Tag Archives: Light

5 Things I’ve noticed about… Breatharianism

by The Locke via The Soap Box

breath 844_150pxBreatharianism is a New Age Movement belief that asserts that people don’t need food inorder to live, and only need clean air and sun light.

Now there are a lot of things I have noticed about this belief (mainly the body count) but I have narrowed it down to five main things.

So here are five things I’ve noticed about Breatharianism:

5. It’s a typical New Age Movement belief.

Breatharianism is a belief that is apart of, or at least viewed to be apart of the New Age Movement, and like most beliefs in the New Age Movement it’s mess-mass of several different beliefs all rolled into one.

prana_300pxPractitioners of Breatharianism believe it is possible to live off of prana (which is according to Hindu beliefs is a vital life force energy) and that the best source of this prana is from light and air, and with enough skill and knowledge they can somehow manipulate this prana to the point where they can live off of it forever and never need any food or water.

Another part about Breatharianism is the attainment of spiritual enlightenment, which apparently involves not eating. This sounds an awful lot like fasting, which is something that Abrahamic religions tend to do.

Basically Breatharianism is a combination of certain beliefs from Eastern and Western religions.

Also, like with many other New Age beliefs…

4. It’s Pseudoscience.

While Breatharianism is primarily based from Eastern and Western religious beliefs, everything about it is pseudoscience.

Like all pseudosciences it’s based off of a tiny scientific fact, and that fact is that we do need air and light inorder to live (well, not so much light, but we do need air) and that there is energy all around us… it’s just not prana. breatherian_300pxThis energy is either in the form photonic energy from light sources, or radio waves, or electromagnetic fields from electrical sources, or kinetic energy from air movement and the movement of the Earth.

Yes, there are many forms of energy that surrounds us. Prana is not one of them, and even if it was, it’s very probable that we couldn’t manipulate it with our minds.

The main claim about Breatharianism, as I stated before (and the one that doctors and scientists and people with common sense have a problem with) is that humans can live off of this prana and don’t need to ever eat or drink again, which is impossible.

I suppose with these beliefs it seems that…

3. They make it sound like humans are actually plants.

Now I’m sure that no person alive that claims to practice Breatharianism will actually say that humans are pretty much like plants, but it does sound an awful lot like that’s what they’re trying to get at with their insistence that people only need air and sun light to live, which is something that plants need inorder to live.

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Strange Lights in Mars Photos Are Not Alien Bonfires

Click image for larger view

Click image for larger view

By Nadia Drake via National Geographic

Recent photos taken by NASA’s Mars rover might appear to show a gleaming alien bonfire burning in the distance—at least according to some Internet loonies—but that’s not exactly what’s happening.

Fact is, there still isn’t any evidence for life on Mars. None.

MarsPhoto2_300pxThe provocative, shiny smears of light appear in two images snapped by rover Curiosity’s navigation camera, one on April 2 and the other on April 3, provoking excitement among some in the UFO-spotting crowd.

The photos come courtesy of the camera’s right eye and show nearly vertical bright smudges emerging from a spot near the horizon. Photos of the same spot shot by the camera’s left eye, meanwhile, show no such things.

Rather than emanating from an underground Martian disco, the bright spots are probably caused by cosmic rays colliding with the rover’s camera or by glinting rocks reflecting the Martian sunlight, said NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Justin Maki, lead imaging scientist for the Curiosity team.

He said that glimmers appearing in similar spots on two consecutive days are oddly coincidental.

Cosmic Rays

It turns out that both cosmic rays and glinting rocks are pretty common on Mars. They’ve been spotted before. Such rocks have been seen in images sent by several of NASA’s Mars rovers, and cosmic rays appear in images that Curiosity sends to Earth each week.

CosmicRays_225pxMaki said that one percent of those hundreds of weekly images might include cosmic ray-induced bright spots. But the junked-up pixels normally don’t cause much of a stir.

“You’ll see cosmic rays every two or three days. Certainly at least once a week,” Maki said. “The reason we see so many is because Mars’s atmosphere is thinner: It doesn’t block as much cosmic radiation as Earth’s does.”

Cosmic rays are charged particles that fly through the universe in every direction all the time. Every so often they’ll collide with something like a camera. One sign of a cosmic ray hit, Maki said, is the appearance of the ray in images taken by one of Curiosity’s eyes but not the other.

