Hidden In Plain Sight

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

.

I always remember during the Vietnam War how the Viet Cong soldiers were able to hide themselves in plain sight of the South Vietnamese and US forces. In one remarkable incident a Viet Cong intelligence officer rented a house beside the local police station. Then there were the remarkable tunnels of Chu Chi. Remarkable for two things, one, because of their vast size and the number of enemy soldiers that they provided a base for; and two, because of the unbelievable courage of the Tunnel Rats whose unenviable job it was to enter this tunnel complex and search out the enemy. Remarkable indeed.

On a much lighter note, I’m sure you are all very aware of the saying, “It’s as plain as the nose on your face.”

The strange thing is that although our own nose is constantly in view of our eyes we never see it, because somehow our brain filters this image out of our vision as unimportant, or rather, unnecessary. Good job too for some people. I know a couple of dudes with enormous honkers! If their noses were in their vision they wouldn’t see anything else.

Joking aside, however, this got me thinking as to how much other information does our brain filter out of our vision equation without letting us know. How much do we not see although it is right in front of us? It can be a rather scary thought.

I have always been particular about what I write and I always check to see that everything is spelled okay and sentences make sense. (Proof reading you own work however is one of the hardest things to do, because you know what you meant to write an after a while loss of a little concentration can lead to mistakes.)

But it turns out I have just been wasting my time because, spell checkers be damned, apparently they aren’t even necessary. I guess some of you will already have seen this piece about how the mind works when reading. If you haven’t you’re in for a bit of a surprise.

.

Can you read this:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

.

Which written normally is this:

.

According to a researcher (sic) at Cambridge University, it doesn’t matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter be at the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself but the word as a whole.

.

During a period in my life when I was in the construction business I once drew out a plan and asked the carpenters working for me to assemble it out of some 2 x2 timber that was lying around. Strangely none of them could manage it, but a couple of them puzzled over it for quite a while. The drawing I gave them was much more detailed than this with measurements and fitting instructions, but the finished object was to look like this. Officially it is called a Penrose triangle.

.

A Penrose triangle
A Penrose triangle

.

Then there are loads of very interesting and amusing optical illusions based on the eye-to-brain ability to process information. One of my favorites is this Einstein rotating head. Is it hollow or is it protruding? Depends how your brain processes what it sees.

.


  .

.

There is also the Ballerina illusion which is interesting. If you stare at a girl’s feet she appears to be swiveling back and forth. But if you look at her head she appears to be rotating 360 degrees. Try it out. Weird!

.

.

.

And there’s another spinning dancing girl who, if the right side of your brain is dominant appears to be rotating clockwise, and if the left side of your brain is dominant she appears to be rotating anti-clockwise. To make things even more weird if you stare at it for a little while you can make her change direction. Duh…

.

.

.

But by far the weirdest thing of all is our ability to concentrate and count baseball passes. I hope you haven’t seen this one before, but even if you have, take another go at it. I won’t tell you the answer and don’t read the rest of this blog post without viewing the video, or you will spoil the whole thing for yourself.

It explains it on the video too, but there is a team in black and a team in white and what you must try to do is count the number passes the white players make to each other and ignore what’s happening with the team in black. It’s quite fast and there is a lot of movement so you do have to concentrate. Also, if you happen to be on a slow internet connection let the whole video load before you play it.

.

Basket ball count test

.

.

So how did you do?

Did you get the correct number of passes?

Actually I’m not going to say any more about this just now, but I’ll return to the subject in a few days hopefully, because there is an interesting and slightly disturbing question that arises from all this.

Meantime, if you feel like it let me know how you got on with the basket ball count.

And rmeemebr trohw aawy that slpel ccehekr.

.

.

 

4 thoughts on “Hidden In Plain Sight

  1. I did the basketball pass test a couple of weeks ago, two short of the total and the answer to your unasked question is yes. This one was fun!

    • Me too. It is fascinating the way the mind works and how it can be tricked. I’ll maybe throw in a few more of my favorites and see what people make of them. Thanks for the comment.

Comments are welcome. If you would like to make one on this post this is the place to do it.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s