This one may be hard to believe. The rotating blue square
behind the yellow panels is not changing in size. Nor is it
moving closer and then farther away. Really. It's the
same size regardless of its position as it rotates.
[Click the image to see how this can be so.]
Click on the image of the woman.
The disappearing and reappearing woman. Click the image.
To see both positions of the pieces at the same time, click here.
Note: The grid is square and true and the differently colored pieces
Speaking of brains, here's the Bouncing Brain illusion
(by Thorsten Hansen, Kai Hamburger, & Karl R. Gegenfurtner).
Focus on any one brain to see that they are not really moving.
And here's a good version of those pesky black dots that keep
appearing within the white spaces at the corners of the squares.
[Focus on any one white space; no black dot will appear there.]
The "lesson" of optical illusions and magic tricks is that things "out there" are never the way they appear to be in our minds; the difference becomes stark and obvious when we are looking at things that don't jibe with other sources of information, i.e., illusions and tricks. We also become aware of the difference between our usual sensual apprehension of the world and what is "out there" when we look at other uncanny phenomena. Rainbows that move through the sky as we move, and whose ends can never be reached. Magnets that jump toward or away from each other or make bits of metal defy gravity and seem to have a will of their own. Invisible electricity (whatever that is) that we are told exists and that travels through wires and sometimes produces sparks—which we do see or feel—as well as producing myriad phenomena that transform our lives. An invisible force called "gravity" (whatever that may be) that somehow seems to make everything "want" to stay close to the ground. Not to mention the strong and the weak nuclear forces that hold our world together, though nobody has every seen or felt them.
The spokes are NOT rotating!
There are two ways to know the spokes aren't rotating. First, blink your eyes until they are "rotating" in the other direction. If they were really rotating you shouldn't be able to do that ;-) Second, take our word for it that the animation is composed of the two frames below, repeated over and over again.
The second frame is what you would expect to see if the spokes were rotating, either way. We then return to the first image, but your mind decides that something "out there" was moving and so it interprets it as further movement into the expected position based on its initial assumption of either clockwise or counterclockwise movement. And this is repeated.
All the dots are moving in straight lines. There is no rotation
Yo: The Path to Truth
It's interesting that the illusory motion in this
Smoothly rotating or pulsating?
To see an interesting, new illusion, click the image below.
And the act of constructing reality out of WRIOT includes everything
we experience, including our most basic social values and even our religious beliefs.
If video fails to play, left-click here; to download, right click.
We have no problem understanding that evolution did not "design" us (select us) for the ability to know WRIOT completely and perfectly. We were designed to know what we needed to know to survive and reproduce. Given that those leading the charge toward understanding more and more about WRIOT (e.g., Relativity Theorists, Quantum Physicists, and String Theorists) are some of the least successful at survival and reproduction (the latter especially), there appears to have been relatively little selective pressure "to know" WRIOT (in a metaphoric Biblical sense, i.e., in a profoundly intimate way).Rather, those who are adept at "knowing" (in the traditional Biblical sense, i.e., good at gaining reproductive access to the opposite sex) seem to have minds that are focused on very different features of existence (attaining power or status, accumulating wealth, being attractive, getting access to the opposite sex, in addition to basic survival skills, etc.). And we are well designed to know what we need to know to accomplish those tasks. But we are not well designed to know the truth about WRIOT. As the poet, Bob Dylan, put it (possibly talking to our leading mental giants in the field of physics about the human condition, especially as they experienced it in young adulthood):
You may need to install or update Adobe Flash Player to listen to this audio file.;-)
However, the essential point here goes way beyond the obvious fact that our mental construction of the world is an incomplete picture. Rather, it is precisely because we have "uncanny" (i.e., inexplicable, weird, and contradictory) experiences and because the cutting edge of scientific investigation of WRIOT leads us to paradoxical, contradictory, impossible conclusions—i.e., conclusions that can not be as they appear to be—that we can be sure that our mental constructions are not WRIOT. Indeed, quantum physics has shown us that the world cannot make sense to minds evolved to function in the midworld of our terrestrial experience (as opposed to the macroworld of intergalactic distances or the microworld of subatomic particles/strings/forces).
