Jacques Vallee

Jacques Vallee is a computer scientist, astronomer, venture capitalist, and author of more than a dozen books including Wonders in the Sky, Passport to Magonia, and The Network Revolution.

What Ockham really said

In the arsenal of eternal skeptics there are few tools more dramatically and more commonly used than Ockham’s razor. It is triumphantly applied to resolve arguments about ghosts (more parsimoniously seen as misperceptions by distraught family members or the suggestible), UFOs (evidently hoaxes and mistaken observations of natural phenomena) and telepathy (a “delusion” of wishful thinking and poorly-constructed tests).

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Futures Impossible : a new methodology to study world events

Neckercubeeee The study of the future, as a scientific and intellectual endeavor, used to be driven by the careful extrapolation of trends, as in Herman Kahn’s Year 2000, or the forecasting of complex interaction among many variables, as in the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth and Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb. The technologies behind these studies relied on the mathematical tools of operations research developed during World War Two and on methods for the aggregation of expert opinion such as the Delphi Technique, developed at Rand and the Institute for the Future.

The scenarios and forecasts built on this technical base were supplemented by the study of a few extreme hypothetical situations known as “wild cards” or “black swans” (major earthquake in Tokyo, terrorist attack in New York, asteroid strike in Western Europe) designed to stretch the borders of the crisis management maps and to stimulate our collective thought process—while remaining within the domain of the Possible.

Such techniques for describing the future and anticipating its opportunities and dangers have largely become obsolete because of the acceleration of technology itself and the increasing vulnerability of our society to chaotic processes that are not well behaved under most classic models.

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Jacques Vallee's Stating The Obvious: I, Product

 Photos Uncategorized 2008 02 21 Barcode 2 You may think of yourself as a user of Google, Facebook or Amazon, but you are actually their product.

Sure, Google will provide you with search results, but they are not in the search business; they are in the advertising business. Their profits come from marketing firms that buy your behavior.

Similarly, Amazon is not in the book business, although they will send you the books you've ordered. They are in the personal information business.

The assets of modern web-based companies are the intimate profiles of those who "use" them, like you and me. Time to forget the nice pronouncements like "Do no evil" that accompany the wholesale destruction of privacy now taking place on the web, or rather within the walled gardens that companies like Facebook, Google and Apple are erecting around us on the web. Compared to them, the Chinese censors re-inventing their Great Wall are a bunch of sissies.

Any smart CEO would kill to have a product like you that doesn't cost anything and keeps renewing itself indefinitely so it can be sold and resold and resold to many different customers.

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Stating the Obvious : If you don't have a house you don't need no sofa

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"empty home on Bloomington Ave S, Minneapolis" by Andrew Ciscel via CC

OK, so I'm not an economist. But as a venture investor in early-stage medical and technology companies I read the usual financial articles that come across my screen and I see the same statistics everybody is seeing. I listen to Obama and I watch the TV shows where pundits argue with Congressmen about the wisdom of this or that particular tax or stimulus measure to restart our sick economy. I have nothing to say about this, no statistics of my own and no fancy theory, so instead of taking sides in this particular debate I keep looking for the things that are missing.

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Jacques Vallee: Of Crop Circles, meme wars and web-based flypaper


Based on the three earlier posts I have made on this subject, an objective reader might be justified to conclude either that crop circles are the product of hoaxes or the result of experimental military developments. In both cases he or she would also have to admit that they represent a masterful project in social engineering.

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Of Flattened Flora and Expulsion Cavities: The crop circle controversy continues

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Greenpeace's GM Crop Circle from Circlemakers.org

In an earlier post I reviewed some possible explanations for the crop circle phenomenon, and I noted the various theories left several issues unanswered: Who are the hoaxers and what is their exact role in the charade? If a technology is involved, how does it work to actually make the designs? Could it be directed from space or simply from an aerial platform? And why would anyone develop such a beam in the first place? What seemed to me like simple questions raised a surprisingly emotional and occasionally venomous storm of comments on this blog and on other, more specialized, lists. Since we have obviously hit a nerve it may be interesting to drill a bit further.

While New Age believers and skeptics feel passionate about the issue, the educated public and the scientific and technical community have firmly pushed it out of their mind, convinced that all the circles were hoaxes. Even the people who have studied the circles or commented on them may argue for or against their paranormal nature, the possible role of Aliens or the idea that the designs hide an experiment in military electronics, but there is no disagreement about the fact that most of the designs have been made by hoaxers.

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Crop Circles, Part Deux: Alien Glyphs, Human Myths, Blogging Bliss

 Wikipedia Commons C C4 Crop Circles Swirl-3 My previous post about crop circles could be considered, among other things, as a social science test of the role of belief systems in the manipulation of memes and factual data. One of the meta-questions that interest me has to do with the spontaneous rejection of new or unpopular ideas, even in the supposedly open, free and consciousness-enhancing environment of the web.

It seems that what was "forbidden science" in academia is also forbidden in cyberspace.

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In Search of Alien Glyphs (or are they microwave blasters?)

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Jacques Vallee is a computer scientist, partner in a venture capital firm, and author of more than 20 books, including Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers, The Invisible College, and The Network Revolution.

In Sept. 1991, I published in a New Age magazine my own hypothesis about the Crop Circles phenomenon. I speculated they involved a military aerial device (not a space-based instrument) for generating such designs using focused microwave beams, such as a "maser." At the time nobody wanted to hear that the beautiful pictures in English corn fields might be crafted by a technical team inside some lab, bouncing signals from a hovering platform and using individual corn stalks as simple pixels to calibrate a lethal device. So my paper was met with dead silence.

More recently, however, New Scientist has run an article titled "Microwaves could defuse bombs from afar" (April 18, 2009 issue). It begins: "The next weapon in the US army's arsenal could be a laser-guided microwave blaster designed to destroy explosives. The weapon, called the Multimode Directed Energy Armament System, uses a high-power laser to ionize the air, creating a plasma channel that acts as a waveguide for the stream of microwaves."

These things are typically revealed 30 years after they are tested, which fits well with the heyday of the crop circle frenzy.

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Polanski and Kubrick: Two occult tales

Jacques Vallee is a computer scientist, partner in a venture capital firm, and author of more than 20 books, including Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers, The Invisible College, and The Network Revolution.

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Jacques Vallee: Waterboarding's curious corollaries

Jacques Vallee is a computer scientist, partner in a venture capital firm, and author of more than 20 books, including Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers, The Invisible College, and The Network Revolution.

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