Closer to Virtual Reality: Extraterrestrials and the Simulation Hypothesis

I believe that the Simulation Hypothesis – a hypothesis that we ‘live’ as virtual beings inside a simulated landscape inside a computer – is the most probable hypothesis when it comes to choosing between differing possibilities of reality. However, the key word revolves around what I “believe”. I cannot prove that the Simulation Hypothesis is the be-all-and-end-all of our reality – not yet at least though I’m working on that. Thus, I must keep an open mind to the possibility that our reality isn’t virtual but really real. In the meantime my pontificating on the aliens-are-here, the UFO extraterrestrial hypothesis and related, is to be examined here in that virtual reality scenario.

# Virtual Aliens: If the Simulation Hypothesis is correct, what would it mean for aliens to be here? It would mean no more and no less than what would it mean for a simulated couch to be in your simulated living room or a simulated tree in your simulated front yard or a simulated crook to pickpocket your simulated wallet. You’re asking a question about the motivation of whoever programmed into our simulated landscape the this, and the that and the next thing too including the concept of simulated anomalous lights in the sky and simulated extraterrestrials having their wicked way with a select few of us. I have no idea what their motivation might be.

I suggest though that one needs to perhaps look at things through the eyes of our very own simulated beings part-and-parcel of our simulated landscapes in our video games. What would these virtual beings that we have programmed think of all the bits-and-pieces that we have included in their virtual world? Why is this guy shooting at me? Why is this monster lurking in the shadows? Why is this Little Green Man abducting and raping my daughter? Do we not include aliens, and all manner of alien interactions in our own video games? Have we not created video games that revolve around “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” and their associated extraterrestrials? So, if we do it, what’s the issue with what someone (or something) might include in the programming of our simulation and simulated landscape?

Okay, that’s hardly a question that discounts the existence of aliens in the here and now in what you would call our really real reality.

# The Supreme Programmer: It could well be the fact that as far as our Supreme Programmer – the he / she / it / them responsible for creating our virtual reality – is concerned, we are just trivia. If this Supreme Programmer has designed hundreds or thousands of simulated universes and landscapes, then yes, we’re trivial. But then so to is any simulation or video game that we create. You buy an off-the-shelf video game and isn’t really all of the contents really trivial? But back to simulated aliens. Since we have programmed hundreds of video games that feature aliens, and produced hundreds of movies and TV episodes (cinema being just another form of simulation) that featured ET, some made even before the start of the modern UFO era, why should we (Royal We) and why should you (as in just you) raise eyebrows at the thought that our Supreme Programmer(s) featured aliens? Many forms of what passes for entertainment is trivial. Our science fiction novels and short stories feature aliens by the bucketful who don’t “have to travel through space, time, space-time, or even a mental space to get “here”.” Well actually they have to travel via a mental space – the author’s mental space or the film producer’s mental space or the programmer’s mental space. So maybe we’re just entertainment for the Supreme Programmer, the “we’re” including aliens and UFOs all rounding out the Supreme Programmer’s cosmic landscape.

If we could talk to our video game or simulation characters (or characters written into a novel or who appear on the silver screen) – and as you note, we can’t, yet – they might ask questions very similar to what must exist in the minds of readers here about why we (the Royal We), their creators, programmed this or that or the next thing in creating their simulated landscape. We (the Royal We) might respond that that’s the way we wanted it, even if it was trivial, or absurd.

I need point out when addressing the Simulation Hypothesis that no free will exists. The characters in our novels have no free will; the characters in our films have no free will; the characters in our video games have no free will. If we’re the creation of a Supreme Programmer, we have no free will. We might have no free will when we boldly go, but as long as we think we have free will then we (Royal We) can be convinced of our boldly going prowess. That by the by could equally apply even if we exist in a really real reality.

