World famous ufologist and co-blogger, Chris Rutkowski, disagreed with my claim and suggested that there would be no increase in sightings reported due to show being relaunched.
As a respectable (not respected) academic, I took the only course of action available to me - "Yeah!? You wanna bet?"
Chris: "I respectfully disagree. Debunkers insisted that UFO reports were spurred by the TV show but stats show that the numbers of reports did not increase more dramatically during its run, and continued their trend unabated after it ceased in 2002. As for this revival, with everything else in the news today, I don't think many people are paying attention to the show's return."
Mike: "Well Chris - perhaps we should settle this like men. I propose a wager.
Using MUFON CMS- we average the numbers of sightings in the US and Canada between the dates of January 23rd and February 23rd over, let's say, the last 5 years. This will give us a baseline number. We then see how many sighting reports are made between January 23rd and February 23rd of this year. If there are more sightings reported to MUFON during this 30 day period in both countries than the average number across 5 years...I win. I'll even give you a deviation of +10%. So, the 2016 number has to be 10% higher than the average in order for me to win.
The loser has to buy the winner a steak dinner at Rae & Jerry's during the week of April 28th (that's Spring Break FYI). Do you accept?"
Chris changed the venue to Five Guys, which I accepted. After a little more back and forth, he accepted the challenge above.
Here are the numbers directly from MUFON CMS:
January 23rd - February 23rd, 2011
USA - 401
Canada - 8
January 23rd - February 23rd, 2012
USA - 574
Canada - 22
January 23rd - February 23rd, 2013
USA - 384
Canada - 15
January 23rd - February 23rd, 2014
USA - 463
Canada - 32
January 23rd - February 23rd, 2015
USA - 563
Canada - 37
So, we averaged these numbers together and came up with the following baseline numbers:
USA - 476.8 is our mean average across the 5 data sets.
Canada - 22.8 is our mean average across the 5 data sets.
In order for me to win, MUFON CMS needs to receive 10% more sighting reports over the averaged numbers above. That means an additional 47.68 reports in the United States and 2.28 reports in Canada over the above numbers.
In order for Chris to win, the numbers need to fall short of that 10% goal.
So- the fate of ufology as a whole hangs upon our collective cultural experiences, The X-Files and my enjoyment of a free double cheeseburger.