36% of Americans believe in UFOs, that is, though most Unidentified Aerial Phenomena are actually explained as such mundane things as misidentified meteorological phenomena, astronomical phenomena, aircraft, and so on, there's ~ 5% that are as yet unexplained and that these unexplained UFOs are machines from somewhere other than Earth.

Have you ever observed a UFO that has never been sufficiently explained? Do you believe that some unexplained UFOs are machines from somewhere other than Earth? If so, why (what are your reasons or arguments for believing so)? What evidence is there to support your belief?

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Actually the dinosaurs died off because they were oversexed used too much petroleum jelly and became oil deposits...at least that what I heard last sunday in church. :)

I guess it would depend upon your definition of "would look nothing like". Dinosaurs are bilaterally symmetrical, they have binocular vision, their eyes and ears are on their head - at the top. By "look nothing like" I pictured, for instance, an amorphous blob - creatures that, perhaps, wouldn't see a lot of difference between a dinosaur and a person. All I'm saying is that evolutionary changes are not "random" nor dependant purely upon competition with others. There are immutable physical forces which also played a role in shaping life on earth and because these forces are the same all over the universe, some similarities in life forms would be bound to occur.

Evolution sometimes creates bilaterally asymmetrical animals. Flounders are one example. They essentially spend their adult lives laying on their sides. One of their eyes migrates to the top side. Another example is the blowholes on sperm whales, which are located off center. Depending on how one defines bilateral symmetry, people aren't exactly symmetrical. Most of us have one eye ever so slightly higher than the other, which aids in depth perception. And for any person who's right- or left-handed, this handedness also results in some physical asymmetry. 

Not all aspects of animal anatomy and/or behavior have survival value. Some of them make a creature more attractive to a mate, which helps that individual propagate its genes into the future. However, that individuals genes may be quite average otherwise. There's no reason to suppose that a peacock with a particularly spectacular tail has anything but better tail genes, and the larger the tail, the harder it is for the bird to get airborne in case of a predator attack, so the tail would seem to be actively dysfunctional, because of the cock with the smaller tail can't get laid, his genes are going nowhere, even if his genes are otherwise superior and he can get away from predators more handily.

"the larger the tail, the harder it is for the bird to get airborne in case of a predator attack, so the tail would seem to be actively dysfunctional,"

Actually peacock's fly extremely well. They roost at night high up in trees and stay until dawn. They are quite adept at evading predators despit their beautiful, iridescent tail feathers.

36% of Americans believe in UFOs...

And 90% believe in a deity of some sort without objective evidence.  That looks real bad for the flying saucers.

...that is, though most Unidentified Aerial Phenomena are actually explained as such mundane things as misidentified meteorological phenomena, astronomical phenomena, aircraft, and so on, there's ~ 5% that are as yet unexplained and that these unexplained UFOs are machines from somewhere other than Earth.

Given how hard it is to get to the truth about what fallible eyewitness testimony actually saw, a "95% explained" figure is pretty impressive.  Occam's Razor says the rest are simply the sightings we don't have the necessary information to properly identify, rather than space buggies from planet Streibertron.

Have you ever observed a UFO that has never been sufficiently explained?

No, but I debunked one at the tender age of seven--there had been a two-day UFO flap in my neighborhood and my babysitter and her boyfriend saw one of the objects while out doing, um, stuff one night; being a known space nerd kid with a working (small) telescope, I got a call that night after they fled home in terror from the approaching Romulan armada.  They told me where to look by phone, the object--a bright starlike  light--was easy to see from my backyard, and through my telescope it was obvious that they were looking at Venus (then in a gibbous phase).  They didn't believe me, of course, because the object they saw was moving around jerkily in the sky, unlike a bright planet.  Odd, since Venus was clearly (pun intended) what they were looking at.  A year later, I learned about autokinesis and that completed the solution to the mystery. 

Do you believe that some unexplained UFOs are machines from somewhere other than Earth? If so, why (what are your reasons or arguments for believing so)? What evidence is there to support your belief?

No, and others have given good explanations as to why above I'd only add that if the aliens had the ability to cross between the stars and wanted to be unseen, they'd be able to pull it off.  If they wanted to be known, we'd never be able to hide from them. And if they didn't give a shit, we'd see lots of objects in earth's skies that didn't look like planets, meteors, returning space junk, indoor light reflections, aircraft (I can't tell you how many times I've heard stories of UFOs with red, green, and white lights on them) or spacecraft from the Hollywood Galaxy.    

