Buzz Aldrin’s UFO Sighting

Buzz Aldrin, post moonwalk. SOURCE: Wikipedia.

Buzz Aldrin, post moonwalk. SOURCE: Wikipedia.

Sunday, July 20 is the 45th anniversary of the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, as well as—according to half the Internet—the best-ever sighting of alien spacecraft, by astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Here's the relevant part of the conversation between Aldrin and NASA that was overheard by ham radio operators (according to the site Above Top Secret):

Mission Control: What’s there ? Mission Control calling Apollo 11.

Apollo 11: These babies are huge, sir … enormous…. Oh, God, you wouldn’t believe it! I’m telling you there are other space craft out there… lined up on the far side of the crater edge… they’re on the moon watching us.

At the same time, NASA's live television broadcast of this segment of the moon mission was interrupted by an "overheated camera." To many, that smacked of editing by the United States government, believed since the 1947 Roswell landing to be keeping close encounters secret in case the aliens had technology that the military could use against the Russians.

This begged the question:

Conspiracy theorists treated the question as rhetorical. Which led to "renderings" like this:

SOURCE for this image and above: Educating Humanity

SOURCE for this image and above: Educating Humanity

Last week, Aldrin said the following in the course of a chat on Reddit:

On Apollo 11 en route to the Moon, I observed a light out the window that appeared to be moving alongside us. There were many explanations of what that could be, other than another spacecraft from another country or another world -- it was either the rocket we had separated from, or the 4 panels that moved away when we extracted the lander from the rocket and we were nose to nose with the two spacecraft. So in the close vicinity, moving away, were 4 panels. And I feel absolutely convinced that we were looking at the sun reflected off of one of these panels. Which one? I don't know. So technically, the definition could be "unidentified."

So did the government get to Aldrin? Or was it the aliens themselves?


Related link: My True Area 51 UFO Story

Hovercars in Israel

Here a few details of the forthcoming hovercar system in Israel, operational in 2015. Initially the cars will go about 43 miles per hour, following a 1,640-foot-long test guideway at the Israel Aerospace Industries campus.

Once testing is complete, the city of Tel Aviv will construct a 4.3-mile-long guideway, with 2-seater cars capable of 150 mph. If and when that succeeds, traffic as we know it will fade into history.

There are no cup holders, however.

For actual information, see skyTran's site and/or check out my gallery of UAVs (a.k.a. drones), commercial planes and flying cars.

The Greatest Dogfight Never

What happened to this pilot?

He had no parachute, he did not land in a soft spot like a haystack, but he was uninjured. How is that possible?

Clues may be found in a couple other photographs from the same dogfight, which came from Mrs. Gladys Maud Cockburne-Lange, widow of the WWI flying ace for the British Royal Flying Corps who strapped a camera to his plane and filmed this European sky action.

After the war, the widow Cockburn-Lange sold the photos to a magazine for $20,000. The photos are fake, however. In 1984, a donation to the Smithsonian by American pilot David Archer, who was also a Hollywood special effects ace, included evidence that he'd been in cahoots with the widow Cockburne-Lange, if she even was a widow, or even named Cockburne-Lange.

Related Links: The Theft of Mata-Hari's Skull

Once a Spy

The Best Baseball Game this Year

In 1991, Chicago's Comiskey Park became a parking lot (for the new Comiskey Park). Thus Birmingham, Alabama's Rickwood Field, which turns 104 this season, earned the distinction of America's Oldest Professional Baseball Stadium. The home of both Birmingham's Barons and the Black Barons of the Negro Leagues had essentially stood empty since the Barons (now a White Sox double-A affiliate) moved to the suburbs in 1987. And the wrecking ball loomed.

Enter a group of young Birmingham professionals who might have gotten together for bowling or pizza. But they cherished childhood memories of storybook sunny days spent in Rickwood's grandstand, rooting for the home team.

