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Fw: NUFOIA: Firmage: Anti-gravity craft and alien contact imminent

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  • Jeroen Kumeling
    Subject: NUFOIA: Firmage: Anti-gravity craft and alien contact imminent Date: donderdag, 1. april 1999 15:01
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 1999
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      Subject: NUFOIA: Firmage: Anti-gravity craft and alien contact imminent
      Date: donderdag, 1. april 1999 15:01

      http://www.washingtonpost.com:80/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-03/31/175l-033199-idx.ht
      ml

      "The gravity breakthrough is merely a harbinger of the really huge
      development, the paradigm-shattering event to end all paradigm-shattering
      events. We will make contact with . . . the Visitors. We're talking formal
      contact here, actual direct communication, no more cat-and-mouse games in
      the
      desert. No more coverup. We will know the aliens and discover, finally, our
      place in the cosmos."

      ...

      The CEO From Cyberspace: Joe Firmage, A Master of the Universe at 28,
      Wants to Defy Gravity and Visit the Far Corners Of His Realm

      By Joel Achenbach Washington Post Staff Writer
      Wednesday, March 31, 1999; Page C01

      LOS GATOS, Calif.�The prophet speeds through Silicon Valley in a red
      Corvette
      convertible, up Highway 17 to Highway 85 to Highway 101. Joe Firmage is
      racing
      to the offices of USWeb/CKS. He started the company three years ago in a
      moment of inspiration, and it now has a market value of $2.5 billion. Joe
      Firmage, at the age of 28, is a winner.

      Another red Corvette whizzes by. Another young businessman, going faster.
      This
      is a Darwinian world -- speed is of the essence.

      Firmage soon arrives at his office building, which is like every high-tech
      office for miles around, so new it's barely had time to experience the
      phenomenon of rain. Firmage rides an elevator, goes through double doors
      and
      strides down a clean, carpeted hallway past secretaries and staffers,
      everyone
      tapping on keyboards and talking on the phone. They're all engaged in an
      extremely profitable pursuit that didn't even exist a few years ago.
      USWeb/CKS
      provides "Internet services." The people here set up "e-commerce" sites and
      "intranets" and "extranets" for other companies. Firmage says proudly, "We
      are
      probably the single largest concentration of Internet experts in the
      world."

      He used to be the ultimate boss here, the CEO. Now he's just a consultant,
      the
      resident prophet in the corner office.

      He devotes himself to his mission. His mission is "The Truth."

      That's the title of his book, which is posted on the Internet at
      www.thewordistruth.org. Joe Firmage believes he has found The Truth, and he
      is
      using all his entrepreneurial skill to disseminate that truth to the world
      at
      large.

      In a single month, his Web site received 6 million hits. He's placed a
      full-
      page ad in USA Today. He is about to be profiled in Wired and Rolling
      Stone.
      The local papers have followed his recent moves. He's a hot topic in
      certain
      Internet chat rooms -- a sudden silicon celebrity.

      The Truth according to Firmage is that the world is about to change
      dramatically. Of course that's what every visionary says. In these
      millennial
      times, there are futurists and big talkers crawling all over California and
      the rest of the planet. Firmage knows he has to speak louder than others to
      be
      heard over the background static. Thus his assertion that human beings are
      about to master the force of gravity.

      We will learn to engineer the very fabric of "space-time." We'll tap into a
      massive, hidden energy source. Aspects of nature that everyone has always
      taken for granted -- like this annoying thing called "inertia" -- will
      enter
      the realm of human manipulation. We'll zip around the planet in a flash.
      We'll
      zoom across the entire galaxy -- really fast!

      "You could go to Alpha Centauri and be back for dinner," Firmage says.

      And there's more! The gravity breakthrough is merely a harbinger of the
      really
      huge development, the paradigm-shattering event to end all
      paradigm-shattering
      events. We will make contact with . . . the Visitors. We're talking formal
      contact here, actual direct communication, no more cat-and-mouse games in
      the
      desert. No more coverup. We will know the aliens and discover, finally, our
      place in the cosmos.

      That's "The Truth."

