Category Archives: News

Area-51

fgsg1aAs a kid I loved a good conspiracy theory. In about 5th grade I was sitting in my backyard with one of my best friends, when we spotted a blinking light in the sky. This friend did quite well in school, and read books for fun. At that age, this is enough of a resume to pretty much get any other kid to believe whatever you say. As we were staring at this blinking object in the sky, my friend told me that it was speaking through morse code. Any kid who has wanted to be a spy (every young boy) knows what morse code is, so I thought that might be feasible. He slowly began to translate what the supposed alien craft was saying: “I… want… YOU!” which erupted in screaming and running into the house, at which point we probably grabbed nerf guns and pocket knives with which to defend ourselves. We both knew deep down it was probably just an airplane but we wanted to believe.

With the declassification of the projects developed at Area-51, those who were involved are finally allowed to talk about what really went on there. For those who don’t know, Area-51 is the code name for an area approximately 100 miles outside of Las Vegas in the Nevada desert. The airspace above it has been restricted since the 60’s, and there are signs warning of punishment upon trespass all around. For decades conspiracy theorists have speculated what the facility was for. Some believe that all matters regarding alien life forms are handled there,  including actual spacecraft and alien corpses salvaged from a crash near Roswell in the 1940’s. roswelldailyrecordjuly81947

There have been massive amounts of reports filed through the years claiming sightings of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. The speculation has even spread to Hollywood, with Will Smith visiting the facility in the movie “Independence Day” and good old Indy Jones making an escape from a storage warehouse on site, and countless others.

I don’t think that anything can ever kill the rumors and speculation, but with the official declassification of the projects hosted there, we get to hear a little more about what has gone on.

On May 24, 1963, Collins flew out of Area 51’s restricted airspace in a top-secret spy plane code-named OXCART, built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. He was flying over Utah when the aircraft pitched, flipped and headed toward a crash. He ejected into a field of weeds.

Almost 46 years later, in late fall of 2008, sitting in a coffee shop in the San Fernando Valley, Collins remembers that day with the kind of clarity the threat of a national security breach evokes: “Three guys came driving toward me in a pickup. I saw they had the aircraft canopy in the back. They offered to take me to my plane.” Until that moment, no civilian without a top-secret security clearance had ever laid eyes on the airplane Collins was flying. “I told them not to go near the aircraft. I said it had a nuclear weapon on-board.” The story fit right into the Cold War backdrop of the day, as many atomic tests took place in Nevada. Spooked, the men drove Collins to the local highway patrol. The CIA disguised the accident as involving a generic Air Force plane, the F-105, which is how the event is still listed in official records.

As for the guys who picked him up, they were tracked down and told to sign national security nondisclosures. As part of Collins’ own debriefing, the CIA asked the decorated pilot to take truth serum. “They wanted to see if there was anything I’d forgotten about the events leading up to the crash.” Los Angeles Times

oxcart_aircraft_on_the_ramp_at_groom_lake_area_51_in_1964_there_are_ten_aircraft_in_the_photo__the_first_eight_are_oxcart_machines__and_the_last_two_are_air_force_yf-12asWith the government opening up about these top-secret programs, there is no-doubt going to be claims that there is more information still being covered up by the Government. This is likely, since we have proof that for the past 40 years the Government has actively lied about what has been going on there.

Although I don’t follow the lore now, I find it extremely interesting, and still hope that it is true. I would like to end with my own personal UFO story that is completely, 100% true.

One late night when driving back to Orem from Sandy, I was coming down the final stretch of I-15. By final stretch, I mean the long, straight part just before it turns and goes into Orem, just past American Fork and near Pleasant Grove. I looked out over Utah Lake and saw some lights in the air moving slightly. They were moving enough that I estimated that it was a small passenger plane like a Cessna, about to land at the Utah county airport just south. Aviation fascinates me so as I cruised down the empty freeway in the middle of the night, I kept an eye on the craft. Suddenly the lights changed direction, and at a speed much faster than before, went across the freeway, and at very low altitude into a field. Literally shaken, I looked over my shoulder trying to see it, as only seconds after it crossed my path I passed the point in which it traversed the freeway.

Saying something is a UFO does not imply that it is an alien spacecraft. Only that is is flying, and unidentifiable. That day, I saw a UFO. I don’t know what it was, or what it was doing. But I saw something, and have yet to be able to come up with a reasonable explanation.

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iPhone 3.0 Wrap-Up

Image courtesy Gizmodo

Image courtesy Gizmodo

Apple has announced their iPhone 3.0 software. Their last major update brought downloadable applications to the phone, and their aim with this next release is to bring more features that people want. So what are some things that they have added?

Well first off, Cut, Copy and Paste. Using a double tap you can select text to cut or copy, and double tap later to paste. Simple enough implementation. You can even shake to undo, neat.

