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Talk:Unidentified flying object

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 Definition (usually referred to as UFO) Any airborne object or phenomenon of unknown origin or nature, observed visually or by instruments;

often linked with alleged but unproven claims of extraterrestial origin. [d] [e]

Editor rulings requested by Constabulary

  1. Anecdotal reports will move to a Catalog page.
  2. If radar or other technical sensors are mentioned in the context of a UFO report, they shall either cite a source that gives technical characteristics that can be evaluated by a radar engineering, or a formal proceeding (e.g., NTSB hearing) at which there was an opportunity for expert discussion.
  3. Editor rulings that radar descriptions are implausible shall be removed unless answered with technical detail. Weather radar is not optimized for tracking solid targets, any more than air intercept radar is not optimized for tracking air masses. Long-range air intercept radar does not reliably give the size of targets.
  4. An "aviation expert" cannot be automatically assumed to be acting as an expert unless the statement is made in a formal hearing, a responsible peer-reviewed journal, or other procedure where there can be reasonable challenges from other experts. A general news article is not such a context, although an article in a professional-level industry publication, such as Aviation Week and Space Technology, would be. Other news coverage will be considered on a case-by-case basis, when there is a verifiable online source.
  5. Simply citing a "military witness" is inadequate unless a formal investigative report is given.
  6. Sightings by "famous people" have no place in the article unless the famous person is an expert witness.
  7. Newspaper experience does not qualify one as a technical expert and continued arguments that it does are not desired. Further, CZ Editors do not edit in the manner of a newspaper Editor. If an Editor directs that text move to a subpage, that is the Author's responsibility.

Howard C. Berkowitz 19:10, 8 January 2011 (UTC)


I am unclear as to what Editor rulings that radar descriptions are implausible shall be removed unless answered with technical detail. in ruling 3 is supposed to mean, and I think that general statements like the ones in #7 are not within the scope of an Editor. --Daniel Mietchen 23:26, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Ruling 3 means that you can't just say weather radar does something not usually associated with weather radar, and you can't draw comparisons between military and air traffic control radars unless they are described with sufficient detail for a radar expert to understand the capabilities being compared. Howard C. Berkowitz 05:22, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Added metadata and some notes

This is a reasonable start for a collaborative project, and, blessedly, does not read like a conspiracy theory. It may need to be contextualized with articles on extraterrestrial intelligence and, indeed, expansions on radar, technical and imagery intelligence/photogrammetry, and phenomena of witnessed observation.

As the text began, there seemed a strong implication that UFO necessarily equated to alien. I'm certainly not dismissing the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), but I think that a fair article also has to comment on the possibility of incorrect reports. The more dramatic the claim, the better the evidence need be.

The article may need to address the possibility that some sightings were highly classified experiments, and certainly other phenomena with an obscure but natural origin. I did provide some CIA references that indicate that at least some observations suggest something was present and could not be explained with the knowledge of the time. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:40, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Name of the article

As you can see, I've Moved it, and created a bunch of Redirects. Hayford Peirce 16:23, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the Workgroups

I didn't have a clue as to what I should do there! Hayford Peirce 16:38, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

My thinking is that aviation and flight is generally engineering (and sensors), biology deals with the nonhuman aspect, and sociology with the issue of mass belief systems. Certainly, other workgroups could be involved, such as military from the specific investigations, psychology especially from the perspectives of cognition and sensory capabilities, etc.
While I'm not sure how much time I'll spend on it, I hope this can be an example of a controversial, borderline-fringe issue that can be objective from the start. It's not an issue on which I have strong personal opinions. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:59, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Ditto. Fortunately, I don't think we have any UFO nuts in our Citizenry at the moment. Hayford Peirce 17:41, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Do you not have a section or category for paranormal subjects? I'm sure someone has written about ghosts. Or you could take a look categorizing under philosophy and religion. Finally, the term UFO Nuts may be showing some bias and could be considered derogatory. What do you think? The appropriate term would be Ufologist I think.Mary Ash 02:36, 26 July 2010 (UTC) (UTC)Mary Ash Putting in ~~~~ signs your name; you're getting it twice
Do you not have a section or category for paranormal subjects? I'm sure someone has written about ghosts. Or you could take a look categorizing under philosophy and religion. Finally, the term UFO Nuts may be showing some bias and could be considered derogatory. What do you think? The appropriate term would be Ufologist I think.
There is a brief article on ghosts that certainly could be expanded. In general, though, there's nothing on the paranormal or paranormal intelligence. I'd personally welcome an objective article that establishes some concepts. CZ: Anthropology Workgroup might be a good choice.
I would agree that "ufology" is an acceptable term for someone that specializes in interpreting UFO reports. Any group, of course, can have nuts among it; the Politics Workgroup is aware of many. :-(
To get the best collaborative work on controversial topics, avoid sensationalism and things that come across as conspiracy. When dealing in political and security subjects, for example, it's often wise to present text from documents, perhaps side-by-side with laws or treaties. Putting in ~~~~ signs your name ...said Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 19:59, July 25, 2010

(unindent) I just changed the second workgroup from Biology to Psychology, since most of the biological aspects of the matter have to do with perception. However, most of the cases for which reliable explanations exist, they are based on physical, chemical or classified military knowledge, so these workgroups might have to be considered as well. --Daniel Mietchen 21:24, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

It's not a three-workgroup-only subject. I was thinking of biology in the astrobiological sense, but perceptual psychology certainly is an issue. Howard C. Berkowitz 22:31, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Hello and welcome to Citizendium

Mary, please note that I reformatted some of your notes more correctly. If you will study the edit page, you will see how my edits were done. When using an online source for a note, rather than simply enclosing the URL in brackets, thus [url], it is much better to include a title of some sort within the brackets, thus [url Title] with one space between the end of the url and title. In that way, the note simply displays the title as a link. That avoids the actual url being displayed as a link because urls are often very long and do not make the actual title of the online source clearly visible.

