538 Science Writer on the UAP Task Force:
“I think it’s important…”
Thanks to Candice Powers for this lead.
Host John Dankosky interviewed Maggie Koerth on July 31, 2020 for the syndicated radio show Science Friday. The show is distributed by the WNYC Studios, and airs over NPR too. Maggie is a senior science writer for the website FiveThirtyEight, which accumulates and analyzes polling and political data. Writers at FiveThirtyEight also cover sports, science, economics and popular culture. On the show Maggie presented a weekly breakdown of prominent science news. At one point Dankosky asked her about the recent New York Times article which covered the UAP Task Force. Maggie analyzed latest developments emphasizing it is important, valuable and useful to have such an office.
Here is the transcript of the relevant segment where Koerth and Dankosky discussed the UAP Task Force.
2020-07-31 - Interview with Maggie Koerth
09:11 minute mark
--- Start of the Transcript ---
JOHN DANKOSKY: This is Science Friday. I am John Dankosky. . . . My guest Maggie Koerth is senior science writer for FiveThirtyEight. She joins me from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Welcome back to show Maggie.
MAGGIE KOERTH: Hi, thanks for having me.
. . .
JOHN DANKOSKY: Some revelations that were news to me. First news that the Pentagon has an office for investigating UFOs, and it now has a new report coming out soon. So, tell us about this.
MAGGIE KOERTH: The New York Times is reporting that-- they reference from a Senate Committee report that happened last month. Have been released and showing that secretive Pentagon UFO investigation program, that was supposedly scrapped years ago, is still in operation. Instead of been shut down, it was renamed and transferred over to the Naval Intelligence Office. So now it’s called the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force. And-- Which is a lot. And it’s goal is to basically standardize collection and reporting on sightings of unexplained aerial vehicles. So if you think about like those grainy cockpit videos you might have seen in the last couple of years— Where you've had F-16s like spotting these strange ships in the sky. And what is more, according to this committee report, the Task Force is set to report at least some of its findings to the public within 180 days of the passage of the intelligence Authorization Act. So this task force began in 2007. It was supposed to been shut down in 2012. But, rumors have been circulating for years that is still up and running. And technically it’s not really looking for a little green people. What’s actually looking for is evidence that other countries have developed high tech aircraft that they’re using in our air space. Or at least that’s what’s officially doing. [LAUGH] Some of its fans, which include former Senator Harry Reid, really are hoping that it's going to find evidence of alien visitation and there are, you know, astronomers there, astrobiologists there - like all of these people involved is scientists, contractors - who are working with this team and like trying to understand what's going on.
JOHN DANKOSKY: So how seriously should we take that piece of it? Obviously, there's a military interest in figuring out whether or not other countries are flying over the US with weird new vehicles. But how seriously should we take this search for little green men as you, as you put it? [LAUGH]
MAGGIE KOERTH: I think it's important to kind of have these sort of groups that are looking into those kind of things. Because having some transparency to that having, you know - it not just be a thing that people tell you, they don't want you to know about - is I think is valuable. And so getting these reports out there, having some of this information coming out, I guess, hypothetically, relatively soon-- You know, I think that that is, that's useful, and it's bound to be interesting.
JOHN DANKOSKY: I guess it gives us something else to look forward to.
MAGGIE KOERTH: Yeah.
JOHN DANKOSKY: We're out of time. Thanks so much to Maggie Koerth, a senior scientist writer for FiveThirtyEight in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Thanks Maggie.
--- End of the Transcript ---
August 01, 2020