Friday 21 June 2024

Zip File

 The Mandela effect is nothing but data compression, but it's going on in the human brain. One of the main techniques in data compression is to look for commonalities and to encode repeated data in a shorthand form. Just as an example, imagine we're trying to compress some text. You could replace the word "the" with the letter "t" and it would save you a couple of characters each time it came up. You'd then lose a few characters if somebody used "t" as a word on its own and you had to disambiguate it. He was wearing a white do-not-expand-t shirt.

The Mandela effect is where a large number of people all have the same false memory: Nelson Mandela died in the 80s. Darth Vader said "Luke, I am your father" Pikachu has a black tip on his tail. It's fun to think that they're connections to alternate histories, or artifacts of programming changes in the simulation that we're living in. Sadly, after a long chat with my boss I now believe something much more prosaic.

The only Mandela memory that really bothers me is the Fruit of the Loom logo. It's a company that makes cotton goods, their logo is a pile of fruit. I remember the fruit being in front of a horn shaped basket, but it isn't. What we think is actually going on is that every time you see a pile of fruit in that style, it's in front of a horn of plenty. You've seen it on pub sigs, menus, invitations, and countless other places. When my memory filed away the Fruit of the Loom logo from when I bought a packet of sewing needles, it coded it as just another example of fruit in front of a horn of plenty. Every time I retrieve the memory it comes out with the basket included. It's quite disconcerting.

Richard "cornucopia" B

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