Also, Citizendium uses subpages:

  • Related Articles: This where we place links to related articles within Citizendium. In other words. the relate Articles subpage replaces Wikipedia's "See also" section.
  • Bibliography: This where we place links to books and journal articles that provide information related to the main article.
  • External links: This where we place hyperlinks to online website sources of related information.

With that in mind, what you denoted as "Notes" all pointed to a specific line or paragraph in the main article text, just as they should. However, what you denoted as "References" do not point to any specific line or paragraph in the main article and therefore would be much better placed in either the "Bibliography" or the "External Links" subpages. Since they are all hyperlinks to online website sources, I plan to move them to the "External Links" subpage. Milton Beychok 17:52, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Am I Free to Do Some Minor Edits or Will I Be Banned?

Am I free to make some minor edits to this article or will I be banned. The description of Ufology needs some tweaking. I would like to rewrite this Wikipedia definition which is far less negative and lacks potential bias.

Ufology (pronounced /juːˈfɒlədʒiː/) is a neologism coined to describe the collective efforts of those who study reports and associated evidence of unidentified flying objects (UFOs). While ufology does not represent an academic field of research and is widely described as a pseudoscience, UFOs have been subject to various investigations over the years by governments, independent groups, and scientists. The term derives from UFO, which is pronounced as an acronym, and the suffix -logy, which comes from the Ancient Greek λογία (logiā).

Please advise.

Mary Ash 02:04, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

No, you won't be banned. I'd appreciate, though, some discussion, so I can understand your concerns. In the above definition, I would avoid the words "and associated evidence". Evidence has a legal meaning; "data" would not. I tried to be neutral in the current definition, and, as I remember, paraphrased some mission statements from ufology groups.
From my perspective, it's a legitimate area of observation. Where it gets to be problematic is where there are unsubstantiated claims of coverups, or there are also unsupported allegations of alien (i.e., paranormal or extraterrestrial) intelligence.
There is evidence that the U.S. government tried to avoid public hysteria. Arguably, the Air Force stopped active study before the CIA did because the Air Force's responsibilities are more for current operations -- they didn't see any immediate threat and didn't want to expend funds. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:06, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Added info about UFO databases maintained by MUFON and NUFORC

Added information about the databases maintained by both organizations. MUFON offers a live UFO "Weather Map" tracking UFO reports and a searchable data base. NUFORC offers a database that goes back at least 20 years and includes location, time and type of object seen. Mary Ash 02:02, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Made some changes to the first paragraph

Mostly to clean-up superfluous language and combine repeating sentences. Feel free to revert if I messed something up. D. Matt Innis 19:39, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

I added a mainstream view: if there is extraterrestrial intelligence, radio is the most likely initial form, as being actively investigated by the SETI Project. Also, I put transpersonal psychology into Related Articles but it belongs somewhere -- Mack very much considers this relevant to visitations and abductions. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:57, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Not sure that is has much to do with unidentified flying objects, but it is good information. Maybe we can develop that idea further down in the article if it isn't already (I haven't gotten far). D. Matt Innis 20:54, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
The relevance is that a number of scientists are not prone to accept the physical visitations, as they believe radio is a better Occam's Razor explanation (Occam's electric razor?). Howard C. Berkowitz 21:15, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

lede rewrite

that's perfect, howard! I had those words on the tip of my tongue but couldn't spring them loose.... Hayford Peirce 02:44, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Added a couple respected researchers

I added a couple science based UFO researchers to the article. Both are physicists. I also removed about 10 words, perhaps less, that were probably not accurate. Not all UFO groups or Ufologists are conspiracy theorists. Some could be but you can not state that all are. I will add more information later, stuff that I never had the opportunity to do so, but that will be in a couple days. Mary Ash 08:32, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

Inflammatory and bias?

Below is what is written in the article:

"Sightings increased greatly following the Second World War; mass hysteria began as many were conflated into claims of "flying saucers" or other "vehicles from outer space" that many people believed were directed by extraterrestrial intelligences. In 1947 the U.S. government began studying them, often in classified projects. There is, however, a distinct difference between unidentified aerial objects and these theoretical constructs. All investigators and scientists readily concede that the explanation of some aerial sightings remains unidentified even after the most intense examination. Most dismiss the notion, however, that there is any concrete evidence that Earth is being, or has been, visited by creatures from other worlds. The U.S. government is not known to have specific investigations underway, although there is a group for the study of unidentified aerospace..."

I find the statement concerning mass hysteria biased or opinionated. I would like to see documentation i.e. scientifically based references showing there was mass hysteria.

There are UFO flaps but not usually hysteria unless you consider the people who were frightened by the War of the Worlds broadcast by Orson Welles. That's another subject. I have not edited the above material but I would like to see it toned down, if possible.Mary Ash 16:33, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Mary here about the use of "mass hysteria" -- that was, as I recall from living through that era, a phrase that was actually used from time to time by UFO skeptics, BUT for us to use it here with no citations or references is not very professional. Today the phrase implies (almost) people running panicked through the streets, and this was certainly not the case. "Mass delusion" might be used instead, but even that implies that millions of people were being deluded. How many people, I wonder, actually reported "flying saucers"? I really doubt that it was more than somewhere in the thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Possible.... Hayford Peirce 16:40, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
My recollection, which I'd have to check, is that term was used by contemporary reports. I too lived through some of the period, as a science mad kid a little younger than Hayford. The "mass" aspect is similar to that with many phenomena -- after an initial report, there are a surge of well-intentioned but copycat sightings. What term would you prefer to "mass hysteria" for the rise in unconfirmed, or actively unexplained, reports?
For the record, I was, at the time, a badge-wearing member of Captain Midnight's Secret Squadron, eager to defend Earth. Where, oh where, is my decoder badge, which is worth real money today? Howard C. Berkowitz 16:54, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Anecdotal reports

Mary, in completely unrelated articles--I'm especially thinking of neuroscience meeting popular culture that Gareth edited-- there is hesitation to put anecdotal, and even small scientific reports into main articles. From a personal standpoint, I get a bit frustrated that many veterinary medical studies are so small, but I try to make that clear in the article. When there's nothing else, people proceed with caution, and these often are well-reviewed articles.

