France Opens UFO Files but Remains Skeptical of “the Lady Who Reported Seeing an Object that Looked like a Flying Roll of Toilet

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This month has been big for UFO enthusiasts. France last week unveiled its own X Files, and so many people logged on that the server crashed. The site is back up now but so slow that it feels like traveling back in time to 1996.

You can comb through 1,600 UFO sightings over the past thirty years. Not every vision made the cut. “Cases such as the lady who reported seeing an object that looked like a flying roll of toilet paper” were not worth investigating, Jacques Patenet, head of the office for the study of “non-identified aerospatial phenomena,” told New Scientist.

On the other hand, burn marks and radar trackings of flight patterns that defy the laws of physics are taken very seriously. For example, a man working in a field heard a strange whistling sound and saw a saucer-like object about eight feet in diameter land nearby. “It stayed for a few seconds then took off into the blue yonder without making a sound,” says Patenet.

UFO buffs are pleased and UFO scoffs may be amused. But Patenet wants scientists to get involved: “We also want to send a message to more scientists, inviting them to help us analyse these phenomena, when otherwise they might feel uneasy about these issues.”

How would science explain the sight of a flying roll of toilet paper?

—Rose Miller

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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