2953: Alien Theories

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Alien Theories
They originally came here to try to investigate our chemtrail technology, and got increasingly frustrated when all their samples turned out to just be water ice with trace amounts of jet exhaust.
Title text: They originally came here to try to investigate our chemtrail technology, and got increasingly frustrated when all their samples turned out to just be water ice with trace amounts of jet exhaust.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created IN A GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY THAT'S SPYING ON US - Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

This comic is making fun of conspiracy theorists who believe alien life is spying on Earth, by making aliens who are actually in contact with Earth into conspiracy theorists themselves.

A cultural phenomenon on Earth is based on the concept that unidentified flying objects (UFOs) represent visitors from extraterrestrial civilizations (aliens), to the extent that "UFO" may be considered entirely synonymous with "alien spacecraft", rather than the more basic truth of just not having yet been recognized as anything in particular. In the USA, these are now officially termed "unidentified anomalous/aerial phenomena" (UAPs), in an attempt to mitigate this type of automatic association, although there are already those who readily adopt the new term as equally indicative of their old opinions.

Being unidentified, there could be many trivial reasons (and a few still very interesting non-trivial ones) that could be the truth of any particular observation, without needing to invoke the presence of aliens. But those who believe that UFOs/UAPs are extraterrestrial spacecraft may respond to those who reject this idea with the line, "These objects have capabilities superior to ours, it would be foolish not to investigate," especially in cases where astounding speeds and maneuverability are apparently observed (however much they may be more trivial phenomena, such as camera movement, glints off lenses, or other optical effects) or conveyed by uncorroborated witness statements

This comic attributes the "foolish not to investigate" line to bona fide flying saucers who have chosen to make direct communication with Earth, represented by Cueball (who seems to calmly accept their presence). Whereas skeptical humans may confront UFO believers with evidence that their belief in aliens is unfounded, and argue that it is pointless to continue to promote theories (conspiracy or otherwise) about them, Cueball confronts the flying saucers with evidence that aliens do exist (in the form of themselves), and therefore promoting further unsubstantiated theories would seem redundant in the first degree.

The aliens we see would surely know which vague terrestrial observations were actually of themselves, and could certainly confirm the existence of themselves in the first place, but seem to conclude that various other 'unidentified' observations on Earth are mysteries worthy of their own wild speculation, concluding that anything that doesn't conform to their own known abilities must be an (additional) alien visitation of some kind. Cueball is annoyed that the occupants of the flying saucers maintain their unfounded beliefs despite lack of solid evidence. Possibly these are the same aliens who are also shown to be credulous regarding cryptids. They reflect the situation of (human) UFO believers, who maintain their beliefs despite the absence of evidence. The aliens also maintain their beliefs in such tenuous observations, despite even the depicted aliens themselves maintaining that those other events were nothing to do with them. (Though human presumptions about the existence of aliens would, as it turns out, be shown to be correct in cases such as this particular encounter.)

The title text reports that the extraterrestrials have had no better luck finding evidence for conspiracy theories about "chemtrails" (vapor trails) than have humans, concluding that they are just water/ice particles after testing collected samples. Chemtrails are supposed clouds of gas deployed by commercial airplanes, which are used to mind-control the population or in some way alter the human population or the environment (depending on who you ask). They have been mentioned before on xkcd.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Cueball is standing. There are two spaceships shaped like flying saucers in the sky above him. A voice comes from the spaceship on the right.]
Cueball: But you know aliens exist!
Voice from spaceship: Yeah, but these reports describe fast-moving objects with capabilities far beyond anything we possess!
Voice from spaceship: It would be foolish not to investigate!
[Caption below the panel:]
Annoyingly, the aliens turned out to be really into UFO conspiracy theories.


This strip was released on World UFO Day.

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I understood this differently. I think the UFOs have come to Earth to investigate our conspiracy theories about UFOs with capabilities far beyond what the "real" UFOs posses. Baruch (talk) 07:43, 2 July 2024 (UTC)

I moved the note on release date to a new Trivia section, since it's not directly related to the comic. (Why are all of the discussion posts under special heading sections without a general discussion area? That is just annoying.) Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 19:40, 3 July 2024 (UTC)

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence[edit]

A skeptical human would not confront UFO believers with evidence that aliens do not exist. They would confront them with the fact that none of the supposed evidence so far has held water, making (extraterrestrial) UFO's not more likely to be real than any other random fantasy. Quite a different matter, since there's rarely verifiable evidence of things not existing. 08:27, 2 July 2024 (UTC)

+1 10:28, 2 July 2024 (UTC)
How far do you take it though? If I look in the cupboard and it's empty, I can say there are no cans of soup in the cupboard. But you could say "There's a chance they are in there...but you've been hypnotised so you can't find them!" or some other thoroughly improbable but technically possible story. Everyone would think that pretty far fetched. There comes a point where people accept that - functionally - a vanishingly small likelihood is the same as a negative. So, where's the point at which you say "Be reasonable. It's not a thing."?
Because without it, you become the man in the shack, refusing to accept the veracity of anything. Yorkshire Pudding (talk) 19:01, 2 July 2024 (UTC)
There's a simple answer to this: whenever it feels reasonable to do so. This doesn't feel very nice to a certain type of mind that loves thinking (like mine), but my life experience has taught me relatively recently that there are things you should do without thinking about it. (In this particular case, well, the solar system is much bigger than a cupboard! If we learned there have been aliens watching us, not wanting to be detected, my sense of reality would not be shattered, its not stupidly implausible. I can believe this while still believing any conspiracy theories telling you specifics about what they are doing are just making it up/mistaken/mentally ill/etc etc)Terdragontra (talk) 23:29, 2 July 2024 (UTC)
A cupboard is easy to exhaustively search. But there are things I thought I had lost somewhere that later turned up in the house anyway. Some things are just good at hiding. (The "black swan" is an example of that.) If an alien probe crashed in the rainforest 100 years ago, we may never know. 05:14, 3 July 2024 (UTC)

