Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for the 'Miscelaneous' Category

Multistable Architectural Perception


A wonderful shot captured in Egypt: look again because the building you thought was in front is actually behind the other. Or actually not, but either way, one can easily switch between seeing one building or the other in front, a candid and very real example of multistable perception.

One bonus illusion after the jump.

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Toll gate illusion


I actually had to stare for a few moments until I understood this is not a composite image, but simply the expanding and contracting roads for a large toll gate in South Korea messing with our sense of perspective. Click for the full size. [via TDW]

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Candle Smoke Rainbow


Amazing shot by Grover Schrayer. He explains it:

“I shot it with my Fuji Finepix S8100fd, with a Raynox M-250 macro lens attached. I shot at 1/1000th or higher, using the camera’s built-in flash. The built -in flash gave me head-on illumination of the smoke, and that head-on lighting allowed me to pick up the refraction through the droplets of wax. Any other angle of illumination would not produce the rainbow effect. The hardest part was getting the camera to focus on just the right part of the smoke. I focused on the wick, or the edge of the flame, had the shutter button half-pressed and ready, and blew out the candle and snapped very quickly. Most of the time the results were less than spectacular, but when the smoke and the timing cooperated, I got shots like this…”

Another shot of smoke droplets making a candle rainbow on flickr. [via Petapixel]

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Accidental Optical Illusion


As previously seen, but up a notch! [via reddit]

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Through the Eyes of a Statistician

The adorable video above, an entry to The American Statistics Association contest, shows the world “through the eyes of a statistician”.

Statistics is all around us and can be seen in the marks left by the actions of hundreds, thousands of people on objects such as a gas pump slot, as well as on a door handle (as it gets worn out, the corrosion will leave a normal distribution bell curve shaped pattern). On the other hand, the stains left by dripping oil from car engines on a parking lot will display a discrete Poisson distribution emerging pattern.

That reminded me of a funny fact: the “Adam” statue by Bottero at Time Warner Center in New York has a shining area that ends up contrasting against the rest of the sculpture. A tabloid even described the urge to touch the area as “irresistible”.

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Men may be more interested in the statues of the “Crazy Girls” casino in Las Vegas:

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Back to something less related to sexuality statistics – which turns the parts down there “irresistible” to groping – , I also remembered the story about a Buddhist monk who supposedly left his footprints on the wooden floor on which he had been praying for twenty years:

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My critical sense does not buy this story, mainly due to the way the footprints don’t seem to follow the foot parts that actually bear most of the weight, or at least should wear out the wood a bit more – especially the little toe area. Or maybe the peculiar way he is supposed to have been praying can indeed create those footprint patterns?

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Applied statistics, along with other fields of science, would let us put this story to test! [via The Five Best Statues for Groping]

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