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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2002 > Nov > Nov 25

Re: Roswell Had Victims?

From: David Rudiak <DRudiak.nul>
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 18:13:55 -0800
Archived: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 09:24:23 -0500
Subject: Re: Roswell Had Victims?


>From: Steven Kaeser <steve.nul>
>Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2002 14:49:45 -0500
>Fwd Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2002 16:02:32 -0500
>Subject: Re: Roswell Had Victims? - Kaeser


>From: David Rudiak <DRudiak.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2002 02:10:35 -0800
>Subject:

>>The only one of these matches that makes any possible sense in
>>the context of a military telegram and Roswell is the word
>>"VICTIMS". That is, unless you want to believe that Ramey was
>>somehow dealing with a crisis in the capital of Lithuania
>>(VILNIUS), or was dealing with something involving glass-making
>>(VITRICS), or was involved somehow with the bacteria that causes
>>cholera (VIBRIOS), or something lining the guts (VILLI'S), or
>>maybe music (VIOLINS), or sex (VIRGINS). [VILLI'S is also the
>>wrong part of speech given the grammatical context.]

>>The point of this illustration is that the possible choices for
>>a word are not infinite and interpreting this message isn't an
>>exercise equivalent to "seeing faces in the clouds." Use of
>>various forms of context weeds out a vast majority of possible
>>word matches in most cases.

Allow me re-emphasize this, because the point doesn't seem to
get getting through. People might come up with all sorts of
interpretations. But which interpretation(s) make(s) sense
given various forms of context?

That's a _huge_ point that is being repeatedly overlooked.
 ***Not all interpretations are equally viable.*** Some are
grammatically incorrect. Some are syntactically incorrect
(wrong part of speech, wrong word order). Some have the wrong
letter count. Some make no sense in the context of surrounding
words or in the context of the entire message itself or in the
historical context.

Context of various types can be used to disambiguate the message
and decide between interpretations. Unlike cloud formations,
this _isn't_ a random collection of letters or words that can be
anything. There are constraints that limit the choices. This is
an actual message written in English, not Polish or Hungarian.
It has a known character set. The letters have equal spacing
(thus allowing accurate letter counts for most words). It
follows rules of English grammar, syntax, and spelling. It is a
military telegram and concerns Roswell. We know it concerns
Roswell because 1) it contains the words "WEATHER BALLOONS",
which _everybody_ agrees are there, and 2) it is being held in
the hand of Gen. Roger Ramey, who at the very moment the photo
was taken was having his picture taken with a weather balloon to
explain what was found at Roswell.

And ultimately the message must make sense and read something
like fluent English instead of being disconnected gibberish.

>Let me start out by stating that many of us appreciate your hard
>work in this arena. It takes a certain kind of person to get
>involved in this and make themselves a target for criticism from
>all directions, and IMO you've raised important issues that need
>to be addressed (or at least taken into account).

>That being said, I believe that many of the letter
>interpretations of the Ramey Memo are, indeed, like "seeing
>faces in the clouds", and as long as UFO researchers perform the
>interpretation there will be criticism of the effort.

Steve, I think people should use their own two eyes and make
their own judgments. As I have previously discussed, the two
really critical phrases in Ramey's memo with the crucial words
"victims" and "disc" right out in the open, can be seen in my
graphic at:

http://www.roswellproof.com/Critical_Phrases.html

Another graphic of the word "victims", just revised, with brand
new scans from the negative funded by the Roswell International
UFO Museum, can be seen at:

http://www.roswellproof.com/Victim_compare.html

This compares "VICTIMS" to two other proposed readings of
"REMAINS" and "FINDING". I don't see how either "remains" or
"finding" fits what is actually there. Honestly, does the first
letter look anything like an "R" or an "F"?

I showed virtually the same graphic at Lou Farrish's Ozark UFO
conference last Spring and said that some people have proposed
"remains" or "finding" and see the first letter as either an "R"
or an "F". To my surprise, people shouted back from the
audience, "No way!" People were voting with their eyeballs
instead of listening to chestnuts like "it's all faces in the
clouds."

Again, just because people propose different interpretations
doesn't make them all equally viable.

I have also used actual teletype font of that period to compare
interpretations with the scans. As far as I know, I am the only
person to have done this. This is really important in doing any
comparison between interpretations and actual images.

