What is UCF?

(updated January 2, 2009)

Of all the bloggers on line, I have never met a group like UCF.  This is a group of apparently primarily ex-Navy technical people (and a lawyer, a scientist and others) who have a uniquely vulgar and aggressive culture and act somewhat like Internet information police.  I became aware of this group when they posted attacks against the character of scientists I respect.

A goal of this group is apparently to silence scientists and citizens who are concerned that global scientific safety management may be inadequate and that more regulation may be needed.  My polite attempts to defend the character and arguments of scientists like Walter Wager were generally responded to with profanity and personal attacks.

The group calls themselves UCF (Union of Collaborating Founders).  Reading through some of their historical blogs provides some interesting insight to this group, and what might motivate and bring together this unique group of talent.

This is a group of primarily ex-Navy technical personal including a lawyer (Eric), scientist (John)[1] and other technical people lead by Nathan according to Janiece Murphy who lists herself second under Nathan in the list of members.[2]  Many of the members blogs started in 2007 and some of these widely geographically dispersed members have also met in person according to their public blogs.

The group has their own aggressive and vulgar culture, as if they all attended the same course of instruction on how to be vulgar and aggressive on-line.  While it may not seem unexpected for Navy enlisted personnel to be vulgar, it is a bit disturbing for a lawyer to suddenly release a torrent of profanity for apparently no other reason than to show he is capable of being vulgar.

Interestingly the group engaged in an on-line apparently counter-intelligence type exercise (International Hijack Day).[3]

I would not have any interest in this group except for the fact that several of the members appear to be on a mission to “debunk” anyone who questions the management of safety concerns related to Europe’s Large Hadron Collider experiment.  I think it is counter productive to attempt to discredit honest scientists and concerned citizens who are trying to blow a safety whistle and bring some accountability to a global safety issue.

Ex-Navy Warrent Officer Jim Wright provides an example of aggression and threats this group is apparently capable of.  Jim writes: “I’ll warn you once, and once only: You’re going to want to be real careful with that kind of bullshit, Wagner. I am a highly decorated combat veteran, who served honorably, who served in Iraq and elsewhere… and a number of folks that served with me, and that I got home alive, read my site every day, many come here to laugh at you – some, Walter, live in Hawaii. Don’t ever try that type of insinuation again.“[4]

Mr. Wright also states “I’m exceedingly familiar with the history of computer science and engineering and the associated names in the field, and hold a couple of advanced degrees in that field myself“.[4]  Jim Wright did not state if these are accredited advanced engineering degrees or if he accomplished this while serving in the Navy, but he did recently retract statements against Walter Wagner only after threat of a libel suit.[5]  (Contractors are responsible for their own legal defense).

Mr. Wright further states “I agree that there are legitimate concerns about safety. Those concerns have been addressed by actual qualified scientists. Neither Wagner nor Tankersley are qualified in any way to challenge those issues. Neither are scientists, neither are physicists…” Unfortunately Mr Wright fails to realize that legitimate safety concerns were addressed precicely because of Walter Wagner’s concern and brilliant discovery of fundamental flaws with CERN’s safety arguments.

But the comment that finally provoked me to respond with this article was from Janiece Murphy who yesterday called me Walter Wagner’s “butt monkey“.[6]  (For the record, I strongly support Walter Wagner, I think he is a brilliant and selfless scientist and we are all indebted to him for discovering flaws with safety arguments that CERN was not even aware of, but I have never met Walter Wagner in person, I’m happily married and I have no interest in being anyone’s “butt monkey”, not that there is anything wrong with that as comedian Jerry Seinfeld famously said.)

No one knows what the LHC will produce but it is interesting that LHC safety theories are based in part on a quantum model of nature that Dr. Albert Einstein himself did not find credible.[6]   Interesting discussion with one physics PHD who wrote an article including the statement “Was Einstein wrong? About quantum mechanics, yes. Yes he was.”  But after some discussion his final comment is a less decisive “hopefully someday we will be able to discriminate” [if Einstein was correct or not].  (http://startswithabang.com/?p=1304#comment-62654)

Minority opinions are important, sometimes they prove to be valid and CERN and UCF should not focus on trying to silence or unfairly discredit them.

