I'm delighted to introduce a new occasional guest blogger on Boing Boing, Dr. Jacques Vallee
, who will contribute posts every so often. In the world of computer science, Jacques is best known for his pioneering database research in the 1960s at Stanford Research Institute and then, during the next decade, for leading the development of the the world's first network-based computer conferencing system for the ARPANET. He launched that project, called PLANET, in 1972 at Institute for the Future
(IFTF), the non-profit thinktank where I'm a researcher. At IFTF, Jacques and his colleagues studied the social impact of online communication and explored its applications in industry. In 1976, Jacques founded InfoMedia, the first computer conferencing and groupware company. I met Jacques in person several years ago when he popped into IFTF for a visit. It was quite exciting for me as I was quite familiar with his work, albeit in a very, very different context.
For nearly fifty years, Jacques has studied the history and culture of the UFO phenomena and written a slew of fantastic books on the subject, always calling for a scientific investigation of reports rather than an approach rooted in belief. Among ufologists, Jacques is very much a "heretic among heretics" for opposing the typical opinion that UFOs are nuts-and-bolts spaceships piloted by extraterrestrials. Jacques once said, "I'll be disappointed if (UFOs) turn out to be only spacecraft from outer space." Whenever I see the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, I get a kick out of François Truffaut's character Claude Lacombe insisting that the UFO phenomenon "is an event sociologique!" That is exactly something Jacques would say, and indeed Steven Spielberg based the character on him. My favorites of Jacques' books are Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers, Messengers of Deception, and The Invisible College, where he considers whether we're living inside an information-based control system, a mind-spinning idea that's now embraced by many physicists.
Recently, Jacques published the second volume of his personal journals, titled Forbidden Science, and is now completing a new book about ancient UFO sightings. He also works as a partner in a venture capital firm investing in emerging technologies with potential space applications. Jacques's intellectual rigor around anomalous phenomena and weird science has inspired me since I was a teenager. I'm thrilled to have his voice on Boing Boing.
Tanner Stokes of Herp Derp fame has done it again. He invented what we have all longed for, since the internet began: an effective way to shut people up. “Plasma ball destroys the web.” Yes, friends, Tanner’s latest creation is the answer to unfriendly YouTube comments, harassing or abusive Facebook posts, douchey viral ads, you […]
These delightful images were created to celebrate an annual food and culture festival in Brazil.
Fenwick writes, “I had the tremendous opportunity to have a public talk with William Gibson when my university asked if I’d would to do a public talk with a public figure. I had no idea I’d be so lucky as to talk with William Gibson when I agreed. I thought you might be a kick […]
You’ve heard the news: cyber security is the new and very scary frontier. Hackers are out there just waiting for you to relax for a second and let them in. But that’s not going to happen to you. With a lifetime premium subscription to ZenMate VPN, you’re completely protected from anyone out there who wants […]
Remember back to the time when people thought java was just a hip way to talk about coffee? Or you vaguely remembered from geography class that it’s an island in the South Pacific? We’ve come a long way since then and now that we’ve rocket blasted into the tech future, you’re going to need to […]
Plastic is so 2013. You don’t want to buy something only to throw it away or lose it and barely care. You like nice things and want to hang onto them. The Plazmatic lighter here is a high quality, high tech alternative to the typical cheap, plastic lighter you get at the old gas station. […]