remind us what we actually learned here.

What actually happened in Roswell, that might be important for understanding of what’s happened the last week.

Well, I think Roswell is a great example of what, in UFO lajiye, I call the low information.


CERN, the initial reports that came out of Roswell were very mixed.

You know, first of all, those were reports of something crashing and then later there was a report of a Flying Saucer being recovered and then there was all kinds of conflicting information.

There was out there.

And the reason that there was all this conflicting information is that it was essentially a military event and the military is never very forthcoming about what they are actually doing.


You have a very good reason.

And at the time, of course, it was kind of in the start of the Cold War.

And there were lots of concerns about Russian intelligence and finding things out.

And as it turns out what the Roswell event actually, Ali was was in fact a balloon.


It was a crashed, essentially a like a weather balloon, but it was a scientific balloon.

There was used for a project called project Mogul, which basically was listening for the sounds of nuclear explosion explosions in the atmosphere.


And so it is a very sensitive project and so the military’s interest was in not revealing what was actually going on.

So I think at the time they were fairly happy to just let the speculation about Aliens and UFOs actually run rampant.

And so we just really had this massive confusion around the event, which is something that we see today with military UFO encounters.


And so for the last 70 or 80 years and especially during the Cold War, this has become a theme, the military isn’t forthcoming and people Americans come to believed in alien UFOs, not because these flying objects or aerial phenomena use the inexplicable technology but rather because they use secret technology that the government doesn’t necessarily want people to know about.


It is that right?

Yeah, it’s really the governmental rather than military by default will not tell you what they are doing and there are things that are probably very straightforward.

That can be, very explained, very easily that have become these famous UFO cases, that we just simply don’t know about because it contains something that’s a little bit sensitive.


He doesn’t even mean it’s something that’s amazing.

And a lot of the time we hear rumors about supposed advanced technology, the It has been observed that we never actually see that information.

And it’s a lot of the times when it does come out, what these things actually were, it turns out, it wasn’t that events.


After all, it was just something that they didn’t want to talk about it.

Like they don’t want to talk about the type of Radars.

Are they use?

For example, which is a really boring thing for most people compared to flying saucers, but it’s something the military wants to keep covered up.

So we get this kind of this area in which rumors and speculation can grow just because the Military doesn’t want to talk about things that are actually fairly boring and before we get into the news of the week, I want to make a point that might be obvious to many people explicit, you would agree that two things can be simultaneously.


True on the one hand, The Government Can Be consistently unforced coming.

If that’s a word, The Government Can consistently lie or withhold information from the public which increases the Public’s belief?

That there are UFOs that are not actually alien technology at all.


They’re either you Technology or maybe some other countries technology that we don’t necessarily want to share with the public.

That could be true, but also it can be true.

That aliens exist that extraterrestrial intelligence exists, that at some point in the last year. 50 years, 1000 years, we have been visited by alien aircraft that we either didn’t pick up or perhaps.


I did see and don’t fully understand that we saw right?

These two things can both be true.


Yes, absolutely.

Yeah, there’s nothing about the absence of evidence that proves definitively that we haven’t been visited by by alien visitors.


It could.

Well be that you know perhaps they’ve come once or twice you know very small number of times.

It does seem though that the absence of evidence the lack of good photographs, good videos or highly corroborated eyewitness testimony does indicate that they’re not very common if they are visiting If alien spaceships were in fact, whizzing around every single day, then we would eventually expect to see them but yes, it’s entirely possible.


It’s entirely possible.

You can’t rule it out that the aliens May well have a visitors.

Aliens May well be visiting us right now and just be very, very stealthy about what they are doing.

But the real Point here is that there isn’t any good evidence of that.

And many of the things that we assume to be evidence upon investigation, 10 turn out to be explained by, oh, that’s a glare or oh, that’s a balloon.


And we will get to some examples of that.

But let’s dive right into the news of the week.

The government once again, in the last week, after shooting, down these three other objects has been less than forthcoming.

What do we know for sure, as of Thursday afternoon about what these objects we’ve shot down, our Well, we know very much about the first object which is this very large balloon.


We know that it was a Chinese balloon, the Chinese admitted a search and we know that it had surveillance information surveillance equipment on it.

So we know it was essentially a spying balloon.

We think that it was originally heading for Hawaii or Guam and it got blown off course.


And it was not actually intentionally sent over the United States, and we know that, you know, a large balloon.

Like, that is not very stealthy.

