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97 MIN READ TIME

Area 51: What is Really Going on There?

We are driving west in a black SUV across the “Extraterrestrial Highway” (Nevada State Highway 375), about three hours north of Las Vegas. The road itself is unremarkable—miles and miles of a ribbon of asphalt cutting across barren desert with mesquite and Joshua tree yuccas the only signs of life anywhere. Occasionally the road rises up from the low flats to cross a small mountain range, with jagged rocks exposed on all sides, completely devoid of vegetation. During the summer, the daytime temperatures here stay above 100°F for weeks on end, so few come through here. In the winter, the daytime temperatures are more comfortable, but at night it gets bitterly cold, especially if the desert winds are howling. It’s over 4400 feet in elevation, so some winters are cold enough that snow accumulates on the high desert surface, and may persist on the peaks well into spring.

After you pass through the tiny towns of Alamo and Ash Springs on U.S. Highway 93 (last gas station for 150 miles or more), and turn west onto Highway 375, you drive about 15 miles before reaching Hancock Summit, a mountain pass through barren rock that is the highest point in the region. You can get out of your car and look to the southwest, but all you will see is the Groom Range. Area 51 is hidden in the valley beyond, and there is no other spot in any direction where you can see the base from a paved road. You could make the strenuous hike to Tikaboo Peak to the south to see parts of the base on the other side of the range without incurring the wrath of base security, but at 26 (42 km) miles away it desn’t provide that much more information.

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Rethink: The Surprising History of New Ideas by Steven Poole
A review of How Men Age: What Evolution Reveals About Male Health and Mortality by Richard G. Bribiescas
A Review of Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science by Dave Levitan.
Reviews of: Big Con: Great Hoaxes, Frauds, Grifts, and Swindles in American History by Nate Hendley Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff by Edward J. Balliesen Houdini’s ‘Girl Detective’ compiled by Tony Wolf The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For it…Every Time by Maria Konnikova
Review of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari.
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We’ve all heard the story of Chicken Little—a fanciful