Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for February, 2011

A Homemade Escher’s Waterfall

A representation of an impossible scene, Escher’s Waterfall has just been made real, at least on Youtube.

What do you think? I first thought it could be a very clever perspective trick, such as the Escher for Real series or the ball rolling uphill illusion.

But on watching the video in higher resolution, the shadows and reflections, I suspect it is yet another damn good CGI job. Damn good.

Speaking of which, the Jonathan Post video has been solved, it was the superb work by a pair of Brazilians, Luis Carone and Daniel Dias. CGI work, that is.

Popularity: 2% [?]


A young astronomer’s view on UFOs

Here’s a 32 year-old Carl Sagan speaking about flying saucers.

Fascinating bit of history. In that same year, the young astronomer published the book “Intelligent Life in the Universe”, along with Soviet Iosef Shklovskii. In that book, a scientific collaboration during the Cold War, Sagan and his Soviet fellow would delve and speculate into questions that unfortunately have not changed very much half a century later.

This is both because they were visionaries – the ubiquity of exoplanets was by no means a given in the 1960s, much to the contrary – and also because we still have not made contact nor found any conclusive evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. Sadly.

This book is also very notable because, even before one Swiss guy exploited the idea, Sagan and Shklovskii analyzed seriously the idea of gods as ancient astronauts. Even a famous Sumerian tablet with several planets is discussed, decades before another alleged “expert” made a lot of fuss about it.

Now, back to the video interview, the man besides Sagan is also very notable, and not only because of the eypatch (due to an automobile accident) or the fact he lights up a smoking pipe. He’s Thornton Page, a noted astronomer and previously part of the Robertson panel on UFOs. Most importantly, along with the same Carl Sagan, he would promote a UFO symposium on the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

That’s right, in 1969, one of the most representative institutions of science, the one that actually publishes Science, held a symposium about UFOs. Paul E. McCarthy has a very interesting dissertation on the backstage of this episode of UFO, and science, history: Politicking and Paradigm Shifting: James E. McDonald and the UFO case study. [hattip to Leonardo Stern]

Popularity: 3% [?]

1 comment

A Real Lightning Fight

Tesla would be proud, as a century later this is a twist on the demonstrations he himself performed with his Tesla coils.

Tesla coils above which the two fellows with full conductive suits stand just to shoot lightning from their heads and hand. Science guarantees the electric current will pass through the fine metallic suit, and not the body of the brave electric guys, though in reality loose connections may tingle, or a little more than tingle. The Lords of Lightningfeel little tingles to thumping shocks inside the suit”, not to mention some ozone that must be produced.

And for what? Because this is amazingly awesome. [via New Scientist]

Popularity: 2% [?]


Sagan’s Spaceship of the Imagination in Battle!


Lovely work from Ninjerktsu, click for the full comic, complete with apple pies.

Popularity: 3% [?]

1 comment

V-J Day Kiss in Color


Reddit user “mygrapefruit” colorized this iconic image, and the result is just great.

One could prefer the Watchmen alternative version, but can’t we appreciate them all? [via ReflectionOf.me]

Popularity: 2% [?]

1 comment