This show has now made Pokémon creepy to me.” Augmented and Alternate Reality Games, Interactive Narrative and the Documentary TV Series Hellier

Regardless of whether it is a genuine documentary or not, the series certainly represents the investigative team’s immersion in an interactive quest narrative comparable to such Alternate Reality Games as Joseph Matheny’s Ong’s Hat from 1988 – widely considered to be the first Alternate Reality Game and, like Wriste, associated with both anarchism and occultism – or The Jejune Institute (2008-11) devised by Jeff Hull, which appears to be influenced by Situationism. The team’s immersion parallels the experience of Hellier viewers, such as Dessie_Hull, who are active on Reddit and other social media platforms where they discuss not only the series but also the numerous esoteric texts referenced by the investigators throughout both seasons. It may be, then, that Hellier is not only a work of fiction but also itself an Alternate Reality Game, in which viewers who believe that it is a work of non-fiction are unwitting participants to the extent that, for Dessie_Hull, it has affected their participation in an Augmented Reality Game, the obviously fictional (being based on an existing media franchise) Pokémon GO


My Old Friend, Nick Herbert in The New Yorker

My old friend gets a nod in the New Yorker regarding his contribution to quantum computing.

The World-Changing Race to Develop the Quantum Computer

Such a device could help address climate change and food scarcity, or break the Internet. Will the U.S. or China get there first?

But Clauser had also demonstrated that entangled particles were more than just a thought experiment. They were real, and they were even stranger than Einstein had thought. Their weirdness attracted the attention of the physicist Nick Herbert, a Stanford Ph.D. and LSD enthusiast whose research interests included mental telepathy and communication with the afterlife. Clauser showed Herbert his experiment, and Herbert proposed a machine that would use entanglement to communicate faster than the speed of light, enabling the user to send messages backward through time. Herbert’s blueprint for a time machine was ultimately deemed unfeasible, but it forced physicists to start taking entanglement seriously. “Herbert’s erroneous paper was a spark that generated immense progress,” the physicist Asher Peres recalled, in 2003.

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Another conspiracy theory “joke” that got out of hand was that of Ong’s Hat, New Jersey. Ong’s Hat was one of the earliest online conspiracy theories, based on a few run-down, abandoned buildings located deep in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

The story goes that science and the paranormal blended together to open doors to other worlds and dimensions. A man by the name of Matheny fueled interest in the area by posing as an investigator and reporting strange occurrences. Soon, though, his “research” started encouraging people to get a little out of hand.

Despite pulling the plug on it, believers refused to think it was all a game. Even in recent years, Matheny has had several people harass him for more information or try to break into his property.