After seeing how tilt-shift photography could make real world scenes appear like miniature models, the folks over at Artcyclopedia decided to simulate the effect on Van Gogh's famous paintings. Using Photoshop, they manipulated the light and adjusted the focus to make us see these paintings in ways we could have never imagined. Amazingly, nothing in these paintings was changed, added or removed. The incredible illusions are all created by PhotoShop.Best Bookmarks via Neatorama
29 September 2010
28 September 2010
This morning [27 September 2010] in Washington, DC, several former US military officers confirmed in a press conference that they had witnessed UFOs tampering with US nuclear missile control sites. This press conference took place at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.More at io9
In these speeches, excerpted [above], we hear about a 1967 UFO sighting in Montana, at a nuclear missile launch control facility. We hear about a 30-foot diameter object, covered in glowing red light, that was hovering outside the perimeter fence around the facility. It made no noise. Shortly thereafter, the missiles in the facility became "unlaunchable;" they had mysteriously shut down. It was called a "guidance and control system failure." Nobody at the base knew how to explain the event, and they were ordered never to talk about it. This was ultimately dubbed the "Echo Flight Incident."*
The Disclosure Project is a nonprofit research project working to fully disclose the facts about UFOs, extraterrestrial intelligence, and classified advanced energy and propulsion systems. We have over 400 government, military, and intelligence community witnesses testifying to their direct, personal, first hand experience with UFOs, ETs, ET technology, and the cover-up that keeps this information secret.*The Echo Flight Incident debunked.
27 September 2010
If you go down to Koekohe beach in New Zealand you can be sure of a big surprise. In front of you, scattered like enormous marbles from some long abandoned game between giants, are hundreds of giant spherical rocks ... The Moeraki boulders present us with a mystery – what are they and how on earth did they get there?More beautiful photographs and some informaton about the age of the boulders and how they were formed at Kuriositas.
26 September 2010
I am a freelance IT consultant specialising in the development of software test strategies and managing the full software testing of complex systems. I write the satirical skeptical blog, “Science, Reason & Critical Thinking”, and am the co-founder and co-organiser of the Hampshire Skeptics Society and Winchester Skeptics in the Pub.Crispian Jago
The map of modern science was created to celebrate the achievements of the scientific method through the age of reason, the enlightenment and modernity. Despite many of the scientific disciplines mapped having more ancient origins, I have restricted the map to modern science starting from the 16th century scientific revolution.
The map primarily includes modern scientists who have made significant advances to our understanding of the world, however I have also included many present day scientists who fuel a passion for, and advances in, science through communication and science popularisation.
IKEA Sweden has released a new cookbook, "Hembakat ar Bast."
24 September 2010
Why go to an expensive therapist when you can get psychotherapy from Dr. Freud himself for less than $8? Just pour your heart out, then shake the ball to reveal the response of the world's most famous psychoanalyst!See more Freud-related items at the Neatorama Store.
23 September 2010
Police have admitted having technical issues after releasing an e-fit [Electronic Facial Identification Technique] of a burglary suspect which looks like a man wearing a lettuce. Officers released the image after a distraction burglary in which £60 was stolen from an elderly woman in Stockbridge, Hampshire. But the picture appeared to show the man with a lettuce on his head.Arbroath
Police said they were waiting for a software upgrade to improve the quality of hair in future e-fits.
22 September 2010
A 73-year-old Polish pensioner was shocked to find a 6.5-foot-long anaconda peering up out of her toilet bowl on Monday in her flat in Wroclaw, south-west Poland, local police said.Arbroath
"After she raised the lid of the toilet seat, the lady saw a huge snake that wanted to slither out of the toilet bowl. She immediately slammed down the toilet lid and called us," Pawel Petrykowski, a Wroclaw police spokesman said. "She was certainly very frightened but managed to keep her wits about her," he said. After arriving on the scene, police and an employee from the local zoo managed to catch the reptile, which is native to South America.
"It must have somehow got into the toilet bowl via the plumbing pipes," Mr Petrykowski said. While the anaconda was taken to the zoo, police launched an investigation aimed at identifying its owner.
21 September 2010
You may not have heard of some – or any – of these men. Yet they are all classed as visionary thinkers - futurists. As scientists, philosophers and social scientists they are trying to predict the future. It may be in terms of society, technology, medicine, life on earth or a permutation or combination thereof. Most among them are actively working towards creating their vision of the future. Take a look and see if you would want to live there.What? There are no Tomorrow Women?
Of related interest: World Transhumanist Association
20 September 2010
An intriguing article has just been published in the journal Perception about a never-before-described visual illusion where your own reflection in the mirror seems to become distorted and shifts identity.
To trigger the illusion you need to stare at your own reflection in a dimly lit room. The author, Italian psychologist Giovanni Caputo, describes his set up which seems to reliably trigger the illusion: you need a room lit only by a dim lamp (he suggests a 25W bulb) that is placed behind the sitter, while the participant stares into a large mirror placed about 40 cm in front.