In like manner, therefore, I am a little concerned with anecdotal reports in the main article. Perhaps a catalog subpage might be more appropriate. This concern came to me when I read the JAL incident, and, in particular, the weather radar comment. Weather radar is of two types -- long-range and very-short -- but neither operate on wavelengths, or even wave form (e.g., Doppler vs. pulse) intended to track hard objects. Do we really want to get into arguing the specific incidents in the main article? Howard C. Berkowitz 16:54, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

I disagree as there is precedence with the inclusion of Roswell incident, etc. The article I intended to write would have included a brief history of well documented historical cases including Roswell. The facts are what they are and they are documented through mainline sources including reports and news articles. Standard research fare.Mary Ash 18:07, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
Roswell is a far more well-known incident. I don't know how to respond to "the facts are what they are" when there is a clear technical problem in at least one report, mischaracterizing how radar actually works.
I am not aware of "precedent" allowing multiple specific cases. In articles such as recovered memory and [[Satanic ritual {abuse]], these went to annotated bibliography/external links. That's a precedent that existed before this article. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:16, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
Mary, I had the same thoughts (independent of Howard). It may be useful and even interesting to collect an annotated list of claimed UFO sightings (with refernces to reports and references to potential explanations). But this belongs on a Catalogue subpage -- there are much too many to list them on the page. It would be boring and put too much weight on these claims. The main article should summarize, analyize and evaluate the phenomenon. --Peter Schmitt 18:27, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
I think that there are only TWO items that should be mentioned directly in this article: Kenneth Arnold, which started the whole business, and Roswall. Roswall was, I believe, completely overlooked at the time, but has been built up into a famous incident. All the others should, as Peter says, either be put into separate articles, or, more usefully, perhaps, into a catalog. "Catalogs", in CZ usage, can be quite all-encompassing. This article should NOT become a laundry list of "sightings"! If you disagree with that, Mary, just look at it from the other point of view: for *every* sighting that you list, it would be easy for Howard to write about *two* "sightings" that were then later explained as being Venus, airplanes, or whatever. I don't think you would want *that*, so I think you're gonna have to start a catalog somewhere. Peter, I'm sure, or others, will help you with that. Here's an example of one catalog: http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Tennis/Catalogs/World_No._1_male_players. I, and others, started it because Larry *insisted* on it. Larry isn't EiC anymore, but his ideas about Catalogs live on, I suppose.... Hayford Peirce 18:40, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

{unindent}I disagree. You can use the briefs as feeders to more extensive pages. As the article started out to be a history of UFOs and the study thereof, including some well documented major cases is appropriate. Also, CZ is supposed to be all-encompassing and not US centric so including ONLY two US cases would seem rather provincial. I have submitted fact-based well investigated worldwide UFO reports. I plan to add both the Belgium UFO flap and the Iranian UFO Dogfight which was not written about earlier. I will add the briefs for later linking to more extensive articles.Mary Ash 02:06, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

First, if you want more extensive pages, then by all means write them, and then briefly link them to this article. As far as what the article started out to be, unless it is a Signed Article, no one individual can make that claim.
I'm sorry, but some of your fact-based cases to not seem solid to others. To take the JAL case, that the pilot thought he tracked the objects on weather radar, if anything, suggests they were weather phenomena and not solid objects. More specifics would be needed on the radar. A long-range radar would be long-wavelength with poor resolution for aircraft-sized objects. Ultrashort-wavelengths are used for short-range detection of microbursts, wind shear and the like. There are X-band radars used for weather and for target tracking, but they have different waveforms, timing, and signal processing.
I certainly am challenged on things I write, but I try to respond with sourced support, not just a flat statement that things are well-investigated. Even then, I don't always get agreement. Mary, your best bet to gain consensus is not to keep enlarging this article, but to write smaller, linked subarticles that can be discussed individually. When I write long articles because it's easier for a first draft, I still try to split subarticles. Now, if you did write about the JAL incident and cited radar, do you believe that an electronics engineer should not challenge the described radar behavior? Howard C. Berkowitz 02:41, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Howard you misread the Japanese pilot report. The pilot reported seeing the UFO on radar and his observation was confirmed by FAA radar. The military radar did not as it seemed to be "clutter". See:

Japan Airlines (JAL) pilot Kenji Terauchi reported seeing a UFO while flying from Iceland to Japan. The UFOs were reported during the Anchorage leg of the trip in November 1986. Terauchi reported seeing the UFOs on his weather radar, and dimmed his cockpit lights to confirm the UFOs seen were not a reflection. Military radar did not confirm the UFOs as they were considered clutter while FAA radar did pick up one of the objects on its radar. FAA officials also said one of the objects stayed close to the cargo jet, even after the pilot took various maneuvers to elude the objects. Terauchi described seeing three objects that exhibited green, yellow or amber lights.

I've researched and presented some of the best documented UFO reports available. I have also provided well-founded resources from the military, newspapers and respected UFO investigators. I've also tried to present both points of view, when available, so the reader can learn about UFO phenomena. That is what any good writer is expected to do.

As to the long article, I'd start editing out some of the chaff but I can not. I am not an editor, only an author, so for me to edit the article would not be acceptable to CZ.Mary Ash 03:15, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