      Whether he's right or wrong -- brilliant or boneheaded -- Firmage is
      clearly a
      creature of his time and place. The temptation is to prop him up as a
      Generation X figurehead, and the press has been unable to resist the urge
      to
      call him the Fox Mulder of Silicon Valley. A better way to look at the
      situation is to say that he's the Internet in human form.

      He's the human search engine. He is a nexus for provocative and
      questionable
      information. From his corner office, he can tap on the computer and dart
      through an unofficial and unauthorized world of knowledge and rumor. He can
      amass, as he swivels in his chair, his own personal database of facts and
      theories. To listen to Firmage is to hear of the Casimir effect and
      zero-point
      energy and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and quantum foam and the
      Roswell
      incident and the MJ-12 documents. Science, pseudo-science, truth and
      fiction,
      God and electromagnetism: It's all there, a thick and pungent stew.

      He would like the world to think that someone has come along, someone
      intelligent and bold and most of all spiritual, who can make sense of it
      all.
      He would be the man who reconciled science and religion, who legitimized
      the
      UFO mythology and who figured out the future, even though it meant
      abandoning
      his wildly lucrative career as an Internet guru. As he told a local paper,
      "I
      chose to basically take the risk for everybody's sake and put my own career
      on
      the line."

      But another story line is in play -- that what works in Silicon Valley does
      not always work in the real world. That here's a case of someone who
      couldn't
      separate the good information from the bad. That with enough hubris, even
      Joe
      Firmage, so young and smart and clever and rich, might find a way to make a
      fool of himself.

      THE PATH

      Firmage is polite and personable, but when he gets rolling, his fervor
      builds.
      He puts the tractor beam on his listener and doesn't let go. There are
      moments
      when his eyes appear sad, and weary, as though affected by the tedium of
      explaining things that should be obvious.

      He says things like:

      "The macro picture here is anthropological in dimension."

      Firmage resides in a million-dollar house in Los Gatos that shows little
      evidence of a human occupant. There's a pool table just off the kitchen (he
      is
      quite good at billiards, he says) and a laptop on the counter with, by
      Firmage's estimate, 2,000 unanswered e-mail messages. He says he typically
      works 15 hours a day and does not have the "bandwidth" at the moment to get
      married or have a permanent relationship.

      Firmage is the descendant, through many generations, of another bold
      searcher,
      Brigham Young. Young led the Mormons to Utah after the murder of the
      prophet
      Joseph Smith. Firmage grew up in a Mormon household in Salt Lake City.

      When he was 10 years old, his father, a law professor, insisted that he
      watch
      Carl Sagan's PBS series "Cosmos." Young Joe found it transformational. He
      became fascinated by astronomy. In his back yard, he took pictures of the
      heavens with a camera attached to a telescope.

      In his bedroom, he tinkered with computers. One day he tried to write a
      software program on a Macintosh, and found the job laborious. He had to
      dive
      down into the deepest structure of the Mac's brain. This is too hard, he
      told
      himself. Suddenly he had an idea. He'd make this simpler for everyone. He
      designed a set of software tools that could be used by anyone to write a
      program. He formed a company, Serius Corp., based in his bedroom. He stayed
      up
      late at night, shrink-wrapping boxes of Serius software.

      His invention was a hit. Although he went on to the University of Utah,
      studying physics, he didn't stay long. Firmage had found his calling:
      computer
      world entrepreneur.

      People with money were looking for computer whizzes. Investors gave him
      millions of dollars, the business expanded, and soon Firmage had 45
      employees
      in a fancy office. Novell Corp. came along in 1993, waving $24 million. The
      huge company bought Serius and made Firmage a vice president. He was 23
      years
      old and a millionaire.

      Two years later, in the fall of 1995, he quit Novell, and with a colleague,
      Toby Corey, he started USWeb. Firmage's new, big idea was that corporations
      all over the world were befuddled by the Internet and needed smart people
      to
      guide them through the wilds of this new medium. USWeb wouldn't make
      products,
      it would provide services. The company bought out more than three dozen
      other
      firms. Firmage was a winner yet again.

