Over Half Of All Britons
Believe In ET
BBC News Sci/Tech
Just over half of Britons believe in extra terrestrial life. According to a survey for the popular science magazine Focus, 50.2% of people said alien life must exist in the universe somewhere.
"Belief in alien life is no longer only the preserve of the lunatic fringe," said the magazine's editor, Paul Simpson. "Many scientists now believe that given the rate at which we are discovering new planets, it is more likely that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe."
"I think the view is that, at some point, we will get a radio signal that will prove there is intelligent life out there," he told BBC Radio GMR in Manchester.
The influence of the X Files TV series is clearly evident in the poll with people deeply suspicious of the authorities. 80 per cent said the government would not tell us if it knew alien life existed.
The results of the survey also vary according to sex, age, region and social class. Women are slightly more sceptical than men. Only 43% of people in the North West believe in aliens while 65% in the South West and 58% in East Anglia do.
Pensioners are the most likely group to insist there is no intelligent life out there.
Roswell crash
A multimillionaire executive has resigned from the Internet firm he founded to promote his belief that many high-tech advancements - including fibre optics and lasers - come from aliens.
Joe Firmage, 28, said he decided to quit his post as the chief strategist at USWeb/CKS Corp. to save the company from "public relations complications" as he pursues his investigations.
"There is a bigger picture out there than just tomorrow's stock price," Mr Firmage said. "I've had explicit confirmation that the UFO phenomenon is in fact occurring, and I'd like to be a part of this fundamental revolution in our society."
Mr Firmage said he is willing to risk his career to publicise his theories, one of which is that many technological advancements can be traced to a purported alien spaceship crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.
Joe Firmage founded the Serius Corporation at 17 and co-founded USWeb in 1995.
"Ninety per cent of UFO sightings are garbage. But there is a 10% profile in the witness testimony that cannot be denied and cannot be explained as any natural phenomena," he told the BBC.
He said he did not fear ridicule: "How many people, 50 years ago, would have believed a cell phone that could fit in your front-shirt pocket."