Moreover, they viewed Rickwood as a treasure. You could step into the park, they felt, and, without trying, practically channel the 10,000 Coal Barons boosters who overflowed the stands on Opening Day in 1910. You could breathe a bouquet of talc, freshly-poured Stroh's beer, and broiling woolen suits. You could hear the hurrahs -- you might even catch a suggestion that the umpire have his spectacles checked. A resounding crack of the bat was almost a certainty. Then you kept an eye cocked, half-expecting a Ty Cobb to charge, like a locomotive, after a fly ball.

Cobb played at Rickwood, as did Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. Satchell Paige graced the mound. Willie Mays began his career as a Black Baron. As an Oakland (then Kansas City) A's minor leaguer posted to Birmingham, Reggie Jackson belted balls, it seemed, to Oakland. And on barnstorming tours or stopovers to and from spring training, many more Hall of the Famers dug spikes into Rickwood's diamond.

Lynryrd Skynrd played there, too -- a concert in 1974 included the group's new song, Sweet Home Alabama. Baseball was just part of Rickwood's history. Alabama and Auburn's football squads used to meet on Rickwood's gridiron. Chapters of the Civil Rights story took place at the park as well: It was singular as a venue for civic pride, both black and white.

"We couldn't let something as beautiful and significant to our city as Rickwood be torn down," said Tom Cosby. In 1991, Cosby was a vice president at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce. He joined the group of young professionals who set about restoring Rickwood to its heyday.

The first step was getting into the park. It was locked.

The group went to City Hall and pleaded to Mayor Richard Arrington that Rickwood was "a national treasure that wasn't just unique in baseball, but unique in general." They came away with a 99-year lease at one dollar per year.

Some people considered it a lousy deal.

The roof was caving in, the grandstand was crumbling, and the field looked like it had hosted a war. Also the locker rooms were furnished to the tastes of the disco era, and dilapidated. Similarly, many of the vintage wooden seats -- imported from the Polo Grounds when that historic ballpark was razed -- had been discarded and replaced with garish ("interstate highway orange," as Cosby puts it) plastic ones, which birds had been using as restrooms for years.

Cosby's group, the non-profit Friends of Rickwood, rolled up their sleeves and fixed and scrubbed whatever they could, possibly putting more sweat into the park than any team that played there. With $2 million they raised, they also restored the stadium's majestic, spearmint-green facade, rebuilt the grandstand roof in painstaking period detail, revitalized the hand-operated scoreboard, constructed a new (though antique in feel) press box, and installed memorabilia displays. Then they opened to visitors.

In 1993, Rickwood Field was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Warner Brothers selected it as a principal location for the movie Cobb. And USA Today listed it among its "10 Great Places for a Baseball Pilgrimage."

In 2004, during his first visit in forty years, Willie Mays stepped to the plate, looked the park over and remarked that it hadn't changed. Which perhaps best summed up the Friends of Rickwood's accomplishment.

But their job had barely begun.

"The challenge is that of an old house, on the grandest scale," says David Brewer, the Friends' Executive Director.

Contributions from the city, along with field rental fees for the 80 or so high school and college games played at Rickwood each season, constitute the bulk of the park's annual $150,000 budget. Which hardly covers the maintenance. According to another of the volunteers, "It's mostly done with shoestrings and gum and chicken wire."

One of Rickwood's greatest benefactors is its ex-tenant. For fourteen years, the Barons have played one game per season at Rickwood. The 6,500 tickets sold on average have provided a huge boon to Rickwood. And the "Rickwood Classic" is no mere game. Watch players bound onto the field in flannel uniforms, hear jazz piped through the funnel-shaped speakers, lick a snowcone, and good luck convincing yourself that, on the way from the parking lot, you did not pass through a wormhole in time to 1910.

ESPN recently ranked the Rickwood Classic among "101 Things All Sports Fans Must Experience Before They Die."

The 2014 Rickwood Classic, pitting the Barons and Mississippi Braves, will be played on Wednesday, June 25, at 12:30. Tickets are still available. I got your snowcone.