      He's not shy of touting his intellectual skills and professional successes.

      "I could have done anything in this industry."

      "We did something far more challenging than Yahoo or Amazon.com."

      "People describe me as incredibly rational, very left-brained, highly
      attuned
      to risk management, all the qualities that make a good CEO."

      The rule in Silicon Valley is adapt or die. To be slow, to cling to
      tradition,
      to fail to envision the next big thing, is to ensure extinction. By the
      fall
      of 1997, Firmage and his partners were ready to take USWeb public, a move
      that
      required a frenzy of activity in preparing the initial public offering
      (IPO).

      He was exhausted. But he decided to surf the Internet.

      He'd always been interested in astronomy, physics, UFOs, stuff like that.
      As a
      teenager, UFO stories had intrigued him, but he'd concluded that there was
      no
      way the flying saucers, or whatever they were, could cross the immense
      distances of interstellar space.

      But on this day he found something. It was a research paper by a man named
      Bernhard Haisch.

      Haisch, as it happens, is a physicist who works just up the road from
      Firmage,
      at Lockheed Martin. He's also the editor of the Journal of Scientific
      Exploration, which often carries articles about UFOs.

      The Haisch paper discussed something called the "zero-point field." This is
      a
      theoretical field of energy that permeates everything, even the "empty"
      spaces
      of the universe. Haisch asserts that what gives a piece of matter its
      "mass"
      is an electromagnetic reaction with this zero-point field. The theory is
      abstruse in the extreme. But if Haisch is right, then mass can, in theory,
      be
      modified and engineered. Something as seemingly fundamental as inertia
      might
      be subject to cancellation. There are implications for faster-than-light
      travel and spaceships that require no fuel, all sorts of fabulous notions.

      Firmage was captivated by the Haisch paper and its implications. If humans
      could modify mass, inertia, space-time, then so could . . . the Visitors.
      Firmage took a printout home and stayed up late reading. He finally set his
      alarm for 6:10 a.m. and went to sleep.

      Morning arrived. The alarm rang. He hit the snooze button.

      "The next nine minute snooze changed the course of my life," he writes.

      Without warning, a "remarkable being clothed in brilliant white light"
      appeared above him, hovering over the bed.

      "Why have you called me here?" the entity asked.

      Firmage, half awake and half asleep, said, "I want to travel in space."

      "Why should you be granted such an opportunity?" said the entity.

      "Because I'm willing to die for it," Firmage said.

      And then an electric blue sphere emerged from the being and entered
      Firmage.

      "Instantly, I was overcome by the most unimaginable ecstasy I have ever
      experienced, a pleasure vastly beyond orgasm."

      After that, he began writing furiously. He became intellectually
      hyper-linked
      to all kinds of new and imponderable theories. He tunneled deep into the
      world
      of UFOs. He claims he has had private conversations with some of the top
      military leaders in America, who have confided that aliens are real. He
      won't
      say who these leaders are.

      Firmage now believes that aliens get interested in a planet when the most
      intelligent species on that planet learns how to control gravity. The
      aliens
      couldn't possibly stand around doing nothing while humans, so raw and
      unfinished a species, began racing across the galaxy like teenagers on
      spring
      break.

      Firmage says he'd love to be in a leadership position if formal contact
      with
      the aliens begins -- if, for example, "two years from now, we had a craft
      hovering over Times Square, or landing in the middle of the Super Bowl."

      All roads in the Firmage universe lead to UFOs. For Firmage, the visions
      reported by prophets and religious figures -- including Joseph Smith,
      founder
      of the Mormon faith -- are strikingly reminiscent of modern encounters with
      aliens.

      As Firmage journeyed deeper -- and after he began anonymously posting
      pieces
      of "The Truth" on a Web site called Project Kairos -- his position within
      his
      own company became problematic. Corey, his partner, says he was sympathetic
      to
      Firmage's position on UFOs. "There appears to be a number of data points
      that
      appear to come from a lot of credible people," Corey says.

