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UFOs Over Paris?
Well, I confess I haven’t seen them. I’ve been inside catching up on work. I checked the local news, though, and it seems I should have looked out the window:
Paris police say they have spotted at least five drones flying over the French capital overnight, and an investigation is underway into who was flying them and why.
BFM TV reported they were seen flying over the Eiffel tower, the Louvre museum and the US embassy, among other locations.
A Paris police official confirmed the presence of the drones in city airspace but would not provide other details. The national gendarme service said an investigation had been launched.
In recent months France has seen dozens of mystery drones flying over nuclear plants and military installations. One flew over the presidential palace.
French authorities said the drones currently present no threat but the government has asked scientists to help devise ways to counteract the devices.
Scientists? Counteract? Well, yes, it would be irresponsible to jump to the firm conclusion that they’re benign, but just assuming—without considering any other possibility—that this requires “counteraction” from “scientists?” Folks—think this through. Where would you go if you were teeny aliens visiting the earth for the first time? That’s exactly where you’d go, right?
Okay, be prudent if you’re a French authority. That’s your job. You handle yours, I’ll handle mine. My job is to get the first interview.
(Skip the rest, it’s for the ETs. I can’t think of a better way to make contact with them than just to post this and hope they Google themselves. I’ll let you know if I get the interview.)
Aliens! Hi! So sorry about that unfortunate and unwelcoming comment from the French authorities. It was a cultural misunderstanding. I hope that didn’t give you a bad first impression of our planet. We’re not usually like that. I’m guessing you’re teeny-tiny little guys and worried someone might accidentally step on you if you got out of your spacecraft, right? That would be an awful way to begin your trip to Earth. So you need to let a journalist like me know how big you are and what you look like. That way, everyone will know to be careful. As soon as people know that you’re teeny-tiny aliens who just wanted to see the Louvre, they’ll be extra-careful not to step on you. Locals wouldn’t just casually walk over aliens, although they aren’t used to them, so you need to let us know what you look like so that we don’t do it by accident. That’s why you should call me and give me the first interview. I can also explain the taboo about flying over nuclear plants and military installations. I know you didn’t mean to be rude. You just don’t understand our culture. I’m sure you don’t have things like that on your planet. It’s natural that you’d be curious.
The signage outside the Louvre really is confusing, though. That’s not you, either. It’s them. But don’t give up. You didn’t hear about the Louvre in your galaxy by mistake, I promise. I particularly recommend the Rubens 24-picture cycle in the Médicis gallery. I figure it will be even more mind-blowing given how tiny you are. You can’t see the whole museum in one day, so don’t even try, although you might try asking if you can just do it in the spacecraft. I’d be delighted to take emissaries from your galaxy to the Louvre and see what I can do to help you with the paperwork on the spacecraft.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Do you have eyes? Or speech organs? Or feelers, maybe, that you could use for sign language? The headsets they give you at the entrance might not fit, depending on whether you have heads. I guess it doesn’t matter, but you’ll definitely need cash or a credit card to get into the museums. But don’t worry about that: If you give me the first interview, I’ll be able to treat you.
My best advice on the Eiffel Tower, frankly, is skip it. If you’ve seen the postcard, you’ve seen all there is to see. You’ve already got a great view of the city from your spacecraft. On the Embassy? You don’t have to hover. American diplomats aren’t as formal as diplomats on your planet. They’ll be thrilled that your first instinct was to visit and present your credentials. (Take that, Putin: think you’ve still got it? Ask yourself who the aliens really want to meet, first.)
So don’t be put off by those unfortunate remarks from the French officials. No one is prejudiced against ETs here, they just don’t know you yet. I’ll help you sort this out. You just need a journalist, that’s all. An old-fashioned, sensationalist American journalist who totally understands how to handle UFO sightings and has a proven record on intergalactic communication.
(By the way: When looking for a photo of these drones, I couldn’t find one. That doesn’t make sense to me–Paris is not lacking in iPhones. How did people forget to take photos of them?)
Anyway, aliens: I’m from the American media, and I’m here to help.
Published in General
so France immediately surrendered.
Sounds like Killer Tomatoes. Yup, Killer Tomatoes for sure
Klaatu barada nikt…
Aw, screw it. Go ahead, Gort.
I wonder what’s going on, for real? I mean, it could be very sinister, although we’re being reassured that it isn’t. Local prankster? Serious effort to unnerve French authorities? Or genuine UFO hysteria?
I’ll be looking for them tonight. What’s your best guess?
