I recently read an article on Vice Magazine’s website that described the very real scientific theory that our reality is actually a computer simulation. Yeah, you understood me correctly: There is a scientist out there in the world — a real live scientist who has science-y credentials and an important science job — who really thinks that our entire universe could just be an incredibly detailed and complex computer game. I practically did a spit take when I first read this article. “This is some crazy shit,” I thought, hunched over my glowing computer screen.
“There’s how many PlayStations worldwide? More than 100 million, certainly. So think of 100 million consoles, each one containing 10,000 humans,” said Rich Terrile, a big deal at NASA. “That means, by that time, conceptually, you could have more humans living in PlayStations than you have humans living on Earth today.”
My mind was blown again by the madness of everything around me when I stumbled across another online discovery — via Facebook, that great receptacle of bizarre Internet phenomena — from The Seattle Times, published in July, that described the story of a man being spotted in the Utah wilderness living in a goat suit amongst “realgoats” (it’s actually one word in the text). Officials at the time were concerned that with the approaching hunting season, “goat man” would be in danger of getting shot because people would think he was a goat. This news piece raised a few questions: namely, who is this goat man, and why does he live among the goats in a goat suit? Is he “an extreme wildlife enthusiast,” as the article suggested, or is he just batshit crazy?
As if these two supremely weird stories weren’t enough to keep me on my toes, I just came across the other day with possibly the most frightening and strange Wikipedia entry that I have ever read, and believe you me, I’ve read a lot of Wikipedia entries. I absent-mindedly wandered across an entry for “Bloop,” one of six significant unexplained underwater sounds detected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array. Basically, in 1997, Wikipedia tells me, the array picked up a strange signal that did not resemble that of any man-made noise or known seismic activity. The sound, nicknamed “Bloop,” was more like an animal burp or a fart, scientists thought, but here’s the catch: It was, and I quote, “several times louder than the loudest recorded animal, the blue whale.” Now if that doesn’t freak you out, then I don’t know what will. As far as scientists know, some enormous creature could be bellowing under the ice in Antarctica. This is CRAZY.
As much as I want to believe in the weird reality (or simulated reality or whatever) described by these articles, further Internet snooping tells me it would be foolish to do so. (I probably shouldn’t be getting my science news from Vice either.) A great number of scientists think “simulation theory” is complete bunkum. A news update reveals that the “goat man” of Utah was simply a Canadian hunter “preparing” for the upcoming season. The epic leviathan thought to be responsible for “Bloop” could just be an Antarctic ice floe crashing into the ocean.
Part of me doesn’t care, though. At least we live in a world where people can think weird things and publish them on the Internet. At least we still have that privilege.