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The Illusion of Sex

I experienced an illusion today that turned out to be very real. I’ve had an unopened packet of Peanut Butter M&Ms on my desk for ages now. This morning I decided to crack it open only to realise that it had already been opened and 3/4 of the contents had been eaten! The perpetrator sneakily placed the opened corner of the packet under my flip file to hide any visible evidence of tampering. When I catch them, I’ll have an illusion ready – my foot firmly lodged up their ass. But I digress…

The Best Visual Illusion of the Year contest is now in its 5th year and strives to use big words to explain itself:

Visual illusions are those perceptual experiences that do not match the physical reality. Our perception of the outside world is generated indirectly by brain mechanisms, and so all visual perception is illusory to some extent. The study of visual illusions is therefore of critical importance to the understanding of the basic mechanisms of sensory perception, as well as to cure many diseases of the visual system.

And in this year’s contest, The Illusion of Sex by Richard Russell at Harvard University, USA scooped third prize.

In the image above, the two faces are perceived as male and female even though both are different versions of the same androgynous face. Apparently it demonstrates that contrast is a cue for perceiving the sex of a face – the face with the greater contrast appears feminine, and one with the lesser contrast appears masculine.

Did you notice a difference? Let us know in the comments.

BONUS: This is one of the oddest illusions you’re likely to see – HardTimes.

Amazing Trompe-l’œil Art

Trompe-l’œil, or “trick the eye” is an art technique that has existed as far back as Greek and Roman times, and involves creating incredibly lifelike 3D scenes on flat surfaces. And Californian-born artist John Pugh creates such trompe-l’œil murals on the sides of buildings. Here are three of my favourites – click to embiggen.

This is an Egyptian style mural adorns a wall in Los Gatos, California.

This earthquake scene located in Los Gatos was created following a genuine earthquake in 1989.

This mural in Honolulu tricked the fire crews into thinking a child was about to get crushed underneath a tidal wave.

More of Pugh’s murals can be found at Damn Cool Pics.

I Dream of Better Cellular Days

Running a blog affords one a few liberties and self-promotion is certainly one of them :-D

I’ve got an old Nokia 3510i hand-me-down from my sister-in-law, Animal Muppet. It gets the job done, but all the kitty stickers on it is really ruining my gangsta rep.

Now I just found out that I’m a finalist in a competition on the local Samsung Blog where the main prize is an awesome Samsung Pixon cellular phone. And your vote could help me win it!

If you’d like to help out, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Register HERE – you’ll receive your login details in the email.
  2. Login to the Samsung Blog HERE and then cast your vote for the entry Skeet and Swizzle HERE.

A big thanks to the mates who have voted already, the cheque’s in the mail ;-)

BONUS: In case you’ve missed it, our own WATCHMEN competition will be ending this Thursday so get your entries in!

All Hail the Beard Champion

I am in awe of this hairy gentleman. His dedication to the art of growing a beard is unparalleled. David Traver from Anchorage, Alaska has been crowned the beard world champion. Competing against 300 entrants in the 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championships, Traver’s 20.5 inches of coarse beard hair cultivated over 2½ years was intricately dyed several colors and woven into the shape of a snowshoe. He walked away with commemorative gold pan and a salmon fishing trip.

Traver will now shave the prize-winning beard off because as you know once a man’s reaches the apex of facial hair, there’s nowhere to go but down.

Read the full story at Anchorage Daily News.

[via Buzzfeed]

Chronotron!

This may kill your productivity stone dead.

If you’re a fan of Lost or Doctor Who, then you might like Chronotron. In this cute puzzler you play as a robot whose time-travelling machine (which looks suspiciously like the TARDIS) is broken. It’s only able to loop back in time and to fix it you need to collect the circuits in each level to fix it.

Here’s the nifty bit – you can use your time machine to create multiple (past) versions of yourself to help you solve the puzzles. You can create as many copies as you want, but if you interfere with a past self’s ability to return to the time machine, you will cause a game-ending paradox. Some lateral thinking is needed here to clear the 35 levels and 5 bonus levels.

Play Chronotron at Kongregate.

Sorry I Missed Your Party

However empty you think your beer glass may be, you can solace in the fact that somewhere in the world, another person who is having a worse time than you. In the same vein as the misfortunes on Fuck My Life, Texts from Last Night, and Awkward Family Photos, comes a site that sifts through photos from parties that you missed but really should have attended. Here are some of my favourites:

Thank Goodness It’s LAN Party Friday!