Administrator LHC Facts
Assistant Coordinator for Global Risk Reduction (a Special Interest Group of American Mensa)

[1] John the Scientist, UCF member, http://refugeesfromthecity.blogspot.com/2008/10/delusional.html

[2] Janiece Murphy, UCF Blog http://hotchicksdigsmartmen.blogspot.com/2008/06/im-geek-your-geek-everywhere-geek-geek.html

[3] Nathan, UCF Leader, International Hijack™ Day, Polybloggimous “Ideas get in but they don’t get out” (2008) http://polybloggimous.com/2008/01/announcing-international-hijack-day.html

[4] Jim Wright, UCF Response (2008) http://refugeesfromthecity.blogspot.com/2008/10/response.html

[5] Jim Wright UCF Blog, Walter L. Wagner is Pitifully Insane (2008) http://stonekettlestation.blogspot.com/2008/10/walter-l-wagner-pitifully-insane.html

[6] Janiece Murphy, Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men (December 29, 2008), http://hotchicksdigsmartmen.blogspot.com/2008/12/suing-scientific-method.html

[7] NewScientist, Quantum randomness may not be random (22 March 2008) http://space.newscientist.com/article/mg19726485.700

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16 Responses to “What is UCF?”

  1. Ptrslv72 says:

    YES! YES! there is a new secret organization out there, and THEY ARE OUT TO GET YOU, James Tankersley!!! And what a scary tactic, they question your masculinity to prevent you from saving the world!!! Whatever it is that you are smoking, please smoke a bit more and chill out, at least for New Year’s eve…

  2. Crazy UCFer says:

    I see your conspiracy theory, and raise you a reciprocal accusation.

    I think you’re fake. No, not like you’re made of marshmallows, but rather it seems “James Tankersley” is really an anagram for “Seamen Salt Jerky”. I think you are trying to goad this group of (ex?)Navy enforcers. I suspect YOU are actually part of an anti-anti-group. There has already been an anti-anti-anti-collaboration of un-uniformed founders (mostly naked to be honest) formed that will debunk your anti-anti antics.

    Of course, James Tankersley is also an anagram for, “Enemas Salty Jerk” — in which case, eiw.

  3. Dude. You totally win the internet. Thank you for this post. I’m pretty sure that with you as a source, we’ll finally get that Wiki page we’ve been lusting after. And Snopes too. Yeah, that’ll be sweet.

    The only thing i’m disappointed with is that I’ve only gotten one hit from this so far. Could you do something about that please? I need the traffic.


  4. Ptrslv72 says:

    JT, why did you rewrite this post??? The first wacko-paranoid version was much more entertaining!!!

  5. JTankers says:

    Sorry Ptrslv72, but I didn’t want to provide TOO much entertainment for people clicking on the new “NOW WITH LESS SECRETS” UCF logo links.

  6. And how’d you publish it in the future? Anything you want to tell us? I’ll settle for next Tuesday’s MegaMillions number.


  7. Hey! You forgot a whole bunch of us! Me and MWT and Jeri and Shawn…

    We posted our origin stories and how we were getting millions in government money and EVERYTHING! Did you see?! Shawn even blew up the universe for you!

    Jeesh. Try and destroy the world and look at all the thanks you get.

    No one ever takes you seriously when you’re in a league of super evil.

    I also *love* the Mensa spam protection! Keep up the good work in rooting out evil at its source!

  8. A non-UCF member says:

    Thank God there was a simple addition problem up there for spam protection; my sub-genius brain might have had difficulties playing in your big league game.

    Having followed the threads across the relevant weblogs out here on this particular branch of the internet superhighway you’re presently straddling two lanes of, I really have to say this: what you take as a “uniquely vulgar and aggressive culture” is most likely a highly-developed sensitivity to BS.

    I find it particularly intriguing and more than a little erosive to your position that while you claim these individuals have retracted/rescinded their statements and set the record straight on Mr. Wagner’s record, both claimed and substantiated, both academic and legal, you decide to jump out in traffic one more time to smear these people with suggestions that these people (whose service to this nation you readily state) are somehow some sort of aberrant group of whackjobs.

    Who’s the vulgar and aggressive little troll? Let’s not trouble “Doctor” Wagner with his P(iled)h(igher and)D(eeper): you are.

  9. JTankers says:

    A non-UCF member writes: “you decide to jump out in traffic one more time to smear these people”

    I respectfully disagree with your assertion, however perhaps a reference only to the page containing the retraction would be sufficient for the purpose of correcting retracted and potentially libelous statements about the character of a scientist I greatly respect.

