Friday, April 29, 2005

Nature's Largest Optical Illusion

Hidden Depths
I came across this image while checking out some posters and couldn't pass up including Nature's Illusion on this site.

According to 4th grade science an iceberg shows just 1/10th of itself above water. This means that the sailor of days gone yore never had any idea how large of a chunk of ice existed below the surface.

This particular image has a history to go with it. Since the image presented here was a little small I decided to search the net to see if I could get a larger image. One site said the following about this image.

"This photo came from a Rig Manager for Global Marine Drilling in St. Johns, Newfoundland. They actually have to divert the path of these things away from the rig by towing them with ships!

Anyway, in this particular case the water was calm & the sun was almost directly overhead so that the diver was able to get into the water and click this pic. They estimated the weight at 300,000,000 tons."

This story didn't ring true to me so I investigated further. Not surprisingly it turns out that this photograph is a composite created in 1999 by Ralph A. Clevenger a professional nature and underwater photographer who's had work published by the National Geographic, and is on the faculty of the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA. The artist says this about his creation.

"I created the image as a way of illustrating the concept of what you get is not necessarily what you see. As a professional photographer, I knew that I couldn't get an actual shot of an iceberg the way I envisioned it, so I created the final image by compositing several images I had taken. The two halves of the iceberg are 2 separate shots, one taken in Alaska and one taken in Antarctica (neither is underwater). The only underwater part is the background taken off the coast of California. The sky is the last component. It took a lot of research on lighting and scale to get the berg to look real."

The story of this image ended up being much more enjoyable then I would have anticipated. If you enjoy this image you can click on it to check out the poster.
READ MORE - Nature's Largest Optical Illusion

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Optical Illusion Ring

Presented here is the Optical Illusion Ring. Rob over at What is it? pointed it out to me. He said this about this ring.
Optical illusion ring, you can see in the photo that the links on top look thinner than the ones on the bottom, when you turn the ring it appears that they actually grow larger right before your eyes, or get smaller if you turn it the opposite way.
Click the picture to see a video (1.6meg) of the Optical Illusion Ring

Well the picture and explanation just didn't do the trick for me so I searched the net to see if I could come up with a video that showed this illusion. Once I saw the video I was hooked. This is a very interesting effect. Remember this ring is solid there are no moving parts on this ring. Click the picture to download or view the video.

I found the video here, this shop sells many illusions and magic tricks. You can buy this ring to size here. Unfortunately neither link will make me a dime.
READ MORE - Optical Illusion Ring

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Optical Illusion Art and a Touch of Science

I was pointed to these two pictures from Giavasan.

I can't speak the language but found many items on this site of interest.

First here is a classic piece of art with illusions built in. The way you are moved from one landscape to another seamlessly is an enjoyable form of illusion.

Click on this picture you will be taken to what
I believe is a gallery of similar pictures by the artist.

This next picture didn't have a link and I am not sure who created it. If someone does speak/read Italian maybe you could go to this post and let me know if there is any credit or info given for this picture.

Update: I found the source of the below picture. It comes from the portfolio of Dimitri Daniloff. He has many other interesting items in his portfolio, Thank You Daria for leaving a comment letting me know you found the creator of the below picture.

I included it here because it presents us with the illusion of a real life Mr. Potato Head.

I found the concept of designer parts humorous and wanted to laugh a little why we still can.

I might be too late though as seen below. I guess 20 years down the road the photo above won't be so far fetched, just another parody of the miracle of science.

Click Picture to go to PBS' The Body Shop
READ MORE - Optical Illusion Art and a Touch of Science

Friday, April 22, 2005

An Individual is More than the Sum of His/Her Parts

This provides the viewer with so many illusions.

The puzzle illusion, at first glance this might be a slide puzzle. Move the pieces around to create the whole.

It also brings to (my) mind a book title by the comedian Alan King, "Help! I’m a Prisoner in a Chinese Bakery". OK this person isn't in a Chinese bakery, but he does seem as if he might be trapped inside something and all we get are glances of him when he bumps up against the glass.

Since this is art it is better interpreted by each of you.

I guess we are more than the sum of our parts.

