Parallel universes are something we all seem to want to be true, somewhere there is another version of me in another universe who is doing better, worse or differently. There are plenty of books, films and fantasies which use it as a basis for the plot line, Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter wrote ‘The Long Earth’ together in 2012 a story line which uses parallel worlds as a basis for their science fiction series.
However the purpose of this post is not actually to discuss its place in literature but in fact to discuss the furore caused by multiple media outlets that NASA had found a parallel universe. Twitter is awash with scientists coming forward to correct the tabloids and even the New Scientists interpretation of NASAs findings from the ANITA satellite.
To give some context to the situation in a 2016, researchers in Antarctica detected signals from high-energy particles known as neutrinos that could not be explained by our current understanding of physics. Though the puzzling findings led to plenty of speculation, they did not offer any evidence of a parallel universe, according to CNET, Forbes and other outlets. According to CNET more recently “In the last few days a number of publications have suggested scientists ‘found evidence’ for a parallel universe where time runs backward … All the reports pull from the same source of information: A pay-walled report by New Scientist on April 8 titled ‘We may have spotted a parallel universe going backwards in time.'”
The fundamental problem we have is ignorance and misinterpretation, there are two kinds of people who read the abstracts with a closed mind looking for sensationalism and those looking to educate themselves by reading the whole paper with an open mind. Unfortunately more often than not the journalists who rely on sensationalism to sell their work are more outspoken than those who write informed and balanced articles. People would rather read an extract and interpret it the way it has been presented to them rather than actually reading it and seeing that most of the data is inconclusive.
This can be applied to a number of situations including the current pandemic situation – people want answers but they don’t actually want to educate themselves and understand the process. My mother recalls an unfortunate situation where a child was not vaccinated due to the fact ‘it causes autism’ only for the mother to discover that her child had autism anyway some may call that an irony, I personally think its terrifying. The fact that people are happy to put their children and others at risk because they are prepared to believe unsubstantiated claims is disappointing and tantamount to abuse and negligence.
We are now a situation where people will believe pay-walled articles over actual facts and we are creating, by in virtue, a parallel universe where lies are truth and the truth is simply ignored. Its a sad sad situation to be in, especially when individuals can be charged for inciting terror but the Media are seemingly not reprimanded for fear mongering. The problem includes social media as well, a percentage of the worlds population is now so terrified of the COVID-19 they don’t want to go back to work for fear of contracting the virus and being unable to get tested unless they have symptoms. The worlds politicians and a worrying number of business owners want to restart the economy at the potential expense of lives but it will come to a grinding halt once again if the second wave takes out more people than the first. The truth is there will be a second peak its impossible for that not to happen because despite even the best social distancing measures cases are still increasing.
The moral of the story is stay educated by reading, don’t take things at face value and if you do be prepared for the backlash. Facebook is filled with extreme right wing narrative at the moment with people sharing Nigel Farage’s attitude towards immigrants and people are mistaking patriotism for a frankly Nazi style stance on human life. Police will prosecute people under terrorism and hate speech charges whether you understand what your sharing or not.
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