It’s something you could basically really see with the naked eye as a white dot and certainly through binoculars.

And is it something that would have shown up on radar?

So it wasn’t a stealthy, spy balloon, we know then, that after that, we had three other incidents, all of which appear to be consistent with balloons and have been described by various people including Chuck Schumer as being balloons, and we know that they move it at AirSpeed, when they just drift along, they’re not transmitting anything.


And we know that, at least one of them looked like, in mylar balloon.

It was Described as being a silvery balloon with a small payload underneath it, which is probably something like a picot balloon which is a hobbyist radio balloon, where they try to send a radio as far around the world as they can.


So this may well have been something that’s been around the world twice and just happen to be flying over Yukon the time.

It was shot down and, and I think we also know that it’s perhaps a bit of an overreaction.

We spent a lot of money shooting On these balloons.


Now, the first one you could make an argument that it’s Justified, we want to recover this surveillance equipment, but the other three do not appear to have any real justification for shooting them down.

There are lots of balloons in the air.

There are lots of other objects in the air like large, birds that we don’t shoot down all the time that that provide about the same threats to Aviation, but we still spent about a million dollars shooting down each of these three balloons which is perhaps an over reaction.


In the days after we shut down these uavs and maybe they were balloons representative.

Jeff Jackson, North Carolina published his own report of what he understood.

And he said that the three uavs that have been shot down.

Since that initial Chinese balloon were all Quote, fundamentally different from the Spy balloon.


They were smaller.

They were flying much lower about 20 to 30,000 feet above the ground rather than the first balloon.

Which was which reached an altitude of about 60,000 feet, you know?

Almost you know twice’s as high as a typical domestic Airline would fly.


He also said that while one of them had a shape and size that was consistent with the balloon, the other two were more like the size of an ATV or a four-wheeler which means they’re small and they’re hard to see.

Have those initial reports been corrected, or are you describing something that is consistent with represent Representatives.


Jackson’s reports.


The that size of an object, something about the size of a small car, is you, what a pilot might describe the size as being balloons are very hard to judge their size.

If you all, you’ve got is centrally as a sphere that you can see in midair and you don’t know how far away it is.


And you’re zipping along at 300 to 500 plus miles per hour in your fighter jet.

You can’t actually get too close of it for fear of collision.

So you’ve got basically, this small thing off in the distance, very, very difficult to judge.


Lee how big it is.

And a lot of these balloons like hobbyists balloons are of a size about, you know, three feet in diameter weather, balloons.


Get are quite a bit larger but still not, you’re not that much larger than a say, a small SUV for example.

But yes, this is certainly consistent with just regular balloons of the wide variety of types that we expect to see in the and very different, obviously, from the initial balloon, which was 200 feet wide.


We’re talking, About things that are much smaller, perhaps just a few feet wide, very good theories about where these balloons came from.

You said that some of them are hobbyists balloons.

I mean, can we rule out the possibility that this is just like some guy in Pennsylvania?

Some, some person and Iowa who just has a fascination with balloons and radar technology that just launched something that’s been floating around for a bit or do we have reason to think given this kind of equipment that they’re more likely to have been launched by a foreign government?


Well, there’s no rush, The indication that there’s any sophisticated equipment on these, these balloons, you know, one was described as being a metallic balloon with a mylar balloon with a small payload beneath it and that’s actually suspected to be a specific balloon that someone in the United States launched and that went around the world and kind of came back around over the United States that time and it stopped transmitting radio information at the same time that this other balloon probably the same balloon, we shot down.


So there’s a very good case to be made that it’s likely.

This particular Pico Balloon by just a radio hobbyist, the other two, like we don’t really have any good information about what they are, but we do know that there are literally thousands of balloons up in the sky at any one time of a large size and probably a tens of thousands.


If not more of the smaller type of costume.

Party balloons, get released constantly all the time.

We can’t figure out exactly what they are but there’s no real reason to spect them as being the farias.

I think one of the politicians came out of the briefing suggesting there are things like parked car sales lot, ballooned your promotional balloons that might have just got loose, things like that.


And that’s perhaps a silly example, but it’s the type of thing that does happen.

Balloons get lit.

Let into the sky, just for random reasons.

And there’s also a lot of scientific problems like universities and research organizations and scientific organizations released Balloons to study things, like upper level winds and pollution in the upper air and radio transmissions, and things like that.


So it’s lots and lots of benign explanations for what we might be seeing.

But of course, it might also be something that was released by a foreign adversary.

