A decade ago, two scientists published a paper on "the authoritative taboo on taking UFOs seriously." Essentially, Alexander Wendt and Raymond Duvall put the issue down to a failure to accept a scenario—say, that aliens are visiting us on the regular—that would injure our anthropocentric view. But as Tufts University international politics professor Daniel W. Drezner writes at the Washington Post, our view of UFOs is slowly changing. "Official organs of the state are now acknowledging that UFOs exist"—the US Navy issued new guidelines about sightings earlier this month—"even if they are not literally using the term. They are doing so because enough pilots are reporting UFOs and near-air collisions so as to warrant better record-keeping."
Indeed, Navy pilots reported numerous UFOs off the US east coast in 2014 and 2015. Several pilots have now spoken out to the New York Times, describing objects hitting hypersonic speeds from sea level to 30,000 feet with "no jet engine, no exhaust plume," then making instantaneous stops and turns. "No one in the Defense Department is saying that the objects were extraterrestrial, and experts emphasize that earthly explanations can generally be found for such incidents," reports the Times. For Drezner, that's an indication that authorities are still unwilling to seriously consider extraterrestrial activity, no matter how unlikely. They'll need to do that to fully debunk Wendt and Duvall's theory, Drezner writes. If they do, "what happens to our understanding of the universe?" (Read his full piece here.)