Complete device search, or spotlight, and landscape typing are also included, as well as sending and receiving MMS messages. Spotlight is a utility that allows you to search your entire device, including music files and applications. A couple of the other things they are adding include, stereo bluetooth support, notes syncing, shake to shuffle, anti-phishing, auto-fill and YouTube accounts. You can now forward SMS messages as well. I know a lot of people will be happy with these updates alone.

Apple has opened up more options for charging for apps. Devs can now choose to sell subscriptions to their content, or even levels for games in a buffet type manner. The new options for different business models is great for developers, but not as great for users. Basically it enables the devs to squeeze a little bit more money out of app store patrons. I think this is a good thing, however, as it will continue to add more apps to the store, and possibly ones with increased functionality.

The iPhone will be enabled with P2P access that is automatic and simple. With peer to peer access easier, apps will be able to transfer information quickly and easily, broadening the functionality of the phone. We will see how open Apple is with this, but potentially it could be used to transfer photos etc.

SDK

Accessory makers will be able to develop applications to use specifically with their accessory, which means that your next Bose speaker dock may have the equalizer controls within an iPhone app, rather than not having them at all. They are even allowing more niche applications like a blood pressure monitor that could be plugged directly into the iPhone to record it and utilize it the information. Also people with diabetes will be able to monitor their glucose levels directly on the phone, with their insulin meter talking directly to their phone via bluetooth. I know one medical professional specifically who would like to use only one device, and is looking for the ideal. This could bump the iPhone up there in the running.

One thing that I would like to see is an attachment for gameboy-like buttons. This would really allow for more in depth gaming on the iPhone. It seems like this now would be possible, though it would probably require support from Apple to work correctly.

Background notifications will be enabled. According to Apple, applications running in the background cause an 80% decrease in battery life, opposed to 23% when the app is merely checking for notifications. One thing they fail to mention is that apps like Pandora will still not be able to run in the background, and have no need for push applications. This will be disappointing for some thought the battery life would be absolutely pitiful if you were listening to Pandora and playing a game. The battery is bad enough already, so I think that Apple was between a rock and a hard place but made the smart decision, though it may not be the popular one.

They are opening up new APIs to developers. What this means is that app makers will be able to use more of the iPhone’s features in their apps. Things like access to the music library, proximity sensor and full use of the GPS (Turn by turn directions anyone?). Another example would be that within a game, you could access your music library as a character, select a song and play the song. EA demonstrated this with their game, The Sims.

One thing notably absent from the official announcements is bluetooth tethering. In a question and answer session, Apple said that they were working with carriers to get this function up and running. They also said that they have no hardware announcements at this time. Bluetooth keyboards will not be supported, and P2P will be limited to devices running bonjour, Apple’s personal flavor.

The update will be available to all iPhone owners for free this summer, probably when the next iPhone comes out. For iPod Touch users, it will be  $9.99. I am surprised that they didn’t try to sell the update as part of the next iPhone. That means that whatever they come out with will have to have some serious hardware updates to sell (faster processor anyone?). I don’t believe that anyone has the right to complain anymore about Apple intentionally nuetering the phone, though due to human nature, we will probably start demanding satallite TV on the iPhone around July.

Pictures Courtesy Gizmodo and Engadget Liveblogs and their creative commons license.

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Your Mom is a Recession

I won’t pretend to be an economist. In fact, I misspelled economist just now when I tried to type it (as well as “misspelled, isn’t that ironic?). But this whole economic downturn thing has got me thinking.

Whenever we talk about our situation you can’t help but think of the last time that something like this happened, the 1930’s. There were a couple of factors that contributed to what happened then, some different from now, but I would like to make a comparison. Why do we have history class? So we can learn about what happened before that wasn’t good, and not repeat it, right? Well lets see if we can’t draw some similarities.

In the 1930’s in California, people were starving to death. At the same time, there were hundreds of thousands of acres of fruit fields, bearing fruit and dropping it to the ground to rot. How did this happen? Money wasn’t moving.

Lets back up a little bit, to the dustbowl. The dustbowl was the result of farmers in the midwest growing cotton to the point that the nutrients were stripped from the soil, making it harder to grow other things on it. That, combined with lack of rain, turned the soil very dry. When the wind came it carried the soil into the air with whatever good soil was left, causing the farmer’s crops to be far too little to produce enough money to pay off their loans, and they were evicted. With the promise of work in California, many of them packed up and migrated across the country to California.

Once they arrived there was a different situation than promised. Coniving land owners had sent the word of far more work than there was, in order to drop the price of labor because of an influx of potential workers. I know this is a lot to take in, but bear with me.

