Notes and Reflections on Books and Media
by Hannah Leitheiser
The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects
Reading a book on UFO investigations conducted by the military. Official interest didn't begin until after 1947 when a pilot, Kenneth Arnold saw several unidentified objects that "skipped like saucers" giving rise to the name flying saucers (wikipedia traces the phrase as starting earlier, but anyway), and in following years, interested shifted in and out depending on the attitudes of the uppers toward saucers.
It happened that in 1947 General Mills (yes, the cereal company) began launching high-altitude weather balloons to study the atmosphere and eventually make observations of the sun, launching 1500 over the next ten years. It seems that many of the oval, metallic UFO's could have been these or similar balloons. Some, too, might be explained by a temperature inversion of the atmosphere that can create mirages both visually and in radar returns. But the author, who lead the Air Force's Project Blue Book, seems to think that although most potential UFO's can be explained as known natural phenomenon, known contacts, hallucinations, hoaxes, or are simply too vague to investigate, some good reports remain unresolved.