62-Year-Old Python Laid 7 Eggs Despite Not Being With A Male For 2 Decades

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Experts at the St. Louis Zoo are trying to figure out how a 62-year-old ball python laid seven eggs despite not being near a male python for at least two decades.

Mark Wanner, manager of herpetology at the zoo, said it unusual but not rare for ball pythons to reproduce asexually. The snakes also sometimes store sperm for delayed fertilization.

The birth also is unusual because ball pythons usually stop laying eggs long before they reach their 60s, Wanner said.

“She’d definitely be the oldest snake we know of in history,” to lay eggs, Wanner said, noting the she is the oldest snake ever documented in a zoo.

The python, which has not been given a name, laid the eggs July 23. Three of the eggs remain in an incubator, two were used for genetic sampling and snakes in the other two eggs did not survive, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The eggs that survive should hatch in about a month.

The genetic sampling will show whether the eggs were reproduced sexually or asexually, called facultative parthenogenesis.

The only other ball python in the zoo’s herpetarium is a male that’s about 31. The snakes aren’t on public view.

The private owner gave the female to the zoo in 1961. She laid a clutch of eggs in 2009 that didn’t survive. Another clutch was born in 1990 but those eggs might have been conceived with the male because at the time, the snakes were put in buckets together while keepers cleaned their cages.

Review roundup: Showtime’s ‘The Comey Rule’ presents a false hero and a horror movie villain

Hollywood is inexplicably obsessed with mythologizing the Trump presidency.

Maybe it’s because we knew him as a TV personality long before he was anything else, and because Hollywood loves adapting American history with old-fashioned heroes and villains and a heaping dose of star power. But the difference between making a TV show about Abraham Lincoln and one about Donald Trump — apart from almost everything about those men — is that the latter is still enacting history on a daily basis. 

He’s passing laws, appointing Supreme Court Justices, undermining every American institution he can lay his tiny hands on, and we are not viewing those events with any hindsight or distance, but with a disbelief that is unique to the present moment. Living through history, it turns out, is a lot less fun than watching the TV version of it. Nevertheless, Hollywood persists.

Enter Showtime’s The Comey Rule, a two-part miniseries that is the latest attempt from show business to Say Something about our Political Moment without offering anything new besides a different actor under the Trump wig. In anticipation of the Sunday premiere, check out what critics are saying about The Comey Rule, based on the eponymous former FBI director’s memoir and adapted by Billy Ray.

The sanctification of James Comey

Sam Thielman, NBC News

Ray has tried to craft a film about a great man’s downfall, but there are no great men in this tale. Lacking any, he had to grant both Comey and President Donald Trump the grand stature neither deserved but is necessary to the project, to make the movie’s hero and his nemesis seem important and not silly. He’s betrayed from the outset by his source material: What makes a tragedy a tragedy is that the protagonist, though flawed, suffers more than he should. Comey has not suffered more than he should; he lost a job after a series of totally avoidable bad acts that cost the rest of us dearly, and then Showtime acquired his corny tell-all and hired Jeff Daniels to play him.

James Poniewozik, The New York Times

In his book “A Higher Loyalty,” he appears to see his decisions, which very possibly swung the 2016 election and failed to keep the president from interfering in investigations, as noble if tragic acts of principle. As translated by the director and screenwriter Billy Ray, this is instead a slo-mo horror story, in which the worst lack all inhibition while the best are full of fatuous integrity.

Laura Miller, Slate

Ray doesn’t pay enough attention to the view of many who have known him that moral vanity plays a role in Comey’s character and behavior—beyond having Daniels offer a brief and not very persuasive confession that he can be “self-righteous.” But that doesn’t seem to matter much in the world of the first half of The Comey Rule. Sure, it might make Comey irritating to those he works with (and Rosenstein’s complaints about Comey are later revealed to be petty and envy-driven), but how can too much integrity be a fault in a public servant?

Alex McLevy, The A.V. Club

This is the problem with The Comey Rule: It disguises itself as a balanced look at the events surrounding Comey’s investigation into the Hillary Clinton email scandal, its possible role in the 2016 election of Donald Trump, and the subsequent fallout and eventual dismissal of Comey from his position, when it’s anything but. This story is directly taken from Comey’s memoir, A Higher Loyalty, which obviously presents the narrative with maximum sympathy toward poor James Comey. By the end of this two-part limited series, you half-expect the former public official to climb up on a cross and nail himself to it, smiling beatifically all the while.

