UFO Data Mining
In a broad and general way, research can be split into two types: original research and surveying the works of other researchers. Original research takes you back to the basics where the findings can lead to original, new and unique insights and discoveries about the subject matter. Surveying the works of others is easier to do than original research, but it leaves one vulnerable to the omissions and mistakes that these works may contain. As they say, “gigo”, or garbage in, garbage out.
Regarding UFOs, the interested person can do his own original research or read the books published on the subject. The authors of many of these books have done their own original research on the matter, but some have not. Some are just personal opinions which have been “suggested” by a coincidence or likeness that triggered something in the mind of the author. These types of books (and some TV documentaries) are not something to put any belief in. For example, the TV series, “Ancient Aliens”, simply presents mythological and/or archaeological literature and presents it with an ancient alien twist. Many UFO books do the same thing, presenting opinion as though it were fact to fool a gullible public (even though the author may truly believe what he/she is saying). There must be a lot of gullible people out there because it is astounding that the “Ancient Aliens” TV series has just entered its fifth season! Yikes!
Most of us are simply not in a position to do original research. Besides, most of us are not so interested in the UFO phenomenon as to do original research on UFOs, but elect instead to read books or blogs on the matter. What is “original research” for UFOs anyway? It is taking field trips to interview those who have had a good sighting, FOIA submissions, archival work, UFO document forensics, efforts to get the government to “come clean” on what it knows, paying for analysis of trace evidence, trolling for witnesses’ names and contacting them, etc. One area of original research is case studies. I admit that this is one big step removed from interviewing the experiencers and doing the supportive background work of checking police records for other witnesses, checking for radar records from airports, looking at airplane flight schedules, checking star maps, and talking to nearby military bases, and so on, but this has already been done for you if the case study was thorough to begin with. Nevertheless, the summary results of these investigations exist, and these summaries are very good supportive evidence of the phenomenon’s validity. I personally have read over ten thousand case study summaries and have categorized the information of hundreds of them into results that appeared in my book, Alien Radix. (I also admit that information gathered from reading many UFO books is also in my own book.)
This brings me to the subject of UFO databases. I have investigated the two principal UFO databases and have found them to be very difficult to use to extract data for UFO trends, averages, and so forth. I applaud the sacrifices of those who do data entry and maintain those databases. The illiteracy of the general public who provide the information is appalling, and most of the case studies therein are not usable for anything. After all, what info can be gleaned from a slow moving or stationary night light in the sky? That is what most experiences turn out to be. Having had two UAP night light experiences myself, it suddenly dawned on me that if I had photographed or videoed them, they would have turned out to be the same kind of night light videos that are so prevalent on YouTube. These are the same UFO videos that I always simply skip over and ignore because there is nothing to be learned from them. But because I experienced these events in three dimensions and with normal night visual acuity, the experience was a lot more meaningful than watching the same event on a video in two dimensions with much of the surrounding visual data compromised by lack of true color, loss of perspective, and camera jitter. (I also would be leery of any spectral analysis done on a night light video.) So although a night light can be a truly exciting and meaningful personal experience, when put onto video it turns into something boring and useless. The only videos that turn out to be meaningful, at least to me, are the ones where a UFO shape can be seen or strongly inferred from the light pattern, aside from the obvious hoaxes, of course. However, I still believe that reporting one’s sighting is still the right thing to do in hope that someday, someone will be able to extract the information and use it to draw a statistical conclusion about UFOs.