E.g., the newer high-res negative scans have really helped bring
out the outlines of the letters, even, in some cases, showing
the seriff outlines at the tips of the letters. You can make out
some of these subtle letter flourishes in both the "V" and the
"M" of "VICTIMS". Where are the comparable seriff matches for
the proposed "R", "F", or "N" in "REMAINS" or "FINDING"?

The new scans also make the outline of the central dip in the
"M" of "VICTIMS" more evident and further distinguish it from
the alternate "N".

Another constraint I applied in analyzing the word was equal
letter spacing. This tells us where the center of a letter
should show up. Letters like "F" and "R" at the beginning of
the word again fail because the downstroke would lie to the left
of where the center of the real letter lies. Same with "E" vs.
"I" in the second letter position. The downstroke of the "I" is
exactly where one expects to find it.

Once again, just because people propose different
interpretations doesn't make them all equally viable.

POINT: This word is "VICTIMS", not "FINDING" or "REMAINS" or
"VIRGINS" or "VIOLINS", etc., etc. In fact, it's the _only_
possible word match in the English language, not only in terms
of best matching the letters in the image but also in terms of
semantics and historical context. Systematically applied
constraints plus context weed the universe of possible words
down to only one in the end.

If there were "victims", then that alone conclusively rules out
a Mogul balloon crash as an explanation. People can squabble
over every single other word if they want. There were still
"victims" of the Roswell crash.

I find as I monitor criticism of the Ramey "smoking gun", that
most critics don't even bother to look at the images or maybe
just glance at them. Instead I hear these annoying flippant
dismissals of "faces in the clouds." They're like the clerics
who wouldn't look through Galileo's telescope.

Example in point: About 18 months ago, I received an e-mail from
a rather well known UFO debunker whom I won't identify to spare
him the embarrassment. (To hell with that-- it was Philip
Klass.)

Uncle Phil wrote words to the effect that maybe the message
really read that there were "NO victims of the wreck" instead of
"THE victims of the wreck."

There was a very simple way to settle that debate. I pointed out
that if he actually bothered to look at the image, the word
before "victims" was 3 letters long, not 2. Furthermore, it
looked an awful lot like the word "THE". In other words, Uncle
Phil was trying to make an argument without even properly
looking at the actual evidence.

So POINT 2: Skeptics of the Ramey memo, try looking through the
damn telescope first!

>A number of people have suggested a more independent (and
>hopefully scientific) approach to interpretation, with this
>effort performed by individuals not connected to the genre in
>any way. I believe that Kevin has outlined one good
>investigation scenario, and I know this has been the subject of
>discussion by the FUND and CUFOS.

If I understand these proposals correctly for a more
"scientific" approach, they basically amount to placing people
who know nothing and giving them no context at all in which to
interpret what's there. Removing all knowledge and context
supposedly makes for a more "objective" reading. Unfortunately,
it's also an absurd approach to the task that no intelligence
agency, e.g., would use for a similar task.

The brain interprets _everything_ in terms of context. Context
is everything. Perceptual psychologists have probably known
that for over 100 years. Doesn't matter what the perceptual
task is. Raw sensory data is often highly ambiguous, and the
brain has to rely on various avenues of context working
together, plus accumulated knowledge of the world, to
disambiguate the possibilities.

To give but one example amongst millions, if somebody says,
"You're such a genius!", it means one thing if said by an
admirer and just the opposite if said dripping in sarcasm by an
enemy. Same words, but the inflection in the voice, or
surrounding words, or past history -- i.e the context -- changes
everything.

Here's a better example, a classic in perceptual psychology
books, more in fitting to the discussion of what's in the Ramey
memo:

  12
A 13 C
  14

Now what's the "correct" or "better" interpretation of what's in
the middle? It's ambiguous, isn't it? If one reads straight
across, the context would suggest a broken alphabetic letter
"B". But read vertically, people will more likely see a
numerical context and read it as the number "13".

(Also check out my Web site, where I have a page devoted to
interpretation of broken, partially obliterated words based on
context, similar to what one might encounter in reading the
Ramey memo: http://www.roswellproof.com/Word_completion.html )

So does this mean that this is nothing but "seeing faces in the
clouds" because different contexts can produce different
results? No, not at all. What it means is that you need to
supply correct context, not eliminate it, to come up with a
"best" answer.

