I’m a big fan of illusions and well performed magic.
Amazing close up sleight of hand. Apparently the iPhone stopwatch was included in the shot to dispel the idea of editing tricks. I quite liked this one.
Post by Sandrine Ceurstemont, editor, New Scientist TV
Impossible objects, like those drawn by artist M. C. Escher, don’t seem like they could exist in the real world. But Kokichi Sugihara from Meiji University in Kawasaki, Japan, is well known for building 3D versions of these structures.
Now a new video shows his latest construction: a gravity-defying roof that seems to attract and balance balls on its edge. When the house is rotated, its true form is revealed.
Related: Kokichi Sugihara at Meiji University in Kawasaki, Japan, has… (thekidshouldseethis.com)
Michael (at VSauce) is always entertaining. This video (made in 2012) is not as intense as his more recent works, but still thought provoking and entertaining. Enjoy 🙂
This may be the best CaptainDisillusion video yet.
Captain Disillusion ponders the very concept of magic by taking a close look at the work of one particular illusionist.
I love illusions and i love the secrets behind the illusions. Enjoy 🙂
(To skip some fluff: At 1:15 in the video you can skip forward to 4:20 in the video.)
Help make more videos like this and see behind-the-scenes extras: patreon.com/CaptainDisillusion
As Captain Disillusion attempts to deconstruct a classic viral video by Dan DeEntremont, he is visited by… an old flame.
Did somebody say optical illusion? This is a classic illusion explained. 🙂
In 1934, ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames, Jr. devised a room that pushes the boundaries of human perception. Visit a virtual version of the now famous Ames room, as Scientific American Mind editor Ingrid Wickelgren explains how it works.
If you know me you know i like a good illusion. Exposing flaws in the brain is fun!
Here is a good one from Mighty Optical Illusions
Keep staring at the flashing green dot, and the yellow dots will fade or disappear due to motion-induced blindness.
As many of you know, i LOVE optical illusions. Not just because of their visual impact, but also because of the insights it can give us into the workings of our brain, another favorite topic of mine.
This is one of my favorite YouTube channels because they always post something interesting.
Check it out. 🙂
Via ▶ Moving Illusions – YouTube
Nothing conspiratorial in this post . . . just pure fun! Enjoy 🙂
Via FarlyTeem – YouTube
I just found an optical illusion that actually threw me off a little bit. I stared at this image, wondering what the optical illusion was and I came close to closing out of it and dragging it to the recycle bin, but I decided to post it. I was a bit shocked when I realized what happened. Stop reading this text right now, scroll down and patiently watch this optical illusion and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. No cheating, go look right now!
Now, this is a pretty cool picture and it’s taken from a movie that I really enjoy: The Shining. You see, I’m a pretty big fan of horror movies and this is definitely a creepy movie. If you’re a fan of horror movies, you’ll know that this is a classic one. Even though I liked this image, I didn’t know if it would work well on the site, but then I remembered that this is actually an optical illusion. You see, these are called cinemagraph optical illusions. If you like this image, you should use it on a message board or anywhere you’re active online. It will definitely catch people off-guard and they will love it.
Introduction by Mason i. Bilderberg (MIB)
How many times have you heard a paranormal investigator claim to see faces and images of the deceased in everything from a cinnabon swirl to a waft of smoke rising from a candle? Are they seeing the deceased? No. What they’re experiencing is a nearly uncontrollable urge by our brains to seek out and identify patterns. Especially human faces. This phenomenon has a name . . . Pareidolia:
«A psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon or the Moon rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records when played in reverse.» – Wikipedia
«. . . a type of illusion or misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as something clear and distinct.
«Under ordinary circumstances, pareidolia provides a psychological explanation for many delusions based upon sense perception.» – The Skeptic’s Dictionary
How powerless are we to our own brains? Look at the image to the right and try to NOT see a very happy thermostat. Bet you can’t!!!
See? Our brains are hardwired to seek out and find faces.
