Area 51 Respite Thread

The Truth is out there!

That’s what a million or so people hope to find out in September. Someone posted an event for September 20 on Facebook, “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us.” When I looked earlier today, 1.1 million people had signed up as “Going,” and almost as many signed up as “Interested.” Whether they actually do is, of course, another question.

It’s a joke, of course (of course?), but in a million people there will be some who take it seriously. So the folks at Area 51 are preparing.

Speaking with The Washington Post on Friday, Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews said officials were aware of the event. When asked how authorities would respond to ardent explorers who might attempt to enter Area 51 in September, McAndrews said she could not elaborate on specific plans or security procedures at the base.

She did, however, issue a warning to those itching to try their luck.

“[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” McAndrews said. “The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”

Should be fun.

Open Thread!

72 replies
  1. 1
    Aziz, light! says:

    I think the actual turnout will be under a thou and I’m confident the Air Force will not be fucked with.

  2. 2

    It would be amusing to see 1.1 million people try to go to Area 51. The logistics of getting that many people out to the middle of the Nevada desert would be nearly impossible.

  3. 3
    Aleta says:

    you probably saw this
    “Ppl want to storm #Area51 but … “

  4. 4
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Some family members are on a summer road trip and found out the hard way that there’s one way in and one way out of Roswell, and that way is a very long, very boring drive.

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    Not even a weekend, when folk ostensibly would be free. Sept. 20 is a Friday.

  6. 6
    Jay Noble says:

    Why are they hiding “America’s assets” from . . . Americans? 1.1 inquring Americans want to know! :-)

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    McAndrews said she could not elaborate on specific plans or security procedures at the base.

    Step 1: Remove all portapotties.

  8. 8
    C Stars says:

    Well, somewhat relatedly, there’s a great artist in residence program at Roswell. I was told by a friend who had a residency that it was an isolated and otherworldly place to work. Worth checking out the museum’s collection.

  9. 9
    Feathers says:

    If the Air Force is smart, they will make commemorative T-shirts for everyone who shows up and then send the folks away.

    Cheryl – OT for this thread, I saw your comments on Lolita earlier today. Sarah Weinman, a critic who writes about mystery novels and true crime, wrote a book, “The Real Lolita: A Lost Girl, an Unthinkable Crime, and a Scandalous Masterpiece,” about Sally Horner, the girl whose kidnapping inspired the novel. Haven’t read it, but did read several articles Weinman wrote about the case, and probably will as soon as I finish my degree. She has a master’s in forensic science, but became a journalist/literary critic instead of practicing. She also edited the Library of America’s collection of Women Suspense Writers of the 40s and 50s. Everyone who thinks that might be at all interesting should read them.

  10. 10
    James E Powell says:

    Just now my twitter page has a whole new look that I didn’t choose. And I don’t seem to be able to return to what it was before. Did twitter announce changes and I missed it or do they just do things like this from time to time?

  11. 11
    Ella in New Mexico says:


    Some family members are on a summer road trip and found out the hard way that there’s one way in and one way out of Roswell, and that way is a very long, very boring drive.

    And at this time of year, in 100+ degree temps, no one really wants to get out of the car to do anything once they’re there. Fortunately, there’s a pretty cool mountain village just a couple of hours away in Ruidoso. :-)

  12. 12
    jl says:

    Training range? That complicates things. I thought Area 51 was just an area, with flying saucers.

  13. 13

    @James E Powell: Twitter on my phone changed from white background to black background about a week ago. Not because of anything I did, to the best of my knowledge. I like black better, but the change was mysterious.

  14. 14
    Elizabelle says:

    @Feathers: Thanks for the head’s up. Sarah Weinman sounds like good reading.

  15. 15
    NotMax says:


    Pye Wacket? (Much, much more detail here.)

  16. 16
    mad citizen says:

    Little do they know this all a diversion for the storming of Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, where the alien bodies are at.

  17. 17
    Ken says:


    I thought Area 51 was just an area, with flying saucers.

    That’s just the cover story.

  18. 18
    James E Powell says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    My background changed from a blue/gray color I picked to bright white. The color I had is no longer available. The “buttons” have moved around. And my name and background picture no longer show in the upper left.

