Blue and Black Dress Explanation

This dress photo hit the internet by storm yesterday. So what do you think, is it blue and black or white and gold? I’ve recreated an optical illusion in this article to show you exactly the blue and black dress explanation.

Blue and Black or White and Gold Dress

Blue and Black or White and Gold Dress

Here is a link to the original post on tumblr – bellasfault.tumblr.com

 

The Optical Illusion Explained

What color are these two circles?

white gold dress illusion

Do you see gray and brown or maybe white and gold.

Scroll down to see the next image

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What about these circles?

blue black dress illusion

Do you see light blue and dark brown or even black. The fact is that both of these images contain the exact same colored circles, there is absolutely no difference between the two images except for the background.

Why do some people think the dress is blue and black and others see white and gold?
It all depends on which information your brain decides to fill in. Most of what we perceive is actually not what we directly see, our brains do a lot of processing to fill in the blanks.  It turns out the dress is actually blue and black.  But if you see blue and black you realize that the image is somewhat washed out.  Those who see white and gold would agree that the image looks dim.  If you see white and gold your brain is processing the image as a white and gold dress with a shadow over it or dim lighting.

More on the Optical Illusion
By changing the background behind the cirlces we are forcing our brains to process the colors a certain way. Here are all 4 circles in the same image.

 

blue black white gold dress illusion

The upper set of colors look noticeably different than the lower set of colors. The image of the dress is a bit more complicated because it obviously does not have a solid background which makes the illusion nearly impossible to replicate exactly, but this is the principal behind the optical illusion that most people see. Here is another optical illusion showing the same principal but only comparing different shades of gray.

The “A” square and “B” square are the exact same color

A and B are the exact same color

A and B are the exact same color

Interesting Stuff

Why Do So Many People Assume They See and Hear Ghosts?
Why Do So Many People Assume They See and Hear Ghosts?
Its the middle of the night, you are awoken by a noise, scratching, knocking or creaking maybe. For many people the first thing that comes to mind is not the wind, a squirrel in the attic, or the heater system. What do many people think of first? Ghosts! The human mind turns shadows into figures, noises into muffled voices, Continue Reading
Animals Literally Falling From The Sky
Animals Literally Falling From The Sky
I was watching a TV show the other day and there was a scene where a whole bunch of fish fell from the sky, the show never explained why so I decided to look it up and see if there was any cultural significance. I figured there was no way this actually ever happened so I was looking for Continue Reading
 Neil deGrasse Tyson on God and Religion
Neil deGrasse Tyson on God and Religion
Ever Since Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey aired in 2014 I have been captivated by his teaching style and the fact that he seems so down to earth and sympathetic to those who are not elite scientists.  Neil deGrasse Tyson seems to support systems and processes that reveal genuine truth at all costs.  When I said that Continue Reading
There Are No Rules But The Golden Rule
"Your problem is you spent your whole life thinking there are rules. There aren't. We used to be gorillas. All we had is what we could take and defend." - Lorne Malvo -  Fargo TV Series Season01 Episode01 Even if you are a religious person and believe there is a set of commands for you to follow this concept Continue Reading
Blue and Black Dress Explanation
Blue and Black Dress Explanation
This dress photo hit the internet by storm yesterday. So what do you think, is it blue and black or white and gold? I've recreated an optical illusion in this article to show you exactly the blue and black dress explanation. Here is a link to the original post on tumblr - bellasfault.tumblr.com   The Optical Illusion Explained What color are these Continue Reading

Intelligent Plant: What This Vine Can Do Is A Mystery To Science

Boquila trifoliata

Boquila trifoliata (Image By: inao / Flickr)

The south American Mimic Vine (Boquila trifoliolata) might seem like an ordinary plant at first. Actually you might not even notice it at first because its leaves look similar to other plants, hence the name mimic vine. But this vine can do things that are currently a mystery to science.

How mimic plants usually work
Plants may evolve to look similar to another plant if they want to blend in.  This could help them to confuse some predators into thinking that they are poisonous, or bad tasting.  Plants may also develop similar leaf shape because that is the ideal shape for their environment considering such things as amount of sun, rain, and wind.