Just HOW hardwired are we to see faces where none exist? Look at the following montage of photos and try to NOT see faces. Prepare to lose control of your mind to the power of pareidolia!!!! Bwahaha!!!!!!
Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)
By animator and artist Aiden Glenn of Pizza and Pixels
I am a HUGE fan of magic, especially slight of hand. This is one of the best card tricks i’ve seen in a long while. 🙂
Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)
Bill Malone’s signature trick. One of the most entertaining card tricks of all time!
- Sam the bell hop (oyiabrown.com)
- David Blaine Destroyed the Minds of Your Favorite Famous People on Real or Magic (grantland.com)
- David Blaine’s Card Trick Thoroughly Freaks Out Harrison Ford (businessinsider.com)
- Breaking Bad-gic: David Blaine pulls a card trick on Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul – VIDEO (popwatch.ew.com)
- VIDEO: Harrison Ford’s reaction to this insane card trick by David Blaine is absolutely priceless (deadstate.org)
A great debunking. 🙂
- Debunking the Viral ‘Miss Ping’ Video (patheos.com)
- WATCH Captain Disillusion Debunk The Viral Ping Pong Knife Act (huffingtonpost.com)
By some counts a surprising number of people believe that the 1969 moon landing was a hoax. These dis-believers point to, among other things, purported inconsistencies in some of the moon landing photos. I’ll describe the application of a new forensic technique that refutes some of these claims.
Shown below is the iconic photo of Buzz Aldrin in which the physical plausibility of the lighting and shadows has been called into question.
I have previously described how cast shadows in an image can be analyzed to determine if they are consistent with a single light source. In order to determine if shadows are authentic, we connect points on a shadow to their corresponding points on the object. These lines should all intersect at a single point (or in the special case, be parallel) — this point is the location of the light source projected into the image. The application of this forensic technique (as shown here) requires a clearly defined shadow to object pairing (e.g., the tip of a cone). Such shadows in the above photo are in short supply thus limiting the application of this forensic technique.
In collaboration with Dr. Eric Kee (Columbia University) and Prof. James O’Brien (UC Berkeley) we recently developed a new forensic technique that can be applied to ambiguously defined shadows . In this analysis, we start at any point on a shadow and draw a wedge-shaped constraint that encompasses all parts of an object to which the shadow may correspond. Shown below is one such constraint. The constraint encompasses the entire sphere because there is no systematic way of reasoning about which part of the sphere is associated with a particular spot on the shadow.
In the above figure, the shaded red region constrains the projected location of the light source. While obviously not as specific as a single line constraint, this approach allows us to analyze all cast shadows in an image.
Because we can now handle ambiguous shadow-object pairings, we can also exploit attached shadows to determine the location of the light source. An attached shadow occurs when an object occludes the light from itself (e.g., a non-full Moon). Shown below, for example, is an attached shadow on the sphere’s surface. The line that is tangent to an attached shadow constrains the projected location of the light source to be on the illuminated side of the object.
Multiple cast and attached shadow constraints can be specified in an image. If the shadows are physically correct, then all of the constraints will share a common intersection (this consistency check is automatically determined using standard linear programming). Any violations of these constraints is evidence of photo tampering.
Shown below is the result of this new shadow analysis applied to the moon landing image. The cast shadow constraints are shown with solid red lines and the attached shadow constraints are shown with dashed lines. All of the constraints are consistent (the triangular region outlined in black denotes a common intersection). Despite some claims to the contrary, the lighting in this spectacular photo is physically consistent.
 Eric Kee, James O’Brien and Hany Farid. Exposing Photo Manipulation with Inconsistent Shadows. ACM Transactions on Graphics, 32(4):28:1-12, 2013.
 Eric Kee’s presentation at SIGGRAPH, 2013.
- PHOTOS: Friday Evening’s Lunar Eclipse (thesurvivalplaceblog.com)
- Extra light source lit up Apollo 11 film footage? (planet.infowars.com)
- Buzz Aldrin Reviews ‘Gravity,’ Is ‘Extravagantly Impressed’ (news.moviefone.com)
- 6 Conspiracy Theories that have no reason to exist (illuminutti.com)
By Marc Lallanilla via LiveScience
The Marfa Lights, mysterious glowing orbs that appear in the desert outside the West Texas town of Marfa, have mystified people for generations.