No, I did not misread the radar parts. You bolded Terauchi reported seeing the UFOs on his weather radar, and that is the first thing I am challenging. Weather radar, certainly of 1986, is not designed to track solid objects -- it's designed to track air movement. Second, it would have to be researched, but not all FAA radar is true tracking radar. Current radar is primarily dependent on transponders, one of the reasons it couldn't precisely locate aircraft on 9/11. Earlier radar may have used a "skin paint" mode with actual reflections, but that would be considerably more restricted than a military radar. In particular, the range gate would exclude things at significantly different speed than an airliner. FAA air traffic control radar has more, not less, clutter rejection than a military air surveillance radar. You seem to be accepting radar reports that support your position and deny ones that do not.
You again misinterpret the role of a CZ Editor, which is completely different than a news editor. Any author should be able to restructure and write subarticles.
There are also substantial questions about the Iranian dogfight incident. First, it wasn't a dogfight at those ranges. If I assume it was an F-4E with an AN/APQ-120 radar, I'm not confident it would show tens of kilometers. Yes, the APQ-120 has a high-resolution mode, but that's for ground mapping.
If you aren't reasonably well versed in radar, I suggest you may not be able to select accurate reports based on it. If Terauchi's report is one of the best documented, the documentation is pretty poor. Do you read NTSB incident reports? That's my standard of documentation for an aviation event. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:36, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Aviation officials, including pilots, would be considered sophisticated expert witnesses. As to the radar: the objects were picked up and tracked for sometime. The event lasted about 1 hour and the larger UFO was described by the JAL pilot as two times bigger than an aircraft carrier. The Mohave News also reported that the FAA radar picked up mysterious object trailing the jet. Another source said otherwise. I went for the conservative approach. You can check the sources to see what was reported. My writing the article is based on what was reported to the FAA and journalists. My "job" is to collect the facts and present them. I do not need to be an expert on radar but I do need to be an expert on presenting the facts. I am an expert based on my 10 years of journalism experience. During that time I was responsible for military affairs reporting so I am well versed in military weapons and aviation. I suspect you do not have experience as a military journalist...In the case of the Iranian UFO numerous aviation witnesses and an Air Force general all reported seeing UFOs. Some descriptions were different, based on location, but all military and aviation officials involved saw something. Again, based on their documented reports, including a declassified report from the US military, this is well documented case.Mary Ash 05:51, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
An expert witness testifies in a formal process, such as an NTSB or court hearing. In what formal hearing did these people testify?
A newspaper report of what a radar was said to do is not an acceptable source. Aviation Week might be, because it would give the technical details.
Mary, you have shown no particular evidence of being "well versed" in military weapons and aviation. You have never described any in technical terms. You haven't written anything about them. For example, what F-4 type was flown by the Iranians? What radar did they have? Was it the AN/APQ-50? AN/APQ-72? AN/APQ-120? Assume the latter, the most advanced. What is the angular resolution of that radar, in a plausible operating mode, and why should an anecdotal report that it would give the size of the target be believed? Was the radar CW-doppler or pulse-doppler? C-, S-, or X-band (I include both ground and airborne radars.
It is true I do not have as much experience as a military journalist as...a military electronics engineer, but I do have military journalism experience--as an engineer who writes and doesn't have to rely on public affairs officers. Are you telling me a pure journalist knows more about electronics? Alas, I only have about 40 years of working with military electronics and computing. I don't have to have an official explain the differences between weather and air intercept radar.
If it comes to technical journalism, however, I currently write on subjects including radar for Marine Electronics Journal, the publication of the National Marine Electronics Association. In my marine electronics and computing business, I integrate such things as chartplotters with Automatic Radar Plotting Aids, and do tradeoffs among radar navigation with Automatic Identification System and GPS. I've written more than a few related articles here, such as the top-level articles on C3I-ISR, radar, signals intelligence, electronic warfare, electronic intelligence, and, I suppose, more detailed articles on tens of radar systems.
Unless the actual technical description of the radar, its track, etc., is available, I will rule, as an Engineering and Military Editor, that is simply not an acceptable source for a claim. It is certainly preferred, at CZ, that an author be able to judge the plausibility of a report, not just cite it. Editors can check the validity of the reports. That is quite different than military journalism for a general publication. Howard C. Berkowitz 07:10, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Material for subpages

As its title indicates, the article is intended as a general article on the phenonemon "UFO", a summary covering all aspects of the topic. It is, therefore, not the place for a collection of detailed reports, claimed incidents and suggested explications. You are right, Mary, that this information has its place in CZ, but not in this top level article (and not in a page on UFO history, either). The correct place is a Catalogue subpage, and separate articles on selected incidents. (By the way, the same is true for the section on "Government investigation".) --Peter Schmitt 13:50, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Okay, I will back up Peter on this 100% -- I've already said the same thing in my comments above. Mary, you have now had three (THREE) members of the Editorial Council strongly suggest to you that while your efforts are appreciated, your approach here is wrong. You are adding too much detail to what should be an overall article. Do you recall the problems that arose with the Adolf Hitler article? The same thing is happening here. Right now the Hitler article was reverted by a Constable to its original version and the Editorial Council is in the Voting stage (at the moment Paused) about making a formal ruling that the article be reverted. This has been a terrible "time sink" and has caused a fair amount of acrimony. Speaking as the Secretary of the Council, I don't want to see this happen again -- but, if it keeps on like this, I fear that it may well end up that way. Please learn the CZ way -- you say over and over that you are here to write and that Editors are here to edit your writing. That is the NEWSPAPER way, but CZ is NOT a newspaper. We have explained to you many times how our processes work. So PLEASE take the advice of every one who has looked at this article recently and start a Catalog(ue) -- Peter will he happy to help you, I'm sure. If you don't, I can almost guarantee you that all of your recent additions are going to end up reverted. Thanks! Hayford Peirce 15:06, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
I've presented briefs from several well documented UFO cases. Stuff I had planned to include in my original article until it was ripped from my hands by an over zealous editor. You can do what you want with this article, but in order to write a well rounded article you do need to include some of the history surrounding UFOs. Reading about the technical aspects is ho-hum and does little to tell the reader about what expert witnesses reported. Aviation experts provide expert testimony. You will notice that I did not include fly-by-night UFO reports. Each case has been thoroughly investigated and concerned military or aviation personnel. As such what I have included documents UFO reports in an interesting (aka reader friendly) way that might interest people in giving CZ a chance. I hate to write this but the current article lacked perspective and interest. The addition of historical reports added that. Of course I know nothing about writing even after getting a BA in English and having 10 years professional writing experience.Mary Ash 16:08, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Actually, Mary, at least two other Editors ripped things from the article, not your hands. They were doing their job, and they are the people who determine if information is plausible. An author alone, at CZ, does not unilaterally decide that the source is accurate, although the provenance and plausibility of the source can indeed be discussed, in specifics. How could they rip things from your hands if you don't own the article? Personally, I find reading about reports without technical detail to be boring and a waste of time, coming across at the level of cable news.
Weren't most of the UFOs flying by night, not day? :-) I rule that an "aviation expert" cannot be automatically assumed to be acting as an expert unless the statement is made in a formal hearing, a responsible peer-reviewed journal, or other procedure where there can be reasonable challenges from other experts. A general news article is not such a context, although an article in a professional-level industry publication, such as Aviation Week and Space Technology, would be. Other news coverage will be considered on a case-by-case basis, when there is a verifiable online source. "Military reports" also must be sourced. While I have contributed text to this article, I am not ruling on anything I wrote.
This is not the place for yet another lecture about what CZ, in your opinion, should be. This is a place for discussing your article.
English degrees and general news experience may teach writing, but not technical analysis and objective analysis. Now, I first wrote for the Washington Post and Science News over 40 years ago, but I don't consider that a qualification for this article. I do consider a comparable time working with radar and other C3I-ISR systems to be far more qualifying. Consider this an Editor directive to move the reports to a Catalog subpage. In any event, the determination of expertise at CZ, at present, is by the Editorial Personnel Administrators. As you should be aware, refusal to follow Editor directions can result in Constabulary action. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:21, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Technical Expertise

