First Contact Conundrum


With so much space travel and money spent to expand capabilities, as well as governments all over the world sending out signals to who knows what kind of alien civilizations, have world governments actually thought this thing through? The gringa understands the sense of adventure and curiosity that compels humanity to explore outer space and search for other life. However, does anyone really expect us to make contact with intelligent life anytime soon? Has there been any official policy or guidelines that mankind has decided we must prescribe to? After all, if they really are searching for extra-terrestrial life, surely they are planning for all possibilities, no matter how remote.

When NASA was planning its Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, the U.S. thought ahead to the possibility of alien contact that might result in astronauts bringing back home unknown, and potentially dangerous, pathogens. This led to the adoption of a federal law commonly called the “Extra-Terrestrial Exposure Law”, Title 14, Section 1211 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Basically, if any of the astronauts (or any Earthling for that matter) came into contact with a form of biological alien life, plant or animal, they were not allowed to touch it. Even if the alien was contained within an “atmospheric envelope” (the gringa supposes this means some type of spacesuit), the astronauts or any Earthling would be forbidden to touch even this protective “envelope”.

The gringa supposes the government didn’t really take the threat too seriously, probably understanding the strong, natural impulse of humans to be curious. Violation of the law only resulted in a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and possible jail time of up to one year. After quarantine, that is. The gringa would certainly risk a year in the slammer for a chance to touch or hug a space alien. Now, however, I don’t have to worry about such measures. In 1991 NASA determined the law served no purpose any longer so it is no longer in effect.

Now, the gringa has to wonder why the law now serves no purpose. Surely it is not because strange, possibly dangerous, contaminants have simply disappeared from all corners of every galaxy. So what is it that NASA knows that makes this law pointless? The gringa can only draw one of two conclusions:

  1. NASA knows that there is no possibility for life anywhere in outer space, or,
  2. NASA knows that mankind has already made physical contact with extra-terrestrials and it was no big deal by way of biological contamination.

And since this done-away with protocol of banned contact, little else has been done to outlaw human/space alien contact. In fact, the government seems to have gone another direction entirely.

UFOlogists frequently refer to what is commonly called the “Seven Steps of Contact”. They claim that in 1950 (3 years after the Roswell UFO crash incident) the military developed protocols for first contact with extra-terrestrials. It is a seven step process that includes the following:

  1. Intelligence gathering through remote surveillance (the gringa thinks satellites, International Space Station, sophisticated long-range satellites and probes).
  2. Covert visitation for the purpose of evaluating the ETs space vehicles, technology and weapons (ISS, space travel and top-secret military bases).
  3. If human capabilities were sufficient for defense, invite ETs for visits closer to Earth to evaluate potential for any hostility (ISS and top-secret military bases).
  4. Should no hostilities arise, escalate to brief touchdowns in isolated areas for exchange of biological specimens of plants, animals and human/ETs (basically, government sanctioned abductions of animals and humans in exchange for ET animals and beings. The gringa thinks: crop circles, livestock mutilations, etc., etc.)
  5. If all goes well, begin exposing presence with low-level approaches of spacecraft that would be visible to terrestrial observers to demonstrate existence as well as establish no hostile intentions.
  6. If exposure to the public went well, escalate exposure to as many terrestrial observers as possible.
  7. When ET presence is accepted as non-hostile and not disastrous, invite open communication and meetings.

Another interesting fact to point out. Eleven years after these guidelines were established, the first reported alien abduction occurred. Betty and Barney Hill, an inter-racial couple politically active in the Civil Rights movement, claimed they were chased by a UFO in New Hampshire. Although neither one had actual memories of an abduction, only of the chase, Betty began having nightmares and some memory fragments of an abduction that began to surface. Through psychiatric help, the couple eventually recalled their alien abduction experience. But did it really happen or were the pair hoping for a bit of celebrity status and media attention to help their cause?

With no witnesses to the event, credibility solely falls upon repressed memories resurfacing through hypnosis, which, of itself, is problematic. Mental health professionals now know that it is easy to “plant” suggested “memories” into a person’s mind. Also, consider that for years afterward Betty claimed to have had hundreds of UFO sightings. However, upon investigation, avid UFOlogists who really wanted the Hill’s claims to be true realized that Betty was a bit dense, or, perhaps, near-sighted. It seems she really couldn’t tell the difference between a bright streetlamp at night or a UFO.

