Arxiu del divendres, 19/07/2019

Ben Mezrich : Why I believe in UFOs

divendres, 19/07/2019

Ben Mezrich is the author of 18 books including Bringing Down The House that was made into the movie 21, and Accidental Billionaires that was made into the movie The Social Network. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

  1. I’m here to talk about UFOs.
    But I’ll talk about how I got to UFOs because my parents get very upset when I just talk about UFOs.
  2. I’m a non-fiction writer. I never really wanted to be a non-fiction writer.
    I hated non-fiction growing up.
  3. I loved TV, really bad TV, like “Saved by the Bell” and “Three’s Company.”
    My parents, fearing the worst, made a rule when we were little that we had to read two books a week before we were allowed to watch TV so I became a speed reader so that I could watch “Three’s Company.”
  4. When I graduated from college, I realized I wanted to be a writer.
    I locked myself in an apartment in Boston nearby here, and I wrote nine novels in a year; not something I recommend to any of you.
  5. I was rejected by everyone in publishing.
    I got 190 rejection slips – had them taped to the walls -; I look like a serial killer in my apartment.
  6. I was even rejected by a janitor at a publishing house because I wrote manuscript and sent it to an editor who was no longer working there.
    They got thrown in the trash.
  7. An editor took it out the trash and then rejected me.
    So it seemed unnecessary, but that’s what happened.
  8. I went on and on and on, and eventually, I found my way, because I was hanging out in a bar in Boston called “Crossroads” – Some of you may know “Crossroads” – and there was a group of MIT kids there, and they had tons of money.
  9. And it was all in 100 dollar bills. I didn’t know why they had all this money in 100s.
    So I met the main guy; he invited me to his apartment in the South End, and in his laundry was 250,000 dollars.
  10. I said, “Are you a drug dealer?”
    And he said, “No.”
    He said, “Come to Vegas with me.” I went to Vegas, and that turned out to be the lead of the MIT blackjack team.
  11. I joined the team, and I wrote a book, and it became the movie “21.”
    “21” was about to come out, I was sitting at home, and I got a weird little email from a Harvard senior, and it said,
  12. “My best friend founded Facebook, and no one’s ever heard of him.” Another weird little moment in my life:
    I go out for a drink and in walks Eduardo Saverin; – you’ve seen the movie – kinda looks like the guy in the movie, not as good-looking. if you watched 21, it was the best looking group of MIT kids you’ve ever seen.
  13. “Social Network” was the best looking Harvard kid you’ve ever seen.
    Anyways, Eduardo walks in, sits down, and says, “Mark Zuckerberg fucked me.”
  14. As a journalist, I had to say, “Tell me more!”
    And that became the movie “The Social Network.” So that’s the kind of things I normally write.
  15. About a year and half ago, I heard about another story. It was about a guy named Chuck Zukowski.
    Chuck was a reserve sheriff’s deputy in Colorado. Chuck was investigating a cattle mutilation.
  16. Out here in Massachusetts, we don’t know a lot about cattle mutilations, but in the West, they are an enormous problem: over 10,000 cows and horses have been found lying on their left side, missing organs, all of of the cuts are surgical and circular, and bodies are completely drained of blood.
  17. This has been going on since the 60s. It’s such a huge phenomenon, that in the 70s, three state governors got together, petitioned the Attorney General of the United States and demanded an investigation.
  18. The FBI investigated, involving 100 agents over 10 years, and found nothing. No one’s ever been arrested, there’s not a single fingerprint, not a single footprint, these cows are just found lying there, missing all their organs. It’s really weird.
  19. Our sheriff’s deputy, Chuck, was investigating this, and he starts to think, “UFOs.” He was immediately fired from the Sheriff’s Department. This is what normally happens when you say UFOs.
  20. Anyways, he decided to become a UFO hunter. He got an RV, filled it with his family, and started going up and down the Midwest looking for UFOs.
    His family didn’t believe, his wife is a total skeptic. I interviewed her, and I said, “How did you put up with this?”
  21. And she said, “Well, it could be worse! He could be off having affairs.
    He’s just in the mountains looking for aliens!”
  22. So anyways, he starts to make a weird discovery. Turns out that the majority of UFO sightings occur along the 37th parallel of the United States. It also turns out most cattle mutilation are along the 37th parallel. It also turns out that almost all of America’s underground military bases are along the 37th parallel of the United States: The Pentagon, Cheyenne Mountain, Fort Knox, all the way over to Area 51.
  23. Chuck is investigating UFOs. He starts to have weird run-ins. You would think he’s having run-ins with the government because the government used to investigate UFOs in this country.
  24. There was something called Project Blue Book. After that, there were two other secret projects, but the government no longer investigates UFOs.
    It turns out Chuck was having run-ins with a private corporation. This is true, and this is where we are going down the rabbit hole a little bit.
  25. There’s a company run by a billionaire named Robert Bigelow. Robert Bigelow made his money from Budget Suites of America.