But if anyone has digested anything I’ve ever posted about the Simulation Hypothesis, they’d be aware there is one vast difference between my postulated Supreme Programmer and a supernatural deity, or God if that word floats your boat. My postulated Supreme Programmer is a fallible SOB and ‘oops’ happen and absurdities happen. God, being omni this and omni that and omni the next thing wouldn’t create any oops or absurdities.

It is important to contrast a creation by a perfect being, an omni-God, whose creation logically would be perfect – no anomalies, no absurdities – and an imperfect being like a mortal flesh-and-blood computer programmer whose programming would not always be perfect and would probably contain anomalies and absurdities. The proof of that pudding is it the constant updates and upgrades you get for your PC as well as the news stories that surface from time to time about security programming flaws in software that allow the less than ethical among us to do relatively nasty things to our privacy, our bank accounts, our databases, our private and public institutions, like hacking into the NSA or the CIA, or having the NSA and the CIA hack into our PC’s.

But by the by, if anyone were to wish to call the Supreme Programmer, the software/computer programmer responsible for our Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe “supernatural”, that’s fine by me as long as it’s not an omni-supernatural he / she / it / they. But what this nitpicking actually contributes to the subject of E.T. and whether or not aliens are, or are not here, in our postulated virtual reality quite escapes me. I doubt if the readers here give a damn whether or not a computer programmer can be defined as someone “supernatural”.

# The Twilight Zone: Whoever, whatever, programmed our cosmos and our local landscape had a sense of the absurd. Perhaps that’s our Supreme Programmer’s sense of humour coming to the fore. What absurdities? Quantum physics is absurd. The fact that we just can’t come up with a Theory of Everything is absurd. An accelerating expansion rate for the cosmos is absurd. Dark Energy and Dark Matter are absurd concepts. Crop circles are absurd (but they’re here). The Loch Ness Monster is absurd (but people report seeing it or them). Long Delayed Echoes are absurd (but verified). Transient Lunar Phenomena are absurd (but verified). Those Martian rock ‘anomalies’ like lizards, rats and skulls are absurd (but they have been photographed). Biblical ‘miracles’ are absurd but millions believe they happened. The SETI “WOW” signal is an absurdity but it happened. There are all manner of archaeological absurdities, but I’ll mention just one – The Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek in modern day Lebanon. There are many things that are absurd when it comes to the human species: here’s one – humans are the only species where the saying “don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes makes actual sense. If photons cannot escape from a Black Hole then neither can gravitons. Gravitons convey the gravitational force which means that Black Holes exert no gravity. A Black Hole without gravity is therefore an absurdity. Then you have quasars that appear linked but have vastly differing red shifts which is also an absurdity. The missing satellite of Venus, Neith, is another absurdity as in how can satellites vanish? You have physical constants that apparently aren’t – constant that is. Time travel to the past is both theoretically possible (General Relativity) and theoretically impossible (paradoxes) – it’s an absurdity to have both something that can be and not be at the same time. Ghosts are absurd yet there are probably more sightings of ghosts going back to ancient times than there have been sightings of UFOs. Perhaps UFOs, the “Greys” and related are also absurdities, but they exist in good company with the rest of what passes for our simulated cosmic ‘Twilight Zone’.

Here are a few more absurdities to ponder over. There are three generations of elementary particles, yet only one plays any significant role in the cosmos. The other two contribute nothing of substance and structure, so why is there a second and a third generation of the elementary particles? In archaeology, the Mesoamerican Olmec massive multi-ton stone heads scream out ‘made in Africa’ or ‘we’re African’, yet there should not have been any cross-cultural contact between Africa and Central America way back in Olmec days. Such a scenario is deemed an absurdity. Lastly, turning again to human anomalies, we alone in all the animal kingdom have a bipedal gait without benefit of a balancing tail. A bipedal gait without any balancing mechanism makes us very unstable on our feet. We’re very easy to knock over. We can lose our balance, fall down and do ourselves a mischief very easily relative to the rest of the animal kingdom. That Mother Nature would select for such an absurdity, is, well, an absurdity.