There is also the fact that the area of New Hampshire at the time of the supposed high-speed UFO chase was actually well-populated. Had Betty and Barney truly been careening down Route 3 with a glowing UFO hot on their tail, surely someone in one of the several towns they would have raced through would have seen something. Surely a highway patrol, sheriff’s deputy or local police officer would have seen something and given chase as well.  I mean, there were stop signs and traffic lights they would have had to have blown right  through.

So, the gringa has rabbit-trailed enough. Back to the original question. Do government’s actually have protocols for making first contact? It seems that they don’t. And, although Barney and Betty’s alien abduction story may have been a hoax, surely the many thousands that are on record in any number of countries around the world can’t all be untrue. Perhaps the reason that there is no government on Earth at all concerned with what we should do in the event of meeting ETs for the first time is because first contact has already been made and it turned out to be no big deal. Well, stranger things have happened!

Sources: www.law.cornell.edu

www.livescience.com/aliens discovered

www.livescience.com/alien abduction

Image Credit:  tvtropes.org

 

 

 

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Read With The Gringa “The Storm and What Came of It”, Chapt. 5’s Conclusion


Together we finish another chapter from “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, book 5 of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis. Where in the world has Eustace gotten to?

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Was Baal Such A Bad Guy?


Just how many gods are there? Monotheistic religions like Christianity, Islam and Judaism will say that there is only one god. A Hindu would tell you that there could be as many as 320 million gods. However, another Hindu might tell you that it is really only a single god in 320 million forms. A religious encyclopedia claims that there are only 2,500 gods known throughout the world. Atheists say that there are no gods. Deists say that it doesn’t really matter, because gods only create us then go on their merry way. The gringa finds all of this incredibly frustrating because I like to “know” stuff.

Well, if I can’t get an exact head count of the head guy(s)/gal(s) in charge, then at least the gringa should know some helpful stuff about who he/she/they might be. Take, for example, 3,300 year-old Baal… Tel Burna is a 3,300 year-old archeological site thought to be where a Baal cult thrived (although there are those who want to give credit to the goddess Anat). Baal was a Canaanite storm god.

When the gringa was a little girl in Sunday school, I didn’t learn anything about Baal. However, I received quite an impression in church service with a hellfire-brimstone preacher who pounded the pulpit and claimed that Baal was the pagan god who inspired abortion. There was a scripture in the old testament that he explained as describing child sacrifice. The gringa never really thought much about this memory until the subject of Tel Burna in Israel was brought to my attention. So was Baal a storm god who demanded child sacrifice?

The encyclopedia Brittanica describes Baal as a god of fertility who was manifest in rain and dew. His “storm” nickname translates into “He Who Rides on the Clouds”. So, westerners who preferred to call their own Judeo-Christian god the “God of the Heavens” had to do a bit of rhetorical gymnastics with Baal’s title “Lord of the Heavens”, hence, “storm god”. But did Baal require child sacrifice?

It seems that ancient Baal worship did require human sacrifice, adults as well as children. Strange as it may sound, there are still worshippers today of this ancient religion, at least according to Protestant Evangelicals. Many Protestant Evangelical preachers teach that modern liberalism in U.S. society is neo-Baalism, marked by pro-choice positions on abortion, the acceptance of the LGBT community, and “radical” feminism. Gee, the gringa must be a Baal worshipper! However, once the gringa found out what has been unearthed so far at Tel Burna, and what it indicates about Baal society, she doesn’t feel so bad.

Archaeologists found jars called “pithoi” that were used to store the tithes and offerings of the people. Baal worshippers were generous, faithful givers. Religious icons from other civilizations were also present. Baal worshippers were open minded and tolerant. Chalices and art from other civilizations were found which indicate that Baal society appreciated higher learning and skilled craftsmanship. Interesting technology was discovered that originated from other civilizations. Baal was not a closed society, engaging in open trade with other communities. Baal worshippers were savvy in business and friendly neighbors.

The gringa believes that she is in good company with Baal worshippers. I’m afraid I’m just one, big, fat, heretical disappointment for my childhood pastor.

