Rampant space particles might be behind eight-year-old Mario speedrun glitch

Talk about the butterfly effect. When something goes wrong (or indeed right) with your PC, cosmic rays aren’t exactly the first phenomena that spring to mind. But once you’ve ruled out software bugs, and established that a hardware fault isn’t the culprit, there’s a very real possibility that high energy radiation from supernovae could be to blame for your game character’s erratic behaviour, or that random Blue Screen of Death. 

Youtube’s Veritasium detailed in a recent video how cosmic rays could be spicing up your technological encounters—for better or worse. As Dr. Leif Scheick, Principle Engineer in Radiation Effects at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, confirms: “An upset there, a transient there, can alter the function of these devices,” he explains. “So a blue screen of death that you get, might actually have been a neutron or whatnot.”

A blue screen of death that you get, might actually have been a neutron or whatnot

Dr. Leif Scheick

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