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Out of This World Presidential Rankings
On this date, December 17, 1969, the Air Force told America that extraterrestrial activity did not cause unidentified flying objects. To celebrate, here are some presidential rankings.
We have been fascinated with the idea that as humans, we are not alone in the galaxy. From Sc-Fi stories to general curiosities of what we see when we look up at the night sky, people are interested in knowing the world's unknown.
In 1948, the United States Air Force began a program to record unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and determine the natural origins of such sightings. Over nineteen years and three name changes, the Air Force announced on this day, December 17, 1969, that there is no evidence of extraterrestrial activity behind these sightings.
The USAF recorded 12,618 UFO sightings during this period, and 11,917 were caused by earthly things, such as balloons, regular aircraft, lighting, stars, or even the sun or moon. That leaves 701 sightings; we just don't know what caused them.
The stuff I learn by writing this blog.
The Air Force was like, "Nah, we good, it's only 5%. We can live with a 5%."
I don't know about you, but 5% seems high. In 1952 the percentage was 20%. Almost a quarter of the sighting that year couldn't be explained.
Speaking of wild, here's our next round of presidential rankings as we crack the top ten! Let's get after it.
11: Woodrow Wilson
2017 Ranking: 11
2019 Ranking: 10
2021 C-SPAN Ranking: 13
Term – March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1921
Wilson's primary focus during his presidency was peace. He sought to keep America out of World War Uno, and when that couldn't be avoided, he worked to ensure its quick end and peaceful transition. Wilson also passed tax laws and created the Federal Reserve System. He did some other stuff too.
He was a huge, huge fan of racial segregation. Being such a liberal professor, he wasn't very enlightened when it came to equal rights.
Woody had a major stroke in his second term in office. His second wife, whom he married while in office, controlled the communication and access to the president until the end of his term. I swear this is a storyline in the West Wing, isn't it? The lady from Grease ran the country for a bit, right?
Why did I rank him here?
Wilson's foreign policy has become the norm. The short version is, the United States will insert itself whenever, wherever it deems it needs to be. Isolationism has never worked for a country that seeks to spread its influence all over the world. The League of Nations brought forth the idea that countries working together could resolve issues that crossed boundaries. I think Globalization is a thing now.
10: James Polk
2017 Ranking: 9
2019 Ranking: 8
2021 C-SPAN Ranking: 18
Term – March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
Polk’s aggressive stance on expansion has provided us the borders of the country we know today. Sure, he annexed Texas, and sure, we’d like to give it back, but Polk pushed us forward in gaining territories. He also lowered tariffs, which apparently is a good thing when it comes to trade.
Polk Sold Slaves From The White House. This is true, and the mantra of people who feel Polk is a bottom third president.
Polk was such a dynamic administration. He promised only to serve one term, and he did. He was relentless in expanding the American footprint because he understood America's rising global power. Of course, this expansion led to deep divides as the additions of new states and territories meant arguing about where to let slavery happen and where it could not.
Why did I rank him here?
You are probably thinking a few things. One might be, "Hey Chris, didn't we rank this guy before?" And now have feverishly clicked back all over the past lessons looking for it. Or, "Chris, you must have forgotten to put Polk somewhere." I just happened to like the guy. He knew the country's destiny was to be from sea to shining sea, and he delivered. Historians from the 2000 CSPAN poll had him ranked 12th, so I'm not that far off.
If you are a longtime reader of the blog, you know that my fiancée works at NASA. Which means she is a space expert. Whenever I need space advice, Jenn is the person I turn to.
She holds that it is statistically impossible to conclude that we are the only life in the galaxy. I never took statistics because math is magic, but this is a wild position. I can't refute it obviously, (see the previous statement), but it is easy to conclude we are not alone, and it's just a matter of time before it is confirmed. Why? Because the world never ends, my friends!
Which begs the question of what will come first, a Cleveland Guardians World Series title or an invasion of aliens from the planet Ross 128?
We are now in the top ten. Who’s next? Who should be next? Who’s going to be #1
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