Daniel D’Addario, Variety

Daniels’s Comey prides himself on being practically post-human, a creature governed by his supercilious awareness that he is in the right. The movie bends and strains to accommodate Comey’s showy displays of duty and righteousness, such that by the time he meets Trump, Comey has had anything about him that we might grip onto sandblasted away by honor. What might have been a human tragedy about a man whose belief in the purity of institutions led to those same institutions’ coming apart under a tyrant is, instead, largely a fable about a hero.

Another actor adds Trump to his resume

Sam Thielman, NBC News

Gleeson doesn’t look or bother to look much like Trump, but he does have the aggrieved rambling down pat. For about an hour after he trudges into the frame, “The Comey Rule” is both impossible to watch and impossible to look away from… Trump — unacknowledged and dominant as a fart — sitting hunched over in the middle of the room, mumbling about ratings and whores. It’s a performance to make the flesh crawl, and Ray gets us every lip-smack and sniff.

Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter

With squinting, sneering, sniffling intensity, Gleeson plays Trump as a clever and calculating bully of weaker men, blindly obtuse one second and acutely manipulative the next. He’s a lumbering, land-bound, poorly dressed manatee of a man, but to be underestimated at your own peril. Gleeson’s accent and intonations waver, yet he captures an interiority the real Trump rarely exposes. It’s a mediocre impression and possibly a great performance.

Alex McLevy, The A.V. Club

Gleeson does a better job than anyone has yet of finding a sort of horrific humanity inside the man. Wisely, he underplays Trump, making him more a weary solipsist than ranting buffoon, with a lived-in sense of lazy entitlement that feels honest and unsettlingly true. It takes a while to get past the strange not-quite-resemblance of the two men, but after the initial weirdness of it wears off, Gleeson’s performance starts to feel downright revelatory, as though he uncovered the Rosetta Stone to Trump’s soul, or lack thereof.

Making current events into history

James Poniewozik, The New York Times

Given how much it rehashes recent events, albeit with a fine cast, I’m not sure what interest “The Comey Rule” will have beyond people whose copies of the Mueller Report are already well thumbed. (There’s more to be learned from “Agents of Chaos,” the chilling Alex Gibney documentary, which premiered on HBO this week, about Russia’s 2016 election influence campaign and its American enablers.)

Nell Minow, RogerEbert.com

This Washington story does not have as satisfying a conclusion, at least not yet, perhaps because we are still in the middle of it. Some incidents depicted here have been overtaken by far more momentous events, including the impeachment proceedings and criminal convictions or guilty pleas involving a number of Trump associates. 

This retelling, based on the experiences of one person whose tenure in the Trump administration was under five months, is too focused on the trees instead of the forest for even this hard-core Washington lawyer and policy wonk. 

Laura Miller, Slate

It’s not the most entertaining material (and it illustrates why Aaron Sorkin, when covering similar ground, had his actors talk so fast), but it’s not meant to be. In the perverse context of 2020, the unexciting vision of the federal government functioning as it’s supposed to, with a punctiliousness that can only be called bureaucratic, is strangely soothing.

Kristen Baldwin, Entertainment Weekly

For the pro-Trump crowd, The Comey Rule is destined to be dismissed as more #FakeNews from liberal Hollyweirdos. For everyone else, it offers the uniquely punishing experience of repeating history even as we continue to live through it.

Daniel D’Addario, Variety

In Trump, Comey found someone whose blind avarice provided a mirror image to his rigid insistence upon protocol; that neither party would bend made it inevitable that one would get snapped. But this series fails to find anything provocative or narratively rich in Comey’s dismissal from government, in part because we at home know the man never really went away.

Overall thoughts

James Poniewozik, The New York Times

“The Comey Rule” is not good drama; it’s clunky, self-serious and melodramatic. But it makes an unsparing point amid our own election season.