      Nonetheless, some members of the company's board were uncomfortable with
      Firmage's new passion, particularly after he went public with his beliefs
      in
      November. There were clients who were appalled that the head of the company
      was espousing views normally associated with crackpots. USWeb's stock price
      began to slip. The company had merged with a firm called CKS, and it was a
      sensitive moment. Any sign of weakness can be fatal in the computer
      industry.
      Firmage had already planned to step down as CEO, making way for an older
      executive, but it became clear that he had to hurry up the transition. He
      became the chief strategist. Eventually, even that seemed too lofty a title
      for someone with his beliefs, and he became a mere consultant.

      His next step will be to print 100,000 copies of "The Truth" as an elegant
      hardback, self-published, he says, so he'll have total editorial control.
      This
      summer he'll embark on a 20-city book tour. He won't do ordinary book
      signings
      but will speak, he vows, in auditoriums and other large venues. He's
      thinking
      big all the way.

      THE SEARCH

      And what does Bernhard Haisch, the man behind the zero-point field, think
      of
      Joe Firmage?

      "He's way out there."

      He thinks Firmage is smart and wishes him luck. Haisch is open to
      anomalies,
      UFOs, government conspiracies. But he's also a scientist, and he knows that
      his theories about the zero-point field are nowhere close to being
      verified.

      Moreover, a scientist would never write something called "The Truth." A
      scientist might write "The Theory." To approach the level of a truth, a
      theory
      must be tested, vigorously and should have the potential to be falsified.
      That's one of the many problems with the UFO mythology. Covert entities
      can't
      be disproved. Nor can secret government conspiracies.

      Haisch says, "Because he's not a scientist, and because of his youth and
      his
      success, he's probably not applying as stringent a filter as he might."

      Aliens in UFOs don't survive the violent jostling they receive when they
      pass
      through the filters of most scientists. Among those who rejected the idea
      that
      aliens have visited our planet was Firmage's hero, Carl Sagan. Firmage
      knows
      that. He has an explanation: "Sagan was not aware of zero-point physics."

      The professional UFO debunker Philip Klass says of Firmage, "In terms of
      establishing or proving that we have ET visitors, he adds nothing."

      Many scientists note that there is not a single scrap of metal that appears
      extraterrestrial in any laboratory analysis. "Why doesn't anyone come into
      my
      office with an ashtray or a radio knob from one of these things?" asks Seth
      Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute, which conducts radio searches
      for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations, and which is loath to be
      associated with UFOs.

      Firmage admits that 80 percent of UFO stories are nonsense. But there is
      truth
      out there on the fringes, he insists. The entire cosmos has characteristics
      of
      being conscious, Firmage believes. We are spiritual beings coming to terms
      with the meaning of our existence. We will someday lose our appetite for
      material possessions. What we will value are experiences -- like traveling
      in
      space.

      He imagines what that would be like. In "The Truth," he writes:

      As you ascend through the clouds, piercing beyond the lung of your world, a
      silence strikes every sense of your soul. Your gaze shifts from the blue
      light
      below, and you look up. A black blacker than sudden blindness hits your
      senses, or rather doesn't, as your eyes adjust to the silent night of
      heaven.
      And ever so gracefully, the campfires of the Cosmos begin to sparkle . . .

      This is an age of searchers, of people who would figure out everything, the
      future, the significance of human history, the thinking of the gods. The
      Internet explodes with information that almost makes sense. Firmage
      believes
      in himself, and assumes that his instincts are right. His instincts tell
      him
      that change is nigh. We will understand what is happening. We will know the
      secrets of cosmic intelligence.

      "Imagine one day we could plug our Internet into theirs," he says. "That
      would
      be cool."

      If he's right, he'll be vindicated. No one will mock the UFO CEO anymore.
      On
      the day of unambiguous alien contact, he will be undeniably credible. A
      winner
      once again.

      But what if he's wrong?

      "If I go down, I'll take this belief system with me."

      Another bold declaration, but perhaps his least plausible assertion. The
      aliens are durable creatures. They were here in spirit before Joe Firmage,
      and
      they will be here in spirit when he is gone.

      � Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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