Natalie Haynes: Secretly, we long for an alien invasion

Notebook: The idea that we might be alone in the universe with just seven billion other people for company is clearly too horrifying

Share
Related Topics

Unwrap your foil hats: this weekend was the 65th anniversary of the Roswell landings, and it seems like a vast number of people still believe the US government is concealing information about UFO landings in New Mexico. Since there is still no evidence for any kind of alien invasion, it must be in this one field – hushing up ET and Dr Who – that government employees have been completely successful. It seems kind of a shame they didn't save that infallibility for running the economy, but never mind. In my house, we like to celebrate the Roswell aliens' sad deaths by watching Alien, or Mars Attacks! (right), and reminding ourselves that every year the aliens don't invade is another victory.

It has always baffled me that conspiracy theorists long for alien life to be confirmed, when our imaginings of aliens are so rarely the messianic suffering figure (ET) or the friendly mentor (Chocky), but are so frequently the blow-us-to-kingdom-come kind (the Tripods, the Vogons, the Body Snatchers). We'd clearly be better off if we were the only form of intelligent life, but many of us long to be in contact with the very aliens we fear. The idea that we might be alone in the universe with just seven billion other people for company is clearly too horrifying. And in the real world, we're much more hopeful about the humanity of the non-human than we are in our fiction: shooting phonograph records into space in the hopes that an alien will find them, listen to them, and think that any planet which created Beethoven and Blind Willie Johnson can't be all bad. Surely, we would be better off keeping schtum, and hoping they invade Mars instead?

Yet the numbers persist: 36 per cent of Americans surveyed by National Geographic this year said they thought aliens had visited the earth. Forty-eight per cent weren't sure. But 79 per cent of them believed the US government has kept information about UFOs secret. So even those who aren't sure whether aliens have landed still think their government is lying about it. But the good news is that a massive 65 per cent of Americans think Barack Obama would be better suited to deal with an alien invasion than Mitt Romney would be, my favourite statistic of the year so far. I like to think it's because Obama looks more like Will Smith than Mitt Romney looks like Tommy Lee Jones. Because when the aliens do come, that's who we want in charge.

The climate, so contrary

Those of you who canoed into work today will be relieved to know that the hosepipe ban has finally been lifted by the four remaining water companies who had watched a month's rain fall in 24 hours – several times – and still thought it might be a bit dry out there.

As weather forecasting remains an inexact science, I would like to reveal my sure-fire guaranteed long-range prediction system. The weather is always pretty much the same, until you challenge it. Declare a rise in flooding and you will receive the driest winters on record. Declare a drought, and it will chuck it down for three months solid. Our climate isn't temperate any more, it's petulant.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Java Developer - web services, XML and API

£330 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Lond...

Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to teach Furthe...

Primary teachers required for schools in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...

Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

£18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi where Mohammad Asghar is being held  

Mohammed Ashgar: A Briton on death row in Pakistan who the Government must act to save

David Morrisey
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs  

When most porn is packaged for men, is it any wonder women get their sexual kicks from erotica?

Justine Elyot
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style