Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Roswell Slides - A Brief Recap

Curt Collins, over at his blog has posted a recap of the Roswell Slides history. Rather than repost it here, or to rewrite it (with his permission, of course) I thought the easiest course would be to link to it. It is an interesting recap and covers what we know to this point. For those who wish to read it, you  can find it here:

And yes, we are all playing into the hands of those who will be presenting the information on May 5 in Mexico City, but what the heck, there are tens of thousands interested in this.


Bob Koford said...

Up to now I haven't said anything, but I would like to say what I see, now that I've actually looked at it.

First of all, from the base of the table the creature is on, downward is a highly polished wall. The creature is behind a window, as well as in a tube. The person who took the photo used a flash, which you can see reflecting in the window. Therefore, the woman who's legs we see is the photographer. The camera seems to be held about stomachs high.

The stone wheels with the crossbar, in the background, should be a good clue as to what manner of place this is.

For what its worth, obviously

Bob Koford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drake Gilliland said...

If I can be honest here everyone..

At this point I'm just waiting it to come out that it was taken from an Italian, Chilean or Eastern European science fiction movie from the 1960s

cda said...

Maybe is wasn't taken on earth at all. How's that for an original idea?

Curt Collins said...

Thanks, Kevin for the kind words and for sharing the link to the article. There's a lot more drama and details, but I just wanted to focus on the slides themselves.

Bob Kosford makes some good points about the glass case, but I think he'll modify his evaluation when he examines the second slide. The woman is not in that version, and the base of a cabinet can be seen where she was standing. That indicates that it is not her reflection in the case, and that the photographer was someone else.

Also, I'm fairly certain the glass case is angular, not tubular, most likely rectangular. There's also a difference of lighting or exposure between the two slides, and the way that affects the case and the objects around it will help determine more about where it was photographed.

Michael Mu said...

Blurry Lines??? Oo

Similar to that:



David Rudiak said...

Bob Koford wrote:
First of all, from the base of the table the creature is on, downward is a highly polished wall. The creature is behind a window, as well as in a tube. The person who took the photo used a flash, which you can see reflecting in the window. Therefore, the woman who's legs we see is the photographer. The camera seems to be held about stomachs high. The stone wheels with the crossbar, in the background, should be a good clue as to what manner of place this is.

Hi Bob. I see it differently. It looks like the woman is clearly BEHIND the display, with her center hidden by the display and feet/dress/wood floor showing underneath at bottom, and perhaps a little of her showing at the top.

What you are interpreting as a reflection of the flash looks like the reflections of room lights rather than a flash bulb. I've thought there is maybe a reflection of the photographer, a blurry blob at top center. (If the hi-res, clear version is released, maybe there is a chance an actual picture of the photographer can be brought out, which would at least might settle who took the picture.)

Not sure what the stone wheel is.

The whites vertical bar with holes in it near the head looks like standard square telescopic steel tubing I see everywhere, with 1 inch hole separation. This is a good ruler for scaling and gives a length to the body of approximately 3 feet.

Behind the vertical bar could be someone else with their back to the camera, like a man in a dark suit, looking at another exhibit. (could easily be wrong about that) I have to say, this does look more like a museum setting with multiple displays, with the woman wearing a civilian dress, not a nurse's white uniform.

Bob Koford said...

Thanks Curt and David, for the feedback.

This evening I thought of yet one other item to ponder, possibly.

I stopped thinking in terms of close quarters and instead considered the the possibility of a rather large zoom-lens being used. In other words the photographer was actually quite a distance away from the subject, and is using a huge ...or medium even) zoom-lens.

Any thoughts on that?

Bob Koford said...

Sorry. but I thought of two more questions.

Could it be:

That the mirror I see, is the entire back wall, on the other side of the figure lying down.,,just one or a couple of feet on the other side of the figure on the stretcher, so that I am partially correct, that in that the flash would/could have illuminated everything, so that the room we are seeing in the background is actually a reflection of the room the lady and the photographer are standing in?

I know...I know --too many questions. :)

Anthony Mugan said...

Can I say thank you to Curt Collins for the excellent summary of the situation (including useful references to a range of relevant articles on the topic from a range of perspectives).

