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New Pictures Show We Did Land on the Moon, After All

In a blow to conspiracy theorists, who say we never went to the moon, NASA has produced new photos of the Apollo 11 lunar landing site. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently flew just 31 miles above the area in question and took pictures which show the TV camera, Lunar Module descent stage, and even Neil Armstrong’s footprints to the Little West crater. Also visible are two parts of the Early Apollo Science Experiments Package including the Lunar Ranging Reflector, which is still used today to work out the daily distance between Earth and the Moon.

In recent years some have claimed that the mission which enthralled the entire world in the summer of 1968, as well as subsequent missions, were all staged by NASA in some movie studio and that, in fact, we never went to the moon. While the theory never had much influence with thoughtful people, it did provide a source of some annoyance to space officials. Astronaut and moon walker Buzz Aldrin even punched a documentary filmmaker who said the land­ing was faked. The primary effect of the theory though has probably been to make those who believed in it look fool­ish in the eyes of anyone who had ever had any personal contact with the space industry or who was among the mil­lions who personally witnessed the Apollo launches, including this writer.

It remains to be seen what impact the new evidence will have on the lunar landing skeptics themselves. It is also unclear how the credibility of those who legitimately criticize NASA in many other areas, such as the evidence for life on Mars, will be affected by an unwelcome and embarrassing association in the public mind with the over-the-top ar­guments of lunar-landing skeptics.

 

Is the Russian Navy Ending Its UFO Silence?

The Russian Navy is now talking about UFOs. That, at least, is the claim of a Russian news website Svobodnaya Pressa and reported by RussiaToday.com. According to the website, the records of unidentified objects technologically sur­passing anything ever built by humanity have recently been declassified.

Compiled by a special navy group, the records were said to go back to soviet times. Former Navy admiral and UFO researcher Nikolay Smirnov says the materials describe many encounters, including that of a nuclear sub in the Pa­cific which detected six unknown objects apparently in pursuit of the sub, but which eventually took off after the sub surfaced. Other reports describe underwater objects which move at speeds greater than 250 miles per hour, some­thing considered impossible by today’s technological standards. Among the contact areas frequently cited was the Bermuda triangle.

Russian Naval officials deny that the reports exist. According to the ITAR-TASS news agency, “An illusion of a UFO encounter can result from large fish shoals, floating garbage, or natural phenomena.”

 

Plagiarism Software Looks at Shakespeare

The question of who really wrote the Shakespearean plays remains one of the great controversies of the last 400 years. Despite the learned arguments of many well known doubters—from Mark Twain to Orson Welles, from Sir John Gil­gud to Charlie Chaplin—that it defies common sense to credit a relatively uneducated commoner from Stratford on Avon with the greatest works in the English language, the literary mainstream continues to insist on the reliability of its Stratford case. Recently though a technique has emerged which could ultimately throw some new light on the is­sue.

A computer program intended to identify plagiarism among students at the University of Maastricht has been used to test a play whose authorship was previously in doubt. The program looks for certain habits of phrasing common to particular writers. The Reign of Edward III, first published anonymously in 1596, can now be said, according to major Shakespearean authorities at London’s Institute of English studies, to have been the work of whomever was the au­thor of most of the well known plays attributed to William Shakespeare, in collaboration with Thomas Kid, one of the popular playwrights of the day. It would also seem to be possible that whomever wrote Edward III may have con­sciously plagiarized from Shakespeare and even Kyd, thus giving an impression of authorship, but the program is said to be capable of detecting the difference.

It remains to be seen if the program will be used to compare Shakespearean text with the writings of such cele­brated authorship candidates as Francis Bacon, Edward de Vere, Christopher Marlowe, and others. Certainly the idea that there could, indeed, have been more than one author of the Shakespeare plays also deserves investigation.

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