  19. 19
    Ken says:

    @Mnemosyne: Then that flying saucer crash was rather convenient for the residents of Roswell, who otherwise might have seen their isolated tiny town wither and die like so many others did.

  20. 20
    Ken says:

    @James E Powell: One sign of mature software is when the programmers start rearranging the buttons because there’s nothing better to do.

  21. 21
    lamh36 says:

    Hmmm…respite thread huh. how’s about some cool movie news.

    The 3rd Kingsmen film has released a trailer. Apparently, this one is a prequel…but the will be an actual 3rd present day sequel, but this one is telling the tale of how the “Kings’ men” came to be.

    No Colin Firth…still, I do love the world building.

    So heres the trailer:

    The King’s Man | Official Teaser Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX via @YouTube

  22. 22
    Hkedi [Kang T. Q.] says:

    This Area 51 thing is so bonkers underpants on head crazy, l’m wondering if it’s Russian interference like the panic over the army maneuvers in Texas a couple of years ago. You know, testing new parts of a new influence network to be used next year, plus if the AF messes up and actually causes fatalities, it’s a bonus for dividing the military from the civilian population.

  23. 23

    @Feathers: I think I’ve seen some articles about that. It seems like a useful corrective.

    I probably won’t read it. I can handle thinking about nuclear war in its full details, but not that close-up and personal damage humans do to each other. Maybe each of us has one terrible thing they can handle and needs to let the other stuff alone.

    That doesn’t mean I won’t object to interpersonal violence until my dying day, though.

  24. 24
    Betty says:

    @James E Powell: I did see some notice about coming changes. Not sure what the changes are.

  25. 25
    Ruviana says:

    @Feathers: I read it and can recommend it. I never read Lolita but it made me curious to read it. It’s also interestimg how very much of its time it was. It’d be treated very differently now.

  26. 26
    Buckeye says:

    @mad citizen:
    Thank you! Living near the base I do feel we get overlooked for some of this wackiness. The aliens here wouldn’t mind visitors. :)

  27. 27
    J R in WV says:

    I wonder which majestic war machines the Air Force sill use to protect their super secret squirrel desert base, Area 51? A-10s with 30mm cannon? Hercules C-130 cannon platform? Just MRAPs with machine guns? So many choices!!!

    Dummys, alla them. I watch A-10s training from my patio in AZ, they’re below us mostly. So agile, so destructive… And C-130s train every day in WV… huge aircraft, big enough to support howitzers AND 30mm cannon… Aliens. Yeh, right!

  28. 28
    JR says:

    Georges Danton, these dipshits are not.

  29. 29
    mad citizen says:

    @Buckeye: You are welcome–living NE of Indy (Fishers), this national “park” is the nearest one to me: Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park Ohio. Since my wife now has the lifetime park pass, we may check it out sometime. Along with whatever is kept in the National Museum of the USAF at WPAFB.

  30. 30
    Steeplejack says:


    [. . .] the girl whose kidnapping inspired the novel.

    This appears to be a rather large overstatement. Nabokov explored the Lolita theme as early as the 1930s; the Horner case dates from 1948. Details in the Wikipedia entry.

    Thanks for the tip on the Library of America collection. That looks very interesting.

  31. 31
    NotMax says:

    @J R in WV

    Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator, natch.

  32. 32
    lee says:

    They don’t have a clue to how far out in the middle of no where Area 51 is.

    My dad used to work for the Nuclear Test site.

  33. 33
    Keith P. says:

    I honestly thought this was a viral campaign for a relaunch of the “Area 51” video game franchise on the latest consoles.

  34. 34

    I think the biggest thing is that it’s always much easier to talk about doing something than to actually do it. Signing up on Facebook to storm Area 51 requires clicking your mouse. The fraction of people who will go from clicking their mouse to traveling to Nevada is minuscule.

  35. 35
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @jl: Area 51 really is (almost certainly) a test area for very secret experimental military aircraft. The Air Force is going to take people stumbling into there seriously.

    A friend points out that this whole thing is mostly jokey displacement of outrage about the border concentration camps, which makes it not so funny.

  36. 36

    @Cheryl Rofer: mine hasn’t shown any weird transformations lately, though it does periodically decide that I want to see “top tweets” instead of a chronological timeline, which is super annoying.

  37. 37
    West of the Rockies says:

    A couple of old friends are going… Diana Lesky and Reynard Muldrake. Should be fun.

