The Saskatoon Effect: Incontrovertible Evidence We Live in a Simulation

On January 11th, the New York Times released its annual list of tourist hotspots throughout the world. Perhaps not surprising due to the country's five to six months of winter per year, Canada saw only one of its cities named to this list. Was it ocean-swaddled, mountain-girded Vancouver? Sufferably Francophone Montreal? The amicable metropolis of Toronto? In all three cases, the answer is no. Rather, the Times chose Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, compelling evidence that we are indeed living in a computer simulation.

Simulation cosmology has been in vogue of late. Tech magnate Elon Musk has gone on record stating that he is convinced our universe is a simulation. Moreover, simulation theory has circulated throughout pop culture and the internet, proponents citing all manner of evidence, most notably, the phenomena of false memories apparently shared by wide swaths of the population. For instance, many claim to recollect that Nelson Mandella died in prison long before his reported death in 2013. Moreover, many grown adults who had the Berenstain Bears books read to them in their childhoods insist they remember the name of the titular ursine family having been spelled "Berenstein". These incongruities have been interpreted as glitches in the digitally coded fabric of our reality. The testimonials on which they are based, however, are highly conjectural to say the least, and so we have been left with little solid evidence that we live in a simulation...until Saskatoon came along--or rather, became worth travelling to.

If you have never heard of Saskatoon, don't be ashamed. It is a small city of a quarter million people on the South Saskatchewan river. Its main industries are agriculture, flour, oil, meat packing and dairy products. It has a university of middling quality and an art gallery which, according to the Times article, has a Picasso. The Cleveland Museum of Art also has a Picasso, but that is no reason to hazard a trip to Cleveland. There is little else to speak of in Saskatoon. It is not the provincial capital, and it has no professional sports teams (unless you count lacrosse). It has a full six months of winter per year.

Thus, there are two possible scenarios at play here: 1) we live in a simulation and there has been a glitch in which Saskatoon has been mistaken for interesting, possibly due to larger issues involving data fragmentation or corruption brought along with Donald Trump having been elected president. Alternatively, 2) we are but one in a series of billions of ongoing simulations, and ours is the singular instance in that billion wherein people in New York find places in Western Canada, let alone Saskatchewan, interesting.

Either scenario seems plausible. Rest assured, however, that despite the interest that New Yorkers have taken in Saskatoon as a tourist destination, there is no simulation--no matter how many billions and trillions are ongoing--in which Saskatoon is actually interesting.


Image attribution: "DowntownSaskatoon" by RBykowy. Alterations were made by Ewedrooper. Original file licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. This remix is distributed under the same license as the original. Original image can be found here.