Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Guest Post by Don Berliner on the Greatest Mystery of the Century

"Getting Back on Track" by Don Berliner

           We’ve been doing it all wrong!

            For the past several decades, the private UFO community hasn’t moved one inch closer to solving the greatest mystery of the past century. Even worse, we’ve lost almost all our ability to influence the opinions of members of the scientific community, the mainstream media, and most of the governments of the world. 

            We reached our peak in the mid-1960’s when the 14,000-member National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), under the inspired leadership of Donald Keyhoe and Richard Hall, had established highly effective relationships with those vital elements of our society. The media, in particular, regularly came to NICAP for facts and guidance. Today, with two national organizations each collecting more than 500 UFO/UAP reports a month, it would be hard to find a reporter who has any clue that such is happening, with the result being that the public has no idea that strange crafts are still being seen.

            NICAP’s facts were produced by the highly qualified and experienced members of carefully selected investigative sub-committees who went out into the field to find out what had actually happened, not to reinforce anyone’s preconceived opinions nor to add to anyone’s collection of allegedly unexplained events.

            There are changes that can be made to improve the situation:

1 .Get rid of “UFO,” which to most people means “flying saucer,” and that means alien spacecraft.  In other words, “UFO” is a conclusion, when it should be no more than a starting point. A replacement is ready and waiting: “UAP,” meaning Unexplained Aerial Phenomena.  Many of the scientists in the private UFO community have been using this for years.

2. Get rid of “Ufology” and “Ufologist,” which strongly imply that the collecting of information and the subsequent study of it constitute a science. It will remain no more than a hobby until we make drastic changes in the way we view the subject and our own involvement.

3. While we’re at it, let’s add “sincere” to our list of words to be dropped. The category of people most needing to be considered sincere is “con-artist.” And while we certainly aren’t suggesting that more than an occasional sighting witness deserves to be in that group, using it to describe someone who hasn’t been subjected to an extensive background investigation is passing judgment on the basis of emotion, rather than logic.

4. Stress the need for field investigators having advanced educations and/or practical experience in appropriate scientific fields. By including hobbyists and “saucer fans,” we are actively discouraging the participation of the very people we need most. Imagine a curious scientist joining a field investigation, only to find himself working alongside someone who is in serious danger of flunking freshman chemistry. The scientist won’t be back, while the marginal student will.
5. Forget about trying to influence the U.S. Congress as a way to force the release of a large quantity of withheld government information. Members of Congress lack both the will and the motivation needed to risk their jobs over an issue that promises little beyond embarrassment. Let’s face it: one of the easiest ways to replace a sitting member is to accuse him of believing in flying saucers. He or she may be able to withstand personal attacks based on financial or sexual misconduct, but not on something viewed by peers as suggesting a serious lack of common sense.

6.  Start using the Hynek “Strangeness/Credibility Scale” to pin-point UFO/UAP reports having the potential for adding to the accumulated knowledge of UFOs/UAPs. Cramming filing cabinets with sightings of meandering night lights amounts to nothing more than wasting time on trivia. It is the quality of cases that will eventually pay off, not the quantity.

7. Perhaps the biggest step we can take in the near-term is to stop behaving like the mystery has been solved and all that remains is to lay out the evidence for the ignorant masses to absorb. In fact, the UFO mystery has not been solved, nor will it be until we have acquired proof, not merely debatable evidence. Just because we haven’t been able to come up with logical, non-alien explanations for hundreds of baffling cases doesn’t mean that there aren’t any. Maybe we have overlooked something subtle that could change the picture.

Just what will constitute proof? 

1. Clear, sharp photographs that can be scientifically verified and which show sufficient detail so that they could not possibly be of anything terrestrial.

2. Government documents that can be scientifically confirmed as original (not photocopies), and which include specific information whose authenticity can be checked.

3. Physical evidence such as obviously unusual debris from one or more crashes, whose origins can be traced with confidence and whose properties do not resemble anything found on Earth. The professional scientists or scientific organizations doing the analyses must be willing to sign their names to any reports.

We aren’t going to get any of the above by sending out “saucer fans” to interview people who claim to have seen funny lights. We have to start taking the mystery as a serious challenge, and not as entertainment or a way to attract attention to ourselves. 

About the Author
Don Berliner has written more than 300 magazine articles and 30 books on aviation history and space and was also a staff writer for the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). He is board chairman of the non-profit Fund for UFO Research, Inc. Berliner cowrote Crash at Corona: The U.S. Military Retrieval and Cover-Up of a UFO, depicting the famous controversial UFO landing near Roswell and subsequent government coverup (with Stanton Friedman).

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Major General (ret.) Antonio M. Taguba writes on Torture in The New York Times

Retired Major General Antonio M. Taguba recently wrote an article for the The New York Times in which he discusses the torturing and inhumane treatment of prisoners, enemies, and military personnel that have been occurring since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.

This article is spurred by the soon-to-be released report on the C.I.A.'s  detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects after 9/11 (which also caused the recent announcement by President Obama, acknowledging that "we tortured some folks" saying: "We crossed the line and that needs to be understood and accepted. And we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so we don't do it in the future").