Exceptions to the rule, like the human bipedal gait, require extra special scrutiny since at first glance lone exceptions appear highly out-of-place and anomalous. Another example is with respect to velocity. Velocities can be added and subtracted with one exception – the speed of light. Why is this so? Nobody knows.

Now from the inside of the computer looking out, as virtual beings, we could never know for absolute certain that anomalies or absurdities weren’t designed deliberately or built into the system. But that doesn’t mean we (Royal We) can’t damn well have suspicions, especially when the anomalies or the absurdities just keep on mounting up. So there is no such thing, as some might suggest, of a proven ‘oops’, but there certainly can be suspicions that something is screwy somewhere. There couldn’t logically be such suspicions if an omni-God (or equivalent) were the only option regarding our creation, something that was the case in ancient times before computer programming and software simulations was conceived of in anyone’s philosophy. An omni-God is no longer the only creation scenario game in town.

I repeat, our Universe might be deliberately designed to be a ‘Twilight Zone’ cosmos, but the odds seem to favour some unintentional “oops” caused by lapses in the programming that was done by my postulated Supreme (but fallible) Programmer. Given the absolute complexity of designing a simulated cosmos from scratch, it is logical to suspect that anyone who isn’t an omni-God would goof a few things up. No one can prove that, but one certainly can suspect that not all is right with the cosmos; one can have one’s doubts! The bottom line is that anomalies and absurdities most certainly argue against an omni-God but support the idea of a fallible creator, like a computer programmer.

Shooting Food — Filming Food So It Looks Good Enough To Eat

I’ve worked a number of movie shoots with eating scenes and they can be very difficult because of perishable food items. Since the object is to make the food always look good (even if it is barely on the screen), there are special challenges in shooting edibles. And if you’re filming a feast, the food should look perfect!

I’ve created this list to share some of the most useful information that I’ve come across working Art Department with food handling. These items come from real world experience, so they should be applicable to most filming situations.

Here are some tips on filming food:

Use colored dishes

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Most non-professional art directors overlook using colored plates, service trays, glasses, etc. Color dishes do two things for you: add color to your scene and add contrast to food presentation. Imagine a black plate with a tomato and a leaf of lettuce on it. Much better than a white plate with the same items. Warning: Only do this if the colors of the dishes match (all glasses same color, all plates same color, etc.) If it looks like you picked up a hodgepodge of colored dishes at the local thrift store, it will ruin the film illusion.

Use a spray-bottle of cooking oil

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Most food has a matte finish so the food surface doesn’t reflect much light. A spray bottle of oil will add a shine to items that will enhance how most food appears on film. It will also add lighting highlights that enhances the look of food. A coating of oil can also be used to simulate wet food.

Think ahead about food rotting

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Many people think of food refrigeration before the shooting begins (making sure meat, etc. is well kept before 1st call). Beginners often forget to consider what the food will be like after 5 hours of shooting under the hot lights. Consider this when you’re putting together your on-camera meal. It’s hard to get a good performance out of an actor when a rotting pork chop is sitting right under his nose.

Mix real food with fake food

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If you use all fake food (wax grapes, plastic lemons, etc.), the food will appear fake on camera. The best technique is to mix real and fake food. This can work especially well with deserts. Fake ice cream with real cherries and whip cream looks good enough to eat! Also, mashed potatoes can be a useful stand-in for ice cream.

Use the vaseline trick for beading water

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Vaseline can be used on an actor’s face to simulate beads of sweat. Likewise, you can coat the outside of a vegetable (such as an apple). Use a hand spray filled with water and the water will bead on the surface for that just-out-of-the-garden freshness. Note that this effect won’t be picked up by the camera except with close-up photography and specific lighting, so don’t bother except under those conditions. This technique can also be used for beads of water on a glass if you need the glass to look like it’s sweating from a cold liquid inside.