According to eyewitnesses, the Marfa Lights appear to be roughly the size of basketballs and are varyingly described as white, blue, yellow, red or other colors.
Reportedly, the Marfa Lights hover, merge, twinkle, split into two, flicker, float up into the air or dart quickly across Mitchell Flat (the area east of Marfa where they’re most commonly reported).
There seems to be no way to predict when the lights will appear; they’re seen in various weather conditions, but only a dozen or so nights a year. And nobody knows for sure what they are — or if they really even exist at all.
The Native Americans of the area thought the Marfa Lights were fallen stars, the Houston Chronicle reports.
The first mention of the lights comes from 1883, when cowhand Robert Reed Ellison claimed to have seen flickering lights one evening while driving a herd of cattle near Mitchell Flat. He assumed the lights were from Apache campfires.
Ellison was told by area settlers that they often saw the lights, too, but upon investigation, they found no ashes or other evidence of a campfire, according to the Texas State Historical Association.
During World War II, pilots from nearby Midland Army Air Field tried to locate the source of the mysterious lights, but were unable to discover anything.
Lovers of the paranormal have attributed the Marfa Lights to everything from space aliens to the wandering ghosts of Spanish conquistadors.
Academics, too, have tried to offer a scientific explanation for the enigmatic lights. A group of physics students from the University of Texas at Dallas concluded that headlights from vehicles on nearby U.S. Highway 67 could explain at least some of the reported sightings of the Marfa Lights.
Another possible explanation is the refraction of light caused by layers of air at different temperatures. This optical illusion, sometimes called a superior mirage or a “Fata Morgana,” according to Skeptoid.com, occurs when a layer of calm, warm air rests above a layer of cooler air.
A Fata Morgana is sometimes seen in the ocean, causing a ship to appear to float above the horizon. The temperature gradients needed to produce this optical effect are common in the West Texas desert.
Still others speculate the Marfa Lights may be caused by . . .
- What are the Marfa lights? (sott.net)
- chookooloonks wild west road trip: the marfa lights (chookooloonks.com)
- Packing for Marfa (wherethedartfalls.com)
We all like magic and more importantly we all like to think we can work out magic tricks if we really want to. But as it turns out, even a simple card trick utilizes neuro-scientific principles to trick our brain in ways that we usually can’t consciously control. So what exactly is wrong with our brain? Well nothing really, but years of evolution has left it with traits that leave it wide open to be duped by magic. For example . . .
10 • Focus
Multi tasking is a myth, the human brain simply wasn’t designed to focus on two things at once and magicians take full advantage. Our attention is pulled to one thing in particular due to the ‘moving-spotlight‘ theory. In short, the theory says that our attention is like a spotlight, highlighting one thing while leaving what surrounds it in the dark. When an item or action is within the spotlight the parts of the brain involved in processing it work more efficiently, but anything beyond the spotlight is barely processed at all, at least not by our conscious mind. This allows magicians to pull a sleight of hand right under our noses, as long as something else is drawing our spotlight what happens beyond it, to our brain isn’t happening at all.
9 • Made Up Memories
The ‘misinformation effect’ occurs when information we are given after an event alters our memory of it. For example, a magician asks you to choose a card from the left side of the deck and return it without telling him. Before the razzle-dazzle where he guesses your card he may say something like ‘Now you chose any card you wanted, correct?’ And in the heat of the moment you will say you did. The truth is you were only given the option of the left side of the deck, but the ambiguous comments from the magician alters how you remember the trick, leaving you with a false memory making the trick seem perhaps more incredible than it was.