These people had no money, because they were out of work. As a result, no-one was buying fruit and other crops. That resulted in the crops not being profitable enough for farmers to pay workers to pick it, so it dropped from the vine to rot on the ground, all while people starved in squalorly little camps made of rubbish called Hoovervilles. This is a lot like what is happening now.

The money isn’t moving. As soon as journalists started reporting that there ‘might be a recession’ I knew it was on. Just like life imitates art, life will imitate what we see on the news. Six months ago, people slowed their buying of Microsoft products subliminally because of threat of economic downturn. Microsoft starts losing money by paying their employees to develop products nobody is buying. They fire those employees (we are at that point now) and as a result those employees don’t have money to buy groceries, pretty soon the grocers lose money, the farmers lose money, the banks forclose on those farms, stop giving loans altogether because no one is making payments padded with interest… you get the picture. What got the country out of the Great Depression was WWII, because it forced us to do something. We had to get in factories, swap rubber and steel to make things, rather than sit in our houses and hoard the money we didn’t have. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a war to bring us out of this.

The country is a freeway, and some cars have passed someone sitting on the side of the road fixing a flat tire and everybody is hitting their brakes and no-one knows why. It is going farther and farther back, and some people are even running into each other creating more problems.

I know that there are other factors, such as the shady business practices by corporations etc, but those things would make this post even longer, and I’m sure you have things to do, like sit on your bed so that no-one finds the money you have hidden under the mattress.

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Proud to Represent

Here we have a MINI Cooper who had a run in with a Chevy Tahoe. Since

the MINI is completely superior to the Tahoe in every way, it decided to
rub it in by kicking the crap out of it too. Although I don’t support
violence, I stick by the MINI’s decision.


These pictures were taken by the firemen who arrived on the scene. They
were so amazed that they took pics with their cell phones.

Here is a photo I used to show people when I worked at MINI who didn’t

believe that MINI’s are safe. If you notice the personal area is still intact,
thus preserving life.

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U.S GOVT. REVEALS NASA TO BE GIANT, MONEY-EATING SLUG

LANGLEY, VA – Officials for NASA made an announcement today, amidst growing economic tension and questions concerning where Government funds have been spent, that NASA is merely the name for a giant slug that sustains itself on crisp $100 bills.


“We wanted to set the record straight” said Chief Engineer Bill Rooney, “we have received some reports that people believe we are responsible for space exploration.”

Experts say that despite the reality TV show Star Trek having chronicled the adventures of the USS Enterprise and its crew for the past few decades, people still don’t understand where their tax dollars are going. This is the troubling news which prompted the announcement today.

“Our biggest priority right now is maintaining the life of the vicious slug-monster that currently resides beneath the White House in a dungeon called Guantanamo Bay II. Second to that is providing slick stainless steel writing instruments for the consumer market” says Ryan Williams, NASA Administrator of Money Hefting.

Citizens of this country have also been quick to forget the many other things their billions and billions in tax money has brought them, say the spokespeople for the organization. “The sheer amount of polymers and fabrics alone (including material now used for mattresses) is vindication of the incredibly bloated budget that NASA now retains.

“Times have been tough lately though. We have had less time to invent products for infomercials as the monster is sleeping less lately due to hunger pains. It really is a tough time for everyone, including the horrible, horrible beast that consumes most of our budget.” says Mr. Williams.

“We would love to explore space with expensive rockets, contributing to society with useful things like colorful pictures of galaxies, but it isn’t possible right now with the cutbacks.”

NASA failed to comment as to why they retain the name: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as it tends to be quite misleading in some people’s opinion.

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Boycott Utah? Yeah… Right…


What they are about

This past Tuesday, we had the opportunity to vote on a variety of things. California of course, voted on the infamous Prop. 8 which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. It passed with approximately 52%, which is cutting it pretty close.


As a result of this, many supporters of the gay rights movement and others are attempting to rally a “Boycott of Utah”. What does this mean? Utah brings in about 6 billion dollars annually in tourism. Utah doesn’t have many other industries as nothing is really produced here to be considered on this scale. Michigan makes cars, Idaho makes potatoes, and Utah, well we have pretty rocks. Many business owners depend on tourism to keep them afloat. The Sundance film festival is a world renowned event, which brings many people (and their money) to the state each year.


Why boycott Utah? The theory is that since Utah is about 60% LDS, and the LDS church contributed millions of dollars and man hours to supporting proposition 8, boycotting Utah would send a message to the church, who is headquartered in Salt Lake City.


Why they are wrong

One angle that could potentially be successful is if everyone put a chokehold on Utah’s tourism industry, it might sway those suffering to petition to punish the LDS church by removing their tax exempt status. This is a very round-about way of doing it, but is the angle that they would like you to subscribe to.


