Someone posted a meme that said "Type any 3-digit number and 'New Cases' into google and see what happens", so I decided to try it out.

When I did, I was initially blown away. ANY 3-digit number I typed in brought up a story about that EXACT number of new cases in a particular area. And I tried at least 20 numbers. 134, 321, 121, 222, 981, 114, 115, 116, even 666, and they ALL came back with a story attached about that exact number of new cases somewhere in the world. That made me think: is it even possible that (almost, I didn't try them all) any 3-digit number will bring up a story? Or, (dun dun DUNNNN): is the internet in on helping promote a COVID-19 conspiracy???

Next, I did what every internet user should do: I investigated. My next search was for the following search terms: "type any 3" and, before I finished typing, Google suggested the rest of the search terms: " numbers and new cases". I clicked the suggestion and it opened up a whole host of sites written by conspiracy theorists, and a few from websites explaining why (almost) any number worked. One of the sites was the Bro Bible, and it gave a very reasonable explanation. In short: Google's algorithms.


Conspiracy theory: debunked.

That felt good to type.

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received was this: "Don't always believe what you read on the internet". That bit of advice that was given to me by the late actor James Dean, when I met him on the set of "East of Eden" in 1955.