Alien Conspiracy Theory

I have to admit I am a sucker for a good conspiracy theory.  The Kennedy Assassination, Fake Moon Landing, Hollow Earth, 911, Philadelphia Experiment, and the list goes on.  But the one I think fascinates me the most is Roswell UFO Incident.  Everyone has at least heard of the Roswell UFO Incident and on the surface it is pretty simple:  The US military shot down and recovered an alien spacecraft complete with 3 aliens in Roswell, NM in 1947.  But if you dig beyond just the surface there is a lot more “conspiracy” behind this theory.  I am not saying I believe any of it, but I’m not saying I don’t either.  If nothing else, it does make for some great science fiction.

I will try to summarize the who theory from what I have read.  I probably won’t get each detail exactly right, but it should be close.  So what initially caught my attention is back in the mid-1990’s I caught a story about a guy named Bob Lazar.  Lazar claimed to be a scientist who had worked out in Area 51 at Groom Lake, Nevada.  This is where the US Government does a lot of super secret work.  I think it is mostly associated with new aircraft development, but who knows what all is going on out there.  Lazar said when started work out in Area 51 they took him into a hanger and his job was to do some work on what they called a disc (this is what the governement calls flying saucers).  At the time Lazar thought they were building a new secret aircraft.  Initially, Lazar’s job was isolated to the outside of the disc.  After some time, one of the engineers working inside the disc was terminated (lost his job, not killed) and Lazar was moved inside the disc.  Lazar said once he was in the disc he noticed strange writing and the seats were not suited for the average size adults, but more for someone much smaller.  It was then he realized that they were not building a new aircraft but reverse engineering a space craft.  An alien space craft.  In time he learned it was the alien space craft that was shot down in Roswell in 1947.

Now, of course, my initial instinct was that this guy is either a crack pot or someone trying to get attention.  But Lazar managed to get a respectable reporter to listen to his story and report it.  I forget who the reporter was and which publication he worked for, but he a moderately know reporter who worked for a somewhat major publication.  The reason why the reporter started to believe Lazar is that the US Gov said he was a nut job and denied he had ever worked there.  But then the reporter found an old phone directory for Area 51 and Lazar’s name was listed.

Lazar went on to discuss some of the propulsion technology that was being reverse engineered.  The disc was levitated and propelled with matter/anti-matter reactions that could produce an anti-gravity effect and thrust.  The key ingredient to this advanced propulsion was element 115.  Because the aliens came from a binary star system, essentially a planet with 2 suns, the gravitational forces there helped provide the necessary conditions for element 115 to occur naturally on their planet.  Because element 115 does not occur naturally on Earth, there has been great effort expended here to try and create it.  That is why billions of dollars/euros/etc are spent on super colliders.  The purpose for building super colliders is usually stated as something along the lines of trying to understand the origins of the universe, but in reality they are trying to create element 115.

There is much, much more on this conspiracy theory from the 3 aliens they recovered from the disc to the Majestic 12, a secret committee of scientists, military leaders, and government officials that was formed after the disc and aliens were recovered and supposedly now governs the world.

So if any of this sounds interesting, and like I said above, it is at least some good science fiction, google Bob Lazar or element 115 or Majestic 12 and see what you find.

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Free Phone Service (Almost)

I hate recurring costs.  They add up over time and you don’t even really notice.  I was looking over our budget a few months ago and started looking for ways to trim the recurring monthly expenses.  One expense that caught my eye was the $30/month home phone bill.  With cell phones, email, and facebook we hardly ever use the home phone any more.  But my wife still did not want to be without it.

The first solution I tried was Magic Jack.  It is about $40, is the size of a match box, and plugs into your computers USB port.  It has a phone jack on it where you plug your phone in.  From there your phone calls are free for a year.  Each year you have to pay another $20.  I was happy with this solution but the voice quality was inconsistent and my wife didn’t like it.