What makes the South American mimic vine so amazing?
The primary factor that makes the South American mimic vine an amazing plant is that it can choose to mimic a number of different plants at the same time. You might be wondering how the vine knows which plants to mimic? or How the vine knows what leaf shape, size, color and orientation to use? Well that’s the mystery. No one knows for sure!

It seems that the vine mimics plants that it is growing on but it can also mimic plants that it is only growing near without any visible physical contact. Scientists currently do not know how this vine can sense nearby plants, and how this vine knows which leaf shape, size, color and orientation to use.

Image By: E. GIANOLI, F. CARRASCO-URRA/CURRENT BIOLOGY 2014

‘V’ identifies the vine, ‘T’ identifies the tree (Click to Enlarge) Image By: E. GIANOLI, F. CARRASCO-URRA/CURRENT BIOLOGY 2014

The theories
I have heard 2 theories that seem plausible but both of them are somewhat far fetched.

One theory is that the plant can chemically sense nearby plants. This in itself is not so hard to believe, things like this currently happen with other plant species.  The vine would have had to evolve a leaf-changing response to the many chemical signals that it gets from other plants, this is the part that’s hard to believe.  There would had to have been an evolutionary advantage to all the different leaf shapes that the plant can mimic otherwise this sort of evolution would not have taken place.

Another theory is that the plant can somehow sample dna from the other plants and use it itself. This is not seen in any life forms larger than bacteria.  This is a little more far fetched than the previous theory but it would explain why the vine can mimic so many different species of plants.

Conclusion
Hopefully soon the mystery of the mimic vine will be revealed but for now it’s an example of how amazing our universe is, and what mysteries still exist on our own planet.

Neil deGrasse Tyson on God and Religion


Ever Since Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey aired in 2014 I have been captivated by his teaching style and the fact that he seems so down to earth and sympathetic to those who are not elite scientists.  Neil deGrasse Tyson seems to support systems and processes that reveal genuine truth at all costs.  When I said that he is sympathetic to those who are not elite scientists what I mean is that he seems to hold those elite scientists at a much higher scrutiny in their belief in God because these are the people who supposedly understand: how the planets move, how many of the forces of the universe work according to scientific facts, and the history of how man’s belief in god has changed through the ages.  This articles contains a collection of videos, where Neil deGrasse Tyson explains his thoughts on God and religion.  I find his view of the topic very enlightening and reasonable.

This first video really focuses in on the basic principals that Neil deGrasse Tyson believes in regarding religion and more specifically God.  This is the only video I have seen where this questions is directly answered: Does Neil deGrasse Tyson believe in God?

This next video goes into more depth on the history of God and how man kind has held on to this beliefe in the face of scientific data. The concept of ‘The God of the Gaps’ is introduced here, and I have heard Tyson reference this on more than one occasion.

This is one of my favorite videos, I wish the sound quality was a little better. Tyson brings out how being more educated generally implies being less likely to be a religious person. But the video goes into much more depth on why there are still religious people in the group of elite scientists and why we should reconcile this issue before ever approaching someone who is not as educated and questioning their religious beliefs, especially in an argumentative way. Although Tyson seems to strongly believe that people have the right to believe whatever they want, in this video he goes into how strongly he feels about keeping religious beliefs out of science classrooms.

I really appreciate Tysons non-judgmental views on the situation. He seems to be more focused on why so many people believe in a personal God and distinguishing the difference between science and religion rather than focusing on pushing people to abandon their religions, like some other high profile atheists and agnostics do.

Animals Literally Falling From The Sky


I was watching a TV show the other day and there was a scene where a whole bunch of fish fell from the sky, the show never explained why so I decided to look it up and see if there was any cultural significance. I figured there was no way this actually ever happened so I was looking for some sort of mythology associated with fish falling from the sky.

To my surprise there are a bunch of recorded occurrences around the world and throughout history of fish falling from the sky. There are also recorded occurrences of other animals such as birds, bats, jellyfish and frogs.

