Friday, January 04, 2008

The Kucinich sighting

I'm going to try to write this piece without mentioning an acronym I had once promised never to use.

The Wall Street Journal has interviewed two other witnesses to the triangular mystery aircraft spotted by Dennis Kucinich in 1982. The sighting took place in Washington state near Mt. Ranier, where the "flying saucer" craze was born.

Judging from the description of the three vehicles witnessed that day, I theorize that the party saw a test of prototype UAVs, or drones. Such unmanned reconnaissance craft were little-known at the time. They are well-known nowadays, since they play a major role in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Although the early development of unmanned craft is not easy for outsiders to trace, these devices do have a long history. Marilyn Monroe, in the days before she had that name, once worked for a company producing the first mass-produced UAVs.

The Kucinich sighting took place in Graham, Washington, situated directly between Mount Ranier and McChord Air Force Base. (The mountain is some twenty miles away from the base.) The report indicates that the craft were flying toward McChord. After the flyover, Kucinich's party saw military helicopters in the area.

The UAVs that have received so much recent attention (such as the Predator) do not resemble flying triangles. But such designs are in use, and similarly-shaped prototypes may have been tested in the past. The triangular shape makes sense, since it is inherently stealthier, and stealth UAVs do exist. France's delta-winged Dassault nEUROn (pictured here) -- which was preceeded by the LOGIDUC -- strongly resembles the craft described by Kucinich's companions.

This explanation depends on the presumption that antecedents of the more exotic current UAV designs were being tested 25 years ago. Is that idea really so very hard to believe?

Kucinich may have seen a predecessor for the BQM-147A Exdrone (also called the Dragon Drone) which has been in production since the mid 1980s. As this page puts it:
Hundreds of Exdrones have been manufactured by BAI; they are among the most prevalent UAVs to be produced.
(A note the inevitable subject-switchers: My focus here is on the Kucinich sighting and nothing else. I have not attempted to offer a one-size-fits-all explanation for all strange things that have ever been seen in the sky. Do not consider this post your opportunity to discuss the general topic of You-Know-Whats. This blog ain't gonna go there -- and anyone who tries to take it there will find his comments deleted immediately. This means you, BD.)


Anonymous said...

The idea of advanced UAV design testing 25 years ago is not hard to believe at all. The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, STILL one of the most advanced aircraft in the world, was designed in the 50's with slide rules. The current B2 bomber, which looks eerily like the UAV you show, was operational 25 years ago.

AitchD said...

We don't ever discuss unidentified smelled objects or unidentified heard objects (unidentified taste objects invariably include un-named MSG), and why is that?

AitchD said...

Joseph, I can't be sure, but I think you mean 'initialism' where you wrote 'acronym', although no one I know bothers to make the distinction. FBI, CIA, NSA, IBM, LA, LED are all initialisms (not intended to be pronounceable as single words). Acronyms are intended to be pronounced as words: NASA, HUD, FISA, even ACRONYM (fr. attenuated code-reduced orthographic nominative yielding meaning). Not acronyms are the blends, sometimes called contractions (Radar, Sunoco, Nabisco, SoHo, goodbye, nice, gonna) and portmanteau words (smog, motel, brunch), which are also called blends but not contractions. Bonus: 'brougham' (or 'broughamed') is the longest single-syllable word in English.

Joseph Cannon said...

Not long ago, I was corrected on my use of the word "acronym" in another context. But in the present context I am on better footing, since the Forbidden Initials are indeed pronounced as a two-syllable word -- in Europe, and even by some rather pretentious Americans. Heard it with me own ears, I have.

That said, I think we're going to have to allow for a broader definition of the word "acronym." Language evolves. Twenty years ago, I used to be a fan of John Simon and Edwin Newman and all those other prissy language Nazis. These days, my attitude is more relaxed. I suppose this new 'tude has something to do with the blogger's habit of writing every day, a practice which inevitably results in sloppy copy.

AitchD said...

Okay, so you think language is a matter of personal choice, you're hyperprogressive about it, but not an anything-goes anarchist, and you reject a zero-tolerance approach. Me too, but I think guys who dug Ed Newman's Strictly Speaking and John Simon's vhatewer will have to answer to their own maker some day. OK, then 'acronym' it is, they are. It's funny that Newman dug McLuhan, who loved his own verbosity and delighted in opacity; Newman, who got pissed off if you said 'upgrade' instead of 'improve'. I don't know Simon except for his rave review of Medium Cool and his annoyance with Streisand's nose. I haven't noticed if you've written 'alot', and I kinda wish you had a lot. I've noticed that some bloggers stay linear and correct, some wax oddly with comix or blog lingo, some do a little of both, and it's all o.k.