Soft lighting makes food look good

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The general rule in shooting food is that soft light makes food look good to eat, hard lighting makes it look like poison. The hard light creates harsh shadows which makes food look blacker/rotten. Food lighting is exactly like lighting people — think of your desired effect.

Use dish soap for a head on a beer

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If the scene requires beer, dish soap provides a good frothy head that lasts under the hot lights. Obviously, make sure your actors don’t take a swig. That said, I would personally recommend avoiding shooting beer. Unless it is specially lighted, it will show up on film as a flat brown which typically less than appetizing.

Undercook food to retain firmness

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Many foods wilt under the long shooting hours and hot lights. Some foods such as pasta (especially spaghetti) can be under-cooked to a rubber consistency. These foods will then stay firm during the entire shoot rather than wilting and appearing exhausted.

Bring spare tablecloths

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Almost without fail an actor will spill something on your tablecloth. Both the spill and the stain will cause horrid problems for film continuity. Have 2 or 3 identical tablecloths on set. When a spill occurs, you can quickly swap out the dirty one for a clean reserve.

Consider using food doubles

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If the food shoot is going to be very long and the food needs to look perfect, you can use fake food for the long shots and the real perfect food for the close ups.

Combat Flight Simulators – Microsoft

A combat flight simulator is a type of video game that simulates the operations of a military aircraft. They are different from normal flight simulators because these video games are used for military training, so they are more complex. Also, they often include shooting at enemies. Here are some simulators from Microsoft.

CFS WWII Europe Series (1998)

This is the first combat flight simulator that the Microsoft Game Studios created, and it was released on November 1, 1998. The setting of this video game is in the European Theater of WWII. It requires a minimum of Windows 95 to run. At the time, it had very good graphics, which preceded 2000. In this game, the ground was not very detailed, but it was programmed in open architecture, so it is possible to add extra software without breaking copyright laws.

This simulator includes many upgrades, such as a world flight mode, hundreds of aircraft to choose from, and much more. It can even be played online if you have an internet connection. Now, this game is out of print, but it can still be downloaded online. Currently, there is still an online multiplayer community for this game. It can be set up to play using your direct IP address.

Simulator 2: WWII Pacific Theatre (2000)

The next combat flight simulator Microsoft made was released in 2000. The setting of this video game is in the Pacific Theater of WWII, and it is loosely based on historic WWII battles. It was very popular at the time, and it requires a minimum of Windows 95 to run. This game was also programmed in open architecture, so many third parties created their own software to add on without breaking copyright laws.

This simulator includes seven kinds of fighter aircraft that the player can fly, some from the United States and some Japanese. It also includes eleven non-flyable aircraft, also from the United States and Japan. These eleven aircraft can be used as enemies or helpers to the flyable ones. The flyable aircraft can be launch rockets, bombs, or be fighter aircraft. In this game, the player can change the weather, but the scenery stays the same. There are also some moving objects that the player can target and destroy.

Simulator 3: Battle for Europe (2002)

The final simulator that Microsoft developed came out in 2002. It requires a minimum of Windows 98 to play. This is an updated version of the first combat flight simulator. It still takes place in the European Theater of WWII, but it includes more options. There is a campaign mode, and based on how well the player does, the player controls how long and who wins in the war. This means that it is possible for the Germans to win against England, or the Allies to win before D-day.

This simulator is in a much more complex format than its predecessor. This makes additional software for it much harder to make. However, there are still add-ons and expansion packs currently being made. It also has improved graphics and sounds. Some expansion kits can add extra nationalities, a Mediterranean Theater, new planes, the Tunisian Campaign, or the Korean War. However, this one is still criticized because one player cannot affect the campaign much.

Microsoft Game Studios created some of the most popular combat flight simulators. They made a total of three, each one adding extra content and complexity, and each taking place in European or Pacific Theater of World War II.