Saturday, March 03, 2018

What UFO 'Encounters' Can Tell Us About Fake News

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     People often mistake Kate Dorsch for someone who studies aliens. But Dorsch actually studies something else. A doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, she’s been researching UFO reports collected by the U.S. government.
By Meghan Bartels

The Air Force began compiling these accounts during the early stages of the Cold War as part of a program called Project Blue Book. In 1966, it hired the University of Colorado to further investigate stories of alien “encounters” by ordinary Americans. Project Blue Book ended three years later, and the American Philosophical Society eventually archived part of the project in Philadelphia.

Three years ago, Dorsch, a historian, dug through the archives. She found bags of dirt from where flying saucers purportedly landed and even a piece of foil that someone said fell off a UFO. In the process, she discovered another story—one about the struggle between the UFO “witnesses” and the scientists who didn’t believe them—a struggle that speaks to more recent debates over climate change and fake news.

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