Birds and Bats
This is an easy one. Most scientists agree this happens during storms or other meteorological events which freeze, daze or stun the flying creatures, and they fall from the sky. The most recent recorded occurrence of this happening in the US was in Bebe, Arkansas in 2010, but scientists believe this happens more often and is not usually recorded

1024px-Carp_fishes_on_dried_groundAll things aquatic
This includes primarily fish, but also frogs, and jellyfish. The first recorded occurrences of this event goes all the way back to records from Pliney The Elder in first century Rome. Apparently it still happens from time to time. In the last 200 years there have been 9 reported occurrences of fish falling from the sky not including the annual Lluvia de Peces in Yoro, Honduras. Lluvia de Peces translated ‘Rain of fish’ is an annual event started in 1998 taking place in may or June where reportedly ocean fish fall from the sky in Yoro, Honduras which is 140 miles from the nearest ocean. There was also two recorded occurrences of frogs or toads falling from the sky. One in Japan in 2009, and one in Hungary in 2010. There was one recorded occurrence of Jellyfish falling from the sky in Bath, England in 1894.

Scientific explanation
The crazy thing is, there is no universally agreed upon scientific explanation. There are a number of un-tested theories, but the truth is no one has ever been able to prove how aquatic animals are getting picked up, moved tens of miles and deposited on land.

Water Spout

Water Spout

Theories
One theory is that some of these occurrences did not happen as recorded. For instance it is possible that the Lluvia de Peces in Honduras is actually a process where heavy rains flood the area moving ocean fish inland, then the water dries out stranding them on dry land. Even if this explains some of the occurrences, what could possibly explain the well documented occurrences where it is generally agreed upon that animals were falling from the sky. Most theories involve some kind of crazy weather patterns like tornadoes over water, sometimes called waterspouts. The problem is waterspouts have never been known to lift anything up in the air and suspend it there for any length of time. Waterspouts and tornadoes have only been known to lift up objects and throw them at some trajectory. Even if this theory does explain some of the occurrences, it can’t explain them all. There have been some recorded occurrences of aquatic animals falling from the sky on days with fair weather and no expected tornadoes. There are currently no good theories to explain these phenomena.

Conclusion
I’m sure there is a perfectly logical explanation for all this. We just haven’t found it yet. The most likely explanation for these occurrences is probably something similar to the waterspout theory, but no one has ever seen it happen. So until then we are left to wonder why fish fall from the sky.

Dark Matter May Hold The Secrets to a Parallel Universe (Seriously)


Dark Matter Dark Energy

The simulation illustrates the formation of clusters and large-scale filaments in the Cold Dark Matter model with dark energy. ( By: Andrey Kravtsov (the University of Chicago) and Anatoly Klypin (New Mexico State University))

I know this sounds crazy, but just hear me out here. Once you understand what dark matter is, you’ll see how it potentially could open up to a whole dimension that we are not currently aware of.

What is dark matter?
Dark matter is simply matter that reacts with our Universe only by gravitational fields. Therefore other forms of interaction that we are used to such as light photons and radiation waves do not interact with dark matter. Since scientists can’t see dark matter directly they theorize that it exists based on unexplained gravitational pulls in our universe.

What matter is really made up of?
Keep in mind that an atom is only made up of approxiately 1% solid matter, the remaining 99% is empty space. The only reason we see things as solid is because atoms are very small and electrons move very fast around them. The only reason you can’t run through a brick wall is because the electrons in your body react with the electrons in the brick wall so that it feels like solid matter. In reality there is actually enough space for 100 versions of yourself to stand in the same place at the same time if it weren’t for the atomic forces that we are used to which prevent that from happening.

What are the scientific rules that apply to dark matter?
The only atomic force that we know of that interacts with dark matter is gravity. If that is indeed the only one then everything from light waves to radio waves pass right through. It may also be possible that the atoms we are used to can pass right through dark matter without interacting. Gravity is a relatively weak force, the only reason scientists can see the gravity of dark matter is because they are looking at huge chunks of dark matter out in space, concentrations of dark matter the size of galaxies or bigger. More importantly they can see the effects of this dark matter on the stars, planets and galaxies of our universe.

What could dark matter potentially be?
Dark matter seems to be viewed by the general public as one element. People think that it is one type of thing that we can’t see. There are nearly 100 natural elements in our universe that we know of. These elements make up everything mankind has ever seen including planets, people, animals, stars, spaceships, cars….everything. It is possible and some scientist think it is likely that dark matter is not simply one element, but a whole bunch of elements that make up an entire universe of things.