Anonymous said...

Sloppy Copy?

Nazism is not

...maybe so but
Joe please know
there are slimy
green creatures
in Roswell NM
and we're turning them
into bio-diesel

Joseph Cannon said...

Now you have me reverting to prissy mode.

I refuse to recognize the existence of the antiwords "alot" and "alright."

On the other hand, I do enjoy the occasional jolly neologism, such as "antiword."

Back in the day, John Simon was very prissy, and very funny. I can quote from memory his review of a movie called "Futz," about a man who falls in love with a pig. "Futz proves that you can't make a slick farce out of a sow's rear."

Anonymous said...

Okay, maybe I've just finally lost my mind, but I thought the dreaded acronym was "WTF." I thought Joseph still hated that one.

Anonymous said...

Yes. That's what they were: metallic disc, and triangular-shaped WTFs. The first one I ever saw a WFT in the air, it had Michael Rennie inside as Klaatu, he came out of the WTF and got shot when offering a gift. Then his robot Gort melted all the armies' guns. And the world cried "Klaatu barada nikto!!!!" (and before U tell me to F.O. Mr. Joseph-- think about it-- KBN has been uttered in 1 and 1/2 Men, The Simpsons, the X-Files, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Galazy Quest, and the video game Duke Nukem!) ..I saw a triangular WFT once aff the shores of crazyland (i.e. Montauk) and was 100% certain that if it wasn't a drone, whatever secret AF pilot who was riding that night was screaming YEEEEEEEEEEEE-HAWWWWWWWWWW! as he bopped around the atmosphere... and pointing at the drone, we all said; "Doood! WFT!!"

Joseph Cannon said...


Sorry to be a hard-ass about the Forbidden Semi-Acronym. But I've learned the hard way that if I mention certain subjects, the blog will be inundated by VOPs.

(Very Odd People. An acronym AND a neologism.)

gary said...

A very sensible distinction, Joseph dicussing Unidentified Aerial Vehicles, rather than Unidentifed Flying Objects, as the latter term carries the crazy suggestion that people see "objects" of some sort in the sky, perhaps vehicles but perhaps not, that are unidentified. I wonder if Captain Ruppelt would approve, however.

Limiting my comments to the Kucinich sighting, I prefer my own unscientific hypothesis that Kucinich was directed to run for President by the space people, thus making him the first UFO Presidential candidate since Gabriel Green.

Joseph Cannon said...

As coincidence would have it, a friend of mine stumbled onto the effects of the late Gabe Greene. He (my friend) has no idea of what to do with that stuff -- box after box of dated weirdness.

Anonymous said...

For the record:

1. New Hampshire is the first state where we are aggressively campaigning. Due to the Party lockout in Iowa, we chose to focus on New Hampshire.
2. I am the only person running for President who voted against the war, against funding the war 100% of the time, against the Patriot Act, and who stands for a universal single-payer not-for-profit healthcare system. Nevertheless I was excluded from Saturday night's ABC Presidential debate, or four tone monologue as it was.
3. In answer to your questions about why I didn't support former Senator John Edwards on the second ballot in Iowa: I have serious concerns about his connections to a Wall Street hedge fund, Fortress Investment Group. While attacking others for accepting campaign money from Washington lobbyists, he is up to his ears in money from Wall Street special interests.

He made half a million dollars in a single year for attending a few meetings for Fortress and has invested a substantial part of his own personal wealth in the hedge fund whose portfolios are responsible for sub-prime predatory lending practices, Medicare privatization, and an entire range of corporate sharp dealings that are driving the middle class into poverty.

While I indicated Senator Obama as a preferred second choice in Iowa, Progressives have fundamental disagreements with him and all of the other Presidential candidates on most of their major positions on the issues.

We must have the courage of our convictions to fully support and vote for what it is we really want. For once, we must realize our power, stop playing tactical games, and vote as a bloc - which, as you know, is what the religious right does and why they often win.

We Progressives are in the majority in this election. We will win only when we refuse to compromise and vote with integrity.

Dennis Kucinich