There are drones and there are drones. If they’re those little four-bladed helicopter things, then they’re just private citizens who want to see the sights from a different angle. The Predator or Reaper is another matter. If those are what’s flying around…I wouldn’t go to any weddings for a while.
Drone technology is the first step. Drone shoot-down technology is the second step.
Well, look–tell me if I’m wrong. Have you seen any photos of these? This is Paris. Everyone has an iPhone—if not six of them. Does it make sense that no one would have taken a photo of them? They did catch a dumb Israeli tourist doing it over Nôtre Dame in October. But now they’re saying that this is an authentic mystery. No photos that I can find. Reportedly sighted in areas hardly known to be a long ways from tourists with cameras. Is it that hard to spot a drone? Is this some weird collective hysteria? People are a little tetchy about things like this right now. PR stunt? Pranksters? Very weird terrorists who want to keep Paris puzzled and maybe amused but not actually terrorized?
Anyway, I’ll keep a closer eye out for them tonight.
Set up a webcam out your window.
I’m sure this is a miscommunication with Nigel Farage telling the EU “F. O.” and how he is soooo “over Paris.”
I don’t know but If I were a huge alien race looking to colonize this planet I’d send little tiny drones to throw them off.
If I wanted to colonize the planet, I would start in Honduras. From there, the US government will ensure that nothing — NOTHING — can obstruct your progress.
Drones have been flying over Paris (and a lot of other places) for a long time now.
If this is happening “overnight” I can see why there wouldn’t be pictures of them – small things moving fast in the dark are pretty hard to capture with a smartphone camera.
It also kind of leans against the “tourist” thing, although Paris is the city of lights. But are there really a lot of tourists looking for aerial views of the US Embassy at night?
So, as the cost of a technology decreases so does the probability that it will be used for nefarious purposes?
I find that hypothesis rather specious.
That being said, I could agree that the probability that a particular RC aircraft sighting is related to tourism is higher than the probability that it’s related to criminal activity, depending on where and when the sighting occurs.
A low-powered RC aircraft seen near the Eiffel Tower on an average day is more likely to be a tourist getting a good photo than a low-powered RC aircraft seen near a higher-security installation like an airport.
However, imagine a low-powered RC aircraft seen near the finish line of a marathon (especially if the aircraft appears to be carrying something the size of a pressure cooker, which is entirely within the capabilities of many low-cost RC aircraft). How then does the risk analysis change?
I think two questions an official assessing the risk of a RC aircraft sighting could ask themselves are
RC aircraft are not really necessary for reconnaissance purposes when most of the planet is easily accessible via Google Earth, but not every location is accessible via Google Earth.
If an RC aircraft sighting is reported after the fact, and it wasn’t doing anything obviously criminal, then it probably wasn’t doing anything criminal. However, if an RC aircraft is sighted and reported while it is still in the area, then the urgency of the matter increases somewhat, because the potential for criminal activity is non-zero, and RC aircraft in populated areas has not yet become a non-unusual occurrence.
Oh Claire, its just my Uncle Marvin again. So he wants to blow up the Earth again so what. What a maroon!
Well, I’m on UFO watch tonight. I’ll keep an eye out. I don’t have a totally confident theory about the UFOs yet, but I swear, if I see a UFO over Paris and get a photo, I will know what to do with it. My Paris UFO story will be of the highest-quality. It will not be illustrated by a stock photo of the Eiffel tower and a marketing photo from Amazon Prime Air. And if there’s an alien in it, I know how to handle it.
I swear–it’s as if these people have no idea what to do when they’re kidnapped by aliens. I’m wondering if they even know that there’s a large literature on how to handle an alien abduction.
I don’t rule out the idea that someone managed to buzz around the US Embassy in Paris with an MQ9 Reaper and no one got a photo of it. I can’t prove that didn’t happen. But I say the more likely hypothesis is aliens. (Or perhaps a bit of confusion about cute-little-toy-drones and time-to-freak drones, but let’s go with the obvious on this one. Aliens.)
Oh! Hold on! Let me go find out. I’m here! I’ll go look, back soon.
Best way to handle the Aliens? Sneeze on them.
I just checked with Uncle Marvin he’s leased a condo in Boca and isn’t going to try to blow up the earth until the summer.
Maybe it’s these guys.
James Gawron, you mean this lady scared your Uncle Marvin off?
But she’s been arrested in South Carolina.
I think Uncle Marvin asked her if she wanted to blow the earth up with him. You know just the two of them. She said that it sounded interesting but that she had a town to freeze in South Carolina.
