Ah yes, the Fourth of July. The time of year when all Americans go outside and blow stuff up. It looked unlikely that anything would be blown up this year, as it was storming all day, but apparently, it cleared up enough for a few fireworks shows I can now hear going off in the distance.
Besides, there are more things one can do to celebrate the Fourth of July than simply to blow things up, such as indulging in a perennial favorite topic of mine—government conspiracies about aliens and their technology!
PACL was located in Palo Alto, but unlike XPARC, it wasn't at the end of a long road in the middle of a big complex surrounded by rolling hills and trees. PACL was hidden in an office complex owned entirely by the military but made to look like an unassuming tech company. From the street, all you could see was what appeared to be a normal parking lot with a gate and a guard booth, and a 1-story building inside with a fictitious name and logo. What wasn't visible from the street was that behind the very first set of doors was enough armed guards to invade Poland, and 5 additional underground stories. They wanted to be as close as possible to the kinds of people they were looking to hire and be able to bring them in with a minimum of fuss.
One downside to CARET was that it wasn't as well-connected as other operations undoubtedly were. I never got to see any actual extra-terrestrials (not even photos), and in fact never even saw one of their compete vehicles. 99% of what I saw was related to the work at hand, all of which was conducted within a very narrow context on individual artifacts only. The remaining 1% came from people I met through the program, many of which working more closely with “the good stuff” or had in the past.
Of course, it's well known that AT&T developed the transistor based upon alien technology and that Intel has managed to reverse engineer alien technology to build their latest chips.
But like all great conspiracy theories (and I love these because they're so entertaining) they leave a few things unanswered. In the case of AT&T (or more specifically, Bell Labs), did they even have the technology to reverse something as complex as a microchip? Send back even an old Pentium to Bell Labs in even 1940 (a full seven years before they invented the transistor)—could they even figure out what it was? (I'm assuming they could get the actual chip out of the ceramic casing) Could they even detect a single transistor?
Besides, a transistor is nothing more than two back-to-back diodes in a single package, and diodes have been around since the 1880s.
I received a link to the CARET page from a mailing list I'm on, and as one member of the list commented:
How do you build a “secret” 5 story underground facility in Palo Alto with and
- have the right number of cars in the parking lot and
- not hit the water table. The industrial parts of PA are either in the flats next to 101 and the SF Bay or are near Foothill Expressway where almost all of the industrial parks are owned by Stanford.
Besides, how do you advertise jobs for such a place?
Oh, and the Intel Pentium being based upon alien technology? That, I can actually buy. I mean, have you ever tried programming that thing? Something that convoluted can only be the result of humans partially reverse engineering alien technology …