Taguba writes: "from leaks to the press and the statements of those familiar with the report, we know the committee has determined that C.I.A. torture was more widespread and brutal than Americans were led to believe."

To read more about the report, Taguba's past investigation and findings, as well as his proposed suggestions, please read the full article here.

About Antonio Taguba
Retired Major General Antonio M. Taguba led the initial investigation into abuses in the U.S. military prison at Abu Ghraib and has played a major role in the United States' global war on terrorism. Prior to his command in Iraq, Major Taguba served as the Deputy Commanding General (Support), Third U.S. Army, U.S. Army Forces Central Command and Coalition Forces Land Component Command. Released to the public in March 2004, The Taguba Report by Antonio M. Taguba provides specific findings and offers official recommendations on the subject of detainee abuses, prisoner escapes, and the military's accountability.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August Classic of the Month: The Federalist Papers

This month, Cosimo presents The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison as our August Classic of the Month. The last serially published essay appeared in August 1788, 226 years ago this month.

The Federalist papers contains 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison in support of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and began appearing in New York newspapers in the autumn of 1787. Though controversy still swirls around authorship of certain individual essays, and the impact the papers had on the public opinion of the time remains open to debate, it's clear that the dramatic impact on global civilization of these spirited defenses of the nation's founding document cannot be exaggerated. 

As masterful examinations of the fundamental principals of the U.S. system of government, they are unrivaled -- as works of political philosophy, they have moved and influenced peoples and nations around the world in their battles toward freedom and democracy. This edition also includes The Articles of Confederation of the United States, and The Declaration of Independence. 

About the Authors
Alexander Hamilton, (1757-1804), John Jay, (1745-1829), and James Madison (1751-1836) are among the most revered of America's Founding Fathers, men whose animated advocacy of the new nation continues to reverberate in political thought today.

For a complete list of American history titles published by Cosimo, please visit our website.

Cosimo is proud to offer paperback, hardcover, and eBook editions of The Federalist papers at leading online bookstores including Barnes & Noble (paperbackhardcover), and Amazon (paperbackhardcover, eBook).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August Series of the Month: Makers of History by Jacob Abbott

We are bursting with historical knowledge of past noteworthy people and events with our August Series of the Month, Makers of History, by Jacob Abbott.

Abraham Lincoln raved that this series of historical biographies gave him "just that knowledge of past men and events which I need. I have read them with the greatest interest. To them I am indebted for about all the historical knowledge I have." 

Considered what we would now call "young adult" literature, this 31-volume collection, first published between 1848 and 1871, was designed to present a clear, distinct, connected narrative of the lives of the great figures of world history, those people who have been most influential, at least as American author and educator Jacob Abbott saw it from his 19th-century perspective. Wildly popular and republished many times under different collected names, this replica set mimics the 1904 reprint known as the "Makers of History" series. It will delight students of history as well as show the scholar how history telling has changed over the last few centuries. It is a must for many to read, as George Santayana once said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

 Cosimo offers this 31 volume series by individual volume at leading online bookstores or as a full set in hardcover or paperback, especially of interest to historians, collectors, who like to expand their personal library, or professional librarians. If you are interested in purchasing the full set, please contact us.

Discover the history of:

  • King Alfred of England
  • Cyrus the Great
  • Julius Caesar
  • Maria Antoinette
  • Hannibal, the Carthaginian
  • Mary, Queen of Scots
  • Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt
  • and many, many more!

The hardcover retail list price for this series is: $869.68, but now our price is: $699.99 (you save $170 or a 20 percent discount)

The paperback retail list price for this series is: $511.68, but now our price is: $399.99 (you save $112 or a 22 percent discount)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Events Posting from Gloria Sturzenacker, International Association for the Study of Dreams

Hello, dreamers of the New York area,

Summer is my favorite season in New York—so much culture moves outdoors into the breezes off the rivers, bays, and ocean! In an almost-random search, I've come across a number of things you might enjoy attending. The dream connection to some of these might be a tad wispy, but the events look so interesting, I didn't want to resist.

FringeNYC (International Fringe Festival)
Aug. 12, 14, 15: Marvellous. "An orphan in a medieval abbey who loves telling stories, stows away on a ship in the sky and finds himself in the dream he's been waiting for. An illuminated adventure for all ages. With puppets. And pirates."

Aug. 13, 16, 21: The Pawnbroker: Lies, Lovers, and Bertolt Brecht. Well, Brecht just fits here.

Aug. 14, 17, 20, 24: Ain't She Brave: A Play of Poetry (Njozi Ensemble Company: "a division of Dream Variation Enterprises"). "In a journey toward self-discovery four women, Uhuru (Freedom), Njozi (Dream), Nia (Purpose), and Imani (Faith), embark on a heart-pounding trek through America’s past to recover their names. Poetry, song and movement fill this memoir of black women in America."