Sources:  listverse.com

www.sciencetimes.com

www.wnd.com

www.wnd.com

Image Credit: dragonsandseamonsters.wordpress.com

Read With The Gringa “The Storm and What Came of It”, Chapt 5, Part 1


Join the gringa for a read-along as we begin chapter 5 of “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, book 5 of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis. Eustace records the frightening details in his diary.

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Read With The Gringa “The Story of the Trial of El-ahrairah” Chapt. 22’s Concl.


We finish another chapter together from “Watership Down” by Richard Adams. El-ahrairah outwits Prince Rainbow once again!

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Poor Mary, Tired To Death


A Winston Churchill quote is one of the greatest sources of inspiration for the gringa when it comes to historical research:

“History is written by the victors.”

 And the funniest thing about the truth of this quote is that Winston Churchill, whom a World War II victory would not have been possible without, did not even originate this quote, yet he always gets the glory. Perhaps it is because he is a victor!

With that in mind, the gringa would like to look at some annals of history comparing the words of the victorious with the words of the vanquished.  As an American, I will begin with my own country’s origins, the arrival of Europeans upon the soil of North America. What is the perspective of American history as told by traditional American historians compared to what is preserved by the indigenous people these European invaders eventually overpowered? Of course the stories vastly differ. But there were more people vanquished by the white men who arrived on the Atlantic shores of modern day Pennsylvania in the 16 & 1700s. There were also women, considered chattel and property. They, too, tell a different history of America than is traditionally recounted by the pre-dominantly white male historian.

Mary Cooper (1714-1778)

At the ripe, old age of 54 Mary Cooper began her diary, re-telling the events of being married to a Long Island farmer. Her personal record spans the years of 1768-1773, ending five years before her death. Poor Mary died childless, all of her 6 children passing on long before her: 2 died in infancy, 2 as young children, and 2 died in adulthood. Her tale is a story of struggle, tragedy and perseverance of a new life in a foreign and hostile land. Was it really worth the sacrifice to be part of a colonial invasion, laying claim to land that belonged to others? Would it have been more wise to remain within the confines of the existing British empire rather than seek to expand it at the expense of indigenous peoples, scratching out a meager existence in an undeveloped country? Dear reader, you read Mary’s words and decide for yourself.

On November 17, a Thursday in 1768, Mary notes how tired she is from a day of cooking and washing dishes. The gringa finds this sad. Women and men alike often consider cooking a joy, even a hobby. Back then, for poor Mary, it was hard labor. Washing a day’s worth of dishes was a task of hard labor as well.

The colonists are almost always depicted as pious Christian folk. We are regaled with stories of church gatherings. Their fervent religious beliefs even inspired the notorious Salem witch trials where young women and old crones were tortured and murdered for superstitious reasons. Yet Mary recounts a Sabbath day in November as being anything but a religious observance of the day of rest. She claimed that amidst a raging rain and snowstorm that she had not a single minute of rest. Keeping her home dry and warm was demanding work.

About one month later, two days in a row leading right up to Christmas Eve, poor Mary was quite miserable. Cleaning house as the northwest wind blew snow all day long made her “tired almost to death”. Christmas Eve, traditionally thought to be a time of gay celebration, also had Mary “tired almost to death”. Why? Because she had been drying and ironing clothes from sun up to sun down. The gringa hates to iron. I don’t purchase a single stitch of clothing if it has to be ironed or sent to the dry cleaners. The gringa believes that Spandex is the single greatest invention on this darn planet. I would have been one of the worst dressed colonists. That’s for darn sure. Poor, poor Mary. What an awful holiday memory.

But maybe Mary enjoys entertaining guests. The gringa knows many women who jump at the chance of being the hostess with the mostest. Maybe having company will cheer up poor, dear Mary.

Let’s see, January 7, 1769… it’s a Saturday! Perfect day for company, right? Wrong. Poor, poor Mary records that she is “tired almost to death” from waiting on her visitors. What about Christian hospitality? Mary’s spirit is a little lacking in such feelings because her feet ached as if her bones had been “laid bare”. Egad! Poor soul! Mary claimed she had no rest at all throughout the week. The gringa’s guess is that it must take that long to prepare for a single afternoon of company.