For ease of responding to Howard's calling into question technical expertise I have started a new section. I will have to do some checking but I do believe the Rendelsham case was investigated by MOD while the other sightings were investigated by US officials. The Belgian UFO flap was also investigated thoroughly by Belgian authorities and NATO became involved. If you doubt the veracity of military witnesses in general I'd suggest you listen to this video from a military man who witnessed an encounter that affected our missile silos. The report was given at a National Press Club conference in 2010: http://www.ufodigest.com/video/ufo-national-press-club-conference-2010. Or for a full listing of NPC conferences you can visit You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=national+press+club+disclosure+project&aq=7. Or for more military testimony you can check out this link: http://www.freedomofinfo.org/national_press.htm.

As to my credibility to write about military and aviation: There is a difference between writing about military aviation and weapons. In other words there are differences between boats and planes. I have paid professional experience writing about military craft and weapons. I've also personally interviewed military pilots. I've also been known to read Aviation Week and a few other aviation journals. While I may not be an engineer, I do have military writing experience that covered both aviation and weaponry. Based on my professional experience, and my ability to investigate, I am relying on the expertise of my sources: expert witnesses such as aviation and military personnel. BTW also lacking in this article is famous people who have claimed to have witnessed UFOs. I guess that should be added too.Mary Ash 17:03, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Mary, I do not consider you credible about military aviation, avionics, and weapons unless you have written neutrall, technical articles about them at CZ or other verifiable expert-reviewed publications. I really don't want to get into a credentials war, but I do have paid professional experience written about these both for news media and professional organizations/think tanks. It wasn't just writing about what engineers said, but doing what military electronics and systems engineers do.
In the Homeopathy article, testimonials by "famous people" were excluded as irrelevant, and they will be here. Yes, there are differences in boats and planes -- but not in weather versus target tracking radars, with some weather caveats about near-surface water absorption. You are unable, apparently, to address the specific questions raised about the descriptions of radar being implausible. If I am wrong, please do so.
I am not going to continue arguing, but will call for Constabulary enforcement. Howard C. Berkowitz

17:21, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

I forgot to add with the logic used for expertise I should have been a peace officer so I could write police stories, a funeral director in order to write obituaries; a government official to write about government; or an aviation expert to write about aircraft or a weapons something or other expert to write about weapons. Of course I was none of the above as it was not needed to be a writer about any of those topics. A writer is hired for their ability to research, investigate, use experts based on their veracity and write interesting articles that sell newspapers. I am an expert at that. Something CZ would be wise to take advantage of. Remember I did write articles that sold newspapers.Mary Ash 17:26, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
CZ would be wise to recognize, as it does, that its writers either are experts or take guidance -- preferably without making it an order.
Mary, you would be wise to recognize CZ is not a newspaper, does not want to be a newspaper, and will not especially value newspaper-only expertise outside the Journalism workgroup. You continue to make this argument, as well as CZ Editors should do what newspaper editors do. Hayford explained this above. Newspaper writers do not, for example, thoroughly source their work if they cannot demonstrate expertise. Oh -- and you aren't the only one around here with paid professional writing experience. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:53, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

(unindent)Howard you have never read any of my articles so you have to accept on faith that I spent hours investigating and researching topics to make sure they were as accurate as humanly possible. I am writing about the articles that I wrote that were not timely such as aviation or weapons topics (and I used some of the same online sources you have used at CZ) or governmental affairs. Believe me I have read volumes of peer reviewed articles from the EPA and the BLM. I've also researched many a military topic including network centric warfare and supporting the warfighter. Both terms I find to be buzz word bingo! As to timely articles, as you were a member of the journalistic profession, they were written as accurately as possible to meet deadlines. I lost a few chances to make the wire as I was waiting to confirm facts. Facts come first. And as a former member of the press, you also realize the importance of follow-up articles to clarify information. As to the UFO information I presented: the information came from mainline reliable sources. I would have done the same as a reporter EXCEPT when I was a working reporter I was able to personally interview the appropriate officials involved. This included pilots, biologists, engineers and ANY subject matter expert. This opportunity is not presented at CZ as we are volunteers and therefore do not have access to subject matter experts. Instead, like you, I have to rely on online resources or make a trip to the library. And as always I do respect CZ editors but I do plan to continue to contribute well researched material even if it doesn't fit the accepted view of some participants. Professionally and respectuflly, Mary Ash 20:57, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Again, Mary, this is not a newspaper and we are not on deadlines.
It does not given me confidence when you tell me network-centric warfare is buzz word bingo, yet there are articles here that analyze the evolution FBCB2 from BFT, the generations and capabilities of WIN-T, and broader contexts such as swarming (military) and restructuring of the United States Army.
When you say "I do plan to continue to contribute well researched material even if it doesn't fit the accepted view of some participants", I suggest you take that up with the Constabulary, before they take action. Howard C. Berkowitz 21:22, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Mary, comparison with journalistic work for a newspaper does not help because writing for an encyclopedia has a different purpose and needs a different style. Moreover, (once more) there are no deadlines. and you may not rely on others to follow up.
But there is no need to be defensive, and you have no reason to be offended: Asking you to move material from the main page to a subpage can be compared to being asked (by your editor-in-chief in the newsroom) to move your article from the frontpage to a specialized page in the interior of the paper (because it is too detailed). --Peter Schmitt 23:11, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Constable Comment

