Unidentified Anomalies Abound on Earth and in the Sky

There are no such things as UFOs. However, there are unidentified anomalous phenomena – or UAPs –  out there all the time.

Just as the universe is expanding, so is the terminology for what we might see when we look, up in the sky and realize it’s not a bird or a plane. The UAP designation is itself a refinement of the previously used term of unidentified aerial phenomena.

NASA announced the “expanded terminology” in an update to a media release announcing the formation of team to study UAPs and issue a report. That report is expected to be released later this year.

By whatever term, there are things out there in the great beyond that pass understanding – at least for now. There are also a lot of anomalous phenomena floating around economics and finance. It’s understandable that the minutiae of complex economic theories is beyond the ken of most of us, but as the recent debt ceiling kerfuffle showed, some of the basic ideas of fiscal policy are as well.

While politicians bloviated and pundits speculated, Americans with even a passing interest in the debate were schooled by an online professoriate – some actual professors or experts – with a mission to inform, distort, confuse or just cause trouble depending on their motivations to engage with the digital masses. They found fertile ground for their economic agronomy.

For many, the difference between the deficit and the debt was too much to grasp. And with a willing and often loud collection of “experts” offering to explain what was really going on with the debt ceiling, some took in at least a couple of lectures.

This is good and bad at the same time.

It’s good because it shows that people do want to learn new things and are willing to take the time – if it is convenient and not too difficult.

It’s bad because it illustrates a dearth of understanding about basic concepts in the fiscal and economic life of the nation. And since we’re all part of that nation, what goes on in Washington D.C. effects our economic lives as well.

This is not to say that people need to “educate” themselves as online provocateurs routinely challenge doubters. But knowing how to count your change and balance your checkbook is a pretty low bar for navigating an increasingly math-based society.

In announcing the research project, NASA laid out the basic purpose of the mission.

“NASA has brought together some of the world’s leading scientists, data and artificial intelligence practitioners, aerospace safety experts, all with a specific charge, which is to tell us how to apply the full focus of science and data to UAP,” said Daniel Evans, the assistant deputy associate administrator for research at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in the release.

Maybe the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis can apply that focus on science and data to Earthbound UAPs (under-informed anomalous people).