Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Twin Shadow: Five Seconds

Could Twin Shadow revive the New Wave/Synth Pop sounds of the eighties?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Brain Teasers 8: Logic Tests

Here are links to a couple of simple logic tests I came across.  Just as we have to exercise our bodies we have to exercise our minds.  Enjoy.

Hint for those of you who are unfamiliar with formal logic, there is a difference between a valid argument and a sound argument.  A valid argument is one where if all the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true.  A sound argument is a valid argument where we know that all the premises are true.

Logic Test 1

Logic Test 2

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Liu Bolin

Liu Bolin is a Chinese artist known for painting his body in such a way that he blends in with the surrounding area. This creates a seemingly translucent or ghost like effect for the viewer which has caused many to refer to him as the human chameleon.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Gift revisited

The Gift, a sci-fi short released back in 2010, is an odd yet captivating film which has a way of lingering in your head due to it's puzzling plot. It was part of the Philips Cinema's Parallel Lines series in which the participating directors all had to use the same script: What is that?" "A Unicorn.""Never seen one up close before.""Beautiful.""Get away. Get Away.""I'm sorry."

Anyway, I stumble back upon it this past weekend and thought it was worth a second look.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Harnessing the power of Viruses?

Just read on Kurzweil's site that scientist from Berkeley Lab have developed a way to generate electric power using harmless viruses.  They have essentially created a generator which uses these viruses to convert mechanical energy into electricity.

You can see a demonstration in the video below where a researcher taps a  virus coated electrode which powers a small liquid-crystal display.  Go to 0:47 to see it in action.

With this technology, coupled with the ever improving ability to capture and store electricity, I envision us all one day wearing virus embedded shoes which will be used to power our iPhones,  Google Glasses etc.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias where unskilled individuals tend to rate themselves much higher than their actual abilities. Strangely enough, highly skilled individuals tend to do just the opposite; they underestimating their performance abilities.

The effect was named after David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University after they published a paper in 1999 titled Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments. The paper showed the results of various studies conducted which tested their subjects self assessment in the areas of humor, logical reasoning and grammar. In all three areas, the least competent drastically overrated themselves and to a lesser degree, the highly competent underrated themselves.

So what would explain this strange lack of judgement? According to Dunning and Kruger, "In essence, we argue that the skills that engender competence in a particular domain are often the very same skills necessary to evaluate competence in that domain—one's own or anyone else's.Because of this, incompetent individuals lack what cognitive psychologists variously term metacognition... These terms refer to the ability to know how well one is performing, when one is likely to be accurate in judgment, and when one is likely to be in error. For example, consider the ability to write grammatical English. The skills that enable one to construct a grammatical sentence are the same skills necessary to recognize a grammatical sentence, and thus are the same skills necessary to determine if a grammatical mistake has been made. In short, the same knowledge that underlies the ability to produce correct judgment is also the knowledge that underlies the ability to recognize correct judgment. To lack the former is to be deficient in the latter."

Perhaps a quote attributed to Aristotle would best sum it up. "The more you know, the more you know you don't know."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Amazing Peripheral Drift Illusion

Click to Enlarge

This has got to be the best Peripheral Drift illusion out there. It is called Rotating Snakes and was created by Professor Akiyoshi Kitaoka, Ritsumeikan University, Japan.

To see that the picture is not actually moving at all, focus on one particular area.  That area will stop moving while everything around it seems to continue to rotate.  Move to another area and the same thing holds true.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ice Caves of Iceland

These awe inspiring pictures are of ice caves found in the Svmnafellsjvkull glacier in the Vatnajökull National Park, Skaftafell, Iceland (don't ask me to say that).  Click the pictures to enlarge so that you can enjoy the full effect of these marvels.

Orvar Porgeirsson

Orvar Porgeirsson

Christian Klepp
According to Christian Klepp of "This up to 1000 years old snow has metamorphosed into highly pressurized glacier ice that contains almost no air bubbles. Thus it absorbs the visible light despite the scattered shortest blue fraction, giving it its distinct deep blue waved appearance. This cavity in the glacier ice formed as a result of a glacial mill, or moulin. Rain and meltwater on the glacier surface is channelled into streams that enter the glacier at crevices. The waterfall melts a hole into the glacier while the ponded water drains towards lower elevations by forming long ice caves with an outlet at the terminus of the glacier. The fine grained sediments in the water along with wind blown sediments cause the frozen meltwater stream to appear in a muddy colour while the top of the cave exhibits the deep blue colour. Due to the fast movement of the glacier of about 1 m per day over uneven terrain this ice cave cracked up at its end into a deep vertical crevice, called cerrac. This causes the indirect daylight to enter the ice cave from both ends resulting in homogeneous lighting of the ice tunnel."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Power of Habit

Too often in life we fail to make meaningful, long term changes to our behavior even after identifying those behaviors which we know are detrimental to us.  To a large degree, this is due to our inability to break habits.

Just started the book.  So far so good.  I'll post a review when done.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cornelius Dämmrich

I was looking through the gallery at the CGSociety and came across the works of Cornelius Dammrich.  I really like his use of light so I thought I would share.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

That Blade Runner Feel

Fans of Ridley Scott's 1982 film Blade Runner will acknowledge that a major part of their attraction to the film is the futuristic, noir feel of the city where the story takes place.  The atmospheric blend of the rain, city lights, & people in the street has a way of emotionally affecting the viewer.

Here is a creative video I came across on Vimeo edited by Shian Storm which recreates that Blade Runner feeling.

Pretty amazing how Tokyo has developed into a city which is very similar to what is depicted in Blade Runner.

According to the Vimeo page I got this from, Shian did not shoot the original video but only altered the color and contrast.  The original video, shown below,  was created by Andrew Reid .

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Floating Away

Here are a few interesting floating people/objects illusions I've acquired.  I especially like how the mic stand and the shadow of the flag pole on the last one really adds to the illusion.