It’s not aliens. It’ll probably never be aliens. So stop. Please just stop.
For decades the notion of unidentified flying objects—UFOs—and little green men running around Roswell, New Mexico, remained comfortably confined along the fringes of societal discourse. But no longer. Serious people in the government are taking a serious look at the phenomenon.
The story of why this posture began to change begins about 15 years ago and is long and complex. (This New Yorker article is a good place to start.) But the basic gist is that then-Nevada politician Harry Reid, a powerful political figure who at times led the US Senate, began to take it seriously. So he started shoveling money at the Pentagon to study the issue.
All of this brings us to the recent spy balloon mania, during which US F-22 jets downed a Chinese balloon nine days ago and, subsequently, three unidentified objects over Canada and the United States. Given the lack of government transparency about what, exactly, these latter three objects were, conspiracy theories have multiplied. Misinformation, after all, loves nothing more than a vacuum.