    He then put most of his fortune into something called Bigelow Aerospace. – You might heard of it – They have pieces on the International Space Station. They make something called the TransHab with NASA which is an inflatable gasket that astronauts can live in. They are intending one day to build hotels on the Moon. – It was their original project.
  26. Anyway, this is a real company. It turns out for the past 20 years, they have been investigating UFOs. They’re doing this in conjunction with certain government organizations.
  27. If you get a copy of an FAA manual that all of our civilian pilots use, and you look through it, deep into the writing, what a pilot’s supposed to do if they see something in the air, they don’t report it to the FAA; they don’t report to their airline because then they will be fired; they report it to Bigelow.
  28. Bigelow gets all this information. He sends out a well-paid for teams of investigators who investigate UFOs.
    Chuck started having run-ins with them. He didn’t really know what was going on. The story comes to a head at Roswell, as all UFO stories do.
  29. If you know anything about Roswell, it’s very kitschy, you can go there now and eat a hamburger in an UFO-shaped restaurant or go to the alien ball, dressed as your favorite Wookie. But the reality is the story behind Roswell is fascinating.
  30. In 1947, America’s first nuclear base was there: it’s called Walker Air Force Base. They started to track something coming through a storm in the middle of the night in July. Whatever that thing was, it was hit by lighting and crashed on a ranch in Roswell.
  31. It’s spread metallic debris over 300 yards of this ranch. The metallic debris was covered in weird hieroglyphics, it was made of the material that people couldn’t identify.
    The rancher sees all this crap on his lawn, he calls up the sheriff, the sheriff calls the Air Force Space. They send out a team. The team gathers up the debris and then puts out a press release. The press release from the US Air Force says, “We now have in our possession a flying saucer.” This is true.
  32. Two hours later, they rescind their press release. They gather up all the material, they go for inch by inch and gather it all up, they put it on a plane, first they land in Dallas, where they stage a photograph with a radar operator sitting amongst the debris of a broken weather balloon.
  33. Everyone who was involved in that photograph has since come forward and said it was fake. The person who took the photograph, the person in the photograph, and the person who ordered it.
    Anyways, the debris was then carted to Area 51 where it is to this day. For whatever reason, the Air Force will not release the files on this crash.
  34. Hillary Clinton, a few month ago, was on Jimmy Kimmel, and she said if she were elected president, one of the first things she would do was get the Air Force to release the UFO files. Sadly, that is not to be.
    (Laughter)
  35. I don’t know if she was trying to go for the UFO vote with that. I don’t think there was enough UFO people to get over her over the edge.
    Every president we’ve had, with the possible exception of Obama, has believed in UFOs and has tried to get these files released. Jimmy Carter believed, Ronald Reagan believed, Bill Clinton tried twice to get these files released and couldn’t. Hillary wanted to do it, we don’t know whether Trump will or not.
  36. These files do exist. For whatever reason, the government will not show us what was at Roswell. I’ve seen documents which say it’s still, to this day, an unidentified debris.
  37. That’s very strange. This was a long, long time ago.
    So anyways, I dove into this story about the 37th parallel, and I have come to believe that there is a very good chance that whatever crashed at Roswell was not from here.
  38. As I said, my parents hate me saying that, because the reality is when you talk about UFOs, there’s a giggle factor. Everyone assumes you are nuts.
    A respected sheriff can’t look at a crash site and say it’s an UFO without getting fired.
  39. A journalist can’t talk about UFOs without hearing X-Files music in the background. And no scientist can look into it with the possible exception of the people that Robert Bigelow has hired.
  40. But we don’t know what they are doing with the materials they find.
    So I want to leave you with this: the impediments to believing someone has come here from another planet, have actually disappeared. We used to think there wasn’t life out there, right?
  41. Now we are all pretty sure there probably is. We find an Earth-like planet almost every day. We used to think these planets are too far away, right? But we now know that’s not true, Proxima Centauri, which is one of these planets is reachable by current technology in 40 years. That’s not that long. So, those two reasons aren’t around anymore.
  42. The Catholic Church recently put out a weird little edict where they said, “If we do discover life on other planets, it will not affect Catholic doctrine.”
    (Laughter)
  43. I think they’re covering their basis, right?
    But I think that there’s a sea change going on in the opinions of whether or not there’s life on other planets and whether or not they could come here.
  44. And to be honest, looking at the news that we are seeing every day, if a UFO landed on the White House lawn tomorrow, it wouldn’t even be the top five strange things in the newspaper today.
  45. Anyways, thank you very much. I appreciated it. Thank you.
    (Applause)