Russia or China to do things like test our defenses or test.

What might happen if a balloon gets blown over the United States and I guess they’ve got their answer now.


I don’t have perfect information about what exactly we shut down.

You’re not saying that you have perfect information about what we shut down, but it certainly seems like if the federal government has a certain confidence or a certain degree of confidence that we shot down are essentially a bunch of relatively unsophisticated balloons.


I’m not sure why that point hasn’t been made more clear to the American public.

Because once again, I think the administration or the government’s instinct to withhold information, Information from the public about you, AP Are UFOs.

He’s creating a space, creating a vacuum into which conspiracy theories are running, but, you know, maybe just one announcement from President Biden.


It says, look, we shot down this Chinese balloon.

We had a conversation with the Chinese government and said, be careful about your balloons being swept into US, airspace even if it’s by by wind, we change the way that we’re using our Radars.

We got more noise compared to Signal.


We shot down some stuff that we don’t think you should be.

About please everyone.

Get on with your lives, hug your family, have your dinner, go to the movies.

This is not one of the 1,000, most important things you to care about.

Again, we don’t have all the information.

So maybe there’s a very good reason why the government hasn’t done that, but it seems to me, the government should have done that nice.


I think they kind of largely have.

It’s just kind of a mixed message that is coming out.

I think there’s a degree of they overreacted after these the first balloon and they started shooting down every single thing that popped up.

Upon their new newly, configured radar, if they continue doing that, they’ll be shooting down like a couple balloons every single day.


So I think it’s better.

Billions of dollars a year.

Shooting down a bunch of Escape used car, lot balloons.

Yeah, so I think that probably realize that the those three balloons were a bit of an overreaction and the probably detected a bunch of more balloons since then decided just to let them go on their merry way because they really are not a threat to Aviation, because it’s a very big sky and balloons and planes are very small and the Changes of collision are vastly smaller than probably hitting a flock of birds.


So I, and I think, you know, they basically said, don’t worry about it, it’s not aliens, is there’s nothing to be concerned about, there’s no threat to the American public.

They just haven’t really given the the full accounting of exactly what happened.

And I think partly is, that’s because they’re reluctant to do, so they can use the excuse that it was a threat to, to Aviation, but that’s really not a particularly good one for spending.


A million dollars every time you detect, a balloon flying over the country.

In the last few years, you published a lot of Articles and YouTube videos.

Debunking various famous sightings sightings.

That might be more likely to be inexplicable and more likely to be extraterrestrial certainly than a couple balloons that have fallen now and the Yukon and Great Lakes.


I want to ask you about the famous gimbal video if that’s okay.

If people haven’t seen this I’d encourage them to check out the video.

It is maybe it just a couple seconds long.

And just to describe it briefly, for those of you that don’t want to stop the podcast, the gimbal video taken by Navy, pilots and shows a dark object roughly shaped like a top or a dreidel skimming over the clouds turning over its end in a way that seems to defy aerodynamics like at some point.


It seems to pause in midair, despite winds around it, that are swirling and about the equivalent of 130 miles per hour.

What do you think this video is showing?

I think it shirt.

Well, first of all, it’s an infrared video which means it’s showing heat.

It’s not showing what the pilots could actually see with the Naked Eyes.


I think what it’s showing is a distant hot object, possibly something like a distant Jet Plane, that’s probably about 30 miles away.

And what about actually see on the video, the shape that what you described as a header a doll or a flying saucer or a spinning top is just the glare from the hot engine.



And we know from various previous cases that when a plane is very far away and you train an infrared camera on it, then all you can see basically is the heat coming out of the engines and it spreads out in the same way as when you look at the sun.


All you can see is a giant glare even though the sun is actually relatively small in the sky.

So we’re seeing a glare of a hot engine and the interesting thing about it, of course, is that it appears to do this, amazing rotation and kind of stand on its end.

But we did some investigation about on medibank my website and it turns out that the rotation of the object exactly matches.


The rotation of the camera that is required, which seems like an odd thing, I mean, why is the camera rotating?

But the way the camera is mounted, its own one of these targeting pods which look like a little torpedo that’s underneath the wing of the plane.

And it’s got a camera that looks kind of like, you know, one of those pan tilt Zoom cameras that you see security cameras, but the way it’s mounted It means you can’t actually track something from left to right without rotating.


So this camera actually has to rotate and especially has to rotate when it crosses over the forward Direction and because it rotates the image rotates inside the camera, and the pilot doesn’t want this rotation.