It says that anyone, like its subject, who complacently assumed in 2015 and 2016 that everyone would be fine, who thought that propriety and rules could constrain forces that care about neither, who worried more about appearances than consequences, was a fool.

Sam Thielman, NBC News

“The Comey Rule”… could have reached less for Shakespeare and more for Harold Pinter, with an appropriate lack of respect for people who bit and scratched their way to the pinnacles of power. But Ray isn’t Pinter and “The Comey Rule” isn’t a tragedy. It’s just kind of pitiful, and its pity is wasted on the wrong people.

Laura Miller, Slate

The miniseries ends in an off-putting orgy of Comey hagiography, reuniting its hero with his wholesome family and leaving Rosenstein floating the prospect of wearing a wire to White House meetings and raving, “It’s so crazy in there!” But however credulous Ray is about Comey, the larger truth of The Comey Rule is incontestable. It’s the story of institutions run in accordance with norms and traditions that seem permanent but prove terrifyingly fragile. Comey gets out, but the rest of us are still living in the sequel.

Kristen Baldwin, Entertainment Weekly

Ray portrays [Rod Rosenstein] almost like the Salieri to Comey’s Mozart. He resents Comey’s success, his easy rapport with underlings, the devotion he inspires in his team. But his assertions that Comey is a phony, a guy driven by ego over duty — they exist in a vacuum, leaving us to draw whatever conclusions we drew years ago.

Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter

Those seeking confirmation that Comey is a villain, either for torpedoing Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the 2016 election or complicating Trump’s early tenure with the Steele dossier or other Russian inquiries, will find it. Ditto anybody who chooses to view Comey as a paragon of the ideals of service, however self-destructive.

Mariah Carey reveals hidden vocals on ’90s alt-rock song and we are screaming

Mariah Carey worked on an alternative album during the 1990s while creating her own hit album Daydream, the singer revealed on Twitter Sunday morning. 

Carey presented the news as a “fun fact” that wouldn’t make fans scream, along with a short musical clip set to video footage of her annotated memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey.

At the end of the video clip, Carey reveals that it’s a song from Chick’s Someone’s Ugly Daughter, released in 1995 (as was Daydream). She may or may not have worked on tracks besides “Hermit,” which features in the Twitter video and this sampler on YouTube. She also cites “Demented,” which features the lyric “I crave you” over and over — Carey’s short-lived ’90s label at Sony was called Crave, a name that she said “came from a song I wrote that no one’s ever heard.” Um???

Knowledge is power and all that, but it isn’t much else in a digital era 25 years removed from that release date. The album is almost completely unavailable for purchase (sold out on eBay and almost $1,000 on Amazon) and virtually nonexistent on streaming. Carey’s tweet sounds like she recorded an entire secret album and this might just be a taste of what it contains.

“I’d bring my little alt-rock song to the band and hum a silly guitar riff,” Carey writes in a memoir preview. “They would pick it up and we would record it immediately. It was irreverent, raw, and urgent, and the band got into it. I actually started to love some of the songs. I would fully commit to my character. I was playing with the style of the breezy-grunge, punk-light white female singers who were popular at the time.”

The Meaning of Mariah Carey publishes on Tuesday.

End of the world: 4,500-year-old Egyptian inscription warning of impending doomsday

The burial chamber of Khentkaus III, a royal leader of the Old Kingdom, was discovered in the necropolis of Abusir, southwest of Cairo, some 650 feet from her husband, Pharaoh Neferefre – also known as Reneferef. The find helped shine a light on what project leader Professor Miroslav Barta called “a black patch in the history of the Old Kingdom”. The team from the Czech Institute of Egyptology believe the inscriptions inside may help offer insight into a time not too dissimilar from our own. 

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Alongside human remains, archaeologists discovered pottery, woodwork, copper and animal bones – these items, coupled with the inscriptions – offered clues into the life she was living.

But they also reportedly detailed her fears for the future.

Prof Bart said: “It was a crucial period when the Old Kingdom started to face major critical factors.

“The rise of democracy, the horrific impact of nepotism, the role played by interest groups and climate change played a role in bringing an end to not only the Old Kingdom empire, but those in the Middle East and Western Europe at that time.