Is it any surprise that in Kevin Randle's study that if you
mislead two-thirds of your experimental subjects or tell them
nothing about the proper context of the message that people will
come up with many different readings? Tell some subjects that
it's about a rock concert instead of a military message about
Roswell and what's the big surprise if people come up with
different interpretations for the words, especially since the
average time spent per subjects was a meager 12 minutes for the
rock group and 20 minutes for the Roswell group?

How many people could solve the N.Y. Times crossword, with its
many ambiguous clues, in 12 - 20 minutes? What do you think the
results would be if you also misled a bunch of them with the
theme of the crossword. Is every person doing the crossword
equally adept with the English language or understanding the
clues or experienced in doing crosswords? Do you think, under
these experimental circumstances, that an absence of agreement
on many of the words they do fill in would be surprising? Should
one then draw the conclusion that the absence of agreement means
that doing the N.Y. Times crossword is nothing but seeing "faces
in the clouds" and a solution to the crossword is not feasible?

Allow me to cite one more example to illustrate a far more
sensible approach. It also illustrates just how vital it is to
make use of context and knowledge of the situation instead of
trying to eliminate both to supposedly be more "scientific" and
"objective" about it.

Suppose instead of a written message, this had been an auditory
one. Suppose electronic intelligence had intercepted a cell-
 phone message. However, the reception of the conversation is
extremely poor. There is a lot of static and the signal keeps
fading in and out. Understanding this message is a very similar
perceptual task to reading the printed Ramey message, with a lot
of film grain noise, where some of the message is hidden from
view by obstacles, such as Ramey's thumb or paper folds, and
where some letters aren't particular clear because of photo
defects, uneven emulsion development, etc.

Let's say further that a voice on the phone is clearly
identifiable as being from a known terrorist. This is analogous
to knowing that Ramey is holding the message in his hand and is
likely either the sender or the recipient.

In the case of the Ramey memo, this immediately provides
additional context to the message. It tells us that it is a
military message and probably a communication either up or down
in the chain of command. Maybe Ramey is contacting the Pentagon
or vice versa, or maybe Ramey is contacting or being contacted
by one of his subcommands.

Similarly, knowing the associates of the terrorist and his
position in the chain of command might suggest who was the
person on the other end of the line.  If this terrorist was one
step below the top of the people running the terrorist network,
then maybe the other person was Bin Laden himself.

Furthermore, let's say in the intercepted terrorist message that
the words "plane" and "United Nations" come through clearly.
That might very well suggest further context that they were
planning another hijacking and attack. Analogously, the words
"weather balloons" come through very clearly in the Ramey
message. This immediately indicates the context is Roswell and
this might suggest the communication was either to or from
Roswell base about the "flying disk" and the base press release
or to or from the Pentagon about the same matter. Now put that
context together with a clear "VA" at the the beginning of a
word in the address header and I think a strong case can
immediately be made that the message was directed to acting
chief of staff VAndenberg.

Now how do you think our intelligence agencies would tackle the
problem of the noisy terrorist phone message? Would they turn
the interpretation over to three different intelligence
divisions that know little or nothing about linguistics or the
terrorists networks, maybe the janitors in the building? Would
they deliberately mislead one group about who the message was
from, telling them perhaps it was from a man talking to his
travel agent. That group might very well surmise, absent the
proper context, that maybe the man was an average schnook
booking a flight to New York to visit the United Nations, since
the words "plane" and "United Nations" were easy to hear.

Would they tell a second group nothing, and only the third would
be given the information that the message involved a known
terrorist?  Obviously the latter group might reach a very
different conclusion about the overall contents of he message,
namely maybe another plane hijacking and terrorist attack was
being planned on New York with the U.N. as a target. Of course
for them to arrive at that conclusion, it would help if the
group also knows about 9/11 and previous terrorist methodology
of hijacking planes and flying into buildings.

POINT: It doesn't make much sense to use a bunch of know-
 nothings just so their reading of the message will be more
"objective."

Do you think further that if these groups spent no more than 12
to 20 minutes listening to this very noisy phone conversation
that this would be sufficient for any of them to reach a
reliable interpretation? If the three groups came up with many
differences for the words in this limited time with their
limited knowledge and with two-thirds of them in the dark about
what they were supposed to be interpreting, does this really
prove anything?