Isn’t it weird that the kind of people who dress like they’re really into a 90s concept of hackerdom probably the most boring ilife? I mean, what are these guys up to, updating their Friendster pages? Buying an album on iTunes and actually burning it onto a CD?

Strange Boobs

It seems like I’ve been posting a lot of pictures of scary boobs lately. This photo I guess kind of echoes my feelings, because it appears to actually be trying to run away from the woman it’s attached to.

Condiments of the Night

I expect it from some college kids or bummed out looking dudes, so when well dressed bankers pass out in a fast food joint and heartlessly pour condiments on their friend’s head, it’s like falling in love all over again.

No Want

I’ve never quite seen two people be so totally sexually repulsed by each other as this pair.

See more at Sorry I Missed Your Party [some photos NSFW]

Flash Game Friday: Splitter

Today’s time waster is another cool physics puzzle in which you need to split objects to get your googly-eyed smiley face to the goal. You have a limited number of cuts that can be made, so make them count, and collecting the star in each level adds to your score.

Click and drag the mouse to make the cut – you can split joints and wood objects, but not metal and brick objects. There are 25 levels to be cleared and each can be solved in a number of different ways.

Play Splitter at Kongregate and let us know how you got on.

Sebastian’s Voodoo

A little over a week ago, we posted about Reach, an endearing short had been shortlisted in the the National Film Board of Canada’s online competition at this year’s Cannes Short Film Corner. Reach was up against nine other finalists with internet votes deciding the winner. And the Internet has spoken – after more than 170,000 views and nearly 8,000 votes from all over the globe, the winning film has been announced.

Taking first prize is Sebastian’s Voodoo directed by Paraguayan-born Joaquin Baldwin. The animated drama tells the story of a voodoo doll that must save its friends from being pinned to death. Check it out below or watch it in high quality at YouTube.

What did you think? Drop us a comment and let us know.

Letting it All Hang Out: “Slam” by Pendulum

It was Puza thursday and we went out last night after a hearty dinner at home. It took some effort for us to drag Bladder Infection Man away from the television as the finals of American idol was on and he was stuck fast to the couch. Needless to say we arrived at a bar up the road from us – the place was pretty empty except for the sounds of a DJ hard at work. That was not a coincidence as we painfully found out. During the one drink we had there, I heard some, for a lack of a better word, experimental music that sounded like two errant moles fucking underground. :sick:

Thankfully this is not the sound of two moles getting jiggy (well not to me at least) but rather a top track from an Australian electronica-rock band, Pendulum. After relocating to the UK, the band released their first drum and bass album Hold Your Colour in 2005, and you’re going to see the video for the song Slam taken off that album. Check out a pale, chubby fella doing this thing on a sidewalk.

If you liked Slam, then hit the jump for another Pendulum track.

Read more

inFAMOUS News Roundup

It’s no far stretch of the imagination when I tell you the last time I felt this excited about a console game was when I purchased Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV back in 2008. Those same giddy feelings are back as I anxiously await the release of the Playstation 3 exclusive, inFAMOUS.

Developed by Sucker Punch Productions, inFAMOUS tells the story of bike messenger Cole who survives a massive explosion in Empire City and develops electricity-based powers. Amidst infected residents, violent gangs, and a city that is decaying under his feet, Cole must get to grips with his new powers and the responsibility that comes with it. He is judged by the deeds that he does, be it good or evil – a Karma system keeps track of this, and in turn influences the growth of Cole’s powers and how the city’s residents react towards him. He can be famous, infamous, or maybe a little of both ;-)

If you’ve not been keeping up with news, then I’ve done a link roundup to keep you updated.

  • inFAMOUS gets relatively favourable reviews – 87% based on 19 reviews. Read them via Metacritic
  • Part 1 of the inFAMOUS comic series tells the story of the events that happen prior to the game. See it a Joystiq (7 pages).
  • See various gameplay videos at GameTrailers.
  • Download inFAMOUS wallpapers for your desktop.
  • Pre-order your copy of inFAMOUS from two of the better local online retailers Kalahari.net or Take 2.
  • Thinking of importing? Try newcomers Gamesbasement or CDWOW.
  • Nate Fox and David Meyer from Sucker Punch hosted a live chat yesterday. View the Q&A session at the Playstation Blog.
  • There are 50 inFAMOUS trophies that can be unlocked. See them at Console Monster.

inFAMOUS is slated for release in South Africa on Friday, May 29th. Fingers crossed it gets released that day. I have already purchased tranquilizers and alcohol in case of bad news.