Archaeologists discovered inscriptions in Egypt

Archaeologists discovered inscriptions in Egypt (Image: GETTY)

The find was made at the necropolis of Abusir, southwest of Cairo

The find was made at the necropolis of Abusir, southwest of Cairo (Image: Czech Institute of Egyptology)

“This contributed to the disintegration of the era of the pyramid builders.

”Without reasonable floods, there were no reasonable harvests and therefore very bad taxes, without appropriate taxes there were no sufficient means to finance the state apparatus and maintain the ideology and integrity of the state.”

Prof Bart believes the current climate crisis the world faces could see history repeat itself.

He added: “You can find many paths to our modern world, which is also facing many internal and external challenges.

How is Boris Johnson handling the coronavirus crisis? Vote in our poll 

The discovery helps shine a light on life 4,500 years ago

The discovery helps shine a light on life 4,500 years ago (Image: Czech Institute of Egyptology)

“By studying the past you can learn much more about the present. 

“We’re not different [from them], people always think ‘this time it’s different,’ and that we’re different, we are not.

“If we accept collapse as a fact, we will understand collapses as being a part of the natural course of things, and one of the needed steps in the process leading towards resurrection.

“Then, we shall be able to do something about it.”

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A number of items were uncovered

A number of items were uncovered (Image: Czech Institute of Egyptology)

Climate change poses a threat to Earth's future today

Climate change poses a threat to Earth’s future today (Image: GETTY)

Prof Bart said he still needed a few years to fully understand what the find means for Egypt.

With the findings, and hopefully the lessons we can learn from Khentkaus’ tomb, Prof Bart hopes we can take another path.

He continued in 2016: ”If we accept collapse as a fact, we will understand collapses as being a part of the natural course of things, and one of the needed steps in the process leading towards ‘resurrection’.

“Then, we shall be able to do something about it.”

UFO the size of the MOON seen near Sun in NASA video

The possibility of aliens has piqued the interest of humanity for centuries, now one conspiracy theorist believes he has the proof. A short video from the Helio Viewer, which monitors the Sun from the Solar Dynamics Observatory – satellite from NASA – shows a series of black dots flying by our host star.

While there are hundreds of objects in the video, one conspiracy theorist believes he has identified a huge spaceship in the midst of the footage.

Prominent alien enthusiast Scott C Waring has claimed there is an intelligently designed spaceship in the video.

Furthermore, Mr Waring claims the UFO in question is roughly the same size as the Moon.

The conspiracy theorist, for some reason and without explanation, also believes NASA will not tell the world of a potentially huge alien space ship in our solar system and the space agency will attempt to cover it up.

ufo

UFO the size of the MOON seen near Sun in NASA video (Image: UFO SIGHTINGS DAILY – GETTY)

ufo

“The UFO is about the size of Earth’s moon. Why didn’t NASA alert the world about it?” (Image: UFO SIGHTINGS DAILY)

Writing on his blog UFO Sightings Daily, Mr Waring said: “This video from Helioviewer actually has a massive tube like UFO shoot past.

“The UFOs is huge and its shape is even on both sides.

“This really looks like an intelligently made craft. The UFO is actually seen twice by two different filters, once in black and once in white.

“The UFO is about the size of Earth’s moon. Why didn’t NASA alert the world about it? Because they know its not a meteor or asteroid.”

However, the object in question probably is just a meteor or an asteroid.

ufo

Are aliens out there? (Image: GETTY)

There are hundreds of thousands of space rocks, which can be anything from a few centimetres to hundreds of miles, within our solar system, so it would not be a surprise if one of them was picked up in NASA images.

Some scientists would argue the object is a piece of space dandruff floating in front of the camera.

Former NASA engineer James Oberg first popularised the phrase, stating space dandruff can be anything from tiny rocks, to chips of paint which have fallen off a rocket.

Mr Oberg said: “I’ve had enough experience with real spaceflight to realise that what’s being seen in many videos is nothing beyond the ‘norm’ from fully mundane phenomena occurring in unearthly settings.”

He added the human brain is not programmed to make sense of tiny objects floating around in zero gravity.