If there was a whole universe of things sharing the same space as us we probably wouldn’t even know it. Gravity is such a weak force that we don’t feel the gravity of a person next to us, or even a mountain next to us. We need something the size of planet to feel the gravity.

The tip of the iceberg
This theory is only the tip of the iceberg. The matter we see makes up approximately 4.9% of the universe, dark matter makes up 26.8%. The remaining 68.3% of matter is still unclassified. We know the matter exists due to certain atomic forces that we see the effects of such as gravity. These forces are seen as an energy in our universe and this energy is referred to as dark energy because we can not see its source. The truth is these energies have sources that are likely greater than the visible universe. There could be a number of universes sharing the same space and reacting in certain ways but not reacting in other ways. One of the most exciting frontiers of science will be to develop the methods and technology to study these parallel universes and maybe someday interact with them on a regular basis.

There Are No Rules But The Golden Rule


Your problem is you spent your whole life thinking there are rules.
There aren’t.
We used to be gorillas.
All we had is what we could take and defend.” – Lorne Malvo –  Fargo TV Series Season01 Episode01

Even if you are a religious person and believe there is a set of commands for you to follow this concept still applies. The point here is that you don’t HAVE TO do anything. Life is only made up of decisions, consequences, and the rest is uncontrollable circumstance.

There is one rule that is almost universally accepted world wide and that is the Golden Rule which states: “Treat others the way you would want to be treated”.  Almost all religions and moral codes of conduct are generally based on the golden rule, here are a few examples from 4 of the largest religions in the world:

Christianity
mathew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Islam
surah 24 v22 “…and you should forgive And overlook: Do you not like God to forgive you? And Allah is The Merciful Forgiving.”

Hindu
Brihaspati, Mahabharata (Anusasana Parva, Section CXIII, Verse 8) “One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Other behavior is due to selfish desires”

Buddhism
Sutta Nipata 705 “Comparing oneself to others in such terms as “Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I,” he should neither kill nor cause others to kill.”

So no matter who you are and what religion you belong to if any, the primary thing that should guide your moral decisions in life is to treat others as you would want to be treated. Almost all the rules in all the religions of the world are based on this simple concept. Even this advice is not a rule, although many would say it is a human responsibility, you can do whatever you want, you can treat everyone terribly, and simply deal with the consequences.

A Better Golden Rule
There is a better form of the golden rule that I have heard in a few places and i’m not sure why its not more popular. The better version is to not only treat others the way you would want to be treated, but to treat others the way they would want to be treated. We are all unique human beings and we desire unique things, so why not aim to simply improve the quality of other people lives, even if you’re not doing something for them that you yourself would want.

The Complex Implications
Does this mean we should give our children whatever junk food they want, or stay in a romantic relationship with someone just because it makes them happy, NO! The complexities of acting on the golden rule are a huge part of what it means to be human. We need to weigh everything such as: short term affects, long term affects, who is affected, in what ways are they affected, how am I affected. The golden rule is stated simply but acting on it is anything but simple.

Knowing What You Know Now Does Not Make It Easier
Realizing that the golden rule is the basis for most religious and moral foundations doesn’t really change much, you still have to make all the difficult decisions that you have to make during life. Actually now that you know how to build your own moral foundation you actually have to make more decisions than you would have had to make before. Here’s an example: lets say you were always taught that giving illegal drugs to children is wrong. Generally it is wrong based on the golden rule because it could be dangerous to alter the mental state of a perfectly healthy child. But what if your child comes down with a serious illness that as far as you know can only be helped by an illegal drug such as marijuana. Situations like this have happened to people, its not a fictitious scenario. Someone who is simply a rule follower may decide not to use the drugs, and that persons child would be in more pain than they have to. Someone who realizes rules don’t exist, only decisions and consequences, has the freedom to choose whatever they want, they just have to deal with the consequences (good or bad).

A Few Exceptions
There are some cultural and religious principals that don’t seem to be based on the golden rule. A few examples are the opposition to homosexuality, and the generally unfair treatment of women in some religions and cultures.

