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Earlier this year, the world was struck by the appearance of balloon-like objects hovering over the continental United States and other parts of the world. These unidentified flying objects caused such fear and furore that many were eagerly tracked, some magically disappeared, and at least one was shot down by the US military.

These objects are poorly understood, so an important role for researchers is to turn the steely eye of science to the question of what these things actually are.

Now we have an answer thanks to the work of Michael Lund of the Caltech Pasadena, a long-time editor and contributor to the journal Acta Prima Aprilia.

Lund compared the distribution of balloon sightings to other UFO sightings and says both share the same geographic characteristics as do meteor shower sightings. This makes a clear connection between these phenomena.

A tantalizing implication is that meteor showers are also a known source of extraterrestrial material, providing “some form of distraction to help alien craft enter Earth’s atmosphere without attracting undue attention.”

Lund’s conclusion is that “these links between alleged balloon incidents, UFO reports, and meteor showers establish a transport pipeline for extraterrestrial craft from interplanetary and possibly interstellar space to the Earth’s surface.”

This is an important piece of science rivaled in its depth only by Lund’s conclusions at the same time last year for the nature of lycanthropy on other planets.

Planet Careful

Research on other planets looms large in the current issue of Act Prima Aprilia, with astronomers at the University of Arizona in Tucson contributing heavily. Indeed, JJ Charfman and his colleagues have developed a new theory of everything by studying the planets.

Their thinking is that since the planets currently answer all the unsolved questions in astronomy, planetary science should be the foundation of all science. This leads them to conclude that all funding should be reserved for planetary science. Uniquely strong logic.

This theory would be on firmer grounds if it weren’t for another paper by Charity Woodrum and colleagues, also at the University of Arizona, showing that exoplanets simply don’t exist.

Evidence for exoplanets consists almost entirely of regular, faint dimming of distant stars, which astronomers assume is caused by exoplanets passing in front of them.

Woodrum and colleagues challenge this thinking by offering a simpler and therefore better explanation. They say the same dimming can be explained by the existence of a new type of star with cube-like characteristics, which the team calls “squares.”

They went on to apply their idea to the well-studied system known as WASP-12b, previously thought to be an exoplanet orbiting a yellow dwarf star about 1,400 light-years away (and discovered on April 1, 2008).

Woodrum and co say that the dimming pattern of Wasp-12 can be explained if it is a rotating square with proportions of 1:1/8:1, without invoking the idea of ​​exoplanets. “Our findings cast serious doubt on the validity of current ‘exoplanetary’ efforts that have largely neglected the potential role of quadraids,” they conclude. William of Ockham would be impressed.

Game of words

Elsewhere, Joanne Tan and Tieh Hsien Suk of the University of California, Santa Barbara, have examined the role of humor and punctuation in the success of scientific articles, as measured by the number of citations they attract.

Tan and Suk ranked 6,000 scientific papers published between 2021 and 2023 according to their “cheekiness level,” a subjective measure of humor, and also according to whether or not their title included a colon.

They found that articles with a colon in the title had 15% more citations than those without.

The researchers also found an alarming trend in documents beginning with the phrases: “One [insert noun] to [insert verb] all of them” (appears once every 5.5 months), “Tale of [insert]” (occurs once every 4.4 months) and “Caught in the act” (occurs once every 4.5 months).”

However, cheeky titles do not correlate with more citations. And the pair found that cheekiness was anticorrelated with the number of authors, possibly because consensus on a cheeky title is harder to reach with more people.

Let this be a lesson to the authors of the papers cited below.

References: UFOs: Just Hot Air or Something Meteoric? :

On the Planetary Theory of Everything:

A modest proposal for the non-existence of exoplanets: The extension of stellar physics to include squares:

As a matter of colon: I do NOT dig cheesy titles (no, but actually I do :>):

Notable Mention: I Killed Conan O’Brien and No One Will Ever Know: An Exercise in Inference Sabotage:

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