Then one day I was walking through Best Buy and I saw a similar device called Ooma Telo.  This device is similar in that it allows you to make phone calls over the internet, but it is different because it connects to your home router instead of directly into your computer. It is also different in that Ooma provides a service and is considered a which mean telecom fees apply.  These are not Ooma charges the are fees the government collect from telecom providers.  The fees are not much, about $4.00 a month, but the trade off is you get voice mail and much better and consistent voice quality.  The price of the Ooma Telo is much higher than the Magic Jack though.  I have seen them priced from $150 – $250 per unit.  But considering I was paying $360 a year for phone service I will make this up pretty quick.

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Disney Cruise

Living here in Florida gives me access to a wide varity of reasonably priced cruise options.  Many cruise lines operate out of Florida and I have cruised on several of them.  There are some really good deals like 4 days in the Bahamas for $300.  That covers both your room and board and the food is pretty good.  But for my money, the best cruise is the Disney Cruise.

Yes, I have young children, but I would still prefer the Disney Cruise even if I didn’t.  There are significant portions of the boat designated as adults only so it is pretty easy to get away from the kid scene.  And the ships are amazing.  Classically styled, clean, fun, and entertaining.  The entertainment is top notch, and ranges from Broadway caliber stage productions to spectacular pirate parties complete with fireworks.

Also, Disney is the only cruise line that gets to stop at arguably the best destination in the Caribbean – Disney’s private island Castaway Cay.  What a fun place.  Beaches and snorkeling (no extra charge).  And the island is considered an extension of the ship so all priveleges apply.  The food is free on the island just like the on the ship.  And the food is good.  Mahi Mahi, ribs, burgers, the works.  You can kind of tell where they are headed with the island.  They just added a large waterslide and a splash park.  I would be willing to bet that in a few years the island has a full-fledged water park like a mini Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach.

About the only people I would recommend not cruising with Disney would be singles looking to hook-up.  Most of the cruisers seem to be with someone else.  People are out partying to the wee hours, but they already seem to have a date.  For everyone else though, Disney Cruises tend to be a little more money, but you get what you pay for here.  If you have kids there almost is no other choice.  And if you don’t have kids you should still give this cruise some serious thought.

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Nikon or Canon?

If you are starting to look at making the leap from point and shoot cameras to a dslr you are probably finding a myriad of choices and no clear guidance on what to pick.  You don’t want to spend you hard earned money only to find out you made the wrong choice.  I found myself in this situation a few years ago.  Nikon?  Canon?  Sony? Pentax?  I quickly narrowed my choices to Nikon and Canon.

Narrowing down to Nikon and Canon was not terribly difficult.  They both have been making photographic equipoment a long time and have decent reputations.  The pro’s seem to pretty much use predominately Nikon or Canon.  Both Sony and Pentax are respectable companies, but for me, I wasn’t going to dump a bunch of money into either.  So the decision came down to Nikon or Canon.

This was a much harder decision.  And if you are like me you have scoured the internet looking for a definitive answer.  But the definitive answer is not there, at least the answer is not obvious.  As I looked at all worldly advise the internet had to offer on this subject – “….invest in a system.”, “….go to the store and hold them.”, “…put your money into the glass.” I came to the realization that the definitive answer is it doesn’t matter.  Both Nikon and Canon are high quality, capable cameras.  They each have their own strengths and weaknesses, but the differences are not that great and it really does come down to personal preference.  Like choosing the color of a car.  Some like blue, some like red.  It is still the same car.

I choose Nikon.  I started with a D80, upgraded to a D200, and upgraded again to a D700.  I went with Nikon for reasons that I really can’t explain.  Sort of like trying to explain to someone why you like the color blue over the color red.  I went to the store and handled the different cameras and the Nikon just seemed better for me and I have never regretted my decision.  I did notice when researching Nikon vs Canon that there seemed to be more Nikon speciality sites.  By this I mean more how-to sites by guys that use Nikon.  Sites like  bythom.com, nikonrumors.com, kenrockwell.com (at least at the time he was pro-Nikon), moosepeterson.com.  I am sure there are similar Canon sites, but I never really came across any so I am kind of left to believe that enthusiasts are better served with Nikon.

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