He wants to stir the the picture to look like what he sees out the window.


So there’s another mechanism inside the camera that just rotates the image, the right way, back up but the end result, the end result of all this rotation Is the any glare that you get in the image will end up rotated because the camera is rotated but the globe doesn’t rotate.


And then the D rotation rotates it back which makes the glare rotate.

It’s all very complicated and difficult to get a grasp on how she despised here because this last Point people can actually do a home project to see what you’re talking about.

If you have a iPhone or you have some smartphone any phone with a camera and you are filming a glare say coming off of the table.


And you turn that phone 360° around and then and then stop it.

And watch the video.

What you’ll see is that everything in the video will rotate 360 degrees but the glare seems to roughly stay in place which looks like it’s hovering in midair and doing something that is quite alien.


You’re saying this is simply a function of the rotating nature of the infrared.

Camera catching a glare in the distance.



And you can definitely see this with a, just a simple phone.

The simplest way to duplicate, the shape of the glare is just a touch the lens of your camera, very gently with your finger.


And this will just create enough of a streakiness on the on the lens to make the grip glass spread out in a particular direction.

Then point your camera at a something like a flashlight or a bright light bulb and just rotate it and you will see this effect where the orientation of the glare rotates independently from the image and we think that’s basically what’s happening with this.


This this gimbal video that the perhaps the front window of the camera is a bit street from flying through clouds or something like that.

Or perhaps there’s some other thing inside, which contributes to the shape of the glare.

But there’s a, this is very strong.

Mathematical relationship between the rotation of the glare, and the angle, that’s required by the camera.


And there’s a bunch of other things as well.

You could actually see patterns of light in the background rotate at the same time as the object rotates.

And you can see little bumps before it starts to rotate, which is Maybe the engines of the, the role mechanism kicking in and you can see that it’s actually at the start of the video, when the plane Banks, the object orientation doesn’t blank bank, but the Horizon does, so it’s going to decouple from The Horizon.


It’s not part of the environment, all of which points to it.

Being just something in the camera.

I think, pretty much.

Yeah, I think 99% of the people who have looked at it in any depth will agree that this actually is a gloor and We’ve heard from the Pentagon, that they agree, that the, the orientation and the rotation of this object is in fact, a camera artifact.


This was cited in the New York Times and in ABC News both citing, unfortunately, Anonymous Pentagon sources, but that presumably with the New York Times, you know, they that their sources.

So it was a real person from The Pentagon basically agreeing with me.


I have friends who are fascinated by the phenomena of potential you APS and UFOs.

Who still look to the gimbal video is being potentially the best possible case that we have been visited by some kind of alien technology.

And I know that while everything you said sounded just so, so reminded and so intuitive and persuasive, I know that they’re not persuaded.


And one of the reasons they’re not persuaded, at least, as they explained it.

To me, is that we seem to have much.

Multiple Pilots staying that they’ve seen this phenomenon are on their radar from several directions which makes it less likely to have been the phenomenon created by a single planes infrared.


Camera rotating in such a way as to create this, dreidel like phenomenon.

What do you say to the fact that there are still pilots who seem similarly, sober-minded who are saying I’m not persuaded by this explanation.

We have multiple Navy pilot sources saying we saw something like this on this day.


Yeah well the issue there is I think it’s completing a whole bunch of different cases.

This one case the gimbal case was seen by two pilots in the there’s the two pilots flying the plane and they didn’t see anything with the naked eye, they saw something on the radar and they say they saw a fleet of things on the radar and then they pointed their infrared camera in that direction.


And then they saw this this one Rotating thing and it seems like the what the pointing out is a hot object and the rotation is part of the camera that doesn’t tell you anything, really about what the object actually, is it still might be something interesting.


It might be something like a distant plane or it might be something that’s closer.

That’s flying in a bizarre way.

They kind of defies the laws of gravity so you can’t tell.

But you know what?

The explanation of the rotation does.

Is it, it means that there’s now a plausible benign mundane explanation for it.


That’s that’s a potential explanation, but it doesn’t disprove the possibility that we’re still looking at something amazing.

Then of course, we’ve got all these other reports that have been happening around the same time.

If you listen to some of the people who talk about what was going on in that area of the on the East Coast, they were saying they were seeing things pretty much every day and if you seen something every day just explain One particular case doesn’t really explain anything about all the other cases.


Is there an outstanding mystery like an unexplained mystery?

An unknown?