I found this interesting creation on Euian's site. He experimented with a scanner and put this piece of art together. Apparently he was conducting a poll and nude pictures were topping the request list. He says the following about this piece.
These are the results of my scanned body parts. I do have to blur a body part, I'm not that exhibitionist . If these pictures are inappropriate somebody has to tell me. Can this count as a nude picture? which is currently the highest score in my survey posted here, I am hoping to post more drawings than a nude picture.
Euian this is an interesting compilation you put together. Well Done!
READ MORE - An Individual is More than the Sum of His/Her Parts

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Double Dovetail Puzzle, Optical Illusion or Real Creation?

The below item is composed of two solid pieces of wood. There are no holes in this block. If you grab the top piece and lift the bottom comes with it. I first saw this as the Visual Illusion of the month on Amos Storkey's site.

The top picture was pointed out to me by Rob of "What is it?" Rob's site has an array of pictures with the object being to guess what the object is in the picture.

All Rob has to say about this object is that it is the
Double dovetail puzzle

Amos presented the bottom picture with the following statement:
A craftsman took two solid pieces of wood, and carved them so they could be put together in the form illustrated below (the slight overhang is only used to illustrate the two parts). Each part is solid, and cannot be separated. The whole block is solid and has no spaces inside. The full cube could be lifted by picking up the top half.

How was this cube created (no adhesive used)?
I have pondered this puzzle since I saw it on Amos' site. It wasn't until today when Rob of What is it? dropped me an e-mail did I decide to put some serious thought to this puzzle.

It took me a couple of minutes of thought then the answer hit me. I love this kind of puzzle. It works because we always make assumptions, it isn't until you throw those assumptions away that the answer reaches out and smacks you in the face.

Once the solution came to me I decided to include the photo from Amos' site . The bottom photo is a blatant clue on how this puzzle is done. You might as well show the construction blueprint.

Let's see who is the first person to comment correctly on this puzzle.

Good luck!
READ MORE - Double Dovetail Puzzle, Optical Illusion or Real Creation?

Monday, April 18, 2005

When Math and Art Merge

The following are creations by Rinus Roelofs. His study of math merged with art has created some fascinating sculptures and images. Check out his site for an amazing array of each.

From his site: "Rinus Roelofs was born in 1954. After studying Applied mathematics at the Technical University of Enschede, he took a degree from the Enschede Art Academy with a specialization in sculpture. His commissions come largely from municipalities, institutions and companies in the Netherlands, but his work has been exhibited further a field, including in Rome as part of the Escher Centennial celebrations in 1998."
READ MORE - When Math and Art Merge

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Bumps or Holes? Astronomy Analysts Confused

The below two images are quite interesting. The image on the left gives us the impression of having 5 holes and 1 bump. The image on the right looks like it has 5 bumps and 1 hole. What makes this a fascinating optical illusion is the fact that these are the exact same image.

That's right these two images are identical, one is turned upside down. The simple act of turning this image upside down completely changed our assessment of the image.

The reason for this is that the brain assumes that light comes from above. For centuries the best light source was the sun (came from above). Now we have various sources of light but one thing most of them have in common is that designers typically put all major light sources above us. This is a very strong predisposition on our part. Thus we view shadows and light with the assumption that the light is coming from above.

Another example can be seen below. The top image seems to be a large dome, could this be a lava dome preparing to erupt?

No of course not. This is not a lava dome, below we flip it back to where we started. Most of you will recognize this landmark.

Barringer Crater on Earth
Credit: D. Roddy (LPI)

In this image it is clearly the Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona. The only thing done to this image was the top picture was turned upside down. I got this image from the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Here we think of this as an interesting effect and no more than that. But analysts viewing pictures from other planets often analyze the image from the wrong perspective. Many times these pictures end up in science magazines and journals (one example here) completely upside down and misrepresented. Go to this page to read more about the problems that some analysts have in getting past this optical illusion. Scan down the page and you'll see many examples of errors in astronomy reporting and analysis.
READ MORE - Bumps or Holes? Astronomy Analysts Confused

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Optical Illusions used by Plants and Animals

Optical illusions are survivor mechanisms for many plants and animals. We are all familiar with the chameleon. Presented here is the chameleon and other various examples of animals and plants using optical illusions to survive.

With its distinctive shape, ponderous movements and tiny eyes at the ends of conical turrets, the chameleon is an unmistakable reptile. Its ability to change colour is very well known, but this is not done to match its background as commonly believed - although that may happen coincidentally - but as a means of communication and to regulate body temperature.