I must admit I nearly didn't read it as I have from the beginning felt that this whole slides affair is a frightful waste of everyone's time but I would recommend it to others (along with following through on various links to get a wider picture).

I have held off commenting too much on this topic as I find much of it quite shocking. I an reminded of the comment in a CIA report as far back as 1952, noting that a high proportion of the population seem conditioned for an acceptance of the incredible (or words to that effect).

It may be worth highlighting the significance of the problem of provenance. There does not appear to be any clear 'chain of custody' for these slides. The statements often made that they were taken by the Rays seems to be little more than speculation at this time.

As far as I can see there is also absolutely no formal evidence in the public domain that has been released by those claiming these slides contain any unusual information. Indeed the only hard data we have comes from what appears to have been a mistake in which it was possible for others to get at one of the images. There have been many claims, about dating of the slides and about characteristics of the body or object, but these are just claims with no actual evidence presented.

Despite this we see an absolute furore of interest with many people expressing belief in the claims made.

There is a phrase sometimes used...'it isn't even wrong'...To be wrong you actually have to be able to test something and falsify it. This doesn't even get to that status.

There are claims that all will be revealed in May. Well, we shall see but so far the process seems to have been very effective at generating a lot of noise and no substance and the approach used to date hardly fills me with confidence at to the future.

The most interesting question to me is how all this noise translates into a monetisation of the 'value' of these slides. Clearly they have no value at all from a scientific point of view...

What a terrible waste of time all this is

cda said...


"Clearly they have no value at all from a scientific point of view".

How right you are!

But neither has the whole Roswell incident, has it? If it did, why have scientists ignored it for the last seven decades?

And after the 'earth-shaking' events predicted on May 5, we may be quite certain that science will continue to completely ignore it, as will the authorities the world over.

Drake Gilliland said...

As an active believer that this is a fake from a movie, I suspect only b-movie connoisseurs will put in much work on where it comes from.

Jim Bender said...

Your post is the waste of time. Crazy mindset, nuts!!!!

Anthony Mugan said...

As Kuhn notes in his seminal 'Structure of Scientific Revolutions' (1962 but later editions are somewhat expanded), once a subject reaches the paradigm stage it tends to become highly resistant to type 2 error, with the inevitable consequence that mainstream science makes a number of Type 1 errors. Kuhn noted that genuinely new ideas outside the current paradigm require both a crisis in the current paradigm and an already developed alternative paradigm that offers greater explanatory power. Lakatos has since developed our understanding of the mechanisms by which normative science operates.
Overall this is generally the lesser of two evils although it must have been frustrating for example for early proponents of plate tectonics such as Arthur Holmes or more recently archeologists arguing for pre-Clovis populations in the Americas. In both those cases a crisis developed and the paradigm shifted.
It is acceptable to consider the possibility of ETCs at a distance ( SETI) and it is acceptable to fund research on interstellar propulsion possibilities ( e.g 100 yr starship programme or the BPP a while back). It is not acceptable to speculate that one or other ETC may have got here before we get there. The logic of that prohibition on thought escapes me from a purely scientific perspective.

Sure the field is full of poor data, false claims and delusional lunatics ( and a few charlatans no doubt), but I would draw a distinction between the 98% plus of ufology that is nonsense and the 2% or less that has reasonable data from which testable conclusions can be drawn.

But then the subject also goes beyond a purely scientific set of questions. To be honest this whole slides affair is making me think along lines similar to those Ruppelt may have felt in the late 50s. I doubt I will withdraw from the field but my word, there is a strong logic to keeping this subject contained.

albert said...

"...why have scientists ignored it [Roswell] for the last seven decades?..."
Surely you know the answer. @Anthony stated it very succinctly.
Interest in UFO/ET = career suicide.
Through a combination of arrogance and the perceptions of the general public, 'science' has been given the mantle of expertise in all subjects, even those they haven't studied. This situation will continue to exist until the paradigm is blown apart by some earth-shaking discovery.
I doubt seriously that this can happen before mankind is FUBARed by the effects of nuclear war or climate change, both of which are being seriously considered by most scientists.

Brian Bell said...

As I have said before, Ufologists and those who follow them spend more time fighting among themselves (and competing for ideas that earn someone money) rather than seeking some sort of true partnership in fact finding - even if it concludes that hypotheses are incorrect. Criticism and cynicism is the order of the day in Ufology - and it's no wonder most people think people who follow UFO's are totally mind-warped.