The participant just has to gaze at his or her reflected face within the mirror and usually “after less than a minute, the observer began to perceive the strange-face illusion”.
The set-up was tried out on 50 people, and the effects they describe are quite striking:
At the end of a 10 min session of mirror gazing, the participant was asked to write what he or she saw in the mirror. The descriptions differed greatly across individuals and included: (a) huge deformations of one’s own face (reported by 66% of the fifty participants); (b) a parent’s face with traits changed (18%), of whom 8% were still alive and 10% were deceased; (c) an unknown person (28%); (d) an archetypal face, such as that of an old woman, a child, or a portrait of an ancestor (28%); (e) an animal face such as that of a cat, pig, or lion (18%); (f ) fantastical and monstrous beings (48%).
Caputo suggests that the dramatic effects might be caused by a combination of basic visual distortions affecting the face-specific interpretation system.Read more about Caputo's results (especially the emotional reactions of his subjects) at Mind Hacks or read the full article here.
Dozens of gorgeous nature photographs (not just photos of monkeys) are available for download from National Geographic.
18 September 2010
In a paper published this week in Science, neuroscientist Stephen Fleming and a team of UK researchers explain that they asked test subjects to engage in a metacognitive exercise while their brains were being scanned. Thoughts qualify as metacognitive if they are thoughts about other thoughts, rather than responses to outside stimuli. In the case of this test, the researchers used a commonly-accepted introspection test. Subjects were asked to do a visual perception test (identifying and rotating objects), and then asked to evaluate whether they performed well on the visual test. The self-evaluation part is what qualifies as metacognitive: You're analyzing your own analysis of something from the outside world.io9
Fleming and colleagues found that people with more gray and white matter microstructures in a particular area of the prefrontal cortex [anterior prefrontal cortex] tended to be more introspective, which is to say, better at evaluating their own performance on the visual test. People who are more introspective in this way tend to be better decision-makers. Their confidence levels tend to match the accuracy of their perceptions.
... The good news for people who want to heighten their powers of metacognition is that Fleming and his co-authors say it's possible people could "train" themselves to be better at it. The neurons in your brain are constantly changing and growing, so it would be very possible for somebody to do mental exercises that would beef up connections in the introspection area ...
15 September 2010
YouTube via Arbroath
We got Annie from the cat rescue mission as a kitten. She liked to play in a pot. Trouble was she got fat as she got older but still likes to try and get in the pot ... Anyway the answer to the question on how she got out is, she just climbs out by herself, slightly easier than going in, sort of like a vertical press up.
14 September 2010
Did you know that cannibalism is a big problem in chicken coops? Or that roosters don't have penises? Or that chickens can run up to 9 miles an hour and have been known to fly into trees?
Mental Floss answers ten provocative questions about raising chickens.
Via The Presurfer
13 September 2010
Toshio Okazaki's paintings of Ultraman Monsters were published in Shōgakukan's 1979 edition of "Ultra Kaiju" (Shōgakukan Nyūmon Hyakka Series #97).
In Chile, 33 miners are trapped 2,230 feet underground -- and until a rescue tunnel reaches them months from now, the only connection they have to the surface is three narrow boreholes. Everything the men need to survive must fit in canisters 3.19 inches wide -- known as palomas ("doves") -- that are winched up and down 24 hours a day.Enlarge the graphic to learn about the supplies and amenities carried in the palomas.
12 September 2010
Several years ago, Han Nguyen [a native of Vietnam] and Ceil Melton were lesbian ministers and partners in Austin when they felt called to try and minister in what they called mainstream churches.Nguyen and Meil made a film about their experience called "The Faith of the Abomination." It debuted today as part of the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival.
... They’d heard about Victory Christian Center ... Nguyen said that the senior pastor, Lee Boss, was well-known for being unfriendly to the LGBT community, she said, and she felt connected to him as someone who had served in Vietnam.
... Their mission was to go undercover with Melton posing as a man to see if the couple would be treated differently as a heterosexual couple in ministry.
... It was successful, Nguyen said. “We loved them and they loved us,” she said. “The leadership took us in right away. They told us secrets they hadn’t revealed to their board of directors. Spiritually, we were able to connect with them because they didn’t have the stumbling block of what we looked like and what our spirits were. We became close with them, they took us out for private luncheons. We ministered in their church. It was the spirit in us that they connected to, not the packages.”
The couple became a part of the church for about four months, they said. They decided that they would reveal who they were and told the congregation that they were going back to Vietnam. “We told people how much we loved them and thanked them for their love,” Nguyen said. “We told them that we were two lesbian ministers of God, and the bodyguards started to rush us and the pastor called them off. He knew cameras were on him. I told him, ‘God is Love, we are not abominations. God created me, God loves my people. We’re here for a reason.’”
Read the entire article in the Austin American-Statesman.
Via Dangerous Minds