Hello all. It appears that we have a difference of opinion about the structure and content of this article as well as a question of expertise. It is not up to me to determine the qualifications of authors or editors. I am currently bound by the workgroups linked in the metadata template. So far those are Engineering, Psychology, and Sociology. Howard is an editor in the Engineering workgroup. I don't see any other editor working on this page, so, according to our current rules (which are the same old rules), Howard gets to be sole decision-maker about style and content under the watchful eye of the ME. If any author were to have a problem with one or more of Howard's decisions, then they would need to consider bringing in another editor or appealing the editor decision to a higher level. The Ombudsman is designed to help with that process.

Concerning expertise, the EC would be the place to bring that issue.

Meanwhile, Mary, you are required to follow each specific rule that Howard lays out with the specific announcement that it is his ruling. Failure to do so will result in limiting your access to this page or citizendium altogether.

Thanks for your continued professional behavior.

D. Matt Innis 17:58, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Howard, I think you are supposed to rule in areas of your expertise. I will enforce your decision on the radar sentence, but you'll need to be specific about what you think it should say and I will make sure it won't be removed. D. Matt Innis 21:52, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
First, I note that I have asked Mary to move the anecdotal reports to a catalog page, as have Hayford and Peter. Is this the sort of thing you want? Here are three.
Aurora, Texas report

Aurora, Texas residents reported a UFO crash in 1897. The UFO reportedly crashed into a windmill located on Judge J.S. Proctor's farm. A fire ensued which was seen from three miles away. Residents found the pilot and buried him in a local cemetery. Through the years the headstone has disappeared and the reported UFO visitor lies in an unmarked grave. Some people believe the story is a hoax although some MUFON investigators believe there is validity to this report. I don't think this should be included at all witghout more data. The only sourcing is a Houstgon Chronicle report, with no definition of "some people:" or why MUFON believes otherwise. We are not a newspaper where "allegedly" or "reportedly" allows us to use unconfirmed material.

For the JAL report,

Japan Airlines (JAL) pilot Kenji Terauchi reported seeing a UFO while flying from Iceland to Japan. The UFOs were reported during the Anchorage leg of the trip in November 1986. Terauchi reported seeing the UFOs on his weather radar, and dimmed his cockpit lights to confirm the UFOs seen were not a reflection. Military radar did not confirm the UFOs as they were considered clutter while FAA radar did pick up one of the objects on its radar. FAA officials also said one of the objects stayed close to the cargo jet, even after the pilot took various maneuvers to elude the objects. There were conflicting reports that different radars did or did not sense an object consistent with the visual sighting; news reports alone do not give enough technical detail to evaluate Terauchi described seeing three objects that exhibited green, yellow or amber lights.

This really needs to identify the radar types to be given more credibility.
Iranian report -- not a dogfight; the range was too long.

During Septemember 17 and 18, 1976 two Iranian pilots and a general reported seeing a UFO flying near Mehrabad Airport. Several phone calls were received at the airport and air traffic supervisor Hussain Perouzi used binoculars to view a "'...It was rectangular in shape, probably seven to eight meters long and about two meters wide... it was probably cylindrical. The two ends were pulsating with a whitish blue color. Around the mid-section of the cylinder there was this small red light that kept going around in a circle...'"[1] Perouzi contacted General Nader Yousefi, of the Imperial Iranian Air Force Command about the UFO; and a single F-4 Phantom Im II jet was scrambled from the Sharoki Air Force Base. Approximately one hour later the jet took off from the airfield. The pilot managed to fly within 46 kilometers of the UFO when his jet's avionics failed. The pilot turned his jet towards the airport when the jet's electronics returned to working order. During this time Yousefi witnessed the UFO and described it as a star larger than other stars located in the area. He described the UFO as twice as large as normal stars within the area.

Twice as bright, although, as you'll see in the main article, it's very hard to compare luminosity. There's no real way people can compare sizes of point targets.

A second jet was scrambled flown by Lieutenant Jafari. Jafari was able to see the UFO on his jet's radar. Jafari said the radar return was similar to that one found for a Boeing 707. Jafari was unable to visually determine the UFO size due to its bright light. He did describe the colors observed as blue, green, red, and orange that rapidly changed in color.

Most F-4 radar would not give a reliable object size. Specifics, please, if this claim is being made. Note that there were widespread avionics failures, which don't give confidence in the radar.

I just don't understand the underscored section

Jafari gave chase to the UFO and when south of capital city the UFO ejected an object that flew directly towards his F-4 jet. Jafari attempted to fire an AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile at the UFO but was unable to as his weapons control panel as well as his radio quit. Jafari placed his F-4 in a dive to prevent striking the second UFO. The second UFO returned to the main UFO and a third UFO was detached from the first UFO. The third UFO, or object, was seen flying to the ground. Yousefi observed these maneuvers from the ground. Another jet flying in the area did not see the UFOs but did report experiencing radio failure during this time.

Without knowing the Sidewinder type, I can't guess if he was firing sensibly, but, guessing at the 1976 version, he would need to be within 6-8 miles and preferably closer. Earlier, it was well out of Sidewinder range. It really would help to see a drawing of the engagement.

