I’m considering the idea of how we can exit the simulation we are almost certainly in.

As part the first blog entry,  I considered the first 3 steps of the plan to escape from the simulation we’re in. First, I outlined the concept of hidden messages. Second, looked at communications hidden in the fabric of life. Third, I considered how observing statistical anomalies  within a system, from outside the system, can alert those watching to exceptional events which might contain or reveal a message.

In this blog entry, I’ll consider real life examples of the same things.

Step 4. A case study : A real life signal that Earth has received from outer space; the ‘Wow’ message, including the key components that it contained.

The most famous story about a real message that the real Earth (may) have received from outer space reads much like a Sci Fi book – although just to be clear, this actually happened in ‘real life’. You may notice some of the themes discussed in part 1 of this article.

How Big Ear Received A Message

‘Big Ear’ –  was a radio telescope receiver which was repurposed by Ohio University to ‘listen to the universe’, as part of the real SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) program.

The donation of that particular enormous dish for that specific purpose turned out to be a fortuitous investment. One morning, a scientists came in to work and started reviewing the data stream produced by their state of the art dot matrix printer. It showed what had been gathered by the telescope overnight. The observations were astounding.

One period of analysis within that print-off stood out. It is considered, even today, to be the most likely incidence of a clear message we’ve received from an alien intelligence. The ‘blip’ had one very simple element that no other message ever had before.

Just as was the case in the book ‘Contact’ (see last article) with the ones and zeros in Pi, statistically the ‘Signal’ stood out from the noise they picked up in Ohio. This was not the message’s only distinguishing factor, however. There was a second feature which added to the first’s intriguing aspects.

The way they used their ‘Big Ear’ was always the same. They picked a point in space and listened. As the Earth rotated overnight, the radio antenna would revolve with our planet. It was a bit like a lighthouse in some regards. Imagine standing 10 miles from a lighthouse, on a boat out at sea. You’re the same height as the light. As the lighthouse rotates, you see the sweep of the beam. Then the light hits one of your eyes, then both, then back to one (but on the other side of your head now) This allowed scientists to speculate what a real message from another galaxy might look like.

What was special about this message from the stars?

The hypothesis was this. If they received a signal from a single point alien spot in space, say a planet, for example, what they’d see on their print off would appear as an intensity which first rose to a crescendo (I guess scientists would say peak) and then drop off symmetrically on the other side. That’s exactly what they found.

So significant were the factors observed, that they combined to make this a high credible contender for a phone call from ET. The guy examining the print-out on that fateful morning wrote ‘Wow!’ next to it. It became known as the ‘Wow’ message.

This is the signal/noise/system model again

Similar to the signal/noise ratio exposed in the last blog article, in this case the ‘system’ being observed was everything outside Earth. It was a statistical anomaly which facilitated the identification of the signal apart from the noise and alerted the scientists monitoring to what was happening. The anomaly and the elegance, particularly the symmetry of the intensity they’d seen, caused the ‘Wow!’ moment.

Summarising the steps so far

It seems then, that, if one wants to communicate with something outside the system you’re in, one must:

  1. A) Send a signal which stands out from the noise, and;
  2. B) Perhaps act in a way which is seen to be elegant by those who may be observing.

These things have happened at least twice in these blog articles

  • First, in fiction (‘Contact’) and
  • Second in real life (‘Wow’.)

I put it to you that this information could be used in combination with something as trivial as Pac Man (for example), to save the human race.

Summing up part 2

In this article, I considered a case study: The Wow! Message – a practical example of the concepts from part 1.

In the final article of this series, I will try to tie all 4 steps from the first 2 articles together and use the sum of these ideas to suggest how Pac Man, among many other specifics which could oblige those rules, could help us get out of the simulation which we are almost certainly in.

Here’s a link to part 3.