However…


The people who would suffer from this boycott, are likely the main group of people in Utah who didn’t support Prop. 8. Those of the artistic community and tourism industry are part of a demographic that is known for being more liberal and open minded than their rural Utah counterparts. For instance, does a chicken farmer in rural Utah care about prop 8 besides making sure that it passes? No. He probably doesn’t even know anyone it would effect. Someone who has roots in other states and is part of the film industry is more likely to know people it would directly effect, and have a more educated opinion on the topic. 


This is also supported by the fact the SLC is only 40% LDS, despite the rest of the states percentages being much higher. 


In Conclusion

Those who the boycott would effect, are actually the people who likely sympathize with those who disagree on the result of the vote in California.


Not to mention…

IT WAS CALIFORNIA WHO VOTED ON 8, NOT UTAH.

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PROVOPHENIA!

I recently had the opportunity to partake in one of the few events that truly define a lifetime. Many souls gathered to pay homage to the Gods of Lambretta and Piaggio. There were victories, failures, wipeouts, and failed spark plugs. I am talking, of course, about the yearly Provophenia scooter rally! This year, in respect for the Olympics being held in China, and the amount of crappy, $800 dollar scooters with plastic engines flooding the market, we held the Chinese scooter Olympics. We had chinese food, custom fortune cookies with Engrish fortunes, and events such as the piston throw, and wheel discus. We even had a torch, which I will cover later.

First off however, here are some testimonials about the event:

“We have a great riding a scooter. Everybody is happy about the injury and the not having.”

“First you have oil, then not explode for dying.”

As you can tell, everyone who was involved had a wonderful time. Here is a rundown of what we did. On Friday night we all gathered for a ride down Provo canyon, and up through Alpine loop. We had around 20 scooters, all with their own distinct personalities. From “Julia,” the army green Stella with an Ultra-Mobile laptop mounted to her handlebars, or Lees whale and soup colored Vespa.
We had about as good of weather as we could have expected from September. Clear, but a little chilly. The ride went without at hitch for the most part, though I heard that someone fell around a bend, but I never heard who or how. As we came out of the canyon, we headed through Alpine and went on our way back home. We stopped at JCW’s restaurant for some food first. The place was packed, and that was before we got there! So needless to say, when a giant scooter gang showed up hungry, the employees were less than thrilled. On the way back, we didn’t stay together as a group as much, and Natalie and I were with just a couple of Scooter Lounge employees on their modded scoots. It was great, coming back from a 50’s style diner with a couple of growly scoots, blasting through the small towns in the darkness, I felt as if I were part of a gang of greasers who happened to have chosen Italy to manufacture their hogs.

The next day was the beginning of the Olympic portion. We all met at the Scooter Lounge to begin the day. First we washed our scooters, to prepare us for the beauty contest where awards such as “most likely to break in two” and “best/worst accessory” were given out. Then we had a meal of Chinese take-out provided by the Lounge. Custom fortune cookies were provided with Engrish fortunes containing gems like “Drink and ride scooter naked for syphilis in thigh junction.” Truly inspiring. At that time we departed. A giant gaggle of scooters zipping down state street gets looks to say the least. We ended up traveling through Springville, and then shooting west to go through some farm pecked landscape, and finally to ride right next to Utah lake with orchards on our other side. It was amazing.

As we arrived at our pre-designated spot, the torch was carried in a noble fashion, to its final resting place, a “sport-s#!* 150cc” as the lounge likes to call it, Chinese scooter. It burned as many other chinese scooters have done before unintentionally.
At this time, we began the events. The wheel/discus throw was a favorite, as the bigger guys in the 150cc class hurled their 10″ scooter tires across the desert. We were supposed to have a ghost riding competition, where we were to see how far we could make a crappy chinese scooter drive after we hopped off, but we ended up just wrecking them. We did a little bit of freestyle maneuvers, but ended up crashing them into one another and enjoying the carnage as their brothers-in-parts burned in the background. After gift cards were rewarded, we cleaned up and began the trek back. We took the long way however and went through Salem, and Payson. We stopped at the Hare Krishna festival at the Krishna Temple. There we saw Indian women singing in very high voices, and chanted along with drums and other instruments which I don’t know their names “Hare Hare rama rama Hare Krishna Rama rama” for what seemed like forever. As an interesting turn of events, one Matthew Showalter was spotted and greeted at the event, apparently there for a school project. We then hopped on our scooters for the ride back . Boo got some shots of us using his old school high-8 video camera, which clicks as every individual frame is captured on the 3min 20s reel of film. Dave got a bee in his helmet, and got stung and as he took it off it fell and bounced down the road. As a whole, it was a highly successful rally. Fun was had with blue smoke, white-wall tires and red-handed scooter enthusiasts cruising around Utah county, sorta up to no good.

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