Love’s not easy.
So Marvin decided to let it go?
Well, I’m still not seeing them. But!
Local media says they arrested three journalists from Al Jazeera for playing with a drone in the Bois de Boulogne.
Now … we all know what you really get arrested for in the Bois de Boulogne, right? (Actually, probably not, and we’re family-friendly, so I won’t explain, but no one goes there at night to play with a drone.)
So. We now have drones. Aliens. Al Jazeera. And I’m telling you: If they were in the Bois de Boulogne, there are hookers in this story. So I’m just going to pack it in if I can’t sell this one to a fine, old-fashioned gutter tabloid. There’s no future in journalism if I can’t.
The punchline on this one is really funny in French:
“Son engin lui a été confisqué. Les survols de drones sans autorisation sont interdits à Paris.”
Or: “His device was confiscated. Drone overflights without authorization are forbidden in Paris.”
(That’s only funny if you live here, but it is. Lots of things are is technically “interdits à Paris,” but happen nonetheless in the Bois de Boulogne. Stories of someone being arrested after a bit of R&R in the Bois de Boulogne usually end in almost that sentence–but not quite. But basically, any time there’s a big sex scandal in France, that’s how it ends: arrested in the Bois de Boulogne.)
For the moment anyway. But who knows what tomorrow may bring. Come Spring maybe Marvin will shoot for Venus in more ways than one.
….hmmmmm…UFOs…..Al Jazeera….French prostitutes….I’VE GOT IT!
Didn’t someone publish a book about 25 years ago claiming that Margaret Thatcher was abducted by a UFO in New York?
Those little drones are perfectly capable of doing some recon of sensitive targets….
Well, we’ve got people here whose job it is to worry about that. Mine is either to get the whole world terrified about drones and UFOs in Paris before I’ve seen anything of the sort, or to see a drone or to interview an alien.
But I’ve got to hand it to Al Jazeera–they really took a hit for the tabloid-media team. They flew their own drone in a public park so that they could show the folks back home what a drone in Paris might look like–thereby getting themselves promptly arrested–and did so when the cops here are in a real no-nonsense mood. They’ve got more of a commitment to journalism than I do, so it makes sense that they’re more successful.
Now, I would like everyone–please–to apply your collective reading-between-the-lines skills to this story.
(And the New York Times is reporting this. So we’ve got a former IHT reporter who went to Al Jazeera because they have the money–and I should get the stats on how many of them have, by this point: I sure know I’ve met many. And someone who used to worked at the IHT–where definitely and for sure, they know Paris.
He either didn’t have the sense to think, “this is just not the moment to be filming what it would look like in the Bois de Boulogne,” or did have the sense to know: No faster way to be arrested, particularly there. And he had the sense to know–this is France, they’re not going to put me away forever for staging a dumb publicity stunt. Hold me for 48 hours, massive fine–that’s the worst that can happen.
I figure anyone who used to work at the IHT would know that. They’d know that even if Paris was not “under high security alert,” you should assume there are cops in the Bois de Boulogne. People got quite fed up with the dead hookers. Hookers, fine. Dead ones–too far.
You will–properly–be in big trouble if you kill a hooker there. Stage a dumb publicity stunt? Probably not.
Incentives for staging that? Quite high: everyone wants to see what that would look like–drones over Paris! I mean, who doesn’t have a strong feeling about what that might mean? If you think we shouldn’t be droning people with Reapers in Yemen, why–Paris must be terrified by commercial drones, right? Right, Conor?
Bezos is probably looking at this and thinking, “About time Paris got used to the sight of commercial drones, this protectionist anti-Amazon policy is annoying.”
Reports of mystery UFOs is what we’ve actually got, folks. And no comment from the US Embassy. Anyone who tells you they’ve got more than “reports of mystery UFOs” may be embellishing the story a bit. It could be totally scary–you just never know. It is always prudent to take mystery UFOs very seriously.
Could also be prudent to remember that this trolling-the-cops-with-quadcopters thing did not start yesterday. But the media reports of UFO sightings in Paris did. Meanwhile, what do the French headlines tell me I should be terrified of? Global warming. That video tells you all you need to know in four minutes, apparently.
So if I had to make a bet–and fortunately, I don’t, that’s someone else’s job–I’d put this one on the environmentalists, actually. Not the aliens or the terrorists.
But I’m the media, so I know what my job is. “UFOs over Paris. I can sell that.”
It seems it may have been journos who did it!