Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for December, 2008

Remembering Forgetomori ’2008

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The year when cryptozoology made the news with the Montauk Monster and the Bigfoot Halloween costume has been full of stories around here on Forgetomori. Keep reading for a review of mostly everything we posted about in 2008, with a selection of the best things you may have missed.

[Above: the best pareidolia ever processed with Fractalius]

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Old Man Winter and a creepy ghost pareidolia

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Another impressive example of pareidolia, found by Jeremy Olden in his house at Lake Stevens, Seattle. Keep reading for the full image and a slightly creepy video showing our brain’s pattern-recognition machine – or something supernatural, you decide.

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The Magonia website is back!

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Magonia is one of Britain’s oldest established magazines in the fields of ufology, Forteana and contemporary beliefs, running from 1966. Headed by John Rimmer, with John Harney and Peter Rogerson on the team, publishing illuminating articles by mostly all the luminaries in the field, it was the original Magonia website that deeply influenced the humble Pelicanist that writes here.

The old website is no longer available, though it can still be seen in parts in the Internet Archive. But that’s no longer a problem, since Magonia is back online!

With more than a hundred classic old articles already available, and some newer, never before seen in the Internet texts published, this is surely a holiday blessing.

Be sure to check the new Magonia blog too.

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Life of a star: 12 billion years in six minutes

It’s not a detailed illustration of how a star is formed and evolves – you may want to watch this instead, which is just slightly more detailed – but a rather nice compilation of images depicting some of the main events in the lifecycle of a G-type star. You know, one like our own Sun.

Music is Hayling by FC Kahuna, vocals by Hafdís Huld. Enjoy.

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“Fractal” cat: artificial schizophrenia?

[“Electric Fuzz“, Copyright Steve Owen, (ozonephoto.US)]

A beautiful image… and impressive because it’s just a normal photo of a cat processed with an image filter. That is, just computer generated art, without that which those naked apes call “artistic soul” or something.

The image filter is “Fractalius” for Photoshop, that describes its effects as “based on extraction of so-called hidden fractal texture of an image”, whatever that means, as they won’t reveal the details of the commercial filter. Altering its parameters and depending on the source image, the end results can be inspiring as the cat above. It seems to work specially well with long fur animals.

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I have the impression that it’s as if this computer image filter process the image much like our brain does. It extracts contours, but in a more sophisticated way in relation to the crude filters commonly used. But it’s just an intuitive impression.

Fact is the processed cat looks very much like the famous stylized cats of Louis Wain:

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Wain’s art, and in particular, the different ways with which he portrayed cats in his paintings is commonly quoted as a textbook example of how mental illness affected his perception. He was, by the way, diagnosed ad a schizophrenic.

Reevaluations of his case suggest, however, that perhaps his diagnosis was not so precise. And more importantly, the progressive abstraction in his works is not well established.

Rodney Dale, Wain’s biographer, writes that “Wain experimented with patterns and cats, and even quite late in life was still producing conventional cat pictures, perhaps 10 years after his [supposedly] ‘later’ productions which are patterns rather than cats.”

One more fractalius cat for comparison and appreciation:

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You can see more images processed with Fractalius here, or on Flickr.

UPDATE: The top image was used without permission, but the author has now kindly authorized its use, with credits added. If you own any image used in this post, please contact the editor, I will gladly correct the credits.

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