Aug. 14, 15, 17, 23: Gary Busey's One Man Hamlet (as performed by David Carl). I include this out of my own dream-related Hamlet obsession.

Aug. 19, 21, 22, 23, 24: Enter Your Sleep. "Childhood best friends, Glory Zico and P.K. Whylde, meet in a wild night of dreams to unravel their complex friendship, battle their sadness, and, ultimately, face a looming, dark truth." (This, by the way, is what's called mutual dreaming.)

The Allentown Art Museum
Through Sept. 9: The Allentown Art Museum has what's being billed as a coup and a world-class exhibition (and, experimentally, free): Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums. As a review in the main local paper says: 

"Centuries ago, if you wanted to see the paintings of the great Italian masters, you would have embarked on something called The Grand Tour, a kind of traveling educational experience to the principal artistic centers of Renaissance Italy: Rome, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Siena, Naples and Venice.

"This summer, The Grand Tour, by way of Glasgow, Scotland, is coming to Allentown." 

"The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley is one of the stops on an once-in-a-lifetime American tour of paintings by some of the greatest names in Italian art. It's a rare opportunity to see the work of artists that quite literally changed the world."

Through Sept. 7: Also at the Allentown Art Museum (but not free), is Francisco Goya's Los Caprichos, a series of 80 satiric and dreamlike etchings. I stumbled on the same exhibition a few years ago at the Nassau County Museum of Art. It appealed a lot to my dream-drenched appreciation of weirdism. Here's The Sleep of Reason Brings Forth Monsters:

If you get the chance to attend any of the above events, or if you discover other events relating to New York and dreams, let Gloria Sturzenacker know by contacting her at the International Association for the Study of Dreams website or at the Dreaming New York Treasures blog. 

Interested in reading more about dreaming and dreams before an event? We recommend Appreciating Dreams by M.D. Montague Ullman and Understanding Dreams: The Gateway to Dreams Without Dream Interpretation by Markku Siivola. For more titles, please visit Cosimo's Body, Mind, & Spirit page, or our Meanings of Dreams page.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

In Honor of Len Belzer

Len Belzer
Last Wednesday, July 30, Len Belzer,  Cosimo author, died from an apparent suicide. He was 73 years old.

Len Belzer was many things throughout his life: he had served in the U.S. Airforce Intelligence Service, he was a writer and journalist, a social worker, host of his radioshow The Comedy Hour, and a student of consciousness and spirituality. His interest in spirituality and his love for New York City, where he lived for many years, resulted in writing a beautiful guidebook in 2000 together with his wife Emily Squires, Spiritual Places in and Around New York City. This book was a tribute to the city they both loved and especially the places, that many people don't always appreciate or even know about, that offer rest, beauty, nature and regeneration of the spirit.

The first time I met Len was when preparing the release of the first (Paraview) edition of their book. He was a nice man with a quiet demeanor and a dry sense of humor. He was also extraordinarily committed to bringing this book directly to the readers: he regularly dropped by our office, picking up copies of their book and then visiting the spiritual places to offer the books to their stores, from the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine to the New York Buddhist Temple, from the Isamu Noguchi Garden to the Cloisters, from the Ayurveda Cafe to Hangawi Korean restaurant, and many more galeries, museums and parks in and around New York City.  Over the years, Len and Emily got many requests to update their book, and so they did in 2008.

The unexpected death of Len's wife, Emily Squires, an Emmy award winning TV director, in late 2012, affected Len deeply. His death a year and half later, is a sad end to his creative and diverse life. May he be remembered for his love of city culture, his creativity and sense of humor.

Alexander M. Dake
Publisher, Cosimo

Click here for a sample of an interview by Len Belzer with comedian Bill Hicks on Len's Comedy Hour.

August Book of the Month: A Journey through Governance, by William A. Morrill

Cosimo's Book of Month for August is a personal account from career civil servant, William A. Morrill. Throughout six combined presidencies and nearly twenty-five years working at the White House, Morrill experienced some of the most iconic American moments in history first-hand. 

Morrill's memoir, A Journey through Governance: A Public Servant's Experience under Six Presidents reveals how the United States government operates from within. Morrill guides the reader through the Capital corridors, encountering one critical national issue after another. His insights and experiences could become useful in the upcoming months for those citizens unsure about the importance of public service in determining their mid-term votes.

About the Author:
William A. Morrill has had a long distinguished career of public service in federal and local government. He served in the administrations of six presidents, from Eisenhower to Carter: at the Pentagon on the Air Force Headquarters staff; in the Executive Office of the President under Presidents KennedyJohnsonNixonFord, and Carter; and as an assistant secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under Presidents Ford and Carter. 

Morrill has remained engaged in public-service and public-policy matters in the private sector, including with the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Public Administration. After leaving government, he was president of Mathematica Policy Research, chief executive and chairman of Mathtech, and a senior fellow at ICF International. He can be found online on his website

Cosmio is proud to offer both an affordable paperback and eBook edition of A Journey through Governance at leading online bookstores including Barnes & Noble (paperback and eBook) and Amazon (paperback and eBook).