A pair of spy drones
There it was again. Low on the horizon, a spy ship flying directly into Indian airspace!
By now, Singh knew The Enemy’s modus operandi. It would hover most of the night until it was relieved by a second spy plane at about 4 am.
Over six months, he and fellow officers recorded 329 airspace violations by this pair of drones, which they were convinced had been sent by China.
Until earlier this month when astronomer Tushar Prabhu pointed out that they were actually Jupiter and Saturn. India’s army chief responded: “I don’t care if they are planets. We’re still going to shoot them down.”
No, actually I made up that last quote, but the rest is true, as reported by the Telegraph newspaper of Calcutta.
You can’t blame Lance Corporal Singh. Last year, an Air Canada pilot mistook the planet Venus for an oncoming aircraft, and dived 180 meters, sending passengers hurtling to the ceiling, as this column reported. Only after crew assured him that chances of actually hitting Venus were on the lowish side did he return to his regular flight path.
How do the two categories of item get mixed up, given that planes are small, thin, metal things, while Jupiter is an astonishing large round ball of gas, think of Oprah Winfrey naked? (Sorry, don’t mean to put you off your food.)
Readers pointed me to the writings of UFO debunker Tim Printy, who has recorded many relevant reports.
Airmen piloting planes over Japan have reported being “chased” by planets, Mr Printy says. (Japan being what it is, this is probably a Nintendo toy.)
In the US state of Georgia in 1967, a pair of police officers were spooked by the planet Venus following their police car. “It gained on us and was going about 75 mph [120 kph],” one of the officers said. (I did NOT make that quote up.) He continued: “After the object caught up with us, it pulled into the sky.”
I had no idea planets were so small and their inhabitants could steer them to earth to have a look-see at what we’re up to. But it makes sense. I remember a flight I once took over Laos where the pilot swerved so much that he was probably steering around Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune.
A colleague reviewing the cases above by reading over my shoulder just pointed out that in every case, the witness was a man in uniform.
“They make the collars too tight; it addles their brains,” she said. “Besides, all men are idiots.”
(Just to prove her wrong, I was wise enough not to respond to this.)
A retired pilot had a possibly relevant comment. “Some planets are low in the sky, just where aircraft appear,” he said. “An air traffic controller at Detroit airport once famously said: ‘Do you know how many times we have cleared Venus to land?’”
One day, perhaps it will land.
No problem, we can just call out the Indian army to blow it up. Lance Corporal Sheminderpal Singh has been waiting for a long time to do just that.
IN OTHER NEWS
Thanks for the comments on the previous item, about a few of the atheists I know being more dogmatic than any of the non-atheists. It seems to me that I was making an extremely simple point, and one which was easily proven.
Yet the post triggered more than 100 comments on Facebook, many of which were the usual "creationism is bad" rants. All this, of course, somewhat reinforces my point. Of course I particularly value the comments on this website, since they come from a very special gang of people....
There must be a way of making a point such as "religious folk are becoming more tolerant" without being accused of being a creationist, but I'm not sure how to do it...
For me, personally, the key question is not "do you believe in God?" but "do you believe in atheists?"
I think dividing the world into atheists and others is not the best way. We all have world views. They range from people who believe in a very personal God, to people who believe in a more general universal consciousness, to people who believe only in material things which can be proven by natural science. Most people's ideas are probably floating in the middle somewhere.
A more relevant question is our tolerance: we're tolerant about our friends' world views, or we are intolerant. Most of us choose tolerance.