The next day a helicopter flew some of the Iranian pilots to the area where the third UFO was seen landing. The Iranian military officials did not see any evidence of a UFO landing in the area, but they did hear a "beeper" signal described as a homing signal. The signal was strongest near an occupied small house. Inhabitants of the small house said they heard a loud noise and saw bright lights the night before. The source of the signal was never discovered.[2][1]

Do aliens use the same homing signals we use? What was the frequency? 121.5 or 243.0 MHz? I'd be inclined to delete that without more specifics.

Howard C. Berkowitz 22:35, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Howard, I think you're asking Matt here to be the Editor-in-Chief and All Powerful Editor -- I don't think he's equipped to do this, he's just a poor, hard-working Constable. Hayford Peirce 22:44, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
Thank you, Hayford. Replace the offending text with the text that you have decided is proper and let me know if someone changes it. D. Matt Innis 23:17, 8 January 2011 (UTC)/Clark Kent

An observation from another EC member

It seems to me in reading this page that people are going out of their way to try to explain things to Mary professionally. Mary, I am at a loss to understand why you are finding this offensive. I am entirely sympathetic with your view that articles need to be interesting and engaging, but they also need to be well-written in a CZ sense: that is, they need to be organised, accurate, encyclopaedic in our cluster format, and even scholarly when that is appropriate. I do not see where this type of cross statement is helpful: "Of course I know nothing about writing even after getting a BA in English and having 10 years professional writing experience." No one has attacked you personally, indeed I would defend you from personal attack, as would many, even Howard, who disagrees with you here, has not attacked you personally. He has confronted you on what he sees as the issues, which is his right. Just about everyone here has at least a BA, and most have at least 10 years professional and/or academic writing experience, so that sort of sarcastic argument avails you little.

You also said: "Howard you have never read any of my articles so you have to accept on faith that I spent hours investigating and researching topics to make sure they were as accurate as humanly possible." Well, no, that doesn't stand to reason. Howard has never read any of my traditionally published articles to my knowledge, so he does not have to accept on faith anything about my ability or methods. He is within his rights to request a track record, demonstrated expertise or clarification of anything that isn't common knowledge or generally accepted in the field. I don't find this offensive.

If you would like to discuss any of the things that are being said to you, I'm willing to take time out for that. Not that I'm the Great CZ Guru, but if I can be helpful, I'll be glad to.

Finally, Hayford is quite right in pointing out that that we have just been through this sort of thing. The EC has been accused of 'micromanaging' issues; I'm not sure what else we can do other than get involved, considering CZ's limited resources. Our choice seems to be to either let talk pages run riot, or intervene, either as individuals or as a body. We are intelligent and thoughtful individuals, and are already well aware that this is not a productive use of our time, and that intervening in individual articles should be an extremely infrequent occurrence.

What on earth are we going to have to do to make people behave sensibly and reasonably? Shut down any controversial issue and insist that people can only write on core subjects pending a reorganisation and concrete guidelines? Only allow people to write on their subjects of bona fide expertise pending said reorganisation? Such draconian measures are so anti-wiki as to be absurd.

Citizens really need to help us out, here, by being cooperative, open to suggestion, and amenable, not make our lives more difficult.

Aleta Curry 00:08, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

I think this comment goes beyond the scope of this article, so I replied on the forums. --Daniel Mietchen 00:34, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Daniel, I've responded there as well. D. Matt Innis 01:15, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Catalog page created

I created a catalog page and put two of the sighting reports in it, editing them so they spoke of what reasonably can be inferred from the information given. In no way am I saying that nothing was seen, but I did not include things that are implausible, based on the available references, about visual, radar or radio detection. With more information, these elided sections might become more plauusible.

With these as a guide, Mary should be able to move other articles. We can certainly discuss why I find certain things implausible from an engineering standpoint, but these have to be substantive, not saying the sources cannot be challenged. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:30, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

I suggest to arrange incidents in chronological order, and to use three subsections:
Incident as reported / Investigations performed and their result / Explanations (verified or probable or suggested)
Of course, often not all this information will be available. --Peter Schmitt 02:20, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
Excellent suggestion, Peter. I didn't expect to do the entire catalog myself, but to give Mary an example. I completely endorse your suggestion. Howard C. Berkowitz 02:29, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
The historical events I added were presented in chronological order. I can not speak for others.Mary Ash 03:46, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Removed the history sections I added

Removed the history sections I added as the facts presented seemed to offend. My intent was to make the article a bit more human, and to attract to the reading audience. Since the facts are in dispute, and the requests were made to move the history, I have done so. I will move the historical section I wrote to my user page sandbox for further work. It is a very sad day when my expertise is called into question as both a journalist and for someone who has professional writing experience in the military affairs field. Also, I have spent over 20 years studying this phenomena and that does make me an expert even if Citizendium refuses to acknowledge my experience. I am not sure how the engineering workgroup is involved as there is no evidence that UFOs are mechanical or otherwise. The workgroup best able to study and review this subject would be the paranormal workgroup (is there one here?), societal or pyschology groups. Until there is clear scientific evidence to prove ALL UFOs are mechanical the paranormal realm is the best fit for this subject. Finally, could some one please archive this page. It is too long. ThanksMary Ash 03:45, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

I have copied the entire (partially deleted) history section to the Catalogue subpage for further editing. --Peter Schmitt 22:59, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
Thank you, Peter. That, to me, is in the CZ spirit, as opposed to Mary apparently acting from a position of ownership when she removed them. Personally, when I have had material challenged, I don't think I've ever deleted it completely, but moved it to a user page, or, as in the case of the challenged Hitler article, broken it into subarticles that can be worked with on a less massive way. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:22, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Corrected definition

The correct definition for a UFO is any flying object that can not be identified. It has nothing to do with engineering as stated although it be could considered paranormal as it is not NORMAL to see a UFO. Or as Merriam Webster says: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ufo. Mary Ash 03:55, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