Tony Stark said...

OK, @KevinRandle,

Perhaps you could post the acceptable commenting rules that you require of comments to your blog, so that my opinions will no longer be erased?

KRandle said...

Tony -

We were drifting into political discourse which has nothing to do with the topic at hand. I try to stop all the personal attacks and outrageous statements but if you visit here often you'll skeptics have a free rein as do those on the other side of the fence. Most everything that deals with the topics at hand is accpetable but in the end,my blog and my rules, subject to change at my whim.

Terry the Censor said...

@Anthony M
> Kuhn...Lakatos...paradigm shift

This would be good stand-alone topic for another day. And we do have a lot of days to while away before the May 5 "big reveal." Too often we see fringe science proponents appropriate terms from Kuhn without knowing where they came from. They assume shouting "paradigm!" means science is necessarily wrong and anti-science is thereby right. (I doubt philosophers of science have ever embraced such a line of reasoning.)

But we would have to include Popper, so as to address lines such as this:

> the 2% or less that has reasonable data from which testable conclusions can be drawn

The problem with ufology is that there seem to be no testable claims -- or any will to make tests. Instead, so-called "scientific ufologists" make a whole lot of excuses, or whine about government secrecy. (I suspect this is why fringe proponents -- with the exception of creationists -- tend to go with Kuhn's terms over Popper's, because of the problem of falsifiability.)

I don't mean to start such a debate in the present comment section. I am just sketching out the problem as my untutored mind perceives it. I would be happy to read a separate post titled "Popper, Kuhn, and UFOs" by some learned person. No doubt the discussion would get us all into a properly refined state of mind for when we finally see the "smoking gun" of the Roswell slides.

Anthony Mugan said...

@ terry
That would indeed be a very interesting topic.

I am surprised you can't think of any testable predictions from ufology. Here are a few for starters. I have phrased these as null hypotheses.
a) NYU flight 4 can be shown to be a possible explanation for the Roswell debris.
b) There is a statistically significant correlation between seismic strain and the frequency of ufo reports
c) there is a statistically significant correlation between seismic strain and the frequency of occurrence of disk and triangular shaped ufo reports
d) there is no statistically significant correlation between ufo report frequency and the occurrence of CE4 reports in 24hr time periods and within 300km radius in Canada.

I could go on...for the record, if you actually do the work you find you have to reject the null hypothesis for a, c and d but accept the null hypothesis for b.
References available if you need them.

The issue with mis-using Kuhn is a real one...most ideas outside the paradigm fall of their own merit. The point I am making is the same as Albert made rather more succinctly. Going outside the paradigm is very high risk for a career scientist or academic. Usually that is for the best in the longer term, occasionally it leads to error. The tricky bit is spotting the errors, and that is where we disagree on this specific subject.

Anthony Mugan said...

Terry...just to add, you might want to consider the very nice statistical analysis in Blue Book Special Report 13 and to consider the rather unusual way the conclusions were phrased....
I think BB13 is a very nice example of both testable hypotheses and the mental gymnastics required to stay within the paradigm when faced with the 2% or so of this subject that provides hard data.

cda said...

For the sake of accuracy, it is BB Report 14, not 13. You have to supplement this with Allan Hendry's book also.

Anthony Mugan said...

Thanks, yes...a ( hopefully premature) senior moment...BB14!

albert said...

@Anthony, @Terry, et.al.
There is one sure way to get scientists involved in UFO research, with no career threat. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of scientists working in the military, or as contractors. It's a simple matter to set up 'top secret' research projects. 'Top Secret' not primarily for the work, but to protect the credibility of the researchers, and especially the military itself.
We spend so much on 'defense' already, it would be disastrous if the public ever found out that their tax dollars were being spent on 'UFO' research. (Even Republicans might complain :) For that reason, it would have to be 'hidden' within the system, by using misleading project names, etc.
'Actual' UFO research did happen in a public way, early on. Who's to say it's not continuing? Perhaps the military has been ordered not to spend any time on the subject (the prolog to this being Project BB and the Condom Report). Perhaps some other TLA has 'responsibility' now.