    To my recollection I have made exactly one related blog since both sides basically “agreed to disagree”.

    My blog was a “matter of fact” clarification of the record in response to recently discovered (old) potentially libelous assertions made before related assertions about the character of Walter L. Wagner had been retracted.

    Administrator, LHCFacts.org

  10. A non-UCF member says:

    “Matter of fact”? A matter of fact statement would have gone a little something like this:

    “The individuals in this group argued an opposed opinion, and , while I/Wagner/whoever believe(s) x.” Add supporting documentation, simmer and serve. Finito–end of post.

    Go on back up to the original post with me, JTankers, because this honestly is going to be a little lesson here in salesmanship. At this point, I no longer care who’s right or wrong here, but your smug refusal to admit that your post is less than “factual” is insulting my intelligence and belittling yours.

    You make claims and suggestions about these people throughout your post, coloring it with personal judgments and short remarks that merely highlight facts you think you can vector into discrediting or portraying them as some sort of possibly dangerous fringe element.

    Here’s a general rule I try to adhere to when I’m trying to pitch an unpopular idea (like yours/Wagner’s proved to be) to the general public: You want to prove your point, do so on its merit(s), and not by acting like an ill-mannered muckraker and opportunistic attack dog.

    Uh, yeah. Perhaps not trying to smear these people you claim are smearing you might be a start. And when faced with someone who’s questioning your or Mr. Wagner (because I still haven’t seen anywhere any proof of his credentials stated and accepted as true), if you’re so convinced of your cause, speak to the facts.

    I saw a lot of deft maneuvers regarding legal records/statuses (which seem to have been or are in the process of being resolved, but which the associated testimony doesn’t do much to enhance Mr. Wagner’s credibility), but absolutely no response on any of those blogs demonstrating in clear and unimpeachable fact Mr. Wagner’s supposed academic credentials. Instead, I see a lot of you trying to attack people, either out of your own fervor for this cause or on Mr. Wagner’s behalf.

    As a previously uninterested bystander, this seriously suggests to me that you cannot do so, which suggests that Mr. Wagner is not the supposed expert you and he have made him out to be. That, taken with the ratio of vitriol to verdad you’re hurling about, seriously lends credence to the opposing argument, and diminishes your standing.

    I hate to sound like Dragnet, but “just the facts, ma’am (sic).” If you have them.

    Otherwise, this just makes you look spiteful and churlish.

    Anyhow, the world’s still here, and from the shady way you seem to be defending your position, I’m tempted to agree with others, and believe it still will be when the LHC goes forward.

    I’m sure you had a colleague who was uninvolved in this fracas, one with a law degree, vet your statement for possible libelous or otherwise specious language before posting it, right? I’m not a lawyer, so I really don’t know the threshold involved, but I seriously doubt it would help your cause that in “addressing” the UFC in this blog, you just left yourself open to the very means of civil address that you suggest they might have at one point been vulnerable to.

    Funny: the site’s called LHCFacts.org, but I see a lot of unsubstantiated opinion above. This might be one of those “practice what you preach” moments.

  11. JTankers says:

    I don’t [necessarily] disagree [with some of your views], however the “one related blog” I was referring to (see below) was posted February 8, 2009 at 8:34 am in response to discovery the blog posted October 26, 2008 at 2:32 pm:



    October 26, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Fahrusha, thank you. And I agree that alleging a criminal background is a serious accusation, however in this case it’s backed up with the actual court documents, which are obtainable through the FOIA, and online via the LEXIS Legal database. Direct access to the documents in question are available at the Giant Midgets link in my previous comment. Again, thank you for your willingness to at least listen.

    One thing to note: none of the other ’scientists’ in Wagner’s camp are particle physicists either.


    Perhaps a better response on my part should have included only the single reference link as shown below:


    UFC member Mr. Jim Wright’s legal accusations concerning Walter L. Wagner are incorrect and he retracted statements after threat of libel suit.

    Mr Wright writes: “I retract the statement the Wagner is a convicted criminal. But only the specific term Convicted Criminal.” [1] and “I retract the statement that Wagner lied under oath, or lied to me.” [1]

    [1] Jim Wright, StoneKettle Station (December 27-28, 2008) http://stonekettlestation.blogspot.com/2008/10/walter-l-wagner-pitifully-insane.html

  12. A non-UCF member says:

    Now, see? That didn’t hurt much.