Glinting rocks, on the other hand, could easily reflect Martian sunlight.

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Image Authentication and Forensics – The Moon Landing Photos

By Hany Farid via Image Authentication and Forensics | Fourandsix Technologies

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 [1]. 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.



[1] Eric Kee, James O’Brien and Hany Farid. Exposing Photo Manipulation with Inconsistent ShadowsACM Transactions on Graphics, 32(4):28:1-12, 2013.

[2] Eric Kee’s presentation at SIGGRAPH, 2013.

[END] via Image Authentication and Forensics | Fourandsix Technologies

‘UFO’ Videotaped From Airplane: What Is It? : Discovery News

by Benjamin Radford via Discovery News

A home video allegedly taken just before Christmas during a late-night flight appears to show a UFO flying next to the plane. The video, posted to YouTube by a man named Mauricio Ruiz, has the Internet buzzing.

According to Tom Rose, an Examiner.com blogger,

The UFO itself is of a type possibly never filmed before. For most of the video the lustrous, rounded object flies alongside the jet, maintaining relative distance and speed. This in itself is unusual as aircraft are usually separated by a mile or more for safety reasons. The object looks metallic and resembles a closed fist encased in a glove.


Still frame from the video in question
showing the alleged UFO.

Actually the video doesn’t show a “lustrous, rounded object” — nor, for that matter, a metallic one — but instead a group of six or eight clustered irregular-shaped lights that remain more or less fixed in one position. Still, its identity has many puzzled: Lights on the ground? A hoax? Reflection of interior cabin lights? A flying saucer?

Though a definitive conclusion has yet to be reached, there are a few clues in the video that offer a plausible explanation.

For one thing, the light cluster does not move relative to the airplane; indeed it remains apparently stationary in the sky from the cameraman’s point of view. It keeps the exact same speed and altitude near the plane, which would very unusual if it is an aircraft sidling nearby.

It’s important to remember that airplane windows are different from ordinary house windows. For one thing, the panes are not flat but instead slightly curved, which can alter and distort images seen in them.

Furthermore, objects outside the cabin are viewed not through one pane but instead through at least two transparent panels of glass and plastic; this creates an overlaying double reflection of lights from inside the cabin.

The image is reflected once by the plastic near the seat, and once more by the thick laminated glass on the inside of the window itself, a few inches beyond. The result is a reflection that often appears as a duplicate image, depending on the angle of the viewer.

Indeed, this effect can be seen in the ‘UFO’ video. At several places in the video (including 0:18 and 0:41), this duplicate ghosting effect is apparent; though the image is moving and blurry because of the unsteady camera, the same pattern of lights can be seen overlapping each other.

Mr. Ruiz moves his hand toward and around the window, apparently trying to rule out the possibility that the image is a reflection from within the cabin. However his hand only blocks reflections coming from the extreme left of the window; it does not rule out reflections coming from above and behind him — which is where cabin lights would be.

At one point the lights suddenly disappear, likely because …

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IllumiNuTTi.com editor’s note:

I think Benjamin Radford, author of the above article, is onto something. I agree the UFO seen in the aircraft window is a reflection from some light source originating from inside the aircraft cabin. I think an overhead reading lamp like the one pictured below would make an excellent UFO reflection in an aircraft window. What do you think?

On the left

On the left is a typical overhead reading lamp.
On the right is the reflection (UFO) in question.

Spark Socket Connects Your Regular Old Light Bulbs to the Internet

Very cool . . .

via Gadget Lab | Wired.com

Companies from Google to Comcast to Electric Imp are trying to connect home devices and appliances to the web, but the internet of things remains more of a complicated, distant dream than a reality. Spark Devices wants to start off simple, with one of the most used items in your house — the light bulb.

Spark Devices launched on Kickstarter with a working prototype of what it calls the Spark Socket. All a user needs to do to get their lights on the web is screw a regular light bulb into the Spark Socket and screw that into a regular light fixture. They can then control their lighting — on, off, and dimming — through an iOS or Android app, which opens up entirely new avenues for home lighting. Users can schedule their lights when they’re away, set them to slowly turn on in the morning, and even set them to flash when someone calls their phone.

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