What this does illustrate is that if you design a poor protocol
in the name of "objectivity" you aren't going to get anywhere.
As I said before, no intelligence agency in their right mind
would tackle the problem this way. The point is to read the
message, or at least get a reasonable gist of what it is saying.
They would turn the message over to their best linguists, signal
analysts, and people with the most knowledge of the terrorists.
They wouldn't hide anything from them such as the identity of
the terrorist or the date and whereabouts of the phone
conversation.  They wouldn't arbitrarily eliminate experts who
might be biased one way or another in some hopeless quest for
"objectivity."

These experts would apply all the knowledge they have acquired
about the terrorists, linguistics, etc., i.e. context, which I
repeat, is absolutely _essential_ in a situation like this. You
aren't going to get very far without it

Now I'm not saying that there aren't other things that might be
done with the memo that might not render some aspects of reading
it more "objective." For an audio message, data analysis experts
could apply certain filters to try to reduce the background
noise and render the voice signal easier to hear. They could
have a computer compare one voice spectrum against a library of
spectrums on known terrorists to identify the other speaker,
etc.

In the case of the Ramey memo, I did simple objective things
such count the number of letters in the words. Thus when one
group tries to squeeze the nine-letter word "MAGDALENA" into an
8-character space, I can very objectively say that their
interpretation is wrong. Or if the same group reads a phrase as
"POWERS ARE NEEDED", but when I count the letters and find only
two for the second "word", I know that this interpretation
cannot be correct. (I am assuming here no misspellings in the
message, which is something I held my own feet to the fire in my
own interpretation. Methological constraints like this, even if
not totally correct, are important in preventing things from
becoming "anything goes" or "faces in the clouds." Did other
groups or individuals apply equal rigor in their analysis?)

REPEAT POINT: Not all interpretations are equally viable.

Right now I'm looking into perhaps having the computer do an
autocorrelation between the teletype font and selected sections
of the memo. This would (in principle) give probabilities for
different letters at a given position. It is certainly more
"objective" in that the computer is completely naive about
Roswell and certainly has no axe to grind. But it won't
necessarily add that much to the reading of the memo.

E.g., I have no doubt that such an exercise will demonstrate
that the beginning letter of the "VICTIMS" word is much more
probably a "V" than the "R" of "REMAINS" or the "F" of
"FINDING." But anybody looking at the word can see that
already, just like the audience at Lou Farrish's UFO conference.
 The human brain is still far and away the best known visual
pattern recognizer. The best computer programs still don't come
remotely close.

Further, humans still have to step into the loop and render a
final verdict no matter what you do. Let's say, for example,
that an objective statistical computer analysis for the word
shows that "VIOLINS" is the best match for the word and a
slightly better match than "VICTIMS". Do you just blindly go
with the computer's most probable result of VIOLINS or do you
apply a little common sense, i.e., real world logic that the
computer can't do? What are "VIOLINS" doing along with "WEATHER
BALLOONS" in a message being held by Gen. Ramey while he is
trying to kill the flying disk story by showing a weather
balloon in his office? Nothing that I can think of, can you?

Ultimately one would have to throw out "violins" as making no
sense in context. There's that dirty word context again. Anybody
who thinks there is a purely "objective" approach to reading
this message is just deluding themselves. Ultimately human
judgment will always enter into it and the application of
context is a vital component of such judgment.

>Whether this will take place in the near future is still up in
>the air, with funding needed to pursue this effort.

In the meantime, everybody reading this can do their peer review
by going to my Website and looking at key words and phrases with
their own eyes.  You don't have to wait for any funding to do
it, and you can make up your own mind.


David "Not just seeing faces in the clouds" Rudiak

www.roswellproof.com


SHAMELESS PLEA FOR FUNDS: Speaking of funding, the heavy traffic
on my Web site after the SciFi special is severely taxing it and
it may blow up like a Roswell saucer in the next few days when
allotted bandwidth for the month runs out. I have had to
temporarily remove links to some of my higher resolution images,
such as a scan of the Ramey message, in order to delay the
seeming inevitable. Purchasing additional bandwidth for the year
goes at $40/gigabyte, and I might very well need another 20 or
30 Gbytes/month (maybe more). That adds up to a fair amount of
moolah.

You can give this poor Website a better life by contributing a
few dollars at my donation page so that little Roswellproof can
afford some more bandwidth.  Donations can be as little as $1
and are paid through PayPal.

http://www.roswellproof.com/donations.html

Thank you, and thank you to a contributor to this List who has
already generously donated some money.




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