Life after death: Man believes he was set to be REINCARNATED in afterlife – claim

While there is no evidence of reincarnation, it is the theory that the soul carries on and is placed in another body following death. Now, one person believes he has a first-hand experience of reincarnation. A man by the name of Hazim temporarily died following a “criminal attack” in his homeland of Syria.

Hazim believes he entered the “cosmic” afterlife where encountered beings who were prepping him for another body.

Hazim said the being spoke telepathically in this other dimension, which was complete with a futuristic city.

He said on the Near Death Experience Research Foundation: “Suddenly, I found myself in another cosmic dimension.

“It was a strange place that I saw for the first time. I was in a place like empty space over pink clouds.

afterlife

Life after death: Man believes he was set to be REINCARNATED in afterlife – claim (Image: GETTY)

afterlife

Hazim believes he entered the “cosmic” afterlife (Image: GETTY)

“There were huge metal circles spinning high in the skyscrapers, and there were two spiritual Beings talking via telepathy.

“One of them gave a command to the other, saying, ‘Clear his memory and prepare a new body for him,’ as it happens in reincarnation.

“Then I was placed in one of the giant metal circles and it started spinning. My memory began to fade away little by little until I forgot everything and no longer remembered even my name, who I am, or where I was.

“Then suddenly the one Being gave the other Being the opposite command, saying, ‘Bring him back to life because he has a job to do.’

READ MORE: Life after death: Man recounts experience – ’Years flashed by’

afterlife

“Beings talking via telepathy.” (Image: GETTY)

“Then I entered into a long, dark tunnel in which I was like light or energy and was moving faster than the speed of light.

“I felt that I was atoms, burning in the tunnel and moving at the highest speed in the universe. I felt intense pain from the intensity of the speed.

“Then I reached the end point of the tunnel where there was a giant white shining light. When I reached the light, I felt absolutely comfortable.

“After that, I woke up in a hospital room, and the doctors told me that I had miraculously survived.”

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afterlife

“I was in a place like empty space over pink clouds.” (Image: GETTY)

However, some researchers believe visions such as Hazim’s are normal and are more the brain scanning itself as one final survival technique.

Dr Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City, said: “People describe a sensation of a bright, warm, welcoming light that draws people towards it.

“They describe a sensation of experiencing their deceased relatives, almost as if they have come to welcome them.

“They often say that they didn’t want to come back in many cases, it is so comfortable and it is like a magnet that draws them that they don’t want to come back.

“A lot of people describe a sensation of separating from themselves and watching doctors and nurses working on them.”

Since astronauts vote from space, you can definitely vote on Earth

In the early days of space travel, astronauts only stayed in orbit for a few weeks at most. But now that NASA and other space agencies launch missions that can last months, astronauts have to plan ahead to participate in important Earthly events, like the November 2020 election. 

Kate Rubin, a NASA astronaut who will begin a mission at the International Space Station in mid-October, already has a plan to vote from space, and she shared her thoughts on the process with The Associated Press:

“I think it’s really important for everybody to vote,” Rubins said. “If we can do it from space, then I believe folks can do it from the ground, too.”

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American astronauts have had the ability to vote from space since 1997, when a bill in the Texas state legislature passed to allow the process. Since most NASA astronauts live in Texas, there was no need for the bill to cover other states. 

In the 23 years that have passed since the bill cleared, many long-term visitors to the cosmos have voted from space, and a CNN article on the process noted that “celestial votes have been cast in almost every election cycle.”

In order to cast a space ballot, an astronaut whose time in orbit is likely to coincide with an election has to apply for a federal post card application several months before November. Once that card is sent and they are approved, the county clerk’s office in the astronaut’s earthly hometown has special instructions to send their spacebound citizen an electronic ballot via mission control. 

The astronaut then uses a password protected link to complete their electronic ballot and sends it back to mission control, which forwards it back to the county clerk for the official count. To preserve privacy, only the astronaut and the clerk have the password to access the ballot.

For the astronaut, the process is a slightly more high-tech version of filling out an absentee ballot, but amounts to the same effort an at-home citizen takes to cast an Earth vote. Kate Rubin’s post card application is already in, so she’s good to go for November’s election — but just because her voting plan involved a few months of planning in advance doesn’t mean it’s too late to make your own plan for Nov. 3. 

