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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