The 5 Observables[edit]

Nowadays, the believers' gold standard for UFOs UAPs is this:

There are five, consistent observations we continue to see that are uniquely associated with Unidentified Aerial Phenomena or UAPs.  Understanding these characteristics and their application requires us to have a very good understanding of advanced physics at the quantum level. 

The five observables can be categorized as follows: 

  1. Sudden and instantaneous acceleration
  2. Hypersonic velocities without signatures
  3. Low observability
  4. Trans-medium travel
  5. Positive lift 

Basically, if it seems to break physics, it's a UFO. Aliens who got here using established physics would naturally be curious about that. 10:14, 2 July 2024 (UTC)

It must be said that a given 'observation' could convey all the above by: 1) Camera wobble, 2) Camera panning, 3) Optical artefacts, 4) Scale/distance misunderstanding, w.r.t the background/foreground features, 5) Subsequent unfounded assumptions about trajectory.
Which is not to say that it's all bad camera use/interpretation of playback. Radar might be involved (with the possibility of radio-mirages) or even a combination of Mk1 Eyeball and electronic recordings which rule out some 'trivial' counter-explanations. But extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence, and it would be silly to let something perhaps as simple as camera-shake from a moving vehicle suggest that we need to probe quantum physics for operational loopholes.
It is at least as bad to "want to believe" as it is to want to disbelieve. And while many such cases may share the same basic anomolies, that make it look like some things are consistently anomolous, this doesn't mean that each case is identically anomolous. If a bright light disappears, in one case it might be because it's no longer reflecting off the background, in another that the (mundane) source is now shaded by a cloud, in a other it's because the camera lens is no longer subjected to flare, or the video compression artefact is no longer generated, or the observer who verbally reported it no longer has it in the corner of their eye/mentally extrapolated as part of their central blind-spot.
There's undoubtedly a lot of interesting unknown (so far!) stuff out there, to be witnessed. But lumping in ball lightning, in one instance, with the Sun momentsrily gleaming off the crest of a wave in another, with a perfectly legitimate isolated doorbell-/windshield-cam shot of a meteor in another should not result in an assumption of "bright flash == alien spaceship" as explanation all round.
If aliens are as super-advanced, technically, as many believe, is there any reason to assume that they even need to leave such teasing evidence of their existence? If you can already twist quantum physics around your little-pseudopod, at will, isn't it more likely that you're already getting past mere human/earthtech monitoring of the skies entirely unseen and none of the UFO-'sightings' are of you. 12:37, 2 July 2024 (UTC)
Yeah, there's no hard evidence for any of it. But the claims are there. 14:32, 2 July 2024 (UTC)

Cueball is an alien?[edit]

A previous edit suggested that Cueball is an alien. Is this canon or a conspiracy theory? 10:26, 2 July 2024 (UTC)

I did not see this prior form of edit, but I did nearly add my own (conspiracy-)theory that:
  • The aliens are seeing the traces of (vastly more superior) other-aliens around Earth,
  • Said other-aliens are only leaving significant traces here, not on the original aliens' world/other places they visit,
  • The other-aliens are therefore keen to stay out of observation from the non-other aliens,
  • Or at least generate enough deniability (similar to these aliens being sufficiently deniable to any regular human) so that those who are convinced get described as 'quack-UFOlogists',
  • Obviously,[actual citation needed] a useful tool in this disinformation war would be to have a human(-looking) representative trying to out-argue the (actually correct, but logically tenuous) alien speculations with diversionary tactics and misdirection.
Thus Cueball is trying to get the visible aliens to abandon their beliefs in the non-visible aliens by making them think that "anything alien" is them (those present), and ignore the signs of any subsequent 'visitation'.
(Note though, that given the prior prediliction for the saucer-people to irrationally believe in Bigfoot, beyond even their own level of ubiquitous monitoring, what we probably have here is Cueball being 'the only sane being in the room'. Unusually, for Cueball. Or at least the sanest, versus a particularly non-sane other. And standing under an open sky, of course.) 11:46, 2 July 2024 (UTC)
Cueball is an alien, from the perspective of the saucer occupants, just as they are aliens from his. My reading of the comic would be that the reason the UFO phenomenon has such a cultural hold is the 'are we alone?' question. Once you know that there are at least two forms of life that are (planetarily) alien to each other, it should lose its power, because the assumption would be that it's more likely than not that there's a third, and more. 08:24, 3 July 2024 (UTC)


They are people like me who see this as an incredible mystery and enigma that that needs to be resolved. 10:51, 2 July 2024 (UTC)