Tag Archives: LifesLittleMysteries

The Science Of Lucid Dreaming

via LifesLittleMysteries.com

A lucid dream occurs when the dreamer is aware of the events happening during the dream. Studies suggest that a person can learn to lucid dream by some simple steps outlined in this video. Lucid dreams are strongly associated with REM sleep. REM sleep is more abundant just before being awake. Other ways to practice are to keep a dream journal or practice reality checks like turning on a light switch.

Are Flat-Earthers Being Serious?

via LifesLittleMysteries.com

A Flat Earth model depicting Antarctica as an ice wall surrounding a disc-shaped Earth.
CREDIT: Creative Commons 1.0 Generic | Trekky0623
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Members of the Flat Earth Society claim to believe the Earth is flat. Walking around on the planet’s surface, it looks andfeelsflat, so they deem all evidence to the contrary, such as satellite photos of Earth as a sphere, to be fabrications of a “round Earth conspiracy” orchestrated by NASA and other government agencies.

The belief that the Earth is flat has been described as the ultimate conspiracy theory. According to the Flat Earth Society’s leadership, its ranks have grown by 200 people (mostly Americans and Britons) per year since 2009. Judging by the exhaustive effort flat-earthers have invested in fleshing out the theory on their website, as well as the staunch defenses of their views they offer in media interviews and on Twitter, it would seem that these people genuinely believe the Earth is flat.

But in the 21st century, can they be serious? And if so, how is this psychologically possible?

Through a flat-earther’s eyes

First, a brief tour of the worldview of a flat-earther: While writing off buckets of concrete evidence that Earth is spherical, they readily accept a laundry list of propositions that some would call ludicrous. The leading flat-earther theory holds that Earth is a disc with the Arctic Circle in the center and Antarctica, a 150-foot-tall wall of ice, around the rim. NASA employees, they say, guard this ice wall to prevent people from climbing over and falling off the disc. Earth’s day and night cycle is explained by positing that the sun and moon are spheres measuring 32 miles (51 kilometers) that move in circles 3,000 miles (4,828 km) above the plane of the Earth. (Stars, they say, move in a plane 3,100 miles up.) Like spotlights, these celestial spheres illuminate different portions of the planet in a 24-hour cycle. Flat-earthers believe there must also be an invisible “antimoon” that obscures the moon during lunar eclipses.

Furthermore, Earth’s gravity is an illusion, they say. Objects do not accelerate downward; instead, the disc of Earth accelerates upward at 32 feet per second squared (9.8 meters per second squared), driven up by a mysterious force called dark energy. Currently, there is disagreement among flat-earthers about whether or not Einstein’s theory of relativity permits Earth to accelerate upward indefinitely without the planet eventually surpassing the speed of light. (Einstein’s laws apparently still hold in this alternate version of reality.)

As for what lies underneath the disc of Earth, this is unknown, but most flat-earthers believe it is composed of “rocks.” [Religion and Science: 6 Visions of Earth’s Core]

Then, there’s the conspiracy theory: Flat-earthers believe photos of the globe are photoshopped; GPS devices are rigged to make airplane pilots think they are flying in straight lines around a sphere when they are actually flying in circles above a disc. The motive for world governments’ concealment of the true shape of the Earth has not been ascertained, but flat-earthers believe it is probably financial. “In a nutshell, it would logically cost much less to fake a space program than to actually have one, so those in on the Conspiracy profit from the funding NASA and other space agencies receive from the government,” the flat-earther website’s FAQ page explains.

It’s no joke

MORE . . .
Also see The Flat Earth Society

Headache-Inducing Spiral Illusion Explained

Four Circles Illusion

By Natalie Wolchover via LifesLittleMysteries.com

Warning: This optical illusion might give you a headache. At a glance, the swirls of tilted black-and-white squares create the perception of a spiral. Look more closely and you realize that the squares don’t form a coil at all; they trace out four perfectly round, concentric circles. The cognitive dissonance between your overall impression of spiraling and your recognition of individual circles … well, it hurts.

This “intertwining illusion” sends the brain conflicting cues.
CREDIT: Pinna & Gregory, 2002

The illusion — called the “intertwining illusion” — has been a hit on social media recently, and it also happens to be the subject of study by researchers around the world. Because optical illusions harness the shift between what the eyes see and what the brain perceives, teasing out how that shift happens enables scientists to understand the inner workings of the human visual system.

When confronted with an optical illusion, or any other scene, “the visual system is interested in inferring what regions of an image are part of the same object or were made by the same process,” explained Alvin Raj, a researcher in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who uses spiral illusions to study peripheral vision mechanisms.

But in this case, the visual system receives conflicting cues: Some say “circle,” and some say “spiral.” At the periphery of your vision, the spiral cues win.

MORE . . .

Illusionist David Blaine’s Electrifying Stunt is Shockingly Safe

via LifesLittleMysteries.com

In his latest stunt, illusionist David Blaine plans to make his body a conduit for an electric current flowing between two high-voltage electrodes for three days straight. The magician says he’ll face off with 1 million volts in what he told the Daily News would be his “most dangerous” feat ever, but at least one MIT physicist won’t be losing sleep over Blaine’s safety, saying the trick seems mostly risk-free.

A trailer for the stunt, which is set to begin on Manhattan’s Pier 54 on Oct. 5, shows Blaine standing at the center of a dark room, his mesh bodysuit lit only by two fluttering arcs of electricity emanating from his outstretched arms.