    Now compare that to your post that started this thread. See what I’m talking about when I say you’re making suggestive references and smearing?

    Were I one of these UFC types, I might ask you to rescind/retract some of the things you say above. I’m willing to wager that Mr. Wright and his “uniquely vulgar and aggressive culture” might not be too bothered, because they feel you’ve impeached what credibility you might have had, but I don’t really have much stomach for somebody speaking out against someone doing a thing and doing it themselves in the same breath. Hypocrisy is the word for it.

    Now that you’ve gone with just the facts, I can only think of three more things I’d like to see from this thread:
    1) Editing/revision of the post itself to excise inflammatory and non-factual/non-pertinent content. I’d also suggest an apology/retraction, but I don’t want to look greedy here.
    2) Additional factual data addressing the question of Mr. Wagner’s professional and academic credentials to address this issue. This speaks directly to credibility of the theory, and is something I’ve seen repeatedly requested and just as often ignored/unanswered.
    3) Full deletion of the thread, in the inability/unwillingness to accomplish items 1 and 2. Not only does the original post weaken your position in the ways I previously outlined, it still fails to mitigate the unfounded reprisal statements you made in the post itself.

    Obviously, I’d prefer to see 1 and 2, and can understand your being unable to comply with 3 due to either technical or chain of communication maintenance for possible legal reasons. Seeing as you’ve signed off on your first reply to me as the Sysadmin here, I’m assuming you have the ability to edit/revise the original post, as it’s a basic function of most blog software. So, this is all well within your capability to accomplish/rectify, right?

  13. JTankers says:

    Thank you for your suggestions, however the original article was already re-edited on January 2, 2009 (as noted above and as discussed on this thread and others) and it is available in its original form on UCF’s site (they apparently found it amusing). Walter Wagner did apologize for any real or perceived insults (though UCF did not apologize in kind that I am aware of) and both sides expressed a desire to agree to disagree and go their separate ways. Again, thank you for your suggestions.

  14. A non-UCF member says:

    So…putting to rest the questions over Mr. Wagner’s qualifications aren’t a priority for you, but his actual or presumed legal issues are? Because as things stand, that’s the one glaring oversight in this entire thing, and I find it very curious that if you are so fervent in this hypothesis that you haven’t put forth evidence of qualification.

    But, hey, that’s just some passerby’s perspective. But then, that’s who your target audience is here, right? The uninformed or under-informed public. Were I you, I’d be wallpapering this thing with Mr. Wagner’s qualifications, and addressing with documentation any other possible weakpoint in any other supporter’s credentialing, like this other gentlemen I noticed in a separate thread having his credibility called into question.

    Again, full-throated, factual support would be the right way to go. And yet I’ve said just that several times, and it’s like you’ve overlooked just those sentences and addressed the rest. I find that more than a little curious, sir.

  15. JTankers says:

    I recommend a google search on “Walter Wagner UCF Credentials”.

    (I just googled that myself and I saw Mr. Wright’s retracted comments were left unchallenged on several old blogs, now addressed. Thanks.)

  16. Michael Noonan says:

    I find it absolutely amazing that scientific, academic or any qualifications make the slightest bit of difference in the exploration of the unknown. Anyone (with the capacity of course) who follows a bit of science soon learns to put aside the remarkable measure of the very little that is known. Nobody from Hawking down or any academic practice can give a definite answer despite the impressive mathematics because of the sheer volume of what is unknown and untested.

    To start with the assumption that there are more complete universes due to particle interaction than there are atoms in existence is not a good start. Inventing as yet undetectable dark matter and having no explanation for dark energy performing the thermally impossible does not help. Ignoring the evidence of FTL in galaxy jets because it doesn’t fit the mathematics pretty much sums it up. Scientists want the public to believe them because they know that in one of our holographic realities there is a bunch of highly educated people who know what they are doing and going to show the world miracles in the exploration of matter.

    In some of the other holographic realities it is unfortunate but it seems a rather unintelligent bunch of monkeys got loose and built a machine of potentially devastating consequences. The problem is which reality is this (and in case you are wondering … it is best not to think too long on it).

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