If you surprise a chameleon, it will inflate its body, open its mouth to reveal it bright orange palette, hiss, and lunge forward. Such behavior is intended to surprise and confuse any attacker, giving the chameleon time to make an escape and utilize its superb camouflage against the foliage of a shrub or tree. Although slow-moving when under observation - they walk slowly to avoid detection - chameleons are actually able to scamper quite quickly when being pursued. The ferocious defensive behavior of these little lizards led to the ancient Greeks naming them 'Dwarf Lions' - 'Chamai leons'.

Twigs or Walking Sticks?

With special resemblance, animals use a combination of color, shape and behavior to help them appear like something in their habitat. They are simply mistaken for something else. The walking stick is a great example. This insect becomes almost invisible due to the shape of its body, its coloration and its slow movement. It looks and acts just like a twig on a bush or tree..

Plants or Rocks

Living stones also known as Lithops are plants that survive by looking like rocks in Southern Africa's deserts where they have become highly adapted to conditions of extreme heat and drought.
Twig or Caterpillar?

Which one is the caterpillar, and which is the twig? A close look at the bottom feet of the twig on the left shows that it is really a small caterpillar, which freezes itself into a rigid posture when predators are near! This ability enables it to escape detection by birds (but pays for its cleverness by occasionally having some other insect lay eggs on it by mistake).

Hiding as a Dead Leaf?

The katydid above hides on the forest floor. It has a perfect disguise... it resembles a dead leaf, veins and all!

For more examples of animals using camouflage go to this site.

The Duck Blind?

All of these examples above are nice but the ultimate example of an animal using an optical illusion is the duck in the below picture. Hunters have been using decoys for years it was just a matter of time until the ducks turned the table on them.

This last animal optical illusion was found over on Tasty Blog.
READ MORE - Optical Illusions used by Plants and Animals

Water Ways Illusion

Here is another excellent creation by Aiyoshi Kitaoka he is a master of the art. In the below optical Illusion the black and blue columns actually are all perfectly straight and intersect at 90 degree angles.


Waterways appear to tilt alternately, though they are parallel to each other. Moreover, "water" appears to swing in the horizontal directions.

Copyright Aiyoshi Kitaoka 2005 (February 15)

READ MORE - Water Ways Illusion

Monday, April 4, 2005

Optical Illusion No Longer

It wasn't too long ago that this picture would have been an optical illusion. This type of space walk (untethered) was unheard of when President Reagan was elected in 1980.

This photo is the "Astronomy Picture of the Day" for March 22, 2005.

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
To Fly Free in Space
Credit: STS-41B, NASA

Explanation: At about 100 meters from the cargo bay of the space shuttle Challenger, Bruce McCandless II was further out than anyone had ever been before. Guided by a Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), astronaut McCandless, pictured above, was floating free in space. McCandless and fellow NASA astronaut Robert Stewart were the first to experience such an "untethered space walk" during Space Shuttle mission 41-B in 1984. The MMU works by shooting jets of nitrogen and has since been used to help deploy and retrieve satellites. With a mass over 140 kilograms, an MMU is heavy on Earth, but, like everything, is weightless when drifting in orbit. The MMU was replaced with the SAFER backpack propulsion unit.

READ MORE - Optical Illusion No Longer

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Horses in Snow Optical Illusion

I had many people find this site looking for the answer to 7 horses. I have an illusion on this site by Jim Warren that is called 7 horses. It became clear to me over time that many were coming here for the answer to the below illusion and not the painting by Jim Warren.

This painting is titled "Pintos" and was painted by Bev Doolittle. She had this to say about the creation of this painting.
"I was observing a small group of chestnut horses in a grassy meadow when I became aware that they were 'observing' me. This seemed like an interesting situation for a painting. I also thought it would be fun to have the horses observing you, the viewer, before you could find the horses! So I began to think of ways to camouflage them. The chestnut horses became Pintos, and the grassy meadow turned into a backdrop of rocks and snow." - Bev Doolittle
The reason people are confused is because there is one optical illusion site out there that states as fact that there are seven horses in the painting, but they don't bother showing you where they are. Well I am going do something very similar. I am going to give you the answer without actually pointing out each horse.

The answer is there are only five horses. The reason I am not pointing them out is given some time you can find the 3 adult horses the one colt and one foal.

It is only when someone says there are two extra horses that people are driven crazy and go searching the net for someone to show them the horses.

If anyone has information on this painting that shows me there are more than 5 horses please leave me a message on this post.
READ MORE - Horses in Snow Optical Illusion
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