I removed less than 20 words which I think is permissible. I did not contact the author based on this fact.Mary Ash 03:56, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
Let me be sure I understand this. You decided not to move them to a catalog page as requested, but to remove them completely. That's certainly marginal response to rulings.
I'll be blunt here. The very fact that you don't understand why Engineering is involved is reason to doubt your expertise, because radar, aviation safety, etc., are all part of Engineering. Your expertise as a journalist is not being questioned; it's more that it's considered irrelevant. Your expertise, however, about identifying objects is definitely in question. If you never mentioned radar and other "mechanical" sensors, then I suppose engineering might be irrelevant. If you never mentioned the variability of visual sightings, perceptual psychology might not be relevant.
You are free to archive the page, without deleting active discussions.
CZ has no paranormal workgroup, and, frankly, there's never been any other interest in having one. I suspect there would be strong antipathy to having one, for the same reason that Healing Arts was closed: it creates a situation where when other workgroups, more scientifically based, reject an idea, the Healing Arts or Paranormal group could say "well, we believe in it so it stays."
Howard C. Berkowitz 05:20, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

May I ask why the Roswell and Arnold sightings were not cataloged like the others

May I ask why the Roswell and Arnold sightings were not cataloged like the others. If we are going to have a separate catalog page for UFO reports then those should be put there too. This would also help shorten the article making it for all readers to read the article in question. As of now I get a warning whenever I open up the article to edit it. Mary Ash 00:36, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

Because as I said somewhere above, about a million words ago, THESE ARE THE TWO MOST FAMOUS UFO incidents! Arnold was essentially the first, and Roswell is now the most famous, although after the fact. They HAVE to be in the article. It would be like writing an overall article about Baseball and not mentioning Babe Ruth and, oh, Ty Cobb. Or about Tennis and not mentioning Bill Tilden or Pancho Gonzales. But thousands of other people would go into catalogs. Hayford Peirce 00:48, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
I copied the entire History section (including Roswell and Arnold). I did not edit the Catalog (two items appear twice) and I did not edit the main page. Roswell and Arnold belong into the Catalog. Some example(s) (certainly Roswell) belong on the main page, but not in the same way. The Catalog, of course, needs editing. And the main page also needs editing. For instance, as I have already mentioned, the section on government investigation lists too much details. I think it should be a summary while details belong elsewhere. --Peter Schmitt 00:53, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
Both the JAL and the Chicago O'Hare reports were recent and famous. So was the Belgian UFO flap which was investigated by both US, Belgian and NATO authorities. I have not included the Belgian report as I haven't gotten there. While Roswell is important, it is not recent nor all that famous; the famous recent report was the Chicago O'Hare report. Witnessed approximately four years ago by many. Mary Ash 01:21, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

{unindent)For the record the references did not transfer. I will see if I can fix as I was called on the carpet for the information presented.Mary Ash 01:21, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

Hayford's point about mentioning Roswell and Arnold in the main article is valid, although I'd personally put them in both places, with the intention off expanding on the catalog page. Peter is right that different levels of detail are appropriate.
The reason I did not move more than two is that I was attempting to guide and give an example both of how to move to a catalog page, and, in the particular two I selected, there were significant issues regarding electronics and weapons system characteristics. In other words, I was not acting as a copy or news editor, trying to do the entire catalog, but to act as a CZ editor, giving enough example to see what was meant.
The references seem to be working now, and I note that two are from Wikipedia, which we do not use as a reference source. It's unclear if one is meant to be a graphic, and perhaps needs to be uploaded rather than linked. I also note that I don't see any official reports, but news or UFO site material alone. While I can't speak for all the incidents, there certainly are detailed official reports for Roswell. I personally find it unlikely that if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made a comment on what their radar saw, there wouldn't be an FAA technical report -- FAA is regulatory and operational, but also does laboratory research and publishing. Howard C. Berkowitz 01:30, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

Requesting Editorial Council intervention

I am requesting Editorial Council intervention to disallow Howard from making any rulings concerning any technical matters in this article. Howard has established himself in the editorial role and allowing him to make technical rulings (or any other article rulings) would be a conflict of interest. I have also sent this request to the Chief Constable for review as I am not sure of the exact procedure concerning this request. The Chief Constable can refer this request to the appropriate channels. Thanks! Mary Ash 05:09, 10 January 2011 (UTC)


A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail constables@citizendium.org. It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

If you want to appeal to the EC, there is a procedure, which requires you to submit a motion to Hayford.
"Editor role" but not allowed to make technical rulings? What else do Editors do? I would like, Mary, for you to explain where my knowledge of radar is inadequate, or yours is superior. You are defying formal Editor rulings, and I ask the Constabulary to take action. You continue to argue, on the talk page and the Forum, that your news reports are unchallengeable.
I am not speaking here just as a random Engineering or Military Editor, but as an expert in radar, Air Traffic Control, and integrated air defense systems. My knowledge should be reasonably apparent from these, and many other specific radar articles. I also point to electronic warfare.
Matt, how can I better deal with something where it is my own "little piece of the world" in which I am expert? Howard C. Berkowitz 05:30, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
For reference, I believe both offenses that will result in a warning first, then a ban and offenses that will result in an immediate ban are worth being aware of here, particularly the fourth point of the former and the second point of the latter. John Stephenson 05:50, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
This is a content dispute that needs to be referred through the dispute resolution process. At this point, the decision of the editor on this page (Howard) shall remain in the article. It is my interpretation according to the section on what to do if you have a disagreement, Mary should contact the Ombudsman through his email.
Meanwhile, there is no reason that other areas of the article cannot continue, but the discussion and edits concerning radar should cease on this article and its talk page. D. Matt Innis 13:17, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

Chainsaw

I'm afraid I've been taking a machete to this article. It seemed to me to be repetitive, disorganised, packed with irrelevent detail in some places and lacking any references or relevant detail in others, littered with meandering speculation, and over-weighted anecdote. (Apart from that, it's fine). I haven't finished the clean up by any means. If anyone objects, revert anything at will.Gareth Leng 14:47, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
  1. 1.0 1.1 TEHERAN "DOGFIGHT". Retrieved on 2011-01-07.
  2. upload.wikimedia.org. Retrieved on 2011-01-07.