  38. 38

    @Major Major Major Major: Jack has your best interests at heart.//

  39. 39
    Eric U. says:

    I assume there is a pretty good fence a long, long way away from anything interesting at Area 51. I have heard of fighter pilots mistakenly overflying it during exercises and the result wasn’t pretty

  40. 40
    SectionH says:

    @Buckeye: There are some Very interesting planes there. Mr S grew up in Yellow Springs, and remembers when they took the fence down at Wright Field so the XB-70 could land. He saw it overhead on its final approach.

  41. 41
    Ohio Mom says:

    @mad citizen: For some reason, Dayton was once a hotbed of inventors. In addition to the airplane, the city was also the birthplace of the cash register, the automobile automatic starter (Charles Kettering saved untold lives, people used to get run over by their cars when turning that crank in front), the pop-top on aluminum cans and I forget what else.

    Oh, and Erma Bombeck became Erma Bombeck as a Dayton-area suburban housewife — she lived in Kettering and is buried nearby.

    Dayton is the epitome of a rust belt city these days, sadly. If you do go, stop by one of the Dorothy Lane Markets and treat yourself to a loaf of their handmade bread.

    And if you add Cincinnati to your itinerary, let us know in advance and we’ll plan a meet-up.

  42. 42
    jl says:

    @NotMax: Probably want to use the Shaving Cream Atom foam (IIRC, the pre-Avatar, Looney Tunes umobtainium) for crowd control. Except Trump is in charge, so it’ll probably be Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.

  43. 43
    Jay says:

    .@ProPublicaIL: Children detained at the border are arriving at Chicago shelters alone, increasingly traumatized & sick with fever, chicken pox and even tuberculosis according to Heartland Alliance, 1 of 2 groups with federal contracts to house them in IL.— The Chicago Reporter (@ChicagoReporter) July 16, 2019

    @Matt McIrvin:


  44. 44
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Feathers: Wow. That is all, thanks.

  45. 45
    JAFD says:

    Sept 20, 2019, would have been my father’s 105th birthday…

  46. 46
    jl says:

    @Jay: Every Democratic politician interviewed about the outrage should begin by pointing out that there was no crisis, a working asylum system, and no deaths all through GW Bush and Obama administrations, often when rates of arrivals were higher.

    The whole crisis is engineered by Trumpsters. Some people need to be shipped off The Hague for trial for intentionally planned human rights violations.

  47. 47
    Geoboy says:

    I did some drilling work out at the Nuclear Test site a few years ago. It shares a border with part of Area 51. The signs on the border read “Anyone crossing this line can be shot without warning.” We didn’t check to see if they were kidding.

  48. 48
    Another Scott says:

    @jl: NASA JPL is one step ahead of you:

    In a new paper in Nature Astronomy, researchers propose that a material called aerogel might help humans one day build greenhouses and other habitats at Mars’ mid-latitudes, where near-surface water ice has been identified. The study was funded by Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

    Aerogel is a Styrofoam-like solid that is 99% air, making it extremely light. It’s adept at preventing the transfer of heat as well, making it an excellent insulator; in fact, it’s been used for that purpose on all of NASA’s Mars rovers. Moreover, aerogel is translucent, allowing visible light to pass through while blocking ultraviolet light’s harmful radiation. Most aerogel is made from silica, the same material found in glass.

    In an experiment conducted by lead author Robin Wordsworth of Harvard, 2-3 centimeters of silica aerogel allowed light from a lamp tuned to simulate Martian sunlight to heat the surface beneath it by up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius) – enough to raise temperatures on the Martian surface and melt water ice.




  49. 49
    Ken says:

    @Geoboy: I wonder if the signs say the same thing on both sides.

  50. 50
    Steeplejack says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Little Kings Cream Ale!

  51. 51
    Ninedragonspot says:

    Here’s a doggie who yearns to go on the (Chinese opera) stage.

  52. 52
    Geoboy says:

    @Ken: Actually, Roswell is one of a series of towns (Santa Rosa, Fort Sumner, Artesia, Carlsbad) on the Pecos River, which runs more or less parallel to the Rio Grande in New Mexico but about 110-150 miles east. There’s not much on the surface, but the underflow is enought to suppoprt these towns and the surrounding irrigated farms in a state where water is life and there’s damn little of it.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    Burnspbesq says:


    They don’t have a clue to how far out in the middle of no where Area 51 is.