Our experiences do point to something that is going on "out there," but the essence of WRIOT is something we do not and cannot know directly. Using our senses and our reason, we do perceive its effects or manifestations and we can discern certain patterns in these effects. But all of that—i.e., our experiences and our understandings about our experiences—exists in our minds. Something is out there that our scientists label "forces," "sub-atomic particles," or "strings." And these labels and notions that we do experience refer to invisible, i.e., unexperienced, phenomena that interact in lawful ways to produce the world of human experience in our minds. Indeed, where else could "our experiences" exist? (Another vivid illustration of the fact that the universe, as we know it, must be a construction in our minds, is presented here).
Outside of your mind, nothing like your experience of the world exists (except, apparently, in other minds). Nobody would claim that WRIOT—i.e., strings, sub-atomic particles, gravity, etc.—is anything like the human experience of actual strings, or tiny billiard balls, or the depressing feeling many of us get when we step on a scale to weigh ourselves (pun intended). You are creating your world in the act of perceiving it. You are the Creator of the Universe you experience.
Quantum physics says goodbye to reality
20 April 2007
Some physicists are uncomfortable with the idea that all individual quantum events are innately random. This is why many have proposed more complete theories, which suggest that events are at least partially governed by extra "hidden variables". Now physicists from Austria claim to have performed an experiment that rules out a broad class of hidden-variables theories that focus on realism -- giving the uneasy consequence that reality does not exist when we are not observing it (Nature 446 871).
Some 40 years ago the physicist John Bell predicted that many hidden-variables theories would be ruled out if a certain experimental inequality were violated known as "Bell's inequality". In his thought experiment, a source fires entangled pairs of linearly-polarized photons in opposite directions towards two polarizers, which can be changed in orientation. Quantum mechanics says that there should be a high correlation between results at the polarizers because the photons instantaneously "decide" together which polarization to assume at the moment of measurement, even though they are separated in space. Hidden variables, however, says that such instantaneous decisions are not necessary, because the same strong correlation could be achieved if the photons were somehow informed of the orientation of the polarizers beforehand.
Bell's trick, therefore, was to decide how to orient the polarizers only after the photons have left the source. If hidden variables did exist, they would be unable to know the orientation, and so the results would only be correlated half of the time. On the other hand, if quantum mechanics was right, the results would be much more correlated in other words, Bell's inequality would be violated.
Many realizations of the thought experiment have indeed verified the violation of Bell's inequality. These have ruled out all hidden-variables theories based on joint assumptions of realism, meaning that reality exists when we are not observing it; and locality, meaning that separated events cannot influence one another instantaneously. But a violation of Bell's inequality does not tell specifically which assumption realism, locality or both is discordant with quantum mechanics.
Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger and colleagues from the University of Vienna, however, have now shown that realism is more of a problem than locality in the quantum world. They devised an experiment that violates a different inequality proposed by physicist Anthony Leggett in 2003 that relies only on realism, and relaxes the reliance on locality. To do this, rather than taking measurements along just one plane of polarization, the Austrian team took measurements in additional, perpendicular planes to check for elliptical polarization.
They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell's thought experiment, Leggett's inequality is violated thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we're not observing it. "Our study shows that 'just' giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics," Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. "You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism."
However, Alain Aspect, a physicist who performed the first Bell-type experiment in the 1980s, thinks the team's philosophical conclusions are subjective. "There are other types of non-local models that are not addressed by either Leggett's inequalities or the experiment," he said. "But I rather share the view that such debates, and accompanying experiments such as those by [the Austrian team], allow us to look deeper into the mysteries of quantum mechanics."About the author
Jon Cartwright is a reporter for Physics Web.
left-click here; to download, right-click.
Entheogenic Mysticism in the Matrix
When you take away the silly plot theme of The Matrix (that machines are using humans as Duracell batteries), you can find some great mystical messages. Reality is a construct in human minds that is structured by the universal field of matter/time/space (whatever that is made of). This universal field could be called Yo, The Divine Mystery. Or, as in this film clip, it could be called the Matrix.
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This is the wonder of Yo.
If you thought those shading illusions were amazing, here's one that will blow your mind. This one takes the Müller-Lyer Illusion to the extreme. As hard as it is to believe, these elephants are the same size!
Here's Another Kind|
of Amazing Illusion
The Amazing Magic Yo produces powerful visual aberrations on the order of an LSD "trip." Really. No kidding.
It can be so strong, some people may find it to be a bit disturbing, disorienting. With that warning, if you are still interested,