Space alien bangs on airplane door demanding cockpit access

Every time someone goes cuckoo on a plane, they manage to come up with a new way to amuse me.

Today’s story involves a passenger on a Delta Connection flight from Helena to Sale Lake City who got up out of his seat, and started banging on the cockpit door demanding to be allowed to fly the plane.

According to flight attendants, the 32 year old Las Vegas native claimed to be a space alien, and I can only assume he wanted to fly the plane back to his home planet.

As is customary in these cases, the plane made an emergency landing (at Idaho Falls airport), where local authorities were able to remove the alien, presumably to perform scientific research on him.

Thankfully for passengers, the delay was fairly minor, and nobody was hurt. has a log posted of the delay and diversion.

Authorities did not release any more specifics about the “alien”, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t be too presumptuous to assume alcohol was (once again) involved.

Britain says no to alien welcomes

The visitors traveling the longest distances to Britain will find the phones shut off. Citing the high costs of operation, the British military has shut down its UFO hotline. So, not only will aliens not be welcomed personally, the messages reported via their crop circles will go unreported. This is the end of a half-century commitment in the United Kingdom to helping the nutty find an audience.

According to the Ministry of Defense, ditching the UFO office will translate to an annual savings of around $73,000 a year, money much better spent supporting the 9,500 soldiers the country has deployed to Afghanistan. No jobs were lost as a result of this decision, and the military isn’t taking a position on the existence of UFOs or alien life. More than 12,000 sightings were reported to the UFO office, some of which were accompanied by pictures drawn by those lucky enough to witness the arrival of little green men. None was interpreted as a threat to national security.

Many Britons are upset about the closing of the UFO hotline, which was accompanied by the deactivation of the UFO e-mail account. Roy Lake, founder of the London UFO Studies group, calls this “a threat to national security.” He tells The Associated Press, “We take this quite seriously. We know that sometimes things can be explained as natural phenomena but there could be that one thing that’s not. I think the government knows damn well what’s going on up there and they’re covering it up.”

Of course, any life form that could find its way to Earth would probably master Twitter pretty quickly, so the shuttering of the British UFO office probably isn’t a big deal. I can see it now: “Hey #Earth. Here from Mars. @Gadling reco place 2 stay? #herefromanotherplanet”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense counters Lake’s worries: “None of the thousands of UFO sightings reported over the years have ever provided substantiated proof of the existence of extraterrestrials.” He continued, “There is no defense value in investigating UFO reports.”

Nonetheless, Nick Pope sees a concern. He has helped the British military investigate UFOs and believes that the decision is “a great shame.” Pope says the program encouraged pilots and other experts to tip off the authorities to suspicious activity, saying, “That’s one thing we learned in the 9/11 attacks, the threat of incoming aircraft with transponders turned off.” Meanwhile, he seems to overlook the fact that these risks can be addressed through many other existing channels of communication.

And, if you do see a UFO in Britain, there are still plenty of organizations you can call. And, there’s always YouTube, as you can see from the clip below.


[Photo by mujitra via Flickr]

Crazy dust storm covers Sydney in red haze

Residents and tourists in Sydney, Australia, might be feeling as though they been transported to Mars, and in fact, a glance around at the city covered in red dust against a red-orange sky does bring to mind images of what a colony on the red planet would look like. Despite its other-worldly appearance, the haze that converged on Sydney yesterday is earth-bound, composed of red dust from the Outback.

Australia has been suffering one of the worst periods of drought since the 1940’s and an eight-year dry spell and record high temperatures have combined to create the country’s worst dust storms in 70 years. The storms normally only affect the interior of the country, but this time, they’ve covered Sydney as well, all but shutting down the airport and halting the service of passenger ferries for several hours.

According to The Age, air quality in Sydney was reported as 40 times worse than the level regarded as “poor” and 20 times the “hazardous” level. People are being advised not to go outside, especially if they have respiratory problems, and to take care when driving in the poor visibility. Officials said they had received over 250 calls from people reporting breathing problems as a result of the thousands of tons of dust in the air.

The storms were visible on radar and their effects were felt as far away as New Zealand, 1400 miles away.

For more amazing images of the dust storm, click here.

Big in Japan: Astronauts tell Japanese audience that they believe in aliens

If you’re convinced that we’re not alone in the universe, then today’s posting is for you…

Earlier this week, American astronaut Mike Foreman, a mission specialist on the space shuttle Endeavour, told a Japanese audience that he believes in aliens. According to Foreman, “If we push back boundaries far enough, I’m sure eventually we’ll find something out there…maybe not as evolved as we are, but it’s hard to believe that there is not life somewhere else in this great universe.”

Foreman returned to Earth in March after a sixteen day mission on the Endeavour, which included a Japanese astronaut in its crew. And, while the mission didn’t reveal the presence of alien life forms, Foreman isn’t alone in thinking that the universe may be a crowded place. His comments were backed up by astronaut Gregory Johnson, who stated: “I personally believe that we are going to find something that we can’t explain.”

And, as if Foreman and Johnson didn’t give a convincing enough argument, their comments were also backed up by astronaut Dominic Gorie, who added: “As we travel in space, we don’t know what we’ll find. That’s the beauty of what we do. I hope that someday we’ll find what we don’t understand.”

Do you believe? If so, keep on reading!

Since the press conference was given in Tokyo, perhaps the most convincing testimony came from Mr. Takao Doi, the Japanese astronaut on the Endeavour mission, who agreed that “life like us must exist.”

Given that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Mr. Nobutaka Machimura previously stated that unidentified flying objects (UFOs) most likely exist, these comments couldn’t have come at a better time.

At a prior press conference Machimura announced that in the event that a UFO was discovered inside Japan’s sovereign airspace, fighter planes would be scrambled to confirm the nature of the object.

However, Mr. Machimura regretted to announce that the government’s response measures ended there as there were no mechanisms in place for dealing with an actual alien landing. Of course, Mr. Machimura was quick to emphasize that the Japanese government was not aware of any confirmed cases whereby a UFO was actually discovered.

But he did reiterate the urgent need to try and scientifically confirm whether or not UFOs exist because of what he called incessant reports of sightings. Although to date most UFO sightings in Japan have either been birds, planes or other easily explainable objects, Mr. Machimura was proud to announce that he believes they definitely exist.

Now, I’ve never been one to give too much lip service to wild rumors and conspiracy theories regarding the presence of extraterrestrial life. With that said, I do think that the opinions of four astronauts along with a high-ranking Japanese government official may hold a little more weight than the mad ravings of some farmer in the middle of Nebraska (no offense to farmers or to Nebraskans!).

So, on that note, I guess today’s posting brings about the simple question:

Have you ever seen an alien or a UFO? If so, care to comment?