    Anybody who goes out there in September without the right supplies and equipment is seriously at risk for heat stroke and/or dehydration. The bigger this things turns out to be, the higher the chance of fatalities.

  55. 55
    Geoboy says:

    @Ken: Didn’t bother to check. Of all the many DOD and DOE facilities I’ve worked at, the guards at the entrance to Mercury (the only “town” at the test site) were voted “Most eager for you to try something stupid so they could use their assualt rifles.”

  56. 56
    gwangung says:

    @Geoboy: Jeezus. Mercury. In my mis-spent youth as a geologist, I spent a few winter nights there while doing field work.

    Not one of my favorite memories of nightime youthful activities (although the steak and lobster dinners were VERY cheap….)

  57. 57

    @JAFD: The day before would have been my dad’s 100th.

  58. 58

    @Another Scott: I’ve always felt that the things I’ll be most astounded by in the future will be in the realm of materials science…

  59. 59
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Matt McIrvin:
    There’s a real campaign right now to storm Fort Still Army Base in Oklahoma this September apparently. It’s a concentration camp where undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers are being held currently. If (that’s a big if) a million people, hell even a few thousand, tried to storm the base, what could the military do aside from kill their own citizens?

    I’m torn. I think more direct action needs to be taken against ICE, but this sounds like suicide, even if a million showed up

  60. 60
    Another Scott says:

    @Ninedragonspot: :-D



  61. 61
    Martin says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Materials science is really taking off thanks to machine learning. Rather than awaiting some scientist/engineer discovering a material with a given set of properties, software can essentially go through and simulate hundreds of thousands of materials and recommend ones that are most promising.

    But yeah, materials science is really one of the most promising areas of technical advancement.

  62. 62
    Spanky says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: ICE is not your military. Don’t be suckered into dragging them into it. I’d be really surprised if this wasn’t another Russian operation.

  63. 63


    I’m actually writing a space opera story right now. I was fretting about how to explain a glass dome in space, when I realized I could just assume that by then materials science will have come up with something, and I can just say ‘astroglass.’

    Materials science is really taking off thanks to machine learning. Rather than awaiting some scientist/engineer discovering a material with a given set of properties, software can essentially go through and simulate hundreds of thousands of materials and recommend ones that are most promising.

    Oh neat, I didn’t figure we had sophisticated enough models yet.

  64. 64
  65. 65
  66. 66
    Another Scott says:

    @Major Major Major Major: MaterialsProject is still very young, but it’s progressing rapidly.

    (Do note, though, that the models often don’t match up with the measurement[s] very closely. There’s still a mountain of work to do.)


  67. 67
    Jay says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Just go with some of Dolt45’s transparent aluminum.

  68. 68
    Jonas says:

    Sheez, what’s next? Storming Fort Knox? (“They can’t stop us all from getting that gold!”)

  69. 69
    Amir Khalid says:

    @West of the Rockies:
    It’s a pity Jose Chung won’t be there to document the goings-on.

  70. 70
  71. 71
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: If it’s just somebody’s online sign-up campaign, it probably lacks sufficient organization to accomplish anything. And if they’re actually “storming” the fort they pretty much need to be an army or, yeah, they’re just killing themselves.

  72. 72
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Have you ever been to Lawton, OK, in September? There is no way on earth that one million people will show up there. In addition, no army fort is anything like a fort that you would see in the movies or on TV. It is a 94,000 acre facility with a wide variety of firing ranges, a vast impact area that both the guns of the artillery school and the active duty units use for live fire exercises, another vast area that is used for field exercises by both students and active duty soldiers, and what is functionally a small city with housing, restaurants, bars, grocery stores, department stores, and administrative buildings. It isn’t someplace one could storm as though it were the Bastille. It also has some horrible plants with thorns that are capable of piercing the sole of an army boot. Oh, yeah, and skunks – lots of skunks. The cemeteries are interesting; Geronimo and other Apache leaders are buried there, and there is another one in which Buffalo soldiers were buried – it is one of the few completely nonsegregated cemeteries in that part of the world – men, women, and children; black, white, or “red”; officer and enlisted were buried there with without regard to race or rank.

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