This week on The Gralien Report Podcast, we celebrate the birthdays of all the “Leap Year Babies” in the audience, who only get to share such a date together every four years, thanks to the six or so spare hours that are added annually in Earth’s orbit around the sun. Then turning our attention to a question that many Gralien listeners have been asking: what is the enigma of Donald Trump? 

On to bigger and better questions, is the universe in which we live really more like what we see in the popular “Matrix” films? We take a look at how science is edging closer an closer to viewing such themes as a reality, rather than merely science fiction and entertainment. Also, what does this have to do with the ongoing discussion about the “war” between science and technology? Maybe it’s time we take the Red Pill…

Then in hour two, Minneapolis-based investigative journalist Sam Roberts recently reached out with a response he received to an FOIA request he filed late in 2015, which dealt in part with the famous Phoenix Lights incident of 1997. Specifically, Roberts decided to seek further information about an official explanation for the incident that was issued by the U.S. Air Force shortly afterward; the response he was given may surprise you. Despite the passing of nearly two decades, is there still more we might learn from studying cases like these?

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Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at

3 Replies to “TGR 02.29.16. Leap Year 2016 & The Phoenix Lights

  1. Oh my goodness,

    You gentiemen have such an interesting show, with interesting subjects & a good analysis of material. However, why go on a complete tirade about “Donald J. Trump” criticizing him, when you ignore the hideous offenses of the other presidential candidates? You ignore former Sec Clinton’s wild offenses and neglect of duty by her knowingly violating the most basic and severe offenses in the handling of classified material(s). Anyone serving the U. S. Armed Forces of the United States who violated 1/100th of her bizarre classified materials breach(es) would have been prosecuted under the U.C.M.J., have been dishonorably discharged, and would be serving time in a Federal Prison – but you choose to go on a tirade about “Donald J. Trump” after he denied approval or knowledge of Mr. Duke’s alleged support of his campaign some twelve (12) times in one weekend. Your bias is unimpressive & your blindness to the offenses of the liberal misbehavior(s) reveals your leftist agenda

    Then you compare “Driver-less cars” to airline travel…suggesting that an automatically driven ground vehicle is in some way similar to the ‘automation’ of riding as a passenger in a commercial aircraft! Lol! Yeah, right! Except for one problem, the analogy makes little to no sense, primarily because the two (2) FAA certificated airline pilots up-front are physically in charge of controlling the aircraft, controlling its systems, and ensuring that every aspect of the flight is proper & safe – and hands-on as required. As an FAA certified ATP, I find your analogy of “Driver-less cars” riding inside the passenger compartment of a commercial aircraft laughable.

    In summary, I enjoy your show, but your politics aren’t as clever as you think. And the “Driver-less car” analogy was without point.

    Still, your “Donald J. Trump” impersonation isn’t all bad. Lol

    Take care, gentlemen.

    1. Tim,

      I do appreciate the feedback. However, no, there is no “leftist agenda” here. Quite the opposite, in fact.

      Hillary Clinton’s actions with regard to dishonest and, frankly, illegal behavior is deplorable. To have highlighted Donald Trump (also an individual with a concerning history, as a former Clinton supporter himself) does not reveal a “leftist agenda.” It reveals your own bias, I’m afraid, because I stated before the segment in question that other listeners requested, repeatedly, that I give my opinion on the matter. I gave that. Here’s some more opinion for those interested: to dislike the antics and behavior of BOTH sides of the American political spectrum is not a “leftist agenda” any more than it is a “right wing agenda.” I have neither… I prefer the middle path of “no agenda, just the facts.” This is why I produced a podcast called “Middle Theory” for nearly two years, until my cohost became tired of participating, and requested that if the show continue, that he be a part of it… but that he “didn’t wish to continue” (you can see the kind of predicament that puts me in, but I digress).

      Please don’t take my tone here as being angry, because it isn’t. However, what this reveals to me, as I’ve often observed in the past, is that when someone hears something they disagree with, they then presume that the individual to whom they are listening holds opposing viewpoints to their own. Hence why you have accused me of having a “leftist agenda”… did you really have any evidence for that? No, merely your presumption, which was based on disagreement with what you were hearing.

      Of all the Republican candidates, I liked Rand Paul the best, and unfortunately sensible candidates like Rand have the hardest time gaining traction, because they typically aren’t the flamboyant personalities you find in the likes of Donald Trump and others. Trump advocates attacking the families of terrorists (i.e. war crimes), and also seems to lack definitive plans for his health care system, along with other areas of focus with his plans for the presidency (and I base this not off of what we hear during debates; I went to his website two days ago, when the information was posted there, and read the plan point by point). For all the negatives, Trump has some redeeming qualities just as well though: he isn’t backed by special interest groups, which is admirable. He also believes he can broker peace deals in areas like Israel and Palestine, which is admirable, though likely impractical. However, I do not personally feel that this outweighs the negatives that I see with him.

      There are better candidates, on both sides of the political fences (as well as some prospective Independent runners, which we never hear about on television or in the news). Hillary Clinton, however, is not one of these in my opinion, nor do I consider myself a “leftist” with an “agenda.” Let’s think carefully about all of this, as I hope that what I’ve outlined illustrates how easily we can allow our perception of events to inform our belief, whether or not it is accurate.

      Tim, you also completely, COMPLETELY misunderstood the analogy about airline travel. No, I was not comparing self-driving cars to automated (i.e. auto-pilot) systems on modern commercial aircraft. In fact, I’m not sure why you perceived that this was the comparison being made… what I was saying was that many people are fearful of the idea of riding in self-driving cars. I then asserted that, in a similar fashion, many people are afraid of flying in airplanes, despite this mode of travel being statistically more safe than automobile transportation (the number of traffic accidents with automobiles far outnumbers plane crashes annually). Much the same, driverless cars are believed to be statistically more safe than those driven by human beings… still, this does little to encourage faith in the safety of these vehicles, particularly since many fear the loss of control when humans are removed from control of the vehicle. There was no direct comparison made between driverless cars and automated systems on aircraft.

      I hope this clears things up, and I appreciate your feedback. However, hopefully the clarification I’ve provided will help clear up ideas you’ve expressed, such as that my “politics aren’t as clever as you think.” If my actual positions are completely opposite from what you presumed on both of the points you addressed, logic would dictate then that I am indeed more clever than you thought. 😉

      Thanks again for listening, and keep up the good fight.

      -Micah Hanks

      P.S. Still working on the Trump impersonation, by the way…

      1. Okay, okay, I get the point. I’ll admit however my conservative agenda, lol! Great show & I appreciate your reply.

        “We’re gonna’ make deals!”

        You had me laughing so hard I forgot the point of my marginal point.

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