Conclusion
All we can do to improve the situation of this world is to use our god given minds to build our own moral foundation which is truly built on the principal of treating others how we want to be treated, or more importantly treating others the way they want to be treated. Actually even more importantly, treating others in a way that will improve their lives and lead to more happiness if possible. We have no literal obligation to follow the golden rule, but if we do, it could lead to more happiness for ourselves and those around us.

Why Do So Many People Assume They See and Hear Ghosts?


Ghost

(Image by: Lionel Allorge / Wikimedia Commons)

Its the middle of the night, you are awoken by a noise, scratching, knocking or creaking maybe. For many people the first thing that comes to mind is not the wind, a squirrel in the attic, or the heater system. What do many people think of first? Ghosts! The human mind turns shadows into figures, noises into muffled voices, patterns into faces. The big question is why?

It is estimated that about 45% of Americans believe in the existence of sentient spirits (AKA ghosts). I love to hear stories from friends and family about ‘encounters’ with ghosts, primarily because currently I don’t believe any of these encounters are real. I would love to be proved wrong, but so far I don’t have enough evidence to support the existence of ghosts. It took me years to realize the real reason why people always think they see and hear ghosts.

The real reason people see and hear ghosts
Fearing unknown figures in the dark is a natural human instinct, and the reason why goes all the way back to the evolution of mankind. The reason why we assume that any noise at night is an unknown force invading our home is because thinking that way is always evolutionarily beneficial. Those of our ancestors who were always on guard, easily awoken and ready to fight or flea lived longer and passed on their DNA more often then those who weren’t. The primary reason is because being invaded by a force that wanted to kill you and your family was a real possibility during the evolution of humans. Lions, poisonous snakes, and other humans, were real dangers during those times, and to some extent are still today. To prove my point notice the similarities of most encounters with ghosts. The person is usually alone, it’s usually late at night, its often dark, and many times the person doesn’t get a 100% clear confirmation of what they saw or heard. These are all circumstances when it would be evolutionarily beneficial to assume your being invaded by a powerful being with unknown powers, and you should be ready to flea or fight. To further show this point notice the familiarities that ghosts have with the real dangers of animals, or other humans. Spirits or ghosts often have some of these characteristics: sharp teeth or claws, animal like eyes, they look diseased, they have super strength, super stamina, super speed, might be able to fly, and most important of all a dangerous, sneaky or evil intent. There are also many people who encounter ‘nice’ ghosts, I address that in a paragraph below.

What ghosts and the spirit realm traditionally symbolize
Throughout history humans have taken everything unfamiliar to them and grouped it in a category called the spiritual realm or the paranormal. Some examples of things that were thrown in to this category throughout history are: animal swarms, diseases, electricity, sun and stars, human deformities, chemistry…. and the list goes on. We still have a tendency to put everything we don’t understand in this category, but when we learn what it really is then we take it out of this category. If by some chance there are sentient beings from another world, that have the ability to interact with us. When we find out who and what they are we won’t call them ghosts, angels, or spirits we’ll just say they are visitors from Narnia or the future, another planet, a parallel universe or whatever the case may be.

Culture dictates the details of our encounters
The details of our encounters are dictated by cultural influences such as movies, books, drawings, and stories of others. There are many details to these stories and they seem to be different based on country or region. Japan has different encounters that northern Europe which has different encounters than Africa, and still different than north and south america. This also goes back to the fact that it is evolutionarily and culturally beneficial to learn about what dangers are lurking in your neck of the woods.

What about ‘nice’ ghosts like Casper
This concept is not as straight forward to me. I met a person online who swore she had a portal to another dimension in her living room and regularly communicated with more that 30 spirits, but when I asked for proof, of course none was given. Her fight or flight responses obviously were not kicking in, so I don’t see the evolutionary advantage. Many people have encounters like this, although probably not on this scale, the way I see it there are a few of possibilities. First possibility: People are actually communicating with spirits who don’t like cameras, can only be heard by one person, can’t touch or move anything physical, are tied to a time and place on earth even though the earth is moving through space at 1000 miles per hour, wear the same ghost clothes everyday, and often do the same thing everyday. I don’t think this is likely, the more likely alternative is that interacting with ‘ghosts’ helps people explore their inner thoughts without addressing them directly. A strong argument for this is that people often think they are interacting with deceased loved ones or at least deceased people with stories and troubles of their own, the person may even get satisfaction out of helping the ‘ghosts’ deal with their problems so they can move on.

