Wow, it’s been forever since I’ve posted a brain-melty optical illusion, and I love me some illusions. This one is a variation on one I’ve posted before, showing how an ambiguously lit object freaks your brain out trying to figure out the lighting.
I really wish we had a show as smart and wonderful as QI here in the US. I love Stephen Fry as much as I do illusions!
Anyway, there are lots of examples of this type of illusion. Here’s one of a silhouetted figure spinning that’ll destroy you. This is also similar to the dome/crater illusion as well, where something (a crater) lit from below makes it look like an inverted object (a dome) lit from above.
I have more illusions listed in Related Posts below. Seriously, click the Blue/Green link. Oh my, that one is AWESOME. And people still argue over it in the comments, despite my complete and rock solid proof of what you’re seeing in it. Optical illusions really can mess you up.
There’s a wonderful comedic quiz show in the UK called "QI" — for "Quite Interesting" — which is hosted by none other than Stephen Fry. The participants are comedians, and they’re asked questions ranging over just about every topic you can imagine. The BBC recently uploaded a clip about which alert BA Bloggee Brett Warburton informed me. In it, Fry shows the contestants a video of the Sun setting, and asks them to ring in when they think the Sun has completely set. Here’s the clip:
This is, in fact, correct! The Earth’s air bends the image of the Sun upward, so we can still see the Sun even though it is physically below the horizon. If we didn’t have air, daytime would be shorter. In fact, this effect works for sunrise as well, so we see the Sun rise before it’s physically cleared the horizon.
And Stephen was correct in the amount too; the light is bent upward by just about the same size as the Sun, so when the lower limb of the Sun just kisses the horizon it’s actually already set.
But it’s a bit more complicated, of course. Read More
Stick with it; the ending is really cool.
By the way, I agree with Stephen here. Languages evolve, and at first it may seem ugly, but after a few years you get used to it, and then you look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. I may have to write a big grammar post since I have several thoughts on this topic. Example: the word "whom" needs to be struck from the language. We don’t need it — the word "who" works perfectly well, and it’s obvious from context if it’s being used as a subjective or objective pronoun. Whom serves no actual purpose anymore except to let pedantic grammarians feel superior when it gets misused.
Tip o’ the librarian glasses to reddit.