Our universe, and everything in it, may be nothing more than a colourful distraction for something that’s bored or on a long lunch. So say a team of scientists in a startling paper, due to be published this week in Nature.
Despite only recently achieving public awareness following the release of The Matrix, the idea that we exist solely in a fabricated reality is one that scientists and philosophers have pondered long before wooden actors and large black men in tinted armless sunglasses started kicking things in slow motion.
Roger Penrose, the lead scientist behind the paper, says his team’s discovery deftly addresses a lot of enduring cosmic conundrums: “It pretty much explains everything to be honest. For example, we now know that the universe is not infinite. However, if we do happen to stray too far in one direction there’s every possibility we might career off in any direction in some kind of ‘big bounce’. Of course, we might also simply appear on the other side of the screen so there’s no need to worry.”
“Our model also suggests that black holes are merely dead pixels while the seeming existence of Einstein’s cosmological constant is just the result of shoddy physics programming by whoever cobbled our universe together. As was his hair.”
The hypothesis already has met with considerable criticism from competing academics. Brian Cox took time from his busy schedule to dismiss the team’s findings from the top of a dormant volcano in French Polynesia whilst being filmed by a circling helicopter: “It’s not nearly majestic enough for my liking. Plus it means the pilot for my planned series on the multiverse will likely have to be filmed in a call centre.”
Roger Penrose himself is happy to admit his team’s uncertainties on specifics, like what kind of screen saver our universe might actually be. “There are differing opinions, yes. Some think it might be a bunch of comparatively slow-moving galaxies designed to stop screen burn. Others think the complicated strand-like large-scale structure of our universe might form part of someone or something’s jumper in a gradually expanding photo slide show.”
Roger has his own thoughts though. “Me? Well, I’d like to think we’re all part of a series of endless static images of hot naked alien babes on classic motorcycles... which would certainly give a new perspective on the crab nebula! Plus, it's incredible to think Jeremy Clarkson might not be the biggest cunt in existence.”