8 • Predicted Wrong Future
When you see a ball get thrown in the air, it comes back down. You’ve a seen it a million times. You know that what comes up must come down and so does your brain. In fact because of something called the ‘Memory-prediction framework’ our brain sometimes remembers certain actions so well, it stops paying close attention because it predicts how they will end. When a ball gets thrown in the air our brain instantaneously recalls memories of similar events and produces an idea of what’s going to happen next, but sometimes it’s wrong. When a magician puts a ball in a cup only to have it disappear when the cup is lifted, we are shocked because what our brain predicted didn’t come true. Our brains often feed us a prediction and convinces us we saw it happen, which leaves us even more shocked when the predicted action didn’t happen at all.
7 • Free Will
When we ‘pick a card, any card’ we are very rarely picking at random, no matter what it seems. It is usually the magician choosing for us, only without our knowledge. In many card tricks the card we apparently choose is ‘forced’ meaning the magician did something, mental or physical, to make us choose exactly what they wanted us to. But our brain will often over look or deny this as an option, in favor of free choice. Our brain simply does not want to believe it was forced and will often omit facts that may indicate that it was, instead jumping fully into the false idea that all choices were all our own.
6 • Filling in The Blanks
The ‘woman sawed in half trick’ is old enough that most people know the secret. The head we see in one end of the box doesn’t belong to the legs we see at the other. But our brain insists and assumes it does, why? Because our brain is a sucker for continuity. When it sees a head in rough alignment with a set of legs it uses past experience to fill in the blank and tell us that obviously a torso exists between those two body parts. In many magic tricks an object is partially covered, and our brain uses what it CAN see to continue the image and fill in the blank, of course that is exactly what the magician wants.
- 10 Ways Magic Tricks Your Brain (listverse.com)
- Who will apply the art of “diverting your attention” on you today? (eagleman6788.wordpress.com)
- Really, Really, Really, Interactive Magic Trick (theinteractivemagician.wordpress.com)
- Geometrical magic trick (meangreenmath.com)
- Magic Tricks Benefit Children With Autism? (kidzedge.com)
Can you figure out how this is done? I have my thoughts (clue to my solution: “FA”). What are yours? Leave a comment.
Though this prank video is an obvious attempt at force inducing viral-ity by Pepsi Max, it’s still a pretty fun watch. The magician Dynamo tricks people into thinking he can levitate by ‘magically’ following a bus around as it moves across London. Watch people freak out when they see him float.
- How Does He Do It? Magician Dynamo Stuns Onlookers As He Levitates From The Roof Of A London Bus (modernghana.com)
- Magician Dynamo Levitates From The Roof Of A London Bus (akan2011.wordpress.com)
- Dynamo ‘levitates’ next to London bus (thescottishsun.co.uk)
- Magician Dynamo stuns onlookers as he levitates from the roof of a London bus (themaytimes.com)
- dynamo pepsi max (thesun.co.uk)
by Mike Wall via Space.com
A Mars rock that bears a passing resemblance to a rodent is scuttling across the Internet with gusto, even inspiring some fans to set up a Twitter account in its name.
UFO buffs spotted the purported “Mars rat” in a panoramic photo snapped in September 2012 by NASA’s Curiosity rover. Zooming in on a portion of the image reveals what appears to be a rodent crouching between two rocks, its nose to the ground.
“It’s a cute rodent on Mars. Note its lighter-color upper and lower eyelids, its nose and cheek areas, its ear, its front leg and stomach,” Scott Waring wrote at UFO Sightings Daily back in December. “Looks similar to a squirrel camouflaged in the stones and sand by its colors.”
In an update to that post, Waring raised the possibility that NASA flew the rat/squirrel to Mars secretly, as part of an experiment testing out the Red Planet’s ability to support life as we know it.
“Why would they not tell us about it?” Waring wrote. “Because the squirrel would be expected to die eventually and that would get PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] to fight against them in a court of law.”
The Mars rat has now gone viral, jumping from the pages of UFO Sightings Daily to more mainstream publications such as Discovery News, Fox News and a host of other outlets (including, of course, SPACE.com).
The rodent has even picked up its own Twitter account, @RealMarsRat. Just 49 people were following the rat as of Friday afternoon (May 31), but that’s still pretty good for a rodent.
