Monday, August 3, 2015

Q&A - 3/8

Fox News

[About the Cincinnati cop shooting and killing an unarmed black man] Cops wouldn't make "bad decisions" if "the perp didn't run away" [..] Just comply.


The problem is even if a brother doesn't (cannot) run, he might get choked to death (i.e. Eric Garner death in New York). So stay, get choked to death, run, get shot. The "perp" in Cincinnati must have thought he is better off running. You can't fault a black man trying to maximize his chances for survival.


Do you believe in UFOs?

Data does not allow for easy refutation of a UFO hypothesis

I found a good dataset on UFO reportings, here is some code for a plot.


import pandas as pd, zipfile
with zipfile.ZipFile('', 'r') as z:
    d =  pd.read_csv('ufo.csv'),sep=',',parse_dates=['DateOccurred'])
d = d.sort_index(by=['DateOccurred'])
d = d[pd.isnull(d['DateOccurred']) == False]
dates = d.DateOccurred.astype(str)
dates = dates[dates!='nan']
d['year'] = dates.apply(lambda x: datetime.strptime(x, '%Y-%m-%d').year)
g = d.groupby('year').size()

The plot is for yearly count of UFO reports,

The dataset has UFO reports that go back to 1400s, with long descriptions of what people said when they reported the event. One sighting was recorded by a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. He thought it was a Union balloon but the thing he reported was moving too fast for a balloon. He must have thought "those damn Yankies and their tech!". I maintained a general skepticism against all these reports though; One hypothesis I had was "UFO sightings increase with scifi becoming more accessible through media, people project their scifi fantasies onto the real world". Then the graph should've shown huge increase after the 60s/70s, it did not. There is a huge increase, but it is after 1992. What happened that year? Bill Clinton is elected as President. I don't know. Did the aliens started finding Earth more interesting because of Bill Clinton? Weird. There is a drop at 2008 - well, Barack Obama is elected as President. Aliens lose interest after this time? Anyway I urge readers the test their own hypothesis'.

Some more of mine: Let's say UFO delusion effects a certain percent of the populace, then with more people we'd have more sightings. Then why is there a fall after 2008? Or why isn't there an exponential rise (in parallel to population growth which is exponential) much earlier than 1992? Or, if UFO sightings are actually sightings of Air Force weirdo toys mistaken for UFOs, then why is there a fall during Reagan years? The Gipper would've loved to fund that kind of tech.