Tuesday, 11 November 2008

You know the difference between you and me? I make this look good.

According to the spoilers that made it on to IMDB recently, the movie version of Watchmen will not have the woovy berserk giant alien squid thing. Words cannot describe how much I hate Hollywood right now.

In other news, apparently my parents have become regular readers of this blog. Which, as with everything in life, has it's good and bad points. The good points are that my parents are wonderful people. My father, his dubious opinions on Jesus not withstanding (Gee Note: "I reckon Jesus was an alien. No really, think about it. Big light in the sky, a human with "other worldly" powers. It all fits.") is a man with a big voice and an even bigger heart. My mother is an intelligent and caring woman, full of wisdom and love.

So in a way it's a really great thing that both of them read this, as inevitably their feedback will be invaluable. But at some point my mum, being the astute and knowledgeable individual that she is, will invariably ask the question "You don't really believe any of that stuff do you?".

And honestly, I'm not sure how I would answer it.

Because the truth is I do and I don't. For example I'm convinced that there is something large and unknown living in the oceans, but I'm not so sure it's a plesiosaur, a masosaur, Cthulhu or in fact anything that's yet been discovered. I believe that potentially there could be such things as ghosts, but think that most mediums and psychics are either insane or blatant con artists. And I believe in life on other planets, but don't think there's any way possible that they could be little green men (Gee Note: The little and green is fine. It's the "men" I have a problem with).

I'm a relatively recent convert to the idea of extra terrestrial life. I've always tended to think that most alien contact stories and UFO sightings are in fact either nonsense, such as Stan Romanek's "peeping Tom" alien or Ray Santilli's alien autopsy video, or simply misidentified, regular aircrafts.

But then hoaxes and hot air balloons would not explain the “Wow” signal.

The Big Ear Radio Telescope was situated in Delaware, Ohio, as part of the State University's “Ohio Sky” project. Much like the Electric Banana in Spinal Tap, don't try and look for it as it was torn down in 1998 by some land developers who purchased it back in 1983 to build, among other things, a golf course. Up until that point the Telescope was placed in a fixed position pointing directly up to the heavens and was configured to pick up radio signals transmitted from space.

Initially the Telescope was used to monitor wideband radio signals. Wideband signals are generally created by natural phenomenons such as solar flares, supernovas and quasars. And as such Big Ear was instrumental in the discovery and gathering of all sorts of groovy information about our universe. However when the Ohio Sky project came to an abrupt end in 1973 due to Government cut backs Big Ear found itself at a loose end. That was until some bright spark convinced project leader Dr. John Kraus to reconfigure the Telescope to pick up narrowband signals.

Narrowband signals are almost always created by intelligent beings. For example, some of humanities greatest accomplishments are carried by narrowband signals. AM/FM radio, television, and satellite transmissions to name but a few.

And so, in short, Big Ear found a new purpose in life by looking for intelligent beings larking about with ham radio's outside of our solar system.

Nothing much happened for the first couple of years. In fact it was so quiet it made a night out with Clay Aitkin seem positively exciting (Gee Note: By the way according to this weeks National Enquirer he's gay. I don't know about you but I never saw that one coming.) But then at 11.10pm on August 15th 1977 the needle on the computer printer squiggled in to life and wrote itself in to the history books.

Now seeing as most people generally learn their life lessons vicariously through movies and television then what should have happened was that a nervous young boffin would have received the printout and raced to the phone to wake up his superior. A call would have then been put through to President Bill Pullman (Gee Note: Again according to this weeks National Enquirer Bill Pullman's 19 year old son was arrested recently for possessing “moonshine”. You know, until reading that article I thought moonshine was a fictional drink depicted solely in episodes of The Dukes of Hazard. Shows what I know) who would have prepared to welcome aliens to Earth with a message of peace until Jeff Goldblum breaks in to his office to tell him that actually the aliens are evil and have come to exterminate us all.

Well Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman were obviously very busy that day as none of that, or anything remotely like it, happened. Instead four days later Dr. Jerry R. Ehman was going about his routine business of checking the readouts when he came across a reading so remarkably close to what an intelligently designed extra terrestrial narrowband signal would theoretically look like that he circled the reading with a red pen and wrote the word “Wow!” next to it.

And with that the signal had a name.

Now as you can see above the portion of the report circled states 6EQUJ5. The next part of this post was going to attempt to explain in layman's terms exactly what that means. But to be honest with you I've been studying the various technical reports on this incident for three days now and I still haven't the foggiest. No really, if anyone can make sense of sentences such as “the average intensity of 6 integration periods (1/6 of the current value plus 5/6 of the previous value) was subtracted out to remove the baseline intensity” without reaching for the nearest bottle of wine then it turns out they're a better person than I am.

Anyway the bottom line is that this was almost certainly created artificially, lasted a full 72 seconds (Gee Note: Which, due to Earth's rotation, is approximately how long Big Ear would be directed at a single point in space), and apparently originated from somewhere in the constellation of Sagittarius. Much excitement was had amongst the good folk at Big Ear. At last it seemed intelligent life had been discovered in outer space.

And then nothing.

For more than six years the team at Big Ear searched frantically for a repeat of the signal until the fateful day that the land was sold so that a bunch of overpaid lawyers could enjoy 18 holes. In all that time, all those countless hours spent pouring over sheets of paper full of digits and symbols, not once did the signal reappear. And because of that, people began to doubt that the signal was all that it appeared to be in the first place.

One of those people was Ehman himself. He speculated that the signal must have originated from Earth and then redirected somehow. When it was pointed out that this would be exceedingly unlikely (Gee Note: And when I say unlikely I mean “Waking up on April 17th 2023 to find that your left hand has been replaced with a working miniature scale model of Coney Island” unlikely) Ehman recanted somewhat and instead stated he would not attempt to draw any conclusions from such a small amount of data.

And so, in what seems to be a reoccurring theme here at I Saw Elvis, the “Wow” signal represents something that is frustratingly close to being proof positive but is missing that vital ingredient. And so we can not but look at it as anything other than an intriguing mystery. Which is a massive shame.

Another thing worth noting about the “Wow” signal is that it occurred the night before a 42 year old man was discovered dead in his bathroom in Memphis, Tennessee. Indeed the very day after the “Wow” signal was recorded Elvis Presley left the building for the very last time.

What could these two things possibly have in common? Absolutely nothing of course.

That is, unless you believe that Elvis is not dead......

He just went home.


Naveed said...

I don't know how you do it, but you always come up with interesting little nuggets of info to go along with your posts. I never would have known Elvis died the day after the wow signal was found.

By the way, your new logo rocks.

Scumbag Sam said...

Firstly, Hello Mrs and Mrs Gee :) teehee.

secondly, I think its far more important to believe in all that stuff, because I just can't see the point in NOT believing in it, or some part of it anyway. I believe the idea of other worlds and aliens and ghosts and elvis.

I am not going to go hunting for those things, but, y'know, its kinda nice to think there could be some mystery to the world (and elvis)...

Kait said...

The whole Watchmen movie is starting to piss me off.
How can they not have the giant
squid thing[what the hell was that anyway]?
That's one of the MAJOR parts of the story!
That makes absolutely no sense.

& I've disregarded everything you've written about aliens, because I'm scared shitless of them.
[& I do believe]

Anonymous said...

Not bad! I will come back to read more soon