That’s still out there, it is to your mind, the most interesting puzzle to solve in this space, something that you haven’t been able to look at and map out as you’ve done.


So expertly with the gimbal video and you’re still like, you know, I am not a deep believer in UFOs.

I don’t have a I want to believe poster necessarily in my bedroom, but like this is pretty weird.

Is there an example like that to you?


I think one of the best examples is the the Nimitz encounters and this was actually a series of events back in 2004 and it started out with lots of strange blips on the radar that we described as being groups of five objects moving from north to south at 100 miles per hour.


And then there was another event when they went out to investigate what these blips were where the pilots David flavor, and Alex Dietrich saw what they described as a white Tic-Tac shaped object making strange movements.

And mirroring their movements as as one went down to investigate it and then later on another pilot took a video of something kind of similar to the gimbal video in a way of what looks like a distant hot object.


And this, this is an event that has a lot of Mythology built up around it.

But the simple account of what the pilots saw is very much a bit of a mystery.

If, what they said was accurate, it’s something that was kind of defying the law.

Laws of physics but it could.


Well, be something where that operator, observe a misperception played a large role and then people conflate all the difference events within that there’s the video and then there’s the radar returns and then visual sightings if you assume those are all the same thing, it becomes really amazing.


But if you separate them out into individual things, the small parts of the same puzzle, but I think for me the biggest thing is, what did the pilot see that day?

What was This white object that seems to be a jumping around.

Was it something like just a significant illusion with something like a balloon?


Or was it something like a high-tech drone that have perhaps been launched from a submarine, like a missile type thing that was capable of advanced maneuvering?

So that’s very much unknown and it’s also something we’ll probably never figure out until maybe 50 years when the the the secrecy requirement is lifted because it’s one of those Things that hidden by the military in June 20, 21, the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence released, a famous report on you APS and it famously came to no conclusion about what many of these phenomenal were.


If it’s clear to you and to others that videos like gimbal represent highlights, mistaking and infra red glare or a flying object.

And it is in the interest of the government to dispel unhelpful rumors about alien aircraft.


Why didn’t the dni report come to any firm conclusion?

Well, I think that perhaps overstates the degree to, which is in the government’s interest to dispel rumors.

That’s not really a priority for them.

It’s not something where they, they follow Twitter and see what the latest talk is and then want to try to debunk it.


And their primary interest is in preserving National And so that’s always going to take precedence over everything else and they don’t comment on things.

Basically, they are they’ve said explicitly that if they investigate something like the gimbal video and they make a determination of what it is.


Then they will not tell us what they discover because the entire incident is covered by by National Security because of the advanced technology that is being used both in the the initial event and subsequent investigations as well.


So their default position is simply not to tell you what they found and we things like the gimbal, I don’t know what the object is.

So from my perspective, it’s still a UFO.

It’s something that’s identified.

It’s just not as as special as it was previously thought to be.


It is something that could very well be of mundane origin is not necessarily a advanced physics object, which he would be if it was actually rotating.

The metaphor that comes to mind is it’s like being a detective trying to solve an already complex crime where you have a certain degree of certainty, that the expert witness is going to lie to you, right?


Because the underlying facts of the case are often very confusing and require a lot of technology to pull apart.

You know, why is a dreidel spinning in space and seeming to defy the laws of gravity?

Oh well.

Maybe it’s because of the nature of the infrared camera and how its positioned on the plane.


Lane and then as you get deeper into the story and try to really figure out what do we know about this, perhaps the most important source of information has no clear interest in being withholding or excuse me.

Being transparent is withholding.

That seems to make our job and your job very difficult.


Yeah, I would kind of not not say it’s that they necessarily going to lie to you is more like the just don’t want to talk to you is if you have a witness who’s Brought up in a culture where snitching is not a thing that you do.


You just don’t want to talk to the police.

It’s kind of like that but in reverse, the military does not want to be very forthcoming about every single thing that it is doing to the general public.

It’s going to avoid lying wherever possible.

And the best way of doing that is simply by not saying anything at all.

Yeah, they that Source the investigation to us the public.


And I appreciate their out there on the front lines trying to help us understand these UAP and UFOs and strange phenomena Nick West.

Thank you very very much.

Thank you.

Thank you for listening.

Plain English is produced by Devon manzi.

If you like the show, please go to Apple podcast or Spotify, give us a five star rating.


Leave a review and don’t forget to check out our Tick-Tock at plain English underscore.

That’s it.

Plain English.

Or on Tik-Tok.