Dear readers, I believe I would have become a hermit or an eccentric old woman to keep company at bay rather than suffer the likes of what poor Mary endured! All the extra work to prepare for guests meant that she didn’t even have time to take care of cleaning and ironing her own clothes! What a horror! Throw a party and then not have a single thing to wear the following week! Who knew?! Poor Mary couldn’t believe there was possibly a single person who had such a miserable life as her own… “Did ever poore creature [have su]ch a life before.”

On February 12, a day the gringa would look forward to with romance only 2 days away, poor Mary was miserable again. So miserable and on the Sabbath as well. Once again, no rest on the Sabbath for Mary. She pens, “I hoped for some rest but am forst to get dinner and slave hard all day long”.

A week later, on the next Sabbath, the gringa’s insight into Mary takes a dark turn. Perhaps Mary’s life is not really all that bad. Maybe the problem is with Mary, or at least her religion. The gringa thinks Mary lives in perpetual stress due to the “fear of God” nature of her religion and the demands she believes it makes of her. Consider her words:

“I went to the Newlig[ht] meten with greate delight and offer[ed] my self to be a member with them. [They] seemed to be very glad but I was sudingly seased with a great horr[or] and darkeness. E[ven] think darkeness as migh[t] be felt. O, my God, why has thou forsaken me… I came home before the worship began, most distrest.”

Things weren’t any better for Mary the next day. She writes that she is still “in greate darkness still”. The following Sabbath she was still too troubled to attend her religious meeting. Her emotional and religious crisis stretches on into March.

On the 12th of that month she wrote that she was trying to get her clothes ready to attend the meeting despite the fact that she felt “as much distress as my heart can hold.” Two people came to visit her and she recorded that “I am forced to get diner and cannot go to metan atall. Alas, how unhappy and meresabel I am. I feele banished from God and all good.”

The gringa just feels for poor, poor Mary. I remember feeling miserable. It was called an unhappy marriage. The gringa just packed up and ran away from home. As the gringa reads Mary’s words of suffering my mind is screaming, “Run away, Mary! Run away!” But, back then, where would she go? How would she survive?

In April the gringa finds out what happens to naughty women of Mary’s time. Friday, Mary has some visitors. One of her guests is a woman named Tabthea. Mary writes that Tabthea quarrels with “our peopel”  and “Semon Cooper turned her out of doors and threw her over the fence”. The gringa thinks, “What in the world was wrong with those people?” I mean, the history I was taught was all about the generosity and goodness of the early American colonists, their goodness related to their religious beliefs. But here you have a woman who argues a point and then a man tosses her, not just out of the house, but OVER A FENCE! Outrageous!

Throughout April and May, a time when the gringa would be celebrating the arrival of Spring, poor Mary talks over and over again about her distress. It is all related to how much trouble she has with the labor demands of keeping her clothes cleaned and ironed. Things got so bad that on a Saturday, trying to prepare for the Sabbath, she records that she is simply “dirty and distressed as ever”. By the time Sabbath arrives there are “No cloths irond” and she is simply “freted and tired almost to death”.  The next week was no better. Poor Mary had “Much hard worke, dirty and distrest.” She later receives a lady guest who is having problems with her sons. Mary’s perspective is that “We seeme to have little or no sence of any thing but our troubels.” It seems Mary’s depression was the common plight of the female American colonist.

July 13, 1769 is an anniversary of sorts for Mary. It marks the 40th year since she married and came to America with her husband. And how does Mary feel about this? Yes, the dear readers have guessed it, morose, little Mary is not reflecting with gladness… “here have I seene little els but harde labour and sorrow, crosses of every kind. I think in every repect the state of my affairs is more then forty times worse then when I came here first, except that I am nearer the desierered haven.”

The gringa thinks that it’s safe to say that American historians have romanticized a history that is anything but romantic. The colonists could have done themselves a favor, as well as the indigenous people they ended up massacring, by just staying home across the pond!  And that’s enough of poor Mary for now! The gringa is thoroughly depressed and needs a walk in the park because I’m darn sure not doing any laundry anytime soon!

 

Source: nationalhumanitiescenter.org

Image Credit: roleofwomenincolonialtimes.weebly.com

 

 

 

 

 

Read With The Gringa “The Story of the Trial of El-ahrairah”, Chapt 22, Part 2


We reach the middle of another interesting chapter from “Watership Down” by Richard Adams. Bluebell begins the story of the trial.

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