TFTRH #22: Seth Shostak: SETI Senior Astronomer: ETs, UFO "Disclosure" Area 51

Mick West

Staff member

Seth Shostak is the Senior Astronomer for the SETI Institute and former Director of Center for SETI Research. A popular science communicator, Seth has hosted SETI's weekly radio show (and now podcast) Big Picture Science since 2002. We discuss the work of SETI, and some of the more interesting developments. We also talk about the UFO "Disclosure" conspiracy theory, which suggests the US government is covering up evidence of extraterrestrial encounters and is (perhaps) on the verge of disclosing this information. We also discuss the related cultural phenomenon, Storm Area 51.

0:56 - The evolution of SETI
2:13 - Astrobiology
3:37 - Fast Radio Bursts
6:20 - Would aliens even use radios?
7:57 - Storm Area 51
10:04 - The Femi Paradox
13:05 - Could Aliens Hear our TV signals? Probably can pick up Radar.
15:00 - The Drake Equation, does it predict UFOs?
17:00 - Is the Drake Equation useful?
18:40 - Can you make SETI-type observations of other Galaxies
19:45 - What's the closest star that's is interesting?
21:00 - Tabby's Star - Alien Megastructure, or dust clouds?
22:45 - Seth Shostak's interaction with the UFO community
24:00 - Types of mistakes that UFOlogists make.
24:20 - "Disclosure" - The US Government covering things up.
26:32 - To The Stars Academy
27:10 - The Navy IR videos, Go Fast, Gimbal.
29:28 - Mick tries to explain the Gimbal rotation (see: )
31:00 - UFO's in popular culture, pros and cons for science literacy. Mostly harmless
34:00 - Flat Earth
35:20 - Is SETI covering up ET's so it can continue to get funding? What would you do if UFOs are really aliens?
36:55 - Genomic Wow signal - evidence of aliens in DNA? Not a bad idea.
39:18 - SETI and Anthropomorphic Assumptions (assuming aliens are human-like)
40:25 - Von Neumann self-replicating machines populating the galaxy?
41:58 - UFO enthusiast's sometimes negative view of Seth Shostak
44:10 - Shostak's personal "UFO" experiences
46:02 - Advice for UFO enthusiasts
50:14 - Last words - "If you think there are aliens out there, then work on proving that to me"

Agent K

Senior Member
UFO conspiracy theories aren't so harmless if they lead people to bum rush Area 51. I'm almost disappointed that this event wasn't organized by Russian trolls, who organized American protests and counter-protests in the past. Storming Area 51 would've been a perfect active measure, setting paranoid Americans against their own military base. If I were a Russian troll, I'd get mobs of flat earthers to storm NASA, anti-vaxxers to storm the CDC, etc.

Dave Kincaid

New Member
You don't think it a significant development that the US Navy has seen fit to brief the Senate, Congress and the President about thier encounters with "UAP"?
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Mick West

Staff member
You don't think it a significant development that the US Navy has seen fit to brief the Senate, Congress and the President about thier encounters with "UAP"?
Not really. At least not in the sense of aliens, etc. Maybe there's some problematic airspace incursions.