While some people seem to really believe that a squirrel is crawling around on the Red Planet (or was in September, anyway), the Mars rodent is actually an example of a psychological phenomenon called pareidolia.
Pareidolia refers to the tendency of the human brain to perceive animals or other familiar shapes in vague or random images. The phenomenon has fueled a great deal of excited speculation about the Red Planet over the years, most famously after some people saw a humanoid face on Mars in photos taken by NASA’s Viking 1 orbiter in 1976.
And just this March, UFO Sightings Daily reported that an apparent animal, perhaps a rat or a lizard, lurked in another one of Curiosity’s photos.
It’s highly unlikely that a rat, squirrel, lizard or any other organism could survive on the cold, dry Martian surface today, researchers say, though some scientists think the Red Planet may still be able to support microbial life in select underground pockets.
Things were likely different in Mars’ wetter and warmer past, however. Curiosity’s observations led mission scientists to announce earlier this year that microbes could have survived on the Red Planet billions of years ago.
- ‘Mars Rat’ Taking Internet by Storm (space.com)
- Mars rat? Blogger spots ‘creature’ in NASA Curiosity rover image (myfox8.com)
In which direction does this #train move? From which end of the tunnel is it arriving from? It might be both! Check if you can “see” a different direction each time you look at it? If you stare long enough, you might even make the train change its course. Today’s illusion works in the same manner, our famous Spinning Girl does. After all, there is no definitive answer, since the animation loops through just a few frames. On the other hand, if you recognise the station, you just might know the true answer after all 😉
- 10 Optical Illusions That Will Melt Your Mind (techeblog.com)
- Are These Circles Moving? 6 Places To Find Amazing Optical Illusions Online (makeuseof.com)
- Does The Optical Illusion Dress Really Work? (thefashionvisuals.wordpress.com)
- Optical illusions (gamesandotherstuff.wordpress.com)
- Optical Illusions (crazymadbaby.wordpress.com)
- Optical Illusions (theblondielocks.com)
- My Headache Is Gone. Solution To Tables Optical Illusion. (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
- Which direction is the train moving? [Optical Illusion] (dottech.org)
By Tanya Lewis via LiveScience
The brain’s perception of the body may seem set in stone, but a new study shows the mind can be tricked into taking an entire virtual body for its own.
In 1998, neuroscientists Matthew Botvinick and Jonathan Cohen performed an experiment where they showed people a rubber hand being stroked with a paintbrush, while applying the same strokes to each person’s own, hidden hand. This gave people the feeling that the dummy hand was their own.
Scientists have since demonstrated the so-called rubber hand illusion for other body parts — and even whole bodies. Often this is done by putting people in virtual reality settings.
“It seems the brain, under certain conditions, quite easily accepts the idea that [a virtual body] is your body,” said study author Mel Slater, a computer scientist at the University of Barcelona. [Eye Tricks: Gallery of Visual Illusions]
In the new study, Slater and his colleagues investigated whether taking ownership of a full virtual body resulted in neglect of the real body.
Study participants wore head-mounted displays in which they saw a virtual body when they looked down at their real body. Half of the participants experienced a realistic body illusion, where the virtual body’s posture and movements matched those of their real body, while the other half experienced an unrealistic one, where the posture and movements didn’t match their own.
The researchers had the participants place their hand on a cooling device, and measured participants’ sensitivity to small changes in temperature as they experienced a realistic virtual body illusion or an unrealistic one.
During the rubber hand illusion, the real hand has been shown to cool down, suggesting the brain pays more attention to the rubber hand. The researchers suspected that if people were neglecting their real body in favor of the virtual one, sensitivity to temperature changes on their real hand would diminish.
But the opposite was true: People remained sensitive to temperature changes when they experienced a strong illusion that the virtual body belonged to them, and became less sensitive when the illusion was unrealistic. In other words, the better the illusion, the more aware people were of temperature changes in their real hand.
- Jedi Mind Trick? Brain Thinks It Inhabits Virtual Body (livescience.com)
- Mistaken perceptions (deakinscicomm.wordpress.com)