How to not be afraid of the dark and ghosts
Even after reading this, most of us still will get afraid late at night, when we hear a noise or see a shadow. its human nature. The way to fight that fear is to remember what you actually fear is the traits of a man or beast, all mixed up in an imaginary scary thing. What will this thing actually do to you, its not going to actually do anything, and if it does, get it on video and you’ll be famous.

To prove my point here is a real story of a ‘ghost’ in my house
I live in 150 year old farm house in New England, some of the oldest farms in the country are here. Many people say there are ghosts in my house. They say it’s haunted, people have died here… yadda yadda. One night as me and my wife were going to bed I left the room and went down the hallway to get a drink. It was dark and quiet, with a little light from the other room. All the sudden I see something wiz by my face and smash into the wall. It was a water bottle from the counter. What was the first thing I thought of, It had to be a ghost, all the rumors were true and I just experienced it. With my mind racing I looked around the room, got my drink of water and returned to the bedroom. The smurk on my wife’s face gave it all away. Even though I was sure it was a water bottle from the counter and it was going in the other direction, I was wrong. My wife had opened the door quietly and thrown a water bottle at me as a joke (funny eh). The most amazing part was how much information my mind made up because I didn’t actually see the event in its entirety, like I thought I did. Whats even more amazing is the fact that my mind chose the least likely scenario to believe. It would be more likely that someone broke into my house, grabbed a water bottle and threw it at me.

Conclusion
Our instinct to believe we are in danger by an unknown force is strong for many people. Humans also have a tendency to put anything we aren’t sure of in a category of paranormal which includes ghosts. Our culture reinforces this idea over and over again until its solidly ingrained in our thoughts and becomes the first thing we think about when we hear or see anything unknown. Since this idea of ghosts living among us is so popular in our culture many people believe they are communicating with them, even though they are simply exploring their own thoughts. I can not prove that ghosts don’t exist. Actually I would like to prove that they do exist, but from my experience I think the most likely scenario has been explained in this article.

An Animal Was Recently Cloned Out of Extinction, But Not For Long


Pyrenean Ibex

Pyrenean Ibex

Did you know they actually cloned an extinct animal back to life, but only for seven minutes. The Pyrenean ibex (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica) also known locally as bucardo was a species of wild goat native to northern Spain and southern France. It was very abundant in the middle ages but the population rapidly declined in the 19th and 20th century due to hunting and habitat lost to domestic grazing animals. In 2000 the Pyrean ibex was declared extinct.

The Clonning Project
Scientists planned to de-extinct the animal, but only succeeded for seven minutes. A surrogate mother of a different species did give birth to a clone of the Pyrenean ibex in 2009, but the clone died within minutes of being born.

My thoughts
They were so close! I feel bad for the little guy, but this technology could be important in the future and is worth pursuing as long as the scientists are mindful of being as humane as possible.

Although There is at least one real problem with the idea that we can just bring an animal back from extinction and it will thrive and survive in our world. That animal went extinct for a reason. The first step is to figure how to prevent species from going extinct in the first place, then we can worry about bringing them back. For example we couldn’t just bring the Pyrenean ibex back and release it into its native range, it would just go extinct again.

Tasmanian Tiger

Tasmanian Tiger

Potential use for cloning extinct animals
There are Some animals that could potentially be brought back from extinction and reintroduced into the wild with no problems, these are animals such as the Dodo, passenger pigean, and the thylascine(tasmanian tiger). They went extinct primarily due to over hunting. All we would have to do is create a strict poaching law and enforce it.

Conclusion
This technology is amazing, it’s the type of stuff we have been seeing in scifi movies since we were kids. I believe There will be a time and a place for this type of technology and working on it now will help us get there faster, but the more imminent issue is protecting nature and all the species we currently share this planet with.