Note--I noticed the New Zealand 1978 flap referenced above.  I saw a photo promoted of one of those UFOs a long time ago--it was a round glowing sphere with a dark spot in the middle.  It was obviously an Airy disk (an out-of-focus point source of light viewed through a telephoto lens), which made the photo a product either of incompetence or deception.  I gave up on that sighting right then and there.  

I have seen my share of weird/wonderful things.

During HS, a friend and I were out walking late summer, a little before sunset, and noticed that there were two suns, one above the other. It was very beautiful, and ahw inspiring. WOW

I and my mother were out in our garden about 1970. We were weeding and mom looked up to see  what seemed to be a huge dark gray craft in the east moving slow SE to NW. We watched it for a while, then heard what seemed to be a jet engine sound coming from that direction. As we watched, the shape resolved to what looked like one of the large troop carrier aircraft, but it seemed huge from where we were.

While on a camping trip with my 'pre-wife', we camped out up a logging road in our van. We were most likely at about 2500ft, surrounded by trees and open sky. Just before we went to bed, Lisa noticed a strange cloud over head, fluffy, but very uniform in shape. I mentioned, 'So its coming towards us then?' This has been a joke between us since. We sleeped soundly, with no abduction dreams.  

First off, this post turned out to be mostly about UFO's and not so much about interstellar travel.

I believe interstellar travel is impossible for humans for several reasons. For other sorts of beings, perhaps not so much.

The distances are so vast that it's unlikely, bordering on impossible, for a human being to live long enough to arrive at even the closest stars, and that's even with some way of putting them in some sort of stasis. You can't freeze people solid, so somesort of metabolizing will have to go on, even if it's very slow.

In order to get anywhere in any kind of reasonable time, one would have to move at fairly close to the speed of light. This, combined with the fact that outer space isn't really empty, creates a very high likelihood of colliding with something. Even if something like a large asteroid could be detected and avoided before a collision, what about objects the size of soccerballs, baseballs, or marbles. Even a dust cloud could do a fair amount of damage to a craft moving that fast.

There's an ethical question involved in sending out a long-term space colony, since they will be having children and, in effect, those children are kidnapped on a mission taking away from the choice of living a normal life on humanity's home planet.

Alien beings with far longer lifespans might want to visit us and be able to do it, but I can't imagine why, unless we have a resource they want to take away from Earth.

"..unless we have a resource they want to take away from Earth.."

Beetlejuice needs aligators and yellow onions. So thats where my garden onions went to? 

I agree--if anything from earth ventures forth to the stars, it won't be humans in our present form.  We're tied to the planet we evolved on for now, except for temporary jaunts into the solar system.  The same holds true for alien intelligence; I have no doubt there are other planets inhabited by intelligent beings but unless they make themselves somehow more optimized for long-duration living in a deep space environment, they're stuck too.  Which has me wondering if a truly interstellar species, should it exist, even care about life at the bottom of gravity wells like planets.    

The only point of disagreement I have is whether aliens will find it worthwhile to cross the stars in search of resources, since the difficulty of such travel cancels out the benefit of transporting the resources home.  If aliens are that desperate for earth stuff, I'm guessing they'll just move in for good.  Hopefully they'll be polite and ask first...

Maybe they just need water to continue on their journey in their Death Star sized craft.

I also didn't get into gamma ray radiation which is virtually impossible to defend against in any practical way.

We are already turning to robots for space exploration. However, don't forget that gamma rays also adversely affect electronics, so the same sort of very heavy shielding a person would be required, the next problem being that all that weight requires more fuel than otherwise and would be needed and the craft would take significantly longer to get up to speed.

When thinking about fuel, don't forget you'll need about the same amount of fuel it took to get you to your destination to slow the craft down, unless you just want to do a very very quick flyby and not stick around to explore at all.

We can dream (and should), but realistically speaking, we are trapped in this solar system. We're not going anywhere beyond it, ever. I doubt if we'll ever get people much beyond Mars, which itself is a dangerous place due to lacking the sort of magnetic shield we possess here on Earth.

This might not be entirely true.

I attended a lecture about 1973, given by a researcher from a food study and preservation laboratory, I think Dr. Jesse Bone. He was also a science fiction writer, writer of 'Nobel Red Man', with the theam of nuclear war survival.

He was studing the effects of gamma ray sterilization of foods at the time, and had, in a few samples, found one bacteria species that could survive extreame gamma ray exposure. If memory serves, he mentioned that there was a compound related to a mercaptan, that had a large radiation shielding/absorbtion capacity. I do not know what has happened since, maybe this is a datum that has been lost due to intellectual snobbery? I don't think my memory is weak on this point, I was very amazed at the idea and result being a nerd and all.

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