If the teaser gives any indication of what will actually transpire next month, Blaine’s odds of besting death in the trick he calls “Electrified: One Million Volts Always On” are pretty good.

“He has a conducting suit, all the current is going through the suit, nothing through his body,” said John Belcher, a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a co-investigator on a plasma experiment aboard NASA’s Voyager 2 craft. “There is no danger in this that I see. I would do it, and I am 69 years old and risk-averse. I just would have to take a nap.”

(MORE . . . )

Amazing Photo of Hurricane Isaac Is Fake

Meteorologists say this image is Photoshopped.

Meteorologists say this image is Photoshopped.

By: Natalie Wolchover, Life’s Little Mysteries Staff Writer

If, sometime in the past few days, you saw a photo alleging to show Hurricane Isaac barreling over ominously still waters as it approached the Gulf Coast, scrub the image from your memory: the photo is fake.

“It is a Photoshopped picture of a supercell thunderstorm that seems to pop up with a new foreground every time there is a hurricane threat anywhere,” Bay News 9 meteorologist Josh Linker said.

“I’ve seen versions of that photo since at least 2005,” added Brian McClure, also a meteorologist at the Tampa Bay-based news station.

The current incarnation of the picture claiming to show Isaac was posted to Twitter several days ago, retweeted thousands of times, and even used by some media outlets to accompany its coverage of the storm before the hoax came to light.

Similar fakery occurred last August during Hurricane Irene, when another photo of a supercell thunderstorm, superimposed on a picture of a Florida beach, got retweeted hundreds of thousands of times on Twitter. Likewise, in 2005, supercell storm pictures circulated as alleged shots of Hurricane Katrina making landfall.

More: Amazing Photo of Hurricane Isaac Is Fake | LifesLittleMysteries.com.

Latest Mars Hoax: Photo of Martian Double Sunset

via LifesLittleMysteries.com

The Martian dust has barely had time to settle after the landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover, and already the robotic vehicle has inadvertently generated multiple conspiracy theories and hoaxes. The latest is a fabricated photo of two suns setting on Mars.

As a member of the same solar system as Earth, Mars, of course, orbits a single sun. Nonetheless, the double sunset image, which was supposedly captured in the past few days by the Curiosity rover, has spread around the Web and is causing confusion about just what it could be showing.

If the two suns look oddly familiar, you might be a “Star Wars” fan. Turns out, the image is a photo of an actual Martian sunset taken by NASA’s Spirit rover in 2005 overlain with the double sunset that appears on the planet Tatooine in the film “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” (LucasFilm, 1977).

Keep Reading: Latest Mars Hoax: Photo of Martian Double Sunset | LifesLittleMysteries.com.

‘Invisible UFOs’ Fill the Skies | Night Vision UFO Sightings

“Why are all the good UFOs invisible?” one Gather.com user asked in response to the latest “invisible UFO” report posted to the site.

You might have thought a defining characteristic of a UFO would be visibility. But thanks to zealous alien hunters doggedly scanning the sky with night-vision cameras, a new class of flying objects that only emit infrared light has emerged from the darkness. Are they spies from the great beyond?

“Some people claim to see actual battles between UFOs up in the sky …”

Keep Reading (and Video): ‘Invisible UFOs’ Fill the Skies | Night Vision UFO Sightings | LifesLittleMysteries.com.

Notion That Liars Glance to the Right Debunked

Conventional wisdom has it that when people talk, the direction of their eye movements reveals whether or not they’re lying. A glance up and to the left supposedly means a person is telling the truth, whereas a glance to the upper right signals deceit. However, new research thoroughly debunks these notions. As it turns out, you can’t smell a liar by where he looks.

Researchers in the United Kingdom investigated the alleged correlation between eye direction and lying after realizing it was being taught in behavioral training courses, seminars and on the Web without the support of a shred of scientific evidence. The idea has its roots in a largely discredited 1970s theory called Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a set of techniques intended to help people master social interactions.

Keep Reading: Notion That Liars Glance to the Right Debunked | LifesLittleMysteries.com.
Related: The eyes don’t have it: New research into lying and eye movements.

Is the Baltic Sea ‘Sunken UFO’ an Elaborate Scam?

The ocean explorers who discovered a huge, UFO-shape object on the floor of the Baltic Sea last year are having a heck of a time figuring out what it is.

A suspiciously hard time, some would say.

Read More: Is the Baltic Sea ‘Sunken UFO’ an Elaborate Scam? | UFO News | LifesLittleMysteries.com.
Original Story: ALIEN SPACESHIP FOUND IN THE BALTIC SEA

How New ‘Mood Ring’ Glasses Let You See Emotions

Evolution has tailored the human eye for detecting red, green, blue and yellow in a person’s skin, which reveals areas where that person’s blood is oxygenated, deoxygenated, pooled below the surface or drained. We subconsciously read these skin color cues to perceive each other’s emotions and states of health. Rosy cheeks can suggest good health, for example, while a yellowish hue hints at fear.

Now, researchers have created new glasses, called O2Amps, which they say amplify the wearer’s perception of blood physiology, augmenting millions of years of eye evolution.

Read more: How New ‘Mood Ring’ Glasses Let You See Emotions | LifesLittleMysteries.com.

Scale Vertical Walls With Personal Vacuum Assisted Climber

The Personal Vacuum Assisted Climber (PVAC) is a wall climbing tool which relies on a portable vacuum pack and large suction cups.

A second video from a different angle.

More Info: Scale Vertical Walls With Personal Vacuum Assisted Climber | LifesLittleMysteries.com.

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