Here are resources on how to protect your mail-in ballot (if you’re voting by mail), how to encourage others to vote, and information on Stephen Colbert’s “Better Know a Ballot” voter education video series. 

M. Night Shyamalan reveals his next movie with a poster and a teasing set photo

The title of M. Night Shyamalan’s next movie is Old, which is presumably a reference to what our collective age will be by the time it’s safe to release in theaters.

The mystery-loving filmmaker offered Twitter a first look at what he’s cooking up in a Saturday post revealing both a poster and a set photo from the movie’s “first shot.” Said photo shows us Shyamalan standing in a grassy field that seems to be on top of a hill or some other higher-altitude location. The surrounding environment is very green and rolling hill-y.

The poster, meanwhile, is a fully black-and-white number with the title appearing in a large, simple font at the bottom of what appears to be an hourglass. Except instead of sand, this hourglass contains piles and piles of human(?) bodies, with a stream of them tumbling out of the time-telling device’s unseen upper half.

The tagline reads: “It’s only a matter of time.”

Until what, M. Night? Until we get old? Is that the twist, that people age? The poster also describes the movie as “a new trip” from Shyamalan, who is named as both the writer and the director of Old.

In 2019, Shyamalan released Glass, the third movie in a trilogy that also includes Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016). The three movies together amount to Shyamalan’s take on a superhero story. 

He also executive produced the Apple TV+ series Servant, and directed a handful of episodes. As we discussed when it released in late 2019, the series’ first season is big on spooky vibes and it puts forth an unusual presence, but it’s too short on answers (and too big on an unrelenting sense of misery) to be especially memorable. But it also sets up a shift for the next season that has us intrigued to see what’s next.

Old is his next endeavor, and pretty much everything we know about it is right here in the teasing tweet. But stay tuned – assuming that poster’s date sticks, July 2021 isn’t so far away.

The cast of HBO’s ‘Veep’ is reuniting to help elect Joe Biden in 2020

Add Armando Iannucci’s 17-time Emmy winning satire to the list of shows reuniting in 2020.

On Saturday, Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus announced that members of HBO’s beloved political parody would reunite for a livestream contributing to Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. The event will be held on Oct. 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Donations of any amount made here guarantee attendance to the one-time stream, and they benefit the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

“All roads to the White House go through the great state of Wisconsin,” Louis-Dreyfus explained of the event’s intent in her announcement. 

“Trump can’t win reelection if he doesn’t win Wisconsin. So the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has built an unprecedented voter mobilization operation, and they need resources in these final days to deliver Wisconsin to Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Harris.”

In a post on Twitter, Louis-Dreyfus confirmed Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale, Reid Scott, Sam Richardson, Clea DuVall, Matt Walsh, and more special guests would participate in the reunion — with Seasons 5-7 executive producer David Mandel acting as moderator.

The event does not appear to have a limited capacity, but we’d recommend fans who want to attend get their links to ensure a spot. As Selina Meyer would say, “That, ladies and gentlemen, is democracy.”

UFO claim: ‘UFO pair’ spotted chasing plane over Manchester – ‘Proof aliens interested’

Well-known hunter Scott Waring bizarrely believes the videos prove the evidence of alien visitors to the UK.

He took to his UFO Sightings Daily blog to speculate about the so-called discovery.

Mr Waring said: “Two UFOs were seen a few days ago over Manchester, the United Kingdom.

“The large white objects were seen following a jet for a little while.

READ MORE: ‘UFOs seen near Nellis Air Force Base which is home to aliens’

“But instead he only made a single flyby.

“The pilot had to have seen the two objects, because the are just so close and they are about a quarter the size of the jet itself.

“Absolute proof that aliens are highly interested in plane technology.”

However, the anomalies videos are not alien in origin and are in fact almost certainly just drones.

Despite their small size, the drones are falling far closer to the camera person, explaining why they seem to be flying as fast as the passenger plane.

Earth-bound animals are in fact the only form intelligent life found so far in the Universe.

Many UFO sightings can be explained through a phenomenon known as pareidolia.

This is a form of apophenia, which accounts for the human brain’s ability to see recognisable shapes and patterns where they do not actually exist.