I saw a UFO once.
I was eight or nine,
playing in the street with a friend who was a couple of years older,
and we saw a featureless silver disc hovering over the houses.
We watched it for a few seconds,
and then it shot away incredibly quickly.
Even as a kid,
I got angry it was ignoring the laws of physics.
We ran inside to tell the grown-ups,
and they were skeptical --
you’d be skeptical too, right?
I got my own back a few years later:
one of those grown-ups told me,
Last night I saw a flying saucer.
I was coming out of the pub after a few drinks."
I stopped him there. I said, "I can explain that sighting."
Psychologists have shown we can’t trust our brains
to tell the truth.
It’s easy to fool ourselves.
I saw something,
but what’s more likely --
that I saw an alien spacecraft,
or that my brain misinterpreted the data my eyes were giving it?
Ever since though I’ve wondered:
Why don’t we see flying saucers flitting around?
At the very least,
why don’t we see life out there in the cosmos?
It’s a puzzle,
and I’ve discussed it with dozens of experts
from different disciplines over the past three decades.
And there’s no consensus.
Frank Drake began searching for alien signals back in 1960 --
so far, nothing.
And with each passing year,
this lack of evidence for any alien activity gets more puzzling
because we should see them, shouldn’t we?
The universe is 13.8 billion years old,
give or take.
If we represent the age of the universe by one year,
then our species came into being about 12 minutes before midnight,
Western civilization has existed for a few seconds.
Extraterrestrial civilizations could have started in the summer months.
Imagine a summer civilization
developing a level of technology more advanced than ours,
but tech